Apr 26, 2008

Should've said...

By even the most conservative calculations, it is estimated that 75% of the world's population are jerks. And if you are thinking, 'this cannot be true, for I am not a jerk,' let me assure you - it is and you are. Maybe not all the time, maybe not every day. But we all have a mean-spirited side that must, occasionally, be given voice.

Sometimes, your inner jerk is someone who stands up for you. Several months ago I was in the Barnes&Noble coffee shop with a big group of friends, laughing boisterously (as one does). Our good time was interrupted by an angry German woman, brandishing a rolled-up newspaper.
Angry German: Be quiet! You are disturbing everyone!
At the time, I was so shocked that I meekly sat down. Looking back, I wish I'd allowed my inner jerk out to play.
Inner Jerk: Listen, hag - if you and your frigid husband want to share an awkward silence over coffee and separate newspapers, do it somewhere else. This isn't a library, I don't have to keep my voice down. Also, that is the ugliest sweater I have ever seen.
Other times, the inner jerk is not so justified. But that is what makes it an inner jerk, and not an inner Good Samaritan. For example, take this encounter I had on a Richmond bus...
Sequined-Handbag Lady: (apropos nothing) – the thing is, right up there on Waterford, some guy in a beige truck – can you believe it?
Inner Jerk: That you’re talking to me? No.
SHL: Freakin’ beige trunk, this guy threw a beer bottle right at my head!
IJ: Someone you know?
SHL: No! He thought he had some balls, but I tell ya he didn’t have no balls.
IJ: At least you had time for a physical exam.
SHL: He wasn’t even cute!
IJ: After he hit you with litter, you wanted his number?
In reality, I just kind of sat there. Which is no fun at all. Hilarious retorts always come to me a good five hours after a conversation is finished, and I writhe in agony over what I should have said. That's the beauty of blogging - my Inner Jerk gets free reign.

Apr 24, 2008

This week, in Cookie News

Top Story:
On Monday evening, Wistar and I went out for pan-Asian cuisine at Saigon Cafe. The service was bad, but the food was good (and you can't beat the prices at Saigon - you just can't). At the end of our meal, we were provided with the obligatory fortune cookies.

Wistar: Mine says, "Hard work is necessary to attain your heart's desire" - in bed, ha ha ha! How about you?
Me: Um... "Everyone agrees that you are the best."
Both: *awkward silence*

Human Interest:
After a long day at work, there's nothing I enjoy more than relaxing at home. And by 'relaxing at home,' I mean 'spending a couple of hours baking.' I don't know why I'm so obsessed with my oven - it's not like I eat all the cookies myself, either. I take them in for those ungrateful wretches at work. Anyhoo, I tried out (and inevitably modified) a new recipe last night. Here's a link to the original recipe.

Monkey Sri's Bananas for Cookies

3 mashed bananas
1 stick of butter (room temperature)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 eggs
3 cups of oats
2 tbsp flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Chocolate chips and/or nuts
(optional, but c'mon - of course I'm going to add them)

1. Mix together the bananas, butter, and brown sugar. Unless you're like me and your brown sugar is all hard and un-mixable - then toss the whole mess in the blender and hit "grind."
2. The real recipe calls for four egg whites, but I almost never just add the whites. For one, it means you have to have scrambled egg yokes for dinner. For two, it's just a hassle. So just add the whole damn egg (x3) and blend again.
3. Dump the dry ingredients in a bowl - if you've used salted butter in your wet mix, you can cut down the salt to just a pinch. Pour the wet mix from the blender into the bowl and stir. Pour the milk into the blender and hit "frappe" to get the bits of wet mix that are stuck to the blades, then add to the bowl.
4. The real recipe calls for "vanilla or banana flavoring," which I did not have. So I just tossed in some vanilla extract - the cookies didn't explode, so I'm pretty sure this doesn't make a difference.
5. My walnuts were in large chunks, so I put them in a sandwich bag and bludgeoned them to death with a scented candle jar*. I added the crumbled nuts, as well as half a bag of chocolate chips, to the cookie dough. I usually prefer mini-chips, because you can achieve a more even distribution.

The resulting dough will seem very gooey, but don't worry. Drop it in large spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes (often I have to put my cookies back in for another few minutes in the oven, but this time 15 minutes was just right). The result will be soft, delicious cookies which are banana-licious without being overwhelming. Huzzah!

*The candle in question was a housewarming gift - thanks, Kara!

Personal Ads:
Single brown female looking to reconnect with a lost love - the tall, dark and handsome cookie sheet who's been out of my life for some months now. Where did you go? Please come back to me.

Apr 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day!

Last Sunday I attended the Green Apple Music Festival. While I love a free concert as much as the next girl, I'm not sure it was the best medium to increase awareness about global warming. For one, almost none of my friends in DC knew it was going on. The show was located on the National Mall. Earth Day needs to fire its agent. For two, bands like O.A.R. and Umphrey's McGee tend to attract a certain type of environmental activist ... *cough*college hippies*cough* ... who already know all about global warming. In fact, they knew about global warming before it was big, and they have the t-shirts to prove it. This is the kind of activist that may show up for a protest if it's scheduled for the afternoon, but will "totally space" on actually going to vote. They made for hilarious people-watching. Doug and I were having a great time, even when it started to drizzle.

Me: Would you like to share my umbrella?
Doug: No, thanks.
Me: Good, cause it's only big enough for one and I don't know what I would've done if you said 'yes.' Possibly I would've kicked you in the knee and run away.
Doug: Well ... good.

Soon, it started to rain in earnest. The sound of jackets being zipped almost drowned out Dean O'Dell's Ed Begley Jr.'s sales pitch for energy-efficient light bulbs. We watched a short documentary on deforestation and tried to ignore the looming cloud cover. Then, just as Chevy Chase took the stage, the sky opened up and a deluge of water was unleashed. It was like a monsoon, only less pleasant (monsoons being, in my admittedly limited experience, quite warm).

Girl on Cell Phone: Maria says she's not coming. Let's leave.
Guy with Her: No way. I drove two and a half hours to get here!
Me: Heh, me too. Wait a sec ... if a bunch of us all drove in from out of town, how exactly is this good for the environment?

Then the cops showed up to break up the party, citing a noise complaint or a high risk of lightning strikes or something. Blah blah blah. Regardless of its brevity, my awareness was raised by the festival. I've resolved to be a little eco-friendlier every month. Today, I took the bus to work! Of course, due to the limited bus service in my area, I walked for twenty minutes, waited for fifteen, rode the bus for about seven and walked for another three. My five-minute commute turned into three-quarters of an hour of travel time. *sigh* The things I do for Mother Nature.

Apr 17, 2008

Poor form, WNRN. Poor form.

My favorite station in C'ville (and possibly of all time) is WNRN. It's a great source for music from artists so indie that no one has ever heard of them. It's alternative in every sense of the word, right down to commercials for natural food stores and Vespa dealerships. WNRN is what I wake up to, what I have on in my car, what I listen to at work on the sly. I donate in every fund drive and I wear station t-shirts with pride.

When I tuned in this morning for the news headlines I was looking forward to having my liberal guilt assuaged by the fifteen-second blurb of world events. I nodded along as the news reader started a story about the Olympic torch traveling through New Delhi, and the ensuing protests from the largest community of displaced Tibetans. And then, the reader mentioned that the torch route was traveling through 'formerly British colonial streets.'

Try this experiment: go up to your closest South Asian friend and imply that the most interesting thing about their country of origin is that it was once occupied by England. See how well that goes over. For those of you without a South Asian friend (or a modicum of common sense), let me tell you how that would go - not well.

Also, come on! It was a story about angry Tibetans, and they chose to highlight a history of imperialism? So ... I called the station to complain. Yes, it was an overreaction. But I'm kind of O.K. with that.

Me: I was just curious why you couldn't find any better description for New Delhi, a cultural hub and the capital of India, than a 'former British colony.'
News Guy: Well, we actually said 'colonial streets.'
Me: Riiight. Listen buddy, unless these streets were paved with Union Jacks, I'm not buying it.

In the end, we agreed that it would've been best to leave the Brits out of it altogether. Still, the whole situation leaves a bad taste in my mouth. This won't stop me from listening to WNRN ... but it definitely tempered my passion for the station. My love for Vespas, on the other hand, will never die.

Apr 16, 2008

Loganathan Uncle

G.V. Loganathan was an earnest man and, like many such men, easy to take for granted. There was no need to examine him or doubt his word. He was something you knew you could depend upon, like the cross-beam of your ceiling or the fourth table leg. His body was all angles - his square glasses, the precise partition in his hair, and his clean, straight jaw. When he laughed, he would place both hands on the back of his hips so that his elbows jutted out at ninety degrees. Load-bearing, you might say. Reliable.

Then he was gone, and the world fell down around our heads. A year later we're still picking up pieces, shifting through debris... trying not to crumble beneath the weight of our loss. The community we've rebuilt is stronger in some ways, but weaker in others. We've lost part of our framework, our very foundation.

We will never be the same.

Apr 14, 2008

Younge Guarde Weekende

As many of you know, I am actively stalking my alma mater, The College of William and Mary in Virginia. She and I have a special relationship. No one understands her like I do. *presses lock of hair to nose, inhales deeply* I will take any excuse to go back to campus - up to an including the glorified timeshare sales-pitch that was Young Guarde weekend.

I went into the weekend ready to be sold. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding The College recently - cross debates, sex worker fights, and questions about diversity programs - all culminating in the resignation of President Gene Nichol. Nichol was never president while I was a student, but I liked the cut of his jib - I wanted to be reassured that his progressive ideas hadn't been ousted with him. I was pleased that YGW started up with a Q&A with the interim president, W. Taylor Reveley, III .

Reveley: We want ... mo-ah mon-eh!
Me: More money? We're grad students and young professionals, dude. We haven't got any money!
Reveley: Other schools have lots of money! We want, we want some of that money. How about hedge funds? Hedge funds make lots of money.
Me: Er ... maybe you could outline how you plan to continue where President Nichol left off? You know, increasing diversity, tolerance and equality?
Reveley: Are you gonna give us mo-ah mon-eh, or what?

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit.

Still, I can't imagine what Int. Pres. Reveley was hoping to achieve by informing us that W&M needs $2-5 million extra in the operating budget, and then waiting expectantly. Did he expect a few Young Guardes to pull out their wallets and mutter, 'well, I've got about half a million here...'? He even dropped the b-word (1) at one point, and half of us soiled ourselves.

But here's the thing ... the only way we can ensure that W&M stays on the right track is to give them the money. For all that W&M is a public school, it only gets about 20% of it's funding from the state - it really depends on donations from alumni. The older alums are so influential because they can threaten to pull their donations. It's the sad truth, children, that money makes the world go 'round.

What we need to do is to pool our efforts, donate in a block. If we have a lot of people giving a little bit we may have a shot of out-performing the older alumni. I have visions of the Young Guarde storming the Board of Visitors meeting to present them with a list of demands and a big, fat check.

Who's with me?

(1) B is for billion, and that's good enough for Reveley ... barely.

Apr 10, 2008

Quite a sticky wicket

Yesterday, Wistar and I went for a stroll in the park to complain about our love lives ... as one does.

Me: I hate the Indian matrimonial website. It feels so artificial! I don't want to screen potential partners based on a set of pre-determined criteria.
Wistar: Foolish girl, that's exactly what the dating scene is - you're just cutting out the middle man, i.e. well-meaning friends who set you up on dates. Er, sorry about that, by the way.
Me: Hmph. Still, the internet thing still creeps me out. Would it be so much to ask to have a large group of attractive young Indian men fall into my lap?

And then, a large group of attractive Indian men fell into our laps. We had stumbled upon a pick-up game of cricket. The Britannica Concise Encyclopedia describes cricket thusly:
Game played by two teams with a ball and bat on a large field centring on two wickets. Each wicket is two sets of three sticks. The teams have 11 players each. A bowler from the defending team throws the ball (with a straight-arm overhand delivery), attempting to hit the wicket, which is one of several ways the batsman may be put out. The team batting fields two batsman at a time, and the batsman being bowled to (the striker) tries to hit the ball away from the wicket. If the batsman hits the ball away from the wicket but has no time to run to the opposite wicket, he need not run; play will resume with another bowl. After a hit, when possible, the striker and the second batsman (the nonstriker) at the other wicket change places. Each time both batsmen can reach the opposite wicket, one run is scored. The batsmen may continue to cross back and forth between the wickets, earning an additional run for each time both reach the opposite side. Matches are divided into innings consisting of one turn at bat for each team; depending on pregame agreement, a match may consist of either one or two innings.

I included this description in case any of those young men read my blog - because clearly they had no idea how the game is played. Their confused milling-about made the baseball game going on in the next field over seem positively riveting. In their defense, cricket is not the most exciting sport to begin with. ABC announcer Tony Benneworth once commented, "It's been a very slow and dull day... It's been a good day's cricket." But Wistar and I stopped anyway, to leer at the young men and giggle behind our hands. Then I realized that they were probably all undergrads and became slightly sketched out. Oh, and one of them mooned us.

Indian boy: *drops trou*
Me: Oh my god, avert your eyes!
Wistar: He's just adjusting his jock strap. Why are you so upset?
Me: Why are you not averting your eyes?!?
Wistar: Hm, pink briefs were a bold choice.
Me: I think I'm going to be sick.

I've come to the conclusion that my dissatisfaction with Indian matrimonial searches has nothing to do with the website itself. The simple fact of the matter is, boys are icky. I think I'll become a hermit. Or a cricket commentator.
Brian Johnston, BBC: The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey. *helpless giggles*

Apr 9, 2008

CLAWing our way to the top

Last night Wistar got all gussied up and arm-wrestled a banana. She was wearing a cocktail dress, pearls, and a ski-mask. The rowdy audience members were throwing money around, trying to bribe the referee and judges.

I was there as her manager.

Okay, let me back up. A friend of ours has organized a hilarious fundraising group called C.L.A.W. - C'ville Lady Arm Wrestlers. They meet twice a month, one organizational meeting and one arm-wrestling tournament. At the main event the audience buys ClawBucks, which are used in betting on the matches (and bribing the officials). The proceeds go to different "women-initiated" causes every month. As you can imagine, feel-good fun is had by all.

I really want one of these t-shirts.

A big part of the fun is dressing for the occasion. Each arm wrestler has a stage persona - Wistar is Debbie "The D├ębutante" Danger. There was a woman dressed in a snake skin vest and hat, a woman in bunny ears and a skeleton t-shirt, and the aforementioned banana. But you know who got the most stares, who stood out the most? Me. I was wearing a powder-blue W&M sweatshirt - I had been all day - with a complete lack of irony.

The way I hovered around Wistar probably drew a lot of attention as well. But we had a whole plan worked out. She ascended the stage and put on her ski mask. I reached up and reapplied her lip gloss. After her first loss, she took off the mask and I dabbed her forehead. She then pulled a pair of pantyhose over her head and I drew pointy eyebrows on for her. The banana was very intimidated ... at least, I assume she was based on her hysterical nervous laughter.

Scary, no?

Unfortunately, Wistar has the upper-body strength of a two week old chihuahua. Next time, I'm going to wrestle and she can be my manager. What should my persona be ... The Dominant Gene? Python-tamer Sri? The Mad Blogger? Seriously, I'm asking - any suggestions?

Apr 3, 2008

Miracle Cure for the Blues ... PUPPY!

I had a shitty day at work yesterday, so Wistar took me dog-sitting to cheer me up. Her little sister just got a bernese mountain dog, who needs to be walked every three hours or so. This hearty Swiss breed is used to herd cattle and pull carts. Also, as puppies they are so adorable they make you want to puke.

Actual dog, not a toy!

So we went trolling for single dog-owners at the local park. Nothing breaks the ice with potential suitors like a clumsy puppy attack. Picture the scenario...

Eligible Young Man: Here I am, walking my puppy. Oh wait, the little fellow seems to be rough-housing with a scrappy burnese mountain dog!
Me: Hey, Wistar's sister's dog, come back here - oh, hello.
EYM: Hello, yourself. Is that yours?
Me: For the next hour or so, anyway.
EYM: It makes sense that such an enchanting creature would have an equally enchanting owner. Perhaps we could meet again for a puppy play-date?
Me: *sotto voce* Excellent, my evil plan has come to fruition. Bwaahahahahahahahah!
EYM: Um, I beg your pardon?
Me: Nothing. How's next Thursday sound?

Apr 2, 2008

TV Blog Updates

March was a busy month over at TV Sluts! You can find all my entries here, but I tried to provide direct links where I could.

Rags to "Riches": Not Quite a Cinderella Story (3/4/08)
Monkey Sri's Cartoon Round-Up (3/6/08)
An Open (Angry) Letter (3/10/08)
MSCR: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy(3/12/08)
If Oprah were the head of the Catholic Church, she'd be the Pope-rah (3/13/08)
MSCR: Back to the Futurama (3/19/08)
"It will rot your brain!" (3/26/08)
After watching the "Supermodel" Reunion (3/28/08)
Cartoons for kids! What will they think of next? (3/30/08)

Apr 1, 2008

So cute! Sooooo ka-yute!

OMG, you guys! I have met the most amazing boy. I think he may be The One.

His name is Eli and he lives in California - we met on the internet. He works at a small liberal arts college. Don't worry mom, he's not a professor of Poetry or something lame like that - he's a custodial engineer. I know he's going to go far, because of his excellent leadership skills. When he was in high school, he was the leader of an entire motorcycle gang! He just oozes machismo, but I know he has a softer side, too. The first time we ever chatted, I could tell we had a deeper connection.

PCHer01: Sometimes the girls get put off by this whole motorcycle jacket. Do you think something in suede might make me seem more ... accessible?
monkey_sri: I love the leather. Do you really care what other girls think?
PCHer01: Sister, the only time I care what a woman has to say is when she's riding my big old hog.
monkey_sri: Oh, Eli.
PCHer01: But even then, it's not so much words - just a bunch of 'oohs' and 'aahs,' you know?
monkey_sri: *blushes*

Here's a picture of my sweetie-honey-baby-sugarcakes.

In case you haven't figured it out, April Fool's! I'm talking about Eli "Weevil" Navarro from Veronica Mars. He would be The One ... if he wasn't fictional.