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Moustaches Explained

16 Nov

It surprises me that I should have to enumerate the benefits of wearing false moustaches, but several people have asked me why I do it.

The scientific answer. Your evening will be at least 10% more fun (22% on average) than the same evening without whiskers. Everyone you encounter while will have at least 2% more fun.

The anecdotal evidence. I wore one on Saturday for W‘s birthday and the following things happened.

1. When I boarded a bus, a man stood up and applauded me.

2. When I made a routine trip to the bar bathroom, a guy shouted, “Chick with a ‘stache!” and the rest of his table threw up their arms and cheered for me. They cheered again when I returned from the bathroom.



I was a panda.

1 Nov

Drunk bar pictures prove we’re still fun

31 Oct

A few weeks ago I dragged W east for a wedding. Remember? I know it’s old news, and he already blogged about it. But it was such a magical trip, I need to share it with you.


Purpose of journey: To serve as a bridesmaid, with W as my date.

Length of stay: 72 hours.

Goals: Don’t disappoint the bride.

The highlights:

1. Mighty Taco.

I’m considering changing my tagline to GUACAMOLE HAS ARRIVED. I’m not sure if this was really a highlight for me because the sad fact is they don’t put a lot of love into their vegetarian options.


3. Breakfast scrabble.

4. The wedding/reception. I think he’s making fun of Tommy in this picture.

5. Seeing Michelle for the first time since May 2006. It almost didn’t happen. Like me, she barely made her flight, but her backstory is more solid than mine. She’s an equine vet, she’d been at the clinic for days, and she was covered in blood and goat semen when she arrived at the ticket counter, begging to be put on the plane. They let her right through. Really. Probably because she’s so adorable and her southern accent comes out when she’s tired.

6. Whitney’s swim in the cold, swift Niagara River. I have a great video of him jumping in but I’m not supposed to show it to you.


Purpose of journey: To rekindle our relationship in the city where it all began.

Length of stay: 13 hours.

Goals: Smell a baby’s head. Have a circuitous conversation with PHiL. Put Lisa in my pocket. Touch Seelander.

The hightlights:

1. W’s playlist on the drive. When we called Little Lisa Paladino to give her an update on our progress, W warned her that there would be no hugging. But that fell apart. There was a lot of hugging. We were like hobbits in a mead hall.

2. The first round of canal jumping.

3. Frozen beers at Seelander’s house. He owns it. He is the landlord. Such a tyrant.

4. Will’s house. I met baby Dawson and I was talked into buying a Genesee Rowing shirt in a ladies’ small.

5. Dinner somewhere. It was good, but I forget. I think we had coffee. This is when Lisa started to wear Whitney down.

A hug! Success.

Sadly this is the last we saw of her because she had to go to work, where sometimes she has to touch dead bodies. This inspired more hugging.

6. I think next was Boulder Coffee for Canadian coffees (bourbon, coffee, espresso, maple syrup, whipped cream, awesome). I also think this was the only thing I paid for all night. I’m sorry. After a few drinks, everything just seems free. Does that happen to you?

This is where the thoughtful political discussion began. People tell me they have no idea what that post is about. Just know that W’s now classic strategy when sparring with self-identifying libertarians is to confront them about community services like trash collection. It’s not sexy, but that’s kind of the point.

7. The Old Toad. I lost at least one thumb war and ACCIDENTALLY threw Whitney’s camera on the floor twice. It’s cute how sad he gets when his camera dies. Like it’s not inevitable. Fortunately it didn’t stay broken. In fact, maybe I’m the one who fixed it. I don’t remember. Can you tell he still loves me?

PHiL’s eyelashes kill me.

8. Intense car dancing. I know I had a leg out the window. Then we chatted with a police officer for a few minutes. For a short while there we were all libertarians. This was followed by even more highly spirited car dancing. (If W’s playcount of Alicia Keys – No One hasn’t shot way up since that night, he’s lying.)

9. The Elmwood. At least two more pots of coffee were consumed.

PHiL and I abstained from a shot of something so I talked us into a spoonful of ketchup instead.

And I’m not eager to include this picture, but check me out not paying for something.

10. Driving down the treacherous driveway of the old Crittenden Blvd homestead. We even got out to look at the spot on the house W used to smash into with his minivan. We never did pay for those missing shingles, even though his van had a house-colored stripe. Here’s a picture of the inside of it from five years ago (stolen from W).

11. More canal jumping. So cold. Not pictured.

12. Seelander’s house “for the night.” He made us hot chocolate to stave off hypothermia and I spilled it. Snuggling. Twenty minutes later, I put on canal-wet pants and W and I left to catch our early morning flights from Buffalo. I made mine with seven minutes to spare.

Refresh your browser.

25 Apr

Come out of your reader to see my new header. Yes it is Friday night. I’ve had a long day in a long week. This is how I kick back with a box of wine.

Sweater Thursday XXI.

20 Mar

Today is the birthday of the father of the zip cardigan, Mr. Fred Rogers.* I encourage you to wear a sweater every Thursday, but today the entire city of Pittsburgh is behind me.

I hope you heed the call. As Mr. McFeely says, it doesn’t have to have a zipper down the front, it just has to be special.

If he were still with us, Mr. Rogers would be 80 years old. Fred and I have several things in common. We are both Presbyterians from Pittsburgh, and at one time, we both lived next door to Mr. McFeely, the mailman featured in that clip. (Actually, my family moved away from him before I was born so that doesn’t really count. Perhaps it is only family legend that he would come to Katie and Meghan’s birthday parties loaded with presents, shouting, “Speedy delivery! Speedy delivery!”)

This morning I zipped up a cardigan in his honor.


It has pockets.


In a few hours I will be on the road to Madison, WI. If nothing goes horribly wrong, I will indulge in the ultimate Sweater Thursday treat: Leslie Hall, the gem sweater lady, live at High Noon Saloon! If you’re in Iowa City this weekend, see her at the Picador on Friday.

My wool-blended heart is soggy and swollen with all this sweater love.

*Thanks to Martha and Letizia (happy birthday yesterday!) for the heads up.

Sweater Thursday XVI: Community edition.

8 Feb

Shawn believes in the power of boots. I believe in the power of sweaters. Today started out pretty shitty but ultimately sweater-wearing people took the day back and we were rewarded with a free pitcher of beer, just for looking like “young people having a good time.”

To start, a graph of my day:


(If this graph was actually legible, you’d notice that around 7:00 pm I learned I should have saved it in a different format that would not render it illegible.) Now, the sweaters that helped turn the day around. First, Courtney in a hand-knit number and the Taco Instructor standing by in a sunny number for a snowy day.


Next, Jane and Chris in stripes. Note the broken popcorn machine in the background (see dip in graph, approximately 9pm) and, barely visible, the coveted Little Penguin logo Chris is sporting.


It just gets better. Here Shawn rocks out to Bruce Springsteen, Cover Me, in a hand-knit green dream. I keep The Boss on my iPod for moments like these. The rest of us are rocking out to the band covering Let’s Get It On.


This is about when the free pitcher arrived.


And finally, Jason looking dignified in a crewneck, but in fact he is bitching about a trip to the mall.


He volunteered for a guest edition of Saturday Socks, but I forget who he would sock. Jason, please leave a comment detailing your socking.


And the surprise shot of the evening: two chicks frolicking in the snow in bikinis. They must be kicking themselves for forgetting their sweaters.  Hard to see. They are running from the camera.


Unwholesome weekend.

5 Feb

Last weekend my trip to Kankakee, IL started a lot like this other weekend. My car does not want me to have any fun. It all started when I left the headlights on and sickened its already weak battery. An hour later AAA was on the scene and revived it. (I made the mechanic promise me I would make it to Kankakee. He said something about waiting until morning to pick up a new battery, just to be safe. What?) I let the car idle for a while to strengthen its baby cow legs while I made an incredible cup of coffee for the road. Within ten miles, the low battery light came on. I shook my fist and reluctantly turned off the stereo and the interior lights to conserve power. I listened to my iPod on headphones instead. Is that illegal? I don’t know. I noticed that when I can’t see the speedometer I like to drive 90 mph. That is illegal. The battery light turned on and off for about an hour and then it wouldn’t go away. I left the car idling while I refueled at a rest stop and went to the bathroom. I hope that slightly negates my reputation for being risk-adverse. Or maybe it reinforces it because I didn’t want to risk a dead car. No one stole my stuff and no interlopers in the back seat. I stopped three more times to idle with my headlights off. That seemed to keep the battery light off for an extra twenty minutes to three minutes. During one of these idling breaks, I called my mom to tell her about my awesome cup of coffee and when she found out I was on my way to a weekend with the Wisconsin people she said, “Remember last time when your car crapped out on you? Don’t tell your car who you’re going to see! Ha Ha!” I didn’t mention that I was already in the middle of another unfortunate car event. She worries.

The last thirty miles of the trip were the most eventful. Google Maps said left when they meant right. I got back on track with a few phonecalls. About ten minutes from what I thought would be my final destination, all these crazy warnings lit up. Anti-lock Brakes! Regular Brakes! Check Engine! Something else! Your Battery is Dying You Asshole! I wish I had thought to take a picture. I am convinced these extra warning lights drained the final life from my battery. Why not flash a single, more efficient warning: Your Death Imminent? At half a mile to go my headlights and all the dials on my dashboard died. My car miraculously drove zero miles an hour with zero gas in the dark and coasted to its death in front of what Google Maps assured me was my final destination, The Fairfield Inn. It was not the Fairfield Inn. It was a townhouse on a dead end street. I managed to communicate my location to Lucia and was promptly rescued. We pushed the car into a snowbank and left it cold and alone to ponder its obnoxious penchant for drama.


Friday night improved considerably upon arriving at the actual Fairfield Inn. The Wisconsin crowd offered me beer and snacks. They are a good-natured people. We headed to the Village Pub. They keep a schedule over the bar there so you can efficiently hit on your favorite bartender.


A fight broke out! I was jostled and accidentally snapped this fist.


The naughty crowd was tossed and I believe our group took over their pitchers.

Back at the hotel, Kermit antics happened. I could post more, but that is Whitney’s territory.



On Saturday, I got a new battery and then a local boy, Todd, volunteered to give us a tour of the Kank. He really outdid himself. The attractions included Lucia’s old apartment, Todd’s old apartment, the world’s oldest Dairy Queen, a gazebo donated by Letterman…


…anecdotes about prostitutes and meth addicts, a real live car accident, and The Tiny Tap – a pretty small bar but bigger than Todd’s hand gestures implied.


The next great thing that happened was the party bus. If I ever go out again without a party bus it will be because I’ve let the dream die. Whitney commandeered the stereo.


(I’m sorry I made impossible song requests. You were more patient about that than you were about Todd’s snoring.) The rest of the evening was a blur of happy times.



Kermit was a generous drunk.


And popular with the ladies.


These two could be none more adorable.


My favorite spot, other than the magic light of the party bus, was The R Bar. This picture is blurry but Whitney wouldn’t let me retake it because he had already sacrificed his dignity by standing with his hands up like that.


He does look like a chump.

On Sunday I drove myself home. The familiar low battery light, now powered by a brand new battery, appeared on the dashboard. And then the brake light. What the hell? Oh, and there was a blizzard. At one point I didn’t see another car for about twenty minutes and I thought maybe I had veered off the road into a cornfield. I would like to think driving through a blizzard with a slowly draining battery with my iPod cranked up makes me cavalier, but it probably just makes me stupid. My plan, if my car went dark and dead again, was to run into the woods and hide from the very large truck that was bound to flatten it. But I made it. And I’d say the sweet memories of the Kank were worth even the nasty chills and nausea that hit me today like the truck that didn’t hit me yesterday.