Monthly archive for November 2009

The Ghost of Pushups Past

About a year ago, as a result of some egging on, I decided I would participate in the 100 Pushups Challenge, which offers you a training plan and some very convincing promises that you’ll be able to do 100 pushups at the end of 6 weeks.  It all sounded very doable – simple, really – because who doesn’t want to be able to say they can do 100 pushups?  And who can’t, when equipped with a very specific and easy-to-follow training plan, actually learn to do 100 pushups?  I can’t, apparently, and the experience (brief though it was) will forever be filed in my brain under T, for “Things That Are Good Ideas In Theory But Are Both Painful & Embarrassing In Execution.”  (See also:  Learning To Ski, Trying To Solve Quadratic Equations, and I Wonder If I Can Still Do A Backflip.)  (more…)

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did

I was having one of those days, today, where the walls feel a little like they’re closing in on me and the floors feel a lot like they’re covered in an amount of fur produced by some combination of a dog, two cats, and a wildebeest, and I was feeling sort of like I didn’t really want to deal with either problem, so I escaped to Starbucks for a little while.  I discovered this weekend while in Ottawa hanging out with my cousins that I had an extra $30 on my Starbucks card (personalized for me a few Christmases ago by my mom and which I had set to auto-reload for a while and which apparently did not STOP auto-reloading as per my instructions around the time the economy all went to crap) that I was unaware I had, so I was looking forward to a festive red cup hot chocolate purchased with FREE MONEY woo hoo!

I ordered a gingerbread hot chocolate and then observed the following conversation between the two baristas a few minutes later:

Barista #1:  Did you put the gingerbread syrup in already?

Barista #2:  Yes.  I did.  At least, I think I did. (pause) Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did.

Barista #1:  How sure are you?

Barista #2:  Really sure.  (pause) Well, pretty sure.

Barista #1:  I think I’m going to add the syrup again just in case.

Turns out, Barista #2 had in fact already added the syrup, which I did not discover until I was halfway home and took my first sip.  This hot chocolate burns going down, kind of like scotch only cheaper, slightly less disgusting, and less likely to be paired with a cigar and this week’s issue of The Economist.

On the bright side, I now have a semi-permanent immunity to vampires

At the risk of coming across even more Howard Hughes-like than usual, here is a brief and incomplete list of things I don’t like:

  • when my food touches
  • food that has peas in it, especially if there is no good reason for there to be peas in it to begin with
  • eating something I don’t recognize
  • eating something I’ve never eaten before, or something I have eaten before but that is prepared in a new way
  • meat that is prepared in such a way that it reminds me that yeah, I’m eating an animal here, and while it may taste good, I’m too weirded out to really enjoy it, or meat that doesn’t look quite ENOUGH like meat and makes me wonder just what I’m eating here

And now a brief list of foods that I really shouldn’t like, based on the previous list:

  • the chicken shawarma platter I just ate at the mall

A chicken shawarma platter, for the uninitiated among us, is a platter that consists of a mixed-up pile of random quantities of some pretty random foods, and can include any or all of the following, depending on where you’re obtaining said platter:  garlic, hummus, some sort of salad (often somewhat coleslaw-y in appearance, but not quite coleslaw-y in flavour), garlic, curried rice and/or roasted potatoes, various pickled and/or spicy vegetables (including, but not limited to, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, onions, and peppers), garlic, hot sauce, and the shawarma meat itself, which is chicken or beef that was once all one big piece but was then chopped up, marinated & seasoned, and then all glued back together again around a giant metal skewer (how this is accomplished I do not know and have no interest in finding out) and is kind of sawed at by the food service employee making your platter until a sufficient quantity has fallen in disarray around and on top of the rest of the food on the platter.  It’s usually served with a pita on the side and, if you’re lucky, they’ll also put some creamy garlic sauce on top of the whole disgusting mess.

If you can get over the fact that the rice may have peas in it and you might have trouble recognizing most of the foods that are touching each other on your plate, the only real downside to this is that you may have an appointment to meet a friend for a run that same afternoon and you’ll probably have to cancel that appointment and run on the treadmill instead because over an hour has elapsed since lunch (not to mention two teeth brushings and two Listerine garglings) and you still can’t taste or smell anything but garlic.

How to succeed at spam without really trying

I’m fascinated by spam.  The email marketing, I mean, not the canned meat product.  (Although I’ll admit to being a LITTLE fascinated by the canned ham, because: ew.)  I think this particular interest has roots in the same part of my brain that has a deep and abiding love for infomercials, because the overriding reason for my love of spam is the fact that much like the people who are too stupid to figure out how to operate a regular blanket, there are people out there who are stupid enough to ACTUALLY receive these emails and then immediately whip out their credit cards to ORDER DISCOUNTED MEDICATIONS ONLINE.  If no one did this, no one would send emails advertising these products, so ipso facto ( or perhaps ergo sum? my Latin, much like my Calculus, is a little rusty) there are people out there who do.  And lo, the emails telling me they’re the only authorized online dealer of Viagra keep coming, and I keep hoping to someday have the opportunity to meet the sort of rube actual living breathing brain-having person who receives these emails and wonders to himself what harm there could actually be in buying pills from some guy named Dwayne at 71% off the regular price.   (more…)