Monday, July 18, 2011

My Strange Addiction

I’m sure the title of my blog is copyrighted by the network with the weirdest show on Television, TLC. Oh well. In case you haven’t seen this show, you really only need to watch it once to comprehend what I mean by weird. A lady with 52 rats as pets. A girl who has eaten drywall for 7 years and never bothered to look up what ingredients are in this outstanding delicacy (i.e., fiberglass, toxic chemicals of sorts, etc). The former was the rocker, the latter was the shocker, and now I’m about to give you the show stopper...a guy who breaks into people’s homes and pulls hair out of shower drains. I couldn’t have made this up if I tried, really. Oh, and the longer and slimier, the better.

After first watching this show, I thought of a couple things I’d like to see on My Strange Addiction in the future. Like, I think it’d be really cool if they could find a person who collects people’s asparagus pee. Does organic asparagus pee smell different than that of the frozen Trader Joe’s brand? I also want to meet a family who never speaks to each other, but only sings all of their interactions like they're on Broadway...even when arguing. They also flash the lights in the hallway to symbolize their anger.

I could go on for hours, but I’m starting to get anxious. Why, you ask? Well, it’s been about 5 minutes since I started writing this blog, which means it is 5 minutes away from my girls. Ya know, the US Women’s National Team. They have effectively entered my life and become my strange addiction. I know it doesn’t sound that strange yet, but it’s because about 14 million people per second were probably semi-addicted to them last Sunday too. Yes, I know this is how many people were watching the World Cup on Sunday courtesy of a retweet by @AlexMorgan13 from @ESPNResearch. My addiction didn’t stop, though, when the Japan player sealed the PK deal…in fact, it was moderately close to the beginning of me hitting rock bottom…which is most certainly where I am now.

In my head, I’ve been going through the criteria for Alcohol Dependence just to see if I really have developed an addiction. Basically, I’ve just substituted “stalkUSnationalteam” for consume alcohol. Let's see what happens...

Do you stalkUSnationalteam in dangerous situations? Yes, I drive and refresh my Twitter so I can see what hotel the team is staying at in NYC.

Do you spend a great deal of time involved in activities associated with stalkingUSnationalteam? Yes, in fact I’ve done that for at least 3 hours today. I’ve been to dinner on YouTube at Abby Wambach’s house in Rochester, NY and watched her family interview her. I listened to a song about Megan Rapinoe. I found out that Ali Krieger has a brother named Kyle and he was “the most amazing brother” when he flew all of the way back to Frankfurt for the finals…he is “so proud” of Ali.

Do you find that you stalkUSnationalteam in greater amounts than you plan to? Duh. This certainly wasn’t planned, because I’ve never stalked before…well, at least I’ve never been arrested for stalking.

Have you neglected social and occupational responsibilities as a result of stalkingUSnationalteam? Certainly. Dissertation progress = notsomuch; I didn’t go get drinks with friends tonight…instead I hung out with the US National Team…well ok, you might not call it hanging out but I do.

Has stalkingUSnational team caused you social problems? No, but after people read this, things could potentially get weird. My dogs have stopped licking me too.

Do you continue stalkingUSnationalteam despite physical or psychological difficulties? Psychologically, the anxiety stays away as long as I maintain contact...not sure if that's a difficulty Doc. My back hurts though from sitting in this chair for hours and I’m still seeing what my girls are up to every few minutes. Also, I haven’t eaten but am drinking a glass of red wine, because Abby likes red wine. She had it when the Rampone family came over for pasta dinner. Yeah, I guess not eating is physically unhealthy, but so what if I'm waiting to eat from the Wheaties box with a pic of my girls.

I think I’m gonna stop there because I’m actually creepin’ myself out a bit. I’m sure my mom will call me later and be like, “Your blog just was kind of...weird this time.” I’ll just say, “Well, I bet Hope Solo is weird too...have you seen that cra cra look in her eyes?”

Seriously though, I think it's time for an intervention. God, wouldn't that be the best intervention ever?? The girls reading me their letters about how my addiction has affected THEIR lives in the following ways...

Friday, June 17, 2011


To the chagrin of my millions of fans, I haven’t written a blog in a minute…so, I’m going to satisfy the masses today. I really don’t have a particular story to tell which might be a first for me, but I’m about to transform this toolbag at the bar here into some material.

He’s the only person in here other than me. Tortoise shell sunglasses, attempt at a breezy button up shirt, Birkenstocks, windblown brown curls. He’s got this annoying voice – like a feminine version of Matthew McConaughey…basically a girly southern drawl. He hasn’t stopped talking since he arrived, literally, and he’s averaging a beer every 15 minutes. I’m sitting over his right shoulder, unfortunately, which enables me to notice him “casually” looking over at me after each sentence, because he thinks everything coming out of his mouth is so epic. He also keeps calling the bartender by her first name, even though she clearly isn’t a fan. Every time he looks at me, I ensure that I have a seriously contorted work face so as not to suggest that I will ever change my mind and become interested in what he’s talking about. Fuck, he just asked me a direct question...

Now, he is talking about his “athletic” dog. I mean, how do you know if you have an athletic dog? They all run fast, and most of them jump and catch balls in their mouth. So, what the hell makes his dog athletic? I’m not going to ask…oh wait, shocking…he just gave me some info to answer my critically important question. His dog can apparently “swim for a whole hour in the ocean”. Woah, an hour, like 60 minutes. Fish must be so athletic. After 5 minutes, I’m already over this character…any more direct questions, and I’m just going to say, “I’m not sure.” Unfortunately, that response didn’t work for “Do you live around here?” Ah, the joys of men with families…would love to meet this guy’s wife and kids; she either sucks or doesn’t really exist.

Speaking of dogs though, there is this really funny YouTube video called Ultimate Dog Tease. It’s funny until drunk people start loudly imitating the human voiceover of a dog cry. Last night, these two dudes kept doing it over and over again and telling me that they were going to create a human parody of the video and post it on YouTube. I mean, all you can say when somebody makes a comment like that is, “Wow, genius idea. I bet not one of the 41 million people who have viewed that video has thought of that. Simply genius.” By the way, an ambulance just drove by. I bet this guy’s dog is drowning from the swim. He’s gonna have to change that mutt's name from Lebron to Adam Lambert. Speaking of the toolbag again, he just informed the bartender (while of course looking over at me and laughing) that he saw his first naked woman in Jaws. That explains a lot.

I guess my work face isn't doing much to deter this guy, so I’m gonna call it quits and leave you today with a few really helpful life hints:

1) Prosecco is a great hangover cure…except when there is a bug in it

2) Don’t eat Cheerios if you don’t want to eat bugs…when they harvest the grain, there are bugs everywhere (this hint comes courtesy of toolbag)

3) If you ever write a song, don’t call it “Birdsong” and have lyrics that say, “Hey little sparrow, when you come around, leave me your sweet song, and a feather crown.” This just makes you seem weird, and gets you a huge Pandora thumbs down…just saying

4) Don’t watch the US Open if Tiger isn’t playing. You will be so bored.

5) If you are a man sitting at the bar alone, don’t ever say, “I have a bunch of pre-teens at my house.” Like, ever. (This hint is courtesy of me in honor of toolbag).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lyrical LD

Music and lyrics are funny things. Some people love the lyrics, and they don't even hear the music - perhaps Indigo Girls fans or poets. Then there are those who are all about the music, and lyrics are nothing but white noise - these are likely the ecstasy using trance lovers. The best though, are the folks who maybe like both but just can't seem to get the lyrics right. This is what I refer to as a "Lyrical LD".

LD is the professional term for those unfortunate individuals with a learning disability...I know I'm harsh - an asshole, actually. But, I rationalize my use of the term Lyrical LD by pointing out that I fully meet criteria for this degenerate group of musical enthusiasts. To substantiate my attempt at rationalization, I'll provide a few noteworthy examples. Consider Elvis. I mean, he's an iconic enough guy, right? With popular enough songs and simple enough lyrics? Whereas you might provide an emphatic "yes" to the previous questions, I (with my Lyrical LD), and those of my kind would suggest that this is not the case. In fact, quite the contrary.

Case in point… "All Shook Up" is one of those popular enough songs with simple enough lyrics by an iconic enough guy. Ask people on the street to sing the chorus and they'll likely chime in with, "I'm all shook up" followed by a string of "Mmmm"s and "Yay’s.” It will sound horrific but will be accurate. If you're unlucky enough to encourage participation from someone with a Lyrical LD, however, you will get a far different response. To give an Example Lyrical LD response, I'll provide my personal rendition of the chorus when singing "All Shook Up" with an 8-year-old Elvis fan.

It went something like this..."Uh Bon Shikah Eh Eh Eh."

That's when the little smarty quizzically inquired, "Um, what did you just say?" At this point, the interaction continued in a stereotypical fashion…

The gifted 8-year old says, "Um, that's not how it goes," and the LD kid says, "Yeah it is!"

Then the gifted kid thinks, "Oh, LDs are like PDs...lack of insight."

PDs are personality disorders for those of you non-psych people out there. I say “out there” as if people are actually reading this. I should really just say names instead of “out there.” Like, “Talia…PD stands for personality disorder, and individuals with PDs often have little insight regarding the pathological characteristics of their personality.”

Moving on, I’ll set the stage for the next Lyrical LD example. It was 2002, the year of Fat Joe’s release of “What’s Luv” featuring Ashanti. Yes, I just looked that up. “What’s Luv” became a popular song during 2002, I became a Fat Joe groupie, and I started singing along to the lyrics. I guess Rosa Parks was stuck in my head from Outkast’s recent #1 hit, and I assumed Fat Joe was following along with the Civil Rights pop music theme…my mistake. I remember singing the song in the Furman basketball locker room one day, “Bus Liiiiiiine, got to do, got to do with it, bus liiiiiiine, it’s about us it’s about trust, babe….bus liiiiiine…”

Not okay. Not okay at all. Clearly the Lyrical LD also disables one’s ability to detect context clues…not only did I misunderstand that Ashanti was saying “What’s Love” and not “Bus Line,” I also failed to realize that bus lines being about us and trust doesn’t really make a lot of sense. So, once again, the LD kid gets picked on, but I will maintain that after enduring the pain and ridicule of these experiences, I’m a stronger person for it. By stronger, I mean that I’ve learned to live with my Lyrical LD. Here are some of the recommendations I have for others suffering from my condition:

(1) Only sing in the presence of close others, whom you know you can blackmail and therefore swear to secrecy.

(2) If somebody asks, “What did you say?” while you are singing a song, just start acting crazy (e.g., headbanging, making weird faces) and they will quickly forget the thought they had that you may have messed up the lyrics

(3) Avoid singing rap songs…these lyrics are notorious (shout out to Biggie…what what) for being difficult

(4) When performing Karaoke, utilize the screens. They were made for Lyrical LDs.

(5) If you forgot to follow the rule about only singing in the presence of close others and you are caught by someone, simply say, “Oh, I make up my own words…” and then give them the Alanis Morisette Ironic example where you have added “…who’s hotter” following “…it’s like meeting the man of your dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife…” If you’re lucky, they will laugh at your creativity and realize that their assumption of a lyrical mishap was, in actuality, a smart and charming twist on the characteristically mundane lyrics used by today’s artists.

If none of these work, you may need additional testing.

Monday, April 26, 2010

10 Things I Learned on the City Bus

So, since my last post, I managed to catch the city bus. I thank a higher power for this experience, and I wanted to share some of the really important knowledge that I have learned along the way. I think, at some point, I’ll publish one of those bathroom books with these 10 things and more J

(1) With a HS diploma, you can get any job you want. This little tidbit of advice was free of charge and was repeated for 20 straight minutes. In addition to this, these HS diploma jobs will earn you $900-$1000 every Friday. For those of you slower folks, that comes out to about $4000/month and $48,000 a year…What have I been doing for the last 7 years of my life?!!!

(2) On job applications (well at least the Holiday Inn’s application), they only ask about felonies within the past 5 years…lucky, gah.

(3) They make jerseys that say “illest” on the front. I want one of those.

(4) Inbred people do still exist, and not only in the movie “Wrong Turn.” In fact, they are among us (gasp).

(5) Age is determined by a red line. It’s true. Up to 2 children under 6 years old can ride the bus free with a paying adult, and their age is determined by height (i.e., a red line on the bus). I guess red lines are more trustworthy than parents.

(6) Discmans are still in circulation…and if you have one, you are required to put your hand in the air for Jesus and forget you are on the city bus

(7) If 80 year old women with no teeth strike up a conversation with you, it’s best to nod your head and smile…it’s sort of like lip syncing “Watermelon, Watermelon, Watermelon” when you don’t know the lyrics to the song…by that I mean, you at least have a chance of looking like you know what is being said.

(8) Reading, texting, headphones, or any other “I’m busy” techniques will NOT work. All normal social rules go out the window on the bus. Prepare yourself to snuggle with the masses and conversate (I know this isn’t a word.)

(9) Licking your lips 8 million times in 3 bus stops is not a sign of chapped lips, but rather drug addiction.

(10) And lastly, Michael Vick is ready to ball out in Philadelphia. Atlanta made a BIG mistake…now they stuck with that Matt Ryan character (My reaction: I know, sucks for the Falcons to make it to the playoffs with a rookie QB who doesn’t kill animals)…

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

How Amos Lee of Me.

My favorite line of a song is from Amos Lee’s “Keep it Loose, Keep it Tight.” Interesting song title, I confess, but I will avoid the immaturity that could easily become pervasive in my blog, and move along to the lyrics.

“But the people on the streets

Out on buses or on feet

We all got the same blood flow.”

I don’t know why that line resonates with me. Maybe my connection with all kinds of people is why I chose to be in a “helping profession.” Or, on the contrary, maybe I just like the way the line rhymes Given my own lyrical creations, this could indeed be the case…Fat Cheryl, Alaskan Love, and Hey Amos were quite the rhyming tunes J In actuality, I do think it’s a meaningful message and one we often forget. So today, I tried not to forget Amos Lee’s message. I decided to ride the city bus.

My decision to ride the city bus was only the beginning of my journey. I would like to think that the honorable reasons to ride the city bus were the critical factors in the decision making process. I really wish I could say, “I just wanted to be Green.” That would be so Asheville of me. Or so “Kerry” of me. For those of you that know that our staunch Republican buddy just named his firstborn son after a Democratic Presidential candidate, you might understand why I chose John Kerry as my Democratic environmentalist reference. The real factor that determined my decision was that I don’t have a parking permit for the UGA campus, so I needed an alternative. Carpooling was becoming “mooching” in my mind. I think I learned the word “mooch” from my MS lunchroom. Anyway, riding the city bus was more of a “have no choice” decision, but I can honestly say that there was a part of me that thought I should get in the mix with folks of similar blood flow that I don’t mix with very often. How Amos Lee of me.

I was very thorough in planning this ordeal. I checked the Athens Transit online, determined that bus route 5 stops at the YMCA (one min from my casa) and also at the Tate Center (one min from the Psych bldg), and decided I would even catch the 8:25 bus instead of the 9:25 one just to be sure I was on time for the 10 AM lab meeting. I was impressed with myself. Super impressed that I overcame the days of being late to school (thanks to mom) but even more impressed by my conviction to do the unthinkable. Okay, I agree that that was a TOTAL exaggeration. It’s a fucking bus ride. I get it. But I still was impressed with myself.

I arrived to the bus stop early. 8:13 to be precise. I even photo documented myself sitting on the lonely green stool.

It was actually kind of peaceful. Under a tree next to the YMCA, breezy morning, feeling thin because I’ve been sick for 2 days. Yes, thinness brings peace no matter how it arrives. For those of you that can’t understand that, I hate you. People kept driving by looking at me. Of course, I assumed they were wondering why I was riding the city bus. That is probably an extremely biased thought, which I recognize. Rheeda Miller (I mean Walker) says that recognizing that you have biased thoughts is the first step to changing them. I hope this isn’t a 12 step program.

Back on track. So, at exactly 8:25 I hear the rumble of the Athens Transit Bus. I could start smelling blood flow just like my own. Untrue, but I did hear the bus. It was then that I started sweating. Why was the bus traveling down the other side of the road? I thought about all of the times I had seen OTHER people ride the city bus and realized with a faint heart that buses don’t usually stop across the street for waiting passengers. These buses don’t have STOP signs or whiny children. Then, I saw the other bus stop across the street about 200 yards away. Even thought I hate the FML acronym, I found it appropriate at this moment. As the bus passed me, I awkwardly stuck out my arm at the driver like, “Hey, I don’t want to be too obvious that it’s my first time riding the city bus, but I sort of do at the same time, because I need to get to the Psych Bldg.” He clearly didn’t understand all of what was being said with my arm gesture. He waved back, and sped past me wondering what the hell was flowing in my white friendly blood at 8:25 AM.

All I could do then was follow bus #5 to school as I called the Clinic to ask for a parking pass for the day. I got a picture of the back of bus #5 at a red light, but the AM sun only allowed a shadow of the city bus to be seen.

Maybe that’s fitting though. Maybe I wasn’t supposed to experience Bus #5 today, because I was in the wrong frame of mind and doing things for the wrong reasons. I think I’ll try again next week and think about another part of Amos’s song.

“Sometimes, we forget what we got.

Who we are, oh, who we’re not.

I think we got a chance to make it right.

Keep it loose, Keep it tight.”

So, next week, I’m gonna make it right. I’m gonna loosely saunter 200 yards farther down the opposite side of the street, and hopefully I’ll figure out how to keep it tight this weekend.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Clapping Hands

The mind works in weird ways. While I was at a bachelorette party in the N. Georgia woods last weekend (don't act like this isn't a common bachelorette party destination), my buddy Megan told us a story about a murder that happened years ago in the cabin next to hers. The picture above is of the actual cabin where the murder took place. Creepy. I decided to document the story-telling with photos of faces of several of the girls attending the party.

It was fun in a twisted, story-telling kind of way (this "twisted fun" was captured beautifully in the picture of Colleen below).

Anyway, the story was great until I woke up from my wine/beer/liquor stupor at 6 AM on the couch in the living room…the closest possible sleeping position to the front door of the cabin. There were 5 places to sleep upstairs and 4 places to sleep in bedrooms downstairs. There were 9 girls. I would have never selected this spot with a sober mind. The front door is obviously where the murderer enters a cabin. I immediately started hearing things…ya know, the usual night time sounds…rain, an animal breathing next to my ear, wind. Okay, so maybe not the breathing animal. This one threw me off as well. After the hearing things wasn’t enough to fully freak me out, the mind decided to take over the scary movie project. While I’m writing this, I’m playing that fun game where you arrive at a strange image or a thought, and you replay every thought it took to get you there. So, my ending image: CLAPPING HANDS.
All I kept thinking about was how I would be the first one to die. I mean, there are advantages and disadvantages to that outcome. Death would be the obvious disadvantage, but several advantages might include not seeing 8 other girls die. Once the brain hit that string, I couldn’t get over the fact that if 9 girls were murdered in one cabin, that would become a movie. That’s better than Bundy’s three in one night by a multiple of three. I assumed an intelligent murderer. Not sure why. Perhaps because I was in a cabin full of future Ph.Ds, I assumed that the man (yes, I pictured a man) that put us away would have to be smart. This led to the creepy thought of how a smart murderer would kill the first person in the cabin on the couch…ME!
I determined that he would obviously slit my throat. Why? Because then I couldn’t warn the others. But then I smirked to myself and experienced some internal dialogue, “Oh smart murderer, don’t judge a book by its cover.” By this, I meant, a girl with a slit throat is not simply a useless girl with a slit throat. In fact, she still has hands. My lasting image was me clapping my hands to warn the other girls. How clever of me. Call me Doc.
This would undoubtedly lead to them waking up from drunken slumber, and the result would be 8 v. 1. Advantage: 8 Ph.Ds.
I fell back asleep feeling much more content about the kind of person I am. What began as a selfish scary movie about me being the first one to die ended with a final unselfish gesture to save the lives of 8 amazing women.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"We are Siamese if you please..."

“This is the life, it’s just beautiful down under today!” No, I’m not in the shower scrubbing myself with a loofah and talking vainly about my “shark” as my teammate, Laney, would call it. It’s actually the first sentence on the back of an Australian bottle of Shiraz that I’m enjoying with my Siamese Twin tonight. It is one of our last nights together in Asheville. Tragic.

Before I discuss all of that though, I’d like to talk about loofahs since I randomly mentioned them. I was watching a show on MTV when I was eleventeen. It was a boy vs. girl show of some sort where contestants had to answer questions about the opposite sex to earn points. Unfortunately for the female host, but fortunately for me, this was a live show. She asked the male contestant, “What is a loofah?” He looked very confused, as most people that are contestants on an MTV show do. The host repeated her question, and then said with a smart ass, sassy tone, “A loofah, A-L-O-O-F-A-H, A loofah.” Props to her for watching the Scripps spelling bee and understanding the format, but she probably should have taken a closer look at the card in front of her with the question and realized that “A” and “Loofah” are two separate words. In a nutshell, her format was very Indian, but her spelling was very Caucasian. If I were the dude, I would have asked the origin of the word "aloofah." I would have followed that up with, “Are there any alternate pronunciations?” I just realized that this will not be funny to anyone who has not watched the Scripps spelling bee.

Another quick live TV moment that you Georgia folks can appreciate was the comment from one of UGA’s football geniuses following the win over Florida. When asked how they pulled off the win, he responded, “We played balls to the wall, maaaaan.” I really felt like I understood their game plan after that. Well said, well said.

Back to my Siamese Twin…I am going to miss that girl even though I’ll be glad when her head is no longer lodged in my neck. It’s been a long, strange trip as Bill Walton would say, but this separation surgery that is about to go down will be crazy. By separation surgery, I’m referring to my move back to Athens. Talia will never leave Asheville. It’s because of the mountains she says. Georgia has mountains…and fun bars, and most importantly, ME. I really will miss her, so I thought I’d take a moment to reminisce on our Siamese Twin-ness. Here are a few of my favorite things that I will miss:

(1) talking in our own language

(2) listening to her first laugh of the day

(3) drinking wine while we play computer and watch Intervention

(4) realizing that we’ve never remembered an entire episode of Hoarders because the bottles of wine were all consumed during Intervention

(5) telling her things that everyone else would judge me for and hearing her laugh about it

(6) listening to her tell me things that I would judge anyone else for and laughing about it

(7) chatting online while we’re sitting next to each other

(8) cooking dinners together...even if our meat is McDonald's chicken filets

(9) drinking Dogfish

(10) telling her I have some gossip and hearing, “TELL ME NOW!”

(11) making up our own lyrics to songs that exist and don’t exist…and, semicolon, whereas

This last one is why we are just like the Lady and the Tramp cats. We are Siamese and we pretty much sing everything. It’s probably really annoying to everybody but us. There are probably a hundred more things to list, but I can’t write a 4 page blog that nobody understands. I’m sure I have already exceeded the inside joke blog limit. This is simply a tribute to an awesome friend. In closing Boo Boo, Good Night and Good Luck.