Mean Girl to the Rescue!

How'm I gonna save the world when the world ain't ready?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Adventures in TV viewing

Most hideous things on TV this past week:

Next: an MTV dating/game show program, in which, from what I ws able to tell, one sneering young man auditions several girls in the role of "girlfriend" by making them do embarrassing, stupid things (which they go alog with willingly), and then he rejects them once he tires of humiliating them. Then he chooses a winner based completely on who he finds the hottest.

Rescue Me: I have been a fan of this show since its beginning. I love me some Denis Leary (inexplicably), and I was able to put aside the rampant misogyny of the show in the name of entertainment and gritty reality. But this last episode, in which Leary's character rapes his estranged wife, and she enjoys it, really has me questioning whether I want to continue to watch this program. What's the message here, that raping your wife isn't really rape, or that if there are feelings between two people, rape will be enjoyable? I feel confident that neither of those is true, don't you?

The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency: I also love Janice, but I admit that she is much better in small, controlled doses. Also, I'm pretty sure she's not very smart. But I am not cancelling my season pass on TiVo just yet. That bitch is batshit crazy, and I can't look away.

Take Home Chef: I had high hopes for this show, in which a professional chef accosts people in the supermarket and connives to help them cook a very special gourmet meal for their loved ones with his help. The chef, Curtis, is like Rod Stewart on crank: all hair, accent, and hoop earring, and there was a lot of Ferris Bueller-style camera mugging. Also, I think I saw some eye makeup on him. I'm sure he's a lovely person and an accomplished chef, but I can't help but think he was chosen for the accent and the physical package. Meh. I got about ten minutes in and then switched off.

Clearly, I need to read more and start avoiding the boob tube.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

More fun with search tags

As I've probably mentioned before, most of the search tags that lead people to me have a variation (unsurprisingly) on the phrase "mean girl," such as "how to be a mean girl" (watch and learn, suckas!), but every so often I get a good crop of weird ones. Here's the latest:

  1. my wife peed during her gyno exam I don't know about your wife, but my doctor makes me "void my bladder" prior to my exam, so I kind of can't relate to this one.
  2. lee press on nails old commercial Oh, those were the best! Did I link to them somewhere? I especially liked the "active length" ones, where it showed the manicured hands typing or dialing a rotary phone. My friend J used to know a woman who couldn't take heavy secretarial jobs because of her nails. She always had a job where there was no typing that couldn't be done with the eraser-end of a pencil.
  3. what does IM'd you mean in dating? Hmmm, good question. Usually, it means some little spark of interest, but it could also mean s-t-a-l-k-e-r, especially if you didn't give out your IM handle. Proceed with caution.
  4. My ex call me to say he was sorry for the way things ended, does this mean he wants me back? No. It means he wants to get temporarily back into your pants. Next!
  5. +"sodium stearoyl lactylate" +headache Yeah, that's the shit they put in the fake coffee creamer. It probably does give you headaches.
  6. peed pants This one's a late add; the person was led unsupectingly to this page by a one-two punch of #1 and #4. And while I have many stories of pants being peed in, I decline to share them here.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Who let the merkin out?

Last weekend, Booby and I went to see his goddaughter in a dance recital, in which she, her cousin, and many other tiny little girls were dressed up as puppy dogs, complete with sequined "ears" attached to a headband. They danced (mostly hopped around wildly) to a medley of "How Much is That Doggie in the Window/Who Let the Dogs Out?" One little girl's headband/ears were hanging on by a prayer through all the bopping and thrashing, and she didn't care a whit. My niece, on the other hand, was visibly perturbed and I could see her restraining herself from righting the headpiece. She's a little Virgo girl, and a proper little madam. It was stinkin' adorable.

Of course, attending such a performance means sitting through all the other performances, which are mostly teenaged girls dressed in ridiculous (and often quite unforgiving) costumes, gallumphing around the stage under hot lights to themes of either "The '40s" (Capone, Hot Jazz) or "Hip-Hop" (Hit The Floor, The Timberlin [sic] Dance).

It wasn't my favorite way to spend a Friday night, but it wasn't too bad, overall. Booby is, oddly enough, a big fan of this sort of thing. He was teased mercilessly by his friends for liking Chicago (I am no fan of musicals and even I liked Chicago, though I did feel a little manipulated into liking it). As we walked to our car after the recital was over, he talked about the show, and then broke out with "God, I am so gay." (You see what teasing at the hands of heterosexual men does? As if we all shouldn't be a little gayer!) We joked about his unusual enjoyment of musicals for a few moments (he's about as un-metrosexual as a man can be in every other regard), and then he delivered the piece de resistance: "I'll be your merkin, honey." Awww, that's the sweetest thing anyone's ever said to me. Except I think you mean that I'm your beard.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Garden, June 2006

The broccoli has been harvested several times, and I'm letting a stalk or two go to seed (maybe I'll get volunteer seedlings next year, who knows?), the red leaf lettuce desperately needs to be cut back so it can start growing from the bottom up (it's gotten rather bitter, too; next year I'll try to trade a couple of plants away), and there are 19 tomato plants (apparently, the layer of compost we set down had a seed or ten).

Not as visible are the strawberries (Booby re-broke the pot I had previously broken and mended, and now they're looking a bit sad), zucchini, several varieties of peppers, climbing string beans, peas, cucumbers, raspberries and two pumpkins (these have a couple of blossoms, but no fruit has started yet).

And it takes remarkably little work - mostly just regular watering and the occasional herbicide application. Neato! Posted by Picasa

Garden, April 2006

A trip to Home Depot yielded a six pack of broccoli plants, a six pack of red leaf lettuce plants, and we stuck in a smattering of toamtoes, which mostly died off because it was just too damn early for them to survive. Posted by Picasa

Still more food nerdery

In April I discussed how I was going to participate in local community-supported agriculture this summer, and yesterday I brought home my first veggies (I could've opted for fruit and egg shares, too, but the fruit isn't organic, and the eggs make it difficult to carry everything home easily, plus I can get organic brown eggs for the same price at the market).

There was a bit of confusion initially, as I had intended on being part of the buying club and not the farm share, but it soon became evident that the buying club was an afterthought for this group. Different farms participate in different share programs, based on proximity, I guess, so this was a farm that was new to me. Luckily, a quick email got me in touch with someone who coordinates the whoile shebang, and I got a pro-rated partial share for the season, even though I was joining late (and they were technically full up).

It was totally worth it! My haul this week was "Farmer's Choice," and consisted of the following:

  1. Garlic scapes. I know, what? In short, they are the flower stalks of garlic plants, and you can use them much as you would chives or onion tops. You can also make them into a pretty green pesto. Cool!
  2. Red leaf lettuce. I'm already growing this in my garden plot, but that's OK, because it's delicious.
  3. Yellow/green squash. Perfect for stir-fries, or tossing with a little rotini in a bechamel sauce. Mmmm.
  4. Shelling peas. The peas are tiny and perfect, probably what Le Sueur petite peas look like before they can them and ruin them forever by immersing them in salted water and corporate evil.
  5. Cabbage. This, I have no idea what to do with. I welcome suggestions. I hate cole slaw. There may be a foray into Colcannon in my future.
  6. Arugula. I am going to be making some really good salads. Perhaps I'll bring salad for lunch every day, since I'm still obsessing over the whole 5 servings of fresh fruit/veg per day thing. And now I've just freaked myself out by finding this 5-9 a day site. Ugh. My total for today, so far, is only two: a banana and a plumcot (which are surprisingly tart and delicious). Looks like I'm having a salad at dinner, too.

Next week, I get to choose my own stuff instead of being left at the mercy of the farmer. I'm going to get pattypan squash, green snap beans, more peas, "summer crisp" lettuce, and a lemon basil plant (since I killed all of mine that I started from seed).

Oh, and check this out, it's a handy wallet-sized guide to the fruits and vegetables that have the highest concentration of pesticides, and the ones that have the least. Worry no more about buying that non-organic ear of corn or bunch of asparagus.

What are your favorite summer foods?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Open Letters to Annoying Folk

Dear Chinese Restaurant at The Mall,

You caught me at a weak moment; it was raining, I was hungry. You had impressed me in the past with your $1.50 won ton soup. But that bundle of deep-friend gristle, breading and bone you call "Sesame Chicken" is an abomination. I had to throw it in the bin. Also, you may have put me off fried rice for keeps. I've had gruel that was more flavorful.


Mrs. Harridan


Dear Ride The Ducks,

Aren't obnoxious tourists bad enough? Why must you make them even more obnoxious? You make my lunch hour so much less pleasant. Your riders sit on the street and eat nasty cheesesteaks while waiting to board you. And the quacking - O! the quacking! When I sleep at night, I dream of incessant, urgent quacking and smell a plume of exhaust. Please, please go away.


Mrs. Harridan


Dear People with Fancy Cellphone Earpieces,

If you make eye contact with me while talking on your little earpiece like a Secret Service agent, I can't help but think you're speaking to me. Stop it, already. You don't look cool. Save that shit for when you're in the car and really need to be handsfree.


Mrs. Harridan


Am I the only one who's a bit freaked out about They Might Be Giants doing commercials for Dunkin Donuts? I'm not sure whether it makes me like Dunkin Donuts more, or TMBG less. Your thoughts?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Oh, the humanity

Value City announces recall of blow dart guns (warning, PDF). Apparently, those things are dangerous! Who'da thunk it?

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

How green was my valley?

I always plan on doing product reviews and recommendations on this blog, and then time gets away from me, or I start obsessing over something, or whatever. But I recently came across this site, Ideal Bite, courtesy of ClubMom, of all things (though this particular section is written by Sweetney, so I guess I shouldn't turn up my nose - could it be that ClubMom is cool now, despite (or because of?) Andrew Shue, who will forever be Billy from Melrose Place to me, slouched in a doorway, eating an apple (seriously, he was always doing that in that show. I think Papa Spelling felt it conveyed naivete or something.)?

But anyway.

Ideal Bite is a pretty compelling read to a big natural-products-and-ideas whore like me, and it's put together by two women who seem to be alarmingly normal. This is a site for people who need to take baby steps to being green. Women who love their products. People who love food. I immediately signed up for their tips email. And started reading about how most shampoos contain all kinds of shit you don't want touching your body. Oy.
So now I want to buy Surya hair products. They even have henna, which, if it works out, I may switch to permanently and kill my association with Titian Red Blonde. I also have a hankering for Lush's Karma Komba solid shampoo bar, which is the same scent as my favorite perfume.

I already knew about the whole deodorant thing (i.e., the aluminum, the parabens, the Alzheimer's, the cancer, the death and destruction), but I felt like a product recommendation would be a good thing, since a few of the organic ones I've tried made me, uh, still smell. So after I'm done with my Yves Rocher Hammamelis deodorant, I'm going to try Lush's Fuwari (Note to Japanese customers; if we've accidentally insulted you with one of our deodorant bars, we apologize. I love that.). Doesn't it sound delicious?

Just in time for my trip to Savannah, I made the switch to an organic sunscreen. Alba Hawaiian SPF 30 (I'm really, really pale; in fact, I normally use SPF 45) has a nice, non-greasy texture and smells lovely. And no breakouts! UPDATE: I had thought that this was paraben-free, but my eyes deceived me: it contains Methyl/Propylparaben. Ugh. Parabens are linked to breast cancer, because they are able to be absorbed through the skin and to bind to the body's estrogen-receptors, where they can encourage breast cancer cell growth. I have since written Alba asking them for a refund and entreating them to desist using parabens in their products. Strangely enough, they have a chemical-free sunscreen, also, which does not contain parabens.

If you're curious as to why you should change personal care products to something a little more environmentally sound, or maybe fretful that your shampoo might not be treating you right, chemical-wise, you can go to Skin Deep, where you can look up your favorite products and even submit the ones not listed for review to see how they fare. **Check the comments for a lengthy dicussion of cleaning and personal product alternatives, too!**

God, I could yap about this stuff all day.

I know I won't be able to completely give up fragrance in my products, but I can change the source of the fragrance in my products to a more natural one. Arabella just sent me a link on how to make your own lotions, so maybe that can be my summertime project.

What project do you have on tap for this summer?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Finally, a prince

I am an extremely lucky woman to have found the one thing I never thought would come my way - a wonderful, loving husband. I've kissed a lot of frogs in my time, including:
  • The boyfriend who would booty call me at 10 p.m. on a school night, then have me make him pasta with Tabasco sauce.
  • The not-very-serious boyfriend who made snide fun of me for having a subscription to US Magazine rather than, say, the New Yorker or something, then took a copy of it up to the bathroom with him while he took care of business.
  • The boyfriend who told me he loved me one day and then broke up with me the very next day.
  • The boyfriend who left me a sinkful of dirty dishes to come home to after taking care of my cats while I was on a business trip.
  • The boyfriend who blogged about me in alarming detail after a night together, whilst dating a half a dozen other women simultaneously, then posted an open letter to me on his blog, requesting that I cease to read it (that's why there's password protection, genius. Also, you spelled the title of your blog incorrectly {snicker}).
  • The boyfriend who participated in a live-action role-playing game in which he was a vampire.
  • The boyfriend who had RAGE tattooed across his midsection in Gothic script (that one didn't last long, thankfully).
  • The boyfriend who didn't have a checking account until I took him by the hand to the bank and made him open one.
  • The boyfriend who wouldn't use the word goodbye, because it was "too cliche."
  • The boyfriend who bought me an expensive boombox after I found his cache of sexually-explicit letters from his good friend's wife ("Nothing happened! I swear!").
As of Saturday, I have been married for a year, and Booby showered me with love and affection in the following forms:
  • wedding cake and sparkling apple cider for breakfast in bed (a non-alcoholic beverage early in the morning is the best bet, especially if you're me and have recently suffered from the annual bout of drinking-to-excess-itis, or, the Oh, You Damn Fool, Don't You Know Five Drinks Is Too Many?! Flu).
  • a very cool clock radio with a dock for either my iPod or his iPod Shuffle, which also allows the iPod to be charged as it's docked.
  • a trip to see the Andrew Wyeth exhibit at PMA.
  • breakfast at the Morning Glory after yet another IUI (now with more cramping!).

Baby, me luvs you. Squirrel + Nut 4-EVA.

Southern charms

After getting not one but two emails from people politely inquiring whether or not I was dead, I figured I'd better get my ass back in gear and start blogging again. Thanks, Pugawug and Tits McGee, for lighting a fire under my tuchas. I needed that. And you are both so sweet!

So, let me tell you about my B-List Blogger trip! I won't be able to do it the justice it was given here, here, here and here, but you'll almost definitely hear more about cranky air travel people, because I'm negative like that.

First off, I can't say enough good things about my fellow B-Listers. After missing a connecting flight from Atlanta to Savannah, Arabella proved to be a delightful travel companion, even in the most awful circumstances (not to mention quite feisty when arguing with Air Tran reps). Air Tran changed the departure time of our flight three times, threatened to change the gate (which boasted the smallest gate waiting area EVAR, so that we had to wait in the gate across the aisle), and finally called for boarding without the benefit of a microphone. When all was said and done, 6 passengers, including us, did not make it on the plane, and there was none of that last minute, "Passenger Mrs. Harridan please report to Gate C16 for boarding." We ended up having to go and grouse to Air Tran (after the initial shock of actually having missed the flight wore off), and they were, shall we say, none too helpful. An hour and several angry powwows later, we successfully hit them up for a voucher for an overnight stay at a down-at-heel airport hotel, which was so nondescript that I can't even remember which chain it was(despite its "charming New Orleans-style courtyard" and yards of plastic houseplants).

Arabella remained a trooper throughout, watching Iron Chef America on TV with me and offering me perfume to combat that not-so-fresh feeling (almost all of our toiletries made it to Savannah without us, annoyingly). She even carried on a friendly conversation with a fellow hotel guest who chatted with us about how she believed that the Holocaust really did happen, no matter what her skinhead ex-boyfriend might think. Additionally, even though (or perhaps because) Arabella and I have met a number of times now, and I consider her my close friend, I feel it necessary to broadcast to the blogosphere what a cool person she is, despite her insistence to the contrary. Believe me, World Wide Internet, she is the bee's knees: a very precise, neat person who didn't think it at all weird that I told her which hook I had hung my towel on, and, in fact, was just as anal retentive as I am about that kind of thing. There was no fighting over who gets the little hotel toiletries, because we both packed enough to keep a set of ground troops clean and smelling delicious. Every time she and I get together, we find that we have more things in common, while being rather empirically different sorts of people. We're a good mix. It's refreshing to find that sort of thing.

Much has been said about Teebs' clear skin and gorgeous curls, and it's all true. She has a very contagious sense of fun and is so seemingly carefree - while I was worried about parading around the hotel in my bathing suit as we prepared to sneak into the hotel pool after-hours, she actually tied a kicky sarong around her waist and slung her bath towel over her shoulders without a second thought. "I figure it's better to ask forgiveness than permission," she said, and I internally vowed to try to adopt that attitude more often.

Wordgirl was the first person I talked to on the phone before we arrived, and it's always a fun game to reconcile a person's voice to her face. She sounded just as she is on her blog: confident, open, and just a little bit sly, like she has a joke that she's going to let you in on once she sees you. I know she was worried about being the "old lady" of the group, but I imagine the others would agree with me that the age difference went completely unnoticed. I have a sister her age, and while I love my sister, Wordgirl is far more interesting (sorry, A, if you ever read this). And where Wordgirl goes, controversial topics of conversation follow. I hadn't realized how much I miss talking about big issues in an informed, intelligent way with informed, intelligent people (and it's partly my own fault for making US Magazine and America's Next Top Model too large a part of my life). Oh, and did I mention she's a totally foxy, tall blonde?

Mignon is the sort of person who makes you feel completely comfortable and as if you've known her for years. She has a fascinating personal history, and she seems like the sort of woman who masters everything she tries to do, whether it's writing or engineering or anything in between. To me, a person who always did well with words but was useless with figures, this constitutes a miracle and makes me unspeakably jealous, but of course Mignon is so sweet, it's impossible to feel really green at her. Another great thing about her is that she's completely unself-conscious, going around singing in her fabulous, gravelly rock chick voice (and doing impressions on request).

When I started blogging, I felt sort of isolated in my personal life - I was at a point where, finally, I had a healthy romantic relationship at the center of my life, but my relationships with female friends were suffering. I have a few close friends, but they're scattered in various cities, and in various stages of life (which can make getting together difficult). Now, thanks to connections made by simple fate, it would seem, I have four women friends to whom I feel closely connected, and whose ideas and stories I can read on an almost daily basis. Thank you, Interweb. I can't wait for next year's B-List get together (and we've already begun planning). Here's to many more!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Six Weird Things From My Childhood

Fraulein N, fellow Philly Girl, tagged me for this meme. And she's cool, so how can I refuse? Plus, I was a pretty weird kid.

A Trusting Soul
I had a group of friends who were all two years older, and I trusted them implicitly. Naturally, they took advantage of this, as kids do. Kids are evil. They told me they were witches (!!) and various other (very obvious, I think now) lies. And I believed them! Every word! Once I realized what big liars they were, I made it a point not to be so gullible anymore, and I've stuck with it. It took my husband years to get me to trust him.

Young Lurve
The first boy I ever had a crush on was in kindergarten, and was called Bruce. I liked him for no other reason than he had a really awesome Spider-man sweatshirt. He was otherwise a troll, but I was willing to overlook that on account of the shirt.

In first grade, I got my first kiss (no tongue, it was Catholic school, after all, and I was very naive 'n' innocent, anyway) from Stephen T., who later dumped me for a girl who smelled like fried food, but not before he and his friend Ricky entertained some other girls and myself by waggling their little weenies at us in class and comparing them to the (female, nun) principal's head. Oy.

Screw You, Fred
When I was about five, my mother would sit me down in front of the TV to watch Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. What kid didn't like Mr. Rogers? Well, me. I didn't. He sang the little song about how special we were to him, and I would talk back to the TV: "I am NOT special!" My mother thought this was high comedy.

Of course, now I love Mr. Rogers, even without the benefit of Henrietta Pussycat. He was awesome.

Double Plus Ungood
My older brother wanted a baby brother so much that he cried when I was born (he was the only boy). He made up for it by taking me under his wing and making me a nasty little tomboy. Many are the photos I have of myself taken with his Brownie camera, dressed in ice hockey gear, riding a skateboard, or made over into various altar egos at Halloween. When he wasn't forming me into a boy, my brother was torturing me in the ways that only an older brother can: merciless tickling, flinging foodstuffs at my head, pretending that there was something scary at the window behind me, and waking me by pouring a glass of cold water over my head. Good times.

Here's Where It Starts Getting Really Weird
For some unknown reason, as six year old, I insisted on putting on a sweater, hat and mittens when going to bed. My sisters and brother, who are all considerably older than I am, thought this was ridiculous (and rightly so!), but my mother humored me. Hey, if it got me to go to bed, she wasn't going to complain (need I mention I was the baby of the family?). I would remove the outerwear in my sleep and wake up in my pajams the next morning, just like a normal kid.

And Now, The Piece de Resistance
When I was about 7, I would leave the room, pull my shirt backwards over my head to simulate hair, and re-enter the room, transformed into my altar ego, "Vicky." Vicky was a well-behaved child who would swoop in to save the day by putting away all the toys that Mrs. Harridan had left lying around. "Oh, Vicky," my mother and grandmother, who lived with us, would exclaim. It's so nice to see you here, cleaning up!" Then they would ask Vicky about herself. All I revealed was that Vicky's mother's name was Zelda. I think, at the time, these were the two most exotic-sounding, and therefore attractive names to my young ears. Then Vicky would leave just as quickly as she had come, and I would put my shirt back on, right side in, and come back to admire her handiwork.

Please do not call the men in the white coats. With my luck, I'll have a daughter just like me.

I'm tagging anyone out there who has writer's block and needs a kickstart.