October 29, 2008

Ooo, I Wanna Dance With Somebody

One of my biggest vices is watching television shows and movies that center around dance. I'm a sucker for scenarios that involve:

a) inner city kids that think their problems will disappear if they raise enough money to enter the underground dance-off in an abandoned warehouse

b) juvenile delinquents that have to enroll in their school's dance program as retribution for their deviant acts

c) girls that hide their passion for dance because they're buried under mounds of guilt because their mothers died en route to their Julliard auditions.

Most recently, this obsession has taken the form of the reality show So You Think You Can Dance. My sister and I wait patiently for months until our cable TV station decides to grace us with a new season of this masterpiece. The poor, misguided souls trying out to be "America's favorite dancer" go through grueling auditions and call backs and if they're lucky enough, get to perform choreographed dances in front of a live, studio audience.

Every night the show is on, our house is silent, save for our parents' sighs (and eye-rolls, if eye rolling was audible). At the end of the hour, with my adrenaline pumping, I find myself trying out dance moves I've seen on the show in the mirror. I've been told, and feel myself, that I'm a pretty good dancer, but my attempts are usually met with little success, and looks of disgust by my sister. Maybe if I had more space to really bust a move I'd look like less of a dork? Probably not.

In any case, I've only tried out the hip-hop and crumping moves. Maybe if I try to get the Little One to reenact the Viennese Waltz with me, she'll change her mind and see me for the brilliant dancer that I am.

October 28, 2008

Free Consultation

I work with three doctors - all of whom I've consulted with for various ailments. My wrist pain has not gone away, and may in fact have gotten worse, so this morning I enlisted the advice of one of the three. I pointed to wear it hurt, and Boss Man, who happened to be standing next to the doctor, immediately perked up like me in a candy store.

Boss Man seems to think the pain is a result of the air condition vent in my car that points directly at my wrist while I'm driving. This makes sense in theory as I drive with my left hand at the top of the steering wheel. He says that if I angle the vent in the opposite direction, I'll be good as new in three days.

Does this make sense? Could it be as simple as this? I've been driving for ages - how has this not happened before? This was definitely not on the WebMD list!

October 27, 2008

Looking GangstER

I get cold incredibly quickly, and as the temperature inside my office is usually set to "Arctic Tundra," long-sleeved garments are much appreciated and required. It's a shame that hoodies are not entirely appropriate for the workplace, because New York Magazine is running an article on Stylish Hoodies for In-Between Weather. Upon closer look, however, maybe I shouldn't be taking tips from NYMag. For example:

I don't need to spend $228 for people's attention to be drawn to this particular area:

Also, M.I.A. may be skilled at making music, but at designing clothes she's not:

Again, no need to spend $190 to look like a ragamuffin.

Maybe Sarah Palin can lend me some of her wardrobe budget so I can go out and buy classy skirt suits and thigh-high boots instead.

October 26, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Self-Diagnose

For the past two days, my left wrist hasn't been feeling so swell. Simple movements send shooting pains around the area and my wrist has been rendered pretty motionless. My sister seems to think the pain is due to my constant need to be on the computer, but I throw my head back and laugh at this ridiculousness. Plus, it would make more sense if it was my right wrist that was hurting. Seeing as how this ailment is affecting pretty much every aspect of my daily life (and most importantly, my at-office chatting), I've taken to the internet for help.

My sister stumbled upon this website a little while back - a heaven for hypochondriacs. The site allows you to enter your symptoms (on a naked human replica!) and suggests possible conditions you may (but probably don't) have. The site has successfully instilled fear in both of us, but we continue to race to it the minute we feel a little scratchiness in our throats. You can imagine the heyday we had trying to diagnose my salmonella.

I've revisited the site this morning to try to wrap my head around this wrist pain, and the results aren't good. See below:

20 possible conditions? Really? From some measly wrist pain? And what - not even a "don't worry - it's just a little overuse" condition? There are some serious diseases in here! Sarcoidosis (also known as Schaumann's Disease [right, because that helps]), Lyme disease, Crohn's disease, SHINGLES?!

It's official. I'm dying.

October 23, 2008

Hardly Rocket Science

My office(mates) gives me much fodder for this blog - sometimes good, mostly bad. My only hope is that I don't get Dooced, because reporting on the antics that happen in our tiny workspace keeps me relatively sane and out of the "batty bin" (thanks, Eureka). There are many, many disturbances to discuss, but there's one thing that really gets to me. The one thing about this office that perpetually confuses me and makes me scratch my head (without messing up my hair, of course) is why the toilet in the ladies' washroom never gets flushed.

There are three potential washrooms the women in the office can use. One in its own, enclosed space, and two open-top stalls. One of the open-top stalls rarely gets used, as there is a constant puddle of brown slosh on the floor around the base of the toilet. Presumably this is the result of prayer preparations, but how so much water makes it onto the floor is beyond me. Plus, simultaneously maneuvering both squatting and holding your pant legs up off the ground is just a little more exercise than I like to partake in. The other stall sees the bulk of bathroom usage and NEVER gets flushed. I've heard, on several occasions, that due to poor plumbing in this country, people are taught to throw their used toilet paper in the bin rather than flush it down. I find this pretty disgusting, but fine. If you have something against the plumber (not Joe), the least you can do is flush down the other toilet paper-less remnants! Do a public service, coworkers!

I'm pretty serious about washroom rituals. I've never been particularly fond of the phrase "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down,"and even go so far as to (watch out boys, this will be a doozy!) put the toilet LID down before I flush (after every go). Toilet bowl splatter can travel up to 6 *shudder* feet, and really, who wants that on their toothbrush? Not me. It's bad enough I have to stare at my laptop for eight hours a day. The times I get up to go to the bathroom and get a little reprieve should not have to include staring at your waste.

Inappropriate Much?

This new project has not gotten off on the right...hmm... Let's actually try different phrasing. This new project just isn't going well. First there was the YGE that wanted to know where I was from and why my Arabic sounded like dump trucks in a blender. Yesterday, however, the inappropriateness was taken to a new level.

I was on the phone for a few minutes with one of our externally contracted employees who I've met with about four times now. After talking logistics, he ended the conversation with "merci ya gameel" ("thanks, beautiful"). The thought going through your head right now should vaguely resemble something like this: !?!?!?!?! (Milkshake now knows what people must mean when they end sentences with "?!" because apparently that is what my speaking voice sounds like.)

Under other circumstances, I probably would have greeted this comment with an "aww," (actually, maybe not), but this was just wrong! Where has professionalism gone? And while yes, he is right about my physical appearance, there's no room for this in the workplace! It's bad enough I've endured comments about my height, weight and posterior attributes from other coworkers. Now we're outsourcing them?! This job will be the death of me.

October 21, 2008

Running on Empty

I'm feeling less than maverick-y today. The past few days have been a whirlwind of events - some better than others. Two friends got married in the span of about 24 hours and with the pre-party, actual weddings and work deadlines, I'm shattered. Not too shattered to pick out some pretty hilarious excerpts from this Washington Post article on India's recent implementation of a smoking ban though. The article suggests that protests in the country are about as common as finding an Indian anywhere else in the world, and efforts to curb "anti-social behaviors" have been pretty useless. Take, for example:

"Although hotel bars of a certain size are permitted to designate smoking rooms, smokers at this bar trickled onto the dance floor and up to the bar, all the while ordering cigarettes off the menu and lighting up. "

Eh, nothing special there. I've seen people smoking in bars in London after they implemented their smoking ban.

The following are the real zingers:

"Last year, an attempt to ban public urination proved so fruitless that a popular newspaper started a shame campaign, publishing photos of violators in the middle of the act. It sold papers. But the men relieving themselves curbside seemed unbothered."

I've never seen more public urination than I did in India. My friend's grandmother went so far as to build the wall around her house at a slant so that potential pissers would be deterred, but I'm not sure to what extent this was successful. Also, I took these photos while stopped at a red light. The total time between the four photos was about ten seconds.

And then you have this:

"Scooters and motorcycles constitute a majority of the vehicles on Indian roads, and a helmet law is technically in place. But many women refuse to wear them, arguing that it messes up their hair. The law is also not enforceable for Sikhs, who wear turbans. "

Umm, it messes up your hair? Have you SEEN your hair?! It's straight. Give me a break.

And finally:

"Last week, New Delhi's government announced that it would start enforcing parking rules in a city where cars are often left on sidewalks or atop grassy knolls. But police protested, saying that only a handful of metal boots were available, and that they were too heavy to haul around in the hot weather. "

Because, God forbid, you actually did your job. And really, in a country of a billion people, there are only a handful of metal boots? This is a far cry from proper urban planning.

In other news, I think the pomegranates I left in the fridge at work last week have fermented. Is that even possible? I brought them in to work on Wednesday, was home sick on Thursday, and was too busy Sunday and Monday to have lunch. This mid-morning snack has definitely brightened my day! Here's hoping I'm not dead (or blind) by this evening.

October 16, 2008

Thought I Was Getting Better

I've just been named the go-to communications person for the new project I'm working on. This has meant, essentially, doing things my grad school professors would be utterly ashamed of. For the past three days, I've been liaising between my team and our external partners, swapping background documents over e-mail and arranging meetings. I thought this would have been complicated by my "cute" but "gutturally challenged" (thanks Forsooth) Arabic, but after positive consultation with an officemate, I was pretty confident about the task ahead of me.

I couldn't have been more wrong. One of today's many phone calls (in Arabic, obvy) went a little like this:

Me: So...*details, details, details* Great, Monday at 4 then.
Young, government employee: Okay. Can I ask you a question?
Me: Yes, go ahead.
YGE: Where are you from?
Me: Here.
YGE: No, really.
Me: Umm, really.
YGE: Oh...
Me: Yeah, I grew up abroad. My Arabic isn't great, but it gets me by.
YGE: Oh, not really. I thought I was going crazy, but it's just you.

Boo. Maybe it is YOU, you goon. Cannot say I'm looking forward to this work relationship.

October 15, 2008

The Elephant in the Room...

...is sitting on my head. Or at least that's what it feels like. My immune system has been playing games with me for the past few days - ever since my coworker came in to the office practically on her death bed (death office ergonomic chair?). For two days, she consistently sneezed, blew her nose, and breathed her germs over our common work space. I tried to limit my in-office phone use, so as not to come in direct contact with her bacteria, but I seem to have failed.

Office Savior and I discussed our various symptoms over the course of the day yesterday, recounting tales of sore throats and itchy eyeballs (not just a symptom of salmonella - which I've had!). Mysteriously, but not so mysteriously, we both seemed to pep up when we left the office. It's almost as if the office was psychosomatically making us feel worse. Go figure! All seemed well on the home front until I woke up this morning with a clogged nostril and a headache the size of Kim Kardashian's rear. Four Advils in the span of an hour later, I still felt like crap and had a giant report waiting for me to take out back and get pregnant - with data.

Left work a few hours early and tried to sweat this infection out (by napping, not actually doing exercise - please!). Needless to say, I don't feel any better this evening, but my report has a warm glow to it.

October 14, 2008

Out of Place

For 25 years, I've been fighting the curse of curly hair. When you're young and don't have the hand-eye coordination to simultaneously smooth down all the baby hairs in the front, hold your hair back and wrap a scrunchie around the pony tail, you sit down, shut up and go along with whatever hairstyle your mother thinks is appropriate. For me, this meant years of side ponies, hideous headbands, and serious lamenting of my grade school peers.

Throughout high school, I thought I had things under control, but looking back, boy was I sorely mistaken. My hair was too long, too flat on top, and all-around unflattering. Having limited access to products in the various, backwards countries I was living in didn't help. It wasn't until half-way through college that my cousin introduced me to a curly-haired girl's best friend - a serum that's only available over the internet. Since then, my hair has been various lengths (most recently, 'baby sheep'), but the curls have been pretty consistent in their volume and structure.

A bad hair day is not only a waste of products, but it throws off my whole day. A few minutes out of the shower, I can tell whether my wet rat look will air dry into movie star curls, or whether I'll be the butt of "Look! She put her hair in the blender!"-type remarks. This morning, I was a bit too excited about watching the episode of 'Entourage' that had downloaded overnight, so rather than use my precious time to caress my curls, I did my hair and raced out of the house to make it to my morning meeting on time. You can imagine my shock and horror when I excused myself ten minutes into the meeting to look in the mirror (as all curly-haired girls do about 49023789743 times a day) and found that several curl bunches decided to be STRAIGHT. STRAIGHT! Head, who are you trying to kid?!

For the rest of the day, all I could think about was twisting the straight bits around my finger to encourage the curl. I found myself pretending to be deep in thought, with my hands rested on my head, so as to ward off curious glances. Tomorrow I'll probably wear my hair up just to avoid a repeat performance of today's monstrosity. I may think about doing my job in the middle of all this. I'm pretty distressed though, so it's highly unlikely.

October 13, 2008

Et Tu, YouTube?

I've been lampooned by many for my musical preference, but this is just getting ridiculous. I attempted to download some music last night, but it would seem that others who share my "taste" in music have some sort of moral code that has prevented them from uploading entire albums for my pleasure. Needing to get my fix, I signed in to YouTube a few minutes ago to search for some music to pass the never-ending work hours with, and this is what appeared:

Recommended for You
Ini Kamoze - Here Comes The Hotstepper

While I do love this song (please refrain from throwing tomatoes - or rocks- at your monitor), I'm not sure how I feel about YouTube knowing this information. Here's hoping the profound lyrics that can be found in this song (see below) are no indication of the quality of work I'll produce today.

Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah,
na na nah, na na na nah
It's how we do it man
Nah, na na na nah, na na na nah, na na nah,
na na nah, na na na nah

October 12, 2008

Vote for Pedro

The Washington Post has a three page article, 'From Indie Chic to Indie, Sheesh,' out today that suggests indie movies bow their heads, roll over and play dead, and make room for "old school classicism." I say, "Don't do it indies! Show them how it's done!"

Without some of the great films Ann Hornaday references, where would we get our doses of "indie face: grim, expressionless and almost always accompanied by an equally affectless speech pattern," pop culture throwbacks like hamburger phones and tube socks, and a general reprieve from the garbage that's flooding our newspapers? Sorry financial world, but you're just not as funny as a dune buggy-riding, llama-breeding grandmother or an overweight, pre-pubescent girl road tripping with her family across America in a Scooby Doo-esque Mystery Machine.

Hornaday goes so far as to criticize "Napoleon Dynamite," only one of the greatest movies of the 21st century. She writes:

Perhaps the worst offender in copping a derivative indie 'tude is "Napoleon Dynamite." The 2004 film starred a then-unknown Jon Heder as the title character, an awkward, adolescent super-geek with an adenoidal bleat for a voice and a penchant for tetherball. "Napoleon Dynamite," which was another crossover hit, packed in detail after cloyingly "indie" detail: Trapper Keepers, moon boots, a nonstop cavalcade of progressively more eccentric characters, the bleak, featureless backdrop of American exurbia. The film, a self-conscious compendium of "idiosyncratic" stunts and "quirky" set pieces, took indie irony to its cruelest extreme, expressing thinly veiled ridicule and contempt for its subjects and, by extension, its audience.

For shame. I have no words for this woman. I went so far as to name my car after this masterpiece. Jon Heder's portrayal of the title character was so spot on that an ardent TV watcher like myself would GLADLY toss "Gossip Girl" aside for a repeat viewing. This is incredibly disappointing. Where have the days of respectable journalism gone?

October 10, 2008

With Friends Like This...

My (perfectly legitimate) phobias (birds and the things connected to your ankles) have been the subject of much discussion and ridicule among my family and friends. One such friend has literally profited from my two biggest fears by documenting them in her weekly column at the Croc. Mosey on over and have a read. She likes comments too, so comment away!

Forsoothsayer needs to get out more

October 9, 2008

From the Mouth of Babes

My sister discovered Gchat a few minutes ago, and now I have even more people to waste my work hours away with. She's been known to have a few original thoughts up her sleeve (she skipped the fourth grade, people!), and I thought picking her brain about today's blog topic would be a good idea. Little did I know that her smartypants would come back with this:

Little One: whatevs
too bad nothing interesting happens to you


It wouldn't hurt so bad if she wasn't completely on the mark. I now have two options: a) write her off completely, or b) get a life. The latter will probably require getting up off the sofa and abandoning my tv shows, so it's a really toss-up at this point.

October 8, 2008

How to Annoy Your Family

Bring home guinea pigs.

Two friends had been in the possession of Mac and Cheese, two furry, but not so friendly, guinea pigs after one thought they'd be a cute birthday present for the other. For days, I heard about how annoying the guinea pigs were, how they didn't like to cuddle (they're INCHES long, what cuddling?!), and how they liked to eat their own poop. Reaching the end of their wits, they decided to give the guinea pigs away.

MJ and FJ asked me if I thought my former students would benefit from having the buggers around. The kids are in a physical rehabilitative center, and I thought the little critters would be fun class pets. It would teach the kids responsibility, give them something to look at, and provide general happiness across the board. And I was right! The first day went smoothly, with a success rate of about two out of twelve kids showing interest in the guinea pigs. What I didn't remember though, was that the next day was a long holiday and the pigs would need a home for the break.

Being the sucker that I am, I brought them to my abode. My sister and I quickly renamed them Fatty and Horse Face, and were generally amused with the guys for about half an hour. They're quite cute animals, if you can get over their insane leg span and disturbingly sharp claws. We put them in the guest bathroom, hoping they'd go unnoticed, but not wanting to induce heart attacks in any family members, we admitted their presence that night.

Over the course of the next seven days, Fatty and Horse Face were the topic of much conversation and rage. They were ridiculously messy, moving their floor lining everywhere except inside their cage. Their high-pitched squeaks were audible from miles away, indicating that they were hungry. (They fit in my palm - they don't need that much lettuce!) Their poop was everywhere, they truly didn't like to cuddle, and they were giving our cat heart palpitations. We finally gave them back yesterday, and the house has never been quieter. I didn't think I was a fan of animal testing, but after last week, I'm radically reevaluating my moral stance.

Campaign for Good

The diamond trade has been claiming the limbs and lives of women and children for over ten years. Largely affecting those caught up in the Charles Taylor led-conflict in Sierra Leone, children have been left mutilated, tortured and orphaned. Do your part - ask if your diamonds are conflict free and request to see their Kimberly certificates.

October 4, 2008

High School Musical - Without the Music

Last night I met up with five friends, two of whom I've known for fourteen years now, Poo and Big Lips, and one of whom I've known for ten, T.I. While my current friends come close to being the best things since sliced bread, this evening rivaled many current outings of late.

Poo and I have had our ups and downs, from going to prom together in the 11th grade (and nursing T.I. after a cigar-induced stomach ache) and not speaking the whole of 12th, to rekindling our friendship in college. We rarely see each other - usually only when Big Lips or T.I. are in town - even though we work on the same street. Big Lips was my rock in college, moving into the dorms on the same day as me so I wouldn't be lonely, and driving me to the mall so I could buy markers to decorate my door. I was one of the first kids to talk to T.I. when he transfered to our high school in 10th grade. I overlooked his odd-shaped head and his love for all things London (oh how I've learned!), and we've been tight ever since. I haven't seen much of him since leaving the city we both lived in when I was in grad school, so his short trips here are much loved.

While inhaling delicious, albeit insanely overpriced sushi, I realized that our communal friendship had matured beyond sophomoric, surface relations. The boys have this natural bond stemming from their shared Y-chromosomes, and I've always wondered how well I've fit in. In the past, our conversations revolved around our high school friends that got knocked up approximately three minutes after graduation, our classmate that would find ways to turn off our pre-cal teacher's hearing aid, the reasons we got sent to the principal's office, and other various school-related shenanigans. Last night though, we had real conversations about our jobs, our futures, our familiar pressure to find the right guy/girl and settle down, and other adult-like topics. This growth in our friendship made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and made me wish we made more time for each other. Poo, Big Lips and T.I. - you have no idea this blog exists, but I love you.

Also, Mouse was in a horrible car accident yesterday. He's badly bruised and cut up, but it could have been much, much worse. Mouse, don't know what I would have done if anything happened to you. Thanking my lucky stars you're okay.