Thursday, February 26, 2009

What did one math book say to the other?*

Dear Internets,

Your jokes made me giggle. They brightened an other wise dreary, work-filled day.

I couldn't figure out which one was my favorite, so I told the jokes (with the exception of Liam's) to my high school students. They looked at me like they felt a little bit sorry for me, which was no help at all. I think they were just tired, though. Next, I tried telling the jokes to Bailey, but he just cocked his head at me like the RCA dog. In the end, I put everyone's name in a hat.

And the winner is Hillary! (Or perhaps, HLLARY!!!!) Check your email for an gift certificate. (I figure that would be a bit easier than sending mail to Canada).

Thanks to everyone for telling me jokes. You included some of my favorites, and I learned a couple new ones. (I used to tell the "STICK!" and "NACHO CHEESE!" jokes almost as much as the one about the pirate movie.)(Have you seen it? It's rated ARRRRGH!)


P.S. Is it just me, or does the dog from the advertisement for Austin's Fittest Dog look a little bit like Bailey?

*Don't bother me; I've got my own problems.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

We interrupt this break to bring you the following message

Dear Internets,

I have been distracted from blogging this week by boring work stuff that keeps me busy late into the evening. Don't worry; I still love you longtimes, and will be back with the remaining 19 things about me and stories about bananas soon.

In the meantime, I have decided to have a mini contest. Whoever leaves the funniest joke in the comments wins a prize. (A good prize, not a bad poem. Unless you want one.)


P.S. I've already heard the one about the pirate with the steering wheel on his hoo-hoo.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's a NIECE!

Dear Internets,

Sorry for the 85 posts in three days, but IT'S A GIRL! My sister is having a baby girl! This July, I'll have a niece-lette!


P.S. Charlie got to go to the ultrasound. When he saw the baby, he said "hi baby, wake up!" SO cute.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I speak softly and carry a big stick

Dear Internets,

I saw this on Gretchen's blog. It was a great way to spend 20 minutes on a Friday afternoon.


I think it's a good look for me.


Family Interlude

Dear Internets,

Is it really almost the weekend? I have been all kinds of out of it this week. I blame an inner ear dizziness thing and a week's worth of insomnia.

The high point of my week was seeing my nephew on Wednesday. When I stopped by my mom's house for lunch, he was standing shirtless in the living room watching WALL-E. Charlie is almost as obsessed with the movie as I am. He is also sort of in love with EVE. Whenever EVE would come on the screen, he'd scream "EEEEEVVVAAAAAAA!!!" at the top of his lungs. (My mom and I kept trying to get him to scream "STELLLLLAAAA," but we didn't have any luck.) Twas hilarious anyway.

In other family news, my sister finds out the sex of her baby this weekend. Personally, I'm hoping for cuddly. (I'll settle for adorable.) I have a little stuffed fox that comes with a baby fox for Charlie. I think it's supposed to be a mama/baby fox, but I'm going to tell Charlie it's big brother with his little brother/little sister (depending on the results of the ultrasound). It'll be an exciting couple of days.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend yourself, Internets!


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

25 Things About Me: Food Edition

Dear Internets,

I think the stereotypical getting-to-know-you question (after "where are you from?") is "what's your favorite food?"

I always feel weirdly anxious answering that question. I never know if I should go with something simple, like pizza, or something more unusual, like Indian food. With the former, I feel like I'm running the risk of seeming unadventurous; with the latter, I worry about sounding pretentious.

3. Truthfully, I'm not a very picky eater. I will at least try almost anything, with the exception of certain organ meats. I eat most vegetables and meats. I sometimes get a little squeamish about eating anything that looks too much like it did when it was alive (roast pig, fish that still have their eyes, certain shellfish, etc.) because I was a vegetarian for six years and it's hard to eat something that still has a face.

4. I read somewhere that researchers have located a gene that determines whether or not you like bitter foods. I think I must have the gene: I love dark chocolate, I like dark beer, and I could happily eat steamed broccoli every day for the rest of my life. I think brussels sprouts taste like feet, though, so maybe not.

5. Despite my love for broccoli, my favorite food in the world is probably lime juice, with lemon juice coming in a close second. I add them to everything: drinks, pasta, chili, cookies... Lemon and lime juice are Nature's perfect seasonings. Or something.

6. If I had to rank my taste preferences in order, I'd probably say sour, salty, savory, bitter and then sweet. I like sweets fine, but I don't particularly crave them. Despite this, I love to bake desserts, especially ones that I can decorate. I'm taking my first cake decorating class in March, and I'm super excited. Today cupcakes, tomorrow the world.

Hopefully you won't think my food preferences are too freaky Internets, and you'll still want to be my friend. If it helps, I'd be happy to make you cupcakes.

Love always,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

25 Things About Me: Thing 2

Dear Internets,

I had an epiphany the other day: I'm kind of afraid of squirrels.

Now, I know what you're probably thinking. "Squirrels? They're cute little woodland animals! They have big fluffy tails! They hardly ever get rabies! What is wrong with you?"

Well Internets, the answer to that question is "many things." But why am I afraid of squirrels? I think it comes down to one thing: I don't trust them. Sure, squirrels are cute, but so are Leprechauns.

What a squirrel looks like, on the inside.

There's just something funny about the way squirrels look at you. It's like they're thinking to themselves "fight or flight?" and seriously considering the "fight" option. Some of them even look at you like they want to crack you open Willy Wonka style to see if you're a bad nut. At any rate, the gleam in their beady little eyes is off-putting.

Last Friday afternoon, I turned a corner between the third and fourth floors of the parking garage at work, and found myself three feet away from a very trapped-looking squirrel. Now I understand that a parking garage is kind of a squirrel house of horrors*, but this one looked at me like he wanted to take me out Griswold Family Christmas-style. I had to back slowly down two flights of stairs before he finally ran off.

My mild squirrel phobia is not a recent development. I've always been sort of uncomfortable around squirrels, especially the ones that are a little *too* comfortable around people. When I was at UT, it was considered good luck to see an albino squirrel on the day of an exam. Thus, any vaguely white squirrel within a five mile radius had been hand-fed for so long that any trace of fear of humans had long since been wiped away. I once saw a squirrel hop onto the lap of a tiny old professor and demand a peanut butter sandwich. It was like a horrible, real-life version of "You Give a Mouse a Cookie."

Maybe I'm wrong, and squirrels wouldn't secretly like to take over the world one smallish person at a time. But I'm not taking any chances.


P.S. I was going to call this post "25 Things About Me: Sper*ophile Edition," but I didn't want my site to get banned from anyone's work computer.

*The parking garage is sort of a house of horrors in general, actually. There are all sorts of rabid bats and things there.

Monday, February 16, 2009

25 Things About Me: Thing 1

Dear Internets,

My weekend was lovely. Achilles and I spent Saturday afternoon getting barbecue at Black's BBQ in Lockhart. The deer heads on the wall of the restaurant were decorated with pink balloons and garlands made out of hearts. The food was delicious. It was delightful. Sunday, Achilles made me dinner (lobster pasta) and I gave him his Valentine's present*.


In other news, over the weekend I got tagged several times for that "25 Things About Me" post on Facebook. I'm a little too disorganized to keep up with blogs in two places, so I thought I'd just write my list over here. So without further ado:

1. I am easily distracted. (I know, shocker, right?) As much as I love listmaking, I have little patience for reading lists 25 items long, let alone writing them.

Given the sad reality of item #1, I'm going to break this list into multiple posts, and spend a little (but not a lot) more time on each item. (I apologize to anyone whose attention span is longer than mine.)

I hope you'll decide to stick with me, Internets.

Love always,

*Achilles' Valentine's gift: I got a little bowl from Target (confidential to readers: on sale!)(confidential to Achilles: I'm thrifty. That's OK, right?), and filled it with Hershey's Kisses. I replaced all the white tags with unique things I like about Achilles, like "You let me have the last Diet Pepsi" and "You don't complain when I ask you to carry heavy grocery baskets, even though you suggested we just get a cart in the first place." I think he liked the gift. (I came up with the list of 75 or so things about a month ago, but didn't know exactly what type of Valentine's gift I was going to incorporate the list into. Thanks to J-Money for the inspiration!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

Dear Internets,

I thought I'd take a break from the rant-iness of the past week to wish everyone a happy Valentine's Day.

I made you a Valentine just for the occasion:

It's a conversation heart, get it? (Of course you do. You Internets are pretty smart.)

I love conversation hearts. In high school, my French teacher always gave us a handful of conversation hearts for Valentine's Day. After we translated them into French, we got to eat them. I think she gave me the hard ones on purpose.

Despite the fact that I'm generally a grumpy ogre, I really do like Valentine's Day. I think it's the color scheme. Or maybe the candy... I am a fan of candy-centric holidays. (I don't buy candy until after Valentine's Day, though, because I like to feel like I'm getting a deal on my sugar fix.) Instead, tomorrow Achilles and I are going to focus on eating delicious food. We're going to Lockhart to get barbecue, because Lockhart is the BBQ Capital of Texas and Achilles has never been (sacrilege!).

I am trying my hardest to feel less grumpy about the shady car dealership and the appliance delivery people. I made them a special Valentine to show them my desire to make amends:

Maybe it needs some work.

Happy Valentine's Day, Internets!


P.S. Dear Universe,

I didn't forget about you.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

It's not paranoia if they're really out to get you

Dear Internets,

I took Lola the Corolla in today for routine maintenance (oil change, inspection). I figured that since she recently passed her 40,000 mile milestone, I'd take her to the dealership and get their 28-point inspection while I was at it.

A couple of hours later, the dealership called. Lola needed about $1200 worth of work done. Would I like them to go ahead and do it?

Um, no. Please give me a written estimate. Thx.

When I picked Lola up this evening, I looked at the estimate. According to the dealership, I needed to spend $200 for a new battery*, $65 for a new air filter, and over $600 in transmission, power steering, and cooling system "flushes" among other things.**

That sounded unreasonable (to say the least), so I looked up prices for parts online when I got home. A battery and an air filter for a Corolla (parts that are not THAT difficult to replace yourself) cost about $70 and $12 respectively**. The other services weren't even recommended for a car around Lola's age and mileage. The dealership is pretty much guilty of attempted highway robbery (hardy har).

Never again, Internets. Car dealerships are the devil.


*I thought you were supposed to replace batteries when they died?
**Since one has to assume that the auto parts store would be making a profit selling the parts at those prices, the dealership's price is extra ridiculous.

P.S. I am officially DONE with anything that involves the word "maintenance" or "service" or "call center" for the next several months at least. This is just getting ridiculous.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My smug problem

Dear Internets,

Shortly after I posted my rant about the washer/dryer delivery people, I had a revelation:

I live in Texas. Approximately 893 (give or take a few) of my closest friends drive trucks.

While normally I quietly judge my truck-driving friends for their unnecessarily large eco-footprints, there comes a time when a gal has to swallow her pride and admit that trucks come in handy sometimes. Interestingly enough, that time comes when the gal needs large pieces of furniture delivered to her house.*

I called the Sears Home Delivery people to see if I could go by the distribution center to pick up my washer and dryer, and less than 24 hours later I was helping watching Achilles and his brother carry my new appliances into my condo. It was magical, really.

So Internets, I learned a lesson. Sometimes the best way to tackle a problem is not to whine about it to the Internets, but to use your brain to figure out a solution. Who knew?

Love always,

*Sometimes that time also comes when you need to move and are too lazy/broke/neurotic to hire movers.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Growly things

Dear Internets,

Sorry for the crap post. I am sleep-deprived and irritable, and wearing the clothes from the back of the closet since I haven't had easy access to laundry for the past couple of weeks. I'm trying hard not to be super whiny/grumpy/homicidal about (STILL) not having my washer/dryer, since I realize it's hardly the end of the world and there ARE laundromats in Austin*. But it's hard to be upbeat when I feel so rumpled.

You know how there are reasons you don't wear certain articles of clothing as often as others? For example, maybe you have one pair of work pants that looks great with one of your tops, but when paired with anything else makes your hips look like you could give birth to an 11-pound baby without even noticing? And you should probably get rid of the pants, because when you run out of laundry you tend to pair them with a perpetually wrinkly tee shirt and a cardigan and pretend that's OK because the cardigan is black (and therefore professional-looking) and your boss works from home on Mondays and won't see you anyway?


I feel like the anti-Holly Golightly. I want my washer. Or my mom.

If you run into the Universe, you might mention that I'd like some donuts.


*Seriously, Sears Home Delivery is like a bad boyfriend. If they would just ADMIT that they aren't going to be able to deliver my washer/dryer for the next decade, I could move on with my life, get a roll of quarters, and go to the damn laundromat. Yet they insist upon giving me a false sense of hope. Sigh.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

28 before 28

Dear Internets,

Among the things I've been procrastinating about (blog award love-sharing, etc.) is writing a list of what I'd like to accomplish in my 29th year. I finally wrote down my "29 before 29" post (just two months late!) only to promptly lose it. (It's what I get, really, for always writing on scraps of paper.)

In searching for the list, however, I found an old "28 before 28" list that I made before I started this blog. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had done rather well without actively trying:
  1. Finish the Danskin Austin triathlon (done, crazy boss and all.)
  2. Do a half marathon (dropped out of the training. Oh well.)
  3. Take a vacation involving sand (not unless you count the zoo. I was going to do a triathlon vacation in Galveston, but that was before Ike.)
  4. Start a blog
  5. Learn to knit
  6. Run a 10K without stopping to walk (Done, and while I had the stomach flu to boot.)
  7. Get a promotion (farewell, crazy boss!)
  8. Paint my living room (I think I've come to terms with my need to hire someone to do this.)
  9. Pay off all credit cards (I even paid off one of my student loans.)
  10. Donate to Goodwill at least 4 times (2 times. I did donate various things several times throughout the year, but not to Goodwill.)
  11. ACL Fest (woot!)
  12. Take a self-development class to see what it's like (I'm counting the weird motivational seminar I attended on my birthday. There were pyrotechnics. It totally counts.)
  13. Get more organized (I'm definitely better, lost blog posts not withstanding.)
  14. See the Old 97's (3 times! Almost 4! Am possibly obsessed...)
  15. Read 28 books (Only if you count cheezy "how to get more organized" books. But whatever. I read real books too, so I'm counting them.)
  16. See 28 movies (I'm counting the times I got sucked into Lifetime Original Movies.)
  17. Find 28 interesting blogs to read (Oh lordy. And then some. My Google Reader needs an intervention.)
  18. Learn 28 new vocabulary words (probably, if you count work-related vocabulary.)
  19. Learn a new programming language (high five for nerdiness! I actually learned two.)
  20. Practice public speaking at least 5 times (if you count my second job, which involves speaking to teenagers, I did this many more than 5 times. If not, I did this twice.)
  21. Take a helicopter ride (we were supposed to do this for Achilles' birthday, but he decided he'd rather go to Fiesta Texas. My back/neck would probably have preferred the helicopter ride.)
  22. Go to the dentist (yes, I know, I'm a horrible person who deserves to lose all my teeth. I know.)
  23. Vote for Obama (2 times!)
  24. Caucus for Obama (It was kind of miserable, but I'm glad I did it.)
  25. Make an animated short (I didn't even get close.)
  26. Skip something on the list (7. I'm an overachiever.)
  27. Redecorate bathroom (thank you Ikea. I love you too.)
  28. Host a game night (We did this several times.)
There's the list. I wish I'd made more goals about doing well in trivia competitions or making Halloween cupcakes, but I think I did OK anyway. Soon(-ish) I'll find my 29 before 29 post and pass along my blog award.

I hope you're having a wonderful Thursday, Internets!


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My morning smile

Dear Internets,

This story made my morning (it's an old story apparently, but I missed it the first time):


P.S. For those of you who can't watch YouTube, here's a link to the Wikipedia article.
P.P.S. Wikipedia? I really must be living under a rock.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Alphabetizing my bit sweets

Dear Kitchen Floors,

If you could magically stop being ugly vinyl, that would be awesome.



Dear People Who Were Supposed to Deliver my New Washer and Dryer Yesterday,

It would have helped if you'd given me more than 12 hours notice that my order had been delayed for a week and a half. I might not have spent my weekend running all over town trying to sell my dryer to a lady from Craigslist who didn't have a phone and left me (literally) 13 messages from 11 different numbers.

And I probably wouldn't have spent yesterday evening at the laundry mat, because I'd still have my old washer and dryer.



Dear Jane,

Thanks for spending several hours yesterday reorganizing me. Perhaps you were redirecting your anger at the washer/dryer delivery people into more positive channels? At any rate, thanks! The Home Depot and Container store thank you as well. As does the local economy.

Your Kitchen


Dear Peanut M&M's,

I know that we've been over this before, but sometimes, you complete me. You really do.