Friday, March 29, 2013

The Memory in the Music

"Every song has a memory; every song has the ability to make or break your heart, shut down the heart, and open the eyes."
-Andy Warhol

There are certain songs that, much like smells, can trigger memories for me like no other.  They start playing and I'm all of a sudden transported back to the time when that song meant the most to me.  Here are just a few examples:
  • "Breathe (2 AM)" (Anna Nalick); I'm a freshman at BYU sitting in the dining hall of the Cannon Center (the old one).  This song played every morning on the radio in early 2005.  For the first time in my life, I'm part of a close-knit circle of friends, and my life is blessedly complicated because of that.
  • "Mariella" (Kate Nash); It's the Fall of 2009 and I'm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  More specifically, I'm in Laura's enormous boat-car getting a ride home from church on a Sunday.  She warns me that her music isn't "Sabbath-appropriate," but I don't care because that was the day that Kate Nash became one of my favorite artists.
  • "The Trapeze Swinger" (Iron and Wine); I'm in a Volkswagen Jetta somewhere in the middle of Western Massachusetts and the windows are open even though it's freezing but again, I don't care because Western Mass is beautiful and life is good.  (Alternatively, it's two months later and my life is about to turn upside down completely and oh my gosh why is this song so dang evocative and also nine minutes long and I start sobbing on my bed as the melody floats up from Lindsay's room.)
There are certainly others, some that I won't think of until I hear the song, and some that don't even need mentioning (e.g., the entire BYU Concert Choir repertoire from 2005-2008).  But this is one of those times I invite comments:  what is a time-machine song for you and where (or when) does it take you?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why I can't talk to people on Wednesdays.

My latest favorite TV show is ABC's The Neighbors (Wednesdays, 8:30 pm EST).  I like it for two reasons:  1) It's Hilarious and ballsy (they did a musical episode in the first season! so risky!), and 2) Tim Jo.

Just look at that adorable face.
Anyway, my mom and Laura also love the show, and they have the benefit of being on the East Coast and getting to see it before me (not to mention they have TVs and I have to wait until the next day when it's on Hulu...)  So usually about 3:00 pm on a Wednesday afternoon I'll get an email from Laura (who is very spoiler-phobic) saying something like,


And then at about 4:00 pm I'll talk to my mom on the phone and, to strike up conversation, I'll say, "I heard The Neighbors was pretty good" or something like that.

And then she gives away the huge surprise ending.  But of course, I'm still going to watch it, because [Spoiler Alert] OMG Reggie and Amber are going to kiss!

Plans C-F

Let's get one thing straight:  I am going to grad school next year.  I don't know where yet, but I am definitely going somewhere and in (hopefully) five years I will have a PhD.  But there are some days when I think, what if I just said "screw it all" and decided to do something completely different?  What would I do?

I put on my Disney Princess Daydream Face, to begin with.
You know what I would do?  For your enjoyment, I present four alternate life plans:
  1. Move to Minnesota and become highly involved in the Betsy-Tacy Society.  Learn to make all of the food featured in the books and then open a cafe whose specialty will be onion sandwiches.  Laura and President Nixon can also come.
  2. Move to Salem, MA, become a self-studied expert in the Witch Trials, and work in one of the museums.  Become best friends with one of the Wiccan shop owners and solve mysteries together.
    Just like Buffy and Willow!
  3. Move to Canada; marry a hot Mountie; make out with said Mountie on top of a moving train.  Also learn French and become a forensic anthropologist who doesn't write horrid, trashy crime novels.*
  4. Move to Europe and subsist solely on freshly-baked bread.  Also have an fling with a man named Raoul before settling down with a man named Rupert.'
But really, though, I'm probably just going to go to grad school.

*I'd put a link to a certain author's webpage here, but I have to see this person at national meetings occasionally, and this person has a lot of power.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Why I'm Not Going to the Church Activity Tomorrow

Winston is my favorite.
I literally cannot remember the last time I got to sleep in on a weekend.  I am certainly not going to get up at 6:00 am to take the bus to get to the bottom of some mountain by 8:00 am and then proceed to climb up that mountain with a bunch of people who will probably be fighting the temptation to throw me off said mountain.*  Also, there are probably going to be bugs and wild boar and cave creatures and stuff.  And did I mention that I have an irrational fear of walking downhill?  So, just, no.

*I'm not too popular in the branch these days, having let my feminist-flag fly in Relief Society and aggravating some of the alpha females in various and sundry ways.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Reputation," or, "Why You Shouldn't Accept Rides from Strangers"

I live in the Salt Lake neighborhood of Honolulu, which, is probably the best place a person can live if she has to take the bus to her job at the Hickam Air Force Base (and that's pretty much the only thing it has going for it).  The thing I don't like about my commute, however, is that the closest bus stop to work is about a mile-and-a-half away from my lab.  So I walk, which I don't mind too terribly when it's not hot in the mornings.  Occasionally, someone from the lab will pull over and give me a ride.  On other occasions, someone not from the lab will pull over and give me a ride.  This is a story about the latter.

One day I was walking and this tiny white sports car pulls over and a guy in military uniform (fatigues? the camouflage things, at any rate) says, "you work at [institution], right?"*  And I say that I do, and he asks me if I'd like a ride, so I say, "sure."  Two seconds after I get in, it hits me:  Oh my gosh.  I just got into a car with a man I don't know.  He could be a rapist.  Crap...and I didn't even go to the military sexual assault training!**  So as I'm grabbing onto my keys should I need to use them as a weapon, I try to make small talk and verify that he indeed does work at [institution].

"So...where do you work in [institution]?" I ask.

"I'm the D.C.O." (aka the Deputy Commander.  aka someone real important in the Command and I should have known who he was.)

"Oh...."  I reply sheepishly and pray that his high-ranking status allows him to speed so the car ride is over faster.

When I got to work, I told my officemates about it ("Funny thing happened to me on the way to the lab").  They thought it was hilarious.  One of them thought it was so funny that she told one of the odontologists and another one of the anthropologists.  And then they told people.  One of the lab managers approached me in the hallway one day, all 'official,' and I think its about a report that I just turned in, and he says, "so, I hear you've been cruising around with the D.C.O."

This is what I imagine my angry face to look like.
By the way, the lab manager wasn't inaccurate with his verbiage.  This whole getting-a-ride thing has happened multiple times.  I'm starting to dread it!  First of all, it's a convertible sometimes, so my hair gets all blown-around, and also, people might see!  Getting a ride to work with the Deputy Commander is like being in junior high and getting a ride to school with the vice principal.  Also, the door handle is in a weird place so once when it was really early in the morning and the sun wasn't out yet I couldn't see it and it took what seemed like forever to get out of the car.  So awkward.  And to top it all off, it's the kind of car that you have to climb out of, which is extremely hard to do gracefully in a knee-length skirt.

Why I chose to blog about this today, after all of this time, is because the story has apparently gotten around.  As I was leaving work today, one of the archaeologists asked me if I needed a ride.  I thought this was a little weird because I had never interacted with this guy before (i.e., he shouldn't know that I walk to the bus stop) and I was still in the parking lot (i.e., I could have been walking to my car).  But whatever, it's a ride.  I get in and thank him, and he says, "don't worry, I'm not the D.C.O."

How the frack does he know this story?  I demand that he tell me who told him.  He said that he couldn't remember; he'd heard it from a couple different people.

So I guess this is my reputation now.  No matter how many reports or memos I write or by how many more exponents I increase the productivity of the project to which I'm assigned, I will always be the anthropologist who didn't know who the Deputy Commander was.  So lesson learned:  don't get into cars with strangers, and if you do, don't tell anyone, because people will never stop telling that story.

*I'm sure that I've blogged about the name of the place where I work before, but I don't want this particular post to come up in any search engines.
**Wherein the women are taught, "if you leave your wallet on the table and someone takes it, it's kind of your fault."  So far we've come.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

To Appease the Haters

I've been taking some heat for my Hawaii-loathing.  As penance, I will talk about three things that I like in/about Hawaii.*
  1. There's this little mall-within-a-mall at the Ala Moana Center called Shirokiya.  Its primary target demographic seems to be old Asian ladies.  Whenever I'm having a low-self-esteem day I walk around in there and I feel so freaking tall.  It's awesome.
  2. Puka/Hula Dog.  Get this:  they take a bun and they burn a hole in the bun and then they put a hot dog in that hole with a bunch of fruity relishes and sauces.  Did I mention the bun is made of taro and bacon?  And they have lemonade from scratch.
  3. The sunsets don't suck.  I got to watch one at Waikiki Beach with my friend Hannabeth once and I have to say that it was one of the prettiest reference points by which to witness the movement of the earth.
I was originally going to talk about five things that I like in/about Hawaii, but I am drawing a blank.  Oh well.

*Not that the people who are giving me crap even read this blog because they're probably too busy surfing and swimming and hiking and having super awesome Hawaii parties to which I'm never invited.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I'm 3/4 of the way done with my job in Hawaii.  I wish I could say that I'm starting to see the light, but it still feels like I have a lot of tunnel left.

Yep.  I blogged a cheesy tumblr quote.  Hawaii is destroying my sense of pride.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

So we don't get separated.

As proof that I am becoming ever-so-much more off-kilter, the following scene from the series finale of "Sabrina, the Teenage Witch"* sent me into full-blown tears last night:

SPOILER ALERT:  Sabrina and Harvey end up together. 
Also Joey marries Pacey and Jen dies.  These things should be common knowledge by now.  
Also, this No Doubt song has been stuck in my head all day now.

Let me reiterate: not just misty eyes, but full-blown, can't-breathe-out-of-my-nose, tears.**

If that's not enough to induce sadness, though, here is a picture of what Nate Richert (aka Harvey Kinkle) looks like now:

*The full series is on Hulu now.  Inner junior-high Alex had a little geek-out about that.  Outer twenty-something Alex admits that it's definitely cheesier now, but will watch it anyway.
**I can't deny that hormones are also probably involved.  On a related note, I'm going to a chocolate-making class tomorrow and it's going to be awesome.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I Need a Win

I need a win.  Desperately.

I need a snow day, but it doesn't snow here (stupid Hawaii).

I need a sick day, except for the first time in my generally frail and sniffly life, I am surprisingly healthy.  And I have too many stupid morals to take a sick day when I'm not really sick.  Does the fact that I haven't slept well since I got back from Boston count as a sickness?

I guess I could take a "mental health day."  I have been feeling lately like I'm going crazy.

The not knowing what I'm doing with my life is driving me particularly crazy.  I've been accepted to three graduate programs so far, and of those three I have an idea of which one I'm going to choose.  I'm still waiting to hear from my top two choices, though, which makes it really hard for me to get excited about that one.  I feel that at this point I'm waiting for one of them to tell me "no," and for the other one, I'm waiting for an interview to be scheduled.  I hate that it's mid-March and I don't know where I'm going yet.  I hate not having a finite plan, or a future to get excited about.

Another thing that just hit me is that, for the last two months that I'll be here, my rent will be essentially doubling (don't ask).  I don't want to move, and I doubt that I'll be able to find someone to live with me (or who would want to live with me...because apparently people don't) for only two months.  At least it's only for two months, and the amount of extra rent that I'll be paying very closely resembles the amount that is my tax there's that.

And Daylight Savings Time happened this Sunday.  Did it come early this year?  I know it's the same time difference that it was when I first moved here, but I got so used to the five hours in the "winter."  Now it just feels like everyone I love moved 1000 miles farther away from me.  And my talking-to-my-mom-on-the-phone schedule is all messed up and we haven't talked sufficiently in days and I miss it.  Yes, I'm a grown woman and I miss talking to my mommy.

So I need a win.  I need a magical trip to Europe (that will never happen).  I need a long drive through New England while Florence and the Machine and Jump Little Children are blasting from the CD player.  I need a letter from my dream school (even if I don't know which one that is yet) saying that they'd be ecstatic to have me.  I need a hug from one of the only few people authorized to hug me.

I need something to sing about.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dessert Disaster

Today was Fast Sunday, the day when Mormons abstain from two meals (or 24-hours-worth of eating), say a prayer to end it all, and then proceed to consume everything in sight.  After eating my delicious Pineapple Curry that I made on Friday, I decided that I wanted some dessert.  I had nothing (e.g., brownie mix) on hand, but I remembered all of those Pinterest things where you could just make a cake in a cup in the microwave and it's supposed to be delicious.

I found this recipe.  I didn't have any cocoa powder but I figured, hey, I'll just substitute melted chocolate chips and it'll be kind of the same, right?  Also, I didn't really put a ton of effort into accurate measurement.  In fact, I don't even have a tablespoon measure, so I used my cookie scoop because it looked about like a tablespoon.  And of course I can't let a recipe be, so I added vanilla extract (which might have actually saved the flavor a bit).

I put it in the microwave for a few minutes and this is what came out:
"It Came From the Microwave!!"
It reminded me of that "elephant toothpaste" reaction that people do in basic chemistry classes for fun.  It was bouncy, I'll give it that much.  When I was making the batter it didn't look "chocolatey" enough so I added a few more chocolate chips, but they all sank to the bottom of the ramekin and were kind of burned tasting.  Even so, it wasn't the worst thing I had ever put in my mouth (that award still goes to Poi).  After eating about half of it, though, I decided it would be better off in the trash can.  Perhaps if I try it again I'll actually follow the directions.  And buy cocoa powder.