Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kayaking - This Time With Less Pain

I kayaked the Huron River today with Kelly, Brent, and the kids, and I am happy to report that everyone survived.

That's a good thing since Kelly and Brent's wedding is Friday, September 12.

Additionally, I've discovered that kayaking is much more fun when there is actually water in the river.

We elected to start at the Argo Canoe Livery and kayak the 3.7 river miles to Gallup Park, one of a few available routes. The kids were with us, and I was the only one who really knew what to expect from kayaks (though, really, I had no idea what to expect after the HELL ON EARTH that my last river trip dealt me), so we decided to maybe not take the 10.2 mile trip.

Here is where I would put the pictures if I owned a waterproof camera, and as I don't, I will illustrate our journey instead (like POLAROIDS. Remember those?):

Yes, that accurately describes the entire trip: Kelly and Rachel in one kayak, Brent and Nathan in the other, with me bringing up the rear. The river was a little wider at some points, however.

I did forget to include the moment in which a duck FLEW RIGHT AT US:

Yes, that is also accurate.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

That's Quacktastic!

I drew the duck blue because I'd never seen a blue duck...

Oh. And then there's this:

Ironically, these were the male dinosaurs.
The Jurassic period was weird like that.

Reason to Love Ann Arbor #6

Football Saturdays

(picture courtesy of my Mike)

Unless you've experienced it, it's difficult to explain the feeling you get watching football as you are surrounded by over one hundred thousand people.

I remember my first game. I walked from my dorm on The Hill all the way to the Stadium. The streets were flooded with people, all oozing in the same direction.

There were t-shirts for sale, members of the band were leading the spectators toward the stadium, and maize and blue were the only colors you could see. And then I turned onto Greene Street and I saw the stadium looming ahead.

It's a big building, y'all. The first time? It takes your breath away.

I climbed the stairs to section 32, row 96. Row 96 of 98 rows. Nosebleed, sure, but I didn't care. I just couldn't believe that I was there.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Big, Fat, Cancelled Bummer

Remember when I waxed poetic about Veronica Mars?

(Also, I just looked up the meaning of "to wax poetic" just to make sure that I was using it correctly, and I learned things.)

Anyway, I still feel that way about Veronica. But.

I've just finished watching the third and final season of the show, and while it wasn't as good as the first two, it definitely had its ohmigod! moments. The first and second seasons absolutely blew me away and the second season finale caused me to fall out of my chair. I am not kidding. I really fell. It was fantastic (the finale, not the falling. Though I did score a sweet bruise, so there's that).

The third season grabbed my interest and held it. I had to force myself to turn off the tv and get to bed on more than one occasion, lest I show up at work looking like an extra from Buffy. But as the credits rolled on the last episode, I ran to my computer to check if it really was... the end.

It was.

It really is a bummer when a show is cancelled without giving the creators a chance to pen a worthy finale, and that is unfortunately what happened here. The final episode, "The Bitch is Back" (heh), was a season finale, maybe, but it was no swan song. It was not a series ending, jaw-dropping, storyline-ending curtain call. Veronica and her fans deserved better.

That said, it was still worth all of the time I invested watching this wonderfully crafted, beautifully written show.

Bye good show!
(But maybe rethink that vest, Veronica.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Picking Berries, Picking Ber... Son of a Nutcracker!

I had never been berry picking before.

Michigan has a fairly short growing season, what with the snow and the ice and the freezing rain a-coming, so you have to get in when the picking is good.

I was googling "farmer's markets" and "apple orchards" and found a few places in the area that sounded fun. I made some calls, I put things together, and it was set.

The Lady, Kari, and my two nieces and I headed to Makielski Berry Farm in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Ypsi is the next city over from Ann Arbor, and the drive took less than ten minutes. You'd be amazed how quickly this area can go from city to rural. Well, in ten minutes. You might also be amazed at how loud a three-year-old and a nine-month-old can be in the car.

Oh my God, the screaming. It's a wonder I didn't hit a fucking tree.

I was driving the Lady's van, and oh. Do I hate driving the van. The brakes are less sensitive than my car and I had to constantly remind myself that there were little babies in the back (oh wait, NO I DIDN'T. The constant screaming.) so that I wouldn't take a turn on two wheels.

The whole process was a blast. We tied little milk jugs around our waists and strolled out into the fields.

Be cuter, seriously.

I had a pretty good haul:

Half a gallon of deliciosity!

Then we drove to the blackberry fields, and that's where the thorns reminded me, time and time again, that one should not swear in front of a three-year-old.

: "Oooh, look at this bunch of blackbe - SON OF A BITCH THAT HURT."

Lady: "Son of a gun, you mean?"

Heather: "NO, that's NOT what I meant. That hurt like a motherfucker!"

Lady: Sternly, "Heather."

Kari: muffled laughter

Alexis: "Son of a beetch!"

Lady: "Goddammit all to hell."

I had packed lunch, so we headed to Hudson Mills Metropark and set up camp for a few hours. I chased Alexis around for a while and then gave up.

Damn kids are exhausting.

I can't wait for fall so that we can hit up the apple orchards!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This is What I Get For Trying to Save a Few Bucks

I had that fucking thing for FIVE DAYS.

So after shelling out a whole blessed dollar for a set of two shower puff thingies, I have learned my lesson. I purchased this fine specimen at CVS the other day, and it is heavenly!

No falling apart! No deep scratch marks on my skin from poor craftsmanship! Exfoliating and cleansing all in one!


I would love it more if it didn't set me back $4.99, though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reason to Love Ann Arbor #5

Sam's Clothing Store

Sam's is a super cool shop packed to the brim with Levi's, Converse, outdoor clothing, messenger bags, and more. I fell in love with Sam's when I discovered that they carried my beloved Levi's in "short" length. (Are you listening Macy's? THERE ARE SHORT PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH.)

Sam's prices are great, but don't expect high fashion. There are some great finds, but also some duds. Take the time to search through the jeans, and you can find gems. Like short length jeans.

Sam's Clothing Store
207 E. Liberty
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Series to... Sink Your Teeth Into? (That Was Bad)

I hopped on the Harry Potter bandwagon quite late. I remember waiting in line at the bookstore when the clerk asked if I'd like to reserve my copy of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I was all, "Chamber of what now? No, thanks."

By the time Azkaban was published, The Lady had been trying to get me to read them. She was always met with, "Children's books? No way, I'm busy and important and reading books about Hitler and Churchill. Take those stupid books and give them to your fifth grade students."

And, I just realized that I've told this story before. If you care, read it here.


The Lady hath struck again.

I was hanging out with my dad the other day, watching Jeopardy (how frustrating is it to watch Jeopardy with your dad? I know the answers, but he always gets them first! It's not like when I was little and he let me win at Candyland.), when he took a call from a client. As I waited, I saw a book on the end table and picked it up and started reading.

Twenty minutes later and several chapters in, I was hooked on Twilight.

Damn you, Lady! Like I don't already have enough to read!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Dave & Buster's CARNAGE

Mike and I headed to Dave & Buster's last night to join my brother and his fiance, Kari, for their joint bachelor/bachelorette party (holy balls, my little brother is getting married. Sure, they already have two children, but still. I got the invitation the other day and I started crying. I know).

The last time I went to D&B's, I spent way too much time playing some retarded game that pushed coins into other coins and when some fell over the edge, you won a few tickets.

Cruel carnival game!

This time was different. This time... I was on a mission. I bought a little swipe-y credit card thing and loaded on $20. Instead of tokens, you'd swipe your little swipe-y card and become one with the game. We played, regrettably, a round at the coin game and a few rounds at "hit the button when the twirly light is in the right place," but they were all pointless (Mike was pretty good at the twirly light game, however).

I had heard that the trivia game was sweet, but I don't think that I, Mike, or any of the unsuspecting players knew what was to come when Mike and I sat down on those stools.

Total domination.

Well, most of the time. Every so often, a guy whom we dubbed, "The Russian" would win (he just looked... Russian. And sort of like Mikhail Baryshnikov, but not as handsome), but we would always take second or third and win delicious tickets.

While other losers swiped their cards for oodles of points to play the ride-the-snowmobile game, the trivia game only charged something like 5 points per game. Really, the payment to payout ratio was delightful.

We are the champions.

I know that we can't brag about winning 1538 tickets (really!) at Dave & Busters trivia, as that would be like going on the Jeopardy teen tournament at age 46, but still (oh and can we talk about how happy I am that the stupid teen tournament is over? I was so sick of looking at the one kid's stupid floppy hair. GET A HAIRCUT).


IT GETS BETTER. Look at what I picked up in the gift shop with my winnings:


I don't know if the Punk Ass Museum Gang will be able to handle this new development.


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An Open Letter to the Little Birdies of the West Side

Hello Little Birdies!

How are you? I am well, thank you for asking. Are you enjoying the summertime weather and general free-for-all that is the delicious foliage in these parts?

You know, I'm just going to jump right into it.

I have a problem, you see. I have this lovely bird feeder all stocked, and not a single one of you fine, feathered creatures seems willing to partake in the feast. At the moment, I was hoping to start out small, with thistle, trying to get some finch action up in here.

Mmmm, thistle.

I realize that thistle isn't a number-one choice for all little birdies, but it was a starting line. A jumping off point, you might say. And yet? Nothing. Absolutely no little finchy finches.

Perhaps you are all gorging yourselves with the fruit of the mulberry tree in Neighbor Bob's yard. Perhaps you have spotted Fluffy or Fluffy 2.0 and are wary. Rightfully so. That's very intuitive of you all, precious little birdies. Fluffy and any other roaming counterparts are not to be trusted. Hell, I don't even like crossing their well-worn paths.

But I hate to think that every single one of you is a coward. THAT'S RIGHT, I SAID IT. There is lovely thistle here and it needs to be eaten.

Regarding me, there is nothing to be afraid of. This is the view that you will have when dining here at my fine establishment:

Except that I won't be standing outside in a pink shirt taking pictures. Not right away, at least.

Because, and please understand this, I will be here! Inside the house! Away from you! In the house!

So here is what I am thinking. I propose that you internet-savvy little birdies spread the word that there is lovely, nutritious thistle available FREE FOR THE TAKING and that you are all welcome to bust on by. Anytime. And I promise to do my best at deflecting Fluffy, Fluffy 2.0, and any other shenanigan-makers in the general vicinity so that you may all dine in peace.

Love, Heather

P.S. Please tell the other birdies, your sparrow friends and cardinal-type friends that there will be other food available shortly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


I get fun emails from Real Simple with recipes, organizing ideas (I know, but don't you know that things are better when organized?), decorating ideas, and the like. But when I get things like this, I have nothing else to do but laugh aloud:

The subject line was "Kid-Friendly Recipe: Zucchini-Mushroom Pizza."

Kid-friendly? Do they KNOW any kids? At six years-old, I would have seen through this ruse with my eyes closed. Granted, I was an extremely picky eater, but still. I don't much like zucchini NOW at the age of twenty-eight (wow, I am twenty-eight now. Hmmm. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Whatever. It doesn't change the fact that zucchini is unappetizing unless it's in a dish and I don't know what it is. Then I'll eat it. And I'll like it. I know, it's a complex web).

Also, that picture doesn't convincingly scream "CONSUME ME NOW." Try again, Real Simple.

Although... what the hell do I know? I don't have kids, and I don't know what kids like to eat. The other day, we had to buy Spongebob Squarepants Macaroni & Cheese because my niece refuses to eat the spiral ones.

I am so not ready for children.
I want to know which genius thought
that this picture was a good idea:

(image from Sports Illustrated)

He looks like he's wearing a glittery, gold-banded halter top.
And no pants.

(Thanks to KRISTEN for alerting me to this travesty.)

(There. HAPPY NOW? Heh.)

Monday, August 18, 2008

You Say it's Your Birthday

No work, shopping at the mall (and lots of free samples from the guy at Sephora!), sushi for lunch, and a visit from the family.

Yeah, it was a great birthday.

I spent the weekend with Mike, watching movies, going to several great restaurants, and hanging with his parents. It was relaxing and wonderful, and I sometimes have to wonder how I got so lucky to have him in my life.

He surprised me yesterday with dinner at Red Hawk. We entered the restaurant and the bartender directed us to the back. I wasn't even paying attention - I was trying to pick a table so that we could watch the Tigers game (thank goodness we didn't watch. Ugh.) and I didn't even notice the three people holding up menus in front of their faces... my parents and Kelly. My brother and Kari joined us shortly after, once she extracted him from Steve & Barry's.

How did I not notice the nuts with the menus over their faces? Mike and The Lady had planned the whole thing, and it was perfect.

(I had a burger, and it was delicious. Best in town!)

I am a lucky girl. And a very happy girl. Happy Birthday to me!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It Was a Good Weekend

I don't think that Mike knew he was writing his own death sentence when he told me that this weekend was my birthday weekend and we could do whatever I wanted and watch whatever I wanted.


We made it through twenty minutes of Anchorman. I could sense that he was in physical pain even when he grimaced and said, "No honey, it's your birthday. It's not that bad."

(Note: I knew that he didn't like Will Ferrell, but I didn't realize how much. He's right, though -- you can only take "comedic" Ferrell for about seven minutes before you want to jump out of a window or strangle yourself with bedsheets [dramatic Ferrell, on the other hand - like in Stranger Than Fiction - is more than palatable. He's very good.])

And to be honest, I didn't think that it was nearly as funny as it was when I saw it in the theater with all of my friends from college.

So I turned it off.

We did watch a few episodes of 30 Rock, and thank goodness he enjoyed it. I could watch those episodes over and over, much like Arrested Development. I don't if I could handle his dislike of the Rock.

And it sure is a testament to how much someone likes you when he's willing to watch Sixteen Candles with you.

It's just... I don't know what I am going to have to watch on his birthday.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Five Blades? Does It Work?


No, it just slices off a few extra layers of skin, making it less smooth-like and more bleedy and ouchy.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Punk Ass Gang Survives the Onslaught

Wow, that was some crazy shit we just went through
with the Puffasaurus Gang.
I can't believe that it's been three weeks since it all went down.

I know! Time just flies by, doesn't it?

Remember when they did that thing with the catapault?

Stan! I thought you were dead!


And I can't believe I ate the whole thing!

I can.

Ha ha ha! Hee hee!

Wow. Well, I can't wait to see what crazy
adventures we'll have in the future!
Let's plan our next trip when Tony gets back from Burger King.

Great idea!

(I know that I am going to get crap for this, but in my defense, the museum shop is currently sold out of half of the dinosaurs and all of the stuffed, purse-toting animals [for those wondering, they are actually little stuffed animals that fit into the purses]. Anyway, I got the idea from this cartoon, so blame T-Rex and the Utahraptor for my laziness and complete lack of creativity. And check out those cartoons, because the creator is genius.)

Friday, August 08, 2008

Missing My Contacts... For So Many Reasons

Right, so my glasses are an enormous pain in the ass. I never realized how much I valued my contacts and the freedom they brought.

When I was thirteen, I had been begging for contacts for at least two years. My parents finally gave in, though it was probably more to shut me the hell up than anything else. The optometrist started me out on gas permeable contacts, or "hard contacts." They were so painful I thought I was going to pass out. When I couldn't remove them, the doctor stepped in. They were able to remove one, but couldn't find the other. I went home discouraged. The next morning, I woke up to a horrible pain in my eye. The stupid lens had traveled back behind my eye at the time of the office visit and found its way back as I slept. So that was fun.

Devil glasses!

I got soft contacts the next day. I've worn contacts for over fifteen years now, so it's no wonder that they are rebelling once again.

We all know what happens when I'm not wearing contacts OR glasses, but what about what happens when I AM wearing them?

~I've almost fallen down the stairs at work. Twice. When I look down at the stairs beneath my feet, my eyes sometimes dart to the area between my glasses and my face. Where there is no lens. And so I get a weird double-vision of the stairs and lose all depth perception. I hold onto the railing at all times now.

~While driving, as my vision has decreased slightly, and because I have to wear the crazy-old-lady cataract glasses OVER my glasses... actually, maybe I shouldn't be telling this story in case police occifers are reading (because they have nothing better to do. And because my readership is that large to include agents of the law). I probably shouldn't be driving.

~I am lucky to have lovely, long eyelashes. They are a very nice feature to have when wearing contacts, but once those glasses are on, they hit and smudge the lenses every other second. I am more than a little tired of cleaning the lenses because it's every five minutes or so.

~It's quite difficult to stayed poised in ballet class when your glasses are slowly sliding down your nose as you attempt an arabesque.

~I used to make fun of old roomie Jen for having to leave the room if someone was chopping onions. Now that I don't have that protective layer covering my eyes, onions make me cry more than Atonement. Yes.

I go back to the ophthalmologist on August 13th. I hope that he has good news. Otherwise, I'll punch him. Or, I'll aim for where I think his throat is and end up punching the air.

Seriously, I shouldn't be driving.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Roommates: Or, How I Learned to Live Peacefully With Others and With Myself

After reading this post over at Lemon Gloria, it made me think about my roommate situations over the years... And how I was probably not the most fun person to live with. I know my faults... now. One of the most intrusive is that I have a really, really, really difficult time admitting when I'm wrong. And the passive aggressiveness? There was lots of that. Lots. There are more faults. Many more. But let's just focus on these, shall we? There's only so much self-deprecation a girl can take in a day.

My freshman year of college, I lived with someone from high school. I really liked her. She was a good friend and a good person. Unfortunately, she had some personal demons hidden away. Couple those with her being an only child, and living in a cell block with someone else must have been a bit of a shock. THEN, add on the fact that college - at an enormous university - is probably one of the biggest shocks of anyone's life, and what do you get? Tension. By the bucketloads. It came on quietly. There were some pretty big things going on in her life, and when I started to worry about her, my interference was not appreciated. She eventually moved out to a single room and then left the university entirely. I really hope that she's doing okay.

Sophomore year, the same thing happened. Still in the dorms, I signed up for a double room and went in blind. Lydia was super fun and outgoing, friends with everyone and always ready for something new. I was gone most weekends in the fall and we became accustomed to that arrangement. The winter semester was a completely different situation and we started butting heads. I honestly don't remember why, but we stopped communicating. Neither of us aired our grievances and our cohabitation became painful. And I know now that I shouldn't have let it get to that point.

When I moved to DC, I lived alone for a year. It was wonderful. I had my own space, my own things, my own messes. I worried about myself and no one else. But I was lonely. So very lonely. When I met Cat in grad school, we decided to move in together in the fall. It was fine at first, but then it turned almost overnight. She "borrowed" my car without asking, she ate my food and didn't replace it. She hated my friends and talked down to me. Out of the blue, she announced she was moving into a group house with friends from work and would be breaking our lease. I don't know what upset me more - her screwing me over and sticking me with a random person or that she didn't want to live with me anymore.

Maybe I really was that difficult.

Cat found Laura on craigslist. And we clicked. Immediately. She was fun and funny and had a weird, slightly twisted mind - like me! We shopped together, watched the same shows, and went to the same places. She was nice to my friends and they all really liked her. When she started dating a new guy, we didn't hang out as much anymore. Maybe that's where it turned a little sour. Maybe she got sick of me and my attitude. What I do know is that I should have been more honest about how I felt. It wasn't the guy, it was that we stopped being friends. And that's what really upset me. I missed her friendship. I missed her. I still miss her. She eventually moved out and I gained Jenny.

Jenny (and later) Jen were the two best roommates ever. They both helped me learn from my past roommate mistakes and open up. I stopped being passive aggressive (well, as much as you can when going cold turkey), and I started talking about the things that bothered me. And my relationships with both of them flourished. This made living together so much easier and so much better. And I'm still friends with them both. See? I learned.

Now that I'm on my own again, I do miss the companionship that one gains with roommates. But I love living alone. For right now, it's amazing. But I don't plan on having another roommate for a while. When it does happen, I'm thinking that it will be a roommate for life. With benefits.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


I wanted to make cupcakes. I wanted to make them for my friends at work because they're both having kind of rough lives lately and the recipe looked so enticing and I had even sent it to them both with words like, "Don't these look AWESOME? Don't you wish that someone would MAKE them?"

Mean! But I did make them. I made them Monday night.

And lo, it was bad.

I am a good cook, if I do say so myself. I can throw things together a la Sabrina, call it dinner, and no one would ever have to know that it was merely eggs and crackers because it would look and taste like a souffle!

(Okay, I'm not that good.)

Anyway, I also think that I am fairly adept when it comes to baking. I've made these on several occasions, to RAVE reviews (mostly from my dad, but whatever), and when I brought in chocolate chip cookies to work, they were gone in minutes!

This fed my ego.

I also tried out a recipe for slightly more interesting cookies, and they were a runaway success (again, thanks Dad).

So I saw this recipe and thought that it sounded fabulous. I picked up things that are not normally on my shopping list, like buttermilk (side note: buttermilk is weird), and got started.

As I was whipping the batter, I thought to myself, "Hmm. This batter seems a little too thick for cupcakes." Then I spied the two empty butter wrappers and realized that I had added too much. Two sticks instead of the prescribed one and a half.

If you're not a baker, you might think, "So what? That shouldn't make much of a difference." And, well, you would be wrong. I tried to ignore the facts and attempted to adjust the amounts of other ingredients just to eke out some sub par cupcakes and just chalk it up to experience, but I knew those cupcakes were fucking doomed.

And they were just awful. AW. FUL. FULL OF AW. The tops were hard and crystallized, the bottoms were barely cooked, and when I tried to remove one from its paper wrapper, the bottom fell off completely and jam dripped all over the counter.

My next plan is no bake cookies. Because I think I have less of a chance to ruin those.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Drugs Are Bad, Mmmkay?

I had a migraine the other day.

Oh, didn't I tell you? I've been diagnosed with migraines, which -- well at least I know that I'm not crazy. The headaches I've had through the years? The ones that made me nauseous and tired? The ones that made light and sound the creations of Lucifer? They weren't just "bad" headaches. Nope, they were migraines.

So my doctor - a super cool guy - asked all sorts of questions and had me do things like walk in a straight line and stand with my eyes closed. No inner-ear issues there, so after a while, I got a prescription for some lovely pink pills called Relpax.

The problem that I've been having is figuring out when I'm having a migraine as opposed to a regular, boring headache. So far, this has proven difficult. I've had headaches for so long that every headache is a bitch. Why is this important, you ask? Well, these pills work best if taken as soon as possible. On the package it actually reads, "Do not second-guess yourself. Take one tablet as soon as you feel you are getting a migraine."

You'd think that this is good information. You'd think that I would be able to follow directions.

The first time? I indeed DID second-guess myself. I waited. "This headache isn't so bad. It's not a migraine. Aleve can handle it. Oh, what's that? Flashing lights on the television? Oh, hi nausea! Welcome! Oh my, if my head doesn't explode soon, I'm just going to explode it myself just to make. it. stop." When I finally took the pill, it didn't work. At all.

I felt that I had wasted a dosage. Stupid, I know, but that's my mindset, especially with paying for my own insurance of which CAN KISS MY ASS SIDEWAYS. Thanks for covering practically nothing.

Right, so the point of the story: I had a wicked headache pushing me to tears yesterday, and by the time I got my tired ass home, I knew that I had to do something. I took that lovely little pill immediately and downed about a quart of water. I had gotten so used to the dull ache, that I just kept on with whatever the hell I was doing (laundry and dinner, and baking. Oh right. The failed cupcakes. There's a story there. Ugh.)

I wasn't really thinking about it, but then? It was just gone. The migraine, the nausea, the horrible weighted-down feeling -- all gone. Instead, I felt a little loopy. Fine, but... loopy. And that's when the MAYOR OF ANN ARBOR chose to knock on MY door. Apparently there's an election tomorrow and he's up for re-election (update: he won). Maybe I should pay more attention to things. Maybe I should care more about the city in which I live. Maybe I shouldn't take off my bra as soon as I walk through the damn door in case I get visitors like this, but really? A bra on a hot, humid day is like torture.


I shook his hand and he told me about how he grew up in the neighborhood and attended the elementary school nearby and how he's the greenest, recyclingest mayor A2 has ever had, and all I could think about was how his little head was so little and how he should wear hats and I think that I saw him at Art Fair this year and how I think that I need to sit down.

This post just bored me to tears. Maybe I should just delete it. Nah. You people need to have something to read to help you fall asleep some days. This post can be your warm milk. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Again With the Nerds

Egress? Really?
We're too good for "exit" in the LS&A Building, apparently.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Yay or Nay on the Nostalgia?

When I first saw this commercial, I thought that it was a brilliant marketing campaign:

What better way to sell clothes to the youth of today then to cater to their parents - the same demographic sought after to buy tickets to see the original 1985 movie, and the same people (presumably) paying for the clothes!

Think about it - in 1985, a fifteen-year-old would have been born around 1970. That would make them 38 now. 38 year-olds with 12-17 year old kids? PERFECT.

Of course, the other interpretation is that JCPenney is just trying to corner the 90s youth market with a staple of 70s television (I know, it should be the "aughts" and "eighties" movies, but that doesn't flow very well, now does it? Snoochie Boochies!).

Either way, I wonder how it's working. I wouldn't know how to check - Penney's isn't my store of choice by any means.

Whatever. Bravo, marketing department!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Phone Call Insanity

These aren't technically "overheards," because I didn't just happen upon them, but still. THE THINGS PEOPLE SAY.

(These don't include the countless calls I get each day from people who are lost in Ann Arbor, but have no idea of the name of the street on which they're driving, and expect me to figure it out and then stay on the phone and talk them into our parking lot.)

One woman called and embarked on a lengthy story about remodeling her house and how she found some paper currency and at first she thought that it was German but now she thinks that it is Confederate and do you think that the museum would want it because it's very historical and museums like historical objects. Which, ...okay. She said, "Everyone told me to call the museum, so here we are, talking." Sigh. Yeah! You sure called "the museum." The first one you found in the phone book, apparently. I directed her to The Henry Ford.

Later that VERY SAME DAY, a very nice, very polite southern lady called and... here's the conversation verbatim. It's better that way.

Southern Lady: "Yes, I'd like to donate a vibrator."

Heather: "Um, oh! You'd...?"

SL: "A vibrating exercise machine from the 1950s. I think that it belongs in a museum."

H: Pause. "Yes, ma'am, that sounds very nice. But we're a natural history museum,"

SL: "Right."

H: "We collect items relating to the natural world. Can I give you the contact information for The Henry Ford Museum?"

SL: "Isn't that you?"

H: "No."

Not that it's entirely strange - I used to get awesome calls when I worked at the Smithsonian, too. One woman called claiming to have an original copy of the Declaration of Independence. I suggested calling the National Archives and she said, "Well, they just transferred me to you!" Sigh. Of course they did.

And then there was this woman. She called with questions about our planetarium shows, and because the schedule differs on the weekends, I first asked when they were planning on coming, and was answered with a definitive, "Sunday." I rattled off the shows, including one entitled Origins of Life, explaining that it was about The Big Bang Theory. There was a pause. Then:

"We don't believe in the Big Bang." CLICK.

Oh really? Then why are you coming here on a Sunday? Shouldn't you be at home, sitting in the dark?

Friday, August 01, 2008

Restaurants: Then & Now

After a very good post suggestion from Shane, I thought that it would be fun to do some quick restaurant reviews - but with a twist! Reminisce about the restaurants I frequented in college, and compare them to what I eat today. Done.

China Gate is right in the middle of campus on South University Avenue. It's small, but the speed of service keeps the waiting line short. They have a seemingly great lunch special, but once you add in tax and tip, it's not really the best deal. I've been to China Gate a few times since returning to Ann Arbor, and it's good, but certainly not as great as I once thought.

Kai Garden is the best Chinese restaurant in the city, and some of the best I've ever had. K-10 and I would venture down to Main Street for meals here as a treat after finishing our exams. When you arrive, you're led to a table in the dining room and green tea is served soon after. Maybe it's a girly thing, but I love their china - it's delicate and beautiful and makes the meal elegant. The food is fabulous and I've never been disappointed in my selection. The entrees are slightly more expensive than most cheap-eats Chinese, but the extra few bucks are more than worth spending for the service, the ambiance, and of course, the food.

Jimmy John's franchises are spread all over the Big Ten, and I think that I ate it at least once a week when I was in college. When I worked in the museum gift shop, friends would stop by after lunch to tell me if the bread was good that day - and this was key! If the bread was bad, the sandwich suffered. But it was still better than any other sandwich offering on campus.

I can't help it. It's as good as I remember, and after five years away with only two locations in the entire DC metro area, I head there for lunch at least once a week. It's good, fast, and inexpensive. The "bread theory" still rings true, but this is the best bet for weekday lunches in my opinion. I love me the turkey tom.

Panchero's was the best place to go if you wanted a burrito bigger then your head. During my first week of college, I remember ordering that burrito... I also remember feeling like hell for the rest of the day (no, I didn't finish. Do I ever finish my meals?). After a year, new owners took over and it seemed to get worse. I stopped going.

BTB (originally "Big Ten Burrito" until the Big Ten had a hissy fit and forced them to change the name) is really good! It's cheaper than Panchero's with more selections. And the kitchen staff doesn't fling derogatory comments in Spanish. Which is nice. The tacos are enormous and a great value, and the guac is fantastic. The space it occupies was a cd/record shop when I was in college, so that was a little weird, but it works.

When I moved to DC, I had never heard of Chipotle. When I was interning at the NMAH, a few of us headed to the location in Rosslyn after work and I was positive that I had found heaven wrapped in a tortilla. Once I returned to Ann Arbor, I spotted a Chipotle on Washtenaw, and about crashed my car into a telephone pole.

During my entire collegiate career, I remember the two times I visited the McDonald's on campus. The first was St. Patrick's Day of my freshman year, when we attempted to get Shamrock shakes after an exam. They were closed because no one had shown up to work that day. It was 4 p.m.

The next and final time was with my friend Casey, from high school. We opened the main door and were met by a very long line. The trash cans were overflowing, there were event flyers strewn across the floor along with dirty napkins that had fallen from a huge paper-wrapped bundle on the counter. There were two people working - one making food and the other at the register. We were there to witness his eventual breakdown, and it was not pretty. Nor were the fist marks he left on the fryer from punching it when it wouldn't. stop. beeping.

That McDonald's location closed sometime during my sophomore year, I think, and has been replaced by a test prep company or something. As for McDonald's itself, I've been known to stop at other locations for a Coke to settle an upset stomach or aid a migraine (there is nothing like Coke for those maladies, I swear), but I haven't eaten there in years. I shop much more regularly now, and most of my budget goes toward fresh fruit and vegetables. And rotisserie chickens, of course.

We thought we were SO AWESOME when we queued up to wait for our food to be fried on the grill. We thought that Mongolian was the best thing since slurpees and we didn't mind paying the steep cost for the novelty of choosing our own ingredients. Of course, this is a brilliant strategy, what with people constantly wishing to make substitutions on even the most basic of meals, so I can see why they're so popular. And why we were so taken by the idea. I don't think that I've been there since 1999. Maybe I should give it another try...

It's a different cuisine, yes, but I don't care. I can say, hands down, that this is my favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor. There are many, many others to choose from down on Main Street (anyone else have that Bob Seeger song in their heads now? It was written about Ann Arbor's Main Street. Well, actually 4th avenue, but still - that's only one block east), but Prickly Pear wins for the sheer amazingness of their food. Their waitstaff can be a little bitchy, and the dining room is pretty small, but that is all forgotten after your first bite of the grilled chicken sope and a raspberry margarita. Oh. Is it wrong to crave a margarita at eight in the morning?

I didn't reach the wonderful age of twenty-one until the August before my senior year of college, so the majority of the imbibing I did was at house parties. Charley's had a free dinner and drink promotion on your 21st birthday, so that was my first legal drink. And what a drink - I remember it tasting like a SweetTart. And it was the location of my second legal shot (I had done a shot of vodka at midnight at Ashley's, I do recall). It all went downhill from there. I think I vomited four times that night. Classy!

Senior year found us at Charley's every single Wednesday for margarita night. They were cheap and we were poor, and we didn't know what a good margarita should actually taste like. And the food? Not that memorable.

Conor's is also located on Main Street, a bit of a walk from campus, and a slightly older crowd. It was a bit daunting to go there as a student, not that we weren't welcomed. I love this place. It reminds me of Fado in DC, sans the weird floor and general Middle Earth feel. It's a pub, it's got good beer and GREAT food. And trivia night.

That's it for now, though I can definitely see doing another installment... I could do one just on pizza, really.