Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Really, MTV?

After last night's episode of The Hills, I'm officially SO fed up. Like Doug and Stephanie reallllly started dating? Kind of like when Lauren and Whitney went to Paris and Lauren didn't bring any going out clothes and had to hem that dress then mysteriously got coffee all over it? It's been apparent for years that The Hills (and all MTV/VH1 reality TV in general) is completely scripted and planned, but it's just gotten entirely too obvious and not even fun to make fun of any more. I'm to the point now of just being really ANGRY!

Remember the good ole days, a.k.a Laguna season one?! Or even the brief enjoyment brought by Maui Fever, when that total bro, Cheyne (yeah, pronounced like "Shane," making him even more of a bro) was caught on camera cheating on his girlfriend with Anna, muttering the embarrassing question, "When's the last time you got done just right?" while underneath the sheets. He made SUCH an ass out of himself, but it was entertaining to watch. 

I digress, but point being: those were the days when high school reality TV was still decent, before we had to watch Lauren and Whitney steaming clothes all day. Remember "What happens in Cabo stays in Cabo?" when Steeee-vennnn was shitfaced out of his mind screaming "Whore! Slut!" at Kristen across the dance floor as she grinded on some pole in her red dress? Remember the chunky brunette Mormon girl that went to New York to try to live out her dreams and sing her heart out? And REMEMBER when Lo was SKINNY!? It's such a shame that those days had to come to an end and that this crap is supposed to be replacing the past greatness. Before Lauren was handed the internship at Teen Vougue, before she wore sequined dresses to Area and LAX, and before she turned down Paris, she was just a hometown girl named L.C., sitting around a bonfire on the beach holding a red plastic cup full of alcohol pretending it was soda.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A Surprise in the Shower

So here's a little story I didn't get a chance to tell before I left for my wonderful Puerto Rican adventure. I awoke during the middle of the night to shower and finish packing for my 6 a.m. flight (gross). I tip-toed across the hall into the bathroom (didn't want to wake up my dad or little bro at 3 a.m.) and, as usual, I threw my clothes on the floor, opened the shower curtain, and lifted my left foot over the tub. Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed I was about to step on a 6-inch-long brown lump (sounds like poo...but keep reading, because it wasn't...it was much, much worse). The lump looked like it had fur, but also looked like its fur was wet. 

At first I questioned what I saw, convincing myself that this lump was probably just a brown washcloth. I wiped my eyes, bent down carefully to peer at it, and confirmed that it was, in fact, an animal. A sick, gross, animal. I had never really seen a bat up close, especially not with soaking wet fur half-dying in a shower, but my gut told me, "That is an effing bat." I could see there was a distinguished head, it was much too dark to be a mouse, and overall looked really dirty, like it might even have rabies.

Even though it was the middle of the night, I rushed down the hall to my dad's room and yelled and knocked on his door. "Dad, wake up, there's something in the shower. Like an animal. Like a mouse or a bat," I said. 

He woke up and wasn't too happy. "Rachel it's the middle of the night, you're probably just dreaming," he said, in an unpleasant voice. After turning the corner into the bathroom and ripping open the shower curtain he exclaimed, "OHH myyyyyy Gooodddd...that's a bat." (Yessss...I KNEW it was a bat. Victory at last! He never believes me when I say I see spiders or roaches, and NOW he's seeing the BAT with his own eyes.)

My dad jumped back away from the bathtub, grabbed the small trash can that was next to the toilet and dumped all the trash it was holding onto the floor. Kleenex, Q-tips, tampon applicators, and hair balls spilled out onto the tile floor. He leapt toward the tub and slammed the trash can over the bat, trapping it underneath. He then commanded that I get something to slide between the trash can and the tub so we could lift it up and take the bat outside.

I was in shock and kept yelling, "Dad, can't we just please like call animal control!!? Or the police?" Of course my Dad wouldn't do that, he was going to handle the bat himself. He came into my room to search for something to use to slide under the trash can. He said, "It has to be hard, like cardboard, in case the bat tries to fly out. Like it can't be paper." He went to grab a small painting I've had for years that my friend Chad painted.

"Dad, that's like a painting?! You can't just take it and let the bat touch it???!!" I yelled. "Rachel, can it be sacrificed? The bat's moving around?!" he replied.

Using my quick problem-solving skills and analytical thinking, I threw the painting down (because of course it couldn't be sacrificed? wtf Dad?) and grabbed a binder. I ripped the cover off and gave it to my dad. We both went back into the bathroom, he slowly lifted the trash can up about half an inch and I slid the binder cover underneath. We successfully trapped the bat.

The whole ordeal was almost over; all that was left was to take the bat outside and free it. If it were up to me, I probably would have just thrown things at it while it was in the bath tub or hairsprayed it until it died, but my dad said we should run downstairs and release it.  I ran down the steps in front of him then down a second flight of stairs to the back door in the basement. It was still dark out, of course, making things even more creepy. I quickly opened the door, waiting for my dad to step outside and let the bat go. My dad, however, didn't run out the door after I had opened it. Instead, I saw him throw the entire trash can with the bat inside as far as he could out the door. It went about 30 feet away into the back yard. We rushed back upstairs.

I was in a huge hurry to get ready for the airport and insisted I would not let this event stop me from taking a shower. I poured an entire thing of Comet on the floor of the tub, scrubbed with a brush, ran the water for a bit and then showered anyway, trying to avoid the sick spot where I remembered the bat laying.

I made it to the airport on time, and began my vaca with an interesting story to tell Samantha when I got there.

My dad called later that day to tell me he ventured into the back yard to recover the trash can. The bat was nowhere to be found.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Puerto Rico

Hola amigos! So I've just returned from my vacation and I thought I'd share some of my thoughts on Puerto Rico:

Raggaeton: Raggaeton was bad enough a couple years ago when "Gasolina" started popping up at every random house party and dive bar, but it became even worse when I was subjected to it 24/7 in Puerto Rico. Whether I was trying to read my book peacefully on the beach or trying not to pull my hair out when we were lost for the 7th time in the rental car, those around me insisted on blasting this awful form of music. The signature beat that repeats itself in every single song is stuck in my head, haunting me wherever I go.

Octopus salad: Yes, octopus salad. Just the name of it is gross enough, but the taste adds to the grossness even more. It's basically chopped up octopus tentacles mixed with celery, onions, and spices thrown in water. It's like a much stinkier, drippier version of tuna salad. Samantha told me it would taste like chicken, but it definitely did not.

Mosquitos: This is self-explanatory. I have (literally) over 100 mosquito/spider/other sick insect bites all over my body. They have no shame and will bite anywhere (including my ears, face, elbow, back, butt, fingers, toes...I could go on and on). Also, they bite right next to or on top of previous bites. These mosquitos were like none I had ever seen before. It made things even worse when a nice employee at the resort told us they only bite gringas (us white people) and leave the locals alone.

Rental car prices: Over $80/day. Ridiculous. And we had no choice, that was the saddest part.

Highways: I'm being gracious when I call them highways. The expressways and/or roads on the island are labeled by numbers (these range from 1 to 999), with highway 625 right next to 626 right next to 627, etc. Also, these roadways abruptly split, with two lanes going to the left and two lanes going to the right. In addition, there is no warning as to whether or not an exit will be on the left or right; it varies. And to make things even more complicated, the people we were getting directions from did not know the numbers of any of the roads. They would say, "Take your 4th left, go for a long time until the fire station, take the last exit, follow the flow of traffic, turn right at the 'no flammable materials' sign, then get on the highway that goes west." We were lost for hours, and the "fire station" turned out to be a subway station.

Sour cream: I am in love with sour cream, and actually just all dairy products in general. I was very disappointed each time I tasted Puerto Rican sour cream. It was watered down and thin, almost to be compared with light sour cream, but way more light and rotten-smelling.

Crashing a party: One night we thought we'd venture out on our own and do some bar-hopping. Good plan, and when Samantha saw a club with a line out the door, we thought we'd found the perfect spot to begin our night. When we got in the door, they asked if our name was on the list. Of course it wasn't, so we payed the $10 the door guy asked us for and got our cup (it was open bar, so we thought we had it made). Upon entering the dance-floor area, we see a little girl with a tiara, aunt with a camera, mom with a box of cake, and hundreds of overdressed Puerto Rican tweens. We figured out we had crashed a sweet sixteen party when everyone started staring and whispering at us. We chugged about 4 drinks and made our way to the 80s hair band bar (read on).

Playlist at the clubs: About 3 years behind. Examples: Sexy Back, Break it Off (Rihanna and Sean Paul), old Akon (even like pre-Young Jeezy), Buttons, Shakira

Luis Figueroa: This is an example of something that's awesome and lame at the same time. Luis Figueroa originally greeted me at O'Hare while waiting for my flight. He told me he was returning to his home in Puerto Rico after injuring himself playing baseball. He proceeded to outline his baseball career for me (which consisted of him coming up from the minors for about 8 games, hurting his wrist, being traded, getting sent back down to the minors, etc...this cycle repeated itself for about 7 seasons and I finally thought "wow, this guy is old, why is he talking to me?? Creepy...") Overall, he was nice. He offered to show us around, take us shopping, etc, but he eventually turned a little sketch when he kept calling multiple times/day. I quit answering and that was the end of that.

Knock-off surprise: This one is just awesome. Ever since I went to Rome in 8th grade, I have been obsessed with fake designer purses. I know this is very, very tacky, but I don't care. When I see knock-offs on the side of the road, I get a twinkle in my eye and butterflies in my stomach. I mastered the art of finding the perfect purse during multiple trips to New York to see my brother. There's something about the smell of Chinatown combined with all the bright colors and patterns on the purses that makes me feel like I've died and gone to Heaven. Purse Heaven. Anyway, traveling to Puerto Rico, I was not expecting to see any shady little men with garbage bags on the side of the road selling knock-offs. However, while walking through Old San Juan I spotted them. It was great, and made me feel comfortable and warm inside; a definite turning point of my vaca.

Fried balls of potato with meat in the center: I don't know the real name for these, but they were so yummmm. Ground beef surrounded with mashed potato then deep fried in crispy batter hit the spot one day. This type of food is sold in sketchy-looking open hut areas along the side of the road. Same place where Samantha got the octopus salad.

Free-roaming iguanas: You will be walking along a path, minding your own business, when a huge, pet-sized iguana will scurry across, or maybe even stop and look at you and think about attacking you. Seeing 4-foot-long iguanas leap out in front of me was a huge surprise the first time it happened, but then I got used to it. Instead of dead squirrels and deer on the side of the road, Puerto Ricans have dead lizards and iguanas.

El Morro: One of the largest forts built by the Spanish settlers in the Caribbean. It dates back to the 1500s, is really big, looks really old, and has an elaborate cemetery at its base. When you look at it, it makes you think about conquistadors and fighting and war and death. The moment when John Smith calls Pocahontas' people "savages" in the Disney movie popped into my mind. Different time, different place, but same vibe. Anyway, maybe not "awesome," but very powerful.

Hair band bar: There is a bar in Old San Juan called NoNo's that features a huge flat screen TV above the bar that plays nothing but 80s hair band music videos. We're talking Van Halen, Lita Ford, Ozzy Osbourne, Winger-Winger, Warrant, White Snake, Def Leppard, Poison, etc. One of the locals told me there's a "hair band scene" in Puerto Rico. Who would have thought? Definitely hilarious and much better than Raggaeton, in my opinion.

Miguel the drug dealer: Miguel the drug dealer was awesome because he reminded me of your typical pothead boy from the States. He was about 5' 2" and very emaciated, had long hair tied back in some sort of bun, spoke very slowly, had squinty eyes, and laughed at everything. What seemed to be a friendly conversation at a bar turned into Miguel telling me about how he goes down to La Perle (which is like the ghetto of San Juan, just down the hill from the city along the coast...kind of the like the East St. Louis of Puerto Rico) and sells his drugs. He told me about how he thinks bums are good people, how his friend just made some Web site on conspiracy theories, and how Led Zeppelin is his favorite band. After he told me that 9/11 was "an inside joke," I became very irritated and offended by Miguel. I told him that I did not think 9/11 was a conspiracy and he went ape shit, shouting at me, huffing and puffing, eventually marching off. He returned later, acting like everything was fine, to ask if I wanted to smoke some of his Caribe, which he described as "the best weed evverrrr, maaannn." Overall, Miguel had a good heart and was quite endearing.

Resort club: Our resort, El Conquistador, was the epitome of a resort. This means there were 20+ restaurants, 34 pools, a casino, a club, shops, a Starbucks, and anything else you could imagine that the typical American honeymooning couple would need to make their time in a foreign place seem like they were right at home in the States. One day we figured we might as well check out the resort amenities and not pay 80 more dollars for another night of the rental car. I won 63 cents at the casino and then we made our way to the "dance club." We opened the doors and saw 2 wasted couples performing on the dance floor. A very red, obese man did air guitar and fist pumps to countless ACDC songs while the wives and skinny husband served as his back up dancers. At one point, he fell off the stage flat on his face, but that did not stop him. The vibe changed when the tape player (yes, there was no DJ) played Madonna's "Holiday." More couples got up to dance, and they all started doing that thing people do at wedding receptions where two lines are formed and then guests take turns dancing down the middle. It was very awesome, but could also maybe fit in the "lame" category.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Amy is a Feather

Amy is a feather.

I like to float with Amy
and ride across the air.
She lets me latch on to
her soft, white, pretty fluff
and go wherever she goes.

Amy is a feather.

She glides by trees, bushes, houses,
front yards with smiling children
playing, laughing, waving at Amy.
They jump to try to catch her
but she’s just out of reach.

Amy is a pretty, floating feather.

The nice, peaceful kind of feather
at the end of Forrest Gump
that always makes me cry
half-happy, half-sad tears
and think about my life.

Friday, September 5, 2008

What not to say

If you're a male dating a female and you happen to be lucky enough to have her spend the night, do not turn to her in the morning and say, "Will you buy me McDonald's breakfast? Sorry, I'm really broke right now."

Clarification of my interesting picture choice

Okay, so I was talking to a friend and he asked, "Is that picture from like a perfume commercial or something?" That made me feel lame. 

I decided to post my picture in its entirety (note the dead hammerhead sharks on the beach) because it's a little more edgy that way. Maybe not edgy, maybe weird, or maybe just not the type of picture that would qualify for a perfume commercial.

I will also take a brief moment to be vain and say that I created this picture in my computer art class, using nothing but a combination of fun Photoshop tools and photos that I had already taken on my own. (The sharks coming from an actual picture I took of a shark in an aquarium, the sky from cool Vegas lights, the beach/ocean from Destin, and the crazy half-naked Amazon women walking out of the ocean...none other than myself and my beautiful friend, Samantha.)

So take THAT anonymous friend who thought it was a perfume ad. Hah.


I have this friend named Liz that I am really, really missing lately. For the past 3+ months, I spent 5 days a week with Liz, from 8:30 (or more like 8:41, as we were both sometimes a little late) to 5:00. There was one day when Liz was sick, and that day was quiet and sad, kind of melancholy.

Now that I'm not seeing Liz's smiling face everyday, I realize how lucky I was to have worked with her. When I first met her (not gonna lie) I thought she would end up being a total bitch. My first impression was based on nothing more than the fact that Liz is absolutely gorgeous and most of those people can turn out to be pretty mean. She has perfectly white teeth and long blonde hair...kind of old-school Kim Basinger-looking. Plus she has the cutest clothes I've ever seen someone wear in a corporate environment.

Aside from Liz being pretty, she is also probably one of the most truly interesting people I know. She seems like she'd be a huge stoner, the way she talks about all of this hippie shit like "reconciling relationships" (she's very go-with-the-flow), but isn't at all. She's moving to Africa soon BY HERSELF (which is insane but equally awesome), finishing up her graduate degree, and will probably marry her really cute boyfriend soon.

That would be my description of Liz in a nutshell, if it were possible to fit her in one. There are so many things I love about her and I can't believe I won't see her for months, but she will be doing important things in Africa like helping children and telling funny stories and changing lives. That is what Liz does.

My unhealthy obsession with BrickBreaker

So last night, I attempted to beat my BrickBreaker record and failed miserably. BrickBreaker is a game on my BlackBerry that I play every night late-night to try to make myself fall asleep. The object of the game is to use a paddle thing and a ball to break bricks. It's a very simple concept, and a great one, also. It's like the modern version of Tetris (who would have thought that stacking blocks on top of each other could ever be so fun?). Anyway, BrickBreaker is kind of Pong-esque, but way more awesome. It also has these really baller little capsules that fall out of the sky (Laser, Gun, Bomb...basically anything that could be used to completely destroy something) that you can catch that make you way more powerful at breaking bricks. 

While I was playing last night, I lost 5 lives in a row. For me, having 5 lives saved up is substantial. I mean, it's 2 more lives than you start with. Usually when I have 5 lives, breaking my record is a possibility. So when I lost my 5 lives in a row, I was extremely discouraged. I immediately thought in my brain, "Dammit my head's really not in the game tonight." That exact phrase. Then I literally laughed out loud to myself (honestly, I did) because I realized BrickBreaker has become so much more to me than a tool I use to make myself fall asleep. It's now a staple of my daily life. Like if all of the sudden my phone broke or fell in the toilet or a glass of milk (true stories), I would be devastated to have to go back to my old LG flip phone with the mirror on the front and play Snake every night.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The much-anticipated Sarah Palin speech

Most people don't know I'm a part-time political analyst. So, here are some of my initial thoughts after viewing/hearing Sarah Palin tonight:

1. She looks just like Tina Fey, which caused my brother to send me a text message mid-speech that read "Sarah Palin is seow hot." ("Seow," as in much more than "so").

2. Her half ponytail was perfectly teased. The back of her hair was sticking up just the right amount, forming a nice poof. It was the perfect medium between a ratty, too-high sorority girl tease and the pseudo/amateur tease (the kind that has too many bobby pins and not enough hair spray).

3. I don't really like the way she talks. Something about it just seems a little bit off. It's like there's a hint of that northern, Minnesoooota sound to it, but not quite enough to make it endearing/pleasant for the ear.

4. Her 5-year-old daughter cracked me up when she licked her entire hand and then wiped her spit through the little baby's hair to mat it down to its head. (I just realized I called the baby "it." This is one of my bad habits with babies in general.)

5. She could be our future president. I don't say this meaning her speech was great and she is capable of being our next president. I say this meaning that John McCain looked hella old and shaky on stage as he was awkwardly side-hugging her. Not being rude, only being realistic: It is quite possible that he could die within the next 4 years.


I remember the day at Shepard Elementary
when the teacher called me in to help you
after you peed your pants
because you couldn't undo the button on them
with your little, chunky, clumsy hands.

Mom bought you elastic-waist jeans
from Lands End from then on.
You were big, anyway,
and they suited you and your tummy.
But you cried when you realized
every other little boy had pants with buttons.

I remember the day in 7th grade
when you tried out for the basketball team
and pledged to stop eating red meat
because you were tired of getting made fun of
and me calling you "Fat Patch"

You made turkey sandwiches
and lost 20 pounds
and grew 6 inches
and then made the team.
Dad yelled as he coached you from the stands
and molded you into his star point guard.

I remember the day a couple years ago
when you told Dad you quit playing basketball
and dropped out of college
and met a guy named Jonas in New York
who would turn you into a male model.

You moved into a piece of shit apartment
with a Vietnam vet in the middle of Hells' Kitchen.
You found yourself an agent
and started wearing skinny jeans
and stole all of my t-shirts
when you came home for Christmas.

I remember the days in February
when I saw your runway pictures online
and you sent me the Barney's catalogue
they paid you $5,000/day to shoot.
And now you don't answer the phone when we call you.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Telling myself "this can always be deleted"

That is something that's very hard for me to do. I am not the kind of person who can sit down at a computer and just start typing (as I am doing now. NOTE: I feel very very uncomfortable right now) believing that I am free to type any ridiculous, nonsensical, or even obscene phrase that comes to mind. Instead, I am the kind of person, or maybe just a person, who would stare at a blank screen for hours, stomach in knots, nails bitten off, unable to write a paper before the day before it was due, and by day before it was due I mean beginning at 11 p.m. and not sleeping until after turning it in the next day. And I can honestly say this is not because I am unmotivated, or a slacker, or even a tiny bit lazy. I am simply a perfectionist with substantially low self-esteem, realizing I am incredibly imperfect.

This, of course, holds true in the realm of blogging as well. So in my first post, I promise you (and myself) absolutely nothing. No blog mission, vision, or goals. Basically this is an experiment to force myself outside of my comfort zone, which currently consists of scribbling random thoughts into my notebook and shoving it back under my bed so that no one could ever possibly read it. (That sounds very 10-year-old girlish.) Stay tuned.

About Me

I'm just figuring things out.