Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Phoning It In?

So, I get home from work tonight, exhausted. I had a 14-hour day, with more to look forward to tomorrow. I was beat. My neck hurt, my back hurt, my feet looked amazing in my 5-inch stilettos, but (shockingly) they also hurt. So I walk in the house, and Geo's all "Aw, long day? Can I get you anything?" And I say "No thanks. Just sleep." As I'm dragging myself into the bathroom to change, I muttered "Ugh. And no blog tonight either. Whoops."

Then Geo says, "Hey, you don't want to make a habit out of that." I spun around on my heels and said "Are you serious?". He's all "Yeah". I say. "I've just had the longest day ever."

Geo helpfully reminds me that I missed a blog two nights ago. I angrily remind him that it was only once and, as if he needed a reminder, I've been busy. And he says "Yeah. And im just saying I don't think you should make a habit out of missing blogs."

So, I punched him in his neck, wrote this blog on his iPad, and now I'm going to sleep. Habit: Broken.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moved to Tears

I'm sorry, guys. I know that literally fives and tens of you were disappointed in the fact that for the first time ever, I had to miss a blog last night. Are you okay? I'm sorry. It'll (probably) never happen again. I have a great excuse, though.

I was busy.

I don't know if I've told you this or not (I've only mentioned it a bajillion times, I think), but I'm moving, guys. And turns out? Moving is hard. Especially when you are terrible at it, and your house has, unbeknownst to you, turned into an episode of Hoarders. Because I'm such a giver, I've jotted down a brief list of helpful moving tips, should you ever find yourself in the midst of the Worst Move Ever like I have.

* Don't make the one guy who is willing to lift your heavy armoir mad. I toed the line with Geo by constantly dismissing his attempts at help and complaining non-stop about pretty much everything. I snapped to it after he carried around my couches, armoir, desk, and mattresses without so much as a "You don't deserve this, missy..."

* Work at a company that ships hundreds of thousands of things across the world and end up recycling more boxes than I've seen in my whole life. It's like boxes grow on trees there, and that's pretty nice. Considering money FOR boxes does NOT grow on trees.

* Drink a bottle of wine and haphazardly throw away everything not nailed down.

* Take advantage of the lax garbage rules in your neighborhood. Go ahead and put your crap under-appreciated treasures on the curb in the hopes that some shmuck comes by in the middle of the night and carts it away. Here are the things random people picked up from the curb and moved away for me while I slept: A broken recliner, a very grody area rug, an even grodier long, narrow rug that lived outside on our porch in a bundle for 2 years, 3 rusty bar stools, and an ironing board that might not even stand up anymore.

* Make sure someone you know is having a garage sale very, very soon. Pretty much 90% of the things I couldn't figure out how to just throw away were hauled off to my parents house for what is sure to be an awesome garage sale on Thursday. Seventy-ton TV for $1.00? DEAL. I can't even PAY the garbage men/women to take it away.

* Don't overthink it. I saw Geo and his dad "move" a mattress by simply tossing it off our balcony and on to our front yard. Easy peazy. When my mom and Prinna came to help me pack my hell hole bedroom last night, they just distracted me while they packed all my stuff for me. I have a tendency to micro-manage moving efforts, so by sending me on random quests to find a Sharpie or something, they successfully got my stuff in boxes without worrying about the exact order of how my tank tops were folded.

* Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT try and move a 50 pound box of vases while wearing flip flops. Even if you don't drop it on your vulnerable toes, you will trip at least once and it will take an enormous feat of balance to protect the comically fragile box you're carrying.

* Finally, somehow manage to find Moving Fairies. I don't know how to tell you to find these guys, but I stumbled upon mine the day I was born. Today at work, I was constantly distracted with the amount of physical activity it would take to move all my freshly-boxed belongings downstairs. And then how was I going to get said belongings over to my new place? I have but a humble 4-door sedan. Enter Moving Fairies. I came home from work, positively beat down. Geo paraded me around the house showing me all the things he had done before letting me discover my bedroom. It. Was. Empty. All the boxes, the heavy bags, the trunk full of Halloween costumes. Gone. Turns out, my mom and Prinna had taken it upon themselves to come to my house while I was fighting back tears at work, and moved everything out. They vacuumed my room. They washed the baseboards. They cleared EVERYTHING out and into my mom's giant van, which I can deliver to my new house whenever I want. Then they went home before I even had the chance to skip lunch.

I walked into my room, screamed bloody-murder and started sobbing. I said "Geo! I can't....I can't...what did you? What did you? Oh. Mah. Gah!!!!!!!!" And he's all "It wasn't me!" So I cried again because I briefly thought I'd been robbed. When he told me about my Fairy God Movers, I dropped my knees and declared "I CAN WRITE A BLOG TONIGHT!"

So here we are. Blogging, reading, being awesome. I still have a few things I want to get done tonight, but my bedroom was my own Mount Everest. I can't thank my mom and Prinna enough for what they did for me. I don't think there are words to express how I felt when I saw that empty room. I wasn't even SAD that it was empty. I was so RELIEVED. I could have probably wet my pants at that moment. Rest assured I did not.

Anyhoozle, that's where I am tonight. Relief. I also sold my couches today for a cool $300 and I wasn't even home to panic over the possibility of inviting a haggler into my house. Geo took care of that while my mom and Prinna were upstairs performing miracles.

I guess that's probably my overall best piece of advice for any idiot dumb enough to move somewhere: Be the luckiest person in the world, with the bombest people in the world willing to do your dirty work so you don't go all Britney Spears and shave your head out of pure frustration.

I owe you one, guys. Technically, I probably owe you more like a bazillion, or whatever amounts to a Miracle.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too Much Partying, Not Enough Packing (Apparently)

So, guys, it's my last Sunday night in my house. I'm sad. Nervous. Stressed out of my gourd. There's so much to do, and I just can't get it done. My mom and dad came over today and helped me do some packing, but they were very unimpressed with my level of packing. I am just in over my head. So, because I've got to get back to work packing up a ton of junk, this will be brief.

We had our farewell party this weekend. All the original roommates were here, along with some of our very awesome friends and it was incredibly fun. Huge thanks to all my loverly friends who came and made it a great night! We talked about our favorite memories of this house, watched a great storm from our balcony, and with help from a few drinking games, we got rid of a number of bottles of very old liquor. However, I kept trying to sell all my crap to people, but there were almost no suckers takers. Why won't people take my broken bookshelves? Come on, people!

Unfortunately, all that bidding farewell took it's toll on me. I woke up headache-y and just generally bummed out, so it made for a very difficult day. All this fun times in this place, with such great people make it so hard to pack it all up and move on. But, I'm anxious to get settled in my new place, and I hope to have as great of a time there as I've had here.

But for now, I've gotta get back to packing. I'm going to be up late tonight, and then it's back to work all week before making our final move outta here, after which I will regale you with awesome blogs not written on a computer sitting on a moving box once again.

I'm going to go ahead and assume you'll forgive me for a week or so of brief, or absent, blogs. According to my mom, I've really gotta "buckle down" and get everything done. Apparently, these boxes aren't going to pack themselves, which I think is just laziness on their part.

Thanks again to everyone who came and made this last party unforgettable. NO thanks to the no-shows. You guys definitely missed out. Okay, I'm signing off for the night. If you're bored, come and help me move, okay? Okay.

Friday, July 22, 2011

For Sale

Wowza. It's WAAAAY past my bedtime. But Geo and I went to see his friend Grant's new house, and before we knew it, we were downing cheese puff balls and finding out what vodka, wine, and cheese balls do to a body. I'm otherwise consumed with the moving process, though. Sorry. BUT! Great news for everyone looking for stuff to buy! Here's what I'm selling on craigslist. Unless you want to tempt the fates and let some crazy rando come to my house and buy this stuff and then possibly stab me, you should snatch it up!!

Do you like to sit or lay down? Then these couches are for you. They are made of fabric and have a nice, soft cushiony feel to them. Like the Williams' sisters, they work best as a pair.

Needless to say, this priceless armoir is a masterpiece in Swedish construction. Designed by IKEA and hand put-together by a half-Swedish gal (me), this feat in design is great for putting your clothes into.

I mostly used this desk as a third closet. It's very useful for storing: clean laundry, dirty laundry, pants, towels, shoes, and kickboxing wrist wraps. Also, I hear you can put a computer in there and store all your important files. Handy!

WOW. This TV stand sure can hold a lot of things. It's all metal and glass, so it's like crazy simple to keep clean. And it basically blends in with all your decor since you can barely see it under all those cords and gadgets. What a steal! (Meanwhile, none of the items pictured are included with the sale of the TV stand. They are only there to show how awesome this thing is at holding important stuff.)

And finally, these bar stools are awesome resources to have when you'd like your guests to be able to sit down. They are comfortable, easy to clean (or so I'm told by the people who clean them), and the best part is that they can be used outside. We've had them on our deck for one year, and they still look bad amazing.

So stop on by and buy all this crap, wouldja?! I need to get this moved out, or I risk breaking my back trying to move it myself. Would you want that kind of injury on your conscience? I highly doubt it. Just do, guys. Buy my furniture so I don't have to move it.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dear Crabby

Obligatory temperature update: It's officially hotter inside my house than it is outside now. What's going on? It's 90 inside, and 89 outside. I know that one degree shouldn't make a difference, but it does. So, I'm comin' atcha from the front porch. It's breezy and dark and juuuuuuuust nice enough to take me from beyotchy to crabby. With that said, here are tonight's Dear Crabby questions!!

Dear Crabby,

I know this sounds weird, but I have a bully...AT WORK. She's always putting me down in front of our co-workers and takes jabs at me in meetings, and just generally doesn't hide her hatred of me. I have literally NO IDEA what her problem is with me. We hardly work together, and when we do, I'm courteous, nice, efficient, and accurate. What gives? What can I do to get her off my back?

Thanks, Crabby!
-Bullied in Brooklyn Park

Dear Bullied in Brooklyn Park,

UGH! Don't you just HATE the Office Bully? They're the worst. I've met a few in my day, and usually I just try and steer clear altogether. However, when you need to work WITH them, like it sounds like you do, it's tougher. Here's the way I see it: If they are going to sink to such childish levels, why can't you? Fill the office coffee pot with laxatives. Sure, the whole office could be affected, but it'll make him/her focus on their not-so-dependable bowels instead of you. Just make sure you bring your own coffee to work. Or stick some thumbtacks in their chair. Or just, you know, speak up when he/she calls you out. You can stand up for yourself in meetings, or just whenever he/she tries to call you out. If you're doing your job well, and you give yourself some credit, you are your best advocate. Just speak up. Oh, and also? Maybe just like always correct his/her grammar in front of people. You'll sound rude, for sure, but you'll also make him/her sound silly. Do any of these things or just, I don't know, quit and work somewhere with a more supportive group of coworkers.

Dear Crabby,

Did you hear J. Lo and Skeletor Marc Anthony broke up? What do you think happened? If those kids can't make it, what chance do I have in making a relationship work?

Take Care,
Amy From the Block

Dear Amy From the Block,

First off, you have the exact same chance of making a relationship work that you had last week. J. Lo and Marc Anthony are both crazy big superstars. Unless you appear regularly on TMZ, you have nothing to worry about. Normal people (Read: Not Famous) are infinitely better adjusted to real life than celebrities. So, don't worry about that. Secondly, what do I think happened? I think J. Lo's head got a little too big after American Idol and she probably started demanding that Mr. Lo do things like spit-shine her bedazzled shoes. Not having any of that, he obvs started being all "Hey, I'm an internationally known star. I've got fans, lady. I'll start making better use of my groupies and my dressing room." Needless to say, I'm sure $hit hit the fan, and one of them had to give in. Blah blah blah, irreconcilable differences, blah blah blah, broken home. See? This is why famous people should never marry another famous person. They go around getting married and having babies just to stay relevant. It's such a shame. Won't someone think of the (illegitimate) children?!

Dear Crabby,

I just got these incredibly cute pair of heels with a sick discount from a sample sale. They're not quite my size, but I thought I'd make 'em work anyway. But the fact is, they're too small. What can I do? Do I sell them?? Keep them and never wear them? HELP!

Thank you!!
Biggest Fan EVER!

Dear Biggest Fan EVER!,

It's always really awesome to hear from a fan, biggest one or not. Thanks for your support! My answer to your question is simple: Get Over It. Shoes can hurt. Are they just BARELY too small? Like one or two sizes too small? Build a bridge, lady, and get over it. You'll probably look hot. If you just can't stand the pain of fashion, though, wear them on occasions when you'll be sitting down a lot. Then people can SEE them, but you don't have to bust out the Dr. Scholl's just yet. Something I like to do is wear my favoritest, most uncomfortable shoes to, say, the grocery store. I call it "breaking them in". Wearing uncomfortable shoes in a casual setting takes the proverbial pressure off, and lets you just enjoy your sexy stems. If all else fails, though, wear them to a place with an open bar, or half-price wine night. You'll be too tipsy to care about your tootsies then. But if you LOVE them, and they were a STEAL, do NOT SELL THEM. Keep them. If YOU can't wear them, save them for a deserving niece or best friend who will appreciate them like you do. Oh, and if you DO wear them out, invest in a foot bath to come home to. Then you can soak your frazzled feet after dazzling everyone with your impeccable style.

Alright, guys. That does it for another week. I'm sweating and exhausted. These were awesome questions tonight! Thanks to those who submitted, and those who DIDN'T?! FOR SHAME. Next time, work this email address into your life: I swear I'll help you. Or, well, it's entirely possible I'll make things worse. But it's probably like 50/50. Care to take a chance??

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Stuff

Today's temperature reached a sticky 88 degrees. What's that? You say that doesn't sound so bad? Oh, did I forget to mention that that's the temperature INSIDE MY HOUSE?! Gaaaaross. I've lost approximately 26 pounds in sweat, which is nice only because I've eaten about 25 pounds in ice cream.

Most people would be all "Pharon, why don't you leave your house and go somewhere cool? Or, say, turn on the air conditioner in your room and post up in there?" Well, for starters, I like to be a martyr. How will everyone know the extent of my suffering if I don't constantly complain about it? And? Being in my rapidly emptying room is depressing. So, I'm sitting in our 88 degree living room, in the dark (I'm no scientist, but I think the lights are heating up the room too), and periodically dripping ice water down my face.

This heat has me going mad. I hopped in and out (and in and out and in and out) of a freezing cold shower tonight. Then I wandered around in my bathing suit for awhile, pretending I was at the beach. When that didn't work, I considered putting on my giant winter down coat and sweating it out. Then, when I took it off, it'd feel like the Arctic up in here. Just looking at the heavy coat sent my sweat glands into overdrive though. This place is just too hot. Straight up.

So you can imagine my reaction to the last-minute call from my landlady informing me today that she would be showing our sauna house - in 45 minutes. I was all "Really? Didn't we talk about this whole 'give us 24 hours notice?' thing already??" And she was basically all "Whatevs. Sorry. But not really." I was all "Okay, but it's a total pigsty and it's roughly Hades degrees in there." She countered with "I really don't care."

Fine. Have it your way. Best of luck you, too. There's no way a normal human being would walk into this steaming pit of crap and be all "This is my dream home! I must rent this place, like, yesterday!" Psht. Your loss, Last Minute Lucy. (Note: Her name is not Lucy. I have no idea why I said that. Blame it on my Heat Mania.)

I've taken all I can take, though. I'm giving in to the sweet temptation of a chilly room upstairs. But let it be known that I have lasted this long. I'm pretty sure you can send the info into the Guinness Book and they'll get right on inducting me as Bravest Person of the Year.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Note to Self

Blah blah blah, more packing tonight. Desk? Packed up. Purses? Packed up (gently, in one enormous bag). Bookshelves? Finally...packed up. It makes me feel smart to have so many books. It also makes me feel very weak because I can't lift any of the boxes. Anyway, I had to do some sorting of my old college notebooks. Does anyone else keep theirs? I just can't let them go. If I ever want to re-learn Astronomy, I can teach myself from those notebooks. Or so I thought. Turns out I did a whole lot of non-note taking in my note taking notebooks. If I want to relearn anything, I'm going to have to a whoooooole lot of sorting through some pretty amazing and elaborate doodles. So why do I keep these noteless notebooks? I guess it's 'cause I'm a pretty bomb doodler.

In between lecture notes from Media History and Culture, I managed to teach myself to draw CURSIVE BUBBLE LETTERS. That's talent, yo. Apparently, I had a problem with the lower-case cursive "s" though. From the looks of it, thought, it only took approximately 6 lectures to perfect every single letter. There were 3 pages of me just writing the alphabet in cursive over and over and over. Also, it appears that the printing press made an appearance somewhere between the 4th and 5th class.

After my freshman year, I was free to take all the Writing courses I wanted. You'd think that, being my favoritest classes ever, I'd be able to refrain from doodling in them. Not so. I'd doodle what appears to be poetry in my Poetry classes. What was that game show where they try and guess the puzzles based on pictures? You know, like a picture of the United States + an empty soup can + and eyeball + child's doll = American Idol? Yeah. Mine were very similar. I couldn't understand approximately 99% of any alleged poem. But I'm sure they were very prolific. There were like a zillion hearts involved. Sounds like I was preeeeeeeeetty happy. On the other hand, there were lots of "H + 8" too. The plot thickens...

Apparently during my Junior and Senior years, though, I really buckled down in class. I had organized outlines, the occasional Ven Diagrams peppered throughout neat, clearly worded notes, and even footnotes. Sure there were tiny little hearts and stars bordering some pages, but their presence was irregular and sloppy.

Then came my last semester. Each notebook has one page filled out. A few clumsily written notes on the syllabus, and whether or not we were graded on a curve. Then nothing. No block letters, no adorable little stick figures handing one another a bouquet of daisies. Just that one page of Day One notes.

I still doodle a lot. I'm particularly proud of a very elaborate hand-turkey, who sports an eye patch and an exact replica of a Kate Spade purse. I drew that during a meeting at work and it still hangs on the wall in my cube.

I don't know what I'm going to do with all those college notebooks, though. For now, I've packed them up and labeled them "Pharon - Desk/Writing - KEEP". I can't help but be very proud of them. What if I end up to be a very famous arteeest? Those doodles could be worth billions of dollars. It's like an investment in my own future. But be forewarned - there were the occasional instances of NSFW Anger Doodling, which consist of happy puppy dogs flippin' the bird to an angry looking Shakespeare textbook that's frowning with slanted eyebrows. Sometimes you just can't censor the creative process.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Boys Day Out

Uh oh. I'm about one jock-strap away from becoming a boy. I've crossed into some dangerous territory. I spent all day - arguably, all weekend - in the company of men. Submersed in their weird little culture. Eating their local foods, trying their local customs, picking up their language, and diving right in to their whole way of life. Today, for instance, I followed around Geo, Perek, Chad, and Mitch (a.k.a. The Good Guys to Know) videoing their attempt to brew their own beer. It couldn't have been more, uh, male.

For starters, we were all a little hungover from a crazy night of debauchery last night, so the various smells they emitted at any given moment was nearly suffocating. At one point on the car ride to the Brewery store, I started gagging. Ga-ross. Some foreign terrain can be an assault to the senses.

Then they sat around doing some brainstorming. Their way of shorthanding words and sentences without interrupting one another was impressive. And when one of the guys would offer up a suggestion, and the others thought it was a bad idea, they'd say, "Nah, I think that's a bad idea." Then the one who made the suggestion would shrug his shoulders and move on. No tears, no passive-aggressive put downs, no hurt feelings. Despite the fact that men never understand a thing woman says, guys are exceptional at communicating with each other. I was actually a little jealous. But then I realized what a girlie reaction that was.

Then we engaged in some culinary traditions. We had a nice, healthy lunch (read: McDonald's), dropped our garbage wherever we happened to be, and complimented the chef by letting out huge burps. Then they got started brewing. The guys had this meticulous way of adding everything, timing everything, sterilizing everything, but every area they used was left messy and wet and sticky. It was like they set off little Mess Bombs everywhere they went. But their methods were exact - to the T. I actually have nothing but faith in the quality of that beer.

Finally, after my video duties were over, and the beer was sitting in the bucket fermenting for the next week, we crashed on the couches. We were at Perek's house, which has central a.c. (which, again, mine does not have and it was like a disgusting 108 degrees outside) so honestly, we weren't in any hurry to leave.

So I laid on the couch and observed some cultural entertainment. I watched Geo and Perek play Call of Duty for FOUR HOURS. Granted for 2 of those hours I was asleep, but still. Not many chicks would have done that. I don't know, it was quite relaxing actually. And since they are hilarious together, I really enjoyed the downtime (and, mostly, the a.c.). When we got hungry again, we prepared a delicious home-cooked meal (read: Ordered Dominoes). My stomach (and thighs and butt) hated me. All it wanted for me was some vegetables and possibly fresh fruit. But those items are not on the Man Menu. And visitors should not complain about culinary norms of a foreign society.

Overall, the day (and weekend) was incredibly fun. I feel more like a boy than ever, though. From the beer-drinking nights to the beer-making days, I really pushed the limits of exactly how far I could sink into Man-dom without converting all together. I almost feel bad for Geo. He didn't know if he was hanging out with his girlfriend or some dude in a dress all weekend (at least I had the dress on). I've got, like, dual citizenship or something.

Back at home in the sweltering heat, though, things are evening out. I've complained about my tummy hurting, and Geo has held doors open for me, and I've lost my TV remote privileges because I insisted on flipping between Teen Mom and some rom-com chick flick. If there's anything to be learned from today, it's that I love hanging out with guys. However, unless I want to gain a zillion pounds and start smelling like a petting zoo, I'd better keep my submersion in the World of the Males to a minimum. I mean, it's a great place to visit, but I definitely couldn't live there.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Performance Anxiety

So we're in Annual Review mode at work. Some would consider it a mere formality, but I think it's very important to take a step back and examine your personal performance from time to time. Since I'm already in "review" mode, I decided to give myself a review of my performance over the lengthy time period of Today.

What do you consider to be your biggest achievement for the day?

Over the course of today, I have succeeded in numerous ways. From getting up when my alarm went off and only hitting snooze twice, to remembering to bring my umbrella to work, I continue to impress myself with my forward-thinking. It is that foresight that brings me to my decision to complete my blog before heading out for a few drinks with friends. These achievements should not go unnoticed.

What do you consider to be your biggest challenge for the day?

Despite my best efforts, I could not muster the energy to make a proper dinner. I overcame this challenge by being creative and thinking outside of the box. I whipped up a healthy dinner that consisted of a box of crackers and Babybel cheese. All without incident. I completed the task efficiently and threw away all my trash, too. I feel this shows my ability to turn a problem into a solution.

Are there ways you could improve on your overall performance?

Um, I could probably have brushed my hair before work. That would have been an improvement. But, due to my aforementioned excellent problem solving skills, I tied up the gnarly mess into a sleek ponytail and made lemonade out of lemons. While I cannot guarantee this will not happen again, I have learned to find a way around it, thereby avoiding any negative consequences.

Are there any side-projects you have been working on that you are proud of and feel should be acknowledged?

It turns out, I have managed to develop a keen sense of hoarding in my spare time. While packing some things in my bedroom this evening (instead of taking a nap - note the dedication to my excellent work ethic), I discovered many empty Kate Spade boxes. Here's a small sample of my collection:

Much to my surprise, upon opening one of the boxes, I was reminded of my superior organizational skills:

More boxes!!! It is the dedication and commitment I've shown to hoarding these items that sets me apart from others and illustrates my exemplary record of compulsively holding on to seemingly unimportant items.

Where do you see yourself in 3 days?

Ideally, I will be the head of a major corporation by then. Oh wait, I'm actually busy that day. In fact, I'll be videoing a bunch of guys brewing beer (see blog coming on Sunday). But I am confident in my abilities to exceed my own expectations. I would not surprise myself at all if I manage to also eat some vegetables in that time period. And the only person standing in the way of me brushing my teeth every day is me. Though, I have no intention of inhibiting my personal and professional growth.

Finally, what grade would you give yourself on your performance throughout the course of the day?

I'm going to go ahead and give myself a strong A+. I worked hard, I'm about to play hard, and that balance is what keeps me in such high esteem in my peer group (according to me). I have no doubt that I aced this day. I succeeded where others would fail, and drove through diversity to achieve the eternal admiration of everyone around me.

I thank you for your time and consideration of my performance. I have no doubt you agree with every single thing I've said.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Dear Crabby

Well my back is shot. I've been packing again. Is this all I do anymore? Yes. It is. Sorry. I'll at least try to make it more interesting by drinking wine whist packing. Then it's like Christmas on unpacking day. "Does this say 'Living Room' or 'Dead Mice'? Who's to know?" Anyway, I got a bunch of good questions tonight, so here's a few fer ya...

Dear Crabby,

What's more important in a guy? Looks or brains? Be blunt, please.

Love always,
(Possibly) Shallow Hal

Dear PSH,

I guess it all depends. Who is richer? I kid!!! Would YOU rather be graded on your looks or your brains? Think long and hard about that, and choose the same thing. Here's a little tip I learned in college - yup, I LEARNED something in college. We are all attracted to our own level of dysfunction. Are you gorgeous but brainless? Go for looks. You can make pretty babies and hang out in VIP rooms with no one the wiser. If you pride yourself on correcting grammar and reading and junk, go for brains and maybe save the world. If you're somewhere in the middle, you have your work cut out for you. You'll have to dig through the know-it-alls and the vanity kings to find the happy medium. Either way, it's more important that you find someone who complements (and compliments!) you in the best way.

Dear Crabby,

Is it true that once someone's a cheater they're always a cheater?

Asking for a Friend

Dear Asking for a Friend,

First, $10 says you're NOT asking this question for a friend. Yessssssss! I win $10!! Okay, personally, I DON'T believe this. I think it depends on the person. If they are shady and sneaky and rude and chronically unsatisfied, then yeah. They'll probably cheat if they've done it before. But people make mistakes. Are YOU perfect? Probs not. People don't always cheat because they're jerks. Sure, most of the time that's the case. But sometimes people cheat for crazy reasons, and then feel so eternally bad about it, they never do it again. It's all dependent on the person. You know how Ross cheated on Rachel in Friends? (Kim keeps telling me to stop learning lessons from fictional TV shows, but it can't be helped) He wasn't some sleaze ball just trying to put one over on someone, right? One mistake does not necessarily a cheater make. But if your bf (or YOU) cheated, it's time to reassess the relationship. Can it be repaired? Can you trust (or be trusted) again? What went wrong in the first place? Figure out all those gnarly deets and you'll know the answer.

Dear Crabby,

Okay, settle an argument, wouldja? I'm pretty sure you can eat most mushrooms that grow outside. My friend thinks most wild mushrooms are unsafe to eat and is constantly worried she's going to get all high if she eats the wrong ones. Who's right here?

Shroom n' Doom

Dear SND,

Who do I look like, Bear Grylls? I have no idea what you're talking about. I used to eat the bark off white trees (I think they are birch trees) and ants and I turned out just fine. Shut up. I wouldn't eat any ol' mushroom, though. Mostly 'cause it's a fungus and that's just gross. Um, hmmm. My advice is that you not eat random wild mushrooms unless you are an Eagle Scout or something. Why risk poisoning yourself just to prove a point? Sorry, SND, but I am siding with your pal.

Well? How'd I do? Pretty sure I nailed each one of these questions. To those who didn't get their question answered this week, fear not! I'll be back here next week, figuring out your lives for you. Yay! If you need help that doesn't necessarily require actual professional help, shoot your $hit to and I'll show you how it's done. Hey yo!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Men and Their Toys

It is an auspicious day in the Pharon Square household, folks. After days of Geo moping around the house, antsy and asking me to do a thousand different things when all I really want to do is stroll around the house making lists of things to pack - the insanity has ended. Last week, Geo's XBOX died. He got the much-dreaded "red circle" which signaled the demise of his gaming console and best friend. After a week of researching his replacement options, a lot of pacing, and call after call of support, he made the decision to replace it. He gingerly packed it all up to trade it in for a new one, left for GameStop, and came home looking like a dog who found the treat cupboard.

Usually, I consider men more hasty and rough than women. That, I believe, is all true until it comes to his gaming console. Geo set the bag on the couch, and I immediately tore into it like it was a bag of bagels. He's all "Hey! Stop it! I'm bringing it upstairs! Don't open it!" sensitive. Then his eyes got all twinkly and he said the words every woman longs to hear. "Wanna come watch me set it up??" Swoon.

So, out of sheer curiosity, I follow him upstairs. Here's where it gets just, like, weird. He sets the bag on his bed. Carefully removes the box. Sets that on the bed and just kind of looks at it. Is he going to cry? Ooof, almost. He opens the box, and plucks each piece, each cord, each accessory out and sets each on the bed. Then he does what I've never seen any man do before.

He takes out the instructions and reads them.

He's not taking any chances, he assures me. He's not going to mess this up before he even gets to play his first round of Call of Duty. So, finally, he unwraps everything and is piecing it all together.

It's all a very dainty process. The careful unraveling of the headset, the slow removal of the protective plastic strips, the care with which he hugs the console as he walks it across the room. So slow. So methodical. So...girlie.

"Dude!" (I turn into "dude" when he talks about guy stuff to me) "This new controller is SO clean! Look at the black console! It makes my old white XBOX look like a marshmallow!" I make a helpful comment about going black and no longer having the desire to return.

He's looking for a spot to set the XBOX. With his old one, he'd just kind of set it on a pile of dirty laundry and didn't care if it toppled to the side. But this one, he weighs the options of putting it next to the TV (no, too close to the window - what if it rains?!) and setting it in between a couple pieces of furniture (no, it might get too hot) before basically nestling it near the wall. So much to think about...

Finally, he sits in his XBOX chair and starts the whole thing up. In his eyes, I disappear from the room as the glowing screen and familiar clicks and swoosh sounds come back. I'm pretty sure he's not talking to me when he mumbles "Oh God, you are awesome."

So, now it's back to peace and quiet on the main floor of our house. I must admit it's kind of nice to have the routine restored. It was very unsettling seeing a man be so delicate and cautious with something that isn't a bomb or, like, a really messy burrito. Now he's upstairs screaming "GET THE CARE PACKAGE! WATCH OUT! UGH, YOU MORON, STOP GETTING SHOT!" and other manly man-isms. Though, I can't guarantee he won't sleep with the controller under his pillow...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pod-dy Mouth

Ugh. Mondays. Amiright?? Yeah, I'm right. Pretty much the only thing that gets me through the first long day of the work week is my podcasts. They're like my versions of soap operas. My Stories, if you will. And Mondays are the days when they're all new. So, back-to-back-to-back podcasts is the name of the game.

I like to up my hipster/smarty pants street cred by starting with a little This American Life. Then I catch up on the "news" with Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. Then it's off to science class with The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. It's freakishly regimented. At this point in the day, I'm feeling all well-rounded and whatnot.

Then it's on to WTF Podcast with Marc Maron. That's where it gets all nitty gritty, down and dirty, crude and rude. It's like one of the funniest podcasts ever. Basically, this dude Marc Maron has been in the Stand-Up Comedy circuit for like a billion years (or, like 30). He knows everybody who has ever stepped foot in an open mic night. He's tight friends with Louis C.K. He met with Charlie Sheen to give some insight on the crazy. He's hated and envied and gotten drunk with seriously every comic ever. So, he's good stuff to listen to.

What you should be prepared for: He's intensely neurotic. He's got serious issues with his parents, his ex-wives, booze (he's been sober for over 10 years, but still loves to reminisce about the hazy nights of the past), everything. He talks incessantly about who he thinks does and does not deserve to be a famous comedian. He waxes nostalgic about the good ol' days of comedy at length. But, still, he's endearing. Is it the fact that he podcasts in his own GARAGE, which he calls the Cat Ranch because there are cats everywhere? Probably. I mean, he just has people like Ben Stiller come and chill in his garage and after his own round of neurosis has subsided, he somehow gets people like Conan O'Brien to talk about their childhood, and what it REALLY felt like to be shot down by NBC. It's intimate. And it's hilarious.

Lately, Marc Maron has been popping up everywhere: The Onion's A.V. Club, Entertainment Weekly, blah blah blah. He's been doing his podcast for a few years now, and I started listening last year. Therefore, I'm pretty sure I can take a hefty dose of credit for that. Nevermind his crazy work ethic, and his unfailing dedication to the craft of comedy. Nah, it's probably the fact that I listen every Monday (and Thursday!) and make other people listen to him all the time.

Anyway, I need some more podcasts to listen to. I'm all done with my Monday shows, and I need something for Tuesday. And Wednesday. And Thursday. Do you guys listen to podcasts? What's good? What don't I know about? Most importantly, though, go listen to all those podcasts I mentioned. They will learn ya some lessons, and put a chuckle in your buckle. (What? Who says that?! Me, I guess.) But seriously folks, what podcasts are out there that are Must Listens?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Get on Board

My brother made a good point this weekend. Perek was all "Do you ever think, like, how weird it will be that your kids someday will be able to read all your blogs and know everything you did?" And I was all "Yeah, it'll be totally awesome. They'll know how totally cool I am." And then this weekend happened. I spent way more time than any self-respecting adult should spend playing board games. Talk about cool!

Friday night, Perek and Geo's friend KG came over and we all played the nerdiest of nerdy board games, Settlers of Catan. I don't know why I play with them. I almost NEVER win, but for some reason they still target me and try and take me out of the game early. Maybe it's just because I'm a girl? I don't get why they'd try and remove the ONLY part of their gaming experience that keeps them from being nerdy, anti-social gamers - you know, girls. I'm keeping their reps above water here.

Then we switched to Trivial Pursuit, where I really carried my team. And I did so by falling asleep halfway into the game to let Geo play in peace without me constantly interrupting him by saying "Why would ANYONE even know that question?! It's unfair. I want a new one." Pretty sure he still lost, though. Turns out, he could have really used my help with the Entertainment category. How can you NOT know that the song "Mister Cellophane" is from the musical Chicago?? Duh.

But the real fun was on Saturday night. Geo and I were randomly invited to a friend of a friend's Yahtzee party. Yeah. You read that right. It was legit, too. We went over to their house and each paid the $10 buy-in. There was a big ol' brackety chart thing showing who would move on after each round. It was the place to be apparently, and there were like 12 other people playing in the head-to-head tournament. So we settled in to our respective games and got down to business. All around the house you'd hear "YAAAHHHTTZZZEEEE!" Or, more commonly "Come oooooon.....Yahtzee! NOOO!" I lost in my first round, which was lame. I thought I was being helpful by pointing out to my opponent "Hey, don't roll again, that's Large Straight, right?! You should take that." Stupid, stupid, stupid. She beat me by like 40 points - or, the equivalent of one Large Straight. But it was surprisingly a great time. I was nervous, too, what with all the public displays of math going on around me. I thought for sure someone would call me out on my finger-counting, but no one seemed to mind. (Plus, I saw more than a couple other people tapping their fingers as well, so that was comforting. Wait, in hindsight, we really should have had an official score counter. I messed up my math at least a half dozen times because finger-counting is not always "exact" sadly.)

So, just another craaaaazy weekend under my belt. What about you? How was yours? I really hope at least one of you played some sort of analog (read: board) games so I don't feel like such a loser. (Oh, and it totally didn't help that I didn't win ANY of the games of I played, so I can't even brag about that. I think that makes me a Super Loser. Maybe I win at being the biggest loser? Will that work? Yeah, I'm going to go with that.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Would You Rather...(Yes I Would)

I gave myself a goal last weekend. Every day, I was going to pack up or clean up one area of my house. I've been doing okay with it, but I don't want to do it anymore. I'm sick of trying to find boxes, trying to decide if I'm going to keep, sell, throw, or store every stupid little doohickey in sight. Why do I have SO many vases?! In order to postpone my packing job tonight, I've decided to make a list of all the things I'd rather do than pack.

* Wear fiberglass contacts in my eyes
* Eat a diaper
* Shoe shop exclusively at Schuler Shoes
* See Carrot Top in concert
* Talk to Angelina Jolie about her tattoos
* Let a cat sleep on my face
* Go on a run around Lake Calhoun with no pants on (or, okay, even just "go on a run")
* Take a shower at the YMCA barefoot (the ghetto Y, too)
* Drink toilet water
* Play Keep Away by myself...with a grenade
* Listen to a story about algorithms
* Eat tacks
* Get trapped in a port-o-potty at a Spicy Taco Eating Contest
* Let a mosquito live in my ear
* Wear a sweater made out of barbed wire and Gary Busey's belly button lint
* Have no toe nails
* Take the Driving Test again
* Adopt a family of raccoons
* Try going blonde again
* Run into a high school boyfriend during a fat day
* Watch an Everybody Loves Raymond marathon
* Study math
* Relive puberty
* Read Twilight
* Have the Pokemon theme song stuck in my head. Forever.
* Snort a pineapple up my nose
* Be on the Titanic
* Get really into composting
* Give veganism a try
* Become besties with Heidi Montag
* Be Lindsay Lohan's agent
* Date Charlie Sheen
* Give up carbs
* Fill my iPod with only Nickelback songs

Whoa! I've gone too far. Clearly, I've gone crazy with the melodrama. Whatever. I've succeeded in putting off the packing for tonight just by writing this blog, so Huzzah! Score: Pharon - 1, Packing -0. Alright, I'm off to make another list of all the packing I've got to get done this weekend now. Hope you all have an awesome, non-packing weekend!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Crabby

Okay, so this morning, I realized I had put my underwear on inside out. That's how my day started. When I got home, I went through and cleaned my linen closet and underneath my bed, and ended up with FOUR BAGS of trash. That's how my day ended. Clearly, I need help. But today is not about MY issues, it's about YOUR issues. Let's do this...

Dear Crabby,

So, my OCD is going crazy lately. I've spent hours after work cleaning my house and I end up missing out on hanging out with friends. I'm not like crazy OCD, I'm just wanting my house clean is all. I don't wash my hands a hundred times or tap the light switch 48 times before I can leave the house, but I've just been obsessing about making sure my place is clean and tidy lately. What do think is wrong with me? What's my problem??

Thank you!
-Overly Clean Diva

Dear OCD,

What do I think is wrong with you? Uh, I'm pretty sure you're insane stressed or anxious about something totally unrelated to the shine of your wood floors. And what a coincidence that your cleaning is excusing you from social situations! Call me crazy (that'd make you the pot calling me black, though), but I think you're avoiding them, OCD. What's up with that? Is your B.O. really bad or something? Are you stressed at work? Unsatisfied with your luvahhh or something? I don't know, but whatever the ish (issue, duh) is, you better fix that or you'll end up curled in a ball in your pristine house afraid of the sunlight. Get out there, lady!

Dear Crabby,

I have a huuuuuge presentation coming up at work, and I. Am. Freaked! It's for all the partners and VPs and my bosses, along with a few of my fellow agents. I've never had to do anything like this before, and I'm so nervous that I'm going to mess it up and get fired or something. I'm really prepared with the material, but I'm afraid my nerves will get the best of me. What can I do to stop spazzing and impress my bosses??

Presentation Hesitation

What's up, P.H.?

I do NOT envy you, girlfriend. I HATE standing up and speaking in front of people. I freeze up and can't say words. Having said that, there are a few sure fire things you can do to minimize and anxiety you may have. Wear a dark shirt. That'll remove the risk of showing any offending pit stains that could overshadow your genius presentation. Don't cake on the makeup, either. It'll just drip in your eyes and down your cheek and people will think you are melting and start to wonder if you are the Wicked Witch of the West or something. And even if you feel like you've got the material down, jot down some notes with some X-rated doodles in the margins. Then you can get a little laugh if you get lost. And do you think you could maybe get away with lacing some of their waters with tequila? That'd probably help them relax which could be awesome. Other than that, just try and chill and have some confidence in yourself. And remember this: You just have to get through it and then you can go home and cry and drink wine or whatever and it'll be fiiiiine! Good luck and knock their socks off!

Dear Crabby,

Um, I know this will sound bad, but is there such a thing as being too cute? I hear it from people all the time - "You're sooo cute!" "How did you get so cute?" "You're are even cuter than a dog hugging a rainbow!" It gets on my adorable nerves sometimes. What can I do?

-Cutie Pie

Cutie Pie? Let me be the first to tell you that there is nothing LESS cute than someone bragging about how cute they are. So, already you are on your way to being less cute. Congrats! But what ELSE can you do to get people stop calling you "cute"? I don't know. Stop showering. Get a mullet. Buy 30 cats. Develop a nasty habit of talking like Sylvester Stallone. Never stop talking about boogers. Eat bulbs of garlic. Ruin people's jokes. Tell long, boring stories that have no point. Wear ponchos and long men's basketball shorts. Start a Fight Club. ANY of those things would make you markedly less cute. Or, you know, just keep talking about how annoying it is that people think you're sooooo cute. That could work too.

Good questions tonight, team! I think we definitely won this round. Same time next week? Okay! Send your biggest ish (yup, "issue" again) to and I'll work it out for you. Peace out, playas...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Preeeeetty Sure Casey Anthony Is Actually Guilty

Dudes? This Casey Anthony verdict today was totally whack. I’ll admit right off the bat that I didn’t really invest myself too heavily in the case. It turned into more of a story for TMZ than a heartbreaking culmination of an innocent child being murdered. Too many “expert opinions” on seemingly unimportant details flooded my news feed and saturated the interwebs. Luckily, it was not me - or ANY of us for that matter - who was on the jury and had to be responsible for determining the fate of a person. Personally, I would have convicted her just because she didn’t cry enough for my liking, or she always looked like she never showered and wore, on more than one occasion, a scrunchie. What can I say? I’m fickle like that.

The fact is that it became an entertainment show rather than an incredibly tragic event with still no conclusion. Now, I’m usually all for the sensationalizing of important topics that go over my head. Sometimes it’s easier for me to understand something like, oh I don’t know, insider trading when Martha Stewart ends up in solitary because of it. Then everyone’s talking about it, defining it, putting in perspective, explaining why it’s bad. And then I can be all “Oh yes, I have an opinion on that” at parties. Am I the only one who gets their tips on the stock market from People magazine?

But in this case, it became some crazy frenzy. All this Casey Anthony trial did, for me at least, was show just how unjust the legal system can feel. On the one hand, I know several undesirable people who have gotten away with something they shouldn’t have. But on the other hand, we’ve probably all known a truly good person who gets trapped by the very thing meant to protect us. Maybe it’s because of money (or, more specifically, lack thereof), or past mistakes, or whatever ace the other side has up their sleeves (“Sorry, Pharon, but once in middle school you traded your friend your ice cream sandwich in exchange for her pudding, which just goes to show that you are incapable of assessing value, and therefore, we cannot justify a financial settlement in your case against Angelina Jolie for ruining your life with her banal movies.”) It just seems so backwards that something as important as a LAW can be stretched and pulled and contorted and manipulated so much. And the winner is sometimes just the person with the best lawyer, whether they are right or wrong.

Listen, I’m not going to go all lecture-y on you guys. But I remember learning this quote from, um, I think it was a documentary I saw on BBC once. “The law is reason free from passion” Fact: Fine, I learned this quote from Legally Blonde which doesn’t make it any less true. But then our whole mentality about our justice system is so wrought with drama and passion and sensationalism and impulse and personal convention that we can’t decipher where our own aspirations and beliefs end and the true nature of the law begins.

I hate that a system that is designed to be, by definition, just and fair can feel so totally bunk. I hate that people sue companies or people just to win acclaim or money or a lifetime supply of McDonald‘s coffee. I hate that people can manipulate the whole institution just for some free press. It makes it a joke. It makes it a weapon instead of a tool. And now with the media’s involvement, ANY legal battle can get a catchy nickname and it’s own graphic if it‘s a slow enough news day. Any legal nightmare can be exploited into journalistic catnip. How is that fair?

Personally, I think this Casey Anthony chick is guilty, and not just of a bad sense of style. Truth be told, it sounded pretty black and white to me. But thankfully I’m not the one who had to do the judging. It’s just such a shame that the truth, whatever it is, was buried under legalese, lies, and the giant load of mundane “details” that served no purpose other than to obscure the facts. Top all that with the media working the public into a hot mess of judicial indulgence and you've got yourself another O.J. Simpson case all over again. Thanks, but no thanks.

Also? Now all the news channels are going to go back to focusing on political mudslinging and miracle drugs and "the 5 things that can kill you in your refrigerator". And that's just cruel and unusual punishment.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yay! Freedom!

Hey guys, so here's the problem. This weekend, parts of Minnesota were pretty beat up after this ginormous freak storm hit. Even though my parents cabin was relatively unscathed, we were a few miles away from Faith's Lodge. It's an incredible place that helps parents who have lost a child get away to cope and share their experiences with others. Anyway, Faith's Lodge got hit pretty hard by the storm. All the incredible scenery and nature around the lodge was ripped up, trees were blown down everywhere, and parts were virtually destroyed. If you guys could take a minute and consider making a donation to the lodge to help with the repair efforts, I know it would be greatly appreciated.

Anyway, it's the 4th of July. I'm sitting on my porch, anxiously awaiting the fireworks in the distance to start. My friend Nick and I are still not sure if we'll be able to see them from where we are, so technically, they could have already happened, but we wouldn't know it. As it is, though, we've just decided that they haven't started yet.

I had a crazy fun weekend. I spent it at my parents cabin with the whole family. Lots of fun. Lots of fishing. Lots of sun. My face looks like a ripe ol' lobster. Success! One of the greatest parts of the weekend though, was my brothers' fireworks show. We were in Wisconsin, where fireworks are legit. So my brother Peter bought some, and he and Perek set them off from the pontoon in the middle of the lake. AWESOME! It was great. They really do a sick job planning their fireworks shows.

Fireworks are my favorite part of the 4th. They're all loud and glittery and awesome. Plus, they are one of the few spectacles that can make me shut up and pay attention.

So...there are lots of booms happening right now. Nick is convinced that these aren't the real fireworks, but I'm convinced we've all but missed the big show. In a crazy fit of fireworks-envy, we headed out down the block to the lake to see if we can see fireworks from there.

Double success. We finally saw some really cool fireworks, and all is right in America right now. We sang "Proud to Be An American" with our neighbors (pretty sure they were pretty drunk) and some guy skateboarded by in an American flag. w00t!

Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope you all saw fireworks tonight!!