Sunday, February 28, 2010

Quote of the day:

Overheard: "What do you mean you hate the Glee kids?!  That's like saying you hate world peace.  Or puppies."

Friday, February 26, 2010

An open letter to hair stylists

To whom it may concern:

I understand that hair is your thing.  As a tattooed hipster and/or gay man, those follicles that sprout from the top of your head are more than a biological feature - they're an extension of your personality... an art form... an expression of "you."  Not all of us feel this way.  Some of us, with less time and more responsibility on our hands, just need a way to cover our ears and/or feel feminine when we sprint out of the house without makeup.

Now that we're clear on this, I'd really appreciate a moratorium on the holier-than-thou, judgmental stylist commentary.  From the moment I sit in your chair and you start raking your fingers through my tangled mess of a ponytail, it begins.  First, you cock your head to the side and bite your lip - pensively diagnosing the problem.  Then, you frown - as if the worst of your fears had been confirmed.   After a few moments, you lean over to show me my own hair (like I hadn't seen it before) and say, "Umm... you have a lot of split ends."

Thanks for the insight, Dr. Phil.  Do you think I came to you because I wanted all of my healthy, perfectly moisturized hair removed?  I mean, what if doctors treated us that way?  Imagine: walking into a clinic, tissue in hand, violently ill, only to have your physician look at you with disgust and say, "Um... you have a really gross cough."  It would be one thing if you saw me elsewhere, but I'm here!  I clearly know that the split ends have gotten out of hand... isn't admitting it the first stage of recovery?

Soon after, in a tone of mock innocence, you lay your trap:

"Which products do you use?" 

At this point, I know it doesn't matter how I answer.  What you actually said, masked in question form, was "Whatever you are putting in your hair isn't cutting it... and I can think of a few paralyzingly expensive products that just may do the trick."  I prepare myself to sit through the lecture.  Oh, my hair is coarse and frizzy?!  Really?!  Do you think I made it through middle school without figuring that out?  Oh, I should be spending approx. 1 hour per day pre-rinsing, rinsing, moisturizing, deep moisturizing, and creme cooling?  Never.  Gonna.  Happen.

If you decide that you'd like to go into the business of making people feel bad about themselves, join the clergy.  Or PETA.  However, if you decide that you want to brighten the day of a hard-working, average person with more on her mind than Paul Mitchell and the depth of her artistic angst, ask me how I manage to keep my hair so voluminous in the rain.

Suavely yours,

Monday, February 22, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

If the Chinatown bus you are riding is named 
"Double Happiness", 
you shouldn't expect happiness - 
even in its singular form.  
As a matter of fact, you may just find yourself 
double crowded 
by a doubled over snoring man
with a double chin
who should have purchased
a double seat.

Next time, you should just pay double fare and ride the Amtrak.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quote(s) of the day:

This is how accidents happen -
mimosas and dares and backflips.

I used to gnaw on Barbie's feet.
It was my grossest childhood habit.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Me gusta español

If it's true that most people's writing is reflective of their experiences, I want to be the author of a Spanish textbook... based on the example sentences alone.

Who wouldn't want to live like those folks?!  I mean, they practically reside at the discoteca... that is, when they're not busy sitting around in el café assigning genders to words.  Occasionally they swing by la biblioteca, but it's probably just because they need a quiet place to nurse their hangovers so they can rally for the evening's fiesta.  Why get a job when you can just lounge around in el parque giving directions to the bathrooms all day?  The constant memory loss, coupled with frequent hamburguesa and papas fritas cravings, lead me to wonder what they're really buying at el mercado.

But, occasionally, you glimpse the darker side.  One of my college Spanish textbooks used the sentence "I'm going to kidnap a woman" as an example of the future tense.  Oh really, Pablo?  I guess I missed the chapter where you stopped strolling along la playa long enough to develop a Grande Theft Auto addiction.  Dónde están la policía when you need them...

Life lesson of the day:

When you plan to leave your clients a series of very important
voicemails prior to a major deadline, check to make sure that your headset isn't muted.

It is preferable that you check this at the beginning of the day.  
Rather than at the end.  
After you've made all your calls.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bonus quote of the day:

"He's the 17th direct descendent of the 
Japanese warlord
Oda Nobunaga who conquered most of Japan."
- an Olympic commentator referring to 
this man

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Quote of the day:

"He doesn't even try to look graceful... he's an evil character out there and he knows it."
- an elderly commentator in a purple sweater referring to
this man

Only the Winter Olympics could turn a bedazzled Russian albino into a rebel without a cause.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

The details matter.
Especially when those details are the height & weight stats
on your driver's license.
Fact: According to standard measurements, I am
5'10" and 160 lbs.
(excluding November & December when one of those numbers changes significantly... I'll let you decide which one...)
Fact: According to my driver's license, I am
5'0"... and 160 lbs.

One errant keystroke transformed me from a relatively proportional giant to
an obese midget under the law.

Which brings me to the bonus life lesson of the day:
The DMV sucks.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

An open letter to those who choose to install fluorescent lighting in ladies' rooms

To whom it may concern:

As I'm sure you know, today is Valentine's Day. Like many women in this country, I will be spending it alone. I'm not complaining. I actually enjoy the freedom that the single life affords me and look forward to picking out my very own box of chocolates at CVS later this afternoon. That being said, on this day of all days, I want to feel as though singleness is my choice and that if I really wanted to be in a relationship there would be no shortage of eager, adoring suitors.

This is where my concerns arise. Before leaving the house each morning, I, like most women, spend time in front of my bathroom mirror - washing my face, putting on make-up, you know the drill. My bathroom, like countless others, is equipped with round 60-watt bulbs that emit a soft, white light. On days when I choose to put a little effort into my appearance, I am able to gaze proudly into that square mirror before leaving the house and say to myself, "Rachel, on a scale of 1 to 10, you are a solid 7.5." One spritz of perfume later, and I'm sauntering out into the crowded city streets with my head held high.

This carefree confidence usually lasts until about 11am when "nature calls" and I am prompted to stop by the ladies' room in our office. Unlike my bathroom at home, this facility relies on the rather harsh, unflattering light of fluorescent bulbs... and the result is positively horrifying. What happened to the attractive 24-year-old that left for work this morning? Where did all of those crags and blotches on her face come from? Why are her teeth so yellow? Who electrocuted her hair?! And all of a sudden, I begin to wonder how my co-workers can even tolerate my presence. Like Medusa, I could turn even brave men to stone (or at least celibacy). That's the point in the day when my hair goes up and my self-esteem goes down. All because of the lights which you, so flippantly, chose to install.

I understand the need for cost-efficiency. I understand that these particular bulbs provide more light for longer for less money. But can you really put a price on happiness? On behalf of all women everywhere who simply want to feel desirable as they eat their drugstore chocolates and adjust the order of their Netflix queue, please please please consider switching to a less abrasive bulb.

Yours in pursuit of beauty,

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Baby's first snow

Snow is a rarity when you grow up in Texas. I can count on one hand the number of times throughout my childhood that my friends and I ran around the neighborhood scraping dirty half-inch layers of ice off of parked cars so that we could create a stunted, gray snowman - so small and weak that we had to use a baby carrot for his nose.

When I moved to Baltimore, I spent a few years adjusting to the occasional 3- or 4-inch flurry. I even went so far as to invest in an ice scraper for my car after discovering just how unpleasant it is to start your day by rubbing your vehicle down with your coat sleeve.

Little did I know how little I knew about snow. This week, a meteorological disaster known as "Snowpocalypse" has hit the Northeast. DC experienced a blizzard back in December, and, like any good Texan, I wrapped myself in a Snuggie, sat in front of the TV, and drank coffee & whiskey till it melted. No such luck this time. With work requiring me to... well, work... I have been forced to actually function in this treacherous environment.

Folks, there's a reason we don't place baby deer in the middle of an ice skating rink. And it's the same reason I should be exempt from leaving my living room in this weather. In the past 48 hours, I have slipped and fallen at least a dozen times on the sidewalk. I have accidentally thrown my Blackberry into a snow bank (causing the battery to fall out, of course), broken my heels, groped a homeless man, yelled obscenities in front of small childen, stubbed my toe on an iron bolt, cried like a crazy person on a crowded street corner, temporarily halted traffic and, last but certainly not least, landed in a smear of dog poop.

I need sunshine. And a hug. And that flask of whiskey.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

When Snowpocalypse has trapped you into your home for 3 days straight,
and you find that you have run out of toilet paper, paper towels, napkins, and tissues...
it's time to "get creative" with the coffee filters.

And, yes, that's exactly what I mean.

(Thanks to the anonymous friend who shared this story
and allowed me to avoid learning this particular
life lesson myself...)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Are your desserts gender-neutral?

I wonder why the spongy, espresso-soaked cakes in tiramisu are called "ladyfingers." Based on the girth of the biscuit, it would seem more appropriate to call them manfingers. Or were all the women in the bakery where tiramisu was first created on the husky side? Goodness knows I would be morbidly obese if I worked in an Italian bakery... I can barely make it through the ice cream aisle at Safeway without causing Ben & Jerry's stock to go up (they call it "The Rachel Effect".) Or is it a sexist thing? As a society, perhaps we are more comfortable depriving ladies of their fingers than their male counterparts. After all, one can knead the dough and wash the dishes without those pesky appendages turning the pages of books and filling the little woman's head with all sorts of dangerous tomfoolery.

In the end, it doesn't make one speck of difference to me. They could change the name of tiramisu's key ingredient to "Neanderthal toes" and I would still eat too much of it at dinner...

Quote of the day:

Overheard: "Sometimes I feel so unattractive that when I pass gay men on the street, I feel like they look at me and think,
'I made the right decision.'"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why you won't vote for me in 2012...

Some people are good at everything... others of us befriend those people. Growing up, my best friend Lauren was more on top of her game than any 16-year-old ever should be. After being named the Chair of the Youth Task Force, a branch of city council composed of local high school students, she pulled a few strings and nudged me onto the committee as well. Unlike Lauren, I had no desire to go to law school or educate myself on city politics in any way, so the bulk of my time and energy was spent masking just how little I knew about... pretty much everything. In other words, I did what most politicians do, sans the baby-kissing and extra-marital affairs.

Occasionally, we had to attend or host "service" events which were really about networking with local bigwigs. As a gangly 5'9" teenager with acne and split ends, I found "working the room" to be overwhelmingly stressful. At one particular event, I caught myself crashing and burning in a way that was noteworthy - even for me. What did I know about zoning laws? Or the transportation comission? Or the current city-wide election? I mean, where was a good Ricky Martin reference when you needed one?

Defeated, I began to scan the room for Lauren. She understood how helpless I was in this environment - the conversational equivalent of a baby lamb in a shark tank. When I saw her calmly talking to a woman with salt-and-pepper hair and an expensive suit, I crashed the party. To my horror, they, too, were knee-deep in smart-sounding discussion, and Lauren's mere presence did not provide the social oasis I was hoping for.

...until the conversation shifted. The woman, who turned out to be the mayor of a local suburb, asked Lauren what she wanted to do when she got older. When Lauren revealed her interest in the political realm, the mayor cautioned her to guard herself against pulling a Monica Lewinsky (since that's the sort of advice you give to a high school student) because "power can be such an overwhelming aphrodisiac."

And this, dear friends, is where is the story gets interesting.

What I thought the word "aphrodisiac" meant: something that makes you very happy. Like cookies or fresh-cut grass or watching someone you hate trip and fall down a flight a stairs. What the word "aphrodisiac" actually means: something that awakens certain... urges... in you.

Eventually, the topic of discussion shifted from Lauren's future career aspirations to... grandparents. I thought to myself, "Finally! Something I can talk about! I have grandparents! I know all about having grandparents!" In an attempt to show that I, too, could use big words, I opened my mouth and, after approximately 10 minutes of awkward silence, joined the conversation with:

"Well, I know that, personally speaking, my grandparents are my greatest aphrodisiac."

And it happened. That awful moment when you can tell, based on the horrified expressions around you, that you have done or said something terribly taboo... and you have no idea what it is or how to fix it. Little did I know then that I had just told my best friend (and a high-ranking political official) that I was turned on by old people. Old relatives, nonetheless.

I wish I could say that I found a way to save face... to explain my error... but, alas, I did what most awkward girls do at social functions: I darted toward the punch bowl and stayed there till the event was over.

Years from now, when the world is in chaos and you think to yourself, "Why won't Rachel run for office and fix all of this??"... well, you know which 11-letter word to blame.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

If you're a person that tends to sing aloud absentmindedly when you listen to music, headphones at work may not be the best idea. This is especially true if the once-vacant cubicle next to yours is now occupied by an 18-year-old male intern and you recently added The Flight of the Conchords to your iTunes library.

An off-key rendition of "Bad Romance" would have been far less damning than this:

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Blog awards? That's a thing?

Apparently so, since the lovely Courtney Hope over at just a little mishap has deemed me worthy of such an award (i.e. blog chain letter with prestige attached).

In response, I have been asked to post seven facts about myself... so here goes:

Fact 1: In 5th grade, I was a card-carrying member of the Mariah Carey Fan Club and wrote her regularly. If she had responded, perhaps I could have dissuaded her from joining the Glitter cast.

Fact 2: When I was very young, my mom kept a stack of Dolly Parton CDs under the stereo. I would thumb through the booklets and look at all the pictures when she cleaned the house. This greatly skewed my expectations of puberty.

Fact 3: I had to give a public apology to my entire kindergarten class because, for six months, I told them my name was pronounced "Rachelle."

Fact 4: One of my college roommates refers to me as "Sir William" because when I let my hair air-dry, I closely resemble Mel Gibson in Braveheart. Don't be jealous.

Fact 5: I'm double-jointed in my elbows and occasionally use this trick to frighten small children.

Fact 6: I played piano competitively for 9 years. It was literally just me and a sea of Asian kids. I also had a short stint on the robotics team and went to an advanced math center after school. Again, lost among the Asians.

Fact 7: There is nobody I wouldn't stab to get close to John Krasinski. When I heard he was engaged, I began constructing an Emily Blunt-shaped voodoo doll...

DiFi, passing this off to you at The Cup is Half Full?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Life lesson of the day:

If you can't walk in high heels on carpet, you shouldn't walk in high heels on ice.

"Gripping of the thighs," eh? I always just assumed I was a praying mantis in a former life...

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