February 2008 Archives

Let's say, hypothetically, that you know this girl named uhhh Nicki. And she keeps a very silly blog at errm, nickilicious.com.

Right so Nicki was wearing terribly uncomfortable pants and was overwhelmed with sleepiness. But her pants were so uncomfortable that she couldn't even enjoy her nap, so she really had to just take them off and put a pair of boxers on instead. It then turns out it wasn't really the pants that were uncomfortable, but actually a pair of underwear with bitey elastic which Nicki had probably shrank in another hilarious episode of the Laundry Follies. Being a reasonable and sensible girl, Nicki removed her uncomfortable underwear from beneath her boxers (thinking, quite rightly, that boxers themselves are underwear, so the double layering was superfluous anyhow), and was blissfully snoozing away.

And then the UPS guy awakened her by ringing her doorbell (not the building buzzer, but the one actually on the door, which was startling to say the least), so she jumped up, displacing the sleepy gray kitty on her chest who had a full-on case of Narrow Face, and ran to the door.

The UPS guy had a really big, really heavy package for Nicki's boyfriend. It was so large, in fact, that it blocked the hallway for Nicki's neighbors, who right that instant were wheeling suitcases toward the elevator.

"Hey guys," Nicki said cheerfully from the doorway, off-handedly wondering if her boxers and striped socks wardrobe was advisable for 4 in the afternoon, but they waved hello and smiled. Nicki signed the UPS guy's electronic thing and said goodbye, wondering why he was lingering longer than usual in conversation. She began the arduous process of sliding the heavy box into her apartment as the UPS guy went on his way, and when she finished she stood up and for the first time, noticed a rather intense draft.

"Hmm," Nicki thought to herself, "have these boxers always been split completely down the crotch?"

Nicki turned to the internet, alternately laughing and blushing at the incident, and begrudgingly had to admit that, in the absence of any tearing noises or sensory indication that the split had just occurred while moving the box, she very likely flashed the UPS guy and several of her neighbors with her most intimate of areas. And by flashed, of course she meant "had hanging out for protracted viewing and didn't notice".

Not surprisingly, she was not able to resume her nap.

(P.S. to Eric, we have to relocate to a new apartment and preferably new city immediately.)

Light under water

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I've been taking inventory lately, and I realize I'm behind on almost everything, from personal correspondence or paying bills to painting and figuring out what I want to do with my life.

One of the areas where I'm guiltiest is editing and uploading photos. I have close to 2000 images from Hawaii, about a million from Italy, and I haven't even touched my Costa Rica photos from a few years ago.

It's not that I don't like editing photos - actually I really love it - but once I start looking and feel forced to choose among images, I get totally overwhelmed. Does anyone really want or need to see 8000 photos of flowers? And yet, I keep taking them, as if each flower I see is the last one on earth and God, if I don't capture it, I'll never see another like it.

One of the coolest things we did in Hawaii was snorkeling at Hanauma Bay, twice. Both trips were early in the morning, and I was being quite the chicken about getting eaten by sharks or - gasp - having the fish touch me. I brought my brother's small camera in an underwater housing with intentions of overcoming my fear by focusing on photography, and I did actually get some amazing shots. The trouble is, the first time I went I only had an 8 MB memory card (who even has those anymore?) in the camera. The second time, I had a 2 gig card, but almost no battery life. The combined images from both trips is less than 40 pictures, but some of them are really intensely beautiful.

Among them, I found an all-too-brief video I accidentally took, when I was trying to photograph sea urchins. It shows the light moving underwater, which for me is perhaps the most fascinating thing to see while snorkeling.



As I look at it now, I realize that this is one of the reasons I paint.

I think I should look through the rest of my photos and see what else is there. I have a feeling they'll help me catch up.

I only like my spam with eggs

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Okay and maybe cheese.

I have heard before about how spammers have brought a website down, and I never understood how that could happen.

I thought it was a euphemistic verbal flailing by technologically unsophisticated bloggers, the likes of whom referred to their tech support buddies by first name and say things like "but thankfully Christopher over at TypePad fixed it all for me, OMG he's awesome and so patient."

Now I understand the mechanism a bit clearer, as my site has gone down twice in as many months.

Basically, I have my comments set to require moderation whenever there is a link. I also had my preferences set to send me an email whenever a new comment was queued for moderation. Simple enough.

When a spamming robot hit my site, it would post 60 comments on the same post, and for every one of those comments, my site would send me a moderation email. Whenever a site on my host sends out more than 200 emails in an hour, it gets blocked, as this is the kind of activity of a spammer (irony, thy name is pork byproduct). I have twice now had to email them and promise I'm a human, explain what happened, and ask them to restore my site.

Now I've learned. I turned off the moderation emails, which means I may not moderate as quickly (ha!) as usual. I'm not ignoring your beautiful comments (and really, I love them so much), I'm just, yknow, doing other stuff.

Next, I wanted to set up a verification form, to prove you are a human. It seemed to me that Jeff Barr had the most elegant solution. I tried to set it up where you'd have to type Smiggy (a mash-up of Iggy and Smokey), but neither I nor Eric could get it to work properly.

So Eric suggested that he could help me set up a CAPTCHA in the morning. "A what now?" I asked with the clueless charm of the internaive ™. He explained that it stands for "Completely Automated Turing Test To Tell Computers and Humans Apart," an acronym which cracked me up for its seeming inefficiency, yet delighted me because really it said exactly what it did.

I registered and installed reCAPTCHA, a WordPress plugin that displays distorted text. It was practically effortless to install (by myself), and it made me very happy because it took all of a minute, whereas we'd unsuccessfully fooled around with the php for close to an hour. I'm sure you've seen many of these things all over the internet, and yes, hi Vicki, welcome to 2008 and all that.

What's neat about this CAPTCHA, however, is that it is also part of a project to help digitize text from hard to read scanned books. Your human interpretation of the distorted text gets sent into their project, which I think is rather lovely. (You can read more about it here or by clicking the little question mark in the reCAPTCHA graphic in the comments form).

Theoretically, it's been fixed and I should have no more site outages due to jerkface spammers. And you may now comment away (wheee)!

So as much as this started out as a frustrating experience, it has actually been kind of fascinating and satisfying to read and learn about another weird little facet of the internet experience. Whenever I have to do this stuff, I mentally chastise myself for not learning more (for example, it'd be nice to have the courage to finally change my theme, or say, learn enough about Flash to redo my art site the way I keep imagining), but I'll get there.

Valentine in potentia

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Eric and I talk a lot about things which are "in potentia" lately. You know, when you get a certain phrase or concept in your head and keep passing it back and forth? Yeah, that's us with in potentia.

I wasn't actually expecting to see him for Valentine's Day, since he had just left the day before for a month of cat-sitting at his mother's. He called and asked if I wanted to go out to dinner, then suggested that since Schnack is closing (oh, the sorrow), we should eat there at least one last time.

I was stoked that it would be low-key and fun, since I don't tend to do well at occasions where I am expected to dress nicely and act appropriately.

Side story: On one of my first Valentine's Day dinner dates, my boyfriend took me to a fancy restaurant, with a somewhat... over-eager service staff (read: they were hustling us out the door). I was getting tired of three people asking if I was done with my salad and coming over every few minutes to ask if we were "all set," so finally when the waiter, check in hand, asked if he "could bring us anything else" and hovered as I swallowed my second bite of dessert, I rolled my eyes and shook my head no. My boyfriend said something that made the waiter linger just a second longer to hear me say as an aside "Jeez, just go away and leave us alone for two seconds!" Of course, they both thought I was saying it to the waiter, my boyfriend was horribly embarrassed and offended and it went down in history that I was the rudest human being alive.

(When I used to tell stories like that in college, my friend Seth would shout "Good story Vicki, tell it again!" or say, "That's a good story, Vicki, you should tell it at parties." Eric has taken up this habit and thinks himself terribly clever.)

Schnack was way way chiller by comparison, and it was laid-back and comfortable. Eric and I both enjoyed beer milkshakes (yessss), split onion rings, and enjoyed the Best Deal burger which is truly out of this world wonderful. He was playing Outkast in the car because he had queued up "Happy Valentine's Day" when I got in, so I car-danced to "Heya" on the way home, sad that 2004 had really ended.


Since I am incapable of resisting surveys, memes, or any variety of cut-paste-and-overshare tasks, I feel compelled to gank the following from Hope.

I consider it big of me to resist correcting the who/whom problems in the questions:

How long have you been together? Officially since September of 2004, and we've been living together since June of 2005. For what it's worth, I've known him since I was 17 and he was my best friend for 4 or 5 years before we started dating.

How long did you date? I was trying to avoid math with my answer above. It has been 3 years and 5-1/2 months, nearly to the day.

How old is he? 28. (As I answered that, I had a total Stewie Griffin "42. Oh, I mean, he's very old. I think he's seven!")

Who eats more? I'm inclined to say it's pretty even. Without question, he eats much faster.

Who said 'I love you' first? As friends, I imagine I did. In a romantic sense, it was him.

Who is taller? He's almost a foot taller than me. In bare feet, he can rest his chin exactly on the top of my head.

Who is smarter? I'm smart enough to know better than to answer this question.

Who does the laundry? Neither of us, really. I like to think of it as an endurance test where smaller feet and nimble steps pay off.

Who does the dishes? That depends on who you ask. I will say I do them infrequently, but also that they infrequently get done.

Who sleeps on the right side of the bed? I ask him to sleep on whichever side is farthest from the doorway or closest to a wall, and he always wants to shove the bed against a wall. I like it best when I'm on the left side.

Who pays the bills? We try to split everything evenly, except obviously for my tuition and such.

Who mows the lawn? We have no lawn, but I am responsible for killing all the plants.

Who cooks dinner? We both do, and we both think we do it better and more often than the other. We get a little competitive in the kitchen, I fear.

Who is more stubborn? I think this is a question of comparing the gold and silver medalists in the Intergalactic Olympics with a 0.0001 point spread.

Who kissed who first? I drunkenly kissed him on my 21st birthday, then I kissed him when we were tossing around the idea of dating and he kept playing "A Kiss to Build a Dream On" in the car. Bonus points, I had just eaten a glazed doughnut hole, so I tasted really delicious.

Who asked who out? It's hard to say. It was kind of a mutually-agreed upon situation that went something like "We should date." "Yeah totally, we practically are." "Okay, hoorays!" Then I broke up with him a few days later on his birthday (because I was trying to amass shitty karma) and I'm pretty sure I asked him back out again.

Who proposed? We talk sometimes about marriage and children in potentia, and I'm fairly sure I asked him to marry me last weekend, but there have as yet been no official proposals.

Who is more sensitive? In the bad way, me. I think in the good way, also me. I am definitely more emotional and intuitive, whereas he is rational and intellectual.

Who has more friends? I think him. He's one of those people that everyone knows and most people like. He's a really friendly guy, and I'm more intensely devoted to fewer close friends.

Who has more siblings? We both have one brother each. Unless you count Otto, the miniature dachshund whom my mother refers to as my little brother.

YAY! Happy Half-Price Chocolate Day! OMG PONIES!!!1!

My buddy the bartender

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Eric and I went to a family wedding this weekend, with like all of my mother's family.

I should have seen trouble brewing during the cocktail hour. The bartender, I guess, was really into the idea that I liked Jack Daniels & Diet Coke (it's like, my drink). Whenever someone asked for said drink for me, she would "forget" to mix it properly and instead hand them a rocks glass full of bourbon with a Diet Coke floater.

It doesn't take a lot of math to realize how quickly that much bourbon, mixed with a lot of champagne, added up in my poor soggy brain.

So, anyone who knows me knows I love dancing, yeah? And that when intoxicated, it's really best I don't dance.

Yet all these people who know and love me very well watched drunken ADD take over, watched me forget to eat my dinner and cake, and instead spend most of my evening dancing with anyone who would.

It was an awesome good time on my end, except for Eric getting really mad at me, my mother having to take me aside to say my slip was hanging about six inches below the hem of my dress (my solution? take it off right there), and also getting lectured that flipping the bird with both hands is not an advisable action when one's grandmother is watching.

I'm embarrassed, as usual, but I'm kind of used to embarrassing myself. Mostly, I'm afraid I offended people and upset the bride and groom.

Also, my feet have actual bloody cuts on them and are incredibly sore. My hands have gigantic visible bruises, and my best guess is that they're from one point when my father spun me really quickly and I lost my balance, so he had to keep me from toppling over completely on the dance floor.

The irony is that I'd told Eric it was going to be totally low-key and that there wouldn't be any dancing at all. I wore impractical shoes with this exact thought in mind.

Sigh. Some day I will grow up and quit making a drunken ass of myself, right?

Is probably best to give up drinking until then. :-/

Herr Washington

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We got Chinese take-out last night, and this was one of the bills the delivery guy gave Eric for change:

Now I've heard of making George Washington's head into a mushroom, but giving him a Hitler stache? Really?

It's so pointless and strange that it became hilarious to me, I guess like so many things.

A cat related yarn

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Eric has been consolidating data lately, and he came across this gem he made for an animation class at SVA a few years ago. I love it so much!




Functional foods

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I'm a big fan of functional foods that claim to do things for your health, even if most of it is bunk.

At any given time, our cupboard is likely to contain wheat germ (that actually is good),Smart Balance cholesterol-reducing peanut butterNutrition for Women oatmeal, aloe drinks, Smart Balance oatmeal, fiber-enhanced breads, vitamin-enriched crackers, bran cereal, seventeen kinds of herbal tea, and so on and so forth.

I probably shouldn't be surprised that Eric doesn't always keep it all straight.

Today, while handing me an Activia yogurt and grabbing one for himself, he cautiously asked, "Wait, this stuff isn't going to give me a period, is it?"

I have to wonder which product makes that claim.

Team Monica

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In chemistry lab this evening, we split into lab groups for the semester, and I found I was with an older student and two young undergrads, all of them quite pleasant and eager to pull their weight (yay).

We were synthesizing azurite (wheee), which has a tendency to turn into its green counterpart (kind of), malachite. Our professor challenged us to try to get our precipitate to be as blue as possible, which would mean we'd synthesized the purest azurite. She joked that it would be a contest among the lab "teams," as she called us.

She came over and asked our team name, and we all looked at one another unsure of what to say. Eventually we just became a list of our names written in chalk in front of our filtration set-up, and that was that.

I then admitted that it was a lot of restraint not to yell out "Go Team Monica!" and when no one got it, I was like, "You know, from Friends...?" And then I realized that my team mates only knew Friends as kind of old-timey re-runs, the way I felt about say, Cheers.

So uhh, I'm old and obsolete. And if you still reference Friends in the vaguely present tense, apparently so are you.

Sometimes I want to yell first

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I try really hard to observe one of my personal rules about blogging: don't blog about my relationship with Eric. It's no one's business, it's disrespectful, and frankly it's not interesting to anyone but the two of us.

So let's talk about something else, however vaguely related.

Back in college, I dated a guy whom I nicknamed Skip (short for Skippy the Circus Retard). Auspicious beginning, for sure.

In the first week of our relationship, after a lengthy courtship, he really pissed me off by making out with a freshman who got all bitey, then he had the nerve to call me and tell me about it and how absurdly funny it was, having blown off our date to do so. He feigned innocence, saying he didn't know we were like dating dating, and that he didn't think it'd upset me because well, it was so funny it couldn't possibly have been sexy.

(You'd think I would have learned then).

Cut to a Halloween party which happens to fall on - yes that's right - my birthday. I had a friend visiting, and the three of us had hung out celebrating in my room before heading out to a party.

Everyone makes stupid mistakes and does hurtful things in life. Not everyone ends up making out with the same bitey freshman, in front of me, on my birthday.

Obviously, I was angry, and more than a little hurt. My friend also had taken a guy back to my room, so I had nowhere to sleep. (Have I mentioned what a blast college was sometimes?)

I interrupted them for a brief moment to use my phone to call another friend for a place to sleep, and I found a series of pitiful IMs on my computer, from my makeout-happy boyfriend, apologizing profusely and saying he understood that I'd never want to talk to him again and he'd leave me alone and he hoped I had a nice life.

Naturally, this made me even angrier because he had preemptively dumped himself, assumed he knew what I was thinking, and made all the decisions on my behalf. In the kind of drunken indignation that only a newly nineteen-year-old dressed as a Vietnamese prostitute can muster, I threw on pajama pants and a sweater over my pleather ensemble and marched over to his building, where I found his door ajar.

My friend, it turns out, had called him when I stormed out and said she thought I was heading over. She knew me well I guess.

He didn't apologize or ask my forgiveness, and because he was still stupidly drunk and exhausted, he said he just wanted to sleep.

"No," I said, wanting to burst into tears, "it's not fair. You just made all these decisions about us, you didn't even ask me to forgive you, and for Christ's sake, I didn't even get to yell at you!"

I realized, as I was sitting there in a ridiculous black wig with several dozen coats of mascara starting to streak down my cheeks, that that was what I was most mad about: I didn't get to yell. I didn't get to express myself or have my feelings or opinions aired in any way. That was a feeling vastly more frustrating and dehumanizing than watching someone I'd just confessed to loving the night before make out with a girl who two days later decided she was a lesbian. Knowing that he didn't care what I felt or had to say was more significant than anything else.

The thing is, I'm still mad when I think of this experience and others like it. I don't like not being able to express myself, even if it's just to vent my emotions in some irrational and hysterical catharsis.

I've decided the coldest thing you can do to another person is turn your back and refuse to speak, to regard your relationship as "take it or leave it" and shrug when asked your preference.

I'm not saying this is the case with Eric and I. I'm just thinking about past experiences, things said and done. I realize it's not the hurtful exclamations that have stayed with me, nor the hateful things done in anger. Rather, it's what wasn't said, doubts left unassured, and questions left unanswered, which became loudest and most painful in the end.

Tell the people that you love how much they mean to you, even if you're angry. I think they will appreciate it.

From my lovely mother

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Usually my mother is the model of composure and grace. Today is apparently an exception.

On the phone, she said, "My boss was really pleased. She wrote 'Holy ______, that was fast!' and of course you can insert the excrement of your choice."

"Excrement?" I said, "Don't you mean insert the expletive of your choice?"

"No, I meant excrement. You know, Holy crap, Holy shit..."


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from February 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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