What Would You Do (oo-ooo) With a Time Machine?

I realized this morning that I’ve been neglecting my questions lately. I’m trying to find a balance between answering those and just telling you fun stories about what’s happening. For the most part, there aren’t a lot of fun stories about what’s happening because my days are spent sitting on my couch, writing articles, and then driving half an hour to teach. And sometimes after I drive the 30 minutes to teach, there are no students. So…yeah. The questions are really more interesting than my life. All of that is about to change, but I’m not ready to make a formal announcement just yet, so hang in there, internet, and let’s talk about time travel.

Presuming you had a time machine what’s the stupidest and most dangerous thing you would probably do with it, despite having answered this question and having labeled it as both stupid and dangerous?

Well, I think time travel in general is definitely dangerous and probably stupid. I mean, Marty McFly’s hand disappeared when his mom was slow dancing/struggling with Biff, and his dad was too wussy to step in. But that’s what you risk when you meddle in your parents’ high school lives. My parents didn’t go to high school together, so I wouldn’t have to worry about that, but if we’ve learned anything from Back to the Future, it’s that you don’t screw around with the space-time continuum. Doing so is both stupid and dangerous, and you could lose a hand in the middle of your guitar solo.

However, there are a few things I’d like to see happening:

  • my parents’ wedding – There is no video footage available that I know of. I assume it’s because video cameras were only for TV/film studios in the early 70s.
  • me as a baby – There are not a lot of pictures of me as a baby that I know of, and I don’t really remember anything before I started school, and even then, it’s all pretty hazy until about 5th grade. I’m sure my mom could tell us what I was like, but it would be way cuter to see tiny me in action. Unless I was a jerk. Was I a jerk?
  • my ancestors coming to the U.S. – My sister is making a massive family tree for our reunion this year, and I’m sure she’d love an eye-witness account of this. Plus, y’all know how much I love to travel, but to be ON THE BOAT with them, knowing what the country is going to become generations down the line, and seeing what it was like back then…man, that would be awesome.
  • Beethoven playing his own stuff

All of those things, I just want to witness. I don’t necessarily have to be a participant in history for those. But here are some things I would want to do:

  • meet Jane Austen
  • hang out with the Beatles before they were famous, and teach them all the Monkees’ songs before the Monkees even form a band (just to be a mischievous punk, not because I have anything against the Monkees)
  • follow Jesus, like literally, in person, walking in the dirt (and the rocks, and the…)
  • convince Amy Grant that “Baby, Baby” is a bad idea
  • convince John Mayer not to record half of his songs
  • stop Shutter Island from being filmed, and convince Leo to do a movie that requires more shirtlessness
  • convince myself to go vegetarian in college
  • introduce myself to Mediterranean food much sooner (hummus, falafel, stuffed grape leaves, etc.)
  • smuggle slaves to free states
  • smuggle Jews to safety during WWII
  • invent leg warmers before anyone else
  • invent velcro

Like I said, I think time travel in general would be pretty stupid and dangerous, so I don’t know which of these things is the worst. I’ll let y’all be the judge as to exactly which thing is the stupidest/most dangerous and/or which is the likeliest to cause me to lose appendages. What would YOU do with a time machine?

Win a Date With a Serial Killer

Y’all know I’ll do pretty much anything if it’s free and doesn’t violate any laws or personal morals. I will especially join a dating site if it’s free just because it’s so dang entertaining. But this Zoosk thing – I just can’t bring myself to do it for at least two reasons.

First, there’s the name. What kind of a name is Zoosk for a dating site? What does that even mean? And what does it have to do with dating, relationships, love, romance, friendship, people, or the internet? Plus, it’s hard to say, especially when you pair it with “dot com.” Bad plan all around, guys. Really.

But the biggest reason I don’t want to have anything to do with it is the awful, horrible, terrible, no good, very bad radio commercial I heard for it on my way to work. Y’all, seriously. It was worse than a local car dealership commercial. Bad script, bad acting, and they kept saying “Zoosk,” and it was impossible to understand every time. Awful, terrible, abysmally bad.

The commercial was a conversation between two girls, one of whom was browsing Zoosk. The other one came in and asked what she was doing. Then they started talking about all the cute guys on the site. One of them wanted to cook her dinner that weekend. Another, get this, wanted to “take her to the island in his private plane.” Right there, with that line, whoever was writing this thing should have been fired. That doesn’t make any sense. What island? And WHY, I ask you, is a man with a private plane utilizing the services of a free dating site?

Well, at this point in the commercial, we go into a dream sequence, except it’s radio, so you can only guess it’s a dream sequence based on the little harp ditty leading into it. And in the dream, the girl is in the plane with the guy, and he’s this totally immature jerk/show-off who’s flying all crazy and scaring her to death. And then the harp plays again to lead us back into reality, where apparently the two girls have been imagining the same death flight, and they agree that she should go with the guy who wants to cook dinner.

Now let’s just be practical for a moment. If I were on a dating site, and I had to choose between Guy Who Wants to Cook Me Dinner and Guy Who Wants to Take Me to “The Island” in His Private Plane, I would not be concerned with fly-boy’s piloting skills. I would be concerned that he is a liar (private plane, free dating site) who wants to kidnap me (unnamed island) and murder me in a place with no cellular reception. THAT’s why I would choose Dinner Guy if I had to pick one.

But now let’s be honest. NO guy on any dating site anywhere ever wants to cook you dinner for the first meeting. And no girl in her right mind would agree to it. “Yeah, Brad, going to your apartment alone so you can slip me a roofie sounds awesome! I can’t wait to meet you!”

No thanks, Zoosk (oh my gosh it’s even hard to type), I don’t care how many millions of singles have already joined worldwide. I will not be browsing them. Because based on your radio commercial, they are all either idiots or shady, lying possibly murderers. Even if they are hot.

Dilemma.

I’m at that point in the evening where I either need to eat something or go to bed, so I’m blogging to take my mind off of those two options in the hopes that I’ll get sleepy enough to go to sleep instead of just lying there hungry. This is the problem with eating lunch at 2:00 and then not getting home until 9:00. I was out right through dinnertime, and now it’s too late to eat, and the only thing I really want to eat, I don’t have, so I’d have to go back out to get it, and ugh. It’s just not worth it.

But for those of you who’ve inquired, the chili was delicious. I ended up adding a LOT more spices – more cumin, more cayenne, more black pepper, some white pepper, and probably a tablespoon or two of salt. And it took FOREVER to cook and thicken (I definitely didn’t need to add that extra water along with the veggies), but once it got there, oh man. It was so worth it. I will definitely be making it again.

And now I’ve just spent half of a blog post that was supposed to distract me from my hunger talking about food. Good night.

BlackBerrylessness: Day 1

I did it.

I went to the Verizon store yesterday after church and told them I wanted to downgrade. They turned off my PunkBerry and gave me a very normal, very unsmart Samsung “Intensity.” I’m not exactly sure what’s so intense about it. So far, here’s what I don’t like:

  • It doesn’t automatically capitalize the first letter in a new sentence.
  • It doesn’t automatically capitalize I.
  • It doesn’t automatically capitalize I AND add an apostrophe when I type im.
  • It doesn’t automatically add an apostrophe to any contractions.
  • I can’t just start typing a contact’s name from the keypad and have it pop up. I have to either go into my contact list or slide it open to use the QWERTY keyboard.

But on the other hand, here’s what I DO like:

  • It doesn’t vibrate to confirm that I just sent an email. Honestly, it stressed me out that the PunkBerry did that. Every time I’d send an email, I would just brace for it. It made me all tense. I’m still getting used to it, though, so every time I send an email, my stomach muscles still automatically tighten, but I’ll loosen up soon enough. As will my abs.
  • I am not greeted every morning by my “friends,” Snapfish, Elance and Borders Rewards. I am not ever greeted by junk mail.
  • It doesn’t get me all excited that someone wants to talk to me just to let me down when I find it was only eHarmony offering me a “great deal.” I am only notified when real people I really know actually wish to speak with me.
  • It has calculator that does temperature, length, weight, area, volume and currency conversions as well as tip calculation. This will be very helpful the next time I’m in Europe and don’t know what the temperature really is or how much oil I’m really supposed to add to the cake mix.
  • It has this real sultry ringtone called “Slowly” that I jam out to sometimes.
  • It costs $30 less every month to use (Europe2012!!).

So I think I’m ok today. I freaked out for about half an hour right after I left the Verizon store, but after talking to Josh on it for a while and then spending the rest of the afternoon texting, I started to get used to it, and I think I’m going to be ok. Will keep you updated, though.

Everybody Loves Winning

Even if what you win is a random object from a complete stranger’s bedroom or a made-up award, it always feels good to have won something, to feel validated in some way, to feel recognized as a human being. So the other day when my friend Andrea gave me this Beautiful Blog Award, well that just made my day. Thanks, Andrea!! Right back at you!

So apparently there are rules to being a Beautiful Blog Award recipient. I’m trying to follow them. Here we go.

1. Thank the person who nominated me for this award and post a link to her blog. Yes!! I’ve already done that. Here. I’ll do it again. Lil-Kid-Things.

2. Pass the award onto 7 other bloggers who I believe have a Beautiful Blog. Ok, I’m opening the envelope, and the BBA goes tooooooo…
Beautiful Frolic (aka Ma Vie and apparently now something in Norwegian) – This is Amaris. She rarely feels normal, except for when she’s reading Onward Hoe!, that is. She lives life with such reckless abandon that she sometimes doesn’t have time to shower, but really, who needs it when you’re having this much fun?
Pocket Smiles – Paige is one of the most thoughtful and hilarious women I know. I am super impressed with her ability to grow things in her yard, and she has one of the cutest kids on earth. Also, an intense love of cheese.
Thimbly Things – I don’t actually know Kristena, but I imagine her living in the cutest house ever. She has an uncanny knack for making beautiful things out of not-so-beautiful things, and if I ever meet her, we’re totally having a craft night.
Oh Beauty – Ann is a dear, sweet friend who lives entirely too far away (in London), but I hope she stays there because I love going to visit her!! I spent this past Thanksgiving with her and her husband, and they made me feel so welcome.
Soup Spoon – Ok. I don’t like oatmeal raisin cookies, but when L*Joy makes them, I will eat an entire batch. I love how she weaves life stories into her recipes…or maybe how she weaves such delicious food into her already beautiful life.
Under the Mercy – It’s DLF!!! If you don’t know who DLF is, read my FAQ page. This woman has been inviting me to Florida for basically an extended dinner party (like a weekend or week-long dinner party) FOREVER, and I cannot tell you how badly I’d like to take her up on it. The food would be amazing, yes, but just to sit and talk with her makes my heart happy. Or to pull out the sleeper sofa and watch six movies in one day, ordering delivery for every meal…not that we’ve ever done that.
SPareSTAR Photography – This is my amazingly talented sister’s photography blog. SHE REALLY OUGHT TO PUT MORE ON IT (ahem) because seriously, she’s awesome. But we’ll take what we can get, won’t we? Check her out.

3. Contact the other bloggers to let them know they were given the award. I’m on it.
4. Say 7 things about yourself. Seriously? Six years of blogging, and you want to know seven MORE things? Uhhhh.
  1. I don’t know the names of mixed drinks. If I go to a bar, I just ask the bartender to make me something girly. If they need more direction than that, I tell them I want something with fruit and vodka.
  2. I don’t often go to bars.
  3. I pretty much always wear two shirts. Usually one is a tank top, but still. I like to layer.
  4. I haven’t worn sunglasses in a long time. I know it would be better for my eyes if I did, but I can’t find any that don’t make me look like a total douche.
  5. I could never marry a man who wore glasses with transitions lenses.
  6. I never fart in front of other people. Ever.
  7. I think I would make an awesome tour guide.

Whew. Okie dokie. Congratulations, BBA recipients!! You deserve it! Now everybody get back to work.

Question of the Day

Today’s question comes from my formspring page. I’m not sure if someone actually asked me this, or if maybe formspring just felt bad for me because no one was asking me anything, so they threw one out there for me to answer. I don’t really care. It’s a good question.

What are your long-term plans in life?

I kind of thought we’d start out with things like, “What are your favorite pizza toppings?” or “How DO you get your hair to be so awesome?” but no, we’re going straight for the big guns. Mama, is that you again? Do you really think you’re going to get a satisfactory answer to this one? I’ll try.

I got out of the planning business a long time ago. I don’t know how many of you know this about me, but I started out in undergrad as a music major. I had plans, see? I was going to be a music therapist. But then that fell through, and I haven’t done much planning since. My college advisor asked me one time what my five-year plan was, and I think I just stared at her blankly for a minute before I either started laughing or broke down in tears. I just could not envision my life five years out. I still can’t. I haven’t even tried since then, and five years is really not that long, so as far as long-term plans go…well, you got me. I have no idea.

I do have things I want to do, but I don’t have a time line for them or anything like that. I’m working toward some goals, but I don’t know when I’ll achieve them, and I’m not trying to plan my life out too much because (a) there are so many things I can’t control, and (b) where’s the fun in that? I really like the spontaneity I’ve got going and the freedom I have to change things up at a moment’s notice. But for those of you who really want a more concrete answer to this question, the things I want to do are as follows:

  • get married
  • have kids (although I’m really interested in adoption, so I might get some kids rather than having them myself)
  • publish books (multiple)
  • continue to see new places in the world
  • build my savings account back up
  • pay off my student loans
  • eat delicious food
  • own a home
  • live off of writing and teaching (although I could still do the Census for fun)
  • enjoy whatever life throws at me because somehow, it all has the potential to be beautiful

Who’s next? Keep ’em coming!

Food Project Update OR Soy No Mas

So as you may recall, I’m poor, and I had all this food sitting in a bag on the floor because it wouldn’t fit on my shelf in the food cabinet, and as a result of these two things, I decided to eat all my food before buying new food. ALL my food. Well, I’m proud to say that I’m down to a bag of rice, two half-boxes of pasta, a jar of salsa and about a spoonful of almond butter. I think I can feel good enough about that kind of progress to go shopping when I get paid tomorrow. Unless y’all have any ideas for that kind of food combination.

Yeah I didn’t think so. Me neither.

Back story: When my beloved Brookie was just getting to know her husband Matt, he was in Wilmington and she was in Raleigh, so there was a lot of emailing that went on, and they switched up the subject lines for each message, which was really cute. Well, they’d already established that they both spoke Spanish, and Brookie wanted to make the subject line for one email about this dairy-free ice cream called Soy Delicious, but since “soy” in Spanish means “I am,” she questioned whether this was an appropriate thing to say to a man she barely knew (I am delicious). I told her it was hilarious and to go for it. She did. They are married. I take full credit.

ANYhoe, in the past few weeks, since I used up the last of the soy milk, I have noticed a marked improvement in both my skin and my digestive system, which makes me seriously wonder if I’ve got some kind of soy allergy. Now, for most people, this would qualify as a minor inconvenience – minor because my gas and skin problems are not that serious, inconvenience because there is soy in almost EVERYTHING. But for a vegan (even a quasi-vegan), the possibility of a soy allergy poses a larger problem.

Soy is what vegans eat. Soy beans, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy cheese, soy sauce, tofu, tempeh, textured vegetable protein (TVP), etc. It’s a complete protein, which is what I tell people when they look at me all concerned and say, “But you have to eat meat. HOW DO YOU GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?!?!” This is a different post entirely, but suffice it to say, I just explain to them about soy, and although they don’t buy it and think I’ve been brainwashed by the Japanese, they tend to leave me alone about the protein.

So if I’m allergic to soy, what ever shall become of me? As a vegan, with no more soy, do I too cease to exist (remember that Spanish lesson from earlier, kids)?

I had an existential crisis for a moment over this, and then I got really excited about eating a wider variety of veggies and beans and not relying so wholly on soy to complete a meal. I mean, after this little food challenge, I’m all kinds of creative in the kitchen. Once I’ve got my pantry restocked, there will be no limit to the flavors I can create! Oh I can’t wait to make a grocery list!

Yum yum yum! Delicioso!!

I normally don’t post on the weekends, but I just made something delicious, and I had to share it with you. Based on my ideas from the other day about what to do with all my food, and loosely modeled after the recipe found in the comments from that post, here’s what I did:

1/2 cup brown rice (dry)
1 cup water
1-2 tbsp. olive oil

I just cooked the rice according to the instructions on the package, and while that was happening…

3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion (because I’m not that big an onion fan), chopped

Sautee onions in olive oil until translucent, add garlic and sautee another minute or two. Add:
3/4-1 cup black beans (canned: drained, rinsed)
3 tsp basil
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
dash of salt/pepper

I let that all simmer together until the rice was done, and I kept adding water just to keep it from burning or drying out too much. When the rice was done, I dumped it in the pan with the bean mixture, and then I added:
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup dried cherries

Next time, I might add a little more rice or take out the dash of salt. I might try a little more cumin, but maybe not. It was good. And I could see this being a great side dish or maybe a filling in a wrap of some sort – either in tortillas or spinach leaves…or whatever leafy green you wanted to put it in.

If you try it or any variation of it, let me know how it turns out!

Next up: Hazelnuts, rotini pasta, chickpeas, honey, lemon, aaaaaaaaaaaaaand sweet potato fries. Ideas?