Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A little Something for Everyone

In a world where everyone is some sort of a nut, health nuts have taught me to love cereal bars. When I was young and my mom did not let me eat or even look at any foods with artificial flavors or colorings because it might have stunted my growth (and I’m SO TALL now) or caused cancer, cereal bars were my mom’s form of dessert. Every day at elementary school I would hold my breath expectantly and reverently peel open my brown paper bag with one eye open, hoping against hope that there would be a cereal bar mashed underneath my sandwich of astronomical proportions. And some of the times I would find my strawberry Nutrigrain bar hanging out there. That, or some fruit leather, which is about as good as it sounds. So, like a flavored horse saddle.

Recently I started munching on cereal bars again. While visiting, my mother had pointed out a few things to me and I thought it best if maybe when I got the munchies I could eat something that would pass for something minorly unhealthy packaged in a small bag instead of an entire pizza or cake. I’m starting on cereal bars. Once I’m sick of those, I’ll start gnawing on my extra appendages and unnecessary digits. This is one diet I am really looking forward to.

Today when I was running out to class without having much time to eat, I thought this was a time if ever to eat a cereal bar. On the way to class. Like all those girls wearing the red shirts advertising Special K products. Which, as we all know, is just a very fancy diet designed in such a way that you eat nothing all day, and when you start seeing stars and are on the verge of passing out, you eat 11 flakes of the Special K cereal, or an entire, whole, full, complete cereal bar, which actually doesn’t sound too bad. Sounds like a good deal, right?

So I was going to class, walking, while opening my cereal bar. I peeled it open. Then I did a double take. Where exactly WAS this alleged cereal bar that was supposed to be inside? After whipping out my magnifying glass, I found it half way down in the packaging. The wrapping for the cereal bar makes it look deceptively big, like a Doritos bag. Nevertheless, I started gnawing on my sucrose-sweetened bar of joy that I could easily put into my mouth all at once when I got knocked into and half of my bar fell onto the street. That is, I THINK it fell onto the ground. It might just as easily have been picked up by a gust of wind and taken onto some rooftop. When I looked onto the ground to see if there were any salvageable parts, there was something that could have been a Special K cereal bar, but it could have also been a cigarette butt.

So what I want to know is this: When did everything become so extreme? This is a question that’s been asked by everyone. They can’t even leave cereal bars alone. You know, at least squish the thing flatter to spread it out more to make the starving child feel like she’s eating more instead of just eating a dime sized amount of food. That goes for everything. In order for anything to have an effect on people nowadays, they have to be extremes. Food has to be extremely small or extremely big, Halloween costumes have to be extremely scary or, ahem, extremely sexy, and you have to be extremely smart, hard working, or have extremely good connections to get an extremely good job. Or just a good job.

Which is another thing. Sexy witches? Sexy softball players? Sexy shepherdesses? I think I vaguely might even remember sexy nuns, but why, WHY can’t people content themselves with creative Halloween costumes anymore? I don’t know if they think they are being cute, but girls who think they are cute when they’re the naughty girl scout are, oh, how should I put this, STUPID, just like the 104 other girls who think they are so extremely irresistible because look! we’re putting an impish spin on an initially unsullied concept!

So for this fine day in which there are actually two reasons to celebrate (a few of you might know the second reason…) I would like to give a hand to those people who have an averagely funny humor. Who are averagely good looking. Who are of average height. Who have average length hair. Who are of average weight. Who can wear v-necked t-shirts whose neckline doesn’t end at the belly button or whose bottom doesn’t end at the knees. I would like to give the gift of telling all these sorts of people that it’s ok that you show more cloth than skin, and that it’s ok if you want to go as a baseball for Halloween. Because one of the last things on earth people need are more “sexy” popcorn venders.

This is also a call to Special K makers to make the cereal bars flatter.

Monday, October 30, 2006

An Absatively Awesome Weekend(s)

A few years ago, the three friends I made during a summer program in Washington University in St. Louis came to visit me. During the week they were in California, I squished as much of California as possible into the days they were there.

Scratch THIS blog entry. I stink at finishing what I start.

Let’s just content ourselves with this short recap of that weekend:

This is Lacey holding a postcard with the major sites of Rome superimposed onto a purple and pink background to give at least a feeling of romance to the receiver before he hurls all over it. Because Rome: It will bombard you with Romance! We went to all those sites, plus some more, in 2 days. I am proud to say my slave driver tendencies are still up to par.

So, this weekend Stephanie, Diana, Arnaldo, and I went to Venice, where I feel like I spent a huge chunk of the time huddled behind my camera lens. Venice has a decidedly view-finderish shape to it, if you ask me. We also spent a large bit of the time crowded around a map because Venice is not yet up-to-date with the maps made for it. Also, because you’d encounter multiple personality disordered signs like this:

Not that you really needed a map much in Venice, because it is so wee. However, at one point late at night when we were trying to make our way back to our very Gothic hostel, Arnaldo exclaimed something like:

“How come we are so dumb that we can’t even find our way back to the hostel?”

The answer is pretty simple.

1. These three people were with a person who got on the wrong train

2. We do things like this:

Here you see Diana, Arnaldo, and me participating in what might be the world’s first recorded purring competition. I don’t mean to blow my own horn, but I consider myself a pretty good purer now. I just beat a bonafide Puerto Rican who could speak about 1,456,389 words per minute with 20 grapes in his mouth. Arnaldo’s tongue might be mother-tonguing his R’s, but mine is mighty from all those years of rather convulsively purring at the drop of a hat. Which, why? What is going to happen to me when I am 45 and I am still purring AND wearing retainers? I might as well not lose years worrying over these trivialities, though.

I love Venice. On my previous visits to this city, I had always been too awestruck to realize just how creepy it is, but now that I have figured it out, it is that much better. It is basically a floating horror movie where each street could be the perfect place for Jack the Ripper to strike again. Also, before this I had always only noticed the Murano glass. It’s kinda hard not to see it, since everyone is basically throwing these things after you.

However, this trip I started to notice the Carnaval masks. Stephanie was the first to become enamored with them, and after Stephanie had dragged us into the 70th store, I noticed their charm. Diana, Stephanie, and I are now bound and determined to come to Venice during Carnaval and have an awesome, nay, staggeringly elaborate costume. Arnaldo alone was the only one who was untouched by this maybe strictly feminine addiction and remained unphased even when we saw robot-like Carnaval masks that the cast of Star Wars could only dream of having.

This weekend is another one in which I shall be reunited with the one and only Mary Kate, if she still remembers me and well, I will tell all the gory details some other time.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm hoping stupidity will not kill for a while more

I will write about my "absatively" (The Anansi Boys) fabulous weekend after I have been rested. After I have gotten a modicum of sleep. Because this morning at 6 I looked at my reflection in the bus, and the only adjectives that popped into my head were "haggard, exhausted, and pallid" instead of the usual "cute, fun, and intelligent." I looked like a raw piece of prosciutto.

Last night at 7:53 PM, I boarded the train that would take me from Florence to Rome in 1.5 hours. I alighted 1.5 hours later at 6 AM in Rome. You do the math.

I realize that my 21st birthday is coming up. I don't know if you're aware of this, but I am painfully so. By the age of 21, I feel like I should have my wits about me. I should be forging ahead in life, living by the motto "Be smart" instead of "Just try to survive, dummy." I have every intention of waking up on my birthday an unbearably chich new woman, pop out of bed, slip into a dapper business suit, and make my way through the streets in almightily high stilettos to drink coffee in some awesomely chic coffee store before going to tell oogles of business men just where they should be investing their money. My motto shall be "Nothing less than the best!"

However, I just have to make it through these couple of weeks.

Last night, I boarded the wrong. bloody. train.

To Venice. Not Rome.

This meant I had to alight at Bologna, wait 4 hours until 12:44 AM, then take a train in to Rome that arrived at 4:41 AM. Then I had to wait for yet another train at 5:38 AM that would take me to the station I needed to be in in Rome. And of course my godawful, hideous, peice of poop phone was not working. The display has been turning off of its own according because WHY ON EARTH NOT? Someone in my previous life put a curse on me, and is now just having fun with me. He's saying "Let's not only give Adrianne 1/8 of the brain usually allotted to man, let's ALSO give her the crappiest phone created!"

Do you happen to know who takes 4 hour long train to Rome at 12:44 AM? I do now. They are definitely not American. Nor tourists. Nor English speakers, for that matter. They are people who assume you speak Italian after you grunt out an answer to a question that could pass for something between Pig Latin and Gibberish with rolling R's, and proceed to innundate you with a sheerly one-sided Italian conversation where all you can do is nod understandingly and just wish that you could wail to someone in English.

Then I got onto the train where I was fully intending on spreading out and getting some sleep. The only spot I could find was squashed in between some old people who decided that their legs, measuring about 2 feet long, needed a mile-long space to be accomodated, and decided that fresh air was the creation of the devil. So I got to spend my 4 hour long train ride with my knees knocking against my teeth as the old woman in front of me luxuriously stretched her legs till they dislocated from her body, and wishing I had an oxygen mask. Had I been gutsier, I would have just walked over to the window and opened it. But if I've learned one thing, it's not to mess with the older generation, unless I wanted to join their musty house in the form of a skinned rug upon which she could dry her feet after laboring out of the shower.

I still have a ways to go until I'm an extremely cool 21-year-old. There's only room for improvement, and I've still got a few days.

So a note for those going to Florence: There are two trains to each platform. Believe me.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

An outsider's guide to Rome

Last night Diana, Arnaldo, Linda, and Stephanie finally managed to drag me “out.” Let me elaborate on “out.” We went to a club called Supperclub.

It was ok.

Actually, I shall dispense with niceties: It was shit.

Sorry mommy.

Going to a club with me is a particularly arduous task. I shall walk you through the requirements necessary to see Adrianna boogie:

  1. The people, if the club is a recommended one, have to be A Particular Type
    1. The people who recommended us this club were, well, not my type. They are in the program, and they might be fine, fun girls, but they’re not my style. Nothing against the people, I’m just being entirely honest. We’ll most likely go through the program without finding out if the other has a pet or if they prefer boxers or brief.
    2. These girls are they type where going to a club is like a conquest. Their sole goal is to see how many guys they can make out with. Each guy is like a souvenir, and they want to go back to the states with a shirt that says something to the effect “I made out with 33 Italian guys in Rome…How about you?” Which is ok. Fine. I was in Spain last summer, where lord knows I already got used to this, since if Spain can do one thing well, it’s the discotecas. And even though I am the most unapproachable person in the entire world, there were those unfortunate souls desperate enough to approach me.

Let’s hold a moment of silence for these people now.


  1. I have to be in a certain mood. I have to be in a mood where I don’t really want to go out, where my expectations are low, but I am in a sufficiently perky mood to have the feeling in the back of my mind that if the ambience is good enough, then I might POSSIBLY have a lot of fun.
  2. I have to have a certain sort of relationship with the people I go with. Close enough that they’ll still remain friends with me after the party’s over.

So requirements 2 and 3 were fulfilled. 2 out of 3. Pretty good chance of having an O.K. time, right?


The music was absolutely terrible. Here Kris Capello might want to cover his eyes and pretend like he doesn’t know me, but I always though the goal of a DJ was to seamlessly fuse together different styles of music where people will get enough of one song to be happy, and where they will be happy for the change as well because something different is coming on.

At Supperclub, there was about 15 minutes straight of reggaetone. I was introduced to this last summer with Daddy Yankee’s “Gasolina” which, after about 25 hours total of listening to it over the course of going to various discotecas, grew on me. I never really liked it, but it was a strong enough presence to have made it onto my itunes list.

However, all reggaetone songs are the same. Face it. Same beat, same whiny voices, same instruments. As Linda puts it, it’s “One fine beat,” but too much of a good things is bad. It’s like the United Colors of Benetton store. It is impossible to mismatch two articles of clothing from that store, because all the different colored clothes have the same tone/intensity. A blind person could go shopping there and still manage to come up with a harmonized outfit. All reggaetone tunes sound like they could be the same song, and it’s pretty hard to mess up DJ-ing with reggaetone, because it ALL SOUNDS THE SAME (in my very humble opinion).

It’s all OK for 3 minutes. Except if they mix in Paris Hilton’s “Stars are Blind.”

That’s when I drew the line.

That’s when my stomach exited my mouth with such force that my eardrums fell onto the floor.

How in God’s green earth Paris Hilton figures into a reggaetone mix is way beyond me.

So in short, Supperclub. Go there if you’re itching for a bad time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I have the first episode of season 3 of LOST now!

Everyone remembers braces, right? Those ugly metal things covering your teeth sometime between the ages of 12-15 usually? Everyone looks ugly with braces. I have never met someone who made them look good, but well, between ages 12-15, I think everyone looks awkward anyway. Buttons are bursting where buttons should not be bursting, hair doesn’t fit the way it should, and skin stretches where it should be loose.

So how many people remember what happened AFTER braces? It’s called retainers. I’ll wager a guess and say that lots of people don’t remember those, considering how many horror stories I’ve heard of people actually having to return to braces. Lots of people got braces, then failed to wear those plastic containers during the night, leaving them rattling around in some drawer for happier days.

Well, since 8th grade, retainers have basically the most constant thing in my life. The day I got my braces off, I took a solemn oath that I would wear my retainers as long and as often as necessary, because there was no way I was going to go back to braces. I was supposed to wear them every day during the day for a year, and then only at night. After wearing them for one full day, I promptly decided night was enough for me, and that’s the way it’s been ever since. I already sound ridiculous when I’m talking, and with retainers it’s absolutely indecipherable. I sound like a laboring hippo with a slur.

ANYWAY, it’s worked out fine. Each night since, I’ve diligently stuck my retainers in, and taken them out upon awakening. They have traveled with me through different countries, time zones, and altitudes. If there is a fire in my room, that MIGHT be one of the things I grab before running out. I know Jenn Marsden might feel the same way. I remember bemoaning the fact with her in high school that it’s hard it is to be appealing when you’ve got to wear RETAINERS at night. However, I bet she’s pulling off the whole ordeal with style by now.

So, these retainers have been everywhere. And by everywhere, I mean in places I would never want to return to. Such as the trashcan of the Atlanta airport. Or among the clothes I used for digging. And most recently, in the toilet.

Yes. I am now wearing the very retainers that were hanging out in the bottom of the toilet not one week ago. Last Thursday evening, the teacher of the program decided everyone here needed to experience a REAL Italian dinner, which means 8 different courses of fish. And since my eating experience here so far has been kind of haphazard (i.e. rice cakes for dinner), my stomach could not handle the experience of cooked! food! and by 3 AM I was sitting in the bathroom, bracing myself to see my 8 course meal nine times. And that’s when, at 3 AM, after being awoken by a rumbly in my tumbly, I had the presence of mind to try to take my retainers out, and into the toilet they stumbled.

And, being so sick I couldn’t care less, I just dove in after them.

The offensive objects were sitting by the sink for a few days before I got to a pharmacy and asked for disinfectant for something to go in my mouth that had fallen into the toilet. And I was led to the Listerine section. Which, 5 euros for a small bottle!!!! But it does exist!!!

So Listerine, evidently, might kill the germs in a toilet, although it proudly assures me that it only kills all manners of germs “that cause Bad Breath, Plaque & the gum disease Gingivitis.” Nowhere on there does it tell me anything about germs that might perhaps come out the other end of someone.

If I’m not alive tomorrow morning, you’ll know why.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Adrianne the idiot part 33345

I think the problem started out when I was in preschool. The day I lost my first tooth, which is probably the most monumental thing that can happen to a five year old, aside from finding Santa, all I could think about was arriving at preschool and telling Ms. Duncan, and then proudly showing everyone the bloody, gaping hole in my mouth. So, my mom drove me to preschool.

I did not have preschool that day.

Since then, I have consistently been getting dates switched around in my head. It’s not that I clean forget that something is going to happen, it’s just that I assign different dates to some things because in my mind that’s when they SHOULD happen. The most recent occasion of this was yesterday, when I went to pick up my mom from the flight that arrived today. Finals fell at different days and hours than they should have, I once bought a plane ticket for an entire day later than when I went to the airport, and I meet people at wrong hours.

So I didn’t really beat myself up badly on the way back from the airport after wasting about 2.5 hours there. That’s just the way I am, and planners don’t help me at all. I am just hard of seeing and hearing dates and hours. I just hope that if I get married, I’ll get to choose the time and day.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Roughing it

When I was very young, my mom used to cut the seeds off of my strawberries. I would refuse to even look at the strawberry until it was stripped bare, as naked as the day a baby is born. One could ask what exactly is LEFT of a strawberry once the seeds are all cut off, and why in the world my mom would indulge this irrational demand. The answer to the second question is that I was one of the stupidest kids around.

I like to tell that story because you can see how much I’ve developed. Now my demands are way simpler. I merely ask not to be housed with a serial killer, to have a limo take me to school, and to have a toilet nearby in order to be entirely content. And recently, another requirement has formed.

This morning Diana and I awoke languidly, relishing the fact that it was a Sunday and we didn’t really have to do much. We got out of bed and then, dear God, the dire straits we were in fully hit us. OUR TOWELS WERE 2 DAYS OLD. Our beds had not been made for TWO DAYS. And thanks to one of my graceful maneuvers yesterday afternoon managing to break a bottle of my very favorite nailpolish, Odor of Maroon permeated throughout all four corners of our room.

Since there was always someone in the room on Saturday, the maids had not come to tidy up after us. We were basically suffocating in our own filth.

We frantically scrambled for our things and fled the room for a while, giving the maids ample time to straighten our room.

In my exile, I thought about what I’m going to do when I get back to Chicago. No one is going to make the bed for me, no one is going to give me clean towels, clean the sink, and take the trash out. I’m going to have to return to doing my own dishes and folding my own clothes. Diana also viewed this gloomy future with a long face.

It’s not that I’ve forgotten that life isn’t actually too bad when there isn’t someone to give you extra rolls of toilet paper without asking, but in the short week I’ve been here, I’ve gotten so used to it. I don’t have to worry about having to use napkins when I shouldn’t, pretending the dish really isn’t THAT dirty, or that wrinkled clothes are the new black. The only thing I have to worry about really is doing the clothes, since there is no washing machine, but you know

The bidet works out magnificently for laundry. This picture is taken in the rinse cycle.

Do not laugh. Washing plus drying is 9 euros here. 9 EUROS. JESUS. I could get 4.5 pizzas for that!

So we started thinking. Maybe if I didn’t buy any food, I could hire a maid for that in Chicago. But chances are no. So this is an open invitation to anyone in Chicago who wants to be my maid. I wouldn’t be able to pay you with money, but I’d give you lots of hugs and high-fives.