Thursday, January 29, 2009

Even Better than the Nurses

We all know I have some strong feelings on the topic of karaoke, but even I have not taken it to the point of physical violence. Apparently, I have more restraint than some.

Two of Kate's Great Loves Converge

Health care and karaoke-- in the form of a discussion of good karaoke songs for women with medium to low ranges (read: me)... on a nursing forum.

My favorite suggestion is from the contributor who suggests "getting a little loaded and singing Willie Nelson songs."

Friday, January 16, 2009

Update: Wishlist Bag-- What a Cold, Strange Trip It Has Been

So, Operations never wrote back to me about the demise of my bag in the plastic clutches of the ice cube maker, but that doesn't mean they did not respond. Today I peeked into the freezer, hoping that this might be the day that my manual dexterity and new biceps/triceps exercise would lead me to victory over my bag's frigid captor. Tragically, however, as I opened the freezer door and dodged the frozen pizza falling toward me, I realized that my bag was no longer a hostage-- it was a kidnapping victim. Yes, I checked behind the boxes of burritos and under that depressing popsicle from the ice cube tray. No sign of a struggle-- no scratches on the ice maker. A sad day indeed.

Or is it?

You see, in researching my initial post about my faithful little bag, I visited the ever-so-cloying Wishlist website, and I decided to have a look around. You can imagine what happened next. I mean, who am I to say no to a half-price Herve Chapelier bag and free shipping? It's an excellent deal on a fairly demure bag that is a good size for the days when I don't need to drag around a tote that is approximately the look and dimension of a spinnaker with handles. And besides, it's not terry cloth or the color of bubblegum. Sounds like a solid investment.

And as I walked back up to my office this morning, carrying the box containing my bag (I presumed), a thought dawned on me:

"I wonder if they gave me a new free Wishlist bag..."

So imagine my glee when there, under my delightfully tasteful and useful canvas tote, was the most godawful, heinous, garbage-bag-meets-gym-bag-hybrid-looking thing I have ever seen-- with Wishlist emblazoned in curly, pink script on each side.

It is seriously one of the trashiest things I have ever encountered in real life. I laughed when I saw it; it's that bad. But it zips closed and the handles are the right length-- i.e., they are short enough that they would never cause me to drag my zucchini on the ground or inadvertently feed it to a major appliance. So I sort of love it.

The universe is right again.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Kate's Friends Also Struggle

The following conversation happened between 11:20 and 11:25 p.m. Before I begin, I should note that the other party involved in this exchange has demonstrated his culinary talents many times before. That is not to say, however, that he doesn’t struggle every now and again. Not unlike some blog authors who drop pies and feed their grocery bags to ice cube makers (it’s still in there).

The premise: Strand and his friend are making dinner tonight. This is not unusual.

Strand: Um, do you have Cajun seasoning?
Me: Uhh, no… Why what are you trying to make?
Strand: What about onion powder?
Me: Oh, yeah, of course.
Strand: Garlic powder?
Me: Yes. I have onion powder. I have garlic powder. I have curry. I have coriander. I have pretty much any spice you would want. Everything except turmeric. I don’t have turmeric. Do you want me to bring paprika?
Strand: Maybe. Sure. Do you have chili powder?
Me: Everything except turmeric and chili powder.
Strand: Yeah, that’s okay; we’ll get it at Whole Foods. Next question: how do you bake with strawberries?
Me: [pausing to ask silently, “wtf?”] Uh, well, that might depend on what you want to do with them. What does the recipe say?
Strand: [avoiding the question] Like, if I’m using fresh strawberries, do I want them to be ripe?
Me: Oh. Yeah. But check the recipe, because you might need to macerate them a little first.
Strand: [pause] Did you just say a dirty word?
Me: Macerate? Mix them with some sugar and maybe a little hot water? To break them down?
Strand: Ohhhhh. Hmmm, macerate. Okay. [pause] What does rhubarb look like?
Me: [I offered to bake; why did they say no?] Umm… imagine big, magenta celery. Why? [I know why. This is not good.]
Strand: Magenta celery, okay. Would they have it at Whole Foods?
Me: Definitely… in several months.
Strand: Oh. Hmm. Okay.
Me: Are you sure you don’t want me to bring anything?
Strand: Just onion powder and garlic powder.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Freezer Watch-- Update: 10:57 a.m., January 14

Operations has not responded to my email. At all. Not even, "You've got to be kidding."

My bag is quite cold.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Freezer Watch-- Update: 10:08 a.m.

After pacing the hall for a few minutes, I was finally able to have the pantry to myself, but I was still unable to execute Operation Extrication. And I still don't understand how that thing works-- I thought I knew which way the cloth was wrapped around the little plastic thingies (I'm very technical), but I was only able to pull about half an inch of fabric out of the jaws of death.

Given that I don't want anyone to walk in there and see me with both my arms completely inside the freezer, defrosting their vegetarian burritos, it's time to ask for help.

TO: Operations
SUBJECT: 9th floor pantry freezer


In the pantry on the 9th floor (next to the women's bathroom), someone put a canvas bag of groceries in the freezer, and now part of the bag is wrapped around/inside the ice maker. Is there any chance it would be possible to remove the bag, hopefully intact?

Thanks, and apologies for the bizarre request.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kate Fails at Transporting Foodstuffs. Again.

At this point, you might or might not know that I occasionally fall victim to unfortunate situations involving baked goods. Today, I inadvertently expanded my repertoire to include unprepared produce.

Okay, to allay your suspense, this isn't really about the death of a piece of produce. There is no honeydew melon splattered on a sidewalk, no chalk outline of a pineapple. All my Trader Joe's bounty is intact, with the exception of the mango I devoured earlier, which was intact until I deliberately disemboweled it. No, this is about my bag.

I have this bag. It is a stupid little canvas bag from Wishlist in New Haven. In case you are not familiar with Wishlist, you should know that the majority of its shoppers are Uggs-and-Juicy-wearing 15-year-olds. In case you don't know me very well, I will note that I am neither Uggs-wearing nor Juicy-wearing nor 15 years old. That said, every once in a while, in a fit of dubious judgment, I used to buy something at Wishlist, including an overpriced teeshirt for my sister for her birthday. My sister is neither Juicy-wearing nor 15 years old, though she finally caved and joined the Ugg'ed masses. She claims it was in the interest of warmth.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I should not like this bag. It is from a store that causes me embarrassment when I admit to shopping there. The handles are kind of awkwardly too long, so it drags on the ground if it's not over my shoulder. It has a silver peace sign on one side and 'Wishlist' in curly script in hot pink on the other side. It is an affront to me and everything for which I stand (which is not to say that I don't stand for peace, but you get the idea).

Which is why it makes no sense that I am so attached to this bag. Except that it is the perfect size for two boxes of Kashi, six apricots, and a pound of zucchini. And it was free, which means that I can take it places that I don't want to take my bags that I really love. And it's shockingly durable, having survived a department booze cruise (after which I thought I had lost it; my coworkers can tell you how upset I was-- though mostly because it held my Mount Gay hat) and a downpour that turned it green, thanks to a file folder inside.

Which is why I was a little stunned after work, when I went to pull The Little Beige Bag That Could out of the freezer in the 9th floor pantry, where it was keeping my three bags of cranberries safe (I love cranberries even more than this stupid bag). The thing to know about this freezer is that it is essentially a microcosm of the frozen food section of Trader Joe's, so there isn't much open space.

Given this circumstance, you can understand why I put my cranberries right next to the out-of-commission ice cube maker. And you can probably also understand my surprise when I realized that the ice cube maker had begun to ingest my bag.

Seriously, no one has taken an ice cube out of that freezer in at least two years, I'm guessing. In the little ice cube tray beneath the mechanism is a lone, leftover popsicle from an event about five months ago. I was convinced that ice cube maker was just decorative. Apparently, I was mistaken. I don't know exactly how that thing works, but it had that piece of canvas in its plastic jaw, and it was not letting go.

So you might be wondering what happened to my bag and its contents. I extricated the cranberries and went to work on the bag. But once it occurred to me to close the pantry door to muffle the sound of shattering plastic and pull as hard as I could--ice cube maker be damned--I decided that 5:30 on a Monday was possibly the worst time imaginable to attempt freezer surgery (the other contender being 5:30 on a Friday). So the bag is still in the ice cube maker, and I am going to have an interesting email to write to the operations staff tomorrow morning.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Kate Rails Against Pop Culture

So yesterday I bought a new song on iTunes. I was looking for something in the category of good music to play at the gym, and there, at the top of the most purchased songs list, was "Just Dance" by Lady GaGa. Now, right there we have some red flags. Lady GaGa? Seriously? Wtf kind of name is that? Furthermore, I suspected that this song was the one that came on the radio about once every fifteen minutes when I was home and that I immediately switched stations to avoid.

But the 30-second sample on iTunes was so catchy-- lots of profound lyrics like "just dance" and "spin that record, babe" and the ever-popular "daa daa doo doo." And I started speculating about the reason for the exhortation to "just dance." I decided that it was something girl power-y. Yeah, sure. I can do triceps dips to that. Click! Song bought. Excellent.

It was at this point that I listened to the first verse.

Holy shit.

Here are the highlights, along with my comments in parentheses.

I've had a little bit too much (well, okay)
...Can't find a drink, oh man (ah, the cruel irony of being too wasted to obtain additional booze)
Where are my keys? I lost my phone (umm... little bit too much?)
I love this record, baby, but I can't see straight anymore (ibid)
What's the name of this club? I can't remember, but it's all right

So, we are maybe a minute into the song and we have a girl who is blackout and can't find her stuff. Call me crazy, but that's bad. Especially when you consider that the solution to this situation is not call it a night and pound some water. Nope. What does our heroine decide to do? Just dance! Because apparently she got trashed on Red Bull and vodka.

In general, I am not particularly offended by glamorizations of drinking. I mean, last night was New Year's Eve; obviously I spent part of the night sitting around drinking champagne. But promoting--nay, celebrating-- the practice of getting wasted to the point of being unable to function is not okay for several reasons. There are the obvious health implications. And there are the nearly-as-obvious safety implications of young women getting out-of-control trashed. Nor can we ignore the extent to which drunk people think they're very talented dancers and the toll that belief takes on all of us. Moral of the story: we are reminded, once again, that pop stars are probably not the models for our behavior.

And, yes, I continue to listen to that song at the gym. It's just so frickin catchy. I am appropriately ashamed.