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Wildly Exaggerated: October 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Delivery: One Beating With a Baseball Bat. Please Sign Here.

Imagine if you will...

I've posted this on my blog. You, loyal reader, have come upon it by way of my Twitter feed, or your RSS reader, or an email someone sent you (Subject: Who Gave This Girl a Blog?!?!) with a link. In any case, you read over what I've written. And then you click your Farmville bookmark to navigate away, and this pops up...
Aw HELL no!
I bet you'd feel pretty insulted wouldn't you? Because "Kimberly Welsh has requested a read receipt..." is really code for "Kimberly Welsh doesn't trust you as far as she can throw you, and in order to stop you in your lying, cheating, stealing tracks, she wants you to acknowledge HERE AND NOW that you have read this blog post, so when she hounds you about it later, you can't get away with claiming you didn't see it! You big fat lying LIAR!"

I hate read receipts. They are the nasty nose-picking tattle-tales of the virtual playground. Seriously, if we're gonna be this immature, why not also add cooties to anti-virus searches? Because the sender is not sitting at their desk, staring intently at their screen, waiting eagerly to see that you have read their email. That read receipt is just gonna sit in a folder marked "Ammo I Can Use To Pressure, Annoy and Pester People" unless/until they feel compelled to use it as Exhibit A when you go on trial for failing to forward their chain letter to 35 people in the time allotted.

I know all too well that there are people in just about every workplace who blow off their responsibilities. But I don't believe that chasing them around with a piece of paper that says "Jim Bob read this email at 10:15am on September 3rd" is going to motivate them to change their evil ways. Meanwhile, when you attach a read receipt to every email you send, you are accusing literally ALL of your contacts of being lazy immature children who cannot be trusted to do their jobs. Every time you send a read receipt from now on, imagine that this is what comes up on the other person's screen:

(Substantially less headache-inducing when zoomed. Just a suggestion.)
Maybe then you will think twice.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Don't Speak. No, SERIOUSLY.

You know what really juices my rutabagas? People who talk for no reason. If you like to hear yourself talk, I can pretty much guarantee you that NO ONE ELSE DOES. It is my misfortune, however, that even though no one cares what you have to say, lots of other people very much want to hear themselves talk. And what do we have then? We have a cluster of people saying nothing, often very loudly. Sample conversation:
YAPPER #1: What's the weather like today?
YAPPER #2: I heard it was gonna rain.
YAPPER #3: Really? I thought it was supposed to be sunny!
YAPPER #4: I read on the internet that there was going to be a freak dust storm blowing in from the ocean!!!
YAPPER #1 AGAIN: Hey, [YAPPER #5], what was the weather like when you went out a couple of hours ago?
YAPPER #5: It was nice! There were a couple of clouds, but they weren't too big. Although I noticed some grey ones in the distance when I was coming in, so maybe it's gonna rain later.
YAPPER #3: I could've SWORN I heard it was gonna be sunny!

The problem with this conversation is that it is the dumbest thing to come out of Pointless Inane Dumbtown since Paris Hilton published her 365 Ways to Cook With Cheddar Cheese and Heavy Cream! cookbook*. The weather is the singular focus of about a billion different websites, all available free of charge 24 hours a day. I have 3 free weather apps on my phone, one of which came bundled in the operating system. We have windows we can look out of. We could go outside and see for ourselves. And at the point where anyone asks what the weather was like "a couple of hours ago", the conversation has lost any illusion of relevancy. WEATHER CHANGES. OFTEN. RECENT-BUT-NOT-CURRENT NONEXPERT EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS OF WEATHER ARE POINTLESS.

In the presence of a conversation like that, this is what I hear:

Please. I'm begging you. Think twice before you open your face.

*No such book. Made it up**
**But I would totally buy it if it existed.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not Sorry

Whoops! So it seems like I was all, "I'm really gonna try to get back to blogging three times a week, y'all!"...and then I did, for about 2 weeks...and then I stopped again. That's how it seems. It's not actually an entirely accurate version of what happened.

See, I went on vacation for a week. My plan was to blog from the hotel room periodically. It was an excellent plan, except for 3 problems:
1. No wifi - not even paid wifi - in the hotel. WHAT?!? WHAT CENTURY IS THIS?
2. Every time I sat down, I fell asleep.
3. Phineas & Ferb was on.

As you can see, these were technical difficulties, entirely beyond my control. And now that I'm home, I have to rush right back to work/the theatre/etc. But I will be blogging, dammit. I WILL. And since I've just come back from Disney World (YOU HEARD ME), and since I was there for nearly a full week, and since my brain is not nearly able to focus on anything right now, you should expect that the next few blog posts will be all about vacationing in Disney World. I'm sorry/You're welcome. As an appetizer, here's a list of

10 Things I Learned at Disney World Last Week
1. The name "The American Idol Experience" (emphasis on the word "AMERICAN") is grossly misleading, as you can be the only American citizen competing...and still get your butt kicked.
2. It's totally possible to sink a boat in Pirates of the Caribbean.
3. That thing in "Town Hall" at the Magic Kingdom? Where there's a Mickey line and a Princesses line? THAT'S NOT A SHOW.
4. If you're wearing a skirt, and you're in line for Space Mountain, you're going to regret one or both of those choices very soon.
5. There are a lot of terminally stupid people on this planet. Seriously, Survival of the Fittest is completely off the table now.
6. Never attempt a one-woman iDevice dance party without first setting "Shake to Shuffle" OFF. Otherwise Dolores O'Riordan will start bleating at you right in the middle of Lady Gaga's "Just Dance".
7. Phineas & Ferb is easily one of the Top 5 Best Cartoons of All Time.
8. The following things are not real: "enough time", "enough money", "enough caramel apples", "Disney resort wifi".
9. The following things are real: Caramel Apple Margaritas, Tigger, The Headless Horseman, the moon landing.
10. Howard Jones RULES.

More later! Someday! I hope! If we're lucky!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to Mount a Girliness Offensive

Sorry I went MIA again. I promise I really am trying to keep up with this blogging stuff! Just had a little craziness at work. And I was trying to get ready to go on vacation.

And I started a Girliness Offensive.

Girliness Offensives are everything their name implies – girly, yet offensive. They put the "pretty" in "NOT PRETTY". If you've never been a part of a Girliness Offensive before, I'll walk you through it. I hope you're wearing rubber boots. Stylish rubber boots, though. If they aren't $125 Hunters, DON'T BOTHER.

Step 1: Glance at a calendar and notice that you have a vacation in about two weeks. Get all excited.

Step 2: Glance in a mirror and freeze in abject terror as it dawns on you that your picture may be taken on said vacation. Make a mental inventory of all the things that are currently wrong with your appearance. Run out of space in your brain for all the things that are currently wrong with your appearance. Opt instead to sum it up in a single sentence: "I look like a cross between an acne-ridden teen, an 85-year old hag, and a linebacker with a hormone imbalance. When the hell was the last time I shaped my eyebrows?!?!?!"

Step 3: Resolve to do something about it! Make a list, preferably on a piece of paper you can lose, so you won’t be reminded of your failure later on. The list will typically look something like this:
  • Lose 3,000 pounds
  • Get super-stylish high-maintenance haircut at expensive salon
  • Have Penelope Cruz’s face grafted over my skull
  • Acquire all new brand name wardrobe
  • Buy expensive undergarments that have been designed by the Engineering Department at MIT
  • Anti-wrinkle treatment: Blood of a Dozen Brazilian Virgins™ Transfusion
Step 4: Realize you cannot possible afford everything on your list. Revise.
  • Switch from M&Ms to Jelly Bellies (low-fat!)
  • Get a trim and a TON of hair-restraining devices
  • Maybe wash your face
  • Do laundry
  • Do a load of delicates, too
  • Believe in the power of prayer
Step 5: Purchase all sorts of products that promise “professional results at home”.

Step 6: Get professional results in an Emergency Room for any injuries/maimings/loss of limbs incurred in decidedly at-home attempt at girliness.

Step 7: Put your fat jeans and old t-shirt back on. Get professional results from an at-home margarita machine. Take a nap.

Girliness Offensives never end well for me. In the past, I’ve suffered injuries including but not limited to: having my skin melded with my underwear on a molecular level (“I’ll just have to wear this pair until all the current skin cells die off and are replaced”), having a fingernail sliced in half down the middle, puncturing my knee with a pair of scissors, tiny open/bleeding wounds all over both legs, bone bruises in my feet (x-rays are pricey, y’all!), countless blisters, and having my facial skin peel off like I was in a zombie movie. So this week’s attempt was among my more successful stabs at girliness, as the only negatives were:

  • Having to ask someone to help me dress myself at a super-glamorous salon where I couldn’t operate a SMOCK properly. I spent 10 minutes wrestling with it in a bathroom before wandering out, restrained in a straight jacket of my own making.
  • First-degree burns on my neck and hands (me + curling iron = BAD IDEA)
  • Blood blisters on both feet (new shoes!)
  • Thick, gloppy nail polish with my fingerprints conveniently embossed in two nails! I’ll know I’ve started a fad when J Lo goes into a nail salon and says “Give me an OPI manicure with an ulnar loop imprint”. This is how manicurists will “sign” their work in the future. Mark my words.
  • Both legs are orange (self-tanner!)
  • 2 gaping, bloody scrapes on my scalp (details to be revealed in my Lifetime Original Movie entitled “I Tried to Put My Hair In a Bun…and Accidentally Lobotomized Myself”)
  • Over $200 spent on the tools and potions that have effectively converted my bathroom into my personal torture chamber

So, as is always the case with a Girliness Offensive, I’m feeling really sexy! And by “really sexy”, I mean “like a mental patient who shouldn’t be allowed to handle sharp and/or very hot objects”. I used to be an average-looking girl who wanted to better herself. I am now a frizzy-haired one-woman burn unit with a head wound, scented with a hundred flesh-burning chemicals, held together by an intricate web of Band-Aids and nail polish, hobbling around in blood-filled designer shoes. HAWT! Form an orderly queue, gentlemen.

And next time, go for the girl in the fat jeans, t-shirt and ponytail. At least she’s still in one piece.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ramble: A Big Day for Tapeworms

I'm not even going to bother inserting the words "I digress" after every 3rd sentence of this post. There is no unifying point, therefore there are no digressions. That's why the word "ramble" is up there; so you can't sue me for misrepresenting this post as being anything other than a bunch of unrelated crap I wrote because I was bored. Welcome to the nightmare my close friends have to live EVERY DAMN DAY.
I have a Tapeworm Meeting tomorrow. That's not to say I have a business meeting with actual intestinal parasites (although sometimes I wonder! HAR!), it's just my term for the kind of event that drives me to spend the preceding days/weeks/months/years eating as if I'm carrying Triplets. And they have tapeworms. And I've been fitted with a modified bomb from "Speed" that will explode if I stop eating. And the whole thing is being sponsored by Starbucks and Pop-Tarts.

(I eat a lot when I'm nervous.)

Yesterday, we had a farewell luncheon for my boss. We went to the Cheesecake Factory (HAVE A HEART!). Anyway, the conversation turned to weight gain and weight loss, as it always will when a bunch of women with nothing in common get together to eat food. And when I pointed out that I wasn't always the tub of lard I am today, a girl in her mid-20s replied, with the wisdom that only a girl in her mid-20s can muster, that people end up fat later in life "because they lose a lot of weight, and then they get hungry and try to make up for all the calories they didn't let themselves have". I didn't have the heart to tell her it's actually just "the difference between being 25 and being 32", or that her own future will consist of either eventually being 32 herself or being dead. That's a pretty crappy set of options. And I should know!

But sitting there stuffing my face with all the cheese and fried starches they could fit in one wheelbarrow (NOTE: despite its frankly misleading name, the Cheesecake Factory is not a factory in any real sense of the word, nor can they arrange for a conveyor belt to dump a nonstop supply of cheese directly into your mouth, so DON'T BOTHER ASKING), I reflected on my tendency to eat when I'm nervous. Twice in my life I've heard brides on their wedding days who, upon being complimented on their newly-slender figures, plead "too nervous to eat".


How the hell do I get in on that?

I've never been married, so maybe it's a different kind of nervousness than, say, taking the comp exams for my Master's degree, or auditioning for GHP, or doing an improv show, or interviewing for a dream job. Maybe all those other kinds of anxiety make people eat, but wedding-anxiety makes food turn to ash in one's mouth.

I've always figured I'd have the opposite problem if I ever got married. I wouldn't be standing around in a size 2 dress, inadvertently impaling flower girls on my jutting hip bones as I swan around saying, "Ha ha ha! I've just been too nervous to eat!" I expect I'd be rolled into the sanctuary like that girl in Willy Wonka, yelling, "They've had to let the dress out four times since breakfast! And the ceremony's at 11:30 IN THE MORNING! Then again, 'breakfast' would be more accurately described as 'me sneaking out to Waffle House at 4am to cry on the shoulder of a toothless waitress named Lynette who served me mug after mug of warm syrup while I agonized about whether I'm really ready to flush my entire life down the toilet for the sake of a decent health insurance plan to cover my imminent Type 2 Diabetes'. Hey, are we doing communion at this thing, or should I stick a fluffernutter in my bra for the road?" Wow. That hypothetical groom is a lucky, lucky man.

Hm. You know, I was a bridesmaid at my best friend's wedding, but not the Maid of Honor. That's not a big deal or anything, but I can't help but think about it as I reread the paragraph I've just written about my thoughts on matrimony. Yeah, I wouldn't have let me give a speech at the reception either.

So wish me luck at my Tapeworm Meeting. Those who love me will have a bucket of Chipotle burritos delivered to my home every hour on the hour until 6am tomorrow. Extra guacamole, please.

Monday, October 10, 2011

This is Why I Never Make New Friends

I have a lot of acquaintances and friends, but I need more really good friends, like D and J. But making friends isn't easy once you're out of school and working at a place where you don't really like anyone. I should know. I've tried a lot of things over the years and I've learned the harsh lesson that generally, when you go out to some sort of "meet new people" gathering, you find that 1/3 of the people there want to sell you something, 1/3 of the people there want to get in your pants, and 1/3 of the people there aren't the least bit interested in speaking to you, much less being your friend.

It's far too pricey a road to depression; I could get the same "wish I was dead" feeling by sitting on my couch drinking cheap cider and eating frozen pizza.

Improv is the closest I've ever come to success, and the last thing I tried before improv was a French language thingy. The last meeting I attended was in 2006. When I left, I was in possession of five business cards from people offering their translation services - a fact which baffles me to this very day, as I was only at the function because I already spoke French, and therefore had no need of translation services. Maybe they just felt that their French was that much better than mine, which is an insult and a decidedly unfriendly thing to imply. With my purse filled to the brim with unsolicited cards, I sought out my friend and asked if she was ready to leave, but...she had met a Frenchman.

God help us all.

This is how I ended up seated beside her on a couch as she flirted endlessly with "Patrique", leaving me open to the unwanted attentions of Whatshisface From Hell. I kid you not, this is how our conversation unfolded (although the original conversation was in French):
HIM: I've met you before.
ME: I think you've mistaken me for someone else; I've never seen you before.
HIM: No no, I've met you before. I gave you my number.
ME: Did you? Because I don't remember...
ME: Um, in all seriousness, I really don't recall ever seeing you before in my life. I'm pretty sure you're yelling at the wrong complete stranger.
HIM: I'm playing in a soccer game this Saturday. You should come watch.
ME: Um, OK, well...I'll have to check my schedule.
HIM: I want to take you to dinner sometime.
ME: That's very nice of you, but I'm very busy...
HIM: You can check your calendar and get back to me.
ME: Great!
HIM: ...only this time I will call you. Because you never called me last time.
ME: Again, that wasn't me.
HIM: What's your number?
ME: (Gives him my home number)
HIM: OK. I'll call you and you'll tell me when we're going to dinner.
ME: Right, well just FYI, that's my home number and sometimes I'm not home but if you leave a message.
HIM: What's your cell number?
ME: You don't need it! You have my home number! I get really crappy reception...
HIM: You HAVE a cell phone - I saw you check the time on it a minute ago. WHY WON'T YOU GIVE ME YOUR CELL NUMBER?
ME: (Getting seriously fed up with this crap) Because you don't need my cell number, because you have my home number.
HIM: Are you just trying to avoid me? Is this why you never called the last time?

That was the end of French Meetup Group.

But as I say, I've been feeling the need to branch out lately, so I thought it might be worth taking another crack at the meetup site. After all, everyone always says that if you find a group of people doing something you enjoy, you'll find that its members are like-minded individuals you can bond with. And anyway, I really am looking for friends - not some kind of speed dating nonsense. Unfortunately, I had a little trouble finding any meetup activities that really strike my fancy...
- Baby Exercise Time
- Mommies Running Group
- Polyamory Club
- Kink Atlanta (note: Just what the hell is "The Midnight Munch?" *Horrified face*)
- Real Estate Trends and Education
- Various "Boot Camps" around town
- Atlanta Fetish Models

Sooooo yeah. I think I pretty much struck out here. Then again, if I tried to identify my interests, they would mostly involve writing, reading, and watching TV - not very social activities in the first place, unfortunately. And in fairness to meetup, it just helped me discover that Atlanta has a skeeball league(!?!). I might have found my tribe after all...

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Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Only Manicure You can Put on Your Salad!

Is it me, or is the grossest picture since that lady lost control of herself in the triathlon?
I feel like these people made an incredibly poor choice in the picture they used for their ad, but at least they're offering 90% off for blatantly giving you a horrific nail fungus. Don't ever change, Facebook ads.


How About I Occupy Your Face With My Fist?

If there's one thing I can't stand, it's a rotten joke that gets repeated ad infinitum by a bunch of people too lazy to figure out why it's not funny. I've talked before about my seething hatred for online comment forums, but I haven't yet learned not to read them, which is why I've spent most of my week reading coverage of the Occupy Wall Street protests, all of which is tailed by an endless stream of "Why don't they go occupy a JOB?"

HA ha ha ha ha! It was funny when a random assortment of 85-year olds said it the first time, and it's still funny when a bunch of bitter 40-year old idiots pick it up off their favorite FOX News commentator and repeat it to the amusement of their peers.

I don't usually relish ruining a joke, but this time...I'm OK with it. Here's why that sentence is not only unfunny, but completely ignorant: In the current economic situation, you can't just waltz into a job with a living wage and health care benefits. My personal experience with this would be enough - I have an excellent academic record including a Master's degree I completed with a 4.0 GPA. I have an excellent work record, glowing references from a variety of sources, fluency in a foreign language, decent social skills, certifications in a number of commonly used computer programs, a professional demeanor (no really - I do), and a positive attitude. Even with all that, it took me 3 years to find gainful full-time employment with health insurance and a living wage (a job I am both VERY fortunate and VERY grateful to have), and the only reason I got that job was because I happened to be temping there when someone decided to leave work and never come back. And I know lots of other people with good academic credentials (everything from science degrees to MBAs to PhDs), spotless employment histories, no criminal record, etc. etc. who have sent hundreds of resumes to no avail.

It's an employer's market, you see, and can I put this? Employers have lost their damn minds. I'll give you an example of the kind of thing an average job seeker faces in 2011...

Ann Q. Public has a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering with a minor in English Literature. She graduated top of her class at Duke, was President of her sorority, and spent her summers interning at a variety of companies, including a pharmaceutical manufacturer and DuPont. Her references have nothing but good things to say about her, and she's a very personable young lady with a solid work ethic. She starts looking for jobs and sees the heading "Chemical Engineer" in her search. Imagine her surprise when she reads the rest...

Minimum 12 years experience overseeing a team of magical talking ferrets. Must be fluent in Farsi and Japanese. Submit letters from at least 3 references, one of whom must be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the Kyrgyz Republic. Members of the US Olympic Badminton team will be given special consideration. Salary $20k. Include writing sample (award-winning short fiction ONLY) when applying online at www.youcan' WE ARE AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER.

You think I'm kidding.

The thing is, there are so many desperate, unemployed people out there right now that they can demand any ridiculous thing they want, and they'll get so many applications that they probably will find their ideal candidate in there somewhere. And of course, they will then offer him or her FAR less money than he or she is worth, and they'll get a Nobel Prize winner at a bargain basement price because there are so few decent jobs out there. (NOTE: to be fair to the employers, part of the reason they'll offer a terrible salary and horrible benefits is because they don't have very much money to spend either. They would have a bigger budget, but they've committed over 30% of their total profit to their CEO's ridiculous, astronomical, and unnecessarily inflated salary and another 30% is earmarked for political donations to ensure that you never get any rights and the "corporations are people" model stays in place forever.) Oh - and just to be clear: $20k is not a living wage when gas prices are nearly $4/gallon, rates for water and electricity are rising, and food is getting more expensive (because of increased fuel costs). It's not. It's really, really not.

So if you're lucky enough to have a well-paid, secure job, then good for you. If you're a stay-at-home mom whose life is funded by her husband's well-paid, secure job, then congratulations (and I am very, very jealous). But if you haven't actually been one of the millions of people that has fought tooth and nail to survive in this economy, then stop making this ridiculous, preposterous "joke". I try to watch my language on this blog, but that kind of talk is bullshit, and it shows a complete and total lack of compassion.

I apologize for the total lack of humor in this post, but I'm getting really sick of being condescended to by people who don't understand what they're talking about. I'll try to be cheerier (or at least funnier) next time. Thanks for bearing with me.

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Alice in Run-derland

I hate exercise. There, I said it.

I don't mind long walks, tennis games, Wii Fit or Chinese Fire Drills. Those things are fun. What I hate is the capital-E "Exercise" - the kind where you have to run a certain distance or swim for a certain length of time or whatever, all while monitoring your various bodily functions and vital signs. I didn't always hate capital-E "Exercise" quite this much. Once upon a time I only mildly disliked it, and even made occasional efforts to learn to like it. But then I dated a triathlete for a year, and I'm here to tell you: if you ever want to get to a point where you hate health and can't wait to blow up like Jabba the Hut and die, date a serious triathlete. Good Lord.

The thing is, a guy says he's a triathlete and you immediately think "That's HOT!" And it is...kind of. On the one hand, he probably will have a good-looking body, and if you go to races with him, you'll get to travel a bit and meet lots of new people. So that's nice. On the other hand, you will end up sharing your bedroom with a bicycle that is far more important to him than you will ever be, you'll be surrounded by piles of nasty sweat-soaked clothes, and sooner or later you will find yourself shivering beside an unfamiliar river at 5 in the morning while a group of strangers nearby give each other a detailed report of exactly what happened when they went into those Port-a-Potties moments before. Apparently this is just typical breeze-shooting among athletes. All the more reason to aspire to a sedentary lifestyle, if you ask me.

Anyway, before The Triathlete taught me the beauty of sitting still in air conditioned rooms, I periodically took a stab at athleticism myself. One of my favorite things to do was Fail to Run Races at Disney World. I should note that running races at Disney World is probably fun too, but I wouldn't know, as I only ever failed to run them. For a few years, I failed to run the Food & Wine Festival 10k. I would go down to Florida, walk the course (taking full advantage of the free food so bizarrely offered at the water stops), jog across the finish line and call it a resounding success. But then, one summer, I got incredibly light-headed and/or drunk and/or had a mildly psychotic episode and registered myself for the to Fail to Run the Disney World Half Marathon the following January. My brother signed up too, except that he ultimately Failed to Fail at it, but I guess he just didn't understand the object of the game.

Believe it or not, I was on track to Fail to Fail myself, except that I ended up with a 2-month long health issue in November and December, meaning there was no way I could run 13.1 miles in January. I opted, once again, to walk.

The thing about Disney races is that they are designed to be beginner-friendly, with lots of distractions along the way - photo ops with characters, courses that take you "behind the scenes" so you get to see some cool stuff, and of course the scenery. It's good of them to provide these things, and if you've trained appropriately, it makes for a REALLY cool, REALLY memorable race. On the other hand, if you're me (and you're barely prepared to walk to your mailbox), it makes it increasingly difficult to discern reality from hallucination. I remember seeing human-sized mice wearing bridal veils. I remember meeting Winnie the Pooh in a remote corner of a parking lot. I remember a woman bearing handfuls of melted Ghirardelli chocolate squares, which she shoved into my fists as I passed. I remember Captain Hook taking hostages on a Disney Cruise Line boat, again in a parking lot. But I couldn't tell you how much of this was real, and how much was my brain's attempt to ignore the fact that I was walking myself toward the cold, comforting arms of death. I find it a little disconcerting that they're now actively marketing this as a plus.
From the site for Disney's Princess Half Marathon, February 2012
This picture is like a bad acid flashback for me. I remember only too well the nightmarish blaring of the alligator's trumpet in my ear, the bizarre and inappropriate propositioning of the frog as I ran screaming from the castle, in which I was convinced I had just seen Cinderella hurling glass slippers at me. The waters rose up out of nowhere, and slowly closed in around me until I was trapped.
From the site for the Disney Wine and Dine Half-Marathon
And here, again, we see a hapless runner staring fixedly ahead, telling herself "THEY'RE NOT REAL! THEY'RE NOT REAL!" Living champagne bottles douse her with alcohol as a talking candle menacingly brandishes his flames at her booze-soaked leg. A clock and some napkins laugh and dance mockingly as Jackie Joyner Joan of Arc approaches. The horror!

While these photos may look completely fake, they are all too real to those of us who have Failed to Prepare for a Disney World Race. *shudder* Still, it's healthier than doing acid. 

(Seriously, though, if you're wanting to do a long-distance race for the first time, you should check out the Disney races. They're much more fun than just running endlessly on empty roads, which has been my experience with most other races. Not that I personally will ever race again, except in cases where there's only one cupcake left.)

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Saturday, October 1, 2011


Ugh. The single life. Regular readers (both of them ) will recall my many previous posts about my online dating experiences, and will probably be relieved to hear that I deactivated my profile last month after an escalating series of messages from some random weirdo. But "random weirdo" is not a very nice term to use, so I'll let you read our paraphrased conversation and judge for yourselves:
HIM (mid-June): Hi! You're pretty. Where do you do improv?
HIM (2 days later): Just bored at work so I thought I'd drop you a line. Send me a message!
HIM (early July): What's up?
HIM (one week later): I heard a funny joke today I thought you'd like. Chat me and I'll tell you
HIM (late August): We should meet up sometime.
ME: (cancels subscription to service)

So I had given up on finding love, and I've only grown more hopeless in the past week as I've learned that two of my celebrity crushes are Libras* (UGH!) and one of them is quite possibly gay.

Let's just say I've been working on my fantasy Golden Girls roommate roster and checking out retirement communities in Miami. Acceptance is the first step.

But then CNN ran a story about 5 great train rides for viewing fall foliage. CURSE YOU, CNN!
C'mon Great Smoky Mountain Railroad! You're killing me here!
I know they say that in the springtime a young man's thoughts turn to bikinis and foot fetishes or whatever, but I tend to be much more relationship-oriented in the fall than any other season. And I know some people say Christmas is the time of year when single people pine for companionship, but those people have never spent 2 weeks deadlocked in a fight to the death over whose family gets Christmas day and whose family gets stuck with the day after. Hell, if I ever do end up in a relationship again, we're going to be on a break from December 1 to December 30 every year. I simply cannot spend yet another Yuletide screaming "All I want for Christmas is MY LIFE BACK!" But I digress.

Fall is nice because there aren't any designated days that make you a horrible child if you don't spend them with your family, the weather's cool enough to warrant snuggly behavior, and it's a low-cost/low-traffic time for weekend getaways. I have many a fond autumn memory of Chattanooga, Athens, Helen, and even the beach...bundling up, exploring the scenery, drinking apple cider, eating in nice restaurants, staying in fancy B&Bs...and not paying for any of it!

OK, hang on - before you start calling me a gold digger, hear me out. It's not just about freeloading fun fall activities. Believe it or not, there are guys I could con into buying me things this very second if I wanted to, but that's not my deal. Half the fun is the companionship, and I'm extremely picky about guys - ask any of my exes. I also tend to be on the defensive when I first meet prowling boys, just because I know they can't be trusted. So if some random guy walked up to me and said, "Hey, d'you wanna ride the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad though Nantahala Gorge?", I'd pepper spray first and ask questions later. But if you've already got someone whose company you enjoy, and you want to spend hours and hours staring out a train window with them...c'mon, it's the icing on the cake if it's free.

It's just that getting to that point in a relationship is so difficult! You have to do that whole PowerPoint presentation of who you are and where you came from and why you aren't allowed inside Hardee's anymore. Then you have to tolerate each other's friends. Then you have to decide if you can stand to watch him talk with his mouth full of pizza for as long as you both shall live. Then you have to guess exactly what his mother will hate about you and try to fix it (or at least cover it up) before you meet her. Then you have to pretend to enjoy Dune or Star Wars or baseball... It's a whole THING. All that just so you can get on a damn train and quietly drink some coffee while looking out a window together!

Screw it. Maybe they'll let me bring my cat.

*As my wise friend C once said, "Never date a Libra. Libras are criers. It's exhausting."

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