Wednesday, January 31, 2007

And now we burgle

I'm not sure what's better--that Boston shut itself down today because of some Mooninites, or that Boston.com made some poor sucker write about Aqua Teen Hunger Force in a serious tone:

"Aqua Teen Hunger Force...involves animated characters that are depicted as fast food products, including a ball of ground meat, French fries, and a milk shake."

It's not quite a TV show all about stacking boxes, but then no one's been brainwashed and forced to stick a broomstick up their butt either.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Anodyne

OK, so maybe I’m not dealing with stress well right now. My brain is still pretty fuzzy from the meds switch. This week is much, much better than last week, when I was intermittently nauseous and ravenous, couldn’t concentrate on anything for more than 30 seconds, had a hard time formulating words in my head, and was generally a mess (but a very, very quiet mess because I didn’t want anyone at work to know.) Still, I got some funny looks when I’d say “sorry” instead of “unfortunately,” for example, or when I’d get inappropriately enthusiastic about things that didn’t require so much enthusiasm. But while the fuzzy jitteriness persists, I already feel less numb than I used to and that’s a pleasant change.

One of the things I’ve found that’s effective in helping to keep the brain fuzzies under control is exercise. The earlier I work out in the day, the less fuzzy I am for the rest of the day, a situation made slightly complicated by the fact that I’m physically incapable of getting up early to work out. I’ve tried—for years—and the best I can do is 10am on the weekends. It’s too cold to run at lunch right now and the Boston Baptiste studio just closed (I was really sad about that), so I’ve had to summon a little ingenuity because I’m unwilling to fork over for a second gym membership to one of the pricy places in Copley. My solution? Stairs (surprise!) I brought some running shoes into work and climbed the emergency stairs in my building. Insane? Trying not to be. Too bad this got cancelled for the year.

Sidenote: Gimp, meang and Vance—you must see this. You’ll understand. Meang—congrats on being an aunt!!!!!!! We’ll miss you in a few weeks, but I have no doubt you’re going to kick ass on the DC bar. Do us proud!

Warning: MBTA/CharlieCard rant ahead

The past few days on the T have sucked. Usually I just stick my head in my magazine and pay no attention to why the train is stopped/dark/packed beyond capacity because the MBTA is incapable of trafficking more Lechmere trains during rush hour, but after today I can't ignore it anymore.

This morning I tried to use my handy WageWorks credit card to buy my Linkpass for February. On my first try, the machine at Lechmere told me that the WageWorks card, which is automatically loaded with $59 from my paycheck every month, had no value on it. I tried again and the machine told me the card was denied. I tried a third time and the transaction went through up until I waved my CharlieCard at the target to finish the transaction and then the machine magically voided everything and cancelled the transaction. The MBTA lady at Lechmere was no help—she’d apparently never seen a WageWorks card before, which strikes me as weird because everyone who used to get their T pass in the mail—and that’s a lot of commuters--now has to use these faux Visa cards to buy their passes at the CharlieCard machines. Pissed off, I got on the train and went to work. At lunch, I decided to try again at Copley. Again, the machine gave me three different reasons why it wouldn’t accept my card. The MBTA guy at Copley sent me to Back Bay, where the same thing happened—no card luck and no help from the MBTA lady hovering near the CharlieCard machines.

Now really freaking peeved, I went back to work and called up WageWorks to find out why the hell my card wouldn’t work in the CharlieCard machines. After being on hold for 15 minutes, a guy named Cass got on the line. Cass told me that my card did indeed have the $59 required to buy my monthly LinkPass but since the CharlieCard machines had malfunctioned and I’d tried to use the card so many times in one day, the funds were frozen until Friday. I tried to explain that Friday was February 2 and that I needed my pass for February 1. This was very perplexing to Cass—he had no idea what to tell me. He couldn’t tell me whether the people at the MBTA office (which is apparently at Downtown Crossing and not Back Bay) would be able to help me or whether they could unfreeze the funds. He suggested that I buy the pass out of pocket and then fax WageWorks a form so they could reimburse me.

PAIN IN MY ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Why bother having this stupid credit card system if the CharlieCard machines can’t read the cards??? What was so wrong with the old system of tokens and nice, easy passes that came in the mail? Why bother having people at the T to help you if they have no clue what's going on? Why do I have to fork over because the stupid MBTA can’t make their machines work in the cold? Hello—it’s Boston!!!! It gets f*ing cold here—plan for it!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ice ice ice

It’s too cold to do anything except drink tea and huddle by my contraband space heater, which is technically illegal in my office but is the only sane option other than wearing my gigantic, poofy green parka at work all day. A few friends asked if we wanted to go see Pan’s Labyrinth tonight and we passed because all I want to do is go home and huddle under the blankets by the somewhat less illegal space heater in our living room. I do want to see Pan’s Labyrinth, though.

It’s cold at home, too. The cats wait for us to sit down and then immediately try to burrow into our body cavities. The walls in our house are cold. This morning I asked Lunchboy what kind of insulation we had and his response was, “Maybe none?” He’s one of those people who are permanently warm no matter what the weather’s like, so maybe he didn’t ask the insulation question when he bought the condo. As someone who’s cold when it’s 80 degrees and sunny, that question would have been at the top of my list. I’m so glad we had a non-winter until this week because we are too wedding poor to do much about the fact that the house is a heat sink. It’s another excuse to share body heat 

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tasty tasty

There are large chunks of this past weekend that I’ve blacked out, partly due to massive alcohol consumption and partly from denial (that would be the Patriots game).

The bachelorette party was on Friday and it was a total blast. Sassy women + lots of drinks + Chippendales boys + late night of dancing = good times. I seriously do not remember the last time I was up until 4am and I don’t know if I could do it again soon, by my god that was a night to remember (if I could remember all of it, that is.) I have pictures but they are kind of incriminating.

Call me na├»ve but I had no idea that a Chippendales show was interactive—I really thought it was a stage show with assigned seats etc. Silly me. And thank god for the multiple peachy drinks the girls fed me at Red Fez because otherwise I would have been paralyzed by mortification. Those Chippendales boys are not shy.

After the show, we went down to Encore for a while and listened to the piano. Across the room, two tables of impeccably made-up trannies were watching us and laughing. Then we headed back up to the Roxy. That was my first time getting patted down by club security—it made me feel my age.

We danced until all hours and then headed home. Lunchboy had waited up for us. If it were me and I had four loud, drunk people on my couch at 3am, I might not have been as easygoing as he was, but he was a total trooper. He made sure everyone got home and got to bed safely, that we all had greasy food for breakfast, that I didn’t have to get off the couch all day Saturday (which was huge because I wasn’t capable of being anything other than a lump.) I know the bachelorette party is all about having one last night of fun before marriage, but I was just so glad to come home to him. The Chippendales boys were hunky but they weren’t Lunchboy. I get the best one out there.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kind of in shock

There’s a lot of badness in Sudbury today. Things like this don’t happen there very often, if at all (not because they can’t, they just don’t usually). But in addition to the awful fact that a high school kid was stabbed to death in one of my alma mater’s bathrooms this morning, my father shared a fragment of conversation that took place in his gym this morning, a tidbit that displayed what he termed “an unfortunate predisposition” that is not alien to the swanky suburbs west of Boston. As a group of people discussed the tragedy in the locker room right after the news broke, one man piped up with, “Was it one of those blacks?”

I wish I was kidding.

My heart goes out to the family of the victim.

When I graduated from LS almost 15 years ago (!!), the most trouble the school faced was a student body-wide protest march from the school to the police station on the day of the Rodney King verdict. Were we more idealistic or just blessed with luck?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

That's my girl

I once read an interview with Fergie in which she claimed that her new album was about important, intimate events in her life. After listening to "London Bridge" and "Fergalicious" at the gym (and, I admit it, on KISS108), and having been completely incapable of getting their catchiness out of my head, I kinda wondered what happened during her crystal meth days that contributed to the writing of those songs. And the pants peeing that's happened to her in the past. But then I saw these pictures on Dlisted and forgave all. Because Fergie's running my stairs and I can't diss a girl who runs those stairs.

TMI

Litter isn't pretty. I’ve never understood why it’s so hard to put your trash in a trash can as opposed to throwing it on the ground. Then again, I didn’t understand why my former roommate left her Keeper on the top of the toilet—call me a neat freak. Perhaps this explains the quadruple take I did last night as I was leaving my gym and came eye to eye with someone’s used pregnancy test.

I am not kidding.

Whoever it was must have wanted the results known because she left her EPT stick sitting on top of the retaining wall around the entrance to the gym. I had looked down to avoid a patch of ice and looked up to find the white stick with one pink line in the little window right in front of my head. No idea whether one line means positive or negative.

Did she take the test on the sidewalk? Did she bring it to Twin City Plaza so she could show her boyfriend? Inquiring minds want to know. Then again, not really.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Kinda shady

I read this today on Kottke. It’s nice that people actually follow through on generous intentions. A lot of praise and attention is given to Heifer Project International and I personally don’t think it’s a great organization. I spent a weekend volunteering at a Heifer Project farm in Massachusetts back in the early 1990s. It was a disappointing experience and left me with the feeling that the organization was not all it said it was. When our group was preparing to wrap up the weekend, another man arrived on the farm. We asked him if he was there to volunteer. "No," he said. "I'm here to put a few of the animals down." Now, undoubtedly there are sick or elderly animals on farms that need euthanizing but we'd just spent all weekend feeding and mucking out stalls, and no one said anything about animals being put down--we were given the impression that these animals were being sent to needy families using donations given by organizations and individuals. It was just a feeling but it seemed pretty seedy. Ever since then I've donated money to other places that I know will actually put the funds to use.

Here goes nothing

It’s official—I am unbalanced. Seriously. As if being on antidepressants for the past 14 years wasn’t enough of a clue, my PCP has informed me that I am suffering from a hormonal imbalance, which is why I’ve been mutating into the Tazmanian Devil for a week of every month.

In the fall, I started noticing that my normal levels of PMS (read: moody, weepy and slightly needy) were becoming exaggerated. Instead of scarfing gummy bears and crying when Tim and Jason didn’t make up on Friday Night Lights, I was *raging* against the little old lady who cut me off in the bus line. I screamed at the cats. I went off on friends who hadn’t done anything wrong other than, you know, not reading my mind. The Danger Week meant extreme, irrational anger and irritability. Calm was restored once my period arrived, but in three weeks the whole thing started all over again.

How did it take me 5 months to notice this? Good question. I was starting to wonder if my brain was secretly trying to pull an Incredible Hulk, or if I was going to end up as a case study of what happens when you take SSRIs for too long. When I mentioned the anger to Lunchboy and asked if he’d noticed, he smiled that boy smile, the one that says, “I have to be very tactful or I might get castrated,” and said, “Yes.” Then I asked a few other friends and they were like, “We just figured it was wedding stress.”

I am living one of those bizarre pharmaceutical TV commercials.

So now, with 5 weeks to go before the wedding, I am going on the Pill and going off the SSRIs. If I turn into one of those creatures from 28 Days Later, you know what happened.

Insight

On my way to visit my new PCP today, an elderly man got on the elevator. He had a wide smile and a lot to say.

“It must be my lucky day, riding the elevator with two lovely women such as yourselves!” he said to me and the other woman in the elevator.

We grinned. It’s hard not to grin when you’re getting effusive, unexpected compliments.

“Everyone in this town always walks around with a frown. They all keep to themselves,” he continued. “I like to talk and get to know people.”

He’s right. Bostonians are like that. It’s too bad that we’re like that, too. This guy was like a ray of light in a very dark place.

As he got off the elevator, the other lady told him to have a nice day.

“I always do,” he said. “Who knows—it could be my last!”

“I never looked at it that way,” she replied. “That just shot my day to hell.”

I thought it was upbeat and refreshing. It’s nice to hear people live their lives so fully.

In the doctor’s office, the old man kept talking to another patient in the waiting room, though the whole room was listening. He was that kind of interesting, the kind I wish I saw more often. He had died once, he said. He got electrocuted and the hospital declared him dead, but he had an out of body experience and knew he couldn’t die yet, so he came back into his body. Now every time he closes his eyes to go to sleep, he sees a crowd of friendly faces smiling at him. “They never say anything, though,” he said. “They just look at me. Sometimes they laugh but it doesn’t feel like they’re laughing at me. Now I’m never alone.”

Every so often, he sees a face he recognizes. “I had a friend I hadn’t seen or talked to in years,” he continued. “One night he came running up to me in my dream. He was so excited to see me. I figured he had passed on and was coming to say goodbye.”

After he told the story, the doctor called him into the office. I was sad—I wanted to keep hearing about his dreams. There were lots of elderly people in the waiting room and they all seemed afraid of what was coming, but not this guy. He looked like he wasn’t a day under 90 and he had no fear. I suppose if you’ve already died once there isn’t much that feels scary.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Fourth and goal

Playoff time is trying. Or at least it’s trying for me.

Unlike regular season football games, which I find soothing and amusing and somewhat brainless, playoffs are extremely tense. They are especially tense if you happen to be watching the game with die hard fans of the type that shriek and stomp and get so tense that their shoulders crawl up into their ears. They are even more tense if people come over to watch the game(s) and don’t leave…EVER. After dealing with football guests for eight hours, guests who stretched the boundaries of good manners to the point of obliteration (stiffed us on the pizza bill, left the house a mess, drank all our beer and didn’t get more, invited other people over without asking first, and generally wore on my last nerve), I was crispy fried and capable only of sitting mutely in bed, trying to find enough energy to read US Weekly.

Also, forget doing any wedding planning on playoff weekends. It’s just not possible. I tried to write thank you notes and got laughed out of my living room.

I guess I’ve just hit a point where I have a hard time giving up my weekends to the television. Calgon, take me away.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Nein

The Morning News would have a killer teaser for this story, but I’m tanked up on cold medicine and I can’t come up with anything good. I will say that, given the lowbrow humor that passes for witty conversation in our house, it’s a good thing we’re not getting married in Austria.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bonne annee

I'm not much for New Years resolutions, mostly because when I've made them in the past I find it impossible to keep them. This is why I'm almost 32 and I still pick at my fingernails. Still, a new year feels like a nice, new start. I'd like to set some intentions but I haven't figured out what they are yet.

After kicking the stomach flu, I promptly came down with a bad cold. I normally associate colds with cold weather, but it's still above 50 during the day so this is a little bewildering.

The RSVPs are trickling in. People seem to be in one of two camps--send in their response card as soon as the invitation arrives, or wait until the very last minute. Even if I know people are coming to the wedding, we still need to know what they want to eat because the hotel has a thing about catering numbers. At the same time, we're observing a family phenomenon that is completely to new us. My parents insisted on inviting about 100 extended family members because if these people weren't invited, they'd allegedly never speak to my parents again. Somewhat predictably, almost none of these family members are attending and now my parents, genuinely surprised and hurt, are on the verge of not speaking to their extended families anymore. Families are very, very strange. It's really a shame because I don't think it's worth getting that angry about--people come or they don't.

Bachelorette party in two weeks. Chippendales, baby. Woo!