Thursday, March 31, 2011

HTDE Power Couple

Faithful readers of ~RtL probably know way more about Annie and I than you ever cared to.  Well, this might make you happy, since you feel so close to us now.

Annie and I were coined the 'first HTDE power couple' by the people who run the How to Do Everything facebook page.  Why, you ask?  We were both featured on this week's podcast episode, Episode 7.  I sent the following email to Ian and Mike regarding Pandora:

---------- Forwarded message ----------

From: Rob Reed <roberree@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, Mar 15, 2011 at 9:12 AM
Subject: Pandora

Hey guys,
I love your new podcast.  I can't tell you how often I think about the
'nuclear option for hiccups'.  I am half-tempted to buy a coke (they
always give me hiccups) and blog about rather it really works or not.

Anyway, my question is regarding Pandora.  Is it better to 'thumb up'
or 'thumb down' every song, or if you're feeling apathetic toward a
song, just to let it play out?  I know Pandora records songs that you
'up' or 'down', but there are always songs that I'm on the fence
about.  I just wonder if the station will be more perfect for me if I
decided that I had to vote every song either 'up' or 'down'.

Thanks, and I'm already addicted,

They quoted my question (15:03) on their podcast and had it answered by the chief technologist of Pandora.  (By the way, Pandora keeps track of thumb-ing, skipping, and listening to songs.)

The episode also had a shoutout to Annie (9:06) for being the person directly in front of Blythe Haaga in their March Madness bracket pool.  (I was the one that sent Annie the link and convinced her to join the pool).  Anyway, the person in front of Blythe at the end has to go on the podcast and "insult Blythe".  Ian Chillag (the Ian Chillag that Peter Sagal says at the end of every Wait Wait Don't Tell Me!) just sent Annie a message saying that she better prepare herself, because it looks like she is going to be the one to do it.  Annie is the least offensive person I know, so this is going to be so awkwardly amazing!!

While you're listening, you should find out what I'm referring to as the 'nuclear option for hiccups' in their old podcasts and enjoy the mental image of me doing the experiment for the knowledge of my devoted readers,

Monday, March 28, 2011

Random Banana

Annie: "Why is there a banana on my nightstand?"

Rob: "I may, or may not, have just found it in the pillow..."

This induced a little-girl-sleepover-caliber giggle fest.  Maybe you had to be there, at 11pm last night, after The King's Speech and a long bout of trying to get Angel to vomit up the 3 Cadbury Creme Eggs he ate while we were at the movie.

I had wanted to nap in Annie's car while at her soccer match on Sunday.  I also wanted to eat a banana.  I threw a banana in the pillow case and headed for the car.  I never got to the nap (or the banana).  I ended up taking Angel to a dog park instead.  Fast forward 12 hours or so, and the pillow has made it back to the bed, forgotten banana and all.  I laid down on it to call it a night, and I immediately wondered if my face just found Annie's hidden vibrator that I never knew about.  Nope.  Just my favorite radioactive fruit, waiting in there for tomorrow morning.

You don't have to be in elementary school to still appreciate the many available features of a pillow case,

My Legs Hurt

I ran a 5k on Saturday that was part of the Oakland Running Festival (also hosting a half- and full marathon, a team relay marathon, and a fun kids' run).  This was the first 5k I was going to run without headphones or a watch, and the first 5k I've ran since St. Patty's Day, 2008!  (See, I'm not always a sloppy drunk on St. Patty's Day.)  I still wanted to try and get in under 30 minutes.  The other big goal was to not, at any point, stop and walk.

I feel like it rained continuously for two weeks building up to the 5k.  I tried running the Sunday before, got caught in a downpour, and ended up getting sick.  All things aside, Wednesday rolled around and I was restless and worried that I haven't had any real physical activity.  It was still pouring out, so I decided to get out my kettlebell.  It's not quite a full pood (got it for Christmas), so I decided to swing it around like crazy.  My legs never really got sore, so I did it for a while.  The next day at work, I was surprised how tight my legs were.  By Friday, I was ridiculously stiff, and I was praying that it would go away by race time.  I did a bunch of stretches before bed.  By race time, I was still really stiff and sore, and nervous because of it.  But I sucked it up.

I didn't finish under 30, but I did do it without stopping.  I was 349th out of 889 people.  Annie, cheering loudly from the side, snapped a few pictures:

I started at the back, knowing I was slow, but apparently got behind the walkers....
Half-way point.  Still going strong.  Why are my man-boobs so prominent?
Finish Line!  Look at that blur go by (and how skinny that chick is)!!
I spent some time on Sunday looking for one of those foam rollers that you can use to get kinks out of big muscles (have you seen my calves or my quads... they're gi-normous!!)  I found one for $25 at Target, but that's ridiculous.  It's a cylindrical piece of foam.  Instead, I bought a $2 pool noodle, and I can't wait to get home and see if it works well enough.  If it does, I cannot wait to celebrate my frugality!

On a more ridiculous note, the guy who won the 5k finished in 15:43, and the psycho (from San Jose) who won the marathon finished in 2:30:08.  I can't run a single mile at either of those paces.

I think I'd have a more respectable time in a bicycle race, but who am I kidding,

Friday, March 25, 2011

Geez, Wash Your Hands!

Annie: "Chick? Why do you call all women chicks?  The lady was like 60 years old!"
It was this morning.  I was still making fun of Annie for the story she told me last night.
~RoB: "Wait.  You know who it was?"


Annie: "I walked out of the stall and over to the sink, I turned on the water, and I ran my hands under it."  Mimics wiping her hands together.  "Then I walked out.  She was making pretty loud noises... body noises... and I just don't think she heard the sink."
Annie was elaborating on the initial story while we rode BART.
~RoB: "Wait, you didn't use soap?"


Annie: "I either can't wear my new rain boots for at least 3 weeks, or I'm going to have to buy everyone in my office a pair of them."
She was finishing off her story, not wanting to be recognized by the only thing the sanitary citizen could see from her stall.


Annie: "As I was walking out of the bathroom, someone shouted 'Geez, Wash Your Hands!'"
She told me in front of her coworker, who had stopped by on the way to her volleyball class in Oakland.


Annie never washes her hands.  She'd be lying if she said she even did it every time she poops.  (Girls are always sneaking little poops out while they're peeing.)  It took much convincing, and a line of Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy soaps that smell amazing, just to get her to do it sometimes, when I'm watching.  She claims she's made progress at work and regularly washes them.  This anonymous stall-lady disagrees.


Hope you enjoyed the Quentin Tarantino version of the story.

Washes his hands with soap every time he's in the bathroom, and usually looks at his junk in the mirror,

Where are my G*D* Hashbrowns?


Forget the hashbrowns in my McDonald's breakfast, and I'll cut you!

It happened this morning at the drive-thru.  I drove down the block and busted a U-ey.  I walked in and notified them.  They handed me the hashbrowns.  No apologies.  Not much response at all.

Really wishes he wasn't a fat kid that lives off fast-food breakfasts,

Thursday, March 24, 2011

March Madness

I don't like basketball, in general.  The only sports shown on TV that are worse to watch are golf and baseball.  However, I enjoy the finals of anything: World Cup, Olympics, World Series (just this year), and of course, March Madness.

Every year I make a bracket.  Every year, it dies a miserable death in the first day, and I try to ignore the fact that I ever even made a bracket.  Things were a little different this year.  In the first 8 games, I went perfect, and in the first day, I called 2 big upsets (Richmond and Moorehead St.).  Once the losses started coming, I figured that would be the end of it, but it wasn't!  On Saturday I was still ranked 322-nd overall with 340 points (1st had 370) on ESPN's Tournament Challenge.

For those that don't know, there are apparently 4.78 million brackets on ESPN's Tournament Challenge.  So, for a little while, I was in the upper 0.007% of brackets!!!  Then I hit a hard streak where Temple, Gonzaga, and Pitt fell.  Overall, I've fallen down to 25,886-th place with 99.6% accuracy, 1040 PPR, and 480 total points (first has 570).  [I'm 10 points behind Obama, but ahead of most of my friends.]

All that really matters is that I beat Annie's bracket, which is currently an easy task.  It sucks that I lost Pitt already, but I'm in first place in Annie's group (which has 4 people), I'm 17th in 'Fans of Michigan' (which is effectively tied for 4th), and I don't even want to look at what my rank is in the ESPN Sportsnation group.  Considering that I watched little basketball this season, and my picks were based on solid logic like 'yeah, I've heard of them before' and 'no douche nozzles in the Elite 8', I'm pretty proud with where I stand.  I should have thrown money down this year!  Let's see what tonight brings us.

Huge college basketball fan, unless I lose another Final 4 team,

F-U (wish I could cuss): W-cats, Aztecs, Mormons, Irish, and whatever Butler is..!

Help Out

I'm not going to run ads regularly (not for a year of solid blogging at least), but there are three things that are important to me right now, and I'd like to take this opportunity to share them with my followers.

First of all, I'm a nuclear engineer, and Japan's devastating quakenami is pretty much going to destroy the already drowning nuclear industry.  That news aside, there are people associated with the disaster that need all kinds of help (most of which is NOT nuclear related).  If you are looking to help, I'd recommend two places.  Either donate to the American Nuclear Society (fund specifically for workers at the plant) or the American Red Cross (though I urge you to donate to the general fund, and not request the money be Japan specific, but any help anywhere is appreciated).

Secondly, Annie's darling sister just graduated photography school and is now trying to survive as an artist in Los Angeles.  I know, first hand, how difficult it is to scrape by in L.A.  I can't imagine what it's like for someone starting in the arts.  If you have any interest in photography, and you wanna help her out, you can check out her online webstore by clicking on my favorite pic of hers.  (She has a 10% discount code on her blog, if you're interested.)

Finally, yesterday I received an email celebrating my 5th year anniversary on the National Marrow Donor Program donor list.  I've never donated, but I've been available to for 5 years now!  This morning, while at work, a co-worker was talking about his son's rare disease and the registry drive they just had in hope of finding a donor for him.  It was the first time that marrow donations hit home, so I feel compelled to ask for more people to try and get on the list.  Of all the ads on this post, this doesn't cost you anything!

I hope you aren't too put off by these ads.  I'll publish a real blog post this evening regarding March Madness.  If you are able to help out, I'd love to hear about it!

Karma like this helps make up for everything awful I say... except not even close,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

St. Patty's Day in San Francisco

Let me start off by saying that I was never one to go over-the-top in my participation in St. Patrick's Day.  I don't drink beer, and I was really good about going to class to learn, not to make a drunken fool of myself.  However, this was my first year since turning 21 that I was not a college student.  It was time for me to let my hair down and party with everyone else, which I certainly managed.

I started by bringing a dozen mini-cupcakes to work.  I ordered them from one of my favorite cupcakeries from the SF Cupcake Challenge.  Annie and I each took a dozen to work, so we split an order of Peppermint Patty cupcakes and Guinness & Bailey's cupcakes.  I meant to take a picture of how cute they were, but I ate them too fast.  Peppermint patties do have a close place to my heart on St. Patty's Day, since I used to roam around with peppermint schnapps and chocolate syrup and make people get on their kneees for peppermint patty shots.  That kind of debauchery hasn't happened in years, though.

Skip ahead to the end of the work day.  Annie and I met at home, grabbed a bus to BART, and took off into the city.  We didn't have any specific plans, but we had heard that parts of the city get crazy, and we were just going to join the crowds.  We knew that we wanted to go by the Irish Bank, since it would be the epicenter of the Irish foolishness, but we didn't really expect to wait in line to get in only to wait for drinks while touching 30 other drunken frat boys.  And we didn't.  It was indeed crazy, so we walked around the corner to our first pub of the night, Rickhouse (though I called it Mickhouse until looking it up today).
Rickhouse: Irish flag means it's legit!
They had some crazy Irish whiskey concoction, so I ordered two, grabbed Annie a Guinness, and we found somewhere to stand while listening to Irish folk music.  Our bartender, though arguably drunk himself, had the cutest little Irish gettup on, complete with a bow tie and suspenders.  We finished and decided to progress somewhere else.  We got in line and walked into another Irish pub across the street.  It was so dense with people that we immediately walked back out.  (I'm gonna count this as the second place in our pub crawl, even though we didn't drink anything.  We drank enough later to make up for it.)

Annie had once played trivia at a place called Elephant & Castle, so we used our Smartphones to wander in that direction.  There were points where we thought of just following drunken groups of people, in hopes of catching up on the festivities, but they always walked too slow or got sidetracked.  Elephant & Castle is probably my new favorite bar, since it was huge and, for some reason, made me feel like I was back at Michigan.  (Not that it matters since I rarely go to the bar.)  Here's where things got interesting.  I just went for straight Jameson on the rocks, and Annie and I did shots of Jameson.  This place had March Madness on, so we were able to check up on scores and watch UCLA finish off State ('If you can't get into college...').

We might have done more shots, I'm not sure, but we then took off to find the Royal Exchange.
Royal Exchange Block Party
Apparently, the Royal Exchange gets a whole street blocked off (not just alleys like the Irish Bank).  It must have already been too much for SF denizens, because cops were there lining the streets.  Oh well, it looked fun, even though we couldn't find anywhere to get a drink.  We instead walked across the street to Embarcadero Center and found a bar on the 3rd floor where Annie once watched a Michigan hockey game.  (Strange that Annie sounds way more like an alcoholic at the end of this.)  What was important is that we ate here, but also drank more whiskey and beer, respectively.

Finally, our bar crawl ended at a place called the White Horse, where we found our roomie!  I got Jack on the rocks (I was sick of Irish whiskey), but I feel like people kept rotating drinks around so that I wouldn't realize that I wasn't drinking much of it.  I had a crazy craving for Mozzarella Sticks (good ol' Midwestern boy comes out), and took off by myself to find a diner.  The diner across the street was closed, so I went off to find another.  I remember walking in one diner, where there was a line, asking for something to sign my name on (meaning get on the wait list), but responded to the funny faces I was getting by leaving.  I eventually found a diner, ordered mozzarella sticks, and enjoyed them with ranch and a strawberry shake.

Somehow, when I walked outside, Annie and our roomie were there.  There might have been some texting involved.  They dragged me off to BART.  Here's how that went:
This is what I felt like.
This is apparently what I looked like (complete with a vest to look like a Leprechaun).
And these pictures pretty much sum up the rest of the BART ride (except our roomie got digits from a drunk guy playing mandolin [who also plays fiddle]).

Our roomie's friend was sober and picked us up at the BART station in Oakland to drive us home.  I may have offered to blow him in repayment of his transportation services...  Oh.  Though I don't remember it, Annie claims that at one point I was laying on the platform on my back, sprawled out, at the Powell St. BART Station.  If so, that's simultaneously disturbing and embarrassing (albeit awesome).

Hope you don't remember your entire St. Patty's Day either,

P.S. Made it to work the next morning on time.  I felt great when I woke up.  Almost TOO great...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Where's the Blog, RoB?

The blog took a backseat this month to 47 pages of paperwork that were required in order for me to start my new job.  I'm still not completely finished, but I've at least submitted the biggest part for review.  March Madness and drinking have taken a big part of the last week, too, but I will have posts regarding both of those.

I am hoping to run a 5K this weekend as part of the Oakland Run/Walk festival.  I wanted to run on Sunday, in order to train, but instead got caught with Angel in a downpour.  I ran home, but it was apparently too late.  5 hours later, while at a friends house, you could hear/watch me descending into sickness oblivion.  I woke up Monday completely incapable of moving (full-body muscle cramps, pressure headache, head congestion, and wooziness).  I called off work, and I slept from 10pm Sunday to 4pm Monday with few sporadic 20 minute pee-drink-Nyquil-passbackout periods.

I feel better today, aside from a headache, slight dizziness, and weird stomach pings.  I'm sure I'll be fine by Saturday, but I'm thinking about leaving work a little early just to finish sleeping my way to 100%.

I also returned to upstate NY for a little business 2 weeks ago.  It did nothing to make me either more excited or less at the prospect of moving there.  I still worry that we won't find friends or fun things to do, but I am also excited at the prospect of buying a reasonably-priced house and having all those things that I miss about the Midwest (space, Fall, snow, etc.) and being so close to NYC (or should I just say Broadway).

By the way, I really want to see Book of Mormon, and our apartment taped and watched the 25th Anniversary Les Miserables Concert.  It was amazing!!!

So, there we are with a life update, and I'll return you to your regularly scheduled (though profanity free for 30-something more days even though I failed to implement it in my life) programming,

Peanut Allergy

Ever lied to your girlfriend for 5 years?  Ever lied to your friends for a decade?
I have.  I'm a darn good liar, too.

I've long told everyone that I'm allergic to peanuts.  I try to clarify that I won't die, so that they don't go to extreme measures to avoid them around me, but I try to make it like there's potential for big drama.  Why would I lie about such a thing?  I hate peanuts that much.  I hate peanuts more than Charlie Sheen hates Baby Jesus (hoping to monopolize Google searches with those keywords).  I hate the smell of them, I hate the taste of them, and I absolutely hate peanut breath.

I had convinced everyone around me: family, friends, coworkers, girlfriend's family, etc. of this allergy.  Suddenly, 3 years ago, as a result of one of those chain Facebook notes where you say things about yourself that others don't know, the secret was slipped.  An ex-girlfriend, one who Annie already dislikes from her name alone, made a point to emphasize that she already knew it.  This sent Annie over the edge.  Apparently her family had been going out of her way to avoid peanuts at family functions while not notifying me so that I didn't feel awkward.  (I doubt that they actually did this, but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.)

Anyway, if you don't lie, people will say things like "but it's so good you have to try it" or "you can't even taste the peanut butter" which is always, always a lie.  So, lies were required to keep my life sane, and the lies came so frequently that they appeared to be true.  Now, I wonder if I would actually have a reaction to peanuts if exposed, as a self-fulfilling prophecy curse for being a jerk.

Peanut free since 1988 (when I was force-fed and threw up?),

Monday, March 14, 2011

Role Reversal

Annie: We're going Dancing!
Rob: enthusiastically Really, where?
Annie: You do realize I mean Michigan Basketball made the NCAA Tournament, right?
Rob: disappointed Oh.  Yeah...   Of Course!..
                                                                                    Can you hold my purse?
I'm so manly,

Lent Fail

So, I told Annie I was going to attempt to give up profanity for Lent.  Not because I care at all about religion, but because I like to challenge myself.  Annie says she thinks that all of my cussing makes my blog less interesting... and instead of funny it's just obscene.
So, I've been trying not to use bad words, and this is how it has gone every time.

Rob: So, I'm working on this fucking project at work.

Annie: You just swore.

Rob: Dammit!

Annie: gives the look.

Rob: Dammit, I just said dammit didn't I?

Both roll eyes.

I'm failing miserably.  At least I can control it in emails/chats/blogging, where the delete button is readily available.  I have no clue how to control how often I say them.  I had no idea it was going to be this difficult.

If I can't have a fuck-free day by St. Pattys, then I'll just give up,

Tried giving up giving up for Lent (which almost got Annie and I mugged at a party store), but I'll probably give that idea up soon...

Monday, March 7, 2011

Holy Crapcakes!

I just came up with Holy Crapcakes, and I think it's brilliant.  I originally had shitcakes, but that doesn't really give the mental image of rows of delicious, colorful, miniature decorated cakes that I'm aiming for.  Yesterday was the SF Cupcake Challenge, hosted by Drink:Eat:Play.  I went to the one in L.A. last year, so I was disappointed to miss it this year, yet really excited to find out they were having one here.  For a long time, nobody was going to accompany me (I'm totally comfortable with solo gluttony), but Annie decided to come back early from Tahoe to join me.  However, she was going to be running late for the event, since she had a soccer match that morning.  I refused to wait for her, and headed over to the city by myself.

I got to the front door 20 minutes early and the bouncers turned me away.  (Yeah, it was a club that employed their bouncers for this event since alcohol was being served and it was 21+... but I kept picturing how amazing it would be for some fatty to lose control and require the bouncers to drag the swollen body out while they kicked and screamed and shoved cupcakes in their face.)  Anyway, I was like 12th person in line, and I started in immediately.  I eat as I walk, whereas most people save theirs in tupperware for later.  Hoarding is out of control in this country.

40 minutes into it, and I've destroyed all the cupcakes!  Nobody else came close.
Still smiling as Annie captures my last bites.
Blurry, sweaty, puke-faced & finished.

In total, there were 28 mini cupcakes at the competition.  2 of them were peanut butter, which I strongly dislike [a future post], so I skipped them.  2 of them were coconut, which I also dislike, but I still tried them (to be fair in judging).  So, I ate 26 mini cupcakes (I usually shove the whole thing in my mouth, but they're probably 2 bites for most humans).  Unless you've eaten that much sugar and fat in a short period of time before, you have no clue how intense it can be.  Annie showed up about 35 minutes after the doors opened.  I had 4 cupcakes left to eat.  I'm pretty much a sugar consuming machine.  I was only a little shaky, a little sweaty, and a little ready to dance around in a sugar-high rampage.  I (speedily) dragged her around the place pointing out my favorites as she quickly snagged up her own collection, while I threw back my final bites.

There are 2 categories in the competition, Traditional and Original, and you also vote for your overall winner.
I had 3 favorites, and they were all Originals, so it was tough to submit my ballot:
  • Sea Salt Caramel from James & the Giant Cupcake [I voted for Best Original. They liked me so much that they gave me a T-shirt.]
  • Chocolate Toffee Crunch from Sweet Petite [I voted for Best Overall].
  • Basil Lemon Blueberry from Kingdom Cake [It would have won most unique, and I loved it, but it didn't beat the other two.]

Since I had to choose a Traditional, I chose:
  • Gentelemen Prefer Reds from That Takes the Cake [They had the best frostings, the ladies there were super nice, and that's a solid name for a red velvet cupcake.]

My trip to 'Disneyland' came and went faster than you can say 'food coma'.  I had wonderful highs and lows for the rest of the day.

Before heading to cupcake-palooza, I think god sent me a message regarding what my life may look like in 20 years if I continue my lifestyle.  I ignored the message.  It was easy to ignore, since I don't believe in god any more than I do Zeus [another post I'm working on].  Anyway, the obese guy in front of us at Costco was purchasing 4 6-pack boxes of enemas.  I couldn't help myself and had to snap a picture.  (Later, when telling Annie about it, she admitted to not knowing what an enema was.  Poor, sheltered mountain-girl.)

Beyond Annie's pop and my peroxide, the green boxes are 6-packs of enemas.
We also went to Beach Blanket Babylon after the cupcake fest, which I enjoyed way more than I thought I would.  Every single person on stage was a great singer and superbly entertaining.  I'll let Annie fill in the details on her blog.  She's in charge of the mundane things, and I have to keep prodding her to write posts.

Such a good boyfriend,

Friday, March 4, 2011

Michael Scott & Granny

If the title of this post gave you a mental image of Michael Scott nailing Granny, like the boss and his coffee mug from Office Space, then you are fucked up, and you should leave now.

Gets your juices flowing, eh?
Instead, the title is a reference to the fact that I work with someone who is so much like Michael Scott, that it literally isn't even funny.  He's a middle-aged engineer with a productivity level of a special needs child.  He walks from office to office (there are 4 offices in my trailer, not including his) sparking up random convos and stories.  I heard him giving the full synopsis to The Social Network to the poor girl next to me who hadn't seen it, and I wanted to blow up the whole trailer, as a martyr.  Today he rolled into my office, because he heard me talking to one of the cooler cats about tequila.  He wanted to let me know that he knew a few things about tequila... like how to mispronounce Reposado and Anejo.  He also pointed out, since I talked about wine with other people, that the famed Franzia is boxed in the town where he lives.  Wow, if he were any cooler, they'd put an ad on our website of him riding his mountain bike around by himself.  Oh shit, they did!

Granny just got back out of the hospital today.  On Tuesday, Mom called me hysterical because they had to rush Granny back into the hospital.  That makes time #3 since Xmas Day, and she's spent less time at home than in the hospital since this all hit the fan.  Apparently, on Tuesday she fell and Mom couldn't help her back up.  She was having some of the same problems that she had around Xmas, and an ambulance was called.  While in the hospital this time, they found cancer in her other (right) lung, and gave her a full-body PET scan.  Nobody knows the results yet, but she still sounds like she has stroke-face.  She said she was so happy to take a nap today without anybody "poking her to wake her up and take a blood sample".  I'm not ready to deal with that, but everyone is pushing me to go back and visit her.  I know it would lighten her day, but it'd suck for me, and I'm selfish.

So, I guess I'm torn between hanging with Michael Scott or Granny,

10-Year High School Reunion

Much like good mnemonics for my name, I regularly contemplate my 10-Year High School Reunion.  I think that it was one of the motivators toward getting a PhD, though just a small voice way in the back of my brain.

10 years after high school, everything is supposed to be figured out.  You return to your hometown and meet up in your crappy, old cafeteria (decorated just as shitty as you remember your homecomings being).  Everyone is supposed to look older and talk about their husbands and wives and kids.  People talk about their college life, and their careers, and where they've traveled.  Rather you've made it in life or not is pretty much nailed down that night.

Had I stayed on the PhD track, it's likely I would have had it before my 10 year reunion.  Now, I obviously will not.  Should it really matter all that much?  Do I really need that stupid piece of paper to substantiate how much better I am than all of those people?  In all that time I wasted on school, I didn't actually collect all of those tokens on the LIFE board that I should have by now.  I mean, I could go back and actually be making less than some of those grease monkeys that just worked continuously after failing out of high school.  How the fuck am I supposed to get voted 'most successful' like that?

I also expect everyone to show up fat.  I actually pray that all the pretty people show up weighing in at 300+ pounds.  I don't want to be another on that tally.  When I graduated (valedictorian), I weighed in at a whopping 170 lbs, which is damn sexy.  (There's never been any help for my face, so we'll just use weight as a metric of sexiness.)  Since then, I've been as large as 235 lbs.  Not so sexy.  Now, I hover somewhere around 215 lbs.  I'm more than confident that I could drop 25 pounds or so, but I've been saying that for a few years now, and I'm not getting any younger.

I can't believe that I ever think of it, but I do so regularly that it blows my mind.

On a good note, I only trust 1.5 of my class officers, so I guess I shouldn't even worry about it.  It probably won't even happen.  Or it will happen at Denny's, so the fatties have somewhere to rest their oxygen tanks while they drink small bowls of ranch dressing.

Wow, I must have really hated high school,

The Handshake

For those ethnically-challenged readers of mine (white suburbanites), you'll agree that we regularly feel out of place when dealing with people from 'downtown'.  [Fuck you, Annie, I'm from a suburb.]  For the rest of you, picture that alienated white town just down the road from Detroit.  They are two worlds apart.  They never give those white kids handshake lessons, and it continues to make my life awkward.

Let us look at an example.  One time, I ran into my Nicaraguan friend at CVS.  I don't use names, so let's just call him 'Mexican'.  (That's how I was raised, after all.)  Here's (sorta) how the incident went:

            “Hey, Mexican!”
            “Rob, what are you doing on this side of town?”  Valid question.  I lived pretty close to downtown L.A..  Mexican had the pleasure of living pretty close to the beach.  “You’d have to pass 5 CVS's to get here.”
            “Oh, I’m heading over to my best friend's [she'll remain nameless] to get some sun.  Thought I’d pick up some snacks.”
            “Cool.  I’m heading over there later.  I’ll see you there!”  Then Mexican stuck out his hand in the standard ‘let’s shake hands’ gesture.  It looked harmless enough.  The only problem: hand shakes were for meeting someone.  This one was for departing.  It’s gonna be one of those handshakes.  What ethnicity was Mexican, again?  Well, he's not from any 'hood, so this could be harmless.  Just go for it.
            I stuck out my hand.  Hands slapped together, it started as expected.  Quickly, Mexican started slipping just his fingers back, while maintaining firm contact.  I knew this one.  Slide back a little, rotate upward slightly, close fingers into a strong C-shape.  Our interlocked fingers locked and pulled back tightly.  Over?  Nope.  Christ, what is this, Cat's Cradle?  Mexican pulled me in for the shoulder bump.  Time had already become painfully slow for me.  Should I throw my other hand around his back for a pat, or is this just a bump?  With my hand awkwardly outstretched in his peripheral blindspot, I could quickly make either move.  It was just a bump.  Whew.  It’s over.  I dropped my hand down to his side.
            Then, I saw it.  Mexican had his hand outstretched in front of him in a firm, sideways fist.  I missed the pound.  We both realized I missed the pound.  Quickly, I pulled out a fist and lightly tapped it a split second before he pulled back.  Why am I such a loser?
            Simultaneously, we said, “Later,” and walked off our separate ways.
            ‘Why do I have to see him later?  Why isn’t there an instruction manual for things like this?’ I thought.  ‘I’m so awkward.’
            “You’re so awkward!”  Oh yeah, Annie was there, and she had just witnessed the whole thing.  “Get in the car.”

Wishes this was the only time this had ever happened to me (and that Annie wasn't there),

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

NASCAR is Trash

So, I'm driving to work, and I'm immediately inspired to write another 'Oakland has funny signs' post.  One of the 'upcoming exits' signs had been covered with a banner that said "Gang Injunctions = Racial Profiling".  First of all, that's just moronic.  Secondly.... wtf?  Is that a decorated Geo Metro?

I do not condone driving and taking pictures with your camera phone.  Yes, I'm a hypocrite.
Let's start with the fact that NASCAR is too white trash for even me, which is saying something.  I grew up in Southeast Michigan, in a town entirely employed by the Big 3 (American car companies need a new name like Screwed 3), where every child grows up with a greasy wrench in their hand, and my family was a racist pack of Miller Lite drinking rednecks.  Sounds like ideal NASCAR climate, right?  Sure was.  Maybe that's one of the big reasons I'm so against it.

I'm proud to say that I had to look up who drove the 48 car.
Anyway, this car is cruising down I-580, and I can't help but make fun of them.  NASCAR is so stupid.  Is it racist to say that I'm surprised it was driven by a hispanic woman?  (I had 'hispanic-looking' and decided this was not the place to try and be PC all of a sudden.)  Not the demographic (race or gender) I would expect to be enthused enough to do this to her car.  I pray that she lost a bet, or that this is her (white) boyfriend's car.

In the summer of 2008, when gas hit those ridiculous prices, I did some back of the envelope calculations determining how much gas each NASCAR race consumed, and how much was consumed during a whole racing season.  The number was astronomical.  I immediately formed the stance that if you watch NASCAR, you are absolutely not allowed to bitch about high gas prices.  It's called supply in demand.  It's all your fault.  Need I also mention the republican-led decisions to continue funding NASCAR while cutting funds for Planned Parenthood & NPR!?!

Totally the demographic I expected to have a car like this (except I'm too good for beer and wife-beaters),

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Too School for Cool

Instead of concentrating on DIWMGf, we spent most of the time arguing rather the beanie she was wearing was orange or red.  I say orange, and I might have mentioned that she looked like a male Dutch soccer fan.  She said that I am just color confused, and spent some time looking around the room for orange-colored things to compare to: Chicago Bears stuff is usually everywhere, but we couldn't see any.  Is she hiding my Chicago Bears stuff?  That bitch!

Anyway, we then got into a deep conversation about what it will be like in Albany if we can't find any cool people to hang out with.  Their Michigan Alumni Club looks like it sucks, and it's not the coolest area, but there has to be some sort of young scene, right?  There's some colleges nearby.  It's a state capital of a flaming, blue state!?!

The conversation helped us discover that deep down, we think we are way cool.  Probably cooler than we actually are.  We also, apparently, have high standards for the quality of friends that we make.  Good luck, upstate New York.

I never knew I'd become so snobby,