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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Work for You Means Work for Me

I decided today why I don’t ever delegate tasks to other people. It’s actually a question on the Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder interview...”Do you have difficulty delegating tasks to others..?” or something like that. I would certainly say YES to this question; however, I do NOT have that disorder. Actually, some people would laugh at the thought of me even attempting to pretend that I did have that disorder (i.e., my advisor, Josh, who is convinced I have the lowest level of Conscientiousness in the history of graduate students). Josh won’t read this, which is good. As I write it, though, I’m thinking about how conscientious he is and acknowledging the fact that he would search for my blog on Google for hours if he heard that I mentioned him in it. So, those of you who do read my blog and know Josh, shutup. And no, I’m not going to throw him a compliment at the end of this paragraph as if I am scared. Not my style.
Anyway, I hate delegating tasks to others for fear that they will do it incorrectly. Why? Because they do…every damn time. I’m reminded of this frequently and then kick myself in the vagine for being stupid and forgetting the rule. Forgetting the rule just makes more work for me, which obviously brings us to the title of my blog: Work for you means work for me. What a shitty concept…really. I’m by no stretch of imagination the most diligent ant in the colony, but I do sometimes feel like I’m shiftin’ dirt from my pile and people are just pilin’ it on when they’re facing the south end of my north bound ass.
Exhibit (no letter, because it will be the only one in this blog).
I took my team to Luella’s BBQ tonight for dinner. $11 limit including drinks…yes, I didn’t stutter children. No, you can’t use someone else’s money if they don’t use all of theirs.
“Coach, she doesn’t like Luella’s.”
“I could care less.”
That’s pretty much how it went. Food was good, I thought, but I do come from a place where free meals are good. Apparently, that isn’t a concept that has drifted down to scholarship athletes, but none of my concepts about how to cut hard, defend, and communicate drift down either, so I shouldn’t be surprised. I also shouldn’t be surprised that work for them (which was the easiest job ever) meant more work for me. By work for them, I mean, I give you $100 and you eat for 5 days. That’s $20 a day if my math is good…certainly not Rachel Ray material, but sufficient when you have a grocery store less than 3 minutes away and are surrounded by places that cater to poor college students. Come to find out when the Luella hating girls practiced after their day off, most of them ate only one meal prior to the 2 PM practice and one of our girls actually ate nothing. So, in a hasty, emotional moment, BB, our head coach, demanded that they return $60 for 3 days worth of meals and that we “hold their hands” to each of their meals for the next 3 days (this means I hold their hands because I'm in charge of team meals). OH JOY! To BB…thanks for taking a stand in my honor. To the girls…I hate all of you.
Keep in mind, I would not say anything in my blog that I wouldn’t say to the faces of the people in my blog. I can promise you that. If you read my last blog, you know I asked a man with horns why he had horns. Well today, as we left Luella’s and all I could think about was how giving my players $100 to eat ended up being me eating 3 meals a day with them, I told them, “Meet me at McDonalds tomorrow morning at 9, and…I hate all of you.” They laughed, and I kicked myself in the vagine.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Last Night's Insane Asheville Posse

I’m sitting here in study hall again. I guess I’ve been promoted, so I get to cover it on Tuesdays now also. Too bad my $47 a month paycheck (after taxes) didn’t feel the boost. It was fairly comical when I got my W-2 actually. A friend told me that you don’t have to claim income less than $500 on your taxes. It’s funny that I didn’t have to claim my income from a full-time job…

Anyway, I’m drinking coffee at 5:30 at night because I can’t keep my eyes open in this place. I owe that to my gallivanting around Asheville on the “snow day” until 1 AM. Despite the repercussions of this life choice at 8 AM, there were a few noteworthy moments from last night that I thought I’d share J

I’ll start with the strangest moment, a very good place to start (a lil’ Sound of Music flava there). This moment occurred at the conclusion of the evening’s adventures when Talia and I met our yellow cab on the Mellow Mushroom corner. His name was Kevin. That is how flowery love stories start, but this is not a flowery love story at all, because I would find it very difficult to fall in love with a man with horns. Yes, that is what I had said. HORNS. I noticed these horns immediately sticking out of the top of Kevin’s hat, and naturally, I commented on them without hesitation. I tried to be discreet about it, though, so I said, “Are those horns?!” Kevin smiled and acknowledged that the silver sharpened accessories were, in fact, horns. I think I asked him why he had horns, and he just sort of shrugged. If I were him, I would have responded that I thought horns would provide a nice addition to my 3 inch thumb nails, Insane Clown Posse T-Shirt, and red chest length goatee. But, Kevin must not have thought they all went together. Nice guy Kevin was. He doesn’t have a girlfriend though.

Then there was Erica… a real gem. Erica probably doesn’t remember me or Talia but she has our phone numbers in her cell, so it should make for a humorous, confusing moment at some point. Erica is a nurse by trade. Last night, though, she was a drunk and angry girlfriend who made the absolute most out of her frustration by living it up at Bier Garden. She eventually called her boyfriend to take her home, and so Rod (his actual name is Brad, but due to Erica’s slur, the initial introduction was a bit distorted) showed up and sat patiently next to her while she ordered rounds of shots for her new found friends. We bonded over YouTube videos, Erica’s reported suckage at basketball, and a Quesadilla. Rod was a real champ through two lemon drops and tequila. He even thought that the name Rod sounded cooler than Brad, and when he repeated it to himself a few times and pumped his fist, I began to question his manhood. It was after the fist pumping that I realized why we shouldn’t worry about large bar tabs…Erica and Rod left holding hands.

Finally, there was our evening ending event. Chasing Jorge. In contrast to “His name was Kevin,” Chasing Jorge sounds like a cheesy thriller about a druglord near the Mexico border. This is almost what happened. Jorge is Talia’s cat that we lost in the sunroom and found behind the refrigerator hissing. Overwhelming similarities, I know.

The screen just got blurry because my eyes closed. Study hall nap time…maybe I’ll dream of chasing a falsely named man with horns…it really doesn’t seem that strange of an idea after last night. Good times and a well-deserved toast to Kevin, Erica, Rod, and Jorge...last night's Insane Asheville Posse.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Can people hear themselves talk?

I’ve heard the saying a million times, “They just like to hear themselves talk.” It’s our passive-aggressive way of pointing out that somebody needs to shut the hell up. Lately, though, I’ve been wondering if people really CAN hear themselves talk. After tonight, I’m convinced that it’s a total misnomer. There is no way people can hear themselves talk, because if they did, I wouldn’t currently want to strangle these four UNC Asheville kids sitting up here in the student lounge. Why am I in the student lounge? Because I get the pleasure of monitoring study hall from 7-9 on Sunday nights – it is one of my many coaching duties that has landed me a stellar paycheck.

So, these kids are playing some card game and I’ve heard, “Fuck you and your four jacks,” like 8 million times. If somebody is getting 4 of anything that many times in a card game, then the other 3 people suck. Bottom line.

A second favorite that I’ve heard is “Let’s go to Scandals and see a Trannie show.” This one is coming from a girl trying to convince her boyfriend to go with her to the show. She has his roommate on her side. Yes, I’ve managed to determine the inter-relationships among the 4 sucky card players. Things are getting more awkward, but this appears to be par for the course with this foursome.

Then, I hear the blue ribbon winner. “Don’t hit me with your calluses, or whatever you want to call those, because they aren’t nails.” WHAT?! That’s just gross. Hitting people with your calluses…I really can’t even comprehend that. It’s one of those phrases that you hear and think, “Wow, I never thought that combination of words would actually be uttered in my lifetime.” It happened though, it really happened.

What a joyful array of comments that are being tossed around the student lounge…I mean, really?

Seriously though, I do not know where UNC Asheville finds these kids. I think that, in order to get in to school here, you have to write that you play Magic on your application. There’s also probably a spot on the application for what Organic (i.e., non-functioning) brand of deodorant you wear, the quantity of weed you smoke (the yes/no question is skipped because it’s a given), and perhaps, what article of clothing you love to wear that makes you unique…which, in reality, isn’t unique at all, but you won’t find that out until you arrive at campus with the other Magic players during Orientation week.

Back to my original point though, I don’t think people actually hear themselves talk. If you don’t believe me, here is some additional evidence that may persuade you otherwise….

(1) People still say "Um" a gazillion times when they give class presentations

(2) One of my players says, "That's Gucci," to describe cool things

(3) Some people just don't shutup...ever...and they don't know who they are

(4) Southern accents still exist

(5) Dick Vitale never knows if anything or anybody is "SERIOUS"

These are all clues that maybe people can’t really hear themselves talk, but if you aren’t convinced yet, just keep in mind that Sarah Palin is still giving speeches.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Helen, not Keller, but with similar senses...

I know everyone has a story about calling Customer Service. Fortunate for you, mine doesn’t involve someone from the Phillipines or India or wherever, because those stories get old. Instead, my story begins and almost ends with Helen, a New Yorker.

I called Charter because my internet wasn’t working – it was connecting to the Network but I couldn’t surf? It had just worked before I went out of town, and I thought that maybe the snow from our global warming Asheville winter had messed something up while I was gone. I pressed “1” for English, tried to enter some account number that I didn’t know, and then proceeded to scream “Agent” at the automated woman whose name I didn’t catch. She kept replying “So, I think I understand what your problem is…” Clearly, she didn’t because I had to scream “Agent” about 3 more times before I heard good ole Helen’s fresh, cheery Big Apple accent. Helen was super nice – we were on a first name basis within a couple of minutes…the start of any great relationship, right?

Helen asked me lots of questions, but basically guided me through the process of unplugging the cable cord from the modem and plugging it directly into my computer…she said that we should bypass the router…I thought that this was odd, because I now had a cable cord that was connecting my computer and the router…so, how the hell was that BYPASSING the router?! But anyway, the internet still didn’t work, obviously. Then, she asked about the lights on my modem, and I told her that the first 3 weren’t flashing.

She quickly replied, “Oh, Lauren, that is not good, not good at all. Let me get a tech.” Sure Helen. She gets back on the phone after like 5 seconds, so I’m guessing “the tech” was snuggled between her inner thighs or something.

Then she says, “You’ve got a modem problem. That’s an old modem Lauren. You’re gonna have to go get a new one.” She also rattled off all these numbers that apparently described the model of my ancient modem…she reads well basically.

I said, “Well, that sucks Helen. Thanks for your help.”

She finished with a chipper, “No problem, Lauren, and tell your stepmom to upgrade you guys to Plus speed.”

I closed with a “Sure thing,” knowing damn well that my internet speed did not need upgrading and I hate that Helen had to try to sell me something at the end of our seemingly genuine relationship.

I hung up the phone feeling dejected, but knowing that I needed the internet BAAAAAD…for blogging, getting season stats, posting pictures of my cute dog, and WEBCAM WEBCAM WEBCAM, my savior. So, I decided to call back just in case Helen maybe missed the class on bypassing the router.

After going through the “1”, “Agent,” “Agent,” “Agent” process, I got Trisha on the phone. I felt a little pang of sadness when Trisha and I became first-name basis buddies so quickly, because it made me feel like mine and Helen’s relationship was so meaningless…but, my eagerness to get internet superseded the sadness, and I pushed forward. While I was explaining my problem to Trisha, I tried to undo all of the juicy goodness that Helen had done during our brief interaction so I could start from scratch. As I was telling Trisha about Helen and the lights on the modem and all that jazz, the Google page magically appeared on my computer screen. I thought it was a trick, so I typed in and saw some Duke Puke player.

That’s when I laughed and said, “Trisha, I don’t think Helen knew what she was talking about.”

Trisha awkwardly responded, “Ok Lauren, what do you mean by that?”

“Well, my internet appears to be functioning normally, the lights are on my modem, and it’s all happening by doing the opposite of what Helen said to do.”

In a very politically correct tone, Trisha announced that she was pleased my internet was working. At this point, I was laughing internally at the whole experience, and decided that I would finish my stellar Customer Service phone call without filtering.

So, I said, “Yeah Trisha, me too. And do me a favor, if you happen to run into Helen, tell her to step up her game.”

Trisha mustered up a half-assed chuckle and said “Have a good night, Lauren.”

I hung up the phone with Talia in the background cackling like it was the first time she had laughed all day – that pretty much means she was heaving. I think it was the best I have ever felt after a Customer Service phone call…and then I lost Mr. Carson for 30 minutes in the pitch black night and fake Asheville blizzard, panicked, and realized that I needed to step up my parenting game. That little shit killed my buzz.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What do kids' games teach us?

I got the idea to write this blog randomly on our road trip to Charleston/Myrtle Beach after playing Trouble with one of our other assistant coaches and her 5 year old son, so here goes :)
Trouble – I was pissed because I was blue and I wanted to be green, but I would have looked like an ass if I beasted the 5-year old for his green pegs, so I graciously accepted blue. I taught the kid to sing Ray Lamontagne “Trouble Trouble Trouble Trouble” during the game every time we sent somebody back to homebase. He thought it was great – I was happy to pass along Ray’s music to a young ear. I came in 3rd place out of 3, was not pleased, and then tried to think about what I learned.
In a nutshell, Trouble teaches you that if you land on top of somebody, you win. And, since immigration is an ongoing and important issue, Trouble ensures that you know that if you keep sending people back to where they come from, you will continue to stay ahead of them.
Hungry Hippos – this game probably has the easiest lesson of any of the kid’s game. It’s a very American game. Put quite simply, If there is limited food, aggressively go after it – the more you eat, the better chance you have of winning.
Chutes and Ladders – It’s difficult for me to comment on what exactly this game teaches, seeing as my parents bought me the bootleg version of the game called “Snakes and Ladders.” When I asked my friend for an idea of what Snakes and Ladders teaches kids, she looked at me like I was ridiculous. It reminded me of the time I got chastised for not knowing what FunFetti was the first week of grad school…my parents really dropped the ball apparently.
Yahtzee – This game is simple….TAKE CHANCES. 4 of a kind is better than 3 of a kind, so if you’re looking for a Mean Girls crew, pull in as many bitches as possible. And lastly, a Full House is good, so make lots of babies.
Sorry – Seeing as the only thing I remember about Sorry is the name of the game, I’m guessing that it teaches you that this is an important word, fo rizzle. It makes me wonder right now how many times we’ve said “Sorry.” This reminds me of our head coach’s comment following the National Anthem in our last game…she said in the huddle, “Do you ever wonder how many times you’ve heard the National Anthem?” I wanted to respond, “Do you ever wonder why we lose so much…perhaps because you ask questions like that in the huddle 1 minute before gametime.” I refrained to avoid losing my nonpaying job.
Candyland – According to Talia, this game teaches you to hang out with fairies….hmmmm.
Life – I used to play this one with my older brother at my Nan and Papa’s as a kid. It was one of my favorites actually. My Nan gave me a picture of Brett and I playing it by the pool…I had my shirt off, so I’m sure Brett was pissed at me, which probably motivated me to speed through life in my sickening plastic car. Looking back, I think the game of Life is just like the cliché life…we should all want to become doctors and make several hundred thousand dollars a year. I guess it taught me to dream big? Nah, stupid game – no good lessons. I’m gonna make a new game: “Life 2” (original I know)…your job options will be Real Housewife of Atlanta or Unemployed…I feel like the average person that would play a board game has a better chance of being one of those two things than a doctor.
Operation – Loud noises are annoying. The End.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dogfish Day

Today was Dogfish Day. January 27, 2010. Dogfish days come every few months and they always follow Dogfish nights. Night = amazing, Day = horrific. I should explain what I'm talking about now, so you can follow along. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA. It's my favorite beer, and I like to pass along it's hoppy greatness to my friends (e.g., Tal Tal, whose nickname does not adequately convey her level of maturity). The label says it contains 9% alcohol. I am going to petition that below this, they should indicate in large, YELLOW caution letters that 9% alcohol means you lose 91% of your ability to function normally. This is where my blog photo comes in. I'm sure you were wondering why I posted a picture of two Asian girls covered in mud. This would be perfectly normal given the fact that I am not Asian, and I don't like taking mud baths. Let me educate you...I included it to provide support for my 91% theory. Go ahead, Google "Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA." The Asian girl mud bath picture will pop up on the first page...

So, now that I've effectively supported my petition for a label amendment, I'll continue. Last night was definitely a Dogfish Night. I bought some of this liquid beauty at Greenlife for Tal Tal as a surprise. For some reason, being at Greenlife puts me in a giving mood. Maybe it's because I would love to give all of the people that shop there some shampoo...or some clothes that match...or some deodorant...or some normality. Greenlife shoppers are evidence for my "trying not to be cool because you think it's cool" theory, but that's a whole other blog...but anyway, I bought the beer in my Nike jacket, which I'm sure is about as popular as asking for plastic bags at Greenlife, and I headed home smiling thinking about brightening Tal Tal's world.

In retrospect, I should have allowed my giving mood to be selfless. Instead, immigrating to the real world (i.e., being exiled from Greenlife) made me selfish again. I opened the Dogfish before Talia even got to the house. Poor life decision. What followed was typical...more Dogfish, going downtown at 10 to the Bier Garden, more Dogfish, shit-talking in Cornhole, acting ridiculous, more Dogfish, acting more ridiculous, and then.............

MORNING (i.e., Dogfish Day). The alarm went off and I had the familiar Dogfish feeling...death. Then, I had the familiar Dogfish thought..."how did I get here?" Then, I performed the familiar Dogfish into work sick. Shame on me. Shame on my selfishness. Shame on Dogfish Head for not telling the truth on their labels.

I will say, though, that even though Dogfish days suck worse than our Big South record, Dogfish nights have a lot to offer. So much, in fact, that I think I'll go ahead and add them to my 2010 calendar. This means Tal Tal will have to Trek to Athens a few times after April :) Goodnight to January Dogfish Day. The Mayor will be happy to see my face tomorrow.