Archive | May, 2010

Amoking kills happy fun times please

30 May

There are few things in this world that bring me more enjoyment than seeing Chinese (or any other non-English speaking) people wearing nonsense English shirts. I saw a lot of them when I was in China last summer. There are the ones that don’t make sense at all (like “Beautiful things are happy when you”) as well as the just plain random. I remember seeing a girl with “Orange slices” written in large letters on her shirt.

Today we had lunch and did a little grocery shopping in Chicago’s Chinatown. Our cashier was wearing a shirt that read something along the lines of “Keep with like-minded people to prevent others from amoking.” It had a picture of a happy white dog on it. (I’m still trying to find the connection.) I found it especially interesting since amoking–or smoking, rather, is so prevalent in China.

And to prove I’m in it for the humor, not the hating, I’m tempted to buy this shirt and wear it around China, just to give the Chinese some amusement (and all the more reason to sneak photos of me). (For you non-Chinese readers, the characters mean “White people don’t understand.”)

Hey there, Mr. Blue, we’re so pleased to be with you

28 May

You know that phrase “There’s not a cloud in the sky?” I always thought it was just a–well, phrase, but it turns out, it can actually happen. I went outside today and there was nothing but blue sky. It was incredible. I haven’t seen that in ages. So naturally I went shopping and visited the library, where I had another random person sighting. This guy walked in with a sombrero around his neck, a guitar case in his hand, and a full-size plastic trick-or-treating Jack-o-Lantern hanging from his belt. I can only assume that he is a musician who specializes in Cinco de Mayo and Halloween songs.

The price of frozen yogurt

27 May

I am all about frozen yogurt these days. I wasn’t always. I remember when Red Mango opened in Evanston two years ago. I think my roommates and I even had a countdown, we were so excited. But when the moment finally arrived and I had a cup of real fro-yo in my hands, I believe my exact words were, “Man, this crap kinda sucks.” I was expecting vanillay-creaminess and instead got sour bitterness. And it cost me over $4! I was sorely disappointed and decided to write off frozen yogurt for the time being. Then last year Stephen started raving about a place called Berry Chill. So on a nice day we walked two miles so that frozen yogurt could redeem itself. And it did. Berry Chill’s various flavors tasted much better than Red Mango’s original, plus they had mochi as a topping! Suddenly I was a frozen yogurt fan again. Since then a variety of frozen yogurt places have sprung up in my neighborhood–Starfruit, Yogen Fruz, and more. I love them all, but I have one gripe–they are all so freaking expensive!

I got a medium passion fruit frozen yogurt with mochi and yogurt chips (yes, I put yogurt chips on my yogurt) today from Berry Chill and it was $7.25. Over $7 for a frozen treat! I don’t spend that much on lunch! I remember 10 years ago my family went to California on vacation. It was a time when Ben & Jerry’s ice cream wasn’t prevalent in Kentucky so we HAD to get some in Cali. I don’t remember how it tasted, but I still remember my dad complaining about the $4/waffle cone price tag. I wonder what he would think of Berry Chill.

But why do all these yogurt places start their prices at $4 (for a small, plain, with no toppings. And who orders that?)? Because they can get away with it. Because stupid people like me will buy it. On the weekend Berry Chill often has a line out the door.

Sadly, this is why I don’t eat healthily as often as I should. $1 vanilla cone from McDonald’s vs. $7 frozen yogurt…it’s a tough decision.

Final note: is anyone else creeped out by the “live and active cultures” yogurt places advertise? I know it’s supposed to aid digestion, but I feel a little squirmy thinking about something “active and alive” in my intestines. I think i can feel them moving and setting up shop now.


25 May

I saw this shirt on Perez’s site.

My question is: should this shirt come in a size 2XL? Is that what they call irony?

A post about tweezers

24 May

I spent a good amount of last night and this morning looking for my tweezers. The last time I saw them they were on a shelf above the toilet (you can already see where this is going, can’t you?). I even went as far as to dig through the garbage, thinking they may had fallen in. I eventually shot Stephen an email, thinking he might had done something with them. This was his response: “I dropped it in the toilet. now is gone.”

So I found myself at Target this afternoon in search of a new pair. It’s been a while since I bought tweezers. The ones I had had a bit of sentimental value–I bought them on my very first day at Northwestern at the Osco Drug, back when Osco Drug existed in Evanston. And now they are somewhere in a sewage pipe. I’m getting sidetracked though.

Why are there so many types of tweezers? I had no idea. The prices ranged anywhere from $1.02 to $22 with most being around $4-$6. I stood there forever trying to decide which ones to get. They all looked about the same, except for the pink and the gold ones. So I threw the $1.02 regular silver ones into my basket. Hopefully tweezers are tweezers and they work just the same. If not, I can always flush the $1.02 ones down the toilet (or better yet–throw them away in the garbage) and head back to the massive tweezers aisle.

Voting under the influence?

18 May

Today was primary election day in Kentucky. The explosion of campaign signs that greeted me the minute I got off the interstate yesterday clued me in. But I’m not here to talk Tea Party, I’m here to talk booze. I was “Krogering” with my mom this morning when I saw a typed sign hanging over the beer display: “Alcohol will not be sold until after 6 p.m. on Election Day, Tuesday, May 18.” Granted I don’t know if I’ve ever been in an alcoholic beverage section of a grocery store on election day in any other state, but this rule struck me as a bit odd. Is it just a Kentucky thing? And what are they trying to prevent, drunk voting? I’m stumped.

Chicago to Cincinnati in stages

17 May

I decided to go to Cincinnati for the week to visit my family and friends. I just now realized that since I discovered Megabus last September, I have not made the drive to Cincinnati on my own. I forgot the various mental and physical stages that accompany a 300-mile solo road trip.

Stage 1: Initial excitement and relief that everything fit in my small car. I get a little thrill hopping on I-94 E. I even got excited when I drove my first mile. “Woohoo! I’m 1/300 of the way there!” I thought. I kid you not.

Stage 2: The realization that I’m only 1/300 of the way there. I only drive on 90/94 for 32 miles, but it always seems like so much longer. I hate the way the road feels and especially hate the ever-present construction.

Stage 3: Happy to be off I-90, only to realize I have to go 150 miles on I-65. It’s stage 2 all over again.

Stage 4: I accept my fate and try to relax. I put on one of my mix CDs I made for the occasion and get lost in the music (while keeping an eye on the road, of course). I also call my mom and talk to her for an hour, despite the fact that I am driving to see her so that we can talk even more. Also included in this stage is the excitement over the vast amount of windmills as I draw closer to Indianapolis (pictured).

Stage 5: Yeah! I just finished driving 150 miles on one road! And I’m in Indianapolis! What a nice city! Yeah! ::fist pump::

Stage 6: Crap. I have to go 80 more miles on I-74. There’s still almost two hours of driving left. Why can’t I be from Indy?

Stage 7: I completely lose it. I blast my music so I can feel it on my skin and completely ignore the fact that my windows are not tinted in the slightest bit. As much as one can dance while driving a car, I’m on it. I’m also belting the lyrics as loud as possible. This stage is the one stage that makes the whole trip worth it.

Stage 8: Crap, the Awesome Driving Tunes Mix CD is over.

Stage 9: Those 80 miles went surprisingly fast. And the 17 miles on 275 did as well! Now I’m at the exit! Yeah!

Stage 10: Why do I live so freaking far from the exit? Alas. At this point any song sounds good and the end is near. I also have to pee like a racehorse.

That was my trip, in short. It rained most of the way, which added an additional stress element (but also made Stage 7 ever more pleasant because the skies had finally cleared up). I’ve made the drive so many times that I know the exact amount of miles to drive on each highway. I also know which exits have the cheapest gas. It was fun for a bit (a very short bit), but I am happily taking Megabus next time.

Adventures in Dogsitting

16 May

Boris (in front) and Natasha relaxing on the couch after a long walk.

I had the pleasure of dog sitting this weekend, which may be in contention for the best job ever. What could be better than getting paid to play with two adorable Boston Terriers? Not only that, but I get to eat their owner’s food and watch cable TV. (I haven’t had cable in my apartment for over a year–I forgot how many awesome, bad, and awesomely bad shows are out there.)

It’s not all fun and games though. Living in a swank condo for the weekend comes with the challenge of walking two dogs at once. Boris is the larger but younger dog. He walks quickly with determination and perseverance. He knows where he wants to go and he’s going to go there–no amount of coaxing or pulling will change his mind. Natasha is older and has a bad hip. She walks slowly, lagging behind and sniffing everything. So I’ve got one dog walking a full leash-length in front of me, and one walking a full-leash length behind me. We’re a jogger’s worst nightmare.

But the sidewalk isn’t where the problem is. Boris always leads the way on the walk. Often, usually on a Friday or Saturday night, he likes to pull us towards Division St. For those not in Chicago, Division is lined with boutiques and al fresco dining. It’s the place to be on a weekend, and Boris knows that. He and Natasha love to trap waiters in their leashes and stick their faces in diner’s laps. Boris also likes to try to peek inside boutiques. Most people laugh at their antics, but occasionally I’ll get a “Can’t you control your dogs? Keep them on the residential streets!” look. I want to tell them that they’re not my dogs and Boris insisted upon this route, but instead i just apologize and try to trick Boris into heading down a side street.

In short, I have a whole new level of appreciation for this guy:

Another makeup post

13 May

I rocked this rainbow eye shadow look the other day while shopping at Target and Trader Joe’s. It’s a bit odd when strangers ask you to close your eyes so they can get a closer look, but I guess I kinda asked for it wearing this in public. Until I can get my painting corner set up in my apartment, I’ll continue to use my eyelids as a canvas.

While I’m on the topic of makeup, I have a gripe. I’ve seen various TV programs and websites go on about the dangers of keeping makeup for too long. Bacteria can grow, you’ll get infections, etc. But my question is, if it’s so dangerous, why don’t cosmetic companies put expiration dates on their products? I’m a sucker for expiration dates and would be less willing to use old mascara if it had “Use by May 2002” on the side. Instead I’m left to guessing how old it is and assuming it’s fine. The only product I’ve been using for way past the supposed allotted time is eye shadow. I wore some to a wedding last weekend that I bought for my junior prom—almost exactly seven years ago. And it still looked good and didn’t make my eyes swollen or bloodshot. So I can’t help but wonder if this Throw-your-eye-shadow-out-after-a-year rule was thought up by the big makeup companies to get us to buy their products more often. Until I can visibly see mold or my skin turns green, I’ll continue to use my old eye shadow.

Hey their, its time too learn you’re proper grammar!

11 May

I had two separate grammar encounters today that got me thinking about the subject. I’ve always liked grammar. In high school I actually enjoyed diagramming sentences and got a kick out of the complex grammatical structure of Latin and ancient Greek (okay, maybe that’s a little extreme, but it did interest me enough to study it for five years). I understand that most people aren’t like me. But what is happening to our country when our native speakers can’t understand subject-verb agreement or the difference between to/too, your/you’re, it’s/its and there/they’re/their? I feel like that material was hammered into my brain as a child.

On my way back from picking up Meat Loaf’s new album (I needed to physically feel it in my hands on the release date, not wait for it to arrive in the mail or download onto my computer), I saw a sign above a clothing store: “Where clothes comes to life.” I’m not positive that was the correct wording of it, I just remember the subject and verb. This wasn’t a hand-written sign in the window, they actually paid to have this slogan screen-printed on their awning. I then came home and got into the elevator with a man wearing an embroidered polo shirt. The shirt read: “I’m to old for this sh*t.” Yes, he either bought or made a shirt with the wrong “too.” And he probably didn’t even notice or care.

That’s what gets me. Even I occasionally have a slip up when I’m typing quickly on gchat with a friend. I’ll type “your” instead of “you’re” and then correct myself. But I would never turn in any professional or school work with the wrong word and most certainly would double check anything I was going to hang in my business or display on my body. I think the sad truth is that people just don’t care. There are bigger things to worry about in the world than proper grammar use, right? Just another reason our country is on the decline…

I’ll leave you with this story my former Latin teacher told me. Her daughter is currently studying in France for a year. As part of her curriculum she must take an English class. The teacher asked the students to complete the sentence “He __ for 10 years” with a form of the verb “to die.” My teacher’s daughter of course said, “He has been dead for 10 years.” But the instructor corrected her, saying it should be “He died for 10 years.” My teacher’s daughter said that wasn’t right. “Oh you Americans never speak proper English!” the teacher replied. It was only after the girl from Wales chimed in that the teacher admitted her mistake. Nice to know we Americans have an international reputation for butchering our language.

(In case you were wondering, it almost caused me physical pain to type and read the title of this post. Hopefully reading it gives you an icky feeling to too.)