Sunday, March 30, 2014

Songs for a Rainy Day

It's been raining a lot lately.  It makes me want to make a playlist.  My rain songs are not necessarily about rain; they just sound like rain, but different varieties of rain.  For instance,

  • Warm summer rain at sunset:  Slow and Steady by Of Monsters and Men
  • Heavy drops that create steamy city streets:  Navy Taxi by Kate Nash
  • Drizzle outside your bedroom window after a long day:  Wise Up by Aimee Mann
  • A light shower that escalates into a torrential downpour for a beautiful moment:  Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson
  • Thunderstorm with intermittent hail:  Apres Moi by Regina Spektor
  • Furiously sharp drops racing to the ground as if on horseback:  John the Determinist by Jeremy Messersmith*

Clearly I underscore my life entirely too much.  Or clearly it rains too much.  Or both.

But one more--when it's all over finally:  "Somewhere over the Rainbow" (tie between Harry Nilsson and Ray Charles/Johnny Mathis)



*Also the only track that doesn't use piano.

Friday, March 28, 2014

"Just give me a number instead of a name," or Adventures in Speed Dating

I went speed dating last weekend.  Well, technically, it was speed "mingling," but considering I was forced to mingle with only men for eighty minutes, I'm going to call it speed dating.  Whenever I do something that's slightly out of my comfy zone, I have to take on a character--I am no longer regular Alex, I am "Speed Dating Alex."  Who is that, exactly?  Well, first of all, Speed Dating Alex is not named Alex at all, but "F060."  To facilitate the matching process, we were stripped of our identities and given code numbers.  I am told that F060 was a good number to have.

I will also say that Speed Dating Alex is quite the snappy dresser.  I wore my new glasses, a fun sweater, a Liz Lemon blazer, skinny jeans, and riding boots.  Sometimes I'm quite pleasantly surprised with my ability to put outfits together, even though this is something I can do only 50% of the time.*

The real question of the evening was this:  can Speed Dating Alex flirt?  Or at least be somewhat pleasant for sixty seconds?


It turned out to be okay!  There was supposed to be a minute with each guy, but because of some men's inability to actually move when the timer went off, sometimes it was much shorter.**  Let me tell you, though, all that talking nonstop in a room where 160 other people are talking nonstop is not easy.  It's actually quite exhausting, and I give myself points for being quite the trooper through it all.

Here are some of the highlights of the interesting interactions I had:
  • One guy from my ward spent most of the minute talking about how embarrassed he was that our outfits were  accidentally color- and pattern-coordinated.
  • Another guy told me, "you don't seem like you would have a hard time attracting men."  Neither does the praying mantis...it's a retention issue.
  • One guy who carried with him a distinct Vibe, upon hearing that I studied anatomy, told me, "maybe I can help you with your homework sometime."  Now, I don't know if he meant that in the creepiest possible way, but that's how I heard it.
I wanted to Purell my entire brain.
  • We didn't have tables in between us, like you would expect in speed dating; we were just sitting across from each other.  This one boy was getting quite friendly with my unprotected kneecaps (I was such a good sport during this thing, you guys).  I then learned he had just graduated high school, and not in the "I'm 30 and I just got my GED way," but in the "I was born in the mid-1990's" way.  I quickly retracted my kneecaps.
  • Getting hoarse and tired, I tried to reason with one of my permanently platonic friends that, since it was a universal truth that we would never date each other, we should just sit in comfortable silence.  He proceeded to make conversation for the full minute.  I wanted to smack him.
  • I knew about 75% of the men there, but of course I didn't get to talk to the one stranger I actually found to be quite cute until near the end when I was so exhausted that I didn't know who I was anymore.  He asked me where I was from, to which I replied, "I'm from here originally...no I'm not...that's not true at all."  To that bespectacled redhead from California getting a PhD in chemistry from Yale, I say, "if you're reading this, I promise I'm actually an intelligent human being when I'm not forcing myself to be acutely charming for over an hour, so look me up!"
In short, the activity was a lot of fun, and I give mad props to the committees that put it together.  I even found out yesterday that, despite the dearth of people who submitted the numbers of people they liked after the event, I "matched" with three people!  Granted, they're all guys I already know, and I'm pretty sure at least one of them was a courtesy match, but still!  





*The other 50% of the time I wear old jeans and whichever turtleneck is at the top of the stack in my dresser and cover it all with a purple winter coat that makes me look like the Grimace.
**I will say that the odds weren't always in my favor, in that I got stiffed for time with those I favored, but I got the full minute (if not more) with the "odds."

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

UBurger is Better

I need to stop thinking there's something better out there.

They opened a new burger place, BurgerFi, next to where I go to the gym.  I was pretty excited, because, you know, burgers.

This is basically what happens.
I wanted to go right away with some of my friends, but we never got around to it, and then I found out that practically everyone I've ever met went there without me last week, so today I decided, screw it, I don't need anybody else, I'll go by myself!  Also, I felt an upper respiratory tract thing coming on this morning, and that always calls for grilled meat and deep-fried potatoes.

Honestly, I was a little disappointed in BurgerFi.  Here is my list of grievances:
  1. It was kind of expensive.  I got basically the same thing I get at UBurger (cheeseburger, fries, Diet Coke), but it cost about $3 more.
  2. The bun was soggy.  My good friend LT, while attending Harvard Law School, raved about this place called Flat Patties.  I never had the heart to tell her that I secretly called it "Soggy Buns" (although I guess I kind of just did).  There is only one acceptable circumstance for bread to be wet:  when it is Thanksgiving and it is stuffing and it is covered in gravy.  Hamburger buns should not be moist to the touch.
  3. Too much cheese.  My cheese-loving friends will stand aghast at this one.  I get that a cheeseburger should have a noticeable amount of cheese on it, but at the end of the day, it's still a beef patty, and you should taste the beef more than you should taste the cheese.  The two slices of yellow American on this burger were overpowering (either that or the patty was just really bland, but that's not better).
  4. Not enough other things.  I dislike burgers that don't come with pickles and onions by default.  Enough said.
  5. The fry:burger ratio was too high.  Don't get me wrong, I love French fries.  They're my go-to vocal health food, but when I'm done with my burger, I don't want to spend another ten minutes finishing my fries as they get progressively colder and less tasty.
This might have seemed like a harsh review, but honestly, it was good.  It wasn't the worst burger I've ever eaten, by far (that honor goes to Grasshopper Cafe--sorry guys, your breakfasts are good, though!).  One redeeming quality is that they had one of those fancy Coke machines where you can add crazy flavors (I like to add a little cherry to my D.C. whenever I'm feeling particularly sinful).  They also have frozen custard on the menu, which would have tempted me had they not also put the calorie count on the menu.  

The sense that I get is that BurgerFi sets itself apart by offering alcohol and providing a trendy and socially-conscious (they don't let you get one step into the place before reminding you that everything is "green" and "all-natural") ambiance.  But I don't really care about alcohol or ambiance at a burger place.  I care about burgers.  So next time I'm in Allston, I'm going to go to UBurger, where the burgers have never been unkind to me.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Life as of Late

"Life as of Late" will be my new version of "Boring Life Update Post" as I don't want to give my readers the assumption that what I'm about to write is boring.  But it will be boring, especially compared to my last post.  Or this one, which is in my top five for some reason.  For those of you who haven't gotten bored already, here's what's going on these days:
  • I took my histology exam yesterday.  It was difficult, and some of the questions were so confusingly written that I wanted to throw things, but I ended up doing okay.  
  • I'm going home tomorrow for "spring break," but it's not so much a vacation as it is staying in the hospital with my sister while she gets a brand new hip.  I'm not looking forward to sleeping in a recliner and not showering every day, but I'm sure we'll find some ways to make the stay not boring.
  • I'm two for two on my "one date a month" goal that I wrote about in January, although I may have been a little liberal with the rules as my January date was very date-like, but didn't really meet the "spirit and intent" of conversing with a stranger for an hour, whereas my February date involved good conversation with a new-ish person, but it was more of an impromptu food outing than an official Date.  Nevertheless, I'm calling it progress.
  • I have been killing it at the gym lately.  I'm just a few weeks away from turning into one of those obnoxious people who throw their weights on the floor and mainline protein powder in between manly grunts.  But seriously, I've actually been not hating working out; it makes me feel very strong.
  • It's warm today!  Well, it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but comparatively, it's quite balmy.  I'm hoping that this isn't a fluke and it doesn't get cold again.  Primarily because the piles of dirty snow need to melt because they're gross.
So that's my non-interesting life these days.  But sometimes "non-interesting" is a lot better than a lot of alternatives.