Friday, February 25, 2011

Carried Away

Remember Google's "Parisian Love" commercial? Well, I discovered just today that you can create your own similar "Search Story" on YouTube. Predictably, I got a little carried away and created a few, which are posted below for your viewing pleasure. This is about as productive as I got at work.

Online Dating:

Not Going to Hollywood:

Doc Brown:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hormones, Schmormones

A few weekends ago, I attended a talk at the church I've been going to entitled, "Why Premarital Sex is Stupid." It was pretty much the same mumbo-jumbo I heard at my youth group talks when I was a teenager--a presentation that relied less on actual statistics and more on Bible verses and loaded words designed to elicit extreme emotions from the listeners.* But the one thing that got to me, the one thing that downright pissed me off, was a remark the priest made in closing: "Girls, SET THE TONE. Guys have so many hormones, they don't even know their own names. SET. THE. TONE." Translation: "It is inevitable that guys will try to take your precious virginity because they're hornier than a twelve-point buck. It is up to YOU to ward off their dishonorable advances and keep your legs closed lest you wind up shamed and disgraced. You are a woman of God, after all." Again, this was not unlike what I heard growing up, except now it just gets under my skin.

Why does all the pressure fall on the woman to "set the tone" when it comes to chastity in dating and relationships? Why are guys excused for acting like pigs just because of their hormones? Girls can be just as horny as guys, and the pressure to "set the tone" shouldn't fall solely on us. Humans are equipped with this amazing organ called a brain, which lets us do all sorts of cool stuff, like think for ourselves, reason and write entertaining blog posts like this. It's what sets us apart from animals (among other things). Guess what? Guys are humans! And guess what else! They have brains too! So they're more than the sum of their hormones! They can think about the consequences of their actions and act accordingly! They can be held responsible!

So why aren't they, especially in the church? If the church wants to cultivate respectable, chaste Christian men, why is it excusing their dishonorable actions concerning chastity because of hormones? Responsibility should be equally placed on both sexes. Guys shouldn't be let off the hook because of raging hormones. It's a cop out. Instead, they should be challenged to man up and think through their actions and the consequences of those actions, using the brains God gave them. They should also be encouraged to "set the tone." Otherwise, how can they be the strong, respectable men the church wants them to be if the church doesn't call them to rise to the challenge?

*Despite what it looks like, I do think having talks about the cons of premarital sex are important; I just don't approve of how people go about such presentations. I think people would take abstinence more seriously if more solid health statistics were used instead of a bunch of Bible verses and loaded words. I think arguments that rely too much on emotion are shallow. Something is to be said for logic and facts and figures, after all.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I Might Have a Problem

I've never been a makeup junkie. Growing up, my friends would all bust out their makeup collections at sleepovers and experiment with different looks and application techniques, pictures of pure concentration as they rimmed their eyes with eyeliner and dusted eye shadow on their lids. I would usually just watch, until one of them wanted to make me over. Then I would oblige, put myself in the hot seat, and let them do whatever they wished to my face. Truth was, makeup and I got off on a shaky start, and it was something I didn't fully understand.

It all started when I was thirteen and my friends Lauren and Meagan came back from a trip to the mall. They had gotten makeovers at the Clinique counter and looked like improved versions of themselves. Their complexions were evened out. Their eyes were just a bit more defined. Their lips showed just a hint of color. It was pretty and natural. After seeing them, my mother started encouraging me to try makeup. To this day I have no idea why, as I had never indicated to her that I wanted to wear the stuff. All I can figure is that maybe she was realizing that I was getting to the age where I'd want to start experimenting with makeup and was trying to be proactive, or maybe her mom never allowed her to wear makeup and she was living out some sort of adolescent fantasy through me. Either way, following in the footsteps of my friends, we headed out to the mall so I could get a makeover. But the Clinique counter couldn't take me because I didn't have an appointment, so I ended up going to the Elizabeth Arden counter. Instead of winding up looking like a naturally prettier version of myself, I looked like a Twilight-esque vampire hooker.

Lord, have mercy. I sparkled. You could ice a cake with the amount of foundation I had on my face. Ladies and gentleman, this was my very first experience with makeup. It just went downhill from there. Attempts at trying to create smoky eyes resulted in me looking like the victim of domestic abuse. Trying to create the cool, smudgy eyeshadow effect on my sister's lower lash lines made her look like a raccoon. Eventually I gave up and resorted to wearing a bit of foundation and powder purely as zit cover up, and a little mascara, blush and gloss. And, until recently, that's more or less been my makeup regimen.

Then one day, bored at work, I remembered a story I had read about Michelle Phan, a Bay Area YouTube makeup guru. I decided to watch one of her makeup tutorial videos, just to see what they were all about:

Then I watched another:

And another:

And another:

Before I knew it, it was 5:00 and I had learned how to create everything from smoky eyes to homemade pore strips. I was hooked. She made makeup application look so simple and fun, and I had the urge to get back in the saddle and experiment. So the following weekend, I tried her technique for smoky eyes. To my surprise, IT WORKED. Instead of looking like the business end of someone's wrath, my eyes looked dark and seductive. I was finally wrapping my mind around the mystery that was makeup, and discovering a whole new world.

But I think I have a problem. Ever since my success with the smoky eyes, I haven't been able to stop buying makeup. I got a new Caboodles case and tons of E.L.F. products at Target. Today, I got this baby at Sephora. I'm hoping that this recent purchase will satiate my hunger for all things cosmetic; otherwise, this addiction might prove to be as big as my perfume addiction.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

I'd Suck as Batman

In addition to math, there are two things that irk me in this life: magicians and riddles. Magicians I simply find cheesy and annoying; I'd rather slice off my own head and boil it in acid than watch a magic show. No, I will not pick a card, no, I don't care to see you slice a person in half, and I don't want to know how any of your tricks work. Now, if you can produce a working time machine, then we'll talk, but if all you're going to do is play with Dixie cups and ping-pong balls, keep on steppin'.

Riddles just piss me off. Whenever someone says to me, "Hey, I've got a riddle for you," I wait until they're done with their little spiel and say, "I'm not going to guess, so you might as well tell me. I really don't care that much." I really don't see the point in trying to figure a riddle out when the answer will always be lame. Case in point:

Riddle Teller: Hey, I've got a riddle for you! What's black, white and read all over?
Me: I don't care.
Riddle Teller: A newspaper! Get it?

And then the person telling the riddle looks at you like they've just given you the greatest revelation since the angel told the Virgin Mary she was knocked up by God. It makes me want to punch something, namely the riddle teller's face.

Which is why I'd suck as Batman.

God help the poor people of Gotham City if I ever had to go toe-to-toe with The Riddler, because it would probably end with Gotham being blown up and me, Alfred and Robin re-locating to Hawaii. I just wouldn't solve The Riddler's puzzles. The Riddler would be all, "Riddle me this, Batman: I'm high in the sky and twice as high. What am I?" and I'd just be like, "Honestly, I'm not even going to bother solving this, Riddler. So either you just tell me where you hid the bomb and try to fuck up my plans to find it in a more straight-forward manner, or just blow the city up. You know what, here, here is the key to city, just blow it up and save us all some headache. If you look at the statistics, I've cleaned up a lot of crime here in Gotham. A LOT. If this were any other city, it'd be like Mayberry in terms of safety and crime. But not Gotham. More and more insane people just climb out of the woodworks wanting to fuck with me, and you know what? I'm over it. I don't see how I've helped this city at all. So just blow it up and stop bothering me." Then I'd take the Bat Copter or whatever flying device Batman has and fly myself to Hawaii and indulge in frosty frozen beverages on the beach.

You know what, though? I wonder if Apathetic Batman would inadvertently triumph. I'm no expert on Batman lore, but from watching the movies, it seems like the villains get their jollies from toying with Batman, not necessarily from destroying Gotham City. They like the cat-and-mouse aspect. If Apathetic Batman simply doesn't give a shit, what joy do the villains get? Destroying Gotham without Batman putting up a fight isn't as sweet. So maybe I'd be totally awesome as Batman. The Joker would pop up and be like, "I'm going to do all sorts of crazy shit around this city until you stop me!" and I'd just be like, "Go ahead, you loony bastard. I don't have time for crazy." Mr. Freeze would stop by and say, "I'm going to freeze out Gotham City!" and I'd reply, "Great, awesome, then we're just like the rest of the northeast. Wonderful." They wouldn't be expecting these sorts of responses, so they'd get confused, wouldn't know what to do, and eventually retreat to wherever they came from and play cards or something.

Yeah. I'd be totally awesome as Batman.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things I Cook: Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups and Fried Banana Wraps

I've attempted two new recipes, one that's great for lunch or dinner, the other that's good for a snack, both utterly delicious.

The first is the spinach lasagna roll-up recipe from my favorite food blog, Budget Bytes. This is my main go-to site when I'm planning my grocery shopping, because the recipes are easy to make, inexpensive, extremely tasty, and they make a lot of food so I have leftovers during the week. This recipe was no exception. Here's how mine turned out:

A note: the recipe calls for a pound of lasagna noodles, and it recommends boiling the whole thing so you'll have extras in case of rips. I did, but I had way too many noodles left over. So unless you are cooking for a lot of people, I would recommending maybe boiling just over half instead of all. Or buy extras of the other ingredients to make more filling in order to use all of your noodles up.

The verdict: I will definitely be making this again. It was awesome.

The second recipe is from a "trashy eats" community on LiveJournal, which was recommended to me by a friend (the community was recommended, not the specific recipe). The good thing about this recipe is that most, if not all, of the ingredients it utilizes you probably already have, so you shouldn't have to go out and buy anything extra. This recipe is good if you're looking for a sweet snack, but don't feel like leaving the house. So without further ado, I present to you fried banana wraps:

A few notes: I fried the tortillas and bananas separately, tortillas first, then the bananas. It was just easier that way. I also substituted the peanut butter for Nutella, which made this snack more crepe-like (in my opinion). You could also take this dessert to the next level and add a dollop of ice cream on top, or skip the tortilla and use the fried bananas and caramel as sundae toppings. It's pretty versatile.

The verdict: YUMMY! This may be a trashy eat, but I think we could all agree that sometimes the trashy eats are the best.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Now for a Little Something Light-Hearted... counteract the tone of the last post. LOLZ. Things could definitely be worse.

The Invisible Woman

At work earlier today, Dean Martin's "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" came on my Pandora station. Thanks for the harsh reminder, Dean, especially with Valentine's Day right around the corner. I love it.

Poor Dean. He hit a nerve and didn't even know it. Recently, I have been struggling with feeling like I'm invisible. I've filled out tons of job applications and have received no answer. I've met the priest at the church I started attending about three times, and I still think he has no idea who I am when I shake his hand after Mass. At events with my singles group, girls all around me are getting business cards and being chatted up while I'm being passed over (and I don't even have to smear the blood of a slaughtered lamb on myself!). It's like I'm getting the big ol' finger from all sides.

The latter of the instances described above has been an especially tough pill to swallow lately with the advent of Valentine's Day. I've felt this way on other occasions, sure, but the feelings are never as amplified as they are when they occur around this time of year. I don't really confide to my friends when I happen to feel this way, because I don't want to come off as emo and whiny and all, "Woe is me!" because, despite the funks I find myself in from time to time (and I know I'm hardly alone), I know I've got it good. I've been blessed with amazing friends with whom I've had fun (and random, and crazy, and silly and...) experiences. Even though my job tries my sanity, I am thankful that I do have an income and that I'm not struggling to make ends meet. I've got a family that loves me. Work pants that are finally hemmed and make look like a savvy businesswoman. I do love my life. It would just be nice for somebody to see me once in awhile.

This Valentine's Day, I will be at Green Iguana with my singles group. I know I'll have a blast, and that I will bust a move on the dance floor and generally revel in merriment. I just wish that one of these Valentine's Days I will be able to celebrate with someone who thinks I'm worth the time and who sees me.