23 October 2007

The New American Triage System is Sponsored by Sports Drinks

You may recall from this post that I enjoy the heightened beaureaucracy that has come with ASU President Michael Crow's efforts to create the "New American University", that is, reimagining higher education along the lines of business and pimping out the student body to any major corporation that presents itself at his door with a moderately-sized bucket of cash. But that's another post entirely.

I was struck with a mystery virus recently (it wasn't the flu, because I gleefully accept any vaccine any medical-type person offers me, and so took the allergy nurse up on her offer to flu-shot me the week they received it) and decided to consult the University physicians, not so much because I thought they'd be able to do anything to help me, but because I became dizzy on the way to my car to go to campus (note: campus is only four blocks away, so the mere fact that I needed my car to get there was a bad sign) and so figured that a note excusing my absence from class later that afternoon would be pretty useful.

As it turned out, the entire campus must have had the same thing, because there were semi-conscious coeds slumped all over the sign-in lobby when I arrived, causing me to wonder briefly if I'd accidentally walked in on closing time at a Mill Avenue bar. But that was nothing compared to the waiting room for urgent care, which strongly resembled the Atlanta train depot in Gone With the Wind, with etiolated students slumped in every available chair and spilling out into the lab waiting area across the hall. As it turned out, my self-diagnosis of a virus was right, I got some prescription strength Sudafed (whee!) and a note excusing me from class, and sloped off, only to return for muscle relaxant and painkiller (WHEE!) two days later when all my couch-lying caused a back spasm. Awesome.

But at the time, I proceeded to wait for two hours to be seen, during which I passed the time by frantically e-mailing my professor to alert her to the situation, reading informational pamphlets ("there's little to be accomplished by going to the doctor if you have a cold or the flu": a. no kidding; b. except for a note saying I can go home and lie in bed instead of saying smart things about French History) and sipping a free bottle of Powerade, a basket of which some be-scrubsed and white-tennis-shoed angel had brought through the waiting area, presumably to keep us all from expiring on the spot. Did you know Powerade contains coconut oil? I didn't. Also: the official Powerade web site is an inspiring example of how to maximize content while minimizing information provided. Come to think of it, why does an energy drink have such an involved web site? Is there a Powerade community out there of which I, as an avid non-consumer of sports and soft drinks, am completely unaware? Weird.

04 September 2007

I Enjoy Depending on Others

It's amazing how fast one's (or my, not to generalize) ability to do things or solve problems oneself deteriorates when other people are around to do the doing/solving for you.

This phenomenon had been limited to my visits to family, where I become accustomed to eating healthy and gourmet meals to which my contributions are 1. setting the table, and 2. sitting on a spinny stool at the kitchen island drinking margaritas, so that I go through a readjustment period when I get back to my apartment of sullen and half-assed meal-planning and grocery shopping (i.e., buying three different varieties of turkey cold cuts and no bread, necessitating "chef's salad" lunches that involve a lot of chopping and remembering to pack or scavenging for a fork). Or, visiting my brother and his partner, being fed an excellent dinner, then dropped off at and picked up after a rock show, or having an awesomely intellectual Spring Break Miami at foreign films and art installations, none of which I had to find out about on my own and during which (the Spring Break, not the art installations) they insist on my taking the only bed. Or, in the case of my sister and brother-in-law, going camping, where "going camping" translates roughly into "pointing at various items in the garage while they're efficiently loading the car and asking, 'Do we need this?', then being bundled in outdoor gear and driven to the campsite, where I fiddle around with the box that food stays in and bears can't open while they (my sister and her husband, not the bears) set up the tent. Before you read further, I urge you to note from that last link that BearSaver.com is "Your first choice in quality Bear-Resistant Commercial Containers & Bear-Resistant Dumpsters." And whimsical capitalization, it would seem.

Back to the issue at hand, however: now, my simple problem-solving skills are declining to an alarming and possibly irrecoverable degree, for which I blame my fabulous friend Shamsi and my excellent boyfriend.

Shamsi and I travel together to a conference every year (you may recall that I contracted Legionnaires' disease or similar there in 2006), and at the most recent, she solved my problems so seamlessly that I almost didn't have time to moan about them before they were fixed. I whined about my shoes hurting and being too hungry and sleepy to walk back to the hotel and change them; she handed me some turkey jerky to gnaw on, then presented me with the choice of A. sitting on the conference patio, after which I would still be sleepy until the afternoon coffee break and my feet would still hurt, or B. taking a pleasant 10-minute walk that will take us to both a cafe and the hotel. She even anticipated my next complaint by suggesting I put my fancy shoes in the free conference bag for carrying. She also let me pretend her very cute purse was mine all week, because I perennially forget to shop for a moderately-sized, professional-looking bag to bring to conferences (but since then I've bought one).

My excellent boyfriend, in addition to making unflattering finger-puppets of people I dislike, showering me with toy otters and gummy candy, and proving a successful convert to both Rome and Veronica Mars, has conversations with me that go something like this:
Him: Can I get you anything?
Me: No, I'm fine.
Him: Are you sure? I'm getting up anyway. Do you want another beer?
Me: No, thanks.
Him: Did you get some stuff to eat?
Me: I had some of the snacks -- I'm waiting for the burgers to be ready.
Him: Do you want some water?
Me: Ooh, yes, actually!
But because of treatment like this, I once got my hands sticky after negotiating a breakfast buffet line and was ruefully preoccupied with it for a full ten minutes before noticing that spare napkins, which could be dipped in water and used to remove the syrup without even looking for the bathroom, were available slightly beyond and to the right of my plate. I only noticed the napkin dispenser was at the table when I mentioned the problem and he cast about briefly for a solution before pulling out a napkin and handing it to me.

It's questionable whether they do this because they're super-nice, caring people, or because it's super annoying to listen to me cursing the darkness. Either way, it's pretty awesome.

22 July 2007

The Data is In

Did you know that it is acceptable to use "data" as either plural or singular?

As I understand it, as a singular, it functions as a collective noun, the same way you would say, "The herd is...." This is explicit at dictionary.com, and implicit at Oxford English Dictionary Online (which you may not be able to access without a subscription), where multiple usage examples treat "data" as singular.

This is highly gratifying, as I often encounter smarter-than-thou types who feel compelled to interrupt presentations or discussions by shouting corrections when someone uses "data" as singular. When you assume, you may make an ass out of you and me, but when you hypercorrect, you just make an ass out of you.

05 July 2007

I am Breaking Up With Target

Dear Target,

We've had some good times -- remember the cute china I got from you a couple of years ago? And the mirror with the little birds painted on it that was awesome for my kitchen and I was so sad when I dropped and broke it (partly because reconstruction revealed that there was a piece of glass approximately one inch square lurking somewhere on my kitchen floor, but also because it looked so nice with my thrift-shop paintings of fruit) that I biked to the store (not you -- one that's closer) especially for superglue to repair it? And that time you had patio furniture at such a good price that I bought it right away and carried it home on the bus?

But the thing is, those were a long time ago now. Now, I can't even get the what I need from you; just today, I came looking for some simple things, and what happened?

What I Needed (and Why)
*Eucerin anti-redness night cream (allergic freak; pathological aversion to color in complexion)
*Dove eye cream (aging; prodigious eye-bags)
*Anti-allergy mattress pad, size full (allergic freak; thin spots in old mattress pad cause unseemly resemblance to linens in skid row boarding house)
*Clothes drying rack (global warming; also, landlord jacked up price on dryer)
*Microwave egg poacher (hankering for poached eggs; lack patience and motor skills to poach in pan of water first thing in the morning)
*Washcloths (old ones all mascara-stained)
*Silver polishing cloth (heartbreak of tarnish)
*Tapers (impulse-bought orange and yellow glass candlesticks last week)

What I Found
*Anti-allergy mattress pad in all sizes except full
*Twee, Michael Graves-designed clothes drying rack that holds no more clothing than my current system (laying out items on old beach towel behind the couch), which you would not part with for less than $20; weighty metal variation on collapsible wood-dowel drying rack, also $20
*Empty space on shelf teasingly bearing tag, "Micro Double Cavity Egg Poacher $3.99"
*Washcloths (10 for $2.99), admittedly acceptable but left behind in snit

Some of this, I know now, was not your fault, Target -- Dove has apparently discontinued my eye cream (in a panic, I chose a Neutrogena substitute at CVS that contains AHAs, which the label tells me increase sun sensitivity: am thrilled at the prospect of sunburned/eventually malignant eyelids) and you surely had tapers -- but really, this has happened the last several times I've come to see you. You've changed.

You used to be all about fulfilling my list of random crap I needed without going to the grocery, drugstore, and mall, plus delighting me with random crap I didn't need priced just low enough that I didn't have to choose between a toss pillow and dinner. Now you're all about hypnotic, mod commercials and ill-fitting $40 dresses. But the thing is, if I wanted to spend $40 on a dress, I could get a well-fitting one off the sale rack at any given ladies' clothing store. I don't need you for that.

I've had it with you, Target. I guess I'll see you around, but don't call me anymore, OK?

18 March 2007

I'm Not Giving You Any More Coconuts

So, my friend Cari came up with quite a brilliant metaphor or simile today about relating to difficult people, which I thought I would share with all of you:

These relationships are like the relationships of fictional native Polynesians with their volcanoes: You can offer all the pineapples and virgins you want, but it's still going to go off when it wants to. You can't say, "Dang, next time I won't burn so much taro," or "I really made the wrong call; I'd better bring an extra virgin next week." Similarly, when the volcano is dormant, you might be tempted to think, "Hey, those coconuts we threw in last week are really doing the trick -- we must be doing something right!" But really, it's just timing.

Cari is a genius. I totally need to start treating my volcanoes as natural phenomena, not mysterious supernatural entities. Although I do think they kind of like all the pineapples and burnt offerings. Even if they do wreaking havoc on the carpet.

21 February 2007

OMG, Where did he get the Cane?

I just learned that my fantastic sister and brother-in-law are having a baby, which is excellent news because babies are super-fun, at least when they're in a good mood. I even received a scan of the sonogram, which I have enhanced using the magic of Photoshop so that you, dear reader, can get a better sense of what the baby looks like:

I mean, you have to admit that at this point the baby looks more like a peanut than anything else.

Also, a big thank you to my brother-in-law, who gave me the go ahead to post a picture of the inside of his wife's uterus on the internet, and to my sister, who may not realize yet that said picture has been published on the web.

14 February 2007

Glam-arrrrrgh Magazine

I thought I looked pretty cute on Monday, until I got halfway to school and realized I had inadvertently dressed like a pirate.

Exhibit A: My outfit

Exhibit B: An outfit a pirate would wear

23 January 2007

I Just Really Like Toast

So, two of the many fantastic things I got for Christmas are a digital camera and a Hello Kitty toaster, which together make possible the post you are reading right now: a photo-essay about my breakfast. The world is a better place.

The old toaster: Toastmaster? Sure, I used to think so.

The new toaster is clearly more attractive.

Plain bread is lame.

My God! The image of Hello Kitty has miraculously appeared during the toasting process! Come on, that's just awesome.

If Hello Kitty were a religious icon, my house would be loaded with the devout right now. Luckily, it's just full of me. Eating cute toast with eggs.

Coming soon: I Swear I Had Some Marmalade in Here: An Apartment Recovers From the Dry Toast Incident

19 January 2007

You Win This Round, Roadrunner

I went to Albuquerque over the long weekend to see my lovely friends there, including but not limited to Cari and Shamsi, and to get one more day of snowboarding in before resigning myself to four months in the desert buried in books, a.k.a. the Spring semester. The trip was fantastic. I have no pictures to post, because the lady with the hard case for her camera was designated photographer, and she has been somewhat indisposed. I think she's fallen into a decline because I left.

The expectation was set high before I even got on the plane in Phoenix, because as I was waiting on line for security screening, I noticed a series of placards next to the carry-on baggage x-rays indicating you should not board with guns, knives, cans with flames coming out of them, or bombs.

Much to my delight, they were rendered approximately like so (I didn't take a picture, because I'm pretty sure there are few quicker routes to the little airport jail than using a camera near security installations):

Fortunately, I am neither Boris Badenov nor Wile E. Coyote, and so had no cartoon bombs in my luggage.

14 January 2007

You Don't Get a Picture of the Costume

A conversation about ElfQuest this week led to a fit of nostalgia -- my college roommates and I loved these graphic novels our sophomore year, even each dressing as a character for Halloween -- which led to this quiz:

You are Nightfall; the strong one!

Coincidentally, this is also the ElfQuest character I dressed as.

Not coincidentally, I am a huge geek.