Monday, January 31, 2011

The Social Awkwardness of Social Networking

Below are some excerpts from the oddest conversations I have had on Facebook recently. The ROI on my profile pic is questionable, since these are all from goofballs and not well spoken millionaires, but anyway...answer me: does this approach really work for those who are willing?  Do people really have these conversations and say "Why yes, I would love to meet up with your weird ass for a drink and possibly to be bound and gagged in the trunk of your car later.."? Discuss.

Forcible rape?? In my country we call that "seduction"

Friend request and accompanying message from a fellow from Europe who lists my high school as his, and shares several friends:

Latin Lover: 
I am liking how you are look to me. You are having boyfriend?
(I would like to add you to my collection of heads)

Thank you. I'm married. Did you go to my high school?
(Why in the hell do you of the broken English know so many of my classmates?)

Latin Lover: 
Unintelligible explanation about high school connection... I know many peoples from you live.
(I changed my high school to yours after I saw a pretty girl who went there LAST YEAR. I can't even find Wyoming on a map)

I am not sure I understand. Did you live in my town?
( I think you are full of shit)

Latin Lover:
I like very much your manners. Do you have a lover?
(Let's change the subject - would you like to get naked with me? )

I am married.
(Oh sure. I will hop on a plane as soon as I am done here..NOT)

Latin Lover:
 I like to talk with lots of women I meet online. Do you want to talk with me often? 
(I want to have online chat sex and I am too cheap to pay for it. Wanna?)

Sorry, I don't think you are reading me. I am married, so I don't think so. 

Latin Lover:
You are feisty! Perhaps we could meet? 
(I would like to chain you in my basement.A few hard slaps and you would realize my passion for you.)

Me:, I do not think we can meet. 
(Thank God for Internet Privacy controls)


I asked our "mutual friend" about this yahoo, and she said she didn't know who he was either, but "he sure was weird". Ya think? 

Message from guy with no profile pic and the same last name as our town  - very creative, no?

"Attractive. married?"
(I want to have chat sex)

Thank you. Yes, married. 
(This guy wants to have chat sex)

Sorry to bother you.
(You're a prude)

No bother, just a friend request
(Yes, I am a prude, but I am polite, nonetheless.)

Looking for friends?
(I could be wrong...Still fishing...)

Beats looking for enemies...
(sarcasm, perhaps?)

How about friends with benefits?
(Why not just go for it?)

Dude, you are still barking up the wrong tree. 
(Not really a hint guy, this one. Perhaps less subtle.)

Sorry, I am married too. Just looking for some excitement. 
(She IS a prude..but maybe she will feel sorry for me)

You're going to find nothing but trouble methinks. Good luck. 
(I AM a prude.  I am sort of sorry for your wife. I hope she is having better luck than you are finding a suitable replacement.)
Accepted Friend Request from guy with a somewhat familiar name. Immediately, a chat window opens:

I feel so free. At the Loaf and Jug, I have to hide my rockin' tats. 

Band Guy: 
You are hot. 
(Your profile pic is sort of slutty looking)

Um..why, thanks. Do we know each other already? Your name is familiar. 
(I now think I made a mistake with the profile pic AND thinking this person is someone I know)

Band Guy: 
No, but you are hot. 
(So, are you slutty, or what?)

Again, thanks. Sorry, I thought when I got the request that we knew each other. 
(I made a mistake and I am not slutty. In fact, i am so lame I am wearing a name tag in the photo taken with our State Senator.)

Band Guy: 
I just moved here. I work at the Loaf and Jug. 
(What is a State Senator? I do not have the level of embarrassment I should have about  my part time employment)

Welcome to our town. What brings you to our town?
(Holy shit. You are here on parole to the halfway house...)

Band Guy: 
My Band. We are opening for blah blah and blah  blah in ((nearby town)).
(I am regretting the Loaf and Jug employment announcement and am trying to seem cooler than I feel right now. I should probably take that off of my profile info) 

You don't say. I'm sorry, I don't know either of those bands 
(because I am one hundred years older than you). 

Band Guy: 
You want to hook up? 
(May as well go for it - she DID have a slutty profile pic. Maybe she has a "bad boy thing")

No thanks, I don't think so.  
(A bad boy who works at the Loaf and Jug? Also, i am married and one hundred years older than you.)

Band Guy:
That's cool. If you change your mind, I work at the Loaf and Jug.
(I still don't get why that turns girls off? I can get free icee's all day long!)

Thanks, you mentioned. 
(Seriously dude, stop telling girls where you work - unemployment would be more bad ass than the visual of you in the Loaf and Jug smock.)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Feline Bourne Identity

Happy mid-January.  I am writing about my cat, furthering the rumors that I am having some manner of crazy-cat-lady nervous breakdown. But I am really quite sane, promise.

In other winter news, I bought the cheapest model of space heater for under my desk, so wish me luck that I don't burn the house down or die of some kind of poisoning from the lead paint. At least my feet will be warm when I go. In fact, my socks are smoldering at this moment.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Hey gang! Get the Mystery Machine rolling! We have a Caper to solve!

Our new cat doesn't know who she is.....and neither do we (cue music). We considered calling her Janell Bourne, but my sweet baboo insisted her name should be Minnie. I have no idea why, she sure isn't "mini"; she is more "Maxi". However, Minnie it is.

Hi, I'm Minnie. Please leave me alone. I am undercover.
  The intrigue started when we went shopping for ONE cat for my kids. It was to be an early Christmas present combined with my apparent loss of reason, since we already have 2 dogs. At the shelter, the kids wanted a black wiley kitten that swiped at them from the cages, but I had set eyes on a nice, calm older cat who seemed content to let anyone hold her. So, the nice pound ladies fleeced me for what I thought would be a relatively 'free' adoption of TWO cats. 

pet tags for my two "illegal" pets already at home:  $$
pet tags for TWO cats:  $$
pre-payment for feline rabies shots:  $$$
Partial payment for spaying of TWO cats, one of which is probably already spayed:  $$$$

Kids faces when I said "Why don't we adopt BOTH?":  Priceless

This is the photo we sent their Dad when he asked if found A cat, singular.
Merry Christmas City Animal Shelter; to say there is no such thing as a free pet has never rang truer. 

Amidst my flurry of check writing and grousing about pet tags, the woman started feeling bad, so she started mentioning the benefits of my new cats like a used car salesman kicking the tires of a Mazda Miata. This included a final comment that the big girl had a microchip in her.

Wait. A. Second.

A MICROCHIP??  EMBEDDED IN HER CAT SKIN??? WOW! (see also, creepy.) The kids and I were suddenly looking at lazy Minnie in a brand new light. What mystery!!.... What intrigue...!
Minnie yawned. 

I think she is scanning for double agents, but I can't be sure.
What kind of info must be on such a thing? Details from the cold war? The truth behind the Kennedy assassination? The ladies from the pound eyed me warily and each other and then explained how the chip would be used to track Minnie should she become lost. not as intriguing as we were imagining, and apparently, not very EFFECTIVE since she was now at the pound, slated for death. ??? "So, scan her up!" I yelled. The woman explained that while Minnie possessed the chip, it had not been registered by her previous owners. For the love....what a waste! No one could be bothered to register an already placed chip and now, poor Minnie was stuck in a metal box at the pound with other non-trackable unsavories like the other cat we were bringing home.

The unsavory Jazzy, looking at her Facebook.

I vowed to have Minnie registered and redeem her back to primo pet status. I also hoped that underneath all of that fur, she had a scar indicating she had already been spayed, so I wouldn't have to shell out more dough for that too. I took the note with the tracking number on it and raced home, intent on getting my high-speed, low-drag feline back on track in the spy game. Yeah......that was in November...It's now January.

I keep telling myself I am helping Minnie stay "off of the grid".
"Lay low".
"Flying under the radar".

I also had a few nightmare's about her true owners coming to get her, like orphan Annie with the locket. So, now it is (gulp) mid-January and still not registered. Oh, the failure.

but TODAY, I took Minne and the unsavory Jazzy to the vet to be spayed (the pre-pay at the pound made paying hurt a little less, for me anyway).  Minnie was pissed about having to have her belly shaved, but lo and behold, she had already been through the spaying process, so she dodged the knife and I will be headed to the Animal Shelter to cash in my pre-payment. (I hope to hell they don't have anything else in there we can't live without. I am becoming the crazy pet lady.)

I also registered Minnie with relative ease and a payment of $20 bucks. Now, she may travel to Berlin, Milan, or Uzbekistan. She won't call, she won't write....I will just have to track her by chip. I better get some of these for the sweet baboos before they go to college. And then remember to register them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Post-Christmas Christmas Rant (Wow, what a Grinch!)

**DISCLAIMER**  I was so busy grinching it up about the holidays that i somehow forgot to post this. Like my holiday cards, this too is better late than never. I blame the chocolate.

I have a love/hate relationship with the holiday season. I am a little like chocolate with sea salt about it. I love chocolate with sea salt, and have been stuck on it for about a week, although it gives me a stomachache. Christmas is the same way.

I am typing this as I eat yet another broken chunk of a Ghirardelli Sea Salt Soiree (racy, no?) bar laying on the kitchen counter.  I keep walking past it and partaking, as if somehow eating the whole thing in pieces as I continually walk by it is somehow different than eating the whole thing.  I WAS eating some lovely chocolate truffles with sea salt (made from a recipe on PW) but I finally froze them so they might have a chance to make it to some holiday plates for others, and I might have a chance to maintain a size XXX. Then, I spotted the chocolate and salt already together in a Ghirardelli bar and it jumped into my cart. It's warfare up here in my psyche, I tell you.

((I am also eating on the tablecloth after yelling at my family about the same thing this week, so don't tell them.))

My feelings about Christmas are like the tiny nuggets of sea salt that I sprinkled on the truffles and this stowaway candy bar, salty and sweet. My negative feelings have a strong bite to them and they are  kind of bitter, but tempered by the rich goodness of the truffle. Things like shopping, gifts and gifts are the grainiest pebbles under my saddle.  Did I say "gifts" twice and mean it? You bet I did.

The gift giving of Christmas just wears me out entirely. People will literally knock each other down to get the last manger scene, will have a verbal altercation with stranger over a Sesame Street toy and will practically cut a man for the latest flat screen TV.  I find the whole charade ridiculous and will wax philosophical about consumerism and Unplugging the Christmas Machine to anyone who will listen. Yet, here I am this year all a-frenzy on Black Friday...electronics in hand (I shoved no one and there was no spitting or name calling, but you get the idea). Why do I still get the pit in my stomach that my indulged children will somehow feel shorted on Christmas if there isn't "enough" under the tree? Ugh. I hate me. And I wish the gift giving portion of Christmas would go the way of the Dodo, and leave more room for the other food.

Adults are the worst. After complaining about how expensive the holidays are, and our dwindling budgets, we will still all INSIST on getting each other some kind of trinket to show that we care for one another, even though we need NOTHING and can't even think of something to ask for legitimately. At least kids are going with the magic theory. We know the reality, and!

Wise friends will eventually see the light and just have a nice lunch together, but families KNOW that they must get each other "some little something" or surely, the world will crash in on Christmas Day. Even after making sworn agreements NOT to do an adult gift exchange, some well-meaning asshole cheats by giving a scarf or some stationary, just because.

I can buy my own socks!
Ask yourself: what did I receive last year? What did I give my Sister/Grandma/Brother/Father/? Chances are you don't remember. So let's stop already, people. Really. Please?...Fine, then. Thank you for the set of ice cream bowls. (A shout out to my own Granny who asked me to PLEASE stop sending her the cookie of the month, they are sick of them. Love ya Mae!)

The chocolate side of my Christmas season duality includes a few things that I really think are special, and give me a feeling of joy among my negative feelings. One is ringing the Salvation Army bell with my sweet baboos. We help the more needful population of our community by begging strangers to put money in our kettle, but I don't really do it for the "giving back" mentality. I do it twice a season because we have a great time singing Christmas carols badly (in acoustic store entryway) and having one legged standing contests. Good fun. People stop to chat with us, and to see who will win the one legged standing contest in progress (Hint: I will).  It makes me feel happy to be there doing good work and having fun with my peeps.  I hope that people rushing through their holiday season, annoyed by having to find something that Uncle Jim, who doesn't like anything, will possibly like. I hope that seeing us on a hot chocolate and sugar cane high, standing on one booted leg with candy canes hanging off of our ears will make them laugh as they grumble and lug their bags of hams and chocolate chips home. Not to brag, but my little darlings can do that to a person...especially me.

I have been unfair to my family of gift lovers above, so I will temper my criticism by saying that I love hanging with the fam at the holidays. I like all of the food and sitting around talking with everyone from my husband's hilarious Grandparents to the girlfriend and friend of my nephew who happened by. The Community of Christmas allows that all of us will smile at each other a little more and share some laughs, and maybe a raucous game of 'spoons" now that the shopping frenzy is over and we can't possibly buy or wrap one more thing. The kids are zooming all over the house, and ONLY they care about the presents (Why can't we get a clue?). And, there is the smell of warm food cooking...and wine. Ahh, wine. Bring on the holidays.

I like Christmas cards too. I like getting non bill material in the mail, with great photos and even the occasional "what we did this year" letter, even the ones that are a little barfy. I particularly enjoy cards that look like they will someday be featured on "Awkward Family Photos".  They make me laugh.

Thank God they are overfed...
(the cats, not the people)
I even like walking to the car after my children's Christmas program at a church I am not a subscriber to, bellies full of cookies and seeing the snow fall slow and lightly on our eyelashes as we walk to the car. 

Another bit of chocolaty goodness for me is Christmas Carols. You heard me. Not a new fangled rock and roll remix, or Carrie Underwood's fresh take on Christmas miracles, but the GENUINE ARTICLE. Silent Night, I'll Be Home For Christmas, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire and all of that jazz. Ooh, I will burst out in song in the grocery if the mood so strikes me. And God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman is just such a song to do that, in K-mart or not. Religious or not. I will continue to hum them as I traipse through the parking lot, past people who in the spirit of the season, are giving other shoppers the finger over the parking space they felt was rightly theirs. See me? I am not even noticing, as I am humming along ..hmm, go the bells, hmmm, Christmas Cheer, hmmm, blah, blah, blah....Ding! Dong! Ding! Dong!...Christmas is heeeeeeeeere. 

Got to go lie down. My chocolate Sea Salt Soiree is giving me a stomachache.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Where There's Smoke, There's Chicken...

Over the post Christmas break, our family rarely consumed a meal that did not come from a concession stand or a bag. We had been attending a community basketball tournament and going to practices, so a well balanced meal routinely meant it included chips and a drink.

We attended so many games that our children became referees, below. Just kidding, but they did get to be referee ASSISTANTS, and everyone knows that is how you get to the top.

They look mean, right?

We had big plans to attend a rodeo rough stock event for New Year's Eve, so yet another meal was going to be eaten on our laps in bleachers. Ugh. I eyed the whole chicken that was languishing in the refrigerator and fretted that I was going to have to throw it away. It was a lovely Amish chicken my Mother in Law had brought us.

Not really, but you get the idea...
I am not sure I want to admit that we have gotten so old that we cancelled our New Year's Eve plans so we could eat dinner, but...we did.

Well, and so we could lay on the couch, America's favorite past time.

I had read a recipe for a baked chicken that was cooked for a relatively short amount of time on HIGH heat. I dragged Jebediah out of the refrigerator and got to work. He was a big fella, must have been doing a lot of barn raisings prior to his demise.

The recipe is here, and is pretty basic. Chop fresh herbs (or jarred, if it is -20 and you are NOT going to the store) and canola oil and give your chicken a relaxing massage. Then, throw him in the oven at 450 degrees. Done, and done! I felt very accomplished. Instead of the chicken languishing, I would.

A few minutes into my languishing and the chicken searing, my less-than-gourmet cookie sheet made a strange noise at that level of heat and promptly warped upward on one side. My face kind of did the same thing in annoyance. (Got a visual of this face?) I chided myself for being too cheap to use my nicer sheets, lest they be smudged by greasy chicken scorch. Although annoying, this caused no problem initially, so i went back to patting myself on the back.

There was a lot of popping and sizzling going on in the oven, and I was delighted to think of the crispy chicken skin we would unhealthily enjoy. Skinless chicken - Well, I never.

A bit of smoke was eeking out of the top burners of the stove, and I attributed it to the high heat and grease. An excellent summation in my opinion. I turned on the fan and was only slightly annoyed by the noise. However, the fan couldn't really keep up with the smoke and so the house started looking a little hazy. I blinked. The kids coughed politely. The cat sneezed. Special Agent continued at his post in the man room, unawares.

I checked on Jeb a few times and he was looking tasty, albeit a little smoke inhaled. The warp in the pan had caused his herbed canola massage oil to run into one corner where is was making a lot of racket. I cautiously pulled the pan out and emptied the sizzling grease out of the pan, holding on to Jeb for dear life. This helped immensely, or so I thought. The oil continued to collect until the haze was well, hazier. Although it was ludicrously cold, I opened the kitchen window. And the back door. And turned on the fan. Special Agent finally emerged when he sensed I might be burning the house down upstairs.

I explained the process to the whole complaining crew, including the pets who didn't really care. The dogs just wanted the chicken to eventually fall off of the pan to the floor and my family coughed and sputtered and made jokes at my expense. Sadly, this is not the first time I have created a smoke filled house during dinner prep. We were having a New Year's Eve board game tournament, so my Sweet Baboo decided she would sport some goggles during play since her eyes were burning.


NO ONE APPRECIATES ME AROUND HERE...!!   ((Cough))...((blink-blink)).

After a lot of grousing and pouring off of the oil  several times, we finally dragged Jeb out of the oven and he was a beautiful specimen.

I had to show you this side, since we had already eaten some
of the crispy skin off of the other side, giving Jeb a mangy look. Whoops! 

Except he wasn't done. All of that barn raising had created a meatier chicken than I had anticipated. The house looked like we should evacuate and even though it was frigid, I had windows and doors thrown open, fans blazing. It was freezing, and we were starving. We sighed and threw Jeb back in and tapped our feet outside the oven door. We had sampled the crispy skin, which gave us promise for a decent dinner to ring in the New Year. And hopefully not salmonella.

20 minutes later, Jeb was carved and joined the rolls, salad and whatnot. The chicken was really very good once we slowed down enough to taste it. I was so busy with the smoked filled house, i didn't even have a chance to brag about the dinner rolls I made to go with the chicken. Or the significant wine I consumed during this debacle.

We rang in the New Year (HNY to you!) with no food poisoning, Special Agent sleeping on the couch, and my eye lids at half mast. The kids were still up watching a baseball movie, and were delighted to see fireworks perfectly from our window as the New Year rang in. We were in bed by 12:10.

I will make this chicken again in the grill when the weather cooperates, and may even try to the high-heat oven method again during cold snaps. However, I am not certain how we should combat the smoke in the future and I am open to suggestions. Grace suggests adding the nose clip to the goggles.

I am showing this photo to each and every date who comes
to the house to pick her up. Oh yes, I am.
No one appreciates me.