Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas time lightning round update post

  • I should be sewing right now. I SHOULD BE CRAFTING. I have presents to finish. Lots and lots, although not all due by the 25th. So I came downstairs to sew, then I ate some nachos, then I decided to update my blog, then I spent about half an hour reading TOVA test manuals, and here we are.
  • I took what I am pretty sure was a TOVA test on Monday (do you see how I foreshadowed that in the previous bullet point? I am literary devicing the hell out of this post). It had numbers instead of little boxes, so it may have been a different brand than the one in the link. Anyway, it was horrible, and I don't have the results yet. The doctor said that generally if the person looks away from the screen during the (15 minute OMG it was so awful!!) test they have ADHD, and I read everything she had posted on the walls. But still, I'm worried that I failed the test, or passed it, however you want to look at it, and that's not what the problem is and then I'm back to square one of not knowing why everything about me is wrong or how to fix it. And I am just going to continue to freak out until I know exactly what I need to do, because I am irrational and this is how I do.
  • Bell choir plays on Friday night at 11:00 for the Christmas Eve service and I have no idea how it will go because I had to cancel practice Monday because of the snow. Actually, I had to cancel practice via ad hoc phone tree from my car stuck on I94 in the middle of snowstorm + Vikings game gridlock. Monday was a stressful day, guys. 
  • Ryan got me a photo book of all our Disney World food pictures, plus a shit-ton of chocolate and random wasting-time books. I am getting him an Arduino, which he asked for. I have no idea what it is, so I looked it up on Amazon, clicked on the first product that came up, and bought all of the "Frequently Bought Together" products. Total cop-out gift, I know. He may get something sewn too, if there's time, which there won't be, because I still have a few bullet points left in me. Onward...
  • Speaking of the food picture book, I've noticed lately that a lot of pictures of me could be classified as food porn. Not food porn in the food-blogging sense, like "Oh, hey, the editor called, he was wondering if you could Photoshop a few of those water droplets out of the picture you sent over. That tomato looks a little too juicy." I mean in the actual sense of food and porn, like, there are a lot of pictures of me sticking phallic shaped foods into my mouth. Case in point, my current Facebook profile picture. What's that all about? And, more importantly, is there a way to monetize this phenomenon? Surely there has to be a fetish for photos of people eating food in an accidentally sexy manner? My knowledge of nontraditional sex is limited and I'm afraid to Google it.
  • Holy crap, I just Googled it. Food porn (the blogging kind) has a Wikipedia page with a subsection titled "Actual Pornography." If this page had pictures (why wouldn't this of all pages have pictures!?) it would be the best Wiki article ever.
  • Clicked over to the Google image search and was confronted with several pictures of women wearing bacon bras. HOLY CRAP AGAIN.
  • This is probably a sign that I should get back to the Christmas presents. Here are a couple quick previews:




There are more, things that aren't far enough along to have photographed. But I've got the rest of the weekend, really. How does Santa do it, one is culturally obligated to wonder at this time of year.

Okay, back to work. But one more bullet point I just thought of.
  • "Lightning round" is a pretty inaccurate title since it implies some sense of speed and I took about half an hour to write this. But what would be better? Potpourri, or something like that? Miscellany? Clusterfuck? That last one is the most accurate but I had a swear word in the title of my last post so I need to self-censor this time around.
Ugh. Time to try to salvage some productivity out of the night.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That at least explains all the dick jokes

So I've been going to see a therapist. It's been okay, really. She's nice. She's also an ordained minister, which is kind of cool, but also weird, because you know, am I allowed to talk about sex? Because all of it thus far has been premarital (not that I have any specific reason to talk about sex, it just would be nice to know how awkward I should feel if it were to come up). But she is a Lutheran minister, so at least I know she doesn't think I have demons. We are a demon-free people, on the whole.

I've been learning a lot of interesting things, mostly about myself, things that I already knew because somehow I have managed to become really self-aware, which I think is part of the problem, because I'm critical. Anyway, they were things I already knew about myself but didn't put together as a cohesive whole, because I have a serious thought maintenance problem. They're just...in a cloud or something. A big electron cloud, and my head is the nucleus, and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle is directing the show. Is that too esoteric? Is quantum physics not an appropriate topic to use in an analogy? Because I have thought long and hard about this (critical self-awareness, you see) and quantum physics is the best I could come up with. My thoughts are wave packets and it is impossible to know where they are and what they are doing at any given moment. (That's not exactly what the uncertainty principle is, but for the sake of the metaphor it works. Also, the electron cloud of thoughts is hazy and green. Obviously.)

So we have been discussing what it means to have hazy green negatively charged sub-particle thoughts, along with a lot of other, non-bastardized scientific terms like "working memory" and "executive function," and oh, hey, it turns out I have like all of the symptoms of ADHD. What?? Come on.

To be honest I kind of expected it, and a former therapist recommended I get tested for it, but at the time I was busy trying to keep myself from wanting to die, so I forgot about it, then I remembered it again but put it off, and so on for five years, right up until the point a few weeks ago when I was convinced I was getting stupid and about ready to become a recluse. Because that is what I do. With everything. And, also, it's always better to err on the side of blaming yourself for things like this. I didn't want to come across as a victim or an excuse-monger, you know.

So next week I'm going to take the test, which I'm scared to death of, because 1) it's long, and I'm afraid I won't be able to concentrate long enough to answer questions correctly, and 2) I'm afraid I won't be able to think up good examples for the questions I'm asked. But maybe they've factored that into the test already? I don't know. I do know, not on the subject at all, that Ryan was overjoyed that I told my therapist I hate movies because they're too long. Because that is totally what I'm going to focus on fixing, Ryan.

But regardless of how the test turns out, I already feel better. This is validation in a way, this idea that something is wrong, yes, but it can be fixed. I remember it was the same way with my depression a few years back - I didn't start to get better until I had read a ton of research on depression and convinced myself that it was an actual, medical problem, not just my ability to fix myself. Plus, just having a term to search for on the internet is cathartic, really - today I found an article that had a 10-step guide to using a day planner to make lists and OH MY GOD THAT IS THE BEST THING EVER.

Seriously, I told my brother to get me a planner for Christmas. I'm pretty excited about this. There may also be color-coded post-it notes.

Bottom line: Things are gonna be okay, I think. They're about to get expensive, because next year my deductible goes way up, but I'm not taking classes next semester (I *may* be on academic probation...another warning sign I guess I missed...) so this is what I'm going to work on. Organizing. Color-coding. Paying bills in a timely manner and filing them in an easy-to-access-come-tax-time spot. Oh, and not being so hard on myself. In that vein, all future references to "bullshitting my way through life, desperately hoping I don't get caught" will now be referred to as "developing and maintaining effective coping strategies." I'm no expert at either, but I think cognitive-behavioral therapy and public relations may be the exact same thing.

There you go. I probably have ADD. So I'm not stupid. I'm just an 8-year-old boy.


Edit: OH MY GOD I JUST REMEMBERED THIS! The greatest South Park episode of all time!
Sad part is, that's my favorite book...I was totally yelling "It's a gold car! It symbolizes money!" at my screen the whole time... :)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Naomi Beck, Tiny Playwright

My brother is in town this week so yesterday we all got together and went to the buffet at the casino, because we are a classy bunch of people who appreciate the option of eating multiple portions of pig in a single meal. After brunch we went back to my mom’s house, where I was cajoled/guilted/forced into going through some of my old things which are still in her basement. I moved out almost six years ago but I’ve never been motivated to dig through the piles of books and papers, mostly because I knew I’d end up sitting and reading everything. But faced with everyone’s prodding I finally agreed to spend 15 minutes cleaning out an old nightstand.

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Most of the things I found I threw out right away - old magazines, homework, more stickers than I care to admit, that sort of thing. But I had plenty to keep, too. Old music flash cards (this was out of pure laziness - I assume that someday I will need to teach someone notes and key signatures, and I will be happy that I don’t have to make my own flash cards), a few letters from my dad (he used to write one to my brother and I at the start of each school year), some school awards, a letter I wrote to a former teacher but never sent, decorated with the aforementioned sticker collection (confession: I have had a crush on every male teacher I’ve ever had since junior high. I kept the letter more out of embarrassment than anything. I don’t think I can even read it!), and, probably the best thing that I forgot I had/did: a play I wrote when I was seven.

Yeah. I wrote a play! See, when I was little, I had a ton of career aspirations, but the one I remember having for the longest was writer. Or more accurately, a flight attendant, so I could see the world and meet a lot of interesting people to write about. I was a practical child. I remember writing stories all the time, but as far as I can remember, this was the only play.

So here it is: The Big Trip, by a seven-year-old Naomi, transcribed with spelling/punctuation/style errors left in. A few notes:
  • Tania was my best friend at the time and Aubrey (spelled incorrectly throughout) is her older sister. I believe we performed this for the kids in the nursery at church. As I recall, it was a total flop.
  • The parts are written for the performers rather than the characters, which I guess shows that I was writing it from a directorial perspective. It should be pretty easy to figure out who the characters are, because they usually introduce themselves. In the scenes on the planes, I'm the flight attendant.
  • The Peabody is a real hotel in Orlando, Florida. My family had gone to Orlando the previous summer and seen the duck march there, and I was absolutely enchanted. As far as I know, the catch phrase was of my own invention.
  • At the top of the first page I had written and crossed out "Daddy and Naomi's Big Adventure" (supposed to be a play about the time Dad and I took the car to the shop and rode the bus home) and on the back of the last page I have "The Mystery of the Lost Items" (no idea what that was supposed to be about). Even back then I couldn't finish things :/
  • I still do not know the difference between a scene and an act, so I can't comment as to whether that is correct or not.
Enjoy!


The Big Trip
by Naomi Beck
Naomi, Tania and Aubry

(written March 1992)

act one Tania’s House - T.A. office

Tania: This house is getting very dull. I think I shoud go on a trip. I’ll call the Travel Agent right now. (Tania dials the phone)

Aubry: Travel Agent office. Miss Conolly speaking.

Tania: Hello, I’d like to go to Florida and reserve a hotel there, too. Do you have any?

Aubry: Yes. I have a hotel and a flight for you. The hotel is the Pebody and I’ll get your flight pass ready for you. You can pick it up tomorrow.



act two Travel Agent’s office

Aubry: Here is the pass. Have fun packing!

Tania: Oh, Thank you! I’ll have fun!

Aubry: You don’t get it. Bye.




Seven Weaks Pass
Act three on the plane

Tania: Wow! This is neat!

Naomi: Buckle your seatbelt. This plane takes off in five minutes.

One Hour Later

Naomi: Here is your meal. Enjoy.

Tania: This is good!



Act four the hotel

Naomi: Pebody, Pebody, Pebody! May I help you?

Tania: Yes, can I get the key to my room

Naomi: Here it is. Have fun.



Act five Tania’s room

Tania: This is a nice room! (Tania relakses then gets her swimsuit on)

Aubry: Hello, I’m the maid. I’ll clean your room for you.

Tania: All together, this is worth all the money I paid.



One Week Passes
Act Six on the plane

Naomi: Well, it’s nice seeing you agin!

Tania: It’s nice seeing you to!



2 Hours Pass
Act seven Tania’s house

Tania: Wow! Was that ever a good trip!

Aubry + Naomi: Well Tania, was your trip good?

Tania: I just said that. Come on, let’s go! I’ll tell you all about my trip.

(Everybody walks away.)

The End

Monday, November 29, 2010

The annotated coffee shop visit

3:55PM I'm not sure why I came here. I could've just gone to the computer lab at school. Really, it's too late for coffee. I'll be up all night. Maybe I'll ask for it half decaf.

3:58PM Well, I just made a fool of myself asking if it was okay to charge a dollar coffee. Best not to make a bigger fool of myself by admitting I can't handle caffeine after noon. I'll just drink half of it. It's on sale, at least.

4:05PM Who do I sit facing: creepy guy with laptop, or two creepy guys talking near the "fireplace"? Oh, laptop guy is leaving. Problem solved.

4:15PM Is this coffee burnt? Seriously, not worth a dollar.

4:30PM I just used my student email for the first time in over six months and managed to somehow email myself instead of my teacher. How does that happen?

4:35PM I should leave. I already smell like old coffee. I should go to church and work on bell choir stuff. Wait, no, I should resend this email first.

4:37PM Guess I can't work on homework until I get a response, right?

4:38PM Mindless internet surfing

4:50PM Ooh, it's Cyber Monday! Gotta get Christmas presents while the shipping's still free.

4:54PM I hate Christmas music. Seriously. So much. Better Facebook about it.

5:00PM I have very little knowledge of modern American literature. Better Twitter about it.

5:14PM The wifi in here was working perfectly right up until the EXACT MOMENT I tried to make a purchase. WTF. This had better go through...

5:15PM Email....from teacher...oh well.

5:16PM Email from Barnes & Noble, awesome. Although I just thought of another book I need to buy. Damn. Hope the coupon works for more than one order per person. Or I could get Ryan to buy it for me. Could I convince Ryan to buy his own present? Am I that clever/devious/good at lying? I'd probably forget all about it by the time I got home.

5:20PM More Facebooking. Some texting. I really should leave soon.

5:21PM A couple of teens just sat down at the table across from me (formerly occupied by Creepy Laptop guy) and preceded to very loudly eat their Subway sandwiches. Like ridiculously loudly. On the order of livestock. I am 10 feet away and I can hear the chewing. Also, I'd like to point out that WE ARE AT CARIBOU. I hope they can feel the hatred I am beaming at them.

5:25PM Still chewing. Still beaming.

5:30PM The eating has ended but clearly I've lost focus. The homework isn't done, the coffee is only 1/3 done, and I am going to be smelling gross old coffee on myself for hours. And, as I look around, I'm noticing that most of the people here are teens, and they're very loud. I don't care if you're studying for your ACTs, or doing your group projects about the Industrial Revolution, or whatever, you kids need to keep it down. Seriously, don't make me come over there. And stop drinking Caribou Coolers or whatever they're called. They're not real coffee; they're basically ice cream. And caffeine makes you skinny, girls. It's just like nicotine, but D.A.R.E. won't get all up in your face about it.

5:36PM That was totally an old person rant. I'm ranting about teens now. On my blog. Ours is a strange generation, the Millennials.

5:38PM New rule: Finishing a blog post counts as finishing something. I'm out of here. If I hurry, I can get to church in time to play the organ really loud for a few minutes before people start to show up. Yeah, I do that for fun.

5:40PM See you tomorrow, Caribou.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Unwelcome cachet

(Transcript of a phone conversation yesterday, as verbatim as I can get it)

"Hi, I'm wondering if anyone at your clinic is taking new patients?"

"That depends on what time you'd like to be seen."

"Mid-afternoon? Between 3:00 and 5:00 would be best."

"No, we don't have anyone available then. The only times we have free are between 10:00 and 2:00."

"Hmm, that probably won't work. Do you know if any of your other clinics have openings?"

"I can check. What is your primary reason for this visit."

"Um, I guess that would be depression."

"Oh. [pause] I can get you in at this clinic on Monday at 4:00."


So about a month ago I came to a shocking realization: I am a huge fucking moron and a total failure at everything I do. Out of nowhere! I can't finish anything, I can't start anything, I can't do anything. I'm not smart, not funny, can't communicate in any meaningful fashion, can't behave like an adult. I used to be so good, so awesome...and now I'm a horrible asshole. A huge fucking moron. I totally shut down, because when you are stupid and awful there's not a whole lot you can do anyway, right?

I thought about my problem long and hard and came to the conclusion that one of four things must have happened:
  • I somehow suddenly and inexplicably lost 26 years of intelligence and social graces;
  • I was always without intelligence and social graces, but somehow suddenly and inexplicably lost my ability to bullshit my way through life;
  • I was always without intelligence and social graces, was never able to bullshit my way through life, and was just now realizing what everyone else knew all along but was too polite to tell me; or
  • Adult-Onset Asperger's

When I finally got around to researching my predicament online (in the precious few moments I had between sleeping all of the time and being immobilized by my sense of worthlessness), I found out two things: First of all, there's no such thing as Adult-Onset Asperger's. And second, the symptoms of being a huge fucking moron are exactly the same as the symptoms of depression.

Seriously. Depression. What the hell.

Because here's the thing: I've had depression before. In a big way. The pills, the therapy, the overnight in the psych ward, everything. And I worked my ass off to fix myself and rebuild my life. And now it's back? Again, what the hell.

But then I realized, if it is depression, that means I failed to keep myself un-depressed. So either way, I'm right. I'm a failure. I win! And that tiny bit of cognitive dissonance was enough to overcome my denial and make me call a clinic, resulting in the above conversation. And they apparantly think I'm in such bad shape that I won't survive past the weekend. I win again! I win at having incredibly poor mental health. Gotta take your victories where you can, right?

So here I am, waiting for Monday. Already I feel better, smart enough to have figured out what was really wrong, accomplished enough to schedule an appointment. In control of my life enough to fix the broken parts. I am okay, or good enough, or working on it. It varies minute to minute.

For now I am just going to keep existing and see what happens.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In it for the long haul

How to Survive a Snowstorm:
1. Put on your warmest sweatshirt. Bonus points for irony. Extra bonus points for irony and veracity.
Puns = Fashion

2. Put on your tallest socks, because seriously, fuck pants.

3. Make sure you have plenty of warm beverages.
Premium Taste!

4. Make sure you have plenty of other beverages, too. Gotta have Vitamin C; it's cold season after all.*
Make sure you're getting your RDA of garnish, too.


All of this would have been greater comfort had I not actually had to go out in the storm today, but I had class, and for whatever reason my teacher decided that we really really needed to turn in and present our projects today and it just couldn't wait until next week. So I bundled up, dug my car out from underneath the (unnaturally heavy) snow, and five minutes into the trip realized I had left my phone at home. And that maybe psyched me out a little bit, because about half an hour later, when I was almost to school, my car spun out and I ended up perpendicular to the road stuck in the unplowed snow between the lanes.

Now, it should be noted that I survived (obviously), without injury to myself or my car, but spinning out is a harrowing experience nonetheless. My car stalled, since it's a manual, so I had to restart it, then fight my way through the snowbank, hoping that no one else was coming down the road, because they sure as hell wouldn't have been able to stop. Fortunately I was only stuck for a few minutes before I broke free and was able to get my car turned around, then I found a parking lot to turn back around in and drove back over the exact spot where I'd just spun out. By the time I got to class (25 minutes late) my nerves were so frayed I didn't even feel nervous standing in front of everyone to present my project...although, that could have been due to the fact that only about ten people actually showed up...

So to recap: We are less than 24 hours into winter and I'm already over it. But I have 99 more tea bags, the rest of the bottles of tomato juice and vodka, and at least one more ironic sweatshirt (remember the Burger King Kids Club? My chest sure does!). Come find me when it's April, okay?


*Apparently Vitamin C doesn't actually do much to prevent or cure colds. I found this out a few months ago, and it's been seriously messing with my worldview ever since. All those fortified cough drops...the oranges...the gin and tonics...were for nothing? I guess I can take comfort in the fact that I've while I've had numerous colds over the past 26+ years, I've never once come down with a case of scurvy.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

I did a thing on the internet

If there is one thing I'm passionate about, it's critical thinking. If there's another thing I'm equally passionate about, it's not paying attention to what I'm doing while I'm at work. Fortunately the Internet has given me a way to combine both of my loves: skeptical podcasts.

And now, in gratitude for the countless hours of thinking-but-not-about-the-task-at-hand they've provided me, I'm paying it forward. Last week I did a bit for the Amateur Scientist Podcast. Check it out; it's pretty awesome. But don't take my word for it. (Seriously, don't. I haven't listened to it because what if I'm terrible? And what if I hate the sound of my voice? And anyway, I haven't synced my iPod yet.) And when you're done there, go to the home page and check out the back catalog. I can definitely vouch for the awesomeness of the shows that don't feature me.

Regardless of how it actually turned out (and really, I'm sure it was fine) I had a ton of fun recording it, I learned how to use Skype, and doing research for the sketch forced me to learn more about the WikiLeaks scandal (guys, it turns out things in the Middle East are not going so well). So thanks, Brian, who does not read this blog, for having me on your show. I look forward to providing you with a short bio for your website in the near future.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The less serious update post

Contrary to the bitch-fest I just posted, I have been having a decently good time at life lately. Read this bulleted list to find out more:

  • I'm teaching myself how to use CS5 because for some reason my Document Design class is not. Which is weird, becuase you use the programs in CS5 to design documents. State school education; what can you do? Anyway, I like pretty things, and I love being a perfectionist, so I'm really digging design. I'm not very good at it naturally, but it seems that a good portion of design is seeing things you like and incorporating them into your own work in a manner subtle enough to not be considered stealing. Oh, and Before & After Magazine is awesome. The smiling, soft-spoken man in the videos has taught me more about design in the last week than I've learned all semester.
  • Halloween! I was going to go as a sexy octopus, but then Paul the Octopus passed away, so I think any sexiness in the costume would be in poor taste. Now I'm going to be a somber, introspective octopus who spends his days contemplating the capricious nature of Fate. While getting drunk and not wearing pants. Obviously.
  • I'm making these travel jewelry bags for my church's craft bazaar. I am a crafty church lady now. I think we all saw this coming. 
  • I made what was supposed to be a business card in Photoshop but it may have ended up as a masthead for this website instead. And next semester I'm taking a web design class. So look forward to that, alright?
  • Not two hours ago I recorded a thing for a podcast I listen to. It was a little strange, like talking back to my iPod (not that I don't do that already "Awww, Prince, that is so sweet of you to say. I would die 4 U 2, you know.") But fun. And, of course, hilariously out of character. I am KICKING ASS at my New Year's Resolution this year, guys.
I think that's it. Soon everything will be in a finished enough state that I can post pictures.

Oh, one more thing: Last weekend I went to a 20s-themed birthday party (actually, it was a Great Gatsby-themed birthday party, which was bullshit because the birthday girl was NOT turning 30, like the main character did in the book and it was kind of a huge deal plot- and character-development-wise. But whatever, don't worry, I'm sure Nick Carraway had a bunch of really cool stuff happen to him when he turned 25, too). Anyway, I made a flapper costume out of a little black dress from Kohl's and a bunch of fringe. Now, when I was young I loved Kohls. Probably 2/3 of my wardrobe was from their juniors section. But 10 years, a set of hips, and a desire not to look trashy later....man, you can't go back. You really can't. I don't think I've ever felt older than I did standing in the middle of a "Britney Spears for Candie's" display full of clothing for skinny 14-year-olds with daddy issues. Okay, now I feel older, now that I've complained about "kids these days." :)

The serious update post

It's that time of year, the time when it gets cold and dark and shit starts getting real in school and it's somehow already time to start thinking about Christmas music even though it isn't Reformation Day, and oh shit, is that this Sunday already? Where did I put that postlude on Ein' feste Burg that I played last year for Reformation Day? Yeah, the I'm-freaking-out-under-the-stress-of-it-all-and-thinking-in-stream-of-consciousness-rants time of year.

Or as some people call it, Autumn.

I like being busy. But I also like being un-crazy, and it seems lately that the two have been at odds. Also, I've been a bit miffed about the whole anti-bullied gay teens killing themselves, for reasons I can't fully explain without sounding like an asshole. It's a little bit like how I felt when the American public magically transformed Obama from a biracial man to a black man, except substitute "understanding what it's like to not know which ethnicity box to check on a survey" for "attempted suicide"and "so that we don't seem racist" with "so that we don't seem homophobic." Again, complex and asshole-ish. But basically, watching an issue close to my heart being reduced to a cause célèbre is tricky. Maybe that makes it sound more reasonable. I should probably write something more well thought out about this later (and the fact that I haven't written anything yet makes me simultaneously mad at myself and really grateful that I deleted my LiveJournal blog).

Seriously, Barack, you were raised by your white relatives and everything. Show some love for your high yellow brothers and sisters!

So, back to trying to remain un-crazy. Turns out it's way easier to go to a mental health professional now than it was the first time I was depressed. Thanks, Stimulus Package! (Seriously, that's how little this country values mental health, the only way we could get the insurance parity bill passed was to sneak it into the bill designed to keep the country from imploding.) It also turns out there's a ton of psychiatrists in Uptown. Hipsters got problems. So now I just have to find one that's taking patients. That's my goal for tomorrow, along with getting my car tuned up and finishing my Halloween costume and one of my class projects, etc..

Also, if you think you have a mental illness: get help, but STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM THE INTERNET. I thought I was being smart, I only went to reputable sites like Mayo Clinic's and NIMH's, but you start reading things, and you start clicking links, and all of a sudden you're not just wondering if maybe you have ADHD, you know you do. And you have Borderline Personality Disorder too, and you might be bipolar, and holy shit AM I AUTISTIC? I THOUGHT I AVOIDED EYE CONTACT BECAUSE I WAS SHY!!

So where I am right now in a nutshell: possibly depressed, probably not anything worse, still sane enough to blog.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Internet, I am back

Although in a way, I never left. Because I have The Twitter on my phone. And absolutely no filter.

PHOTO MONTAGE BEGIN!

IVEYS! This is my homemade dress. Check it out! At some point I will make a tutorial for the dress, but I'm taking this instructional design class about e-learning, so posting an online tutorial that won't affect my GPA is pretty low-priority right now. However, the dress did lead to some pretty interesting conversations about the role of underwear in a women's life and wardrobe, so it's already doing good.


Oh, and you're seeing that right; that's Miss Freaking Minnesota we're all talking to. She wore her crown the entire night. It was weird.


DISNEY! Don't look now, Ryan, but there's something magical behind you.

God, I hate myself for typing that. Seriously, Disney is a cool place, and a lot of fun, but it takes a lot to suspend disbelief. I mean, how magical is something that gets replayed day after day? And I'm sorry, but fireworks get less cool with each passing night. Who knew blowing shit up could have diminishing returns?


FOOD! All different types, in mass quantities. This is me eating a cloudberry horn from the Norway pavilion in Epcot. A brand new berry! It kind of tasted like, you know, every other berry.

BOOZE! This is me drinking a black and tan. It was a real stretch for me, as most beer I consume either looks/tastes like piss or has a slice of fruit in it. So really, this photo could also be called LEARNING!

I think that catches us up to speed. I am in the midst of learning how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. Maybe I will blog about that in the future. Until then, I'll be around Twitter, probably talking about where my pants are (spoiler alert: not my body).

Sunday, September 19, 2010

An intimate evening with Naomi and Ryan

Naomi: "Ugh, I am so greasy from eating those chicken wings. I'm covered in chicken grease."

Ryan: "Well it's your own fault for getting the wings instead of pizza."

Naomi: "I didn't say it was a bad thing. Maybe I like being covered in chicken grease. If I had to be covered in something, chicken grease would be at the top of the list."

Ryan: [pause, suggestive look]

Naomi: "Yeah, that's way below chicken grease. Like, around number five."

Ryan: "Really?"

Naomi: "Yeah, One, chicken grease. Two, pretty clothes. Three -"

Ryan: "Chocolate-peanut butter sauce."

Naomi: "Of course. Three, chocolate-peanut butter sauce. Four, um...self-confidence. Then that."

Next Sunday Ryan and I are going on vacation to Orlando. Or that's the official line that I give to people. Privately we are going to DISNEYWORLD!!!DISNEY!!!MOTHERFUCKING!!!WORLD!!!YEAH!!! Because we are EXCITED. Ryan is way into Disney stuff. I think it's because he never went as a child. I personally am way into trips that don't require much effort, and an amusement park resort fits the bill pretty nicely. The Disney bus picks you up from the airport and takes you to the Disney hotel, then another Disney bus takes you to a Disney theme park, then you go on Disney rides and eat Disney food, and at night you take another Disney bus to a Disney night club, then back to your Disney hotel room. Disney, everywhere, non-stop. You sell your soul and a good portion of your brain, but it's so worth it.

Also, they brought Captain EO back last year after Michael Jackson died!! This is the greatest exploitation of personal tragedy since Memorial Day!

So now that we're within a week of the trip, the excitement levels are off the charts. We went on errands today, but not just any errands, Getting Ready For A Vacation Errands. Which, as you may know, are the best errands ever. Travel-sized toothpaste! Sport band-aids for blisters! Ponchos! Antacids!! No bread, because we already have enough bread for the next week!! Snacks!! Less than three ounces of various liquids!!! New tennis shoes, or is it too late to break in a new pair, because you don't want to be breaking them in on the trip because we only got the small box of blister band-aids!!!

And on it went, until we found ourselves at the deli counter of the Bloomington Walmart, where I made the fateful decision to get chicken wings instead of a slice of pizza, resulting in the above conversation. And then we went back to talking about Disney World.

So, just to recap: The only non-Disney related conversation Ryan and I had this afternoon was a lame bukakke joke.

We are the coolest people we know.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Inanimate object grudge match

Fact: I am awkward in social situations in which I feel out of place. Evidence: Last year's Ivey Awards, which I went to less because I had any reason to be at an awards show that celebrated Twin Cities theatre and more because I wanted to wear a pretty dress. So I did that. And I was awkward.

How awkward, you ask? Well, I felt totally out of place because in contrast to every single other person in attendance I'm neither an actor nor conventionally attractive. Also, this was around the time that I had learned that I'm only black in profile, so that was weighing pretty heavily on me. Oh, and I should mention that I was wearing a backless dress with a super-plunging neckline, so the whole night I was worried about how much I was exposing (no link there, just to be safe). But, as they say, actions speak louder than oddly-shaped bodies. Which must be why I also managed to compare a talented performer to a silly internet cartoon character to his face immediately upon being introduced to him, and somehow accidentally got to first base with a platonic gentleman friend (again, it's best not to link).

This was all without benefit of alcohol, too. Good lord, I am awkward.

But not this year. This year will be different. I have a plan. A fashion plan.


The inspiration:



(not the best picture of the dress, but I loves me some Lily Allen)

The plan:


And the supplies:


So watch out Iveys; I'm coming for you with a vengeance. I can't promise I'll be less awkward, but I can promise I will be fabulous. And really, I think that's the best anyone can hope for.


Photo sources: 1. 2. 3. 4.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'm having an affair with my Google Calendar

Upcoming, by week:
1. Handbell practice starts
2. Ivey Awards
3. Vacation to Orlando
4. Columbus Day holiday
5. Class project due
6. First handbell performance
7. Halloween
8. Veterans Day holiday
9. Class project due
10. Thanksgiving
11. Advent starts (free Wednesdays!)
12. Final week of classes
13. Church Christmas music Sunday
14. Christmas. FINALLY

So. There are ONLY 14 major events between now and Christmas. Some of them are even fun things! I can do this; I've done this 26 times already...and each new time gets me (hopefully) closer to the day that I will not be so busy in the fall!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

On the plus side, having a blue tub is basically the same thing as having a pool

(Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone! While most people lament this weekend as the unofficial End of Summer, I am celebrating the official beginning of Why it is Awesome to Work at a Bank, because from now until March there's at least one paid holiday per month. So, the rest of you, have fun being at work on MLK Day. Bitches.)

Back before I was living in sin with Ryan I was way into bed sheets. I have a queen-sized bed with a pillow-top mattress and I think at the height of it I had close to 10 sheet sets. Fancy sheets, in every color of the rainbow, each more thread-county than the last. And oh, the duvet covers! I coordinated my sheets to the season, guys, and I'm not ashamed at all to admit that. My bed was an experience.

But now that I have a roommate who's also a bed-mate that's all fallen by the wayside. We each have our own bedrooms with our own beds, but I spend a lot of time in his room (in his awful, small double bed with the saggy mattress...it's just not fair), so I'm not as invested in the look and feel of my own bed anymore. This was made painfully clear to me a few months ago when I realized I still had my Christmas flannels on my bed...in the middle of summer.

So a few weeks ago I decided to revive the old obsession and went digging through the things that never got unpacked when I moved in three years ago for my favorite sheets, a baby pink 300+ thread count Egyptian cotton set. The fitted sheet looked okay, but the flat sheet had been exposed to the basement grossness, so I threw it in the wash just to be safe. Good idea, right?

Except that I threw it in the wash with a cheap-ass green beach towel from Walmart that I had just bought. And this happened:


That, my friends, is the color of failure. And I should know, I'm kinda synesthetic.

So I decided to make lemons out of lemonade and dye the sheet. I've only ever used fabric dye once before, and that was in the washing machine. This dye (if you can't tell from the picture above, it's navy blue) didn't have instructions for that method. Luckily, I had an extra garbage can, the thinking man's washing machine.


You put the water in the trash can, put the dye in the water, and put the fabric in the dye. Then you stir and stir and stir (this is where the washing machine would have come in handy). It smells awful, and despite your best efforts, you are getting dark blue everywhere, even your hands, even though you're wearing gloves. But keep stirring. Say to yourself "Double, double, toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble." Then spend a few moments contemplating fate, revenge, and how weird it is that they knew how to do c-sections in medieval Scotland. That'll take a couple minutes. You still have an hour to go.

Once the hour is up (and you only have to stir occasionally after the first 15 minutes, so the time goes pretty quickly), it's time to rinse the fabric out.


All I could think of while I was rinsing was "How am I gonna get all of this blue out of my tub?" And then I thought, "acid, of course." Because I am a nerd. And also, an idiot.

After the rinsing, which takes almost as long as the mixing, and is just as skin-staining, you throw the fabric in the washing machine (without anything else, lest you start this whole ridiculous cycle anew). And this is the result:

Not too bad. The color in the picture isn't very accurate; it's not so purple (although in a few places is looks tie-dyed. Guess I'm not that good at stirring). As much as I loved these sheets I think I'll use this for sewing now. So watch for a crapload of blue things in the future. And picture me sleeping in a double bed with scratchy camo sheets, and pity me.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

GAGANACHT

(alternate title: noche de Gaga. Those are the only two languages in which I know how to say the word "night")


I still have a larger, more word-based post to make about the concert itself, but here are some pictures!


Outside the Xcel - right before getting our picture taken by an intern from KDWB (radio counts as media, right?)


Heather, rocking the eyeball necklace she made, while someone's dad looks on. There were a lot of dads at this concert, and I've gotta say, it was kinda weird.


Here I am* in the gyroscope from the concert poster. The gyroscope is not the "Monster Ball." That is one of the many things I learned that last night.
*not pictured: pants



Our view of the stage. Great seats! Here I must pause for the obligatory: I have the best boyfriend ever (he got me the tickets for my birthday)


I didn't get any pictures during the concert, because all I had with me was my cell phone camera, which doesn't have a flash. So I will need to use many thousands of words to describe the spectacle instead. More to come!

Monday, August 30, 2010

But in my defense...

...the last time I went to a concert was in 1996, to see Michael W. Smith perform at the Billy Graham crusade when it came to the Metrodome.

And it was also technically my first date, although at the time a "date" was me and a boy, and another boy, and two other girls, and three or four parents. And we were at a Billy Graham crusade.

And instead of kissing, holding hands, or even making prolonged eye contact, we ran into the outfield wall padding repeatedly, pretending we were Kirby Puckett fielding a fly ball, while almost everyone else went up to the stage for the altar call.

And I was wearing a jean skort (they were in style for a brief period in 1996; you'll have to trust me) and a shirt I borrowed from my mom. I don't remember what size the shirt was but at the time I was very chest-poor so I can't imagine it actually fit me.

So really, all things considered, I have to go to this concert, to even things out.



...at least I won't be wearing a skort this time.

Friday, August 27, 2010

QED, Bitches

Prove: I am awesome.

If: I do awesome things   
Then: I am awesome.

Assume: Awesome things are best expressed as bulleted lists:
  • I am sitting at home on Friday night in my underwear working on my resume.
  • I am working on said resume for a class, not because I have any plans to find a new job.
  • I'm having trouble with my resume because I don't know how to describe what it is I do. When I realized that, it made me think of the Bobs from Office Space in their efficiency meeting. I then spent the next several minutes reliving my favorite quotes from the movie and laughing to myself. 
  • Thinking of funny things made me realize I was going to leave a quasi-outraged, quasi-offensive comment on a friend's blog. 
  • Thinking of Office Space made me realize how sad my work life is. 
  • I save condiment packets. That's how sad.
  • I paperclip them together by type, too. Some I have too many of (e.g., Taco Bell hot sauce) so they get a binder clip.
  • I'm not at all ashamed to admit that. You'd be surprised at how many foods can be improved with Taco Bell sauce.
  • There is a bottle of fancy-ish wine downstairs with my name on it. I am going to drink it while I write my resume in my underwear.
  • I just created a detailed, bulleted list proving that I am as awesome as I claim to be.
  • I'm a little mad at myself for using bulleted lists incorrectly.
Hence: I am awesome.

QED, Bitches


(This is actual, sound logic. I took a class in deductive reasoning at community college and got an A+. That's another bullet point.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Overheard

"I just want to get away from everything," says my boss, half jokingly. "Let's round up all the ladies and go to Hawaii. I bet we could fill a 747."

A coworker agrees. "Everyone would go," she says.

"And we could all get jobs there...as cabana girls. What do they do? Hand out towels?"

"We could be the girls in the airport, the ones who hand you the lei when you get off the plane."

"We could do that." My boss pauses to consider this. "But I don't think I could pass for a native. I couldn't pull it off. I'd have to hand out towels instead."

I spin around in my chair. "I'll go with you! I can pull off handing out leis in the airport! You can supervise me!"

She laughs, uneasily. " Yeah, I could do that. I'll just sit in a hut in back and tell you you're doing a good job."

"It would be an easy work day," the coworker adds helpfully.

"Everyone would come along," says my boss. "A whole plane full."


MORAL: If you don't want your conversation to be awkwardly interrupted, don't discuss situations that require an indeterminate ethnicity while you're within eavesdropping range of a biracial girl. That's like our Bat-Signal.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Better living through HTML

FUN FACT: You can look up anything on Google. For example, try searching "glittery MySpace text generator."

Go ahead, try. You don't even have to use Boolean operators. It's that good.

Done? Did you get a website that lets you do....




THIS??

The internet, it is an amazing place to be.

(I had my first Instructional Design class tonight, and the discussion was largely dominated by several middle-aged women who had no concept of how to keep a discussion focused. The instructor responded by looking bored while they spoke. I could have used this blog to complain about them, or even to point out the irony of in instructional design lecture being such an utter failure, but as you can see, I chose to take the high road. The high, pink, glittery road.)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Unoffically doing the best ever on my New Year's Resolutions

Unofficially I think New Year's resolutions are bullshit, because what is life if not a constant struggle to suck less than one currently does? But, every year I unofficially make them anyway. It's a bit like how I still hold my breath and make a wish every time I drive through the tunnel, except that I always say "Amen" at the end, and I don't believe in wishes anymore and even prayers seem iffy at times. But I am a creature of habit.

So this year my unofficial resolution was to do more things that are out of character.* I think I've succeeded in that respect, mostly because I've been hanging out with Heather, who is the queen of "Let's do this, even though we don't know what we're doing!" It helps to have an accomplice for whom shame does not seem to be an issue. And I mean that in the nicest way possible. Of course, it could be argued that since one's concept of self is constantly evolving (see first sentence), then everything one does is out of character. But this is not the place for such philosophy. Yesterday, I did not one, but TWO new things!


New Thing: Swimming
Actually, this has been an ongoing thing since two Sundays ago, but yesterday was the first time I really enjoyed myself. See, I took swimming lessons when I was little, but I had to drop out when I realized I couldn't dive. I don't have an explanation for that; I just couldn't do it, and I was at the point where I needed that skill to continue taking classes. It was also around that time I realized I didn't float well. Or, at all. I don't float. And because I didn't advance far enough in swimming lessons to get good at swimming...well, let me show you with an MS Paint illustration:

Key:
1. Head, barely above water, gasping for air.
2. Legs, kicking to no avail.
3. Largest concentration of body fat, doing fuck-all to help the situation.

So a couple weeks ago, Ryan convinced me to go swimming with him. Like, for real swimming, in the lap lanes at the Y. Naturally I was skeptical of his claims that this would not end in death. But he was right! I was swimming - not well, and not for very long stretches, but more or less keeping afloat and moving forward. It's a lot harder than I remember - I have been exhausted after each time I've gone. But, it's actually been fun.

And then, yesterday, this happened:
Aqua wall

Now, I want you to remember those kids are like 1/3 of my size. Of course they make it look easy; they weigh like 60 pounds. But for the more pear-shaped among us, this is hard. Like, I was not able to get past the knob the kid on the left is hanging onto and everyone was laughing at me, hard. Pulling yourself out of the water is tricky, and you add in the angle of the wall, the aforementioned large ass which is doing its best to pull you down, and the fact that you're trying to grab the rock knobs with wet, raisiny hands...no good. I inhaled a lot of water falling off of that thing.

But the good news is, now lap swimming seems easy in comparison. And I found out that the Y has swimming lessons for adults, which i definitely need, because doggy paddling/frog kicking/wildly thrashing is not the most dignified thing to do, and probably not very efficient either.

New thing score: Awesome, worth continuing


New Thing: Fondue
To be fair, I own a fondue pot and Ryan has a chocolate fountain, so fondue is not really that new. But we went to The Melting Pot yesterday and got the full, 3-course fondue experience for the first time. Here's the quick breakdown:

First course: Cheese w/horseradish - good
Second course: Meat cooked in oil w/tempura batter - good, although logistically a little rough
Third course: Chocolate w/peanut butter - awesome



Besides the problems of logistics (which were basically me being paranoid about food safety - if I'm going to eat overcooked tuna I might as well stay at home and open a $0.50 can) all of the food was great. The only problem was that the meal was three courses of fondue. At some point, you realize that not every food needs to be coated in another food. I'd go back - everything did taste great - but maybe just for cheese or chocolate fondue and some drinks.

New thing score: I've done it, and now I can cross it off the list.


Bonus: Money shot!
(Clearly, Heather's shamelessness is starting to rub off on me. Resolution achieved!)


*I actually had a second non-resolution - to do things out of spite less - but I think that may directly contradict this first one. "You're going to do XYZ? You've never wanted to do XYZ before!" Yeah, you're damn right I'm going to do XYZ, especially after being told that. 


Edit: Ever since writing about my early troubles with swimming I've had Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop) by Parliament stuck in my head. If you did not understand that last sentence, congratulations, you are white!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The thinnest veneer of legitimacy

This semester feels to me like the buckle-down, come-to-Jesus, now-or-never semester, both in that my writing skills have been exhausted to the point of spouting cliches, and in that I'm taking classes advanced enough that they are teaching me skills I will actually use in my career. I had my first in-class meeting today for Document and Information Design, which I've been looking forward to ever since I knew I had to take it, because you are Someone when you know Design. Seriously, I am going to soak up everything in this class and name-check the shit out of it for the rest of my life. Heck, I already do it with the fact that I own CS5 and have seen Helvetica.

However, I learned today that this class was not just about making oneself comfortable enough with design to be semi-douchey about it. No, I go to a state school, and as such we are required to learn real-world things that will make us less douchey (and, maybe more honestly, less of a liability to the taxpayers). So today, with the threat of participation points hanging over my head, I was forced to do something I've been putting off for the last year and a half of my life.

Ladies and Gentleman, I present...my portfolio.

Okay, I made my portfolio today; I didn't fill it. And I'm still getting used to WordPress - after using Blogger it's a bit like making the PC-to-Mac transition. But developing the portfolio is part of the class too, and of course, the more work I do, the more I'll have to fill it with (Do you need me to do work for you? I'm a competent editor and less douchey than average document designer! Plus I'm cheap because I have no idea what the industry standards are!)

It's actually a bit unnerving to have my work on the internet where people can find it. I'm a little hesitant to show people things that I know are student-quality. And yes, I know that's a pointless thing to be scared of, especially since I constantly Tweet about being naked am a musician who performs on a weekly basis in front of a large group of people. The point is, developing a thick skin/shamelessness about a skill set takes time, and to be honest, I'm glad I'm being forced to do it now. My stage fright completely disappeared just months after I got a regular church job, to the point where I pulled off an entire Easter Sunday's worth of music with less than a week's preparation without thinking twice about it. I'm hoping something similar happens here. I won't be scared to post my portfolio, because I can't afford to be.

So stay tuned. Bookmark/RSS that shit up. Forward it along to your hiring manager friends, you know, once there's actually stuff in there (coming next week: my resume!). And please, be gentle :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I'm like Ernest Hemingway, in that I overuse untagged dialogue and view women mainly as sex objects and/or scenery.

"Naomi, we need to talk."

"...Jesus? Is that you?"

"No, it's me. Your blog."

"Oh. Heeeey, Blog. I was totally just going to click over to you."

"Were you, Naomi? Were you really?"

"Well...yeah, I mean...I was going to comment on someone else's blog. That's pretty much the same thing, right? You use the same login and everything."

"Don't bullshit me."

"Sorry."

"It's been a while."

"Yeah, I've been pretty busy. School, you know."

"You were too busy going to school for writing to write in your blog?"

"Okay, well, I can see where you would think that's a lame excuse, but I was doing this big paper, and it was a group project, so I was writing a lot of emails, and then I got sick...you know, I wrote about all of this on Twitter."

"Don't talk about that website around me! You know how I feel about microblogging!"

"Okay, sorry! Sheesh. I guess now isn't the best time to mention I've been thinking about getting a Tumblr account."

"What?!"

"Forget I said anything. Look, blog, I'm sorry I've been neglecting you. I really am. I miss writing for fun. I miss posting pictures on you of cool things that I do. I even miss pretending I hate myself for shamelessly promoting you on Twi- on other websites. The thing is, you're a habit. I fell out of writing, and I want to fall back in. I miss you Blog, I really do."
"I miss you too, Naomi. I want us to be close again."

"Me too. 
"Hey, Blog?"

"Yes, Naomi?"

"Are you picturing me wearing a trenchcoat and holding a boombox playing Peter Gabriel above my head?"

"Of course."

"I love you, Blog."

"I love you too, Naomi."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Learning curves

  • Damn you, Apple, and your shiny, minimalist store and Helvetia copy and assertation that my new computer and I are about to embark on some lifelong journey together.
  • Why is the command key so far away from my pinky? Why is it not where the control key is on PCs if it serves the same function? No, I am not calling it the Open Apple key, because I this is not 1995 and I am not a tool.
  • There are two types of Apple people: those who swear up and down that they're not Apple People, and those who fully embrace it. I haven't decided which one I am yet but I've used the phrase "drink the Kool-aid" at least five times today so I'm guessing it'll be the former.
  • Trackpad = AMAZING. The four-finger alt-tab thing is pure genius. There are a lot of cool little tricks that I'm noticing.
  • This taskbar thing at the bottom of the screen needs to be gone. I hate icon clutter. GO AWAY.
  • On Firefox, the tabs come down from the menu bar and not up from the pages themselves. I don't think I need to tell you how messed up that is. I can abide some suspension of disbelief (I know they're not real tabs, for example), but that is just ridiculous.
  • Error sound = fart.
  • The graphics seem really nice. I only wish my Sim were here to experience it.
  • I bought the student edition of Adobe CS5, so I have to send in student verification stuff before I get my product code. But when I do, I am going to Photoshop and Illustrate and, uh, Dreamweave everything in sight.
  • Oh, you can hide the bar at the bottom. That's good.
  • I have to write a paper tomorrow before I go out of town, so I guess I'll find out then whether or not iWork was worth the relatively low price I paid.
  • I also got a shiny purple iPod nano. Unfortunately, all of my music is still stuck on my old computer.
  • I just spent $1800.00+ on a computer and software. For real. Damn.
I think that's it so far. Now I need to go to bed. I've got a lot of cognitive dissonance I need to sleep off.

Requiem for a shitty computer

My computer is dead. Clarification: my shitty HP laptop, which I've only had for a year and a half and have already spent $300.00+ on repairs for, is dead. Either the power cord, the battery, or whatever links the two has stopped working.

Pray for my Sim. She is trapped, and I can't bear to lose her. She's already risen to the top of two career paths, acquired a fountain of youth (it's in the living room), and whoo-hooed more people than I ever will, both male and female.

So after much research, thoughtful consideration, and peer pressure, I've decided it's time to drink the Kool-aid. They haven't promised me love and acceptance or an afterlife filled with all the whoo-hoo I can handle, but they will give me a free iPod Touch, which is a pretty sweet deal as far as cults go.

This is my last blog as a PC user*. It's been a nice run, but it's time to move on to bigger and more unnecessarily powerful things. When you hear from me again, I'll be one of "those" people.


*I'm using a computer at school, so presumably I will blog from a PC again. But for effect, this is my last PC blog.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Fireworks: a metaphor

It is a beautiful night, the first we've had in a while, and we have several boxes of legal fireworks, so Ryan and I go outside to sit on the front step. Ryan opens a box of snaps and throws a few at the ground. Snap! Snap! I watch for a while, mesmerized, then turn my attention to the colorful smoke bombs. I light a few, then go back to watching Ryan.

After a while, he hands me one. "Go on, throw it."

I take it, reluctantly. Having grown up in a state where fireworks were illegal, I've never played with snaps before. Plus, he's already thwarted my attempts to unwrap all of the snaps in the box and empty their contents into a coffee filter, creating a super snap. I look at the small, white packet in my hand, then toss it to the ground.

Nothing.

"It might be a dud," Ryan says, "but you're doing it wrong. You need to throw it with more force. There's more wrist action."

"Okay," I say, and turn to him with my hand out.

"No, get that one you threw off the ground. Don't waste them." He points to the un-exploded snap near my feet. I sigh, then bend over, facing away from him.

Snapsnapsnapsnapsnap! Suddenly, I am surrounded by explosions. I jump up and yell. Ryan laughs.

"Ryan! What the hell?" He laughs harder.

Later, I throw another snap that does not explode. I bend over to pick it up facing Ryan and do not break eye contact. He throws a snap at me anyway.


Moral: Some women date men that remind them of their fathers. I, however, am dating my baby brother.

(By the way, this is my response to this. Turnabout is fair play.)

Days 6-10

This is a lot  to remember at once. I should probably start updating more often. LIGHTNING ROUND!

Friday, June 11, 2010

30 Days of Creativity Update: Days 3/4/5

Have I been upstyling my titles? That's something I'm going to need to take a look into. I think I have enough content that it's time to put together a style sheet. Hear that, fellow bloggers? Style sheets. They are things that you need. You can make up your own rules, but rules you must have. A foolish inconsistency is the hobgoblin of little minds (Style sheet entry "Misquotes:" Okay if used to prove a point).

Onto the creating.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I should write for Glamour

About a year ago, I purchased a three-year subscription to Glamour magazine. About 11 months ago I realized this was a terrible idea.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Days 1 and 2

Yesterday I was sick, very sick. My sinuses ceased to exist as holes in my head and became throbbing canals of pain (and also mucus). And my internet was down. There are two things every girl needs to be creative: oxygen and internet access. Yesterday I had neither.

So here's what I've been doing for the last two days at work. It's been slow. America, get out there and write some checks! Incorrectly, if you can!

Paper flowers! I think technically this is kirigami, but to me it felt more like making paper snowflakes but folding the paper slightly differently. They are made from old calendar pages, as I mentioned before, and colored with my vast supply of highlighter pens. Total time: about 2.5 hours.

I have no idea what I'm going to do with them, but for now I kind of like having them on my computer. Whenever I get bored I stop what I'm doing and rearrange them. It's soothing, like a brightly colored, ultra-girlie Zen garden.

Today's Craft: Bread, using this recipe.I'm going to let it rise overnight to give it more flavor. Haven't made bread in a long time, so I'm really looking forward to it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

30 Days of Creativity DAY ONE GO!

I signed up for this because Heather did first, and I tend to follow Heather and her crazy ideas (Let's get dressed up and go to things and hope that people will take our pictures! Let's go see Twilight even though we both hated the book! Wait, let's write a Fringe show instead!). But this is a good one, because I need motivation to do creative things that don't involve spite (see also: Fringe show).

I am a pro at linking to things. If I was telling this story out loud, that paragraph would have taken 10 minutes. HTML: Your window to a less long-winded tomorrow!

So, I made some kirigami flowers out of old desk calendar pages at work today, and now I have a bouquet of November 1-19, 2009 on my computer. I have 5 1/2 months left and not a ton of real work to do, so I'll probably keep working on that tomorrow. I'll take some pictures and post them somewhere within my vast social media network (which is to say, on Twitter). And I have a hymn for church tomorrow that's not in the hymnal, so I'll have to improvise a harmonization for that. Does that count? That had better friggin' count. I went to school for that shit. Maybe I'll figure out how to record and post that too.

I'm not normally good at this sort of thing, on account of I lack discipline and self-control, but I'm getting better. I've listened to the whole Bible on my iPod 1 1/2 times since the start of last year, I stopped biting my nails, and I even got myself photographed by a legitimate member of the press (Naomi Beck: hyperlinking machine. Also, pretty good at pulling off hot pink miniskirts). So I'm pretty confident about this.

(Disclaimer: Today is also the start of the Lazyman Triathalon at the YMCA, and you get a t-shirt for finishing that, so if it comes to the point where I have to choose which one to finish, I'm gonna go with that.)

So here goes...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Why I should start doing improv

Because, as I try to write an introductory essay to my huge-ass semester project anthology of humor (Funny without Trying: Something something haven't written a subtitle yet), it occurs to me that I am good at beginning to talk about things, and I'm good at continuing to talk about things, but I'm terrible at stopping before the talking turns into a rambling mess. If this essay were an improv scene, someone would just clap, and it would be all over. Life, I think, needs more scene-changing claps.

Also, today a gay man told me I had the perfect hair and skin color for jewel-toned shirts, and that's like the improviser's uniform. So there's that.


PS - One of my goals once this semester from hell is over (Tuesday at 9:30 PM!) is to start blogging more. But another one of my goals is to do the laundry I haven't done in four weeks, so don't hold your breath.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An annotated inventory of the CDs in my car

Lady Gaga, The Fame/Monster
Most often listened to when: Going to work, going to the gym, leaving church, going out with the ladies
Good for: Getting pumped up, feelin' sexy, feelin' fabulous, being a feminist (third-wave), not wearing pants

The Mamas & the Papas, Greatest Hits
Most often listened to when: Going home late at night, leaving work, stuck in rush-hour traffic
Good for: Winding down, singing along, picking out karaoke songs, feminism (second wave), wishing I were a burlesque dancer/singer

The Beatles, 1 (disc 2)
Most often listened to when: Other people are in the car
Good for: Not admitting which CDs I normally listen to while driving, getting into heated debates about whether or not George Harrison is the most underrated Beatle (answer: YES)


Various publishing houses, Handbell music demo CDs
Most often listened to when: Going to bell choir practice, leaving bell choir practice
Good for: The feeling of inflated self-worth that comes from multitasking

Queen, Greatest Hits: We Will Rock You Edition
Most often listened to when: Things need to be rocked
Good for: Rocking things

Monday, April 5, 2010

It's tough to be a girl (for narrative purposes)

Today was a good day, until it got awful. One of those "when it rains, it pours" situations. Mondays for me are always hectic, because I never get a good night's sleep on Sunday, then I'm running from work to the gym to handbell practice to home to do the homework that's due on Tuesday, so I'm pretty wired throughout. Today, though, was even worse, because it was PMS Day. It's nice, you know, that it happens on a single, pre-planned day, but it always seems to coincide with a bunch of other shit that's going on. There may be a correlation/causation thing at play there, who knows?

And let me just point out, we can use pills to stop babies from happening, and yet we are STILL WITHOUT ROCKET CARS. Science! What gives?

So I left the gym and was driving into Bloomington when I noticed my odometer was saying something: "Check...Gas...Cap." Huh. Did not know cars said that. I thought it was a little strange, though, because I had gotten gas on Friday. Why was this just coming up now? As it turns out, there was no gas cap to check. It was gone. Who steals gas caps? Really? The gas itself had not been siphoned out. And my gas cap was attached to the car. Someone had to go to the trouble of cutting the wire and everything. At that point, you might as well just get yourself a screwdriver and pry the "H" off the hood.

But besides being annoyed I wasn't that stressed out by the stolen gas cap. Bell choir, though, was a mess. We're doing our two most challenging pieces in the next four weeks. And we haven't practiced them much at all, because people go south for the winter, and I'm not a good planner. Really, I should not be in charge of people and planning. Anyway, in the middle of this hard piece that I was playing the huge bells for, my bra (this bra) came undone.

Did not know bras could do that. Huh.

Part of me thought this was awesome, because, you know, I just popped open my bra by the sheer force of my bell-heaving upper body. It's like the girl equivalent of ripping your shirt when you flex! Fear me and my mighty, mighty pecs! On the other hand, now I was braless. Well, it was still there, just floating around under my shirt. It was a padded bra, so it probably looked like I had four boobs. In theory that sounds great, but when you need your torso for damping bells, not so much. Normally this would have been an easy problem to rectify, but I happened to be standing next to the ELEVEN YEAR OLD BOY who just joined the choir. It was uncomfortable. Literally and figuratively.

Then later I was trying to explain a tricky rhythm to everyone and I couldn't make them understand it. I almost started crying. At that point, I had been reduced to an exhausted, gas cap-less, bra-less, rhythm-less lump of medically controlled hormones. Why was it the rhythm thing that set me off? I assume it's the black thing. But at that point I had just had enough.

But then when I got home I called Heather and planned an impromptu train vacation and had a big slice of my coconut cake. And now I'm laying in bed, typing these events from tragic to ridiculous. That's the magic of PMS, I guess. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems at the time. Actually, nothing is ever anything. All the same, I think I'll skip my off week next month. I deserve it. Pending the delivery of my rocket car, of course.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

City Urges Travelers to Postpone River Crossing

ST. PAUL - Due to near-record high levels on the Mississippi river caused by a winter of heavy snowfall, St. Paul officials are urging pioneers, prospectors, and other cross-country migrants en route to the Oregon Territory to exercise extreme caution when crossing the river, and if at all possible, wait to see if conditions improve.

"We're expecting the river to crest at over 18 feet, well over flood stage," said J.P. O'Malley, director of Public Works. "At these levels, fording the river is a near-certain death sentence for you and the members of your party. Even caulking your wagon and attempting to float it across the river is bound to result in the loss of food, bullets, and an ox or two."

O'Malley added that the city's fleet of ferries are still in dry dock, and any attempts to hire an Indian guide to aid in crossing will likely be met with a dirty look and grumbling about the noble savage theory.

While officials are not able to offer an estimate of when the river will be navigable, they stress that the situation is temporary. Because it is still early in the year, travelers do not need to worry that this delay will leave them stranded in the Rocky Mountains when the winter blizzards hit.

Meanwhile, travelers are encouraged to take this delay as an opportunity to rest, recuperate from any illnesses picked up on the road, and restock supplies. "St Paul's many trading posts offer goods at prices that anyone, from teacher to banker, can afford. In addition, our friendly citizens are always willing to trade with you, or just chat," said O'Malley. He stressed that dispite the flooding, the city's water supply remains free of cholera and dysentery. However, "should a loved one pass away, you will find several skilled stone-workers in the city who are more than willing to carve any arcane pop culture reference onto a tombstone for you."

Updated river conditions will be published as they are made available. For more information, please contact the City of St. Paul Department of Public Works directly.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Excuses/Anecdote

I lied about the excuses part. I sort of forgot I made a blog. Which is weird, because it's right there, in the title. Out of sight, out of mind (I almost made a sight/site pun, but that sort of humor is beneath me. Instead, here is the word boner). But then I found out I had a fan/follower/friend/whatever Google calls them. So I came back to the blog. I must write. The public demands it.

So the other night I had a dream that I remember vividly, which is strange for me. I was in a room that looked like an amphitheater but was also the guest bedroom in my grandparent's old house. The seats were filled with people and I was about to go onstage with Heather, Rachel from Heather's old sketch group, and Jack McBrayer, 30 Rock's Kenneth the Page. As we walked out I became aware that we were there to do an improv set and I started to freak out a little, because I have no idea how to improvise. So I stood in the middle of the stage for a while, and suddenly, it came to me. I pantomimed fiddling around with a machine for a little while, then turned toward the audience and announced, "I am a mad scientist and I have just finished building a bullshit detector!"

I should mention that this was one of those dreams where the conscious self ("Real Naomi") is watching the dream and has full access to the thoughts of the unconscious self who is a character in the dream ("Dream Naomi"). It wasn't a lucid dream, per se, because I wasn't able to influence anything. It was more like Real Naomi was the Greek chorus to Dream Naomi's sad, sad tragedy. As soon as I (Dream) made that statement, I (Real) knew I had just screwed myself, because I had started a scene I had no idea how to work my way through, and the one thing I do know about improv is that you should not make declarative statements like that straight to the audience. At this point I assumed that I was in for one of those awkward, humiliating dreams and fully expected to see Dream Naomi shed her clothes in the most shameful way possible.

But then something amazing happened. Dream Naomi came through! Sort of. Jack walked onto the stage, and I knew that he was going to comment on the machine. He started to speak: "Wow, that's really ama-"

"BEEEP.....BEEEP....BEEEEP..."

Dream Naomi was no longer the scientist. She was the machine.

And Real Naomi knew that for the duration of the scene, there'd be a whole lot of bullshit.

Really, I was impressed with my dream self. I don't think I could have thought something like that up so quickly in real life, let alone have the balls to pull it off.. And I did pull it off, repeatedly - every time anyone tried to say something, I beeped at them. Everything was bullshit, even the stuff that contradicted itself, and everything set off the bullshit detector. I could tell that the other three were getting mad at me, but I just keep going. Beeping. Detecting bullshit like the evil device I was pretending to be.

I knew - and I think my dream self did too - that it was a lazy cop-out and probably the worst thing you could do as an improviser (so that's two things I know about improv, don't say stuff to the audience, and don't beep over your scene partners' lines). But I was so proud of myself. It was so out of character. And the audience was laughing! I must have been doing something right, or at least good enough.

I woke up the next morning still thinking about the dream, and I have been ever since. I don't think dreams necessarily have meaning, beyond a mash-up of everything you'd been thinking about the day before, but I felt like this one had special significance. I knew myself a little better. For the first time, I began to think I was more clever than I give myself credit for.

But man, was I an asshole.