I’m Investing! Sunday, Apr 29 2007 

As you know, planning my extended trip around the world (not so sure if I should be calling it “a year around the world” because I’d love to go for much longer than that) is my absolute favorite thing to do right now. I’ve been saving my money since my first week at my job, my first post-college job, which I began at the end of July. At first I was saving $100.00 each week, even though I wasn’t making much money at all. I then became a permanent employee and promoted in November, which bumped up my salary considerably, and I’ve been saving more and more now saving $350.00 every two weeks. (I also invest 3% of my salary in my 401k.)

So far, I’ve only had to dip into my savings twice, back in March when I took the trips to Quebec and Texas within weeks of each other. I took out $300.00 at two different times. At this time, after starting at exactly $16.00 in my savings account (I went to Europe in June on reasons of celebrating graduation, being spontaneous, bonding with my sister, and visiting poor James, who had horrible roommates in Florence), I now, at this moment, have exactly $3,922.16 saved.

If I leave in fall 2009, like I had been planning to for a while, I will keep saving at the rate of $8,000.00 per year (a bit more, actually, but that allows for a few withdrawals if I need to do so). That will give me $24,000.00 by that time. Vagabonders (who, like me, travel light, eat street food and sleep in hostels) advise you to plan on spending $1,000.00 per month in most places, less in India and Southeast Asia, and more in Western Europe. It will altogether cost around $3,000.00 for most of the plane tickets, start-up costs and inoculations. I will also need to save a bundle for student loan payments while on the road.

But if I leave next fall, keeping my promise to myself to only stay in Massachusetts for one more winter, I’ll have about $16,000.00. I could also travel for a while that as well. Not for as long, but I could do it.

Now, I spend a lot of time on the boards at BootsnAll (check my profile out, I’m Adventurous Kate!), especially on the “Around the World and Vagabonding Travel” board. There’s also a board about money, which is definitely one of the hot topics.

People who love travel as much as me spend their time at home working multiple jobs and living miserly existences so they can get back on the road as soon as possible with as much money as possible. I understand why they do that, but I could never do that. I don’t want to be miserable for years for the sake of my travel. If I wanted to that, I would still live at home (grah).

I just try to be frugal — my rent is $500.00, which is the cheapest out of anyone I know in the T-accessible Boston area (except for my friend who had Russian roommates’ friends spying on her in the shower, but she only paid $450.00). I’ve been cutting back on alcohol. I’ve found it’s best just not to go out, period. That will sap you of your cash the fastest. And you know what? I think I’m actually a lot happier without alcohol in my life! That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy my wine, but still….

Going off on a tangent here, but I just can’t believe how irresponsible so many people my age are. So many have a ton of credit card debt. Some of them ignored their student loan bills until they started coming in bright orange, reading OPEN NOW, and the interest has skyrocketed. Many ignore the 401k option. Still more don’t save ANYTHING whatsoever.

(Side note: remember that episode of Sex and the City when Carrie’s apartment went co-op and she had to buy it to stay there and she only had $500.00 in checking and $700.00 in savings? Yikes!!)

And the lifestyle — so many people my age spend a few nights a week at the bar. Generally, a girl my age/size would spend around $40.00 on an average night out. Can you imagine how that adds up? Concert tickets add up a lot, as well.

Again, so I live modestly. I buy fresh food and cook. I don’t get takeout at work. I try not to buy clothing too often (with exceptions, like my weakness, DSW shoes, and my new HOTT charcoal gray suit which I’ll wear for the next few years). I don’t have special cable. I don’t drive to work except when I can park for free. I buy food on sale.

I could cut down a bit on fighting the urges to get takeout food after work (like my beloved yes cheese-chicken-rice-NO BEANS-salsa, yes-guacamole-sour cream-hot sauce weekly burrito from Anna’s Taqueria, plus the occasional weekly Starbucks beverage). I also buy books more often than I should, and I have two coupons for Express to use by tomorrow, but I’m not going to use them!!!! THAT is resisting temptation — if I spend $100.00, I’ll save $40.00, but I don’t have $60.00 to spend and especially not put on my Express credit card.

Credit cards are EVIL. I’m trying to get in the habit of using my Amex for only groceries, gas, prescriptions and online purchases. The rest of the time it’s strictly my Visa debit card.

So, anyways, I want to save a lot.

A lot of the people on Bootsnall have savings accounts at ING or HSBC. These two banks are online-only, so without the expenses of operating local branches, they’re able to offer high interest rates. I’ve been researching and have found that both offer decently high rates, considering the state of the economy right now.

ING Savings: Orange Savings Account, 4.50% APY
ING CD (best rate): 9-month CD, 5.25% APY

HSBC Savings: 5.05% APY
ING CD (best rate): 6-month CD, 5.25% APY

Both have minimums of $1,000.00. I think I’d like to invest $2,000.00, leaving another $2,000.00 in my savings account (which will hopefully grow to $6,000.00 in those six months!) that I’ll be able to withdraw if I need to.

To compare that to my interest rate now, I did a little math. My last interest earned was $0.55 when my account was at $3569.82. Multiply that by 12 for an annual return of $6.60, and the percentage you have is:

0.18%.

VERY bad.

Why am I wasting my time with this savings account? Plus, there’s the danger that one of my friends at work made me paranoid about: if someone steals your debit card, they make off with ALL your cash, and you can’t get it back. At least you can get it back with a credit card.

That’s why I no longer use my debit card for online purchases.

All right, so it looks like it’s time to decide. I think I’m going to go with a CD from HSBC for now, worth $2,000.00, since the rates are the same as ING and the six month option will be a good first investment for me.

This is so exciting!!!!

Okay. I’m all applied. I just have to sign it and send it in. My printer’s currently full of papers half-printed and sticking out in various directions, so I’ll do the printing at work.

Money money money money….I’m well on my way to a trip around the world.

I was also looking into TEFL courses in Boston, since having the certificate would make it very easy to teach English as I travel around the world. Who knows — I could turn it into a career!

The thing is, the two most prominent programs (at the Boston Language Institute in Kenmore Square and at TEFL Boston in Downtown Crossing, which is the preferable location for me) are expensive, costing $2,000.00. That’s a big investment, and I’m not sure I want to spend that much at this time. Full-time classes take four weeks of 30 hours a week, and part-time is a full-day class on Saturdays for twelve weeks. I work Tuesday-Saturday — that wouldn’t work.

Plus, if I were to teach long-term, I would start in Korea (the salaries are the highest in the world, the jobs are plentiful, and the cost of living is low), and hagwons don’t require TEFL certificates. (Another thought is that if I had a master’s degree in ANYTHING, I could teach at the university level in Korea or Japan, making enough money to live in Japan, and that would be beyond awesome, especially since college in Japan is widely acknowledged as no work and a giant party before a lifetime of workaholism.)

Why is it that whenever I sit down, I end up writing the lengthiest entries? I’m going to get ready and go into Boston, hanging out at Borders and meeting Dad and Sars for dinner, possibly in Chinatown, where she’s moving very soon….

A Weekend of BOB SAGET and Fun! Saturday, Apr 28 2007 

Finally, some free time!! Now I can write about last weekend. It started out Saturday night. I got out of work, met up with Lisa, and we went to Pizzeria Regina for dinner (love it!). It was then that Lisa gave me my gift.

A shirt with a hand-drawn cartoon image of Bob Saget, emblazoned with the words DANNY TANNER WAS NOT GAY…..(like Dave Coulier).

Saget was in town, and we were going to see him! We had been planning this for a while and were excited. Lisa is one of those people who watched Full House every day when she was little (I was more of an America’s Funniest Home Videos girl and got into Full House later in life), so she had idolized Danny Tanner from a very early age.

Walking through the streets with those shirts was a bit weird, since we really didn’t want to give off a homophobic vibe, but we got the stares and the occasional dagger eyes (yep, I’m talking to you, Indian girl on Cross Street). Times were good — we walked past a bachelor party, the groom in a plaid suit with one leg missing! But the best moment was when we began running across the street, trying to get across before the number got to 1. We were crossing Congress Street and a girl in front of us paused on the island between the lanes. There was approximately one second left, so Lisa BODY-SLAMMED THIS GIRL and threw her out of the way so she could run across the street in time!!!

We met up with my friend Curran at the Beantown Pub, along with his girlfriend, her roommate and the roommate’s boyfriend. After a quick drink, we went in — and that’s when Lisa and I started getting the genuine admiration for our shirts.

Bob was fantastic. Here are my favorite quotes:

Guy in Audience: “WHERE’S UNCLE JESSE?”
Warm-Up Guy: “Uncle Jesse’s in the back getting high with the Wu-Tang Clan.”

Bob: “Now, do any women here enjoy poop jokes?”
Me: “WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Bob: “You are HOT.”
Lisa: “Bob Saget said you were hot.”

Bob: “I would always say, ‘Motherfucker,’ in front of my dad, and he would go, ‘That’s right, I fucked your mom!'”

Bob (describing how he and John Stamos witnessed a car accident): “So he calls 911, and he’s all like, ‘This is Uncle Jesse from Full House! I need an ambulance! I have great hair, I’m Greek!”

Bob: “Dave Coulier shaves his balls, you know that? Inevitably, there’s always someone who’s seen me who goes to see his comedy act, and someone yells out, ‘You shave your balls!’ and he goes, ‘I’m gonna kill Bob.'”

Bob: “Tell me why — they lived in San Francisco
Tell me why — they went through lots of….Crisco
Tell me why — I never slept with Dave Coulier
But Kimmie Gibbler got it THIS way!”

Bob also LOVES South Park, and told the story about when he and his daughter saw an episode that HE was featured in:

Announcer: “Welcome back to America’s Funniest Home Videos.”
Bob: “FUCK.”
Bob’s daughter: “SHIT.”
Bob: “Watch your mouth!”
South Park Bob: “Uh, knock knock….uh, who’s there….uh, Bob….uh, Bob who?….uh, Bob Saget….”
**Crickets chirping**
Cartman: “This guy sucks as bad as the guy from Full House.”

For most of it, though, you really had to be there….but I loved his act. Yeah, he was dirty, but he wasn’t as dirty as I expected him to be. He honestly used about the same level of profanity that I do with my friends. You could tell that he really appreciated all of us being there to see him. It wasn’t fake, the way it is with so many people — he really appreciated us.

I loved that the audience was primarily people our age. We truly are the Full House/America’s Funniest Home Videos generation! And once we left, people LOVED our shirts and kept coming up to talk to us.

Lisa and I hung out for a while, trying to meet Bob in person, but the Orpheum people (a random assortment of old people and little kids) kicked us out, and we missed him. Lisa and I got a couple drinks at a nearby bar, and we left for the night.

The next morning, I ran into my roommate Christie outside the Davis station, and she told me that at the Guster concert at the Opera House where she was last night, Bob made a quick appearance!

That morning, I met up with Sars and we walked to the South End to have brunch at Masa. You can see much more about brunch in the entry below, when I thought we were sitting next to Tom Brady and Gisele.

After brunch, we strolled down Tremont Street and later Columbus Ave, just checking everything out and enjoying the GORGEOUS weather. Having brunch outdoors was just fantastic! We hung out in a park for a while (and watched an otherwise sleepy bassett hound go ballistic on an ordinary-looking guy, convincing us that he was some kind of sex offender or other evil kind of person). I would love to live in the South End — it would be my first choice, if I could live anywhere in Boston. Ideally, in a brownstone off Dartmouth (so it would be close to the T) between Tremont and Columbus. Perfection. And I never noted it, but I decided that I really do not want to live in Beacon Hill. Too similar to Fairfield.

(Also, speaking of Fairfield, I’m going to the Pops concert this Wednesday!!!! Very exciting.)

We walked down Newbury Street, did some browsing at the stores, hung out in the Public Garden and later went shoe shopping at DSW, where I ran into one of my former coworkers. Overall, it was just a really, really nice day, with incredible weather, and a perfect opportunity to spend time with my lil big sis. She’s so busy that we don’t have a lot of time to spend together, but when we do, we always have the best time. We can just walk together and not say anything, and it won’t be uncomfortable or weird.

On Monday, my day off and an even better, hotter day (in the eighties! In April!), my friend Andy started IMing me and asking me to do this iPod audio tour of Boston with him. Now, anyone who knows me knows that my absolute biggest pet peeve is LOOKING LIKE A TOURIST, especially in my own hometown or one of my adopted towns (Paris and Florence). So I kept refusing and refusing and refusing, and he kept getting on my case. I eventually agreed.

And you know what? Parts of it weren’t that bad.

I really did hate standing in front of a monument in front of a busy street, just listening, but the more secluded areas were nice. And there were a lot of interesting facts to learn — for example, who knew that HO CHI MINH was a PASTRY CHEF at the OMNI PARKER HOUSE?!?!?! I had no idea.

So we spent some time walking around the waterfront afterward, and it was just a PERFECT day in terms of weather. With all that heat, humidity and sunshine, I’m as happy as a clam. It puts an extra bounce in my step and makes me feeling like dancing, I’m so happy!

Which makes yet another argument for moving to a warmer climate….

Not yet, though. I think I’m going to be in Boston for some time.

Next is the Glee Club Pops concert on Wednesday, and I’m so excited for that. I switched shifts with a few of my coworkers so I’ll have Wednesday off and I won’t come in on Thursday until 2:00 PM, which will give me enough time to come home. I’m staying with James and Mike, as usual! It should be a really exciting and fun time.

Sars’ Favorite Funny Pictures Saturday, Apr 28 2007 

I know that I have so much to write about (and so much to DO, period), but I am so busy and have NO time….anyways, I want to blog something entertaining, so here are a bunch of random, hilarious pictures that my lil big sis Sars (aka Sarah) sent over to me. If you know her sense of humor, you’ll find it even funnier!
Beyonce/Tumor.

Clay with a beard.

Ambush.

 

Skeletor assaults J. Lo.

Nels Nelson.

The Passion of the Wurst.

Knut.

Trump and some dude.

DID I HAVE BRUNCH NEXT TO TOM BRADY AND GISELE?!?! Thursday, Apr 26 2007 

Okay. I swear I’ll get to writing about Bob Saget soon. But first:

My sister and I decided to get brunch in the South End this past Sunday, since that’s just about the only way we can afford to eat there. The menu at Masa looked awesome and awesomely cheap (everything under $10.00!), so we made that our destination.

We had a lovely meal (I had the Santa Fe Eggs Benedict, on a biscuit with avocado and salsa, and Sars had the “holy diabetes” fried Texas Toast stuffed with bananas, then we shared a cherry creme brulee), which was outside on a gorgeous day, and I kept looking at the couple sitting next to us. What struck me was that the guy looked just like Tom Brady, only skinnier, and he was sitting with a girl who was definitely skinny enough to be Gisele, but her hair looked darker and was pulled up in a knot. They were both wearing sunglasses.

“We’re sitting next to Tom Brady and Gisele,” I whispered to Sars. She looked, then laughed. I mean, it looked like them, but would they REALLY be here, in Boston (weren’t they just in Europe?), having brunch al fresco where anyone could see them?

Near the end of our meal, they got up to leave. I then saw that the girl was MUCH shorter than the guy. She was wearing flats, yeah. I thought that Gisele and Tom Brady were pretty close in height. And they weren’t wearing THAT nice clothes. She had nice sunglasses, but those were the only parts of their outfits that looked designer. And Tom was REALLY skinny — too skinny. Couldn’t possibly be him.

Sarah and I enjoyed the rest of our day, walking around in the South End, hanging out in a park, doing some Newbury Street shopping, watching the ducks in the Public Garden and shopping at DSW. I nearly forgot about the Tom and Gisele lookalike couple.

UNTIL TONIGHT.

I dropped by my dad’s tonight to pick up some of my summer clothes and have some dinner. I was chattering away, filling him in on everything that had happened in the last few days. “And we probably sat next to Tom Brady in Gisele when we had brunch in the South End,” I said dismissively.

“They were in the South End last week,” my dad replied equally as dismissively.

“WHAT?!” I gasped. “How do you know that?! I KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT CELEBRITIES!!”

“He’s always in the South End. He has an apartment in the Back Bay.”

“He lives in BOSTON?!?!”

“Yeah….” My dad gave me a look as if to say, “I thought you knew about this,” with a bit of “I can’t believe neither of my kids turned out to be a sports fan.”

“I don’t think it was him,” I said. “He was really skinny.”

“He IS pretty skinny,” my dad said.

I had always thought that he, being a football player, would be decently big.

“She was short, though,” I added. “Much shorter than him.”

“Yeah, she is,” he replied. “She’s what, 5’11”? He’s 6’6″ or so.”

OH. MY. GOD. (How does he know this stuff?)

“I can’t believe I was sitting RIGHT NEXT TO THEM and I didn’t take a picture!” I shrieked. “This is exactly why I always carry my camera around with me!!”

“Come on. Let them live!” he chided me.

Well, there you go.

What do you think? Was it them? Has Gisele’s hair been darker lately? And have we found the REAL source of my love of celebrity gossip?

On Virginia Tech Monday, Apr 23 2007 

It’s been a long time since I’ve written, but I know I can’t blog as normal until I write about Virginia Tech. It would be cheating to just skip over such a huge event as if it never happened. Especially since I also have a link to it. So since the massacre has been covered in such depth by every major and minor news outlet worldwide, I’m going to tell it from my point of view.

I found out about the shooting at around 11:00 AM on the day of the shooting. It was a Monday, which I have off, so I had just gotten up and was sitting at the computer. Then I got a text message from my friend Jenn reading, “KARA IS OKAY!! There was a shooting at Virginia Tech. I luv you girlies!”

My friend Kara is a grad student at Virginia Tech, getting her master’s in composition and rhetoric. I immediately went on CNN.com and saw everything — that 21 were presumed dead, and more were injured and unaccounted for. I got on AIM and saw Kara’s away message: “I’m okay. Please pray for the injured.”

I just stayed in my room all day, reading the coverage online but not watching anything on TV — I hate TV news when it comes to tragedies like this; they always try to drag the most horrible parts out as much as possible. The death count rose. And I just couldn’t believe it.

I had this vain hope that school shootings would be seen as a horrible artifact locked away in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Columbine being the cornerstone and foremost example. Then this had to happen, and my hope shattered. More than twice as many people were killed at Virginia Tech than were at Columbine. School shootings are still a reality, and they have become our most prominent example of domestic terrorism. Terrorism, loosely defined, is causing violence, death or any other kind of harm to the innocent, with intentions political or otherwise, for the purpose of instilling fear in others. These shooters don’t mean to instill fear — they mean to kill as many people as possible before taking their own lives — but the resulting fear across school campuses nationwide is a byproduct of the massacres. This is terrorism, plain and simple.

Now what?

I’ve been so upset the past week. I’m still in disbelief. And then I turn on the TV and they’re reading aloud from the tributes on the kid from Saugus’ facebook page, and I completely lose it.

Speaking of facebook, I’m very impressed by the support that everyone has given. I wasn’t surprised about how all the new groups popped up (there must have been several hundred when Steve Irwin died), but I wasn’t expecting everyone changing their pictures to the Virginia Tech logo and their school’s logo underneath with the message, “Today, we are all Hokies.”

There was one thing that I didn’t like — my friend’s reaction to one of the groups. There was a group whose name was something along the lines of, “Eternal rest to Cho Seung-Hui, O Lord,” and inside, it was basically people asking God to have mercy on his soul. Now, personally, I’m not into praying for people after their deaths (I pray for the families instead) — I don’t even think that I believe in hell, and I am DEFINITELY not in line with many of the Catholic Church’s beliefs. But I do agree with the general message of this group, though not overtly enough to join the group.

Cho Seung-Hui was clearly mentally ill, as much evidence shows. This poor kid had so many problems in his life, and combining those with his mental illness, he was a ticking time bomb. I feel sorry for him, and I know that if he hadn’t had this illness, that this shooting would not have happened.

So one of my friends joins the group, protests them from within the group, and then writes a facebook note trying to get people to join and yell at them.

Yeah. I don’t understand the point of joining a group just to yell at the group from the inside.

Do we honestly think that the shooter should be burning in hell? Do we think that he is currently burning at this very moment?

Even if I believed in hell, I don’t think he would be there. I don’t believe in black and white — that having sex makes you a bad person, that caring about the environment makes you a liberal, that falling in love with another country makes you anti-American.

I just think that the shooter was a kid who got dealt a very tough deck, and who was lacking a lot of things that we take for granted, like parents who paid attention, among other things.

Does this mean that I think everyone should be exonerated after death? Pedophiles and terrorists included? I don’t know. I honestly, truly don’t know. I need to think more about it. But I’ve always believed that people who are generally good at heart, underneath the mental illness, underneath the brainwashing, will be content in the life after death. Maybe hell is more like in Sartre’s Huis Clos than the proverbial images of fire: it’s just having to deal with a general, unending uncomfortableness ad infinitum.

This unfortunate event also brings gun control laws to light. A judge had previously ruled that Cho Seung-Hui was a danger to himself — yet he was still allowed to buy a gun. The only way he wouldn’t have been able to buy the gun was if he had been forced into a mental institution. Does nobody else see what is wrong with that?!?! Plus, to this day, the gun show loophole remains wide open. Anyone can go buy a gun at a show, few questions asked. How can we not have tighter gun laws?

Changing the laws does not mean we are taking away the right to bear arms! We need to be RESPONSIBLE because INNOCENT PEOPLE ARE DYING — and not just at Virginia Tech. The same number of people die each day in the inner city. Compare gun deaths per year by country: in Canada, the U.K., France and Japan, there are no more than ten or so each year. In the U.S., there are well over two thousand.

I honestly hope that some good can come out of Virginia Tech — that gun laws will be tightened; that schools will have better emergency evacuation plans; that more people will report an individual who seems so disturbed, like Cho Seung-Hui was; that mental health professionals will err on the side of caution when diagnosing. I hope anything can be done to keep school shootings where they belong: just a horrible trend that peaked in the late 1990s and early 2000s, rarely happening again.

Poop and the Boston Marathon Monday, Apr 16 2007 

Tomorrow is Marathon Monday here in Boston, and in honor of the occasion, I have an interesting and disgusting tidbit to share.

My friend Marie told me that she was planning to go to the Marathon (we both have Mondays off now) and watch at the finish line, but her mom told her not to, because by the end of the race, THE RUNNERS ARE COVERED IN THEIR OWN BODY FLUIDS, PARTICULARLY FECAL MATTER.

Ew.

I couldn’t believe it — I was shocked. I know it must be difficult to stop running and start again, especially in a 26-mile race, but is it really worse than pooing yourself in public? And do people really throw up on themselves and pee all over themselves? You’d think that with a marathon that the fastest runners finish in about two and a half hours would be a short enough time not to have to go to the bathroom.

I didn’t believe it — it seemed too much of an urban legend.

So I shared this knowledge with a few friends (okay, a LOT — I was shocked and grossed out and wanted to see the shock and grossed-out-ness on their faces!) to see if they casually had any knowledge about it, and each of them were as shocked as I was. I told Lisa over AIM tonight, and she immediately googled the phenomenon.

The results brought up a page from PoopReport.com. Here is the verbatim post:

Running While Running: Imodium And The Boston Marathon
Posted 04.26.2004 by
In The Bushes (95)

As some of you may remember, I am a marathon runner. I also have IBS. So when I run, I run.

A few weeks ago, I
wrote in to Poonurse about my problem. She suggested a low fat diet, and perhaps a Fleet enema before the race. After doing my own research, however, I’ve been contemplating using some anti-diarrhea medication to bung things up back there in anticipation of the 26 miles of pounding feet and sloshing stomach that will be the Boston Marathon.

Although I was a little unsure about trying out this untested (for me) method on such an important day, I decided to give it a go and packed a box of Imodium, along with some Metamucil for after the race. I was staying with friends who live in Cambridge, so I was having second thoughts right up until the day before the race — I am not shy, but for some reason, travel usually stops me up. However, I ended up having no cause for concern. I made sure to get some coffee every morning and things kept moving right along as per usual, maybe at slightly less than the normal thrice-daily rate.

Finally, race day. I ran down to the evil corporate coffee shop down the street and got myself a big cup of coffee. I drank it with some coffee cake and then chased it down with a bunch of Gatorade and some Imodium. All that was done just in time to meet some friends and ride the bus out to the Athletes’ Village. (For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of running the Boston Marathon, buses leave the Common at 7:30 in the morning to take runners to a big field full of tents, port-a-potties and other runners; you arrive around 9:00 and sit there until the noon — ugh — start of the race.)

The ride out was spent pleasantly, chatting with a newfound friend about bodily functions and running, two of my favorite subjects. She said she had never tried the Imodium method. So far, I was pleased with the results. We finally got to our destination and lined up for the port-a-potty. The lines were already long. I was partially pleased (and partially dismayed) to discover that, upon sitting upon the stinky throne, I needed immediately to take a dump. Well, the weather forecast had predicted record highs, so I supposed that was a good thing; after all, the less weight I’d have to carry around, the better, right? I will inform you here that the poo was nothing that interesting; it was brown with little white speckles and stood up, proud and vertical, from the heap of waste that had already collected in the bottom of the tank.

The two-plus hours spent in the field involved a lot more exciting discussions. For one thing, as we walked around the athletes’ village, we couldn’t help but notice all the people who were sitting between the port-a-johns eating snacks! Much speculation took place as to where their snacks came from and whether those were really chocolate PowerBars they were eating. A woman who had her own method for preventing the runs while racing joined me later. She had her very own bottle of Pepto and sat there guzzling cup after yummy pink cup. Mmmmm! I visited the poo houses twice more before heading for the start, so I wasn’t sure that the Imodium had done anything at all.

As for the race itself, I am happy to say that the Imodium seemed to do the trick, although I was nauseated and had horrible cramps throughout most of the race. I attribute that more to the hot weather than to the pharmaceutical attempts at preventing butt blow-out. And I did observe some runners who had suffered from a lack of foreshit in that respect: their brown poopypants and their bowl-legged gaits made me thankful for my decision to try extreme measures. I later learned that a pal of mine had to stop seven times (!) during the race to lighten his load.

I finished the race about a half hour slower than I had hoped, which seemed to be par for the course — the conditions were so bad that people were passing out and projectile vomiting all over the place. I am happy to report that I didn’t end up needing the Metamucil at all — everything is just moving along as usual. I haven’t decided if I’ll try the Imodium again; I think some more research is in order before I use it at another race.

In The Bushes

Some of the best comments:

doniker (1245) — 04.26.2004
people shitting and pissing themselves, projectile vomiting and people passing out?
I have seen these things happen at rock concerts and keg parties, I never realize it happens during a marathon run.


pooQueen (not verified) — 04.26.2004
Well, congratulations to you In The Bushes for running the marathon. I don’t run, only when I really have to use the toilet and my bowels are knocking hard at the back door. So other runners actually had shit in their pants? How nasty. Why didn’t they stop to go? Is finishing the race in good time more important than soiling one’s pants?


Jimbo (41) — 04.26.2004
that story sucked! i wanna here descriptive stories about explosive diahrrea, not about how everything was good. and rob d.troit, WAY too much information. ehat you and doniker do is your business, and i dont want to read about.


Malicious Pooper (not verified) — 04.26.2004
Projectile vomiting? Did the runners eat bullets before they ran? Jesus!


Shite (not verified) — 04.26.2004
IIRC, the female winner of the Boston Marathon several years ago shit a nice load of ass-piss into her lovely undies shortly before crossing the finish line. She was German or Austrian (?) and the local media loooovvveddd showing her shitty pants with the melty chocolate streaming down her legs!!


daphne (2067) — 04.26.2004
I’m wondering why no one has made butt tampons.
I do remember a triathalon ten years ago where the woman who was in the lead most of the time came in second at the last moment. It was very sad, and she had period blood all down her legs and everything.
I felt so bad for her.
I guess when this is your life, though, that a little poop is nothing compared to beating your best time.

I think I’ve found my new favorite website.

Comments?

Bluelistin’ Sunday, Apr 15 2007 

One of my favorite travel books is Lonely Planet’s Bluelist 2007. This book is for serious travelers who have already done a lot of traveling and want to explore the latest travel trends around the world. The book profiles the top 11 destinations, is filled with crazy lists like “Best Music & Place Combinations” (Hip Hop in NYC; Salsa in Havana; Punk in Tokyo) and “Most Deserted Islands” (Australia’s Ball’s Pyramid leads the list on that one). There is also an in-depth section on “Dark Tourism,” a new phenomenon, in addition to the GoList, the top new exotic 30 destinations, and short profiles on every country in the world.

I went through the book and checked off everything I’ve done. Here are the results:

Top 11 Destinations:

3) USA
4) Italy
6) Britain
7) Canada
8) France

Bluelists:

9) The Middle of Somewhere: Find a place that takes you away from it all
–Palatine Hill, Rome, Italy
–Petrin Hill, Prague, Czech Republic

10) Best Places to Wed
–Tuscany, Italy

11) Great Literary Itineraries
–Florence, Italy (A Room with a View — haven’t read it)
–Los Angeles, California, USA (Charles Bukowski — haven’t read his stuff)
–Rouen, France (Madame Bovary — haven’t read that either!)

12) Tourists Traps Worth the Crowds
–Old Town, Prague, Czech Republic
–Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
–Florence, Italy
–Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

18) In Search of Great People
–Kafka in Prague, Czech Republic

22) Best Journeys
–Floating in a Gondola in Venice, Italy
–Riding the Subway in New York City, New York, USA

25) Tiny Countries Packing a Big Punch
–Monaco (1.95 sq. km)

27) Best Travel Gadgets
–Digital Camera
–MP3 Player/iPod

29) Best Value Destinations
–Hungary
–Czech Republic

32) Paranormal Travel
–Stonehenge, England

39) Bluelist Online Winners’ Lists
A) How to Get There Without Really Going There
–London, England = India
–San Francisco, California, USA = China
–Boston, Massachusetts, USA = Ireland
–New York City, New York, USA = The World

B) Best Places to People-Watch
–The Louvre, Paris, France

C) World Senses: Smells
–Coffee in Italy

As for the Golist, here are the thirty hottest destinations of this very moment (only one of which I have visited):
–Alaska Highway
–Antarctica
–Brooklyn, New York, USA (have visited!)
–Central Bulgaria
–Northeast Cambodia
–Cartagena, Colombia
–Cornwall, England
–Danube Delta, Romania
–Finland
–Gabon
–Ilha de Santa Catarina, Brazil
–Northeast India
–Jordan
–Southern Laos
–Madagascar
–Maluku, Indonesia
–La Mosquitia, Honduras
–Namibia and Botswana
–New Mexico, USA
–New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
–Northern Ireland
–Oriente, Ecuador
–Northern Patagonia, Chile
–Portland, Oregon, USA
–Puglia and Basilicata, Italy
–San Sebastian
–Somaliland, Somalia
–Tohoku, Japan
–Turkmenistan
–Xinjiang, China

This book will make ANYBODY dream about travel.

Fantastic Words Friday, Apr 13 2007 

I don’t know what y’all be thinking when you bring them round me
Let me remind you that I AM THE KING OF R&B
Do you know what that means?
That means if you love your chick
Don’t bring her to the VIP —
Cause I might leave with your chick!

Fuck me, I love me some R. Kelly….but seriously, he makes it too easy.

Bits Wednesday, Apr 11 2007 

A bunch of things came to head as I was walking home from work today, so I want to post them.

How funny are the lyrics to R. Kelly’s new song “I’m a Flirt”? People always give me crap for liking him, but I just love his music, and when it’s campy, it’s fucking FANTASTIC (“Trapped in the Closet,” anyone?). Anyways, here’s the chorus:

I’M A FLIRT
Soon as I see her walk up in the club I’M A FLIRT
Winkin’ her eyes at me when I roll up on them dubs I’M A FLIRT
Sometimes when I’m with my chick on the low I’M A FLIRT
And when she’s with her man lookin’ at me, damn right, I’M A FLIRT
So homie, don’t bring your girl to meet me cause I’M A FLIRT
And baby, don’t bring your girlfriend to eat cause I’M A FLIRT
Please believe it, unless your game is tight and you trust her —
THEN DON’T BRING HER AROUND ME CAUSE I’M A FLIRT!!!

I saw on the main page of iTunes that they had 25 audiobooks under $5.00. For someone who rides the T as much as I do, that’s a great investment. I’ve never really listened to an entire audiobook, but I’m intrigued. And I saw that one of them was “Under the Tuscan Sun.” I’ve seen the movie (I LOVED it), and you would have thought with the number of travel memoirs that I read that I would have read that by now — but I haven’t! I’ve never gotten around to it.

So I’m thinking that it’s perfect, that I’ll get it, and so I click on the preview.

And I’m aghast.

The narrator has the thickest Southern twang. As someone who wants to move to Texas in a few years, I probably shouldn’t hate the sound of that, but I DO!! Ugh! It probably wouldn’t be as terrible if the speaker didn’t have that fake enthusiasm that sounds so artificial. So she’s narrating, and then mentions an Italian man who kisses her hand and says, “Della casa.”

Pronounced “Dellah cassa.”

Not DAY-la KA-za, the way he would have pronounced it if he were actually Italian! She has no excuse — it would have been different if she had been reading a menu, but she was repeating what he said phonetically! Come ON! Did that really not make it past an Italian-speaking editor?

It drives me CRAZY whenever I see errors, no matter what language they’re in. YOU LIVED IN ITALY, FRANCES MAYES — you should know how to pronounce the word CASA!

Last Texas Entry! Monday, Apr 9 2007 

After far too long, here is the final blog entry about my trip to Texas!

On Sunday, Beth and I planned to do the one thing I wanted to do more than anything else: go to MEXICO!! I have to admit that I am a bit of a collector when it comes to travel, and yes, I know that’s not a good thing, because it will rob me of genuine experiences that travelers should have in favor of culturally enriching things, etc. But anyways, I have never been to Mexico, and I’ve wanted to add it to the map of countries where I’ve been.

Brownsville is right on the Mexican border, but the Mexican city next door, Matamoros, isn’t the nicest place. Beth took me to Nuevo Progreso, instead, which is 40 minutes away and across the border from Progreso, Texas. Nuevo Progreso is touristy and features great shopping. There’s also a parking lot on the U.S. side, so you can park and walk over and not have to worry about leaving your car in Mexico.

Beth poses with a giant rooster as we get ready to cross the border. This picture is so her.

My mother has a similar, slightly smaller wooden rooster in her kitchen. My sister named it Ugly.

It costs $0.25 to cross the border and $0.30 to return to the U.S. Once you cross the Rio Grande, Nuevo Progreso springs out of nowhere (it’s pretty rural on the U.S. side). According to signs, most Mexicans are dentists and can offer you discount treatments. There are also stores where you can buy SO much cheap stuff — ceramics, crafts, fake designer bags, bootleg movies, jewelry, and cheap liquor (everything is in U.S. dollars, and a bottle of Bacardi costs around $8.00).

Beth and I walked around, and I bought some birthday presents for my mom and sister. Since I’ve already given them, I can say that I got three ceramic dragonflies for my mom (she loves dragonflies) and a fake Prada bag for my sister. They both loved them. I also got a fake Prada bag for myself.

Then Beth insisted I try some fruit with chile. She loves it. All these people sell pieces of canteloupe, pineapple and watermelon topped with this chile mixture and fresh lime juice. I figured I’d love it.

I kind of hated it, but wanted to finish it. And I did. I’m not sure why. It was okay — I had a TON of chile on mine, and while I love spicy food and unusual food, this just didn’t sit well with me. Maybe I felt guilty throwing away uneaten food when there are so many children around who don’t have enough to eat….

Another view of Nuevo Progreso, the view when you first enter, though it’s taken from the exit side.

Quince dresses! These are some of the more extravagant dresses for Quinceaneras, the birthday celebrations for fifteen-year-old girls. You buy everything matching: the dresses, nosegays, fabric-covered albums, favors, everything matching the dress perfectly. I absolutely LOVE these dresses. Most of you know my weakness for fancy gowns and costumes.

Soooooo, in addition to the Mexican shops, the bootleg DVDs, the fake designer ware and the questionable food, a big business in Nuevo Progreso is getting your hair cornrowed. It was only $10.00, so I definitely wanted to get it done! I’ve never been to the Caribbean or anything, so I’ve never gotten it done. (My family does not believe in lie-on-the-beach vacations. It’s either camping or packing as much culture into as little time as possible.)

I love this Mexican lady! There was also a REALLY weird lady who was getting her hair done. She was in her fifties with short blonde hair that was cut off at the top, like she grabbed a fistful and chopped it with scissors. I figured she was mentally unstable, which was confirmed when she mentioned that she was here because burned all her hair off again.

I call a few friends at the border. “GUESS WHERE I AM — I’M IN MEXICO!! NOW I’M IN AMERICA!! NOW I’M IN MEXICO….”

The Rio Grande, separating the two nations.

Mormons on bicycles again!! You can barely see, but the guy is to the left of the top rung.

Beth drove me around Brownsville for a while, showing me the town center and the historical parts, including beautiful Palm Street. We then went grocery shopping, since I had decided to make dinner for Beth, Tricia and Andrea, to thank them for their wonderful hospitality. And let me tell you, it’s SO different shopping in a region of the country that doesn’t have a large Italian population! You wouldn’t believe how hard we had to look to find marinated artichoke hearts, and there was NO basil, so I had to scrap my insalata caprese. (Beth: “You can just make it without basil.” Me: “THERE’S NO POINT WITHOUT BASIL!!” Grazie, Firenze.)

We went back and made dinner. I made chicken verdicchio, one of my best dishes, which is chicken with artichoke hearts and lemons over pasta. It’s Sicilian, and it’s my favorite food that my mom makes. I also made my signature prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, which is a personal creation of mine that I love sharing with people. Beth made a salad and an angel food cake stuffed and covered with cool whip and strawberries — the four of us TORE through that!

I really love cooking for my friends, and I love to hear what they think — Andrea told me that she doesn’t usually like asparagus, but she loved the way I made it. (Me: “I KNOW!!! You have to ROAST IT!! That’s the secret! People have it all wrong with boiling it!!”)

It was such a nice dinner — and it, along with so much of the weekend, made me realize how much I miss having such close female friends. Most of my good friends are guys these days, and I don’t see my best girlfriends very often….it was so nice. The girls are very lucky to have each other.

I can’t believe I never mentioned this little guy! This is Bandit, Tricia’s dog. He is ADORABLE — a chihuahua and Jack Russell Terrier mix. What’s strange is that he never barked at me ONCE. Dogs don’t usually like me (and the feeling’s mutual), but he loved me right away, and was cuddling up to me the whole time I was there. And the strangest part of all is that he was abused by his last owner, so he has his guard up really high. But he loved me unconditionally. Can you believe that? I love this little puppy!

The awesome and SO hospitable girls — Andrea, Tricia and Beth, with Bandit! I love these girls so much. You truly rock. And I can’t wait to see you again — perhaps another Valley visit will be in the future for this fall, with a possible Austin visit this summer? Who knows? 🙂

My flights back went as planned, albeit a bit turbulent. And it was cool flying over Oak Island in Revere, where my mother grew up, and flying over Revere Beach, where I spent so much time when I was little, and seeing Nahant and East Boston from that angle. But upon landing, I was so upset! It was SO COLD in Massachusetts, and I missed the heat and humidity terribly!

My mom picked me up at Logan, and on the way back, I gushed about everything and told her about my revelation: “I’m so tired of the winters here. I want to move to Texas.”

“I knew you were going to say that when you got back,” she replied.

I’m probably just in the honeymoon phase of loving Texas, but it’s nice to know that the option is there.

Some Amusing Tidbits Monday, Apr 9 2007 

First of all, HAPPY FUCKING BIRTHDAY to my lil big sis Sars, who turns 19 today! I lub you so much!

Easter was quite nice. My dad and I spent a few hours with the extended family, including my grandmother, aunt and uncle (my dad’s sister and her husband), my cousins and their kids, my second cousins. It was really nice.

I spent a lot of time talking with my cousin Ashley, who is fifteen. I first shared the pictures and videos of Vanilla Ice (which my cousins LOVED), and then I was telling her and my grandmother about Sonic and what an amazing place it is. Then my grandmother wanted me to tell Ashley about college and how great it is, so I could be a good influence and all that (hehehe), so I started talking about studying abroad and all my experiences in Florence — and Ashley’s eyes positively LIT UP. She kept asking me tons of questions, and both she and my grandmother laughed hysterically as I told the story about canyon-jumping in Switzerland and how the first jump was so frightening that it made the guys in our group gasp with fear, and the one guy who tried to jump ten times but chickened out all but the last time, and standing on the edge and saying, “Oh my God,” over and over as the rope PULLED me!

But the moment of the day came from my ten-year-old cousin Lauren. Lauren has the most gorgeous hair — golden brown, hanging to her waist, and the bottom of it is more crimpy than curly. Rather than curls, it hangs in giant zig-zags. It’s beautiful. Anyways, my aunt (her grandmother) goes, “Lauren, your hair is getting so long.”

Lauren goes, “When I take a shower, it gets stuck in my butt crack!”

We were on the floor.

My dad and I went home a bit later, he picked Sars up from school, and we had some delicious steaks and watched a few American Pie movies, the tail end of Napoleon Dinamita (en espanol), and some America’s Next Top Model (Dad left the family room for that). I later dropped Sars off at school and drove back home.

Strangely, this was the first time that my dad’s house — the house I have lived in my whole life — felt kind of like a foreign entity to me. I kind of felt as if I were trespassing. And I was genuinely glad to get back to my place in Somerville, even though I have absolutely no groceries. I guess this is morphing into my new home — and it didn’t hurt that Chris Daughtry’s “Home” was playing on the radio as I pulled in.

In other news, I’ve been checking out my student loan payments closely. So far I’ve been paying regularly (it deducts automatically) without looking closely, but I now realize how much has been interest — and it’s been frightening!

I pay $120.00 per month. Along with a refund from Fairfield and the startup fee, I have paid $642.90 total — $400.76 of which is interest. That’s 62.3%. However, my percentage of interest has been decreasing. I’ve been doing the regular payments since January. Here’s how it has added up:

January: 100% interest, 0% principal
February: 85.25% interest, 14.75% principal
March: 72.85% interest, 27.15% principal

Wow. I am doing math, and it is making sense.

It seems that my percentage is reduced 14.75% either per month or per payment. I would imagine that it’s per month, but I’ll find that out when I call them tomorrow. I really want to understand this more, and calling them will help me with that.

April: 62.1%
May: 52.94%
June: 45.13%
July: 38.48%
August: 32.8%
September: 27.96%
October: 23.84%
November: 20.32%
December: 17.33%
January 2008: 14.76%
February 2008: 12.59%
March 2008: 10.73%
April 2008: 9.15%
May 2008: 7.8%
June 2008: 6.65%
July 2008: 5.67%
August 2008: 4.83%
September 2008: 4.12%
October 2008: 3.51%
November 2008: 2.99%
December 2008: 2.55%

In case you’re wondering, the original total amount that I am paying back is $18,084.58.

Don’t think that I’m not happy to do this. I am very happy and proud to pay this amount for my college education, after all that my parents sacrificed so that I could go to a great college. I’m the first person in my family to attend a private college.

Even so, if anybody leaves a comment along the lines of, “Wow, I don’t have to pay anything,” that officially makes you an ASSHOLE!

One Wild Dream Sunday, Apr 8 2007 

I should be getting ready to go to my dad’s for Easter, but I had such a vivid dream last night, I had to share it before it leaves me.

I met a guy in a heavily wooded area — kind of like a summer camp. It was warm, and there was sunshine. This guy was REALLY cute, and blonde, surprisingly, considering that I don’t like blonde guys (even when they’re forced on me, Prague-style). He was about 5’9″ or so, had blue eyes, had a great body, had kind of spiky hair, and kind of looked like Blake Lewis from American Idol. But better. And we were doing a lot of making out in those woods….

Then suddenly I was sitting at dinner with my family, awaiting the guy’s visit. We were going away for the weekend, but I hadn’t figured out how to tell my parents yet. I kept my head down. I needed to take a shower to make myself hookup-ready, so I jumped in.

The guy arrived during that time. He came into the bathroom and pulled the shower curtain back. I screamed and threw my hands over myself. He smiled and closed it. I did a nearby shot to calm my nerves. I was genuinely freaked out, not just screaming for fun. Then he opened the shower curtain again and gave me another shot, and I blacked out.

I woke up in a hotel room in Cadon, Spain, with the guy and several of his friends, at about 3:00 PM the next day. I don’t know whether a city named Cadon exists or not, but it was purpotedly not too far from the French border and the city of Montpellier. I was disoriented and had no memory of the night before. I knew my parents had no idea where I was. I tried to get online and IM Sarah, but it wouldn’t work. Pictures kept popping up.

The guy told me that I had gone crazy and screamed at my parents the night before, then took off with him. I then realized that he had drugged me with that second shot, and I had been date raped.

I broke out of the hotel, and suddenly I was in Harvard Square. I ran as quickly as I could, trying to outrun the guy and his redheaded friend, and I ended up in a bar on Church Street (probably located around where Fire & Ice is, but it wasn’t Fire & Ice). I screamed for the bartenders to let me call the police, but they were so slow moving. I panicked. In the shadows, I could see the silhouettes of the guy and his friend, and they had somehow ended up in the back of the bar. One female bartender finally let me call, saying she already dialed 911. She seemed pretty exasperated, and said that an ambulance would be coming soon. “I DON’T NEED AN AMBULANCE, I NEED THE POLICE!!” I shrieked.

I waited for the police to pick up. Then someone answered with “Hello?”

“Is this 911?” I asked incredulously.

“Yeah. What do you need?”

I didn’t believe the voice on the line. I thought that the bartender had dialed one of the guys instead of 911. I hung up and ran out of there.

It was daylight and there was snow on the ground. I ran around the square, hiding behind everything I could. I could see the redheaded guy looking for me, and I believed that I had actually gotten past him. Then I saw my friend Meredith. I screamed, “MEREDITH!” over and over until she heard me and waved. A bus pulled over, and she was getting on, so I ran on with her.

Now, we were apparently in France. The bus was tiny and white — a row of four tiny white seats in the front, and that was all there was to it. I squished behind, and the doors came out the back. There was a man and a woman driving, and Meredith sat next to them. I tried to explain everything that had happened in French, but I couldn’t figure out the word for rape.

We drove through the countryside and ended up at the school where Meredith was studying abroad in France. I looked at a map and figured that it was Thursday, I had no hope of getting back for class on Friday, so I might as well make it a long weekend and spend some time in Montpellier before getting back to Florence the old-fashioned way — by bus. Maybe I could spend some time in the Tuscan countryside, too.

That was pretty much it. There was a staircase, and though Taylor Hicks was inexplicably there, neither the rapist nor his friend were there.

And that was it.

The Microwave Follies Saturday, Apr 7 2007 

At work the other day, I was about to take my lunch. It’s new, it’s early, and it’s at 2:00 PM (which is technically a bit late, but I digress….). Most days, I have a bowl of lentil soup, for the nutrients.

I’m used to eating at off-peak times, so I’ve never had to wait for a microwave. I walked up to my usual microwave (#2). It was in use.

Well. I’ll just use the other.

I walked over to microwave #1 and began pulling the aluminum lid off the soup. I stood directly in front of it and pulled. Now, our microwaves are located kind of high up, so it’s not as if I were standing directly in front of it.

At any rate, as I was standing in front of it and taking the lid off, a girl opened the microwave and put her rice in.

What the fuck?! I was standing RIGHT THERE, presumably ABOUT TO USE THE MICROWAVE. I mean, if the roles were reversed, I would have asked her if she were about to use it, expecting the answer yes, and would retreat gracefully.

She had put it in for two minutes, so I silently glowered and walked over to microwave #2.

A minute or so later, microwave #2 stopped, and the girl using it took it out. She removed her Lean Cuisine, stirred it, and put it back in. For two more minutes.

I walked back to microwave #1, and about a minute later, the girl with the rice took it out. She stirred it, and it was steaming. She kept stirring it. Stir, stir, stir. Steaming white rice.

“Um….all set?” I asked as politely as possible.

“Nah,” she replied, and then put it in for another minute.

Jesus.

Eventually, microwave #2 was free of Lean Cuisine and I was able to microwave my lentil soup and ingest the nutrients that have been so lacking in my diet since I moved into this new place. It just took a long time to get there.

Is this really necessary? Monday, Apr 2 2007 

As time goes on, it feels like our country is growing more and more conservative — not politically, but in terms of censorship. Paranoia is rampant in this post-wardrobe malfunction world, and people everywhere are afraid to take risks. Changing explicit lyrics into radio-friendly words seems even more strict lately. After listening to the different versions of Pretty Ricky’s “On the Hotline” (yep, bought it on iTunes), I was surprised at just how much was changed.

Original lyrics:

It’s five in the morning
And I’m having phone sex with you
….
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about bubbles in the tub
Let’s talk about making love
Let’s talk about you on top
Or me going down
Let’s talk about phone sex, baby
On the hotline

Edited lyrics:

It’s five in the morning
And I’m talking dirty to you
….
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about bubbles in the tub
Let’s talk about making love
Let’s talk about cherries on top
Girl, it’s going down
Said I wanna talk dirty to you, baby
On the hotline

(Note: I always think “Fugs n Jugs” when I hear “bubbles in the tub,” which is Perez Hilton’s nickname for John Mayer and Jessica Simpson. I personally voted for the nickname “Titty Wonderland,” but “Fugs n Jugs” has grown on me! Let’s talk about Fugs n Jugs….)

Come on! What is so bad about “you on top or me going down”? Much worse stuff has been said on the radio. Personally, I’m wondering how Fergie gets away with saying “Cause you know I don’t give a f’k, so here we go!” in the edited version of “London Bridge.”

Also — anyone who reads this blog knows that I’m always intentionally vague about my job, but something great happened that I have to share. I have a new schedule. Since November, I’ve been working Sunday-Wednesday and Friday, 2:00 PM-10:30 PM. My new schedule? Tuesday-Saturday, 9:00 AM-5:30 PM.

To quote my dad, “You’ll be commuting with the important folks!”

I’m really thrilled about this change. There were some definite advantages of working the latest shift (especially getting to become great friends with my fellow late-shifters, some of whom have become my best friends at work), as well as getting to watch The View on a daily basis, but I’m glad that I’ll be getting a normal 9-5 life again, and will be able to watch prime time TV again, especially American Idol!