December 30, 2006

It Was Nice Knowing You, 2006

Well, dear readers, we have come to the end of another year. This is my obligatory year-end entry, of which I am sure you will read several from various sources this evening. It will be sort of like Christmas letters, only for Gen X and Y. Mine will probably be nothing special, but rest assured, it will not include resolutions.

As you know, I do not make New Year's Resolutions. I make New Year's Predictions. Last year, I did not even make those (for full explanations, see December 2004 and 2005 entries).

At any rate, this year was one of those turning point years in a person's life. In this case, my life. You know, the years where everything changes, for better or for worse, and ends up different. After my grandpa passed away, I made a number of changes that I'd been putting off. To begin with, I "quit" my night job. (I say "quit" because I am still working there sometimes.) Then I started grad school. A lot of good things happened at work, too, including me getting some overtime and getting made a year-round employee.

I made some changes in what I care about/who I listen to. And that has made life a lot better. Not everyone can see it, but it has. I tried to eat better and excercise more, but that has ended with me eating only one meal a day sometimes and eating six other times. I need to work on that some more. :) I started dating again.

There were many other changes. For example, my couch and I have been spending quality time together. I have read fewer books and watched more movies. I learned how to drive combine. I used an electric sander. I spent more time with my friends.

All in all, I would say that the changes were good.

And my predictions for next year are as follows:

-This year will once again go more quickly than last.
-Classes will continue to suck.
-Blueberries will still give me heartburn.
-Angelina and Brad will split up.
-Spawn of Afleck will continue to be uninteresting to the press.
-They will find evidence of life having once existed (aside from water, which makes such a discovery likely) on Mars.

And if you don't like my predictions, here is the best New Year's prediction article I have seen to date from the STrib.

Anyone else care to make a prediction? Feel free to do so in the comments.

So long, 2006, and happy new year to all!

Posted by LoWriter at 10:42 PM | Comments (3)

December 29, 2006

Christmas Recap

Well, Christmas has, alas alack, come and gone yet again. Here are the highlights of my festivities.

Christmas Eve with Kimmy, Leroy, and the fam was great. They didn't talk about crazy things, and my parents really enjoyed their company. I am getting together with them again on Saturday.

Christmas Day saw me winning Scrabble against my mom and grandmas for the first time in years. I got some Christmas money, which will come in handy. I also got some movies from the sisters and the multi-color pack of retractable (or as I like to call them "clicky") Sharpies.

Day after Christmas shopping was a huge success. I have started next year's Christmas shopping (mostly some little things for my mom), and I have a ton of gift bags and tissue paper so that I never have to wrap anything again. Also, I got a book light for $2.50. Highlight of my life.

Since then, I have been helping my dad with my Christmas present from the 'rents: A barrister bookcase. I have spent the last two days sanding and staining, which rocks. Actually, I felt pretty high today. The fumes were getting to me. I also got my hair done yesterday, yet another reason to be high.

Tonight we had a little scare; my grandma went to the emergency room, but all is well. She's fine.

Tomorrow we are going shopping although I have no idea why I am going shopping. I am pretty broke.

Other than that, it sounds like I will, in fact, be taking a class this spring. I'm not sure I'm thrilled about that anymore, but hey. It works. That is all I know.

How was your Christmas?

Posted by LoWriter at 12:22 AM | Comments (2)

December 26, 2006

Harry Potter Book 7

I don't know if you are aware, but the title for Harry Potter Book Seven is out. Publication date has not been revealed, but a quick trip to either Borders or Barnes and Noble (which I find to be cheaper than Borders) can get you notified when it's available to reserve.

Anyone want to place bets on when it will be out? Perhaps either in the summer as in the past or just in time for Christmas next year?

Posted by LoWriter at 05:08 PM | Comments (5)

December 21, 2006

Again, I Will Ask You This Once Again

My only question is as follows: Why isn't there cake on my desk right now?

Possible answers people have given me:
"Because it isn't your birthday."
"I don't know."
"I want cake, too, and I don't have any, either."
"Ooo cake!"
"I had cake yesterday."
"I don't really like cake." (Fascist)
"You know who has great cake?" (Followed by a description of said cake, which makes me want cake even more, in fact.) (I blame you, Jill. ;) )

Anyone else have any idea why there is no cake on my desk right now? And by right now, I mean moments before it would be heartily eaten and enjoyed by yours truly. (You should know that the cake of which I speak is a Princess Torte I saw at Dunn Bros. that I am covetting. It had a green shell of frosting and raspberry and custard layers. Yum. But at this point, I would even eat carrot cake, which I hate.)

Actually, I have one more question: Why isn't three paycheck month until March? Booo.

Possible answers people have given me to this question:
"You still have to work for the money, you know."
"My three paycheck month is in November. Ha!"
"I love three paycheck month. Best month ever."
"Why didn't you save your money instead of spending it?"
"What do you mean 'Three paycheck month'?"

My sister likes to tell me that it doesn't make any sense to get excited about three paycheck month because you don't actually get extra money. In her mind, you still have to work for the money; therefore, it is not extra money. I feel that this perfectly displays her lack of ever having to pay lots of real bills.

The beauty of three paycheck month is not that there is free money at the end of the magical paycheck rainbow. It is that there are three paychecks to pay the same number of bills rather than the two you get every other month. It's like Christmas except it comes twice a year. You just have an extra, undesignated paycheck sitting out there in the ether waiting to be spent or put into savings or put towards debts incurred in two paycheck months. It's beautiful. If you don't appreciate it, you clearly have too much money or too few bills or both.

So my demands are as follows: I want fancy cake and three paycheck month now. Not tomorrow. Not delayed delivery. NOW.

Can I get a hell yeah?

Posted by LoWriter at 10:50 AM | Comments (11)

December 20, 2006

Why You Too Must See Altar Boyz

Last night, my friends and I went down to the good old Pantages to see a show we really wanted to see when we were in the Big Apple last fall: Altar Boyz.

This is a spoof on a Christian boy band concert. It is excellent for many reasons, not the least of which is the music. Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan, and Abraham dance and sing with the best of them, all in an attempt to get the Sony Soul counter thing to go down to 0 lost souls in the theater. The songs include a lot of great numbers including "Jesus Called Me on My Cell Phone" and "Get the Hell Out."

The characters are straight out of any boy band: There's the hunky leader, the gay one, the exotic one, the tough one, and the smart one. If you've ever been to any kind of Christian concert or boy band concert and hated every moment of it, you will love this spoof. It's a werid cross between the days when I was in love with The New Kids on the Block and the days when I went to many Bethel concerts. There's a hokey little forced prayer. There's a drive to save every soul in the audience even though their own souls are in trouble. There are dance routines that are silly to watch. There is a confession time where they read aloud the confessions that people have put in the box out front. It gets serious a time or two and, I think, pokes very good satirical fun at Christians' inability to deal with real hurting from time to time. There is so much to love about this musical.

One of my favorite lines of the whole show was "And the music beget lyrics, and the lyrics beget followers, and the followers begettin down."

The whole thing lasts only about 90 minutes, so there's no intermission, which is a bonus in my mind. The theater is gorgeous. We sat in the second row of the balcony (Row B, Seat 1), and I have to say that they were fantastic seats. I had plenty of leg room, especially because I was right behind the steps into our row. We hung our coats over the back of our seats because the next row was up a teir, and we had lots of room. The only downside to sitting in the balcony is that you can't see what's going on in the audience when the Altar Boyz go out into the crowd. If at all possible, you might want to try to be on the floor to get the whole effect. We did have to lean from time to time, too, so if you do choose balcony, you might want to choose the third row back.

On the whole, if you have a little time and if they aren't completely sold out, you should check out this musical. I laughed throughout, the venue is fantastic, the lyrics are hiliarious, and it's a perfect length. I highly recommend this show.

Posted by LoWriter at 04:10 PM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2006

What I Don't Want for Christmas

While many people this year will construct lists of the things their hearts long for this Christmas, I have decided that (since my family never gets me what I ask for anyway) I would rather make a list of the things I don't want for Christmas.

The top ten things I don't want for Christmas are as follows:

10. Coal. This is a lame gift on many levels. While it is true that Santa brings it to naughty children (and aren't we all naughty on some level?), it is also true that someone might find this to be an excellent source of heat and thus, heartwarming. I would much rather receive gas if you are going to get me a fossil fuel for Christmas. At least then I could afford to drive my car to see you.

9. Bathroom Ads. This means you, Big D. No bathroom ads for Christmas. Don't pull the plexiglass off the bathroom stall advertisement case when we go to Alter Boyz and hand an ad for beer to me in the parking lot while saying "Merry Christmas!" I mean it.

8. Forks or Knives from Old Chicago. Once again, this is primarily directed at you, D. I already have quite a collection of these. And while I enjoy waking up on Wednesday morning and finding them in my pockets and/or purse, I do not need them for Christmas. Steal something with character, like a beer glass, if you want to give me a "hot" item this year.

7. A Box of Snow. This is a stupid gift primarily because by the time it gets here it would be water.

6. Any Kind of Packers Memorabilia. I hate the Packers so much. SO MUCH. I hate their stupid cheeseheads. Cheese, on the other hand, is perfectly acceptable and encouraged.

5. Thomas Kincaid Artwork Books. Not to be a bitch, but if anyone has purchased this for me, take it back immediately. Seriously. You have stumbled upon something my mom gives me every year without fail as my Christmas card (in spite of the fact that I have no less than two Amazon wish lists), and while I liked them when I was sixteen, I have since outgrown the need to stare at picture after picture of cottages and gardens. And I have to pretend to like them because, let's face it, you can't make your mom sad on Christmas. That's just bastardly.

4. Easter Eggs. Could you at least get it together and get the right holiday?

3. Windshield Wipers. While nothing says you care like getting that special person something that wipes bug guts off of their windows, you might want to leave the auto aisle and brach out into the rest of the store. I would, however, love some lock de-icer if you can find a Target that doesn't suck too much to carry it (especially now that I'm down to one working door on my car).

2. Your BLANK in a Box. If you saw SNL this week, then you absolutely know what I'm talking about. This is a terrible present. You're not that wonderful. I know.

1. Spam. While it was tough to decide between this and the runner up for the top spot, Spam had to ultimately win based on the fact that this is possibly the grossest food I can imagine. If you must buy me something in a can, get me cashews. And not the broken kind, either. The premium, whole cashews. Yum.

That's it for my top ten things I don't want. Hopefully, this has steered you away from the stupid end of gift giving... or at the very least, given you a laugh. Enjoy the last seven days of shopping before Christmas!

Posted by LoWriter at 11:14 AM | Comments (4)

December 12, 2006

Whose Pants Are These Anyway?

I wear the pants.

"Which pants?" you might ask. Why, the proverbial pants, of course. The relationship pants. I wear them. This may have something to do with the fact that I was raised on a farm and had to do a lot of the "boy" chores or it may have something to do with my inborn hatred of skirts or it may even have something to do with the fact that I despise any kind of "authority" from anyone ever.

Whatever the reason, my friends and I have discovered that when it comes to relationships, we bear a striking resemblance to (and I quote) "men from the 50s." Our feelings are often ambivalent. I don't want to talk to you every day. Stop calling me. We talk when I say we talk; I'll call you. I don't want to meet your family. We're just having fun. Let's not give what we have a name; let's just have a good time. As one of my good friends says, "I'm done with feelings."

And we date guys who like things like candles and feelings and fashion and committed relationships and their moms. This is what the modern man has become, and many women are excited to meet a guy who is, for all intents and purposes, a sissy, but I am not one of those women.

I take long hiatuses from being in relationships and just date. Sometimes I even take long hiatuses from that. I don't want to hear from a guy every day when we're just getting to know each other. I have nothing to say to someone for hours on end every day. Nothing I have ever done is worth talking about for that long; neither is anything you've ever done. No, it isn't. Don't lie.

Once I know a person better, that might be a different story, and I myself have been known to be clingy (thank God that was, mostly, a different time and place), but I am getting so tired of every guy I date wanting to wrap himself around me like a leech and suck all the energy out of me.

In a world where everyone is in a race to see who can settle down the fastest and raise the best/most children, I find myself struggling to decide whether or not that is the life I want.

What I don't understand is why we, men and women, are in such a hurry to get ahead of ourselves. No one should be talking about children's names on the first date. Marriage should not be addressed on the second. I don't want to have a conversation on our first date about being your girlfriend before the garlic bread has even arrived. Back the milk truck up, sugar, we haven't even held hands yet!

I think people have a tendancy to want instant delivery because that is the society we live in. We are so used to having exactly what we want when we want it that we've lost the art of letting something simmer into perfection. You can't bring a good stew to a rapid boil and expect it to taste the same as if you'd slow cooked it all day. It's the same with relationships, in my opinion. People need to stop trying to force them to be ready before they are. The best dishes take lots of time (as evidenced by the fact that nothing tastes as good out of the microwave as it does out of the stove), and while obviously everything has an expiration date, there's no point in pulling something out of the fire and poking it before it's done.

Step away from the oven, boys and girls, and let it be what it is when it's ready. Put on a pair of pants and relax.

Posted by LoWriter at 09:31 AM | Comments (13)

December 08, 2006

November Books

Here are the reads for the past month (Books are now being rated on a 5 star scale):

Powers by Brian Michael Bendis: 3 stars. This was an interesting graphic novel, and I loved the story line at the beginning. It's about a cop who works in the super power crimes division. And, obviously, it starts with the murder of Retro Girl, an iconic superhero of the world. This book started out with all the right moves: frustration of former heroes, imperfect people, and believable characters and conversations despite the super hero world setting. While I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy it, I was frustrated by its plot. That said, I may have been biased because I didn't realize it was part of a series (yeah, I know, the vol. 1 suffix should have given it away). While I thought the artwork was awesome and I really loved the writing at the beginning, I got confused by the plot at the end. As I said, though, it turns out there are other volumes, and I do really want to read a couple more before I pass too harsh a judgement on the book. I did really enjoy what I read until the end when it didn't resolve. It's likely my questions would be answered in upcoming volumes. So, if you don't mind getting started on a series, it's a good series to get started on.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield: 5 stars. This was one of the best books I've read in ages. It's very "Bronte-esque," so if you aren't of the Wuthering Heights/Jane Eyre persuasion, you probably won't like it. I, however, enjoyed it quite a lot. It's about a budding biographer who is invited to do the first "true" biography of a prolific, famous author who has told a different life story to everyone who has ever interviewed her. You're never really sure what kind of story it is until the end, but think Bronte sisters, and you won't be far off. The writing is beautiful. Some of the sentences were just delicious. They melted in my mouth; they were that good! Her word choices were wonderful.

Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson: 2.75 Stars. Just let me start out by saying that Tricked was way, way better. To be fair, Tricked was a later graphic novel by this author, and the first novel is usually not the best the author ever writes. The whole book appeared to be about one character, and then just really wasn't about that character at all. I guess I didn't like the ending, and it really colored my view of the entire book. I wanted it to end differently. In fact, it really reminded me of life last year when I was constantly hitting my head on the glass ceiling and felt unable to get out of my situation. So, on the whole, not my favorite book of all time, but on the other hand, there is a second volume, so maybe it gets better. If you're going to read something by this author, read Tricked. (I reserve the right to change my mind after reading BOP! More Box Office Poison.)

That is it for the reads. Feel free to share your own in the comments, and happy reading this month!

Posted by LoWriter at 08:56 PM | Comments (3)

Oh Hell Yeah

So, I don't want to brag, but I'm going to take a moment to brag. I got an A in my class!!! I got an A on every assignment. That's never happened to me before! Whoo hoo!!

Also, the prof told me that I should be a teacher. And, and, and... I actually had fun teaching the class the other day!

So on the whole, my first grad school experience was a successful one!

Posted by LoWriter at 05:17 PM | Comments (2)