Snot rockets.

About 10am yesterday that whole creeping ache thing started in my knees and elbows. By 11, I was feeling a little delirious, my throat was on fire and my repeated attempts at swallowing were largely unsuccessful. I magically drove myself home, arrived unscathed, promptly put on my warmest sweats and my ski socks, and spent the rest of the night splayed out on the couch. So yeah, I'm sick.

I used to never get sick, ever. The entire population of my college dorm could be crawling weakly through the halls, puking, coughing, hacking...begging for mercy from the flu gods, even praying for death. And I'd be cheerily heading off to class in tip-top shape. In fact, I was sick so few times as a youngster that I have very clear memories of my ailments. One in particular is totally unforgettable. I was 5 or 6. It was right around Christmas time and I had the flu. I was wearing Strawberry Shortcake jammies and laying on the red beanbag my brother and I shared. For the first day in the three I'd been sick, my dad decided he'd try and get me to eat something other than Zesta's, in the hopes that it would remain in my stomach for more than 60 seconds. I was down with the plan and ate some noodle soup, followed with a Pepto-Bismol chaser just for good measure. Proud of myself for this feat, I laid back on the beanbag in a post-soup glow.

My joyous relief lasted approximately 2 minutes before the rumblings from below began and I yelled for my dad to bring "the puke bowl" (a stainless steel mixing bowl that my mother designated solely for this purpose, the faint metallic scent of which I now smell every time I feel nauseous). In a flash, my dad was at my side and the puke bowl was in my lap. What ensued was extremely violent and seemingly never-ending. Once the vile eruptions finally subsided, I took a look at the contents of the bowl, a little amazed at the quantity of its contents but more than a little awe-struck by the pattern of said contents. (If I haven't disgusted you already, I might just succeed in doing so now.)

The Pepto and the Noodle/Snot components had split themselves down color lines - pink on one side; yellow on the other. There was no cross-over, no mingling of colors. It was pure pink and pure yellow. But it wasn't only the color pattern that I found so fascinating - the two sides had morphed themselves into a perfectly symmetrical pastel yin-yang. It was truly a Christmas miracle.


Hello lunchmeat.

Well, we all know that no one cares what we had for lunch, but I want to know whether you are ever embarrassed about your lunch. I'm finding that the contents of my lunch bag are becoming increasingly odd, perhaps a little terrifying to the casual observer. It's not uncommon for me to experiment with combinations of ingredients that may seem just a bit unnatural to others (e.g. black beans mixed with cottage cheese; tofu hotdog adorned with light caesar dressing; string cheese dipped in hot sauce).

Today I had some oatmeal for breakfast - a perfectly respectable American classic, right? At least until I was done doctoring it up. Not content to dine on mere oats and water, I thought I'd be crafty and add a little flava'. A quick inventory of my desk drawer revealed the following items: 10-15 Taco Bell hot sauce packets (assorted), 1 Hershey's kiss, 3 miso soup packets, 1 box Plantation Mint tea, 1 jar cinnamon, 2 small containers half-and-half, and 1 tin sugar free, naturally decaffeinated Suisse Mocha mix (approximate age: 1 year, 5 months).

Naturally, I went for the mocha. And the kiss. And the cinnamon. And one of the two creamers. It was the perfect solution to my breakfast doldrums - a tablespoon of drink mix, a dash of cinnamon, a spot o' cream, and a carefully sliced Hershey's kiss formed the ultimate flava' fiesta! Or so I thought. The resulting concoction was quite foul. Not nearly as gourmet as I had envisioned when formulating my breakfast plan.

Anyway, the flavor, or lack thereof, ain't the issue. The issue is the shame I'd have experienced had a co-worker dropped by only to see me fastidiously slicing away at one little Hershey's kiss with a plastic knife, or sprinkling REALLY OLD drink mix into my otherwise-civilized meal of hot, wet, mealy oats. (I just kind of grossed myself out there.)

It could be worse though I guess. I once had a boss (with whom I spent many an hour traveling in the car) who kept a cooler full of peeled hardboiled eggs between the front seats. Every 60 miles or so, she'd unabashedly pull one of those glistening white stinkpots out of the ice and pop it into her mouth - intact.


A hex on Dex.

I must apologize for the obscene length of yesterday's post. I was all riled up about the TV thing there for a minute. But the rest of our trip to Maui was fabulous. Spent lots of time laying on the beach and by the pool sipping cocktails, went snorkeling and boogie boarding, drove most of the coastal highway and took in the sights, and ate lots of wonderful, if pricey, local foods. I must say, however, that Maui is a helluva lot more touristy than I had envisioned. It reminded me a lot of California, actually. I'm glad I had the opportunity to visit, but I'll likely stick with Mexico for future vacations centered on beach/water activities. And that's all I have to say about that.


Can someone please tell me why the hell, in this, the year 2006, we still get telephone books delivered to our homes? The H and I come home to find new books on the porch every 6 months or so and I know we're not the lone victims of this papery assault. Who even uses phone books anymore, other than the elderly and my mother (who drives around with a dog-eared copy of the yellow pages in her car at all times)? It's a total waste of paper, and a nuisance to recycle. Would it be that difficult to ask folks if they need a replacement phone book before foisting such a ridiculous quantity of useless paper upon them? Just wondering.


Going downhill fast.

What would you say if an old friend, who happens to be an executive producer of multiple television programs, asked to send a couple of his colleagues to Hawaii to film part of your vacation for a new television series?

What would you say if those people were planning to comp multiple, pricey activities for the privilege of taping you doing them, and to buy you a nice lunch for your troubles?

Well, when this scenario was pitched to us, the H and I said, "Sure! Why not? We were planning on biking down the volcano anyway, and hiking to some waterfalls, so why not let a few folks with cameras come along for the ride?!"

Wrong choice people. Wrong.

Meet The Film Guy:

The H took The Film Guy's photo while he videotaped us shivering atop the Haleakala (translation: House of the Sun) summit, above the clouds, at 5 in the morning, waiting for the sun to rise over the island. The Film Guy and his partner, The Producer Lady, were a nice enough pair, sufficiently dedicated to the cause to get up at 1 in the a.m. only to drive 10,000 feet in elevation in less than an hour on windy, switchbacky roads, in the dark, to the top of a volcanic crater where the winds whip your ass like an angry Catholic nun on crack, and then to follow us the entire 27 miles down the hill in their minivan.

Now, I had thought perhaps these folks would ride down the mountain behind us. Really slowly. Casual-like. Get a few shots of the countryside. A few of us. A few of the blue horizon. A few more of us. A few of the cows. You get the picture.

I thought wrong. The Producer Lady had us wait until the rest of the bikers on our tour were well on their way down the mountain before we got our start, and then she pinned tiny microphones into our oh-so-sexy windsuits and proceeded to drive her minivan IN FRONT of us as The Film Guy sat in the back, hatch a'floppin' in the breeze, feet a'hangin' out the door, with a 30-pound camera perched on his shoulder.

My windsuit puffed up in the gusty wind, making me look something like a darker, shinier version of the Michelin Man. The H and I struggled to adjust to the pointy BMX-like helmets that crowned our heads and the battery packs shoved in our waistbands as we barreled down the mountain at a really fucking fast clip.

The TV people shouted instructions at us:

"Tell us what you're seeing right now." "Explain what you're smelling." "Aren't you so excited?" "Get closer to the van." "Stop using your brakes for a bit - they're squealing." "Was it all you thought it would be?" "Ride side by side for a sec." Etc.

The Film Guy took turns, first instructing the H to get as close as he could to the moving van and to eloquently describe the beauty of his surroundings. Then me. Then the H. Cheeks rippling in the wind and eyes tearing up all the while.

Just when we thought they were finally going to set us free until we met for lunch a few more miles down the mountain, The Film Guy related his new grand strategy to all of us. The Producer Lady was now to drive the minivan BESIDE us...straddling the center line...with the sliding door open, so that The Film Guy could get some footage of us and our bikes from the side. If anything seemed "squirrelly" we were to let him know right away. Ha!

People, this was so not cool. Ok? Just trust me on this one. Riding a bike 20 miles an hour (and I do mean "riding" - we had cause to pedal maybe 1/2 mile the entire time) with a minivan three feet from your tires, headed around 23 (yes, twenty-three) switchbacks in succession is just not kosher.

We made it alive, and stopped for lunch. It was then that we learned we'd actually be happily enjoying the view from the restaurant, smilingly receiving our plates of food, and lovingly toasting one another and our fabulous vacation for the camera.

On and on this day went...from biking...to lunch...to biking...to hiking...to waterfalls...to coconut drinks, mic'ed and videotaped all the while. And constantly prodded for catchy soundbites and posed for action shots.

Having not expected such a full-on interview experience, we were not dressed the part in any way. In fact, at one point, I was wearing what can best be described as pajama bottoms and a stretchy yoga top thingy...big ol' sheen of sweat and dirt on my face and arms covered with mosquito bites. We must have looked more like castaways they drug out of a jungle somewhere than the carefree vacationers we were purported to be.

I'm sure we'll look back on this experience (and the resulting 2-minute television spot) and laugh our little asses off. But at the time, I seriously wanted to ramp that bike off the side of the volcano and ride off into the sunrise - to escape low-budget television hell and make for freedom's glorious shores.


Back, but not yet in action.

Phew! Finally off the plane and back at home. Just yesterday, I was boogie boarding my butt off, sipping mai tais on the beach and lunching on the freshest-of-the-fresh seared ahi. Now I'm lazing my butt off, sipping hot tea and blocking out the gray 40 degree day.

Ahhh vacation...how I love thee. And miss thee already.

I'll try to get some photos up this week.

In the meantime, you should mosey on over to my friend Luke's blog and take a gander. It's a shiny new film review blog that is sure to please mainstream and cult movie enthusiasts alike.


Maui Wowi.


Posts will be infrequent for the next week, as I am here! Taking the infamous Road to Hana today. Photos forthcoming.



Vote Yes on Referendum I people. You simply must.

That this is even an issue, and that it must still be presented carefully (it's only basic legal rights...marriage is still just between a man and a woman...don't worry, "they" aren't being treated the same as "us"...you heteros are still special and the sanctity of your union preserved, etc.), makes me vomit.

But Ref I is something. And given the infantile, palliative tone of recent ads, it seems like the most we can hope for at the moment.

Get out and do it!


'Tis the season to be jolly.

Finally, my long-standing request to my family that we end the whole christmas gift-giving charade was accepted! And happily so! To what do I attribute this sudden breakthrough? The winds, perhaps? Solar flares? Butterflies flapping their wings in South Africa? I know not.

I do know, however, what a complete relief it is to be able to simply avert my gaze from all the obnoxious advertisements (already ubiquitous) for non-essential gifty items this season. It's like a whole new world for me! And a little less stressful one at that. For a couple years, I'd been suggesting that we all save our hard-earned dollars and take a family trip somewhere instead of fighting the throngs of crazed shoppers and the airport gridlock to gather on a day that means nothing to the H and I, and little to the rents. Granted, my mom will miss some of the ceremony, but she'll get over it. And my little brother and my dad will still get talked into attending midnight mass at the downtown catholic church (suckers!). But the H and I - off scot-free ya'll!

Now thanksgiving - that's a holiday worth some effort. I'm already dreaming of guilt-free consumption of carb-laden favorites like stuffing and mashed potatoes. And, of course, the wine. We must ALWAYS give thanks for the wine.