If only there were more hours in the day (and other common efficientcy wishes)

I often find myself saying and listening to such complaints/far-fetched wishes as “If there were more hours in the day, I could get everything I needed to do done” or “If I could be in more than one place at once, my life would be so much easier.”

Before I explain the end-all, be-all of these phrases, I have to thank my high school friends for countless hours imagining and laughing about this topic. I also have to thank First Aid Jack for bringing up some of the logistical questions that have thoughtful and hilarious answers while we were in the car last week.

“If only I have more hands! I could carry so much more and me so much more efficient.”

Which brings us to the subject of much laughter in the past four years of my life: Head Hands. What if we all have an extra hand? And what if that hand came out of not our torso, but our head instead? And what if instead of being like a regular ‘ol hand, this head hand had a mind of its own? (After all, it would be attached directly to your brain.)

Imagine it: You’re walking around a store in the mall minding your own business, maybe browsing the sweater section, maybe trying to find a different store to shop in, when the loss-prevention security goes off. You look around at the people near you to see who the sticky-fingered low-life is that’s trying to steal something, and find everyone is staring at YOU. A security guard approaches you, asks what exactly you think you’re doing. You’re not doing anything, actually, except standing there. Until the guard pulls a stolen garment from the clutches of one of your hands. You scream out, “But I didn’t do it! My head hand did!” — And so would be a common occurence in a world with head hands who do what they want with little regard for their hosts. Because what could you do to your head hand to punish it? Short of amputating it, you could do absolutely nothing.

Speaking of, how weird would it be to have an amputated head hand? You’d have a stump on your head! On the bright side, it couldn’t steal or do other unethical acts without your knowledge. Because we all know that head hands are the worst kind of hand. Always trying to grab hold of things, holding so tightly to a ceiling fan chain that you either can’t more forward or pull the whole thing straight out of the roof. Or hitting the person next to you in class. Or hitting YOU in class. Head hands, man, their bad news.

I guess head hands could be useful too, though. Like when you have not only books to carry, but folders full of papers and your cell phone and maybe even a hot coffee. Your extra hand could be kind enough to grab the things that the other hands couldn’t hold. Or in true head hand fashion, it could pour your coffee on you or turn the folder upside down so papers fly everywhere.

Head hands are like dogs, you have to train them well. If you neglect it, it won’t love you. If you take it to get manicures and let it lay out in the sun every once in a while, it’ll be happy to help out any time.  You have to start at a young age to get the best results. Speaking of age, do you think that head hands would be there when you were born or perhaps grow in during puberty? I vote the latter; it would make pubescence even funnier and more awkward.

Would head hands be left or right? After all, they’re in the middle, not to either side. I think it would be fair to say that head hands could be either, depending on a person’s dominance. But what if they didn’t have any thumbs because they weren’t like normal hands? What if they only had four fingers? Or five, but you have two pinky fingers!? How much of an arm would be attached to said hand? Would there be another elbow? These are only questions God could answer when and if he finally chooses to create a more advanced race.

You’d have to be very careful with your head hand. It might hit door jambs. Or get caught in a closing door. It would probably be at a higher risk of sunburn and skin cancer because its closer proximity to the sun. Ceiling fans would pose a threat, along with ceiling lights that get hot and can cause burns. The precautions to take if you had a head hand are endless, really.

I could do on for hours about head hands and how strange, funny, and useless they could be, but I’ll leave it at this for now. I have one last shout out though. Ted just started blogging for Open House NY and you can read his first entry here: http://blog.ohny.org/2011/08/02/field-trip-friday-pleasure-beach/   I’ve been to the place that he talks about and its just as eerie and awesome as he makes it out to be. READ IT!

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Onset of Adulthood

Today I used my lunch break to run some errands. As I wheeled into the Stop & Shop parking lot (although everyone should know ShopRite has way better deals) I witnessed a moment that struck a few summertime memories. Two young girls were running towards the entrance look especially carefree and eager to find a cool treat to enjoy before spending the second half of the day by a pool somewhere. Ahhhh, to be young again.

Remember the days when nothing mattered? Literally, the only thing I was responsible for on a daily basis was wearing some sort of clothing, eating at least one meal, and not getting arrested (which wasn’t an issue in elementary and middle school, but things got a little hairy later on). Summers used to really kick ass. I mean, you wake up, eat something delicious like Lucky Charms, and then bother one of your parents to bring your somewhere fun or to a friend’s house. Everyday. Over and over. Not a care in the world. My life now, not so much.

When I was in elementary school I spent the summers in town run camps. Even though our mom was a teacher and did not have to work during the summer, I insisted on enrolling in multiple camps. They were the BEST. My favorite was Big Wheels. Each day all of the kids went to a different place (hence the reference to the big wheels on the bus that chauffeured us around). On a day like today, in the unbearable heat, we would definitely be hitting the beach. Now, as an adult, the thought of being responsible for 100+ small children make me dry heave, but back then it was pure ecstasy. Building other kids into the sand, buying 2 ft long ice pops from the snack stand. Those sure were the days.

In high school things changed because my friends and I could drive. Hours were spent each day just wasting time. Wasting time at the beach. Wasting time behind the CVS downtown. Wasting time at someone else’s house (preferably with a pool). Nothing really every happened during those summers, besides brief summer romances and the occasional haul to Misquamicut or Watch Hill beaches.

In high school, however, I was on the flag squad. I know, I know, who is on the flag squad? It sounds lame, but the benefits were great. I took a trip to Disney World with the squad and got to wear a cute spandex and gold sequenced outfits in front of all the football players. The worst part was the required band camp before school started. My only fond memory I have of those excruciatingly hot days practicing my flag twirls on the football field are of our lunch break. We had exactly one hour for lunch. At the stroke of noon every cool person at band camp (take that statement for what it is worth) shoved themselves into Jeep Cherokees (everyone had a Jeep back then) and headed to Wendy’s. I am not sure why we went to Wendy’s but that is what we did. The drive took about 10 minutes each way and there was always a line, so there were just 30 sweet minutes to enjoy of freedom and a frosty before heading back to camp. I loved their frostys. And I loved that in the band camp environment, I was pretty cool. This made for an excellent summer conclusion before heading back to the old grind.

What do I do now on hot, summer days? Sit in an air conditioned office staring at a computer screen or in a variety of meetings. At lunch, I eat my homemade sandwich (you save so much money brown-bagging it) at my desk looking at things on Craigslist. You have to consistently check it because the good stuff goes fast! Sometimes I run errands, like today. I had to pick up some apple juice for a pork dish I am making tonight. Oh, and I stopped by Pier 1 and grabbed a chair cushion to try out before committing to four of them. That is life as an adult. Grocery store deli meat sandwiches, computers, the constant hum of an air conditioner, and pre-planned dinners.

Green Daisy Dining Cushion(This is the actual cushion I bought. Thoughts?)

So, when I saw those girls sprinting towards the grocery store today, I silently told them to enjoy it. Things change. Not necessarily for the better (because I love having money and going on vacations without my parents), but those carefree days of my youth are long gone. I wonder if they have summer camp for adults. I would totally be in!

 

Telepathy makes me uneasy (so do blonde asians)

I don’t like very many people. If you didn’t know that about me, you’re probably one of the people I don’t care for. My dislike for so many of those that surround me on the daily make me worried sometimes. Not about being a negative, complaining whiner, but that someone somewhere can read my mind. What if my inner people-hating thoughts were revealed to the world?? Nothing good could ever come of that.

I’ve been reading/watching True Blood and its made me paranoid about mind readers. Even if you don’t know anything about the series, you can appreciate the telepathy makes me uncomfortable.

I just have so many thoughts about so many people. And not just the people that I see regularly. We’re talking strangers here. I judge and I judge harddd. And on most about everything. Maybe judge isn’t the right word. I’m more like… an opinionated observer. I see things that annoy me or I think are dumb and I simply have to comment. How could I possibly stay quiet when someone walks into an establishment that calls itself a coffee shop and question if there was any coffee to be had?? So what if someone were to know that I thought their significant other was significantly more attractive than them? Or that they look like they’ve never heard of a hair straightener. Or that somehow just their socks make them look trashy? They’d think I was shallow and rude and unworthy of their company. (I’d kind of prefer the latter one. I mean, if I’m thinking mean things about you I probably don’t want to be with you at all.)

I’ve always taken comfort in knowing that no one could know what I really thought. But mind-reading? That’s a game changer. Sometimes I catch myself apologizing in my head. Thinking things like “If you can read minds, I’m sorry I was just so mean about the number of anti-diarrhea pills you bought.” Or making my meanness sound not as mean, at least to myself… as in “That woman is totally compensating for her heinous face by having super-dyed and styled hair. BUT she does have really nice hair. Lady, if you’re listening to me right now, you have very nice hair.”

The thoughts I have are endless. I wish I could say that if I came across someone that could read my mind, I’d become a better person, but I know I wouldn’t. I would have two options. Never ever go near said telepath again OR make them my best friend with no lies between us. Let’s be real though, the former sounds like a much easier option.

I’m just waiting for the day that someone turns to me and says “WHAT did you just think about me?!” Because there has to be at least one person somewhere that is telepathic. I hope I don’t ever run in to that person, though. Because then everyone, not just the select people I complain to all day everyday, will know my true nature.

Seattle is so hipster

Last week I was in Seattle, Washington for work. With a busy schedule full of work and school, I didn’t take much time to think about my trip to Seattle until, well, once I was on the plane there. My knowledge of the state included it was on the  West Coast and experiences lots of rain. That is pretty much it. Boy, was I in for a treat.

My first pseudo-mistake was booking a hotel .4 miles away from the convention center where the conference was being held. The last two conferences were held in New Orleans and Orlando so I am accustomed to sun and warmth. Forgetting Seattle can be rather wet, I booked a hotel a decent walking distance from the actual conference (purely for more Marriott points, obviously). Fortunately for me, it did not rain much while I was in Seattle and when it did, I was sitting in an uncomfortable conference center chair learning about how to market my organization better by panelist with 496% more funds for their projects and ideas than I will ever have.

On one of my walks to the conference center I snapped a quick photo of something I saw quite a bit in Seattle. Tight skinny jeans on guys. But these jegging-like jean wearers are not your typical Jonas brother look-a-likes. They are hipsters. With beanie hats and asymmetrical facial hair. Although I know wearing tight jeans is some sort of fashion statement for men, I am still not a fan. I doubt I ever will be. It just makes them look like a weird boy-bodied, man-face person. Creepy.

I eventually made my way down to the Pike Place Market, a trendy spot to buy overpriced tourist-y gifts. After learning more about Seattle’s food culture, my coworker and I decided to do a food tour of the Market. (We did the Savor Seattle Food Tour for anyone that ends up in Seattle looking for something fun and delicious to do) Our tour guide definitely had character.

At least he isn’t wearing skinny jeans!

Our tour guide, Eric, brought us around to ten different little shops throughout the Market. My favorite spot was the fresh produce stands. Seattle is very eco-friendly and green, so I was not surprised to see so many locally grown fruits and veggies. I obviously paid a ridiculously high amount for some Washington apples, however, I will say they were almost the size of my head and the most delectable fruit I have eaten in a long time. Worth the $2.99 a pound.

Purchasing the apple started a hipster movement in me while visting Seattle. Soon I was sipping on non-fat grande lattes with multiple flavor shots every 4 hours. I wore multiple scarves at once, not even noticing they didn’t match. My tightest jeans just could not get tight enough. And I was regretting not packing all of my boots. There must be something hipster in the water.

Soon I found myself at a cafe doing the most Seattle-hipster things ever. The experience began when I ordered some coffee drink with two shots of espresso and exotic sounding additional flavors with skim milk (in a biodegradable cup, of course). I then took a seat, placing my umbrella on the table next to my reusable water bottle I have filled up back at the hotel in anticipation of my walking adventure around the city. Then I opened my leather bound journal and starting writing about my travels and experiences while on the West Coast. If that wasn’t enough, I topped it all off with a read of the Seattle Weekly. It does not get more Seattle hipster than that!

To conclude my Seattle adventure, I journied to the location of a Sleepless in Seattle scene. All in all, Seattle kicks ass! So many people rode bikes and cared about the environment. I would compare it to Burlington, Vermont, just with less snow. An awesome place that I suggest everyone should check out if they can get to Washington!

This weekend I am headed to New Hampshire with E. Should be a good time. Hopefully something funny happens that I can share with all of you!

XoXo CoCo

White Board Art Project

Well, I’m back from break. I hate school and I hate being back so I thought I’d procrastinate doing anything useful by writing a blog post! My sister will be so proud; I’m on my game this week!

Here’s a picture that sparked many fits of laughter in my household last week.

Let’s discuss:

The main image is obviously the mentally unstable man in the middle with beady eyes. This was drawn by Uncle Rick, what an artist he is. I believe it to be a self-portrait, though last time I checked, Uncle Rick did not black eyes and his hair did not stand straight up on end, nor did he have a banana for a mouth. But since I’m all for self-expression, I accept the drawing for what it is: a strange interpretation of Ronald McDonald.

To the left of “Uncle Rick” is my mother. When I walked into the house for the first time last week and saw this beaut, I knew exactly who it was supposed to be. This instant recognition was made possible by my sister’s artistic skills and my mother’s uncanny resemblance to a stick figure. If you’ve never met my mom, you just did. She looks JUST like that drawing, which is weird because there really aren’t very many details. I think its just the glasses and hair. And stool. Because, you see, my mom is pretty short. She has to have me get things down off of shelves that 12 year olds could reach. I’m actually surprised I’ve never come across her climbing on the counters to get something down. That would be a sight.

The two stick figures to the right of Ol’ McDonald are me and my sister. If you can’t tell, our square shirts read “UConn” and “Albertus.” What a clever way to delineate between us. Also, we both love to wear sleeveless, boxy shirts so we do look quite like we do in reality. I have to say though, I did a little editing of myself. At first I had eyes that were almond-shaped and slanted. Though I have nothing against those of Asian decent, I myself am not Asian in the slightest, so I corrected my eyes to just dots. Far more accurate, obviously. For some reason, my sister has glasses on. I mean, she has glasses and she wears glasses, but that is not a distinctive fact about her. Obviously whoever drew this part of the picture (cough, Uncle Rick, cough) was just being superficial. Which is odd for someone who took just a dramatic interpretation of their own portrait.

As for the person above my sister and I, that’s our cousin Tara. As you can tell by her shirt, she also loves sleeveless, box shirts and lives in NY. As far as I know, her hair is blonde, so I’m a little concerned with how dark Uncle Rick colored it in. Perhaps it was that self-expression coming out again.

And the last part of the drawing, also courtesy of Uncle Rick, is Higgs, our cat. She does not tremble, though the picture makes her look a bit shaky. I believe that Fricky (Uncle Rick’s nickname, for the uninformed) was either going through withdrawl of some kind or temporarily had Parkinson’s when drawing Higgs. She is also black, so its strange that she looks very white in this picture. She does, however, have two ears, so that’s pretty accurate.

The bottom part that got cut off is my mom’s attempt at adding to the humor. But obviously is got cut off and I’m not too worried about it because, well, sometimes when Mom joins in, she kills it. She almost killed the White Board Art Project, but I didn’t let it get to me. Instead, I wrote all about it.

 

Being Poor and the Great Hipster Hijack

This is a guest blog by E, my boyfriend. Enjoy!

If you had told me 6 years ago that at 25 I would be working a 9-5 desk job selling insurance for a living I would have laughed at you. I was a bearded rock and roll drummer living the life – playing shows, eating the now-discontinued $1 double cheeseburgers from McDonalds, staying up late playing Madden on the original PlayStation with my guitarist – life was good.

I was also a full time student and I was working the overnight shift at a local radio station making $7.35 an hour. Needless to say, I was poor.

But poorness had its bright spots. Steak was a legitimate treat, and the library was an air-conditioned haven where I could check my MySpace page and log into my AOL email address.  Being poor was an art and I was Picasso. Just remember, bouillon cubes make everything better.

I have a lot of great memories from the days when I was poor. Since my apartment had no cable, no internet and no phone, I read a lot more. It was during this time my love affair with great writers like Kerouac and Kurzweil started. I learned to sew my own jeans when they ripped, and I learned that you could haggle at the Goodwill store (try it sometime). I learned that cream cheese and pasta could make a delicious meal, and that 711 gives away their left over hotdogs at 3am every night for free! I painted on a canvas for the first time in my life, and I learned how to use a wet-saw when my bathroom needed new tiles.

I bought a used bike to save on gas. I fixed my old fishing pole and spent hours enjoying the hot summer sun. I walked a lot, I cooked a lot, and I truly learned the value of a dollar.

Since then times have changed and I’ve left my poorness behind. Then, about a year ago, something happened.

I was heading to my local dive bar to meet with my long-time friend, Kevin. I had been drinking PBR at this bar for almost 5 years. PBR (Pabst Blue Ribbon for those of you who don’t know) is without a doubt the best tasting ‘cheap’ beer out there. Busch, Natty, Bud Ice – none of them can match the smooth, fruity, ice-cold, 1-dollar-a-pitcher carbonated deliciousness that is PBR. I had developed a taste for it when I was poor. It is a taste that I still love today.

“Two PBRs, barkeep!” I yelled excitedly over the grumbling murmur of over-worked, blue collar day laborers that filled the bar on that warm May night.

“That’ll be $6.50.”

Shocked and confused, I nearly fell off my rickety old stool. How could this be? Surely, this tall, bubbling glass of cold yellow nectar couldn’t be my beloved PBR. Not at $3.25 a glass! It must have been miss-poured. It must be some kind of shitty fancy maple syrup beer – brewed in Vermont by college drop outs that majored in the Arbor Sciences. Surely, this wasn’t MY PBR.

But it was.

And that’s when it started… The Great Hipster Hijack.

All of a sudden a strange movement had begun to sweep across the landscape of Facebook like a California wildfire. The unknown and anonymous dive bars that I loved became hotspots of hipsterism. Sales of 88’ Volvo Wagons went through the roof, and thousands of ugly losers armed themselves with acoustic guitars and infiltrated Starbucks all across America. Unemployed philosophy majors took to the streets on their longboards and left behind them a devastating path of hookah-bar destruction… tearing apart the very fabric of society with their Apple laptops and chai tea.

Hipsters have taken everything from us. Clove cigarettes, vintage t-shirts, prescription glasses, 35 millimeter film…taken!

I’m so sick of it. Wow you’re wearing fingerless gloves in August!  You must be edgy and depressed and deep. You must have ‘things’ to say about ‘society.’ You want to ‘break’ social ‘norms’ with your shitty, poorly written screenplay about a girl who hits the road in her Chevy Corsica and moves to Brooklyn to create art and ‘find herself.’ Fuck you. Fuck you and all of your wanna-be bullshit.

Oh, you don’t need money to be happy? Money is the root of all evil? All you need is your art and your Polaroid camera that you CAN’T EVEN BUY FILM FOR. Get a job! I’m so tired of it. No, I will not give you a ride to New York. Go to the library and post an add on Craig’s List under the Rideshare section. Then you and other stupid idiots can ride together on your way to see MGMT play at some small, loud, overcrowded bar in Brooklyn.

Make sure you take plenty of photos of your ‘big night in the city’ for Facebook. You wouldn’t want to actually do something in life without posting 48 photos of it under your cleverly titled Facebook pictures album, would you? “Big city stars and a big city dream on a big city bridge.”

Oh no, being an artist didn’t work out? Your 10 picture photo essay about ‘Finding Beauty in Every Day Places’ that you shot on your Holga camera isn’t selling, and you can’t pay the rent? Don’t worry, you can just move back home at the age of 29! It’ll be great! You picked up a really quirky black and white duvet cover for your twin sized bed, and the incense store down the street is going out of business. Buy 1 get 2 free! Everything is working out great!

I need a beer…

Cassie No-Pants

Its been over a month since I’ve last posted, much to my sister’s dismay. Sorry, Cor! But you see, I’ve been taking tests and writing research papers and going to awards banquets and just generally being a student/over-programmed sorority girl. If it helps at all, I’ve done pretty baller on everything thus far (save one community nutrition project… and I don’t even really think that was my fault, seeing as my teacher does not speak english).

Currently, it is Spring break. And where am I? The romantic Storrs, CT. Yup, that’s right, I’m still at school. Right now, I’m sitting at the RA duty desk. Eating pizza. By myself. Its really quite sad, being almost the only one in my building. WAIT! I take that back, there were some construction men here this morning from 8-10. I never saw them, but I certainly heard them. I believe they were drilling into my personal wall, or maybe the ceiling, though there’s no mark to prove it. I can for certain say that as soon as I gave up on trying to sleep (I even put my earplugs in, I haven’t rocked those since living in the Pi Phi house!) these mysterious construction men stopped their work.

So, to make up for my hiatus  from blogging, I thought I’d tell a terribly embarrassing personal story. Sounds fair, eh? I call this tale “Cassie No-Pants” and it starts back in July ’08.

I worked at overnight camp that summer. For those of you that haven’t been to summer camp or just clearly don’t understand how grand it is, let me explain. I spent two months swimming in a lake, jumping on a water trampoline, playing tennis, making arts and crafts (I still have an octopus I made out of yarn and a tennis ball… I’ll post a picture later. He was a wizard) and getting absolutely shit-faced. (Side note, I just audibly farted. Good thing not a single one of the 300+ residents was here to hear it)

Let me break down a typical night for you:

8:30pm: Children are in their beds, all counselors in the bunk are putting on make-up and curling their hair in the dark, attempting to be quiet though the kids keep asking questions about where we’re going. Bowling, obviously.

9pm: We’re allowed to check out. Counselors stream from bunks into the HQ in 4 in heels to tell whoever is on duty they’re leaving camp.

9:15pm: Catch the BVH van (that’s the only bar within, o, 20 miles of camp)

9:30pm: Do at least one jagerbomb. Order a pitcher. Drink at least 2 beers out of this pitcher in 10 minutes. Hey, when you have to be back in the bunk at 12am, you have to make your minutes count.

10pm: Another jagerbomb. Possibly a BLlime. Maybe just a whole other pitcher.

10:15pm: Wasted. Playing games like “Pitchers” I’ve got a great story about that game, but thats for another time.

The rest of the night is spent dancing on an extremely tiny dance floor, possibly grinding up on boys you’ve seen give piggy-back rides to little boys. The trick to getting back to camp without being “caught” was to still be able to say your first and last name coherently. If you could do that, no one cared how gone you were. And as long as you could get up the next morning at 7am and be a chipper counselor. I was very good at these last two things.

So, the real story starts one night, somewhere in between saying my first and last name without slurring and waking up the next morning. Upon waking up, I discovered something very peculiar: I did not have any pants/shorts or underwear on. When I went to sleep, I certainly had shorts on. But now, several hours later, I did not. Strange, to say the least. To make it that much weirder, I had a not-my-own tank top pulled up around me like a skirt. huh?

So, I called a fellow counselor over. I was in my bed, the top bunk of a bunk bed. I asked, “Umm, Why don’t I have pants on?” My colleague did not know where my pants had gotten to. I believe at this point, another counselor brought me some shorts from my cubbie (no, we absolutely did not have closets, just a cubbie room).

Upon great investigation, my shorts and underwear were found in the adjecent cabin (it was connected to mine by a shared bathroom). I had slept-walked into the other cabin, stripped down, taken another counselor’s shirt to put on like pants, and walked back into my own cabin where I then got back into bed without the counselor who slept on the bottom bunk noticing or feeling any movement. That, my friend, is finesse.

Word of my situation quickly spread across lower girls camp. I soon became known as “Cassie No-Pants” Mind you, this is in July. the beginning of July. We were at camp until August 17th. I had this fabulous nickname for almost all of camp. And to go with this new name, I also got a song.

This song was to the tune of SpongeBob SquarePants and had lines such as “Who doesn’t wear pants when she goes to sleep? CASSIE NO-PANTS!” Children sang this song long after the summer was over, as proven here, taken in October.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=42725170933

My facebook name was Cassie No-Pants for at least 3 months. I went through sorority recruitment with that name. How did anyone let me in?? Thank goodness I wasn’t discriminated against.

And this was only the start to my drunken- sleep-walking ways. I apparently tried to kick a child out of her own bed one night. I vehemently deny doing this, however…