Saturday, December 31, 2011

Probably not the intended use.

My partner in crime used to have the kind of job where the whole office would receive and read those business self-help books. Since I don't have one of those jobs, I was curious and borrowed one from her shelf. I was hoping it would help me talk to men, but I'm not sure I'm the target audience for this type of book. 


I chose "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott. I figure anything fierce can be of use to me. Part of the book is a section called "mineral rights"--a series of questions meant to get to the bottom of an issue. I posed the first question to my partner in crime and we went from there. Was it helpful? You be the judge.**


1. What is the most important thing you and I should be talking about? Coffee. 
2. Describe the issue. We don't have any coffee. And we should have coffee. 
3. How is this currently impacting you? Who or what else is being impacted? This is impacting us because we love coffee and have none. Coffee levels are depleting rapidly. We are both being impacted. So is the general mood around here. 
4. If nothing changes, what are the implications? When you consider those possible outcomes, what do you feel? If we don't get coffee, we will still have no coffee and be totally grumpy. That makes us feel sad. And a little angry. 
5. How have you helped create this issue or situation? We drank all the coffee already. 
6. What is the ideal outcome? When you contemplate these possibilities, what do you feel? Ideally we would have coffee. And that would make us feel happy.
7. What's the most potent step you can take to begin to resolve this issue? What exactly are you committed to do and when? When should I follow up with you? The most potent thing would be to make coffee. We are committing to making coffee and drinking it immediately. We can follow up in 5 minutes when we have the coffee. 


I mean, ultimately there was a positive outcome. I'm not sure I'm meant to be part of the business world, though. 








**All questions are quotes from "Fierce Conversations" by Susan Scott.


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Because it's Thanksgiving...

This year, I'm thankful for...(in no particular order)...

1. Puppies, like the one I'll be seeing tomorrow at my sister's house. Because nothing seems that bad when a puppy is sleeping on your lap. Even boys who can't locate their testicles long enough to ask for your phone number.

2. Self esteem boosts from second graders. Three of my students wrote about me in their journals for Monday's "I am thankful for..." topic. TWO of them wrote that I smell good. My students are strange and wonderful. Especially when dance like robots and ask if they can come to my house and eat cupcakes.

3. The uniquely fabulous family I come from.

4. Coffee, champagne, and gin. Not all at one time, don't be gross.

5. Awesome and insanely talented friends who defend you in the face of insults, say yes to a cup of coffee regardless of the time, agree to any and all proposed adventures, position themselves between you and people you can't stand, pretend to be your boyfriend when creepy older men won't leave you alone, and wander around Target with you just because.

PS: Honorable mention to Ryan Gosling. Look at him.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

A serious moment.

I'm sorry I've been absent around here. Sometimes life takes over and there's too much work and drama going on to drag you all into it. And I wanted to come here and write something at least sort of entertaining. But before we try that...

This week, I've had to say goodbye to someone way too young. Someone heading into the years where things start to get really good. I had to watch her friends say goodbye and confront this reality that they shouldn't have to face yet. And it was heartbreaking. Every aspect of it.

I have a lot of teenagers in my life. And I know that most of them think I am super lame because I'm getting close to 30 and I have to ask what things mean and I don't understand the things they write in text messages sometimes and I dance like a big dork. But I'm a great listener. And I may not understand everything you're going through and I won't have all the answers. But if you need to talk or ask questions or complain or just vent about life...I'm here. Just know that I'm here and I care. It doesn't have to be me--just find someone.

Ok. Thanks for sticking around while I deal with life, guys. Tomorrow we can go back to talking about how gross it is when people make out in Starbucks.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guess the road was bumpy.

I've often written about my adventures (misadventures? you be the judge) with transportation. But I don't believe I've ever shared with you one of my favorite stories.

When I was a junior in college, I studied abroad in Ireland. The experience was truly and completely fabulous. I mean, to spend a year of one's young adult life surrounded by charming Irish accents and learning to make bad choices? You can hardly beat that. I spent many weekends traveling around the country, taking the bus from my university. That bus is where our story begins.

One such weekend was spent in Cork with my housemate. J was another American in my study abroad program and we were eager to travel whenever we could. On Sunday afternoon, we boarded our bus to return home. We headed to the back, where there were 5 seats across the row. J sat in the window seat and I took the one next to her. It's common bus courtesy not to sit next to someone you don't know until the bus fills up enough that sharing seats becomes a necessity. As our departure time drew near, we were feeling more and more confident that we'd have some space to ourselves.
And then, he appeared. It was as if a dark cloud rolled in overhead, foreshadowing things to come. Had this been a movie, ominous music would have played to warn me. But sadly, it was not a movie, and all I knew was that there was a loud man on his mobile heading my way. He found his way to the back row, placing his bag on the seat next to me, taking the one on the other side for himself. I was privy to his half of whatever conversation he was having, taking note of his accent and fondness for language I wouldn't use around children or my mother. He didn't have the charming, lilting accent I'd grown to love, letting boys tell me lengthy stories even if I didn't understand them or found it boring. This was harsh, loud, and wholly unpleasant. Shortly after we began the several hours home, three things of note happened. One, this man took a can of beer out of his bag and cracked it open. Two, his phone ran out of credit, effectively ending his phone call. And three, J "fell asleep" with her head against the window. She was clearly faking it, but I had no idea why. Until he spoke to me.
A blissful moment of silence was ended when he took note of the phone in my hand and asked if he could possibly make a call. I told him I was low on credit, not a complete lie. Ah sure, he had a beer to finish anyway.
The next hour passed by uneventfully with J sleeping and my neighbor drinking a couple beers and receiving the odd phone call. He made sure to tell every one of his callers that he had a bag full of drink and was planning on getting very pissed on the way. Somewhere along the way, a couple older teenagers got on the bus, taking the seats in front of J and me. Lucky for everyone around, my seatmate befriended these two. They prattled on about inconsequential nonsense, which for the most part was not a problem for me. Sure, a bit annoying but it could be so much worse.

And then it got so much worse. "Ugh," my neighbor complained. "I have to piss." (Are you swooning yet?) Who could blame him? He was two and a half pints in! His sidekicks didn't help the situation by telling him there was no way the bus would stop. After a few minutes, Thing 1 said, "Well sure, you could just go here."
I froze, unable to pretend I hadn't been eavesdropping. He hitched his thumb my way. "Sure, she won't mind. Just find something to go in."
"Oh," I started in, "she minds." My eyes were narrowed at him, every word laced with venom.
Apparently nobody cared about that, though, because moments later my companion found an empty Snapple bottle in the seat by the window.
"Excuse me,"he said to no one in particular. My head turned away, my eyes screwed shut. This was not happening. No. There's no way. No way that a grown man would relieve himself on the---oh shit. Ohhhh no. I could hear it. I could HEAR the urine hitting the bottle. The man was truly peeing on this bus, a foot away from me. I tried catching J's eye, hoping to have a partner in this low moment of my life, but oh no. She was going to keep up that act even though I could see her texting underneath her purse.

You'd like my story to end here, yes? Oh, if only. My now empty friend resumed his inane conversation with my new arch nemesis. I began texting my friends at home in a desperate attempt to remove myself from the situation, at least mentally.
Not twenty minutes later, he announced in his very smooth way, "Ah, I've got to go again." Fabulous. This time, he grabbed one of his empty beer cans. I instinctively turned away, knowing what vision awaited me if I opened my eyes too soon.
I heard the pee hitting the can...and then I heard him. "Oh, shit." Quite an impressive string of expletives followed.

What?? Oh shit isn't ok! What's the oh shit for??

"I got piss all over my pants," he grumbles to Thing 1 and Thing 2. Turning towards me for the first time in ages, he uttered something I'll never forget.

"I'm sorry," he began in a much calmer way than he'd been speaking. "I hate to ask this, but there are some things a lady shouldn't see. Would you mind turning away?"
He wasn't even done speaking before I replied with a hurried, "YES" and faced away from him completely. I heard him digging around in his bag, and figured out that he was changing his pants. As I sat there, wishing for a giant bird to come eat the bus or something, anything, that would put me out of this misery, I laughed at the absurdity of it. He hadn't even hesitated to pee into a beer can in front of me, but changing his pants, now that was something to shield from a lady. He was actually trying to charm me! I guess chivalry isn't dead.

With his permission, I righted myself in my seat. I couldn't help texting friends about what was happening--none of them believed me. But his troubles weren't over. Not by a long shot. I saw him, staring in front of him. In the seat pocket were four beer cans. Two were empty, one was an unfinished beer...and one was his own urine. Dilemma. He carefully picked one up. Empty. Another. Empty. Another. Sniffed it. Looking satisfied, he took a drink. Ah, yes...beer.

Finally, mercifully, by the grace of God and one very clueless Bus √Čireann driver, we arrived home. I've never exited a bus so quickly in all my life. On the way off, though, he left us with a goodbye...he grabbed J's ass.

Alright, maybe chivalry is dead.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sorry...

One of my best friends is getting married soon, and it has caused no small amount of reflection on our assorted adventures together. Essentially, 26 years of adventures. One weekend probably a decade ago, we decided to have Lame Movie Weekend. We rented a couple classics...Glitter and Love Story. The former is one I don't really want to talk about, as I've blocked much of it out. Awful.
But Love Story. Wow. Have you seen it? It's this story of two Ivy League college students who fall in love and then there's something about money problems and [SPOILER ALERT] she comes down with some mysterious, unnamed illness which we assumed was cancer. I wasn't impressed. Sorry. However, somewhere along the way, Ali McGraw issues the statement, "Love means never having to say you're sorry."

What? I mean...what?? Is she for real? What sort of dreamlike trance is she living in? Maybe that's ok if you're not trying to maintain a relationship. But if you are, then love means ALWAYS having to say you're sorry! Love means saying you're sorry even if you don't think you should! Love means saying you're sorry even if you're not sure WHY. Love is what happens in between apologies. Let's be real here.


...So maybe I'll leave this story out of conversations at the wedding.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Participants on the Run!

That's what I heard every night for three weeks, during my time directing a summer camp. We were using a local high school for our camp, and had plenty of space. This is excellent for activities, but a big huge worry after lights out. Smitten fourteen year olds sneaking off to make out? Not on my watch! (If you think I'm overreacting, you haven't met anyone who gave it up at summer camp.) Luckily, we had some motion detectors in storage! My staff and I pulled them out and strategically placed them in hallways and stairwells. Each one was set to announce a different message, alerting us to the whereabouts of our escapees. A home base, in the staff room, went off anytime someone passed by a detector.
One of my staff members was almost excited at the prospect of catching a camper sneaking out. The first few times the detectors went off, he took off in glee, running towards the scene of the crime. We were not messing around.
Until one day when a leader heard some of the kids talking about moving the detectors. That night, after lights out, we had an impromptu meeting in the hallway. Could they move the detectors without us knowing? That would be disastrous, should the kids figure it out before us! THINK OF THE CONSEQUENCES.
Time for action. We moved one farther down the hall, deciding to run some tests. Picture 13 adults in pajamas, well past midnight, crowding around a motion detector like it held the secrets of the universe. It was quite a brainstorming session.

Alright, what if you tried to crawl past it?

Participants on the run!

Ok, good. What about slithering on the floor like a snake? Could it sense you then?

Oh no. She's getting there. She's very nearly past--Participants on the run!--oh good.

What about jumping? Could you vault over it?

Participants on the run!

Check. What about slowly? Can you inch your way up to it, all sloth-like?

Ok, so far so she's making it...but you'd have to really commit to a sloooow pace and let's be serious, they're 14 and there is no way they'd have this much patience--Participants on the run!

Excellent. What if you plaster yourself against the wall and sneak by that way?

Participants on the run!

Sweet, that doesn't work either. What about...

This continued for the better part of an hour. The good news? NOBODY WAS GETTING PAST US. Anyone wanting to get by our security would have to be so sneaky that in the end, we figured they deserved it.

It was a busy month.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Clearly she's never heard of Sir Mix-a-Lot.

I’ve been holding back on this topic for a while, since it was born in my classroom. But now it’s summer vacation

I will preface all of this by saying that I adore my students. I find them funny and interesting and oddly charming. I have an awesome job, 97% of the time. That being said, I pretty much found myself with a pack of Mean Girls. Each and every one of my students this year had a strong, dominant personality. It makes for a colorful class, but there were a lot of girls fighting to be Regina George.

Some weeks ago, I was going through their writing notebooks. My students have two notebooks—one for directed writing and the other for free writing. I don’t go through the latter all the time, just flip through it from time to time. As I pulled out M’s notebook, a sheet of paper fell from it. It looked well worn.

Two things struck me as I skimmed over the words. One, this paper was a conversation between two people using two different colored pens with very different handwriting. (This was troubling, not only because this writing time is a strictly independent work time, meaning no freaking conversations of any kind, but also because my students didn’t figure out to at least use the same color pen! At least TRY to be sneaky, girls!!) Two, this conversation was about me!


M and her partner in crime, S, had a lot to say about me. I’ll give you the summary: M doesn’t like me, which S assumes is because I’m mean. M informs her that no, it’s because I’m fat. S, bless her, thinks I’m skinny! Oh no, M insists. “Look at her butt no boy will love her that’s why she’s not married.”


WHAT? I’m single because of my big butt?? Thank goodness M was around to let me know! Here I’ve been walking around, huge ass and all, asking the heavens WHY ME? But now I know!

I’ll have you know, M, that my butt has nothing to do with it! This ass has been complimented by many a sketchy, intoxicated gentleman in the past! I’m single because I’m judgemental and emotionally closed off! My myriad personality flaws are to blame, not my ass. HAHA, M, the joke is on you!

Sigh.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Because a catchy song isn't enough anymore?

While in line at Target today, I noticed that the Mentos package looked different. Not that I eat Mentos a lot. I guess we went through a lot of them when the Foo Fighters did that parody video? Anyway, I examined the new packaging for mint Mentos. And what did I see? A red heart and the words, "Kiss Me."

SERIOUSLY? Are you kidding me, Mentos?? What are you now, the candy for couples? Kissing mints? Explain yourself here. Am I not allowed to eat Mentos unless I'm planning on doing some kissing? Or is it strictly the mint kind? Am I still allowed to get the fruit flavored ones? Joke's on you, Mentos--I always liked those better! What if I was enjoying the strawberry flavored ones and decided that kissing was on the agenda--will those do in a pinch? Or are you advising against mixing kissing with non-mint Mentos?

I'm just looking for clarity here. Jerks.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Lazy dating.

Dating has become a lazy endeavor.

Seriously, consider how it's done today. The whole ordeal can be arranged largely in our sweats, in front of a computer. It is not uncommon for relationships to blossom after a casual, unspecific routine of hanging out. It has become acceptable to shoot someone a text or facebook message. This is followed by meeting up somewhere, sometimes with other people.
I'm not saying the old school system of chaperones and calling on a girl should be brought back, but at least then you knew who was truly into you. A guy had to make an effort! He had to come and visit you and speak to the appropriate people. He had to choose a time and location for a date, then come and pick you up. There was none of this "hanging out" nonsense.

And as if this all wasn't lazy enough, someone out there is catering to and encouraging further apathetic dating habits. During some recent research, I stumbled across a shameful website called "Text My GF." I just HAD to check it out. I now wish I hadn't. According to the common douchebags who run this site, women judge the quality of their relationships on how many text messages they receive from their boyfriends. This is simply too much work for the average man! Who has the kind of time and energy required to maintain a relationship??
If you're nodding in agreement, fear not. For a monthly subscription fee, you can have a third party send trivial, saccharine text messages to your girlfriend! Don't worry, they'll all look like they come from your phone, and you can schedule the times and how often. But after you fix your settings, you don't have to worry about silly things like feelings and what to say to your girlfriend. And for the gentleman courting several ladies? Well, just set up another account! Easy!

Seriously? This is what dating has come to? Why not just hire someone to hang out with your girlfriend, too? Think how much time you'd save there! Come on, America (this service is unavailable outside the US)--is this something we're comfortable with?

Let's bring our standards back up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sentimental Drivel

An Open Letter to Recent College Grads, on the Occasion of my 5 Year Reunion:

I understand. I watch you standing uncomfortably in your cap and gown, unsure of the outfit and all that it means. I see the frenzied packing, having a million things you'd rather do instead of cram four years into boxes and suitcases. You're excitedly introducing your parents to a favorite professor, showing them all the places you had classes, met friends, found your way. And I remember it fondly. It was five years ago--long enough to merit a bit of nostalgia, but not so long that I've forgotten it all.
And then. The end. It's all different on Sunday afternoon, after you've flipped that tassel to the left. As I walk around my beloved campus, I witness countless goodbyes. They run the gamut--some are loud, laughing, spinning hugs full of excitement and proclamations about visiting. Others are still, quiet, tearful. They all break my heart because I understand. None of this will help, but trust me--I get it. I was you, remember? And I know you're sad for so many reasons--your whole life is changing. You're leaving this life you've created, only to create a new one. Scary. But you'll do it. You'll do it well, too. Because even though it's terrifying, that's the best part. I was scared shitless because I didn't even know where to start on that new journey.
I remember feeling like I was parceling out my heart, leaving a bit of it with each goodbye. My college friends were my family--the family I chose, who could easily (and probably should have) left me at any time. But they stayed. So to leave them, knowing that tomorrow they would be across the country and not across the hall? Was not ok.
But here's the dirty little secret, the part no one tells you: it's not over. No, you won't have dinner together every night and Sunday brunch. But you'll see each other. You'll travel. You'll meet up. You'll find the time. And if you're lucky, like me, every time you're together it'll feel like no time has passed. You'll pick right up where you left off. You'll remember what each other orders to eat, make fun of the same things, and go home with a plastic Spongebob Squarepants in your luggage.
You won't believe me now, because you're a Graduate now and you don't need the wisdom of an alum--and it all sounds crazy anyway. But trust me on this--the world is not ending.**

It's just starting.



**It's not ending because you graduated, anyway. It's ending because of the Rapture, but that would have happened no matter what. You shouldn't be blamed for that one, guys.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Clarity.

I just read an article about the top baby names for 2010. Are you ready? Jacob and Isabella. Now, in case you don't know any preteens and never read People Magazine, it would seem that Twilight fans are having a lot of babies.

But this leaves me perplexed. I was under the impression that more people were on Team Edward than Team Jacob. (I won't lie to you, I'm Team Edward all the way. But that's partially because I think both of them would be pretty terrible boyfriends. My recent viewing of a few episodes of True Blood has led me to the opinion that any vampire, really, would be a terrible boyfriend. Hey, stop getting off track. I'm just saying, it's Pattinson over Lautner.)

If you trust Google (and I do) then Team Edward is more popular, with nearly twice as many results showing up than when you search for Team Jacob. I'm not planning on doing any more research into the popularity of Edward vs. Jacob, so we're trusting this data.

So. Edward is more popular and dreamy. Then why is Jacob a popular baby name? Why didn't Edward take the top spot?

I'm reminded of one of my standby arguments about men--they fall into two categories. Han Solo and Luke Skywalker. Han Solo is maybe not the best choice you could make, on the surface. He's a little too full of himself and definitely wouldn't call you when he promised he would. He likely won't notice your haircut and probably doesn't want to have dinner with your friends. But dammit if he doesn't somehow charm you with that smirk and make you consider all the bad choices you could make together. Now Luke Skywalker...he doesn't exactly make you consider bad choices. Luke does call when he says he will, he is totally down with escorting you to that family reunion where he'll sit with your aunts and charm them. He's devoted and loyal and, just like Han, charming, but in a very different way.

Not to make anyone cringe too much, but Edward and Jacob are a bit like this, in their own way.** Edward is moody and possessive, sulky and prone to temper tantrums. But he's got that sexy vampire staring thing going on and then you're all sucked up in Bad Decisions. Jacob is the nice guy and reliable and your parents would like him so much more and he also has non-human issues but whatever.

So back to baby stuff. (Sentences I never thought I'd construct.) Edward isn't a top baby name of the past year. (Or probably the past few decades? You think?) I can only think of one explanation--demographics. The baby-having group of Twilight fans must fall more into Team Jacob territory than Team Edward. I mean, think about it! If you're having a baby, you're (probably) more stable, settled. You're looking for Good Choices! You're looking for Dependable Jacob.

And then you're going to name your baby.
So, readers...do you prefer Han or Luke? Edward or Jacob?



**It should be noted that Han Solo and even Luke Skywalker will always be 100% more awesome than Edward and Jacob. Don't even worry about it.

Friday, April 29, 2011

They can't all be charming...

Lately I've been learning more about body language, in the hopes that knowing how to send closed off signals will cut down on the amount of time I spend ignoring men talking at me. It's been quite interesting, although I think being aware of my own body language has led to me hiding it a bit more. (Not a terrible side effect, when I think about it.)

Last week, I stole away from my real life and spent the week in Denver with a good friend. M and I went to a brewery for a tour, which I totally recommend. (Boulder Brewery, look it up.) Post-tour, guests are seated at a table with pitchers of beer--it's a family style beer tasting. The three of us--M, A (another Colorado friend) and myself--were chatting with those around us, until A took a phone call. When he vacated his seat, the man at the far end decided to shake things up.

"Is anyone sitting here?"
"Um...yeah. My friend? Who just got up? 15 seconds ago?"
"Oh, ok." He pushed my friend's glass aside and sat down. Oh. O...k...
I'm introduced to Craig. Craig compliments my Boston Red Sox t-shirt (who can blame him there?) and tells me he's from Massachusetts. After no more than 45 seconds of benign conversation, I decide that's plenty long enough to be trapped and I turn my body away, towards M. As Craig continues to not get the hint, my body turns more and more, fully facing away from him. A comes back and Craig hands him his glass.
Craig keeps trying. He eavesdrops and throws comments in whenever he can. "What?? Amanda's never been ice skating? How is that possible? Come on, Amanda!" He is loud and uses my name so much I tire of the sound. I stop any contact with Craig other than throwing a "Stay out of this!" his way.
Every single aspect of my body language is saying, "Stop talking to me. I am uninterested." But Craig doesn't get that. My head, arms, torso, and legs are firmly pointed away from him. I don't even turn my head to ask him to stay out of our conversation. There is no eye contact AT ALL. Craig, evidently, likes a challenging woman. (This is why Craig likely has terrible luck with women. )

Craig, I promise you I was not playing hard to get. Ignoring you was NOT code for "please try harder." Men, if you read this and thought, "Well, she should have given Craig a chance!" then you also suck at reading body language and would do well with a quick google search.


**the more you know**

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Movie Review: Sanctum (Spoiler Alert!)

Last night, I sat through the movie Sanctum with some friends. Hmm. This oddly paced, James Cameron-produced movie would be more appropriate if it carried the title Sanctum: Or, John Garvin and Andrew Wight Hate Women.
Wight and Garvin, responsible for the choppy screenplay, must have been seriously burned by women in their lives. Probably women who considered diving a hobby. I mean, that's the only excuse for their treatment of women in this movie.
There are three women in Sanctum. Three. Alright, fine. Maybe there really weren't a lot of women present at the cave dive that inspired this movie. I'm comfortable with that. But really..it's the way these women progress throughout the movie that bothers me. (Here's the whole spoiler alert part, in case you're planning on seeing it.)


This movie is not a feel-good movie. Just about everybody dies. (Not terribly surprising, considering how most "based on a true story" movies go.) It's an unexplored cave dive gone wrong. There are bound to be casualties. The men who die go in a heroic way, or a manner they deserve. (Less than heroic.) The women?
Let's start with the woman who dies during a dive because "her heart wasn't in it." That's what they say. They lament her death with, "her heart wasn't in the dive." At least her body is brought back to the base. And then there were two. The next one to die goes in such a casual manner that I can't recall any single detail concerning her death. (This speaks volumes, considering this made for 3D movie relies heavily on gory and somewhat disturbing images.) I've got nothing. She's a bit like a glorified extra. One minute she's there, on the dive team, and the next...down to one lady.
This last one...oh man. She spends the movie flirting, playing by her own rules, screwing up, and throwing temper tantrums. (Lovely.) She's a tag-along girlfriend thrown into the crisis. An unexperienced diver, she first screams about refusing to wear a dead girl's wetsuit, then bitches about wishing she had a wetsuit. (In her near-hypothermic state, they strip her down to her underwear and cuddle her for warmth. But she's hot, so nobody minds.) Some stressful scenes later, she doesn't listen to timely advice and dies because she gets her hair stuck in a carabiner and pretty much scalps herself. ...What? As a friend put it, she might as well have died because of her menstrual cycle. (Not to mention, the scene was hugely traumatic for anyone with long hair.)

Thanks, Sanctum. What a special movie-watching experience. You may have just inspired this girl to write a screenplay! Now, off to recall the potentially dangerous hobbies of my exes...

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A word on douchebags.

Let's talk about douchebags.

I am, as you might imagine, not in favor of douchebags. However, there are varying levels of douche. If one must spend time in their company, I recommend The Harmless Douchebag. These are the charming sort. You see right through them; you're not under any illusions but they are generally cute and fun to flirt with in social settings. They're not getting anywhere with you, but they either haven't noticed that or don't care.

The Malicious Douchebag is to be avoided at all costs. These are the sorts of men (and women, I suppose, although I find there is a whole separate hierarchy in the female realm) are the ones who do things that are intentionally mean-spirited and pretty much terrible. These are the men who break up with you at your grandmother's funeral; bring a date to your birthday party even though you were under the impression he was dating you. Steer clear of this breed.

This brings me to The Common Douchebag. There is nothing remarkable about this sort of man. They will wreak havoc on your life, but not really in any truly awful ways. The Common Douchebag is, at best, an annoyance to be dealt with.

This week, I have found myself dealing with the remnants of when a particular man was more or less in my life. Until now, I was unaware of the label he deserved. I had suspicions, but my knowledge of this manchild was not comprehensive enough to accurately judge. He was someone I spent a bit of time with many months ago, who has occasionally popped up in my life. It serves as a constant reminder of what a weird situation we were in. Because he pops up in the conversations of others, in my inbox, at my table during dinner out, it has been rather difficult to delete him from memory--valuable brain space as I age. He never remains in my space for long, just long enough to muck things up a bit.
Several encounters in the past week have left me wondering what the hell? But no more. Ohh, no longer, dear readers.

Please use the following as a cautionary tale.

I said it was a weird situation, right? A big part of the weird is that this guy knows my father. Like, they see each other with a disconcerting regularity. However, I have kept my father in the dark on any and all details--a wise move, whether you know my father or not. Today I learned that Dad decided to get involved.

"I asked him why he never called you." Oh sweet Jesus. "He said, 'Well she can call me.' And I told him that attitude wouldn't get him very far with women." Dad's got the right idea. "But he said "it's a new era" and told me his girlfriend calls him and comes to his place all the time."

Well. I think that's all I need to know. You? That's what I thought. This attitude renders him a Common Douchebag--generally clueless and unthinking. Not worth putting on eyeliner and changing out of your pajamas. The Common Douchebag considers himself Quite a Catch and thus doesn't put forth much effort. This automatically drops them several points on the attractive scale. For the sake of having an example, let's say some guy is a 6. A 6 who doesn't call women and says they can call him? Well, he's a 3 now. To call feminism into it and suggest that because women are allowed to vote and wear pants they should also be the pursuer in a relationship? That dude is now a 1. And I think it goes without saying that having that whole conversation with a woman's father? Yeah.

Kanye may be toasting all the douchebags, but I'm not encouraging any of this behavior. It's time for guys to act like Men.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Douchebags like needlepoint now?

Found myself in Jo-Ann Fabric this week, working on a project for work. As I wandered around, I noticed this book.
Now...I'm all for people winding down with a little embroidery project now and again. Whatever makes you happy. But...I can't help but wonder if Ed Hardy really needed to make this happen. Here, I made you a little graph to match my thoughts.


I don't know...maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the kids on Jersey Shore would like a decorative throw pillow or wall hanging but Ed Hardy does not yet make those. Maybe this is the perfect solution for them! What do you think?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter is not for dating.

Gentlemen, if you're going to pop into my life and make a bit of a mess before popping back out, could you at least stay out?

Last winter, I told you about an attempted set-up. (If you're not familiar, it will help the story to read how that ridiculous situation went down.) Needless to say, I'm fairly convinced that this man will not be the great love of my life. I haven't given him any thought since then. It was not the sort of relationship one pays much attention.

Well. A mutual friend found herself in his mother's company last week--and apparently, there was nothing better to talk about. His mother said it was a pity we never got together. She said he's shy. (I've heard that before.) She said he tried to contact me and that he still doesn't have anyone in his life!
Until this guy learns how to actually contact a woman, HE WILL CONTINUE THIS STREAK. Adding a woman as your facebook friend is not, I repeat NOT an appropriate method of contacting a lady you might date. Sure, it's a start. But there has to be more to it!

And so, on my Valentine-eve rant, I ask you, readers. If facebook is your way of initiating contact, what's acceptable? He friended me--does that mean he's off the hook? Is it up to me to send some sort of message? Or, can I compare it to a phone call? He dialed and I answered--but shouldn't he start the conversation, rather than breathing into the phone like a stalker waiting for me to choose a topic?

What do you think?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super Bowl Sunday!

Yeah right, like I would blog about football. Please.



Just when you thought I blogged too much about Justin Bieber here we are again. Is it embarrassing that I borrowed his autobiography from the library? Maybe. But you know what is even more embarrassing?

Based on his book, he knows more about women than many of the men I know. (Stop rolling your eyes. Also, if you're one of the men I know and you're concerned that I mean you...well, I probably do. The truth hurts.) In Justin's books, he throws the following thought at his readers:

"A certain amount of success with the opposite sex comes down to the simple concept: don't be a jerk."

Seriously. It's so basic! He is 16 (I had to google that, not that anybody will believe me.) and he gets it. So don't be ashamed...just take his advice. You don't ever have to tell anyone where you picked it up. This will be our little secret. You're welcome.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Really Terrible Choices.

During recent research for a blog post, I found myself with the usual Google dilemma--lots of sites with all the keywords I was looking for, but in an order that was the opposite of what I wanted. As I scrolled through search results, I noticed a disturbing trend.

So naturally I need to tell you all about it.

There are a ridiculous amount of articles and websites encouraging, stressing the importance of, and advising people on getting back with an ex. As in, "Here Are 12 Ways to Weasel Yourself Back Into His Life After He Dumps You!" type stuff. Advice on how to act and what to say when you're dumped so you can angle your way back into his life. (Or her life. Although I will note that these things are more geared towards women being dumped by men.) This...is not really ok, as far as I'm concerned. I am forever telling people that being with someone who doesn't want to be with you? Is absurd. You deserve better!

But the internet seems to be really in favor of "you deserve to wear him down and settle."

So what do you think, Internet Friends? What are your thoughts on getting back together with an ex?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Blind Non-Date

I didn't want to blog about this until I knew what to say. And now...I know.

Last month, my sister called me to say she had a present for me! (Yay!) A seven digit present. (Yay? Keeping an open mind, though.) D is someone she knows through work (thus confirming he is not creepy), tall and cute, and employed. These are all qualities I like in a man, so I kept listening. (Despite the hangover I had during this phone call.) Sister told me to call him.

Skeptical. I would much rather be the one answering the phone rather than dialing, which I realize is not very progressive of me but I don't care. So I didn't call. The timeline of the following days was Hangover, Skeptical, Doubt, and finally Guilt. I hate when people say they'll call...and don't. So, I called. We chatted. He seemed interesting enough and was fairly charming. We were meeting for dinner the week before Christmas. (Not that I had any clue how I would find him...when I stalked him on facebook, his picture isn't of his face! It's called FACEbook, not BACK OF YOUR HEADbook.)

The day before our date, he called. Apologetically, he told me he'd gotten the new job he'd mentioned interviewing for during our previous phone call and would have to reschedule our date because of his new schedule. He'd call me.

I assumed he wouldn't call that week, because who wants to go on a blind date at Christmas? Then I figured he wouldn't call until after New Years, because who wants to go on a blind date in those days between Christmas and New Years?

So...that was three weeks ago. And...well, I'm just going to go ahead and assume he's not calling.

(I just remembered that I had this issue LAST Christmas. We've been down this road! Let's remember this in December, ok? I'm not taking this path again. )

Thursday, January 13, 2011

There's a longer story behind this.

Got a text message during work today, from my brother. He was alerting me that someone from Easy Rider had died. Since I had already gotten this message when Dennis Hopper passed away, I assumed it was Peter Fonda. Sad.

Shortly after, I received the following message, which will go down in history as one of the best ones my brother has ever sent me.

"Yeah so here's the deal. I thought I read Peter Fonda was found dead in a car. But he actually found a body in a car. Soooo, my bad."

There is no part of this message that is not wonderful and hilarious.

Happy weekend, kids!

Monday, January 10, 2011

An Open Letter...

To the House with Still-Lit Christmas Decorations,

I get it. You love Christmas. That became clear to me sometime around Thanksgiving when your lawn filled up with inflatables and seasonal lights. Who could blame you? I myself love the most wonderful time of the year. The drive past you as I leave work each night was a highlight for me.

But I would like to emphasize the use of past-tense in that last sentence. It was a highlight. I know what you must be thinking--that verb tense suggest that this experience is no longer a highlight! How can this be?

Because it's freaking January 10th! Christmas is over! If you're going to fly in the face of holiday decoration decency, you could at least stop turning the lights on! Stop inflating the giant waving Santa! And for heaven's sake let's lose the flashing LED CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN. It is grossly inaccurate to suggest that Christmas is "00 days 00 hours 00 minutes" away. Christmas is now, you're saying? Right now this minute? REALLY? Because by my count it is 348 days, 3 hours, and 34 minutes away. (And by "my count" I obviously mean http://www.xmasclock.com/ .)

If you're going to keep the holiday spirit going, at least restart that damn thing.
Thanks,
Amanda

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Not helping.

I recently found this article about a woman in Spain who faked her own kidnapping. I know what you must be thinking--why? Why on earth would someone fake their own kidnapping? That's just madness!

To see how her husband would react. She wanted to know just how far he'd go for her. No, seriously. Police followed her car and found her shopping while she was supposedly in captivity. Now, I hate to turn on my gender, but when it comes to perpetuating ridiculous stereotypes...the rules change.

Ladies, what's up with all the games? Is there some reason we (and I use the term loosely, because I am not comfortable being lumped in here) feel the need to constantly test our relationships? Granted, this is a rather extreme example. But this test is so common in lesser forms! You know that woman's husband went to the bar with his friends and used whatever the Spanish equivalent of "batshit crazy" is. Is that a phrase we want to keep hearing? I vote no. (Unless I'm saying it, anyway.)

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Wherefore...

So you may have heard that I am currently reading the Justin Bieber autobiography. (Borrowed from the public library; I did not spend money on this.) Why, you may ask?

Why not?

From the second I learned that Justin was writing his own life story, I was pretty much compelled to read it. I mean, come on. There's no way this would NOT be an entertaining read. Who cares if any library employee will be able to learn that I checked this out? (Hmm...I might...) A library friend said it read like a really long tweet--and after the first 60 pages, I see exactly what she meant. There is no. way. that Justin had a ghostwriter for this--because if he did, he hired another teenage boy to do it. It reads exactly the way you'd expect Bieber to talk. Oh, and there are 400,000 pictures!

When I hit page 44, I decided that having this on my library record is totally worth it. Reaching a section entitled, "Star-Crossed Lovers," Justin tells us he was two years old in 1996 (and then I remembered how old I am) when The Cardigans released the song "Lovefool." Putting together the section title and this song reference, I decide we are about to have a Shakespeare lesson from Professor Bieber.

I am not wrong. Are you ready, readers?

"It was featured in this crazy film adaptation of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which is also dope. Any guy can relate to Romeo, who's trying really hard to be cool in front of his crew, but he can't stop looking at all these beautiful girls all over Verona, and then he falls victim to one of the killer crushes of all time."
(--Justin Bieber)
And there you have it. What William Shakespeare took the entire first act to say, Justin Bieber has summed up in one run-on sentence. Welcome to the Twitter Generation, where there is no need for extraneous descriptors--140 characters and the thing cuts you off! Say what you need to say and get out.

This is not a book to be taken seriously. It is delightfully teenaged--fun, nonsensical, yet heavy with the weight of adolescent angst. Today it will be "the best book I have ever read ohhhemgee!" but in a few years, the audience will laugh the way I do when I remember I used to read Tiger Beat pretty religiously. But perhaps Bieber's legion of lady fans will decided that Romeo sounds like a pretty awesome guy and pick up the extended version.


PS: Not to be missed: Justin tackles the word "Zamboni" on page 10. And also...page 185. I'll let you discover that gem for yourselves! Just trust me.