Wednesday, January 28, 2009

5 Things That I Can Live Without

Hey! We're in a Recession, people! It's time to tighten our belts and get serious about cutting back. Here at Stuff, I'm more than happy to do my part. Here's a whole list of

Stuff I Can Live Without:

1. Balloons
2. Dessert/Salad Forks
3. Gift Bookmarks
4. Capers
5. Earrings

And I won't miss them at all. Here's why:

Balloons are stupid and pointless. They serve absolutely no function. The helium ones especially are really dumb because people pay big money for them as "bouquets." They are a pain to haul around, bobbing all over in the car, blocking your vision and trying to get out. Once they arrive at their destination, they continue to be in the way, always seeking the draft and losing their buoyancy overnight, looking like sad, ugly harbingers of doom. If kids get a balloon, they immediately lose it and cry or it gets swept up and murdered in a ceiling fan.

Salad/dessert forks are those littler forks. They are almost never used at my house unless I am trying to be fancy or all the big forks are dirty or lost upstairs in the boys' room. I don't have a separate divider section in my cutlery drawer for them, so they are upside-down in the fork section. I hate that.

When I read, my bookmark is either end of the bookjacket flap, depending upon how far into the book I am. If I'm reading a book without a jacket, then I use whatever piece of paper I can find: an envelope, a Post-It, a coupon, a receipt. Those fancy-schmancy bookmarks are just there at bookstores for people to buy as a last-minute "rounding out the gift" purchase. The metal ones especially bug the hell out of me, and if they are engraved, that's even more ridiculous.

If you have a jar of capers in your fridge, I bet it's about a year old or more. They're a specialty item, and even though I cook a lot of stuff, I rarely use them. Once in a while, I'll grab a jar if a recipe calls for them, and then I spend a lot of time trying to use up the rest of the jar. Forget that and just use green olives with the pit in them, which are stronger than the pitted kind and can stand in for capers pretty well.

I haven't worn earrings in so long that I bet all three holes in my ears are closed by now. I used to fanatically match my earrings to my outfit every day. And you rarely saw them because of my hair. One day, I just stopped, and I haven't worn them since. I don't miss them, no one asks about them or says, "You know what your overall look is missing? Earrings!" Sigh. Oh. Well.

What stuff are you letting go?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

5 Things You Miss About College Without Realizing It

So, I am starting the second week of my last semester of college. Terrifying, I know. I had an incredible break at home with my family and friends and I didn't want to come back. However, there are things you miss. Friends, throwing the football in the hallway, and tearing down signs that your RA posts. Here are

5 Things I Missed About College That I Didn't Realize.

1. It is totally acceptable to run in the hallway at 3 AM for absolutely no reason.
2. You can say things that are incoherent, and somehow, everyone knows what you mean.
3. Not doing anything.
4. Being able to simply scream "FUCK!" and not have anyone panic.
5. The gender non-specific cashier at the Circle-K.

1. Look, I can't explain it, but sometimes, I feel the complete and overwhelming urge to sprint down the hall. This is odd. Mainly because I. Hate. Running. I have never felt the urge to run. Mainly because I'm sure that it was that I HAD to run. Not that I COULD run.

2. My buddy Spinner gave me the following directions to the Sprint store which we were trying to find to get our friend Bower Tower's phone fixed: "Oh, dogg, I know where that place is. You do too. It's on the other side of that thing." I reply, "Word." I knew that the other side of the thing meant that I had to cross over Airport Highway. That's the other side. The thing is Airport Highway. Perfect.

3. No classes for MLK day. Solid. So I...sat around. I was worthless. Also, I ate an entire pizza. Large. Pepperoni. Cool Runnings was on TBS, so I watched it. In my underwear, with a Coke Zero. And when TBS re-ran it...I did it again. With a bag of Skittles and a Cherry Coke. What more could I ask for?

4. The other day, I realized that I had done laundry and that the laundry I had done was still damp. I pulled out a t-shirt I had planned to wear. It was soaking wet. I threw my head back and shouted "FUCK ME!" at the top of my lungs. About five minutes later I got a text from my neighboor reading "Solid?" I reply "Truth." He says "?". I say "wet laundry." He responds "brutal." This is what I'm talking about.

5. I have no idea what this person is. Real nice...guy? Girl? And it is named Kris. Kristopher? Kristen? Kristy? Nobody knows. And strangely, I'd like to keep it that way.

Friday, January 16, 2009

5 Things I'm Just Not That Into

Generally, as I've gotten older, I've gotten a little more tolerant in many areas. But I have to admit that in some things, I've become pretty set in my ways. I do realize that there are some of my tastes that make my life a bit onerous, and try as I might, I just cannot change my ways. Here then is my list of
Stuff I Wish I Liked

1. Popcorn
2. Contemporary Fiction
3. Winter
4. Musicals
5. Olive Garden restaurant

These are in no particular order, by the way, and none of them have really ruined my life. But honestly, actively disliking each one has made an impact. For example, popcorn is a healthy, low-calorie snack that is also (unless you buy it at the theater) really cheap. In college, everyone had an air-popper--then a newfangled contraption--and the dorm halls reeked of the stuff. I don't like it. And, it simply wrecks my guts. Period. Every now and again, I crave caramel corn, eat an entire bag of it, and suffer major consequences. But plain popcorn could have been a go-to snack for me when I was overweight for the first 30 years of my life and sadly, I couldn't go to it.

Those of you who read me over at the Dept. know that I cannot read much new fiction. I teach creative writing (i.e. how to write fiction) so reading it is like work for me. I am constantly seeing the formulas at work--oh, there's exposition; what a neat way to characterize; why isn't there any setting to establish mood here? etc.--and it is rare that I can stop this. I know I'm missing good work out there, but honestly, few contemporary authors can really provide the depth that many of the classical Victorian writers or American masters gave us. I seriously believe this.

Holy crap. I am able to write this post right now because I am on Snow Day Two here in NE Ohio, where I awoke to temperatures of ten below zero with Arctic wind chills. When I went outdoors yesterday to go visit an ailing aunt, I could feel my bones under my skin. I. am. not. kidding. This is brutal. When the winter months kick in here in NE Ohio (starting in November and not ending until late April and I am totally serious), I am, for all intents and purposes, housebound. The cold is painful for me. I cannot take it. Why must we have it? Other regions do just fine without it. Someone save me.

You know, I went to Toronto to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Pantages Theatre--totally refurbished just for this show--and I was entranced and enthralled. But that is the only musical I can tolerate. The rest irk me. The whole idea that life stops so that someone can sing a hokey song is silly. Well, wait. I did like the movie Fiddler on the Roof and was actually in the show in high school, but even that was pushing it with the ghost wife scene. And do not get me started on the whole issue of Daniel Day-Lewis's next role being in a musical. I am in denial.

Finally, Olive Garden. One recently opened near me, and the place has been jammed at all hours every day. I'm sorry; I just don't get it. I find Olive Garden to be the Taco Bell of pseudo-Italian food. It's bland, it's boring, and it combines about eight basic ingredients in eleventy hundred different ways and calls them all a different name, but they all taste vaguely the same. It's the Taco Bell Principle. Taco Bell uses seasoned ground beef, cheese, beans, soft or hard shells, and a topping or two and yet has about thirty menu items. How? Ask Olive Garden. Most people love Olive Garden, and everyone goes there for dinner. There aren't a lot of decent choices around us anymore, and this further limits me. Why am I such a pain in the ass?

Do you like any of this Stuff? What is some Stuff You Wish You Liked?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

If At First You Don't Succeed, Then Give It Another Year

Happy New Year from Stuff. Once again, a new year has arrived, and I have not made a New Year's Resolution. I'm pretty consistent about that whole deal. I like to think that I'm on a Continuous Journey Of Self-Improvement, one that is not bound by Arbitrary Dates and the like. (Actually, that's a lot of bullshit. But bullshit that sounds really, really good.)

Mainly, I avoid the Spectre Of Failure whenever possible.

If I were going to make New Year's Resolutions, however, they would be the same ones every single year. The good thing about them is that they become far more realistic if you add in the Adverbial Qualifying Phrase* "probably not" between the helping and main verbs. I'll show you exactly what I mean by putting in the *AQP--in red--in the following:

Nance's Faux New Year's Resolutions

1. I will probably not exercise more.
2. I will probably not swear less.
3. I will probably not curtail my intake of Lay's Original Potato Chips.
4. I will probably not stop sweating the small stuff so much.
5. I will probably not stop obsessing over my hair so much.
6. I will probably not be more tolerant of republicans.

Now, all of these Resolves become excruciatingly calisthenic and tedious and nigh unto impossible should I actually undertake them to their ultimate success. But, with the magic of the AQP, they become sort of...well...kind of like the 30-year old guy who lives in his parents' basement and sells stuff on Ebay that he got real cheap at the flea markets on Saturdays. You know, kinda like a shrug of the shoulders, live and let live kind of thing. I mean, I'm always trying to do these 6 things, but sometimes, they just don't happen for me. I'd like 2009 to be my Breakthrough Year, but hey! It might not be. If not, there's always 2010.


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