Friday, May 27, 2011

Personal Plan of Actions and Milestones & LA! LA! LA!

     Today I started working on a personal plan of actions and milestones, also known as a POA&M.  POA&M (also written POAM when we're too lazy to add the ampersand) is pronounced po-am.  It's a fancy term for a list of shit that has to get done and dates you need them done by.
     I remember the first time someone explained to me what a POAM was.  A task was at hand; it was a fairly large task that needed to be broken down into parts.  I was told to write a POAM.

     "Do you know what a POAM is?"
     "A plan of actions and milestones."
     "You know what actions are, right?"
     "Yes, of course I know what actions are."
     "And you know what milestones are?"
     "A douchey word for goals."
     "So a plan of actions and milestones lays out all of your actions, or tasks, and your milestones, or goals, and assigns dates to them, so you can track your progress."
     "You mean it's a to-do list, with a douchey name."
     "A POAM is not douchey."

A POAM is actually quite douchey.   It's just a to-do list, usually with dates on it.  I suppose the dates are what pushes it over the edge from just a to-do list to a POAM.  There must be another term for it, but it has been so ingrained in me now I refer to a lot of my to-do lists this way.  I'm not saying it to be douchey though, I'm just saying it because now, it's what I'm most familiar with.  I want to make some changes in my life, I want to set up some goals and deadlines for myself, so I'm going to put them in a POAM.
     Also, as a side note, those who really take these things seriously will actually say P O A and M, every time they talk about it.  Recently I was assigned a very simple task and given a vague due date.  I was then told to come up with a "P. O. A. and M." for it.  The confused look on my face prompted the person making the request to assume I didn't know what a POAM was.  A similar conversation to the one above ensued, though if you can imagine it, it was even douchier.   It may have included the history of POAMs and graphical representation of milestones.  Rest assured, the confused look was because you don't need a POAM with two items on it.
     Anyway, that not withstanding, I am in the process of writing my own POAM for those aforementioned reasons of changing my life.  For me, a POAM will prevent chaos and stave off living in a box for a few months.  I appreciate that about them.  Plus, I'll probably get to make it into some sort of PowerPoint presentation with triangles and diamonds and stars and timelines.  That sounds awesome, doesn't it?  And by presentation I mean I'll hang it on my wall with tape.

      Part II:  Zero days to LA!  Woo!  I'm counting down the hours until I'm in the sky flying towards the land of angels.   LA! LA! LA!  I hope the Beach Boys were right with all the wonderful things they say about California.  (I've actually been to California before.  A decent amount.  I don't know why I'm acting as though I've never left this cubicle.)

     One more non sequitur:  since it's a holiday, there  will be no new Oliver on Monday, so there's something else I need to say before I go on vacation.  When you take charge of something, say, a group of people or a meeting, what are you doing?  Leading.  You are a leader.  Currently, you lead.  What if you did it yesterday?  What is the past tense of lead?  Led.  L-E-D.  Led.  Yesterday, you led the meeting.
     What is a main-group element with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82?  What is a soft, malleable poor metal?  Lead.  Lead, the element, and led, the action, are different.  If you have graduated high school and now hold a high-paying government position where you lead meetings and write emails about them, you should know the difference.  I have now lost all confidence in you over one small typo.  Powerful, huh?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Final Countdown

     One more day!  One more day!  The anticipation is killing me.  Well, it's not really killing me, that would be pretty gruesome.   But I am really excited about my trip to Los Angeles.  The City of Angeles.  Lotusville. 
     I leave the District Friday evening and arrive at LAX around midnight.  Going from east to west, the time change is in my favor.  Mary has promised to take me to the late night taco truck near her house upon arrival.  I'm so excited, I probably won't sleep on the plane.  This only seems remarkable if you're aware of my propensity for sleeping on planes.  And trains.  And buses.  Anything that moves, really. 
     We also have tickets to UCBLA, and there's a Memorial Day BBQ on Monday.  It's already one of the most perfect vacations ever.  I was told there was no sleeping allowed, but I bet that was wrong.  I bet there will be lots of sleeping.  In the streets.  In the perfectly tempered breezy sunlit streets. 
     If I don't make it back at my scheduled time, it's because LA won me over.  I don't actually anticipate this happening, but stranger things have happened.  I have a lot of friends who live there and there's also a chance they'll put chlorophyll on the pillow they let me borrow.  Then I won't be able to leave!  I'll have to get a job at the taco truck and sleep under Mary's bed without her noticing.  What an exciting adventure!
     The excitement of my impending weekend adventure is causing time to slow way the fuck down.  Thursday?  More like This-clock-better-get-a-move-on-day.  Or There's-my-life-creeping-by-me-day.  Or Thirsty-doesn't-begin-to-cover-it-day.  Sheesh.  Come on Thursday, we used to be so tight you and me, help a lady out. 
      I've already packed my suitcase duffel bag; it was an easy task- just a bathing suit and a pair of flip flops.  Oh, and sunglasses.  A four day wardrobe all in a 1 qt plastic baggie!  Security will be a breeze!

Countdown to LA: 1 day!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I Like This

This is great. These are the types of things that keep me going.

     Broad City makes me glad the internet exists. Some days I'm not too keen on it, but then awesome people put out awesome comedy and I'm over-the-moon for the internet again.
     I watch this. I like this. I love this. I want to do this.

Countdown to LA: 2 days!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday: Monday Part II

     Can you have a case of the Mondays on Tuesday?  Also, apparently it's "a case of the mundays."  I'm not sure how prevalent this spelling is, but I've seen it more than once and in unrelated things, so it must be a thing.  It's a mundane Monday, just like all Mondays, so it's the mundays.  Fine.  I can buy that.
     It seems as though the Mundays are leaking over onto Tuesdays.  If Tuesdays were sweeter, maybe we could call them Tweesdays.  Wouldn't that be fun?  In fact, if you're having a really sweet Tuesday full of singing birds, blooming flowers, rainbows, chocolates, bubble gum, and the type of perfection that kinda makes you a little sick, you should say you have a case of the Tweesdays.  I want to make that a thing. 
     Tootsdays.  That's it, it feels like a case of the tootsdays.  Leftover mundays give you a case of the tootsdays.  All the joy from the weekend has worn off- it seems so long ago.  You can hardly imagine what a weekend feels like, the next one is so far away.  Munday was so difficult to get through that you didn't properly prior plan, so your lunch is just plain and awful.  Half of a chicken breast and strawberry yogurt.  Ugh.  Why not really nail it home and make some dry toast to go with it?  The minutes drag on.  Tick tock.  Tiiiick ... tttttoooooock.  You spend the day tooting along, just waiting for Wednesday.  Wonderful Wednesdays.  When-will-this-day-end-days?  A case of the Whensdays.

Countdown to LA: 3 days!   

Monday, May 23, 2011

I Heart Weekends: A List

    Weekends are awesome.  A year ago, I didn't think so, but now I do.  In no particular order, a list of what makes my weekends awesome:
  • sleeping in
  • staying up late
  • reading
  • watching MegaMind again
  • watching Cheers
  • comedy shows
  • weird cab rides
  • beer
  • Improv showcase
  • naps
  • long showers
  • bacon
  • coffee
  • Reese's Pieces
  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Pizza
  • screening phone calls
  • calling my mom back, drunk
  • BluRay
  • watching Ricky Gervais HBO special
  • making new friends
  • opening windows
 Also, countdown to LA: 4 days. 

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture

     I don't actually believe it, but just in case it does happen, I've decided to bump it into low gear.  I've previously discussed how I put off things until tomorrow in case it never comes.  Now, there's apparently a slight possibility that can happen.  So, to save myself the effort, very little blogging, no laundry, and no grocery shopping.
     Basically, today's post is like a holiday post, but we might not come back from the holiday.  Well, I'll come back, because if anyone's going to get left behind, it'll be me, but you get the idea.  I'm looking at the Rapture like a vacation.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


     Onions have layers.  Therefor they are great for metaphors about people, love, and ogres.  They also mostly taste good.  They enhance food while that food is being eaten.  Hours later however, you wonder "Oh, god, why did I eat those onions?"
     I recently made a giant batch of my mother's recipe of tuna noodle salad.  It calls for green onions.  I chopped them up and threw them in.  The tuna noodle salad is great.  That is until I wake up the next morning trying to decipher what animal took a shit in my mouth.  The aftertaste, for crissakes.  Next time, fewer onions.
     Cutting onions doesn't make me cry.  Maybe I'm just really good at it, and always cut against the grain or however is the proper way to do it to prevent tears.  Or, as others have hypothesized, maybe I have no soul.  In college, I worked at a sandwich shop where we needed to cut up the onions as part of the prep.   My coworkers always left this job for me.  We had to shop a lot of onions; they hated doing it and I didn't mind.  I would pull out the giant onion slicer and have at it, chopping about twenty pounds of onions at a time.  Often, because it would be slow so I would be alone, I would chop the onions between customers.  A customer would walk in and upon the chime of the door, I would walk to the front counter to serve them.  Then they would start crying.
      I'm not kidding, within 10 seconds of entering the shop they would tear up and start sniffling.  They would look around like a lost child and then see me standing there, patiently waiting to help them.  "What's going on?" they would ask.  "Are you chopping onions?"  I would confirm I was- a whole giant pile of them.  "Why aren't you crying?  This is killing me?"  Eh, it just doesn't bother me.  I don't know why.  "You have no soul.  This is awful.  You must be the devil."
     "So, white or wheat bread?"
     Another odd tidbit about onions is that my grandfather used to love them and he ate them like apples.  I do not recommend this.  It's gross and will make you smell bad, apparently until the day you die.  He practically didn't have to be embalmed. 
     Onions are complicated.  They're a delicious-when-enjoyed-sparingly vegetable, a beautiful metaphor, and also, America's Finest News Source

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Phones and Sequels

     I do not like talking on the phone.  If I were a psychiatrist I would link it back to my childhood.  My father was relentless about the phone.  To him, there was no reason to be on the phone for longer than 10 minutes, for any reason.  This was a hard and fast rule.  We had a timer.  We didn't have a cordless either, so he would sit in the chair next to the phone watching you while you talked.  If you said a word he thought inappropriate for a phone call, you got cut off.  Laughter?  No, not acceptable.  He had no qualms about hanging up the phone for you.
     The hardest part for me is actually hanging up the phone.  That's where I become most awkward.  Maybe I need my dad around to rip the phone out of my hand and slam it down.  That always ended the conversation.
     Also, there are a lot of sequels.  

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What I Really Hate About the Rain.

     The Umbrellas. 
     Generally, I think they're more trouble than they're worth.  And I think they are worth very little.  People often fail to account for the circumference added by the umbrella.  They think they can still walk side by side down the sidewalk.  They cannot.  I have oft been smacked in the face by an umbrella when a stranger does not do a courtesy see-if-anyone-is-right-next-to-me-glance before they whip open their umbrella.  They still push through crowds.  They don't realize that if each person has an umbrella, fewer people can take up the same amount of space.  Most of them behave like they're the only ones on the street; like they're Gene Kelly and we've all paid a quarter to see the show. 
     I also find the umbrella to be generally demoralizing.  There is a very specific type of rain in which an umbrella is useful- a steady drizzle with no wind.  In a really light drizzle, it's just more trouble than it's worth.  You're using up an entire hand to carry this thing just over your head, throwing off your balance.  You've given yourself a handicap, and for what?  Do you think you're special?  You can't get a drop of water you?  Are you a painting?  Or made of suede?  Save face and leave the umbrella at the door.  In a downpour, you're going to get soaked regardless.  The umbrella is futile.  It makes you look really really sad.  You stand in the rain, using the umbrella as a shield, until the wind changes direction and flips the umbrella inside out.  It wasn't doing that great of a job anyway, since the rain was probably falling sideways and you were probably splashed by a few cars on the way. 
     Umbrellas break.  A lot.  I see them on the streets all the time and it upsets me.  I suppose I can imagine it- a person walking along, fighting the elements, but the elements are just too much.  The rain hits the delicate frame of the umbrella too hard, the wind shifts, and the next thing you know your umbrella is in pieces.  It's completely worthless now.  The best thing to do is just drop it where you're standing and move on.  Who cares it there's a trash can 10 feet away.  The umbrella isn't good enough for the trash, it belongs in the street. 
     Also, storing them is kind of a pain.  When I was a kid my mother insisted we put our wet umbrellas in the bath tub.  This is fine until it rains for several days straight and we want to take baths.  When it wasn't raining they were fine hanging in the closet.  Some fancy homes have those umbrella holders.  Fine.  I guess I don't have a comment on that.  But then you take your umbrella from home to where you're going and then what?  I lost three umbrellas in as many days during our last string of storms because I kept leaving them places.  I put one in a restaurant's umbrella stand, never to see it again. 
     The only reason I carry an umbrella now is to avoid people asking me where I put my umbrella.  I put it up your ass, how about that?  I'd rather just put my hood up and give in to the rest of me getting as wet as I would have even with the umbrella but without the hand cramps.   I've never not gotten wet because I was carrying an umbrella.  If anything, it has created more unpleasant moments of wetness when I have to move my umbrella out of the way of a passer-by and get a stream of water down my sleeve or my back.  Or that moment when you're not quite sure if it's stopped raining so you move your umbrella out of the way to see and it hasn't quite.  So you move it back and the edges drop on your head.  Unpleasant.  Or unpleasantness in general when I open it inside and get screamed at by loony superstitious types.  Take it down a notch.  If I have to walk outside before I can open the umbrella, I'm going to get rained out, defeating the purpose of the umbrella. 
     Ugh.  Umbrellas just aren't worth it. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

When I'm Not Exaggerating

     I enjoy a good hyperbole.  I even appreciate when it goes awry.  Sometimes I hear myself going way too far and I attempt to undershoot it and it ends up not being hyperbole at all.  For example, if it's particularly hot in a room, I'll start to say that it's 86million degrees in there.  As I'm saying it, I decide that 86million just sounds too over the top. 
   "Man, it's like 86 degrees in there!"
   "Oh, is it?  That seems about right.  I have a fan going."
Hyperbole fail.  There's an appropriate over/under to consider when using hyperbole, and a 5 to 10 degree difference is not it!
     On the other end, however, is when I'm very much not using hyperbole.  I am not exaggerating, yet people still assume I am.
    "What did you do this weekend?"
    "Not much.  I stayed in on Saturday."
They think I mean I just didn't go to a party, or that I spent a quiet evening in with pizza and a movie.  No.  I do not mean this.  What I mean is that I spent Saturday assing around.  I ate one meal that consisted of Cheerios and I snacked on Reese's Pieces.  I didn't walk any farther than to my bathroom.  I stayed in my pajamas all day.  I did not shower.  That is what I mean by not doing much and staying in.
     It was about 77 degrees in my room and I did have a fan going.  There was really no need for hyperbole. 

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Dear John Letter to My City

Dear Washington, DC., 

     This is not easy for me to write, and believe me, I am not taking this lightly.  It just doesn't seem to be working out.  It's not you, it's me.  Well, I guess it's a little bit you, but really, I'm willing to take a decent amount of the blame.
     The difficult part, really, is that now we have to enter the part of our relationship where we pretend to make it work.  We know it's not going to work out, but we pretend for the kids, or in this case, because there is a legally binding lease preventing me from packing up all my shit an leaving you in my rear view mirror.  We're like those divorced couples who have to live together because the recession has affected absolutely everything.  I can't afford to live without you and you don't mind me being around so much because at least I don't litter and I pay my taxes.  At a minimum, I help you appear to be more gentrified.  Sure, you may be slowly draining any soul or sense of self I once had, but at least I've already mastered your public transit system.
     You may feel a little blind-sided by this.  I understand that.  You did your best.  You provided free museums and reasonably priced sushi, both within walking distance.    How were you to know that I would prefer the rat-infested urine-soaked train lines of Boston and New Your City?  Sometimes, District, I find your silence deafening.  Also, this may seem trite, but I have had it with your escalator issues.  You spend more time fixing them than you do keeping them operational.  Why do you even have them?  At this point, I think it would be more economical and less frustrating to replace them with stairs.  Except for the ones at Dupont Circle, because people aren't meant to climb up 10 flights of stairs.  I guess I'm just saying that rather than spending all your time, money, and effort fixing the 1952 clunker, why not just replace it with a shiny 2011 model?  
     Also, District, your police cars.  At the risk of sounding like a stand-up comic, what is the deal with your police cars?  First, they always have at least one light illuminated, usually blinking.  For the first two weeks of our courtship, I thought I was constantly being pulled over.  I eventually just gave up driving rather than trying to decipher their light codes.  And the siren.  It's the worst.  Of all the sirens I've heard before, and I've heard a lot (don't give me that, you know I've been to other towns), yours is the worst.  How to describe it?  Bwap.  Bwap.  Pause.  Bwap. Bwap.  It's like a high pitched ape mating call.  
     If it helps at all, our friends are on your side.  They have gone so far as to calling me a dummy straight to my face.  "What's not to love?" they ask.  I try to explain that your relationship with them and your relationship with me are just different.  They don't see the things I see.  They find your traffic circles quaint and your diagonal state-named roads running through your supposed grid layout to be "easy to follow" and "not fucking ridiculous."  Having four separate M streets is fun for them.  So no worries there, DC, you still get to hang out with our friends.  This is another example of where I actually do believe it's not you, it's me.  We just don't fit well together.  
     There isn't anything you need to do.  I'm confident you'll find another girl who actually enjoys being overrun by douchebags and humorless sycophants.  We gave it a try, but when you get right down to it, I'm just not for you.  I hope you can understand.  
     The hardest part of this breakup is, as I previously mentioned, I'm not actually leaving.  I'm going to continue to go through the motions, but I felt as though you should know, when you look into my eyes, a dead soul will be staring back at you.  We'll keep up appearances and I will continue to tell acquaintances that you're lovely.  Your weather is mild and your culture is varied and approachable.  I promise to not speak ill of you; again, I know you gave it your best shot.
     I hope we can still be friends, and I would very much like to visit and still use your Metro system.  Even though I think it's generally terrible, it is better than being shot while walking through the hill.  I apologize.  My impropriety has led me down a dark path.  I know you're trying to clean yourself up.  
     So, if it's ok by you, I'm going to stick around for a little while longer.  I plan to ride your Metro and maybe visit a museum and enjoy your sushi, but my heart won't be in it.  Please don't expect too much from me.  This is now strictly for appearances until the economy turns around or I find something better. 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Oh, It's Just the Pursuit?

     Often we as a people walk around claiming we have the right to be happy.  It's become the basis of so many of our decisions- what will make us happy.  If we're a few years into a decision and we decide we're not happy, we believe we should change that, because we deserve to be happy.  We have the right to be happy.
     And then we remember it's not happiness we have an unalienable right to, it's the pursuit of it.  We have the right to chase after our tails until the day we die, but we do not have the right to ever catch it.

     Oh.  Fuck it then.

     Also, while I'm thinking of it, people seem to think they have the right to many more things than they really do.  I think people confuse rights with kindness, desires, or wanting-to-not-feel-icky.  Example: in college, a classmate made the argument that everyone has the right to not get their feelings hurt.  Not true.  That has nothing to do with rights.  You might not like to have your feelings hurt, and it might be a more wonderful place if people didn't get their feelings hurt, but it is not an inalienable right.

     Whenever I hear a sentence that begins with "I have the right to..." I remain cautious.  I generally respond with a little mouse noise and "Do you?  Really?"

      "I have the right to life!"  Yes, you do.

      "I have the right to liberty!"  Yes.  Absolutely.

      "I have the right to pursue happiness."  Agree.

      "I have the right to never be criticized for anything I do."  Ehhhh.  Do you?  Really?

        No.  The answer is no, you don't have the right to do anything you want.  You don't have the right to be a singer.  You want to do it, and you think you have the right because you think it'll make you happy and you think happiness is a right.  It's not, bitch, it's the pursuit of it.  So what you have a right to do is schlep along like the rest of us, grasping at the ever elusive goal  that might, but probably won't, make you happy.    

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Facts of Life: A Review

     You take the good, the take the bad ... you take some pretty heavy 80's values and a few laugh tracks, and there you have The Facts of Life.
     It doesn't completely hold up, but on the other hand, I think it was breaking some ground.  Did you remember that the first season had more than just Natalie, Blaire, Tootie, and Jo?  And in fact Jo wasn't even in the first season.  And the theme song was a little different.
     It was a good show; I think its weakness can be attributed to the fact it had to stick within the genre of an 80s sitcom.  You know, at the end of the episode the characters can't really change and all the problems have to wrap up in 22 minutes.   But they actually conquered some pretty great topics and attempted to honor the idea of girls becoming women and how it takes all kinds.
     Also, remember when they called it dope?
MiniEpisode - Dope
The Facts of Life will always hold a special place in my heart.  I remember more as a piece of nostalgia than anything else.  It was on for 8 seasons, and whereas that might not seem like a lot when compared to The Simpsons or Friends, when you consider the fact the 8 seasons takes kids from 12 to 20, they indeed cover many life-facts.  

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Indignity of Slang

     I am not hip.  I do not keep up with young-people's speak or trends.  By the time things work their way down to me, they're usually on their way out.  Sometimes I say "totes," and that's about as hip as I can get.  Usually, I use it ironically anyway.  Or on accident when I'm typing.
     Years ago, I was initiated into a sub-culture where people very often used the word "jacked."  They used this to mean something was wrong.  Often, they said "jacked-up," to indicate it was messed up.  If you were fucked, you were jacked.  If your hat was on crooked, your hat was jacked.  If you accidentally wore a long sleeve T-shirt over your short sleeve T-shirt, you were jacked-up.  Your pants not inline with your shirt?  Jacked.  You enjoy mustard on your fries?  Jacked-up.  Basically, any detail slightly out of place or considered out of the norm was classified as jacked or jacked-up.  It was the only adjective we used.
     Shortly after this initiation someone from outside this sub-culture told me "I'm so jacked."  I was concerned.  Oh no, what could be wrong?  Apparently, this guy was excited, pumped up, generally enthusiastic about the events about to unfold.  I really didn't get it.  An argument ensued about the proper way to use the word jacked.
     I would later come to find out that jacked can be both good and bad, and there's really no way to know the difference.  You have to use context clues, or just know what the fuck that asshole is actually saying.  In a sentence such as "I am jacked" or "you are jacked" or even "Bill is so jacked," context clues don't help much.  According the the Urban Dictionary, jacked has five separate definitions.  To summarize: 1. robbery, theft, misuse, seizure, possession.  2.  very strong, huge muscles.  3. fucked up or messed up 4. To get robbed, mugged, rolled or beaten up by someone. 5. stoked or pumped or excited.  How was I to know?
     I had understood certain reappropriation of words to mean their opposite as a way to ... confuse parents, I guess.  I had Bad on vinyl, so yeah, I got that bad was good, as was wicked and a few others that have faded from memory.  Shortly after this whole jacked incident, I was faced with another slang indignity.

Oh man, Friday is sick.
It's sick, man.
Are you saying 'sick'?  Fri-day is ... sick?
Yeah, it's sick.
I don't know what that means.
Sick.  You know.  Like ill.
Ahh, that cleared it up.  Clearly, I was the moron.  Something was sick.  Should we help it?  Does it need a doctor?  Admitting I didn't know it cause Douchebag Max to call attention to my ignorance.  He actually called a small group of people over to stare at the unhip freak who didn't understand what sick was, and why the further explanation of ill didn't clear it all up.
     The impudence of being shamed into not knowing the many seemingly appropriate definitions of jacked as well as how all synonyms for illness mean great things has only increased my level of unhiptitude.  As does does using words like unhiptitude.

The thing about youth culture is I don't understand it.
     The indignity of slang is that it can mean anything at all, even the opposite of what you just said it meant, whenever you want it to mean that for no reason what so ever.  Come on slang, have some dignity.  Totes.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Bothered: A List.

     This is a tricky list, and in fact, I think two lists are necessary to fully contextualize is.  There are certain things I'm bothered by, and then other things that I just don't understand how others can be so bothered by.  The impetus of this dichotomy may be the same force behind the hypocritical list.   I'm not a doctor, and I'm not going to analyze it.  These things are in no particular order.  I'm just putting it out there.  

I really don’t get what is bothersome about:
I am really bothered by:
    The Bossypants cover.
    When Will Forte dresses up like Jenna Maroney on 30 Rock.
    Anything gay, including but not limited to marriage, adoption, and equal rights.
    Chaz Bono.
    Burial at Sea.
    Military code names. 
    National / State secrets.
    Most of the things my mother is bothered by.
    The prevalence of Chipotle.
    The way the seats are oriented on the Metro.
    Subpar sitcoms and their long seasons.
    My mother. 
    Broken escalators.
    TMZ, and any subsequent TMZ spin-offs.
    Claims the past was “better.”
    My creepy neighbor.  
    The prevalence of Potbelly Sandwiches.
    The 4th hour of the Today show.  
    Using “common usage” as an excuse for ignorance.  
    Talking about religion at work, specifically using the phrase “Christian name” when you mean proper- or full-name.

This isn't really an all inclusive list, and as I started making it I realized I am bothered by a lot more things than I'd like to admit.  I'd like to believe that they are just, reasonable things, but I'm sure I can find enough people  who are not bothered by them at all, and in fact, just the opposite.  The same goes for the things I'm not bothered by side of the list.  Some of these people may even be in my immediate family.  Also, I thought that side of the list would be longer.   

Friday, May 6, 2011

Coffee, Bagels, and Breakfast in General

     Remember the magical powers of coffee?  I do.  1.  I talk about it a lot.  2.  I really truly believe in it.  Recently the poor quality of the coffee at work has been getting to me.  The coffee in the office is shit.  I hate it.  I live one block from Starbucks.  I work 2 blocks from a different Starbucks.  I own an espresso machine, a French Press, two grinders, and a pour over cone.  When I'm at home, I have all the good coffee I want.  But since I can't take drinks on the Metro, I don't make coffee for the commute.
     I had not been making the stop on the way in because the atmosphere of the office is so tense that if I walk in with a Starbucks cup I'll get the judgey eyes from everyone, both for stopping for coffee when they provide it and for not getting to the office as early as possible.  However, this week, I just couldn't take it any more.  It seems like a pretty small thing to take a stand on, but it's not.  It's huge.  So I started just swinging in to get my coffee in the morning, enjoying a doppio over ice with a splash of cream.  The real Nancy emerges.
     Every Friday, Mary gets a bagel for breakfast.  I am incredibly jealous of Mary and her bagel days.  I've talked about it before, such as when I almost fell off the escalator.  Anyway, I bring this up, mainly because Mary told me too.  This is the result of another "hey, shout out an idea" request.  I was originally going to write about why I'm a terrible kid, but I didn't want to read all that terrible stuff about myself.
     Bagels are awesome and a great way to start the day.  Breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day, it's also the most awesome.  Breakfast foods kick ass.  Bagels!  Waffles!  Pancakes!  Eggs!  Ham!  Cereal!  Fruit!  Oatmeal!  Mimosa!  Potatoes!  You can eat breakfast foods at any time of the day and that time of the day will become better.  Breakfast is so good, another meal was made in order to incorporate breakfast foods into it.  Mmmm brunch.  I'd like to propose brinner as an option also.
     My sister still doesn't like breakfast.  I don't understand it.  I always assumed that was something people grew out of, like not liking vegetables or wearing tie-dye.  She's nearly 40 and still won't eat bacon.  BACON!  Come on! 
     Why would anyone eat anything other than breakfast foods? This isn't the clip I was looking for, but it's still pretty damn good. Leslie Knope and I have similar feelings about breakfast, and most foods in general.  Yay Coffee, Bagels, and Breakfast in General!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


     What's the moment when you realize you have adjusted your priorities?  Sometimes this type of thing just happens.  I realized mine had changed sometime between 6:30 this morning and about 10am.  I'm doing my best to not judge myself.
     This morning I woke up in my groggy state not quite sure when the last time I showered was.  And here's the gross part- I decided I didn't care enough to just remedy the situation that take a damn shower.  I figured improv, drinking, and sleep were more important; those three things had taken precedent in my decision making last night and I gave up the idea of showering in favor of them. 
     Then a few hours later the office manager commented on my hair.  She noticed I got it cut and yammered on about not pushing it behind my ear and if I let it fall forward I would look younger.  I said I didn't want to look younger, but she insisted and then came over to me and, well, touched my hair.  She commented that it was soft.  Yes, it is soft, it is also unwashed. 
     I think I have to quit my job now. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Heard the World Today

     Mornings are a very hectic time.  Sure, it's the start of a brand new day, but also, ugh, another day is starting.  There are an unlimited number of things I'd like to do in the morning, but a very finite amount of time in which to do them.  I stick to a routine and I can make it through relatively unscathed.  Somehow, someway, my routine was broken.
     I approached the Metro turn-style and stuck my hand in my pocket to get my SmarTrip card.  That's when I noticed it- I didn't have my phone/life-device.  My heart sank.  I took a step back and did one of those slow-motion semi-circle moves you see in movies.  I could picture it still sitting on my bed, right where I left it.  How, how could I let this happen?  My world started crumbling.  I had an umbrella in one hand and a coffee mug in the other and apparently in my third hand my SmarTrip card.  How had I not noticed the sounds of world before?  What had caused my absent-mindedness?
     I blamed the rain.  The rain was the problem because had I not been concentrating so much on remembering the umbrella, I would have had hand space for my life-device.  I looked behind me and then ahead again.  Do I go back?  How can I survive the day without it?  I forged on, deciding I should be brave this once.  Today I would be forced to listen to the world. 
     Without the pleasant distraction of music in my ear buds and all of the wonderful apps I use during the commute, it was the longest train ride I have ever experienced.  How do people do this?  You can hear other people talking, and the rustle of the papers, and the announcements are deafening.  Except on the morning Metro, you don't hear the people talking because people do not talk in the morning.  It's one of the weirdest phenomenons I have ever seen.  The train is packed with people, but nobody is making noise.  Apparently no two people know each other and clearly nobody wants to make new friends with the person next to them on the metro.
     I did the math (I did not do the math) and at least 85% of people on the Metro are reading something.  A lot of them are reading newspapers.  The really douchey ones read their paper folded length-wise.  I don't understand it, and I don't like it.  To me, they're trying to tell the rest of us they're better because they read the most efficient way possible whilst on the train.  It shouldn't bother me, but I look out for these people and in case I run into them later, I know to not befriend them.  Others are reading the free newspapers that are passed out all over the Metro system and will be carpeting every train in service by the end of the day.  A few read books, magazines, and kindles.  Those of us left not reading are surely being judged by the readers.  Without my ear buds in, I could hear the judgment.
     I made it through my morning commute, umbrella in one hand, coffee in the other, stomach on the ground, and a hole in my heart.  I'll make it through the rest of my day, and in the end I'm sure it'll be fine.  It hasn't killed me yet, but listening to the world has reminded me of why I generally choose not to do so.  I've scrapped my afternoon plans and will rush straight home on the seemingly longest train ride home ever. 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Yes, I Have a Process

     Every day I sit down and have a mini-freak out: oh god, I don't have anything to write about.  I search my brain and recount the events of the morning to try to pull from something, anything, that I can turn into a few paragraphs.  It's my process.  It's a pretty shitty process, actually.  It causes a lot of undue stress.
     Every Tuesday between 8 and about 10 I realize it's Tuesday and I think fuck, it's only Tuesday.  I used to really like Tuesdays.  In fact, I think I've mentioned it before, in my letter to Tuesday.   However, since then, it has left me cold.  Somehow, Monday has lasted so long that Tuesday is inconceivable to me.  How can only 24 hours have passed since I last sat at this very spot thinking about my case of the Mondays?  And why will I have to wait another full 24 hours until the juvenile-named hump day.
     Combining my every day process of a mini-freak out and the every Tuesday process of lamenting the day can make 8 - 10 on Tuesdays a particularly trying time.  I get stress induced nose acne and my ulcers kick up a full level of failure-fear mucus.  Failure-fear mucus is the particular brand of stomach mucus that sits in the pit of my stomach making me feel hungry and full at the same time.  It's caused when I start listing all of the ways I could potentially fail if I don't come up with something right now, at this very second.  The nose acne is just an added bonus. 
     Yes, this is part of my process.  I have grown to rely on this failure-fear mucus as an indicator to whether or not I'm doing this right.  Too much of it probably means I actually do need to eat something or maybe make the next pot of coffee decaf.  But not enough of it is also a sign that maybe I'm heading down the slippery slope of the passive observer.  The blank page might be intimidating, but a dead soul would be worse.  It's a harder position from which to recover.
     I do think everybody has their own process, and it can be kind of silly to drone on about mine when it won't help anyone else one bit.  But there is something about it that worries me.  I write a lot of notes.  Before I even put down the slug line at the top of a sketch I write out paragraphs and paragraphs or lists and lists of notes.  Some of them read like stream of conscious writing where I go from my commentary to character description to dialogue to alternate jokes with nothing more than periods between them.  I worry that if I get hit by a bus before the final product makes it to the world, people will find these notes and think "well, clearly she was nuts, so maybe this bus accident was a blessing." 

Monday, May 2, 2011

Win Win: A Review.

     Win Win is a terrific film.  The guy in front of me cried at the end.  It stars Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, and other people who are properly listed in IMDb if you click that first link.  It had the perfect combination of humor and heart.  I can't think of anything that was actually wrong with it.
I'll put the rest of the review under here, so I won't ruin the movie for anyone.
     The movie opens with Mike (Giamatti) out for a run on a crisp, presumably late fall day. He's trucking along, and then is passed on either side by actual runners. At the same time, his family is sleeping. His daughter is awakened by her light-catcher falling to the ground. She gets up to see it's broken- "Shit" she says. I may be alone on this, but I love a cursing sweet-faced child.
     The movie is set up beautifully, and the story moves along organically, with all of the metaphorical elements of engine, heart, and skeleton they teach in film school.
     Mike gets himself in a situation that seems not so terrible at first, but then as everything starts piling on, he can't get out of it. Although maybe it does seem so terrible. He kind of lies to the judge and also kind of lies to his incapacitated client in order to make an extra $1500 bucks a month. So maybe he's not winning any "most ethical lawyer" awards, but they seemed like little white lies that really weren't going to hurt anyone. The old man had no family! He was rich! Mike needed the money! Mike becomes his guardian to collect the fee and then puts the old man (Leo) in a home anyway, telling Leo it's what the judge ordered. He's not heartless about it though. He really thinks about it. In fact, he's even going to make sure Leo's house is well looked after. He goes over to turn the water off to make sure the pipes don't freeze. Enter Kyle, the troubled teen who has run away from Ohio to enter our hearts.
     Even with all of that spoiler, it's still worth seeing this film. I laughed and I totally understood why the guy in front of me cried a little at the end.

Win Win ends with a heart-warming wash of goodness and righness. See this movie. Skip Fast Five.

OBL: A Review.

He's a dead motherfucker.

"America!  Fuck Yeah!"