Thursday, August 27, 2009

Girl detective

So today I was going through pictures of my work, right, and I found a picture in this office with a fish. In a fishbowl. And at first I was just all, aw, the leetle fish. Look at the pretty colors. Isn't it nice? La la la. I carried on going through the pictures, whatever whatever, and after a while it hit me: That is a picture of a fish on my desk. My desk does not have a fish on it. WHERE IS THE FISH?

I thought maybe the fish was somewhere else around the office and I just hadn't seen it, so I went hunting. I looked all around my desk. I looked in the meeting room area. I looked in the kitchen. I looked in the stuff room & the other stuff room & my boss's office.


By now I had begun to suspect that somebody, sometime, had come into this office and played a game they called UP UP UP with the fish!, and had had poorer balance than some players of this game, and the fish in question had not had the good fortune to land in a pot full of water from which it could continue to express its dismay about the turn the game had taken. There are no pots full of water in this office so it couldn't have fallen into one, and I was growing ever more worried about the fate of the fish.

When my boss came back, I said, "Those pictures of the office are very good,"and he said, "Oh, you like them?" and I, having achieved my segue with a minimum of effort, said severely, "WHERE IS THE FISH?"

"Fish?" he said.

I would make a fantastic investigative journalist. I wouldn't let people get away with anything. I did not let my boss get away with this. "THE FISH FROM THE PICTURES," I said.

"It's gone," he explained.


I know, I know. I missed my calling. I should have become a journalist as previously noted, or possibly an expert interrogator. I would not need to torture people sneakily, because I would get the truth out of them using only my words.

The fish didn't die. You will be relieved to hear. The fish from the pictures was someone else's fish. Not an office fish. Not somewhere dead of neglect in this office because I didn't know about it when I started working here.


(Mumsy, don't worry - that is not really what happened. I did not go snooping through the rest of the office, or interrogate my boss. I asked politely and he explained politely. I did not really miss my calling to be an investigative journalist or witness interrogator; I know that my true calling is to be a writer of amusing fictions.)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Changes hurt my brain

Well, I mean, some changes. Today my father brought my sculpture over to my new apartment, and it's the first thing your eye falls on when you walk inside. It makes me completely happy. That is a change that does not hurt my brain.

However, this new apartment, despite its beautiful perfection, is not without its problems. I was pleased upon arriving here to find that the linen closet in the bathroom has one of those adorable little pull-down doors in it, do you know what I'm talking about? There is a handle, and you pull it down and chuck your dirty laundry inside the bottom half of the linen closet? You know?

I love this. I have always wanted one of these. (Do you know what I'm talking about?) I am much more motivated than I have ever been before, to put my dirty laundry in its designated place. I am even more motivated than I was when I was little and putting the laundry in the hamper meant my mother would do it for me. When I lived at the dorms and in previous apartments, I mostly just threw my dirty clothes in a corner close to where my laundry bag was, and then when the pile of dirty clothes got big enough that it made me unhappy, I did a couple of loads of laundry.

Now, I never see how big my pile of laundry is. I never see it at all. It's very weird and I'm having a hard time adjusting. This morning I got up and tried to find the shirt I wanted, and it wasn't anywhere. I searched in my closet, and then I searched through all the drawers in my chest of drawers, and then I searched in the pile of clothes I really need to hand-wash (I will soon!), and then I searched through all my unpacked boxes. And finally I sat down sadly and tried to live with the realization that the shirt was gone forever.

"How can it be missing?" I asked my cuddly Harrod's teddy bear, who is called Basil Bear. Baz had no answers for me. "HOW?" I cried. "I DO NOT EVEN HAVE ANY BIG PILES OF DIRTY LAUNDRY LIKE NORMAL. WHY AM I BEING PUNISHED FOR MY CLEANLINESS?"

Which is when I remembered about the pile of laundry tidily hidden behind the little door in my bathroom. Baz didn't really deserve to be yelled at (but I really like that shirt, and I am on the rag, so you can understand how this all went down).

Friday, August 21, 2009

One of those epiphanies it would have been better to have had sooner

I was in high school before I realized that the phrase "to jew someone down" is a reference to - you know - Jews. For years and years and years (not because I am stupid! but because I didn't hear it that often and so I didn't think about it that much), I totally thought it was an onomatopoeic approximation of the sound of a power tool. You know, JJJJJJJJJEWWWWWWWWWWWWW - like, whittling something down. I thought jewing someone down meant wearing them down until they could take it no longer and gave you the price you wanted, or possibly wearing down the price with a power tool type thing. When I hear that phrase, that's still what pops into my head.

But then this one time I was talking to one of my friends at lunch about this girl in my elementary school who used to bring Fudge Rounds to school, and she would never share. We used to offer her huge portions of our own lunches in exchange, but the only trade she would accept was two (two!) of those yummy cafeteria rolls. I was telling my friend, "One time I jewed her down to - I just realized what that meant."

Then I felt guilty.

I just wanted to tell y'all that. I have a picture of a power tool in my head right now. JJJJJJEEEEEWWWWWW. Do you understand the noise I'm making? The J is a soft J like in Arabic or French.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book lists

I love book lists. You know, those things where it's all "50 Books You Must Read Before You Die" and "75 Best Books Ever in the World" and "100 Classics If You Haven't Read Them You Are Stupid". I was talking about this with my mum and sister today, and Anna was saying she finds them dismaying because they make her feel like she isn't well-read. As for me, I always like them and I always go through and add up my totals even if I have somewhere else to be in the next five minutes. It's fun. Here's why.

1. I often feel like I am well-read when I add up my totals. Unless they have loads of philosophy books on them, I have normally read a lot of those books. I was an English major so I had to. I had to read Moby Dick twice, and the payoff for this and other miseries is that when there is a list like this, I have usually read a bunch of them. Though I think I should be able to give myself two points for Moby Dick since I had to read it two (2) times and it is as long as - like, it's really really long, okay?

(I was trying to think of some sort of dirty joke about Pinocchio's nose, to illustrate how long Moby Dick is. And I couldn't think of something. Oh well. I am not that clever.)

2. I come across these lists relatively often, because people love to make them, and they always remind me of books I have been meaning to read. Like Doris Lessing. I keep meaning to read Doris Lessing. One of these days I will. Or, to give a better example, Salman Rushdie. I used to see Salman Rushdie's name all over the place, and I was all, Whatever, I'll get to it, and eventually, I got to it. Which means that now when Salman Rushdie's books are on these lists, I have read them. Plus, it turns out I really like Salman Rushdie. And if he hadn't been on book lists all the time, reminding me about his existence, this would never have happened.

3. This will not stand up under scrutiny given how much I thought I was going to hate Salman Rushdie and other authors I can't think of right now, but here it is anyway: for a lot of the books I haven't read, I am pleased not to have read them. Because I know I won't like them. And because I think without having read them that they are stupid. Thus instead of feeling not-well-read, and thus not enjoying the book lists, like Anna, I feel aggravated with the list-makers for putting stupid books on their lists, and pleasingly smug with myself for knowing better. And then I have a big internal (or sometimes out-loud) rant about how racist and sexist everyone is with The Classics, and how foolish the list-makers are, putting on more than one book by Faulkner (esp. if neither of them is Light in August, which is the one I was forced to read) or whoever, and that is fun because it's fun to feel like a better person than someone else.


Unless you are Robyn, I know you don't care

But Chad Michael Murray is leaving One Tree Hill. I can't tell you how much this has broken my spirit. Chad Michael Murray and his sensitive-guy-face and his better-acting-through-squinting techniques have been such a joy to me since my lovely flatmate Saz introduced me to the show in 2007. Ever since I discovered this, I have been broken-hearted. Inconsolable. Ask anyone. I have taken to my bed and refused to arise until the CW reconsiders.

However, today it came to me in a blinding flash of light, exactly what I need in order to be happy again. Nobody is planning to do this (YET!), but inventing it inside my head has made me feel much happier. Okay. I need some network to do a show about a ballet school - no, wait for it - that's a boarding school - no! no! you are still waiting for it - set before the Second World War. Ish. That's when ish I would need it to be set. I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT.

Yes. Essentially, Thursday's Children on TV. And American.

But no, seriously, I think this would be such fun! Thursday's Children is great, and what would make it even more great would be MORE CHARACTERS AND LONGER AND IN SERIAL FORM.

Right? Am I right? Wouldn't that be fun? For me?

Friday, August 7, 2009

How to cook

The key, of course, is to not cook for several months between attempts. In this way it becomes possible to forget the abject, multilayered misery that happens when you cook a new thing. Like maybe wait three months. After three months it is possible for me to tell myself that I have been exaggerating my loathing for cooking. You know, for comedic effect. So today I cooked a new chicken spaghetti thing. It looked very easy. Ho, ho, ho.

I cut up the chicken first. This went really smoothly, despite my hatred for touching raw meat, and I was feeling fantastic about myself and my cooking abilities, so I bravely went ahead and put the olive oil on to heat up. I didn't know olive oil had to heat up. I would have totally dumped the chicken into the skillet first, piece by piece as I cut it up, and worried about the olive oil when I started cooking the chicken.

Then I chopped up the garlic. I figured, since I had already cut the chicken successfully, theoretically the most traumatic part of the process, I could now give myself a prize by doing something super easy and fun. My sister has recently discovered that she owns a vegetable chopper, and all you have to do to work it, is slam it up and down repeatedly, and the garlic becomes chopped automatically. Like magic!

First problem, of course: I didn't bring over the garlic I bought. Of course. I looked and looked all over for garlic and couldn't find any, and after three terrifying - because! the olive oil was already on the skillet which meant TOO LATE to go buy/pick up garlic - minutes I found some, and I got going with the chopping. V. easy and fun. I was feeling totally great, and then I took the chopper apart to wash it and couldn't get it back together again. Every time I tried, it started making horrifying noises SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK (sorry, Robyn!), and I couldn't get it to go back together. At all. It looked all broken and tragic, and after innumerable efforts to mend it while retaining my equanimity, I started to cry because not only was I failing at cooking, but I was also failing at being a good sister. Neither a borrower nor a lender be.

I know this is stupid, but I am writing this while the chicken is simmering in the kitchen, mostly to stave off the moment when I have to cook the pasta, and it still feels v. upsetting right now - anyway, I finally sorted the stupid chopper and carried on cooking the chicken, and I put too much goddamn spice on it. I put the right amount from the recipe, but I guess I had the wrong proportions, so the basil and blackened thingy were just way too much, and my whole house smells like basil. Way too much basil. I am gagging on basil right now. I poured in the tomatoes, covered it, and disconsolately wandered over to write a complainy blog post.

There always comes a time like this, when I am cooking something. I reach a point where I hate the food I am cooking, truly hate it, probably as much as Fred Phelps hates the gays - IF NOT MORE - and I can see why, if these are truly the emotions he possesses, he chooses to send his family out picketing all over the place with his hatred of the gays, and if I could do that with my hatred of the food and not be ridiculous (a challenge Fred Phelps faces too - and does not manage to surmount), I would totally do it at this point in the process. At this point I am ready to take the whole pan and pour it into the trash and sit down and cry for a little while, and ultimately go get take-out.

No idea how the food turned out. I haven't tasted it. The house smells like basil and I don't expect great things out of the chicken spaghetti. But I am going to go make pasta anyway, because I've started and it's too late to stop now.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Oh I am just so excited

about this. I think it's going to be legen-

(wait for it)

-dary! LEGENDARY! There will be interviews! People will talk nice about Oscar Wilde and I WILL LOVE IT.