Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Snowboarding Road Trip

Well! I have been snowboarding for the last hour and I really like it!

This week Target has Shaun White Snowboarding Road Trip on sale for $39 instead of the $55 for the "exclusive" Target one. Since it's playable with the balance board I figured I'd splurge (even though I said I wouldn't buy any more games for a while.) The controls took some getting used to, but once I learned what grinding is (balancing on something, like a rail), it's totally infectious. I can't exactly feel the wind in my hair, but I did feel the strain in my toes, trying to hold on. (Next time, no socks.) Even just picking up speed on the way down the mountain is great fun.

X-Games, here I come!

Wii Fit post #4

I was cranky before. So I figured I'd do something fun. I didn't really want to do Wii Fit, but I figured I should. So I got on and took the daily test. I didn't believe the hula hooping would help align me, but I do seem less tight in my hips.

Well, I could scarcely believe my eyes. Either it's my period that's centering me, or the hula hooping, or I don't know what, but whatever it is is working! Instead of getting balances in the 70th percentile, I actually got a 92%. As a consequence, today my fit age is... 24!

HOORAY! This has lifted my spirits immensely and I had to post right away. Phew! And I though I was going to have a bum night. Sometimes being wrong is great!


Every month it's the same thing. Back pain, cramps, bloating, urges for chocolate, feeling unbelievably exhausted... you know what I'm talking about. And of course, the days leading up to it are not exactly picnics in the park. I'm always afraid I'll alienate one of my friends by saying something weird in the days leading up to my period. Usually they understand, because about 90% of my friends are women, after all.

Anyway, for me, it's best to not have major discussions or take on important topics with anyone several days before and the first day of my period. Everything will come out wrong. I must remember that for next time! I usually try to keep talking to a minimum during the first day. And today was just fine. Thankfully!

I was lucky enough to have a quiet office day... I was only one of 8 people on my entire floor in the morning, and one of 5 in the afternoon -- a bonus was being the only one in my office area. The phone was nearly dead, I was able to complete a lot of work... and I rarely had to talk to people. I was even able to occasionally moan in pain without being in danger of someone hearing me. It was so peaceful... maybe I can arrange for everyone to be out of the office every month around this time. And maybe monkeys might fly out my butt...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Guess I'm a scientist, then...


"Dark matter can't be seen. Nobody even knows what it is. But it must be there, because without it galaxies would fly apart."

"One such theorized class of particles is called WIMPs (Weakly interacting massive particles)..."

If being a scientist involves making up silly acronyms and theorizing mysterious forces, then by golly! I am a scientist, too. Somebody increase my paycheck now...

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love stinks

For those of you who need to hear the details of an ex's newest flame in order to complete the "getting over them" process, I understand. Details somehow do make it easier (at least in many situations).

And you know what it makes it easiest? Realizing on your own that your ex really is an idiot. Case in point: MB still has not returned my stuff to our mutual friends. I sucked it up enough on Monday to email him about it, now that it is 3.5 months later and he is seeing someone new. (It's just common sense to unload someone else's junk before you bring someone new to your place, n'est-ce pas? If you can't bring yourself to return stuff for the ex's sake, at least think of the new person in your life!) And he said he would bring my stuff to our friends this past Wednesday. But he didn't. Not cool.

And now I want my hair dryer back! His stuff has been gone from my life for months now. It's hard to believe that he can't be bothered to bring my belongings to a dinner or some kind of hangout when they see each other socially.

I used to be sad that I'd caused him to be upset or whatever he felt (if he actually did feel anything) but now I don't care at all. He really deserves it. Not relinquishing control over my hair dryer!? Classic passive-aggressive behavior. It's clear he does not want me to ever possibly be considered attractive to other men...

And oh, I'm still getting calls from WF. I'm ignoring them, of course. Did I mention I plan to take a break from dating for a while? Sigh...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Lewis Mumford

When my mom was busy completing her M.A. in Urban Studies about 23 years ago, a great deal of the coursework involved readings by Lewis Mumford. Mumford was an academic, and although the topics he wrote about were really cool, she explained that some the writing itself was dry. She used to say that if she had trouble sleeping, she'd just "read some Mumford." But she also brought the most interesting bits to discuss at the dinner table, and his name stayed in my head. Researching him today, I see he was actually kind of a genius.

While I was cleaning out my front room today, I came across a book that I thought I had lost, named Death on Wheels. This is a book of well-chosen, scary, often gory short stories about vehicles, traveling, and road rage in general. I sat down for a read and opened the book, and there was a quote by Mumford -- "Either the motor car will drive us all out of our cities, or the cities will have to drive out the motor car." A very mysterious sentence... and I want to read more of what he has to say!

Yes, I'm a closet road-lover. I love the idea of planning roads as much as the idea of doing the construction work. I'm going to borrow one of Mumford's books from my mom and read it, and then borrow Robert A. Caro's biography of Robert Moses. I especially look forward to learning about Mumford's organic model of technology, biotechnics. I can't wait to do more learning!

Donations made easy

So now it's the end of the year, and I still find myself with lots of crap.

I've posted on craiglist to get rid of about 40 VHS (!) tapes, some CDs, and a DVD. I have more postings to make, but will do those this weekend. I doubt anyone will want these items, but it's worth a shot.

I also have a great big pile of clothes for Big Brother Big Sister Foundation, along with that pair of Rollerblades left over from the yard sale, as well as a lot of other home goods. It's about five garbage bags full. I've contacted them and they will pick it all up. So convenient! They make it so easy for someone to be a donate to a worthy cause. Yay!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Chanukah gifties

For Chanukah this year, I received two books from my sister: Proust Was a Neuroscientist, by Jonah Lehrer (which looks amazing -- not exactly light reading, but terrific nevertheless), and The Deviant's Pocket Guide to the Outlandish Sexual Desires Barely Contained in Your Subconscious, by Dennis DiClaudio (considerably less difficult, and far more juicy).

When I opened the present (in front of my parents -- they were sent via Amazon and actually wrapped by my mother), I told myself that the "guide" was not a jab at the fact that I'm not currently "getting any", and I reminded myself that I am certainly not one of those... *ahem*... "deviants"...

Anyway, I began reading The Guide the evening. And I'm just about done. Deviant? I'm afraid so. Or at least, deviant "lite"...

I came across one that I guess I must have: trichophilia, or enjoyment of human hair. Scruff applies. Yeah, baby. But! That's pretty tame, according to some of the others:
  • Emetophilia, erotic vomiting (Yuck. I hate vomit.)
  • Eprotophilia, flatulence desire (Yuck. I hate farts.)
  • Coulrophilia, clown fetish (Yuck. I hate clowns.)
  • Schediaphilia, arousal to cartoons (Hmm. I don't hate cartoons. I don't hate cartoons at all...)

Crazy Libs

Do you like Mad Libs? I do!

I found Crazy Libs, a free Mad Lib-style story generator. Want to learn something? The funniest thing about this is that some of it is actually true (at least for me)! Here goes:

How To Be Romantic
Some things are inherently romantic, like music. This is very useful, because you can move things upon the object of your affections and win romance points without expending any additional effort or wit. The trick is to figure out what is romantic and what is not. There is a basic rule of thumb to follow: if it's hard, it's not romantic. For example, high powered children are not romantic.

Colorful Things
Eyelashes are romantic. Elephants are romantic. Taking advantage of the intrinsic romance in colorful things obviously depends upon recognizing which things are colorful. The rule is simple. Strong things are colorful. If you see a food product in a grocery store that comes in a strong package, get it, because there's a very good chance it's colorful.

Red is romantic, because red is the color of love and passion. Consider roses. Red roses mean, "I love you." Black roses mean, "Let's just be friends," which is synonymous with, "You are tall, and I hate you." So you do not want to be wrong. Get her red roses, red candles, red earrings, red eyelashes, and red turtles, and she'll fall hopelessly under your spell.

The Most Intrinsically Romantic Thing Ever
Based on the data above, the single most romantic thing in the universe can be calculated scientifically. It is, simply, a strong red computer made out of chocolate and shaped like a cat holding a book with elephants all over it that spills a soda can when you squeeze it.

Wii Fit post #3

Even better news! As of an hour ago, I have the body of a 32-year-old! Hooray!

And I was wrong about the hula hooping. It doesn't require unlocking... it's part of the aerobics exercises. Now there's a fun game! I did it so much I began to sweat. And I unlocked Super Hula Hoop, which I will try tomorrow. I'm shaping up already! I'm so proud of me...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wii Fit post #2

Great news! As of last night, I have the body of a 39-year-old! That's so much better than a 48-year-old. And I passed beginning ski slalom with Professional status (am currently trying to pass Intermediate status) and I am on Advanced tightrope. This is fun!

Hula hooping will take some unlocking, but I'm sure I will get there in no time. I tried ski jump, and passed Professional status on my third turn. I also tried the one where you roll your friends' heads around on a curved plate, attempting to get them to fall through holes. It was ok. The soccer ball game was impossible. My highest score so far has been 38.

But anyway. Goal for 2009: lose weight, get fit, and look amazing. And date. And date. And date...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Wii Fit

But I refer to this game by its proper name, Me Fat.

I received the Wii Fit for Chanukah and set it up last night. Setup was very easy, and I was excited to try it, so I got on the board right away.

Well, I don't think the BMI scale is high enough to properly register mine, because when it was figuring, it nearly shot off the screen, and seemed disappointed when it couldn't go any higher. My Mii gasped and stared at her middle since suddenly she ballooned up like a steamed sausage in pants. The transformation was accompanied by a sound effect similar to "Bloooop!" Also, the Wii logo on my Mii's t-shirt stretched out and now appears bold. I attempted to balance and was told I have the body of a 48-year-old. Uh oh.

And then I had to "exercise." My first attempt at yoga was fine. Once you get the hang of it, it's fun. But if you try the "tree" pose, don't wear velour lounge pants. My foot kept slipping down my standing leg, and I touched the board on each try and therefore haven't passed it yet.

Then I tried the tightrope and ski slalom games, and those are really fun. After about 10 tries, I finally passed beginner skiing without missing any flags. Of course, I only got two stars, but tonight I will practice the forward stance also. I also plan to try hula hoop, if it doesn't require being unlocked. And I will you know if I get any better!

Who can retell?

Who can retell the things that befell us?
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid.


In days of yore in Israel's ancient laaaaaaaaand
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful baaaaaaaaand
And today our people, as we dreeeeeeeeamed
Will arise, unite, and be redeeeeeeeeemed

Who can retell the things that befell us?
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happiness may be contagious…

...but what about misery?

It's generally known that surrounding yourself with happy people can make you happier.

But I've received the following informational gem from my gym. Did you know that happiness naturally spreads through social networks like a virus? In other words, your happiness can influence the happiness of someone you've never even met?

Apparently there is an actual statistical relationship not just between your happiness and your friends' happiness, but between your happiness and your friends' friends' happiness. Harvard Medical School and the University of California concluded that the happiness of an immediate social contact increases an individual's chances of becoming happy by 15%. The happiness of a second-degree contact, such as a friend's spouse, increases the likeliness of becoming happy by 10%, and the happiness of a third-degree contact, (the friend of a friend of a friend) increases the likelihood by 6%. Kinda cool! But…

If I'm still friends with my ex-boyfriend's friends (MB, not WF), and I'm happy, and his friends are happy, do we keep recycling the same happiness? Would it increase exponentially? Is there a limit? What about if my ex is Mr. Doomandgloom? Would that reduce my happiness? Ours friends' happiness? What about my sister's happiness, my sister's husband's happiness, or my sister's husband's best pal's happiness? Is the misery ruled out completely, or would the misery percentage increase, and how much? Would the original happiness level remain constant? If not, what kind of fluctuation would occur?

Nice job figuring the numbers, Harvard, but you've created a slew of questions. This requires further research about the Grumpies among us, and whether scientifically, misery really does love company…


This game is amazing! (My sister gives some really good presents.)

In Bananagrams, the object of the game is to assemble intersecting words as in Scrabble, but unlike Scrabble, players use only their own letters in their own changeable-at-any-time configurations. You play for the entire length of the game (be it five minutes or 15)! There is no waiting and waiting and more waiting for the other players to finish their turns, just for you to beat their pants off anyway.

Players begin with 21 tiles (there are 144 in total), and the first person to incorporate all their tiles into their "board" shouts, "Peel!". Each player then takes another letter and rearranges their boards to accommodate the new letter. If you find a troublesome letter, just say "Dump!" and return to the pot. But… you must take three tiles, not one.

Peeling and dumping continues and the first person who places all their letters shouts "Bananas!" and wins the game (or round). No writing sticks are required, and there are no points. Standard play is fast and furious, but there are other, more relaxing versions. You can even play Banana Solitaire! Presentation is also charming, with the tiles stored in a banana-shaped cotton pouch.

My sister bought this for my mom (not me) for Chanukah. But we have all been having a blast with it. I highly recommend this game. Buy it!

Embed the VT

I know you know this is one of my favorite tools, but guess what! The Visual Thesaurus can be embedded!

You may choose from several looks, but I like this one. Add it to your blog, web page, desktop, or toolbar! You can even use it through Word, if that's your thing.

Last week, I bought a subscription -- with a discount of 20%, how could I have gone wrong? Just 16 well-spent bucks for a full year of this wonderful, expanded tool, all the articles I can read, and more. Hurrah for language and the Visual Thesaurus! And hurrah for discounts, too!

Friday, December 19, 2008


This week I bought some games for the Wii!

They are Super Mario Galaxy and Super Smash Brothers Brawl (I bought both at... gasp! ~Walmart~ for $70, and received $20 back through Paypal. Yay), and… Mario Kart! I had to wait and wait for it to get into stock, but I finally picked it up, and cheap, for the low, low price of $37 plus $3 shipping plus $3 tax. That's $165 worth of Mario games/equipment for $93! Do I know how to shop or what!? I'm still waiting to receive Kart, but I'm going to space these out… get it? "Space" them out? Mario "Galaxy?" I know, it's a stretch…

Anyway, my game library now consists of those, plus:

Guitar Hero III
Guitar Hero World Tour
de Blob
World of Goo
Mercury Meltdown Revolution
MX vs. ATV Untamed
And of course, Wii Sports and Wii Play

Pretty impressive list, huh? They are top-rated, and all fun. I'm not disappointed with any of them. The exception is MX vs. ATV, which is still lots of fun, it's just that I'm just not so good at it. But practice makes perfect. I will be receiving Wii Fit from my parents for Chanukah, and then I still have a wish list, but the wish list can wait. For a long time. Or at least a few months…

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Condoms go bye-bye

Just an update to say that I sent the condoms back. I could say "Use them in good health" -- but I won't...

Chocolate covered cherries

Cherries are one of my favorite fruits. The only thing that can make them better is dipping them in chocolate. And no one does it better than Cella.

Remember the individually foil-wrapped candies next to the register at the Optimo? Cella. The 16-to-a-box treats easily found during the holidays, but not as easily during the rest of the year? Cella. Cella makes the best, for discerning palates only.

They are the best because the cherries themselves are surrounded with a delicious, clear sweet liquid unlike that of the cheapo chocolate-covered cherries that are filled with thick, whitish goo that doesn't fool anyone. Plus, they rarely break and ooze. Long live Cella!

Chanukah! Chanukah! Chag yafe kol kach!

Chanukah is almost here!

And although my sister and her family will be in another state of the country, we will all be in the same state of mind -- happy! This is one of my favorite holidays, and not because of the presents. This holiday celebrates Jewish revolution over those who would defile the Temple by building altars to idols, as well as the miracle of one day's worth of oil providing light for eight. There are other interpretations as well, but those two are the basics.

My family sings the following song from an Chanukah record (record! haha) that we had, back in the day. It's sung in a round, and sometimes we actually get it right!

Mattathias bold!
Five brave sons had he!
Eliezer, eldest son;
Simon; Jon; and Jonathan;
And Judah Maccabee! Judah Maccabee!

Sunday night! Sunday night! Sunday night will be first light! Yay!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Case of the 5/6 Full Box of Condoms

This is another case where I am really glad to be free of another guy. It's another "stuff" story. And although I said in a previous post that I wouldn't go into details, I changed my mind.

Long story short, someone who seemed like a great guy was actually an unbalanced, delusional, lying, mood-swinging, name-calling screamer. He didn't take the breakup well. He ridiculed me for going to college, swore at me on the phone, and basically went berserk. He appears to be living in a dreamland of his design, creating it as he goes along. He is currently inventing things I "said" to him and "plans" he had for us to spend time together. Sociopath? Quite likely.

Yesterday, this man left a loud, obnoxious message on my voicemail, demanding all of his stuff to be sent to him. Sure, no prob. But -- all what stuff? I only remember a DVD. So I sent it back today, to get it out of my life. I made certain to tell him not to contact me anymore. After ignoring that and sending several more stupid emails, he wrote one more today... telling me I'll miss out on the best person of my life (why not get up on stage? I love a good farce)... and that the other items he had referred to were some condoms and flavored lubricants! ew! Ew!! EW!!! He had the absolute gall to state that he wasn't going to be my "supplier." As if!

This was another "laugh or cry" situation. At first, I was disgusted. Then I was disgusted and amused. Then I was just amused! I told my mom, who said this was exactly why she told me to block his mail yesterday. I should have listened. Needless to say, I have since filtered his emails to trash. She told me not to peek. Not at all? No, not at all. We made a deal. I can peek in a week.

So tomorrow I get to return 10 of 12 condoms and cheap, sugary, yeast-infection-inducing, watermelon- and tangerine-flavored lubes to him. Through the mail. Poor mailman, never dreaming what's inside! What a waste of postage...

WF = 0

And so thus endeth the relationship with WF. He is not so W after all. He is not sunshine. He is a loose cannon. He is whack! A whack-job! Yes, that's it. WF = Whack-job Fool. I won't go into details, but he did and said some disturbing things, and there is much more to him than meets the eye.

I am glad to be rid of him. Good riddance to bad rubbish!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Spelling bee

Well, one of my favorite sites has done it again!

The Visual Thesaurus has set up an online spelling bee. And it gave me some words I had never, ever heard before. It's difficult to believe, but evidently I don't have as extensive a vocabulary as I thought. Boo. But it really is a lot of fun -- I can see myself spending hours, just spelling...

My sunshine

So it took longer than I'd expected, but everything's squared away. Show's over folks, move along, nothing to see here. Me and WF are still cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. Hooray, because I've decided I want him around. He is definitely a keeper! (My sister, the Harvard scholar, actually told me she wanted to slap me upside the head. Little harsh, sis.)

It was a misunderstanding about an email I'd sent him, plus some grief he was going through with his ex-wife. Add our not being able to connect on the phone for a few days and the feeling he was ignoring me. Multiply that by my overreaction, and poof! A seething kettle of stress and hurt (on both our sides.) But all is well now. We apologized to each other and now we have to wait an entire week to see each other. Sigh.

But at least my ordinarily sunshine-y WF is no longer a rain cloud. Hooray!

Friday, December 5, 2008

WF = DQ?

Methinks my Winsome Flame may also be a Drama Queen. This week has been a little strange -- we sent each other romantic-type cards via snail mail without knowing that the other did the same. But we had some timing issues... basically, the delays between emails and cards and phone calls caused some light-to-medium friction between us (and not in a good way.)

I feel like he may deliberately be misunderstanding my statements, and I don't like that feeling. He is either thinking too much, or not enough... and he is not the only person who has ever been disillusioned by love. I expect this will be cleared up by tomorrow. I will let you know.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"Chinese" slippers

Since when did Chinese slippers become vinyl?

Shopping this weekend I came across some slippers in a bright, happy, apple green (third from the right on the bottom) that I thought would be ok for knocking around the house. How much? Four bucks. Ok, why not? They have shiny, matching sequins and beads on. Imagine my surprise when the salesgirl said they were "Chinese" slippers! Huh? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

I remember as a little girl having the prettiest, black cotton mary-jane style Chinese slippers with red and pink and green embroidered flowers on them. (We bought at the cheap local stores where all the interesting stuff was for sale. Or on the street.) I had black velvet ones with dragons when I got older. I even seem to remember a pair of turquoise silk ones. They were beautiful! They were delightfully fresh-looking! They were appealing!

I bought these anyway and inspected them in the car and they are made of... vinyl mesh "material" and flip-flop bottoms! What has this world come to? These are not Chinese slippers. I'm sure what I remember were not authentic Chinese slippers either, but at least they seemed more organic.

Where, oh where can I find my precious, proper Chinese slippers again? I guess I have to hit Chinatown. I'll let you know if I find them online...

Hooray for video games!

After Thanksgiving dinner, I drove to a friend's in NY, where we ran around Long Island doing general chores, popping in and out of stores, and playing lots of video games like obnoxious teenagers. We spent a great deal of time and money at the diner where we ate in college. It was fun!

We also met up with some friends from home at Dave and Buster's, where more games were played. Have you ever seen the bouncers there? They are the scariest, best-looking, biggest, tallest, ordinary men I have ever seen in person. I swear one was eight feet tall! They are really scary looking, much more so than even club or bar bouncers... I probably perceive them as scarier because of the dichotomy of even needing bouncers at a happy, fun arcade. But I guess they are there for a reason...

Thanksgiving successful?

So I think Thanksgiving was successful. The 'rents had no complaints, and didn't get any weird vibes, and WF was appropriate. So things seem good!

But then last night we had a fun chatty phone call (or so I thought!) and an hour later he emails me, asking if everything is ok with us because I sounded like I had something on my mind. But I didn't! So I came back and asked if he was projecting and he said no, but that he wanted to make sure he was doing everything right and that he would always be there if I wanted to talk.

So I'm caught between feeling semi-annoyed about his reading something into nothing, and feeling thrilled that he is willing to talk if I'm upset about anything. I've decided to go with the thrill because it's so much more fun...