Challenging the Human Spirit: Hosting a Game Night

In an attempt to get to know her coworkers, my dear sister is hosting a game night. I’m a huge fan of games (see Games, Games post) and can pretty much enjoy any event as long as there is something competitive to do. Of course, I am going to present for this game night and will contribute to the merriment. One one problem: the set up.

Is there anything worst than having to clean YOUR WHOLE HOUSE in one night? Don’t get me wrong, I do not want to sound ungrateful, but dusting, sweeping, wiping, mopping, vacuuming every nook and cranny is un-fun. The main issue is that like very other A-type in the world I don’t just clean, I have to have perfection. Every dust bunny must be gone, every fleck of dirt removed for me to calmly lay my head. For four bedroom, 3 bathroom house that means 6+ hours of cleaning. My sister helped and my niece pouted her way through sweeping the living room but in the end, it was just me doing stuff that hadn’t been done for good reason: it takes too damn long and no one ever sits in there. 

Alas, I have finished this monumental task and am off to bed. The house is clean, My brain is pleased with my efforts. No niggling feeling of something being missed or unclean. After all this, I will play co-host to her coworker crowd and mostly pray that they don’t spill sangria on the cream counters or carpet. 

Do You Date [Insert Race Here] Guys?

It is clear this blog is taking a very specific turn: dating. This clearly has something to do with the fact I have recently taken up online dating (Going strong for 4 months now!) and have been developing relationships with various men over this time period.

Given this fact, and considering I am a student (with a lot of time), I like to date around. I am selective, not just anybody can clear the introductory ‘Hi’ message and make it to actual conversation. And I do have a process to choosing who I will respond to. This begins with their profile stats (your occupation says street pharmacist? gonna have to pass), checks some pictures to see what type of personality I’m dealing with, and look over their interests.

However, as of late, I’ve been getting a different type of message. Instead of the ‘Hi’, ‘What’s up’ or some variation of American greetings, I have been receiving this phrase so elegantly mentioned in my title : Do you date (Various Race) guys? The first couple of times, I understood this to be a reflection of perhaps their past dating experiences and the American understanding of relationships. People, maybe even only black people, do not date outside of their race. And yes, I know race is an illusion and blah blah blah, but for the record, I did not think this would be the one issue I encountered as a dating adult.

I will admit to never dating anyone non-black until recently but this was not by choice. Non-black men had never really responded to my advances in a way that assured me of mutual interest. I had friends, acquaintances, fellow frat members, drink buddies, t.v. friends…everything but dating. So now I’m faced with these questions about dating non-black guys. My response is generally something about liking all people until they prove otherwise, which can be taken any way they like I suppose. I’m honestly not sure whether I am disturbed by their comments or just sad. One would assume in this day and age dating someone who is not part of your ‘race’ would be acceptable, or at the very least, normal. I will be waiting for that norm. The day when no one asks me if I date black guys or white guys or purple guys. Hopefully they will ask about my interests, whether or not I can see without my glasses, and maybe, just maybe, we could say a little more than hello.

Dating for Dummies: How To Make Mistakes with Strangers

I am an online dater. I can also say that I am also still one of the few optimistic young people who think that their soul-mate is out there, waiting for a message to appear in their inbox. Thus far, my dating adventures have been fairly uneventful. I’ve made friends with most of the men I’ve seen, having connected because of our tastes in movies or music or really good barbeque. The love connection, however, remains elusive. Imagine my delight when I actually met someone who was talkative as I am, enjoys bar hopping without getting wasted drunk, and fully appreciates Disney’s A Nightmare Before Christmas. And he’s straight. I could barely contain myself.

Our first date was great. We decided on a Saturday brunch because both of our schedules were hectic. We hugged when we met (I don’t hug anyone unless I feel they are a long lost love) and continued a level of comfort throughout our brunch. We giggled like school girls, made inside jokes and cursed like sailors. I honestly haven’t had that most fun in years. We parted, vowing to hook up again when our schedules cleared a bit more.

So we texted and sent snarky comments to one another everyday. To me, sarcastic, phone-hating me, this was communication between partners. Finally, this week, we were able to physically occupy the same space at the same time. It had been weeks since our near perfect date, but I was optimistic that it wasn’t a fluke but a real connection. It didn’t start very well as I was fifteen minutes late (and not on purpose…I’m not one of those girls who make people wait for suspense or something ridiculous). We went to one of my favorite barbeque places. I wasn’t nervous but a bit anxious. I always like being anxious on a date, it reminds me that I actually give a damn.

So I finally arrived, not quite Cinderella, and he looked the same and sounded the same. He was attentive (at first) and we were easily seated, which never happens at this place. However, as the night rolled on, I was reminded of why I never really was nuts about dating. All he talked about was his fantasy football league (he doesn’t normally give a fuck about it until he put money down) and a new topic, and my favorite, his maybe girlfriend. I’m not sure why he assumed I was the person to talk to about his other women (we were honest about dating other people but never mentioned anyone by name) but he definitely let loose tonight.

There has to be some etiquette, some rules that everyone who has dated, is dating or just maybe likes someone should have to follow. I know it’s silly, especially after one date, but I was hurt. Why should I have to fake interest in his phantom woman? He tells me all of these horrid things about her but their honest connection makes him want to give her a shot. I praise his ideals but I don’t really want to hear it. Needless to say, it was a short date that mostly just made me depressed.

What’s the point of this post? It’s actually a reminder; it will remind me to not fuck around with people who aren’t entirely serious about anything in particular. But mostly, this is a reminder to tell people who tell me about people that basically will replace me to fuck off. (Pardon the swears but I’ve been watching a lot of British cable).

Oh penguin, you understand me better than I understand myself.

The Disney Question

It finally happened today. I met someone who doesn’t watch Disney movies. No, wait, it’s not that she didn’t watch the movies; she said she didn’t like them.

I will first say that I am not one to overreact. I do not cry without reason and often question whether my absence of emotion at times can be read as cold. However, today I was honestly up in arms over the subject of Beauty and the Beast. I’m not sure how the conversation even arrived at that point, but we were discussing animated movies. This particular movie, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, was offered as a paragon of music, fable and comedy for a young person, like myself, who grew up in the 90s. My peer, who shall remain nameless, did not like it. I asked if she maybe hates musicals (I think not) or if perhaps she just didn’t understand the complexity she witnessed. She says it was a while ago and may return to the movie and judge it again, with new, more adult eyes. I appreciated this but had to examine my own reactions. Why was I so affected? I mean, everyone loves Disney. Even the people who hate the behemoth find some quality about it that is admirable (the park, its embrace of technology, etc.). It’s basically the Google of animation. You loathe all that it stands for (and could overtake in the future) but see that it is a necessary evil.

But I am far from dealing with Disney. I am apparently an outright defender. I mean, I practically jumped down her throat about it. Even now I’m writing a post entirely dedicated to the thought. When did this happen? When did I become that girl, who so ardently holds to something that could care less about me? Disney won’t pay my loans or make sure my newest romance doesn’t break my heart. Why does it matter so much?

Actors playing Disney's beauty and the beast characters

Maybe I wouldn’t be so committed if they looked like this

Like all things, my only explanation must start in childhood. I watched Beauty and the Beast more times than I can count between the ages of 7 and 10. My mother, God Bless Her, seemed to purchase little else but Disney on VHS in my youth. No, I never went to Disneyland. Not World either. Hell, I never even received that Jasmine Barbie I had my eye on for months. In my feeble mind, the movie was enough. Enough to make me sit still for hours at a time with my sister and cousin in the dark recesses of our apartment in Chicago. Enough to inspire long walks with my 7th Grade BFF Evanne with accompanying songs (all from the soundtrack, of course). And, quite enough to have an outburst at my job training over one girl’s opinion of the Beast that surprised even me. Yes, my love developed early. Somewhere along the way, this love became the long lost sort. It is now never-ending; an eternal reminder of what a non offensive, non-sexualized cartoon can do to a person who loves music, dancing objects and wants to believe in magic.

I’ll probably always feel this way about Disney. Yeah, I know Disney was a Southerner who had extremely racist beginnings that were reflected in his work. And yes, I know they are evil in about a trillion other ways (Kimba the Lion is clearly the Lion King looks super familiar…) but I can’t let go. These movies are mental reminders of a younger, more impressionable me. The girl who was having a good day if they served pizza for lunch or her crush sat right next to her at lunch (God, he even talked to me!). Yeah, I need that girl somewhere near my current cynical self. She’ll keep singing “Be Out Guest” and I’ll just continue to hum along.

A Woman In Man’s Clothing

I recently started a relationship with an incredibly nice man. He was kind, semi-attractive, and was as nerdy as I (maybe even more so considering he learns Linux in his downtime). Unfortunately, he was moving back to a faraway place called Pennsylvania a week after our romance began. This made our times together more intense than most couples; we had brief moments to get to know eachother extremely well. We had to cram normal couplings, dates and random conversations about favorite foods, comics and pet peeves into just a few days. Yes, I know people do this on vacation all the time. They meet some foxy lothario and, after just 2 days, feel as if they have met their match. Then they board the plan and forever keep that memory in their hearts.

Goodbye beautiful, foreign person I loved for 72 hours. We shared so many pizzas. I’ll always cherish that!

Well, I’m not good at memories. In fact, most memories I have are actually self-made and never actually occurred anywhere except my head. Literally every time I mention something I once did or saw, my oh-so-helpful sister reminds me that that was a movie, a dream or that it was her who did the thing. In short, I could not rely on memory alone to feed my romance with him. I needed continuing communication to really assure me this thing was real. We’ve chatted, Skyped, Voxed, and texted our brains out for two weeks. I mentioned my fondness for written letters (my grandmother and I write to one another even now). He said that he could definitely write me something. I hoped he wasn’t a terrible speller (I’m a bit of a grammar nazi at times).

Monday rolls around. I had a somewhat shitty day but there is a package on the table for me ( I still get excited whenever I receive packages. Maybe it’s that Christmas day feeling all over again but I love it). Of course It’s from him. Inside, he has given me a DVD I love (House of Flying Daggers) and a pair of basketball shorts and a t-shirt.

I was a little perplexed. Am I supposed to join a basketball team? Why did he send such a random assortment of items? Don’t get me wrong, I love men’s clothing. I still buy most of my t-shirts in the men’s department (apparently men are the only people who like wearing Batman shirts) and I’ve even bought some jeans every once in a while because of my height. Am I a cross dresser? No. I don’t even wear men’s clothing to bed.

To further confuse me, after telling him I have received his package, he wants me to send a photo in the outfit. I understand him missing me, my face and all that, but how will putting on his shirt help my retreating memories of him? It doesn’t smell like him. It doesn’t have his face on it. I can’t say that I understand the point one bit.

Well for one thing, I know how God feels : The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God- Deuteronomy 22:5, KJV.

Yep, you’re going straight to hell, you girlish barbarian!

So that already puts me at a loss. I haven’t been able to get him to explain this phenomenon to me yet. I know people wear the clothing of lovers they miss because of their scent or maybe it makes them feel surrounded by their love. I just feel like Shaquille O’Neal. And I don’t even get the mustache.

Just so you know I’m not a heartless bitch, I will be sending a picture in the clothes to him. I’ve always been an understanding person, if the picture makes him horny or happy or whatever, I will gladly send it. Will I be wearing this shirt around everywhere and waiting for some romantic storm of emotion to overtake me? No. But I may send him something and demand he wear it. Wonder if he can fit my prom dress….

Games, Games As Far As the Eye Can See!

Sooooooooo I attended a game night for the first time in a long time the other day. Normally, these events are not of major note. I mean, I play games all the time with my family. My mom used to force a game night on my sister and I once a week. When I was young, and easily annoyed, I found these nights to be the epitome of torture. I would have rather been watching the Simpsons or sleeping or anything but playing Rummy with my family. To say the least, my reaction was always:
me making my mean face

Since then, I’ve grown to love game nights. It’s a bit of everything: a party that doesn’t require charisma or social skills but allows everyone to interact in a positive way. But most of all, these games I play impart some wonderful life lessons that can only be learned by putting plastic pieces on a cardboard slab and rolling die. I felt the need to share these delightful lessons with you because clearly you want to play too.

Fast forward to the present.This particular game night was put together by a former co-worker of mine who is quirky and just hipster enough to be friendly. For example, she has tattoos of a saw, a hog, and the state of Illinois all on one arm. Hipster-y but not dangerous. Anyway, the night began with her describing the series of games she owns. Half of them were agriculture based, with players as farmers, there were some with zombies and one with trains and then one called Puerto Rico where apparently you settle the island (I’m hoping this did not include some slavery of some kind).

I ended up playing Agricola. This game had so many damn pieces, I thought we were building something like those really complex Kinex sets I always wanted but never had the balls to attempt as a kid.

picture of agricola game board

Here’s a shitload of pieces…You just lost!

In this clusterfuck of a game, you are a farmer with a spouse. There’s a harvest at the end of every stage, with a number of rounds per stage. You can do actions per the amount of people you have. These people begin with the 2 pieces (you and your spouse) and can multiply to more hungry, needy people past the third stage. Basically, you’re just farming stuff, trying to build an oven to make a loaf of bread, while feeding your hungry, lazy family at the end of every stage. It had to be one of the most confusing games I’ve played. Considering this fact, I definitely lost, but wasn’t the worst there (one friend had a negative score). Life lesson learned: You are a shitty farmer and head of household. Even in fictional places.

Next up was Mystery of the Abbey. This was a helluva lot simpler than Agricola. Basically Clue but with Monks or Friars or whatever, Mystery of the Abbey makes you wander around a monastery, checking off thin, tall, bald, or hooded figures who may have murdered someone.

The blue one thinks it was the yellow one. Case solved!


My first question when this game was unleashed: Is this based on the Name of the Rose? I’m not sure how comfortable I would be playing a game trying to find pedophiles between murders. Luckily, these two things have nothing in common. This game wasn’t so bad. I didn’t win but I came a close 2nd and learned: Not all monks rape people and solving crimes in your spare time is not only safe, but fun for the whole family.

Last, and well into midnight, was a series of zombie games. Fluxx: Zombie Edition was fine. It required a lot of reading, but was straightforward for the most part. Last Night On Earth capped off the night. We played small town heroes battling zombies. Three of us were heroes, but only one controlled the crowd of zombies attacking people. You won fights by the roll of the die. There was all these cards to get weapons and to control what others were able to do. Well, we ended up losing, which I guess means we got eaten? or became zombies? I’m still not sure, and one of use became a hero-zombie before the game ended. All in all, not bad again. Also, lost again. I’m not a loser, I swear, I was stuck as the school sweetheart (that’s literally what the card said) who could only shoot a gun and was armed with a pitchfork. I killed maybe one zombie the whole damn game. Lesson learned: zombies always win. Especially if you are only armed with a pitchfork and teenage sex kitten eyes.

Go forth, fruitful beings. You are now armed with lessons I learned from an adult people game night that lasted 5 hours with absolutely no alcohol. But there was hummus. Lots o’ hummus (Thanks, hipsters).

Cue that Chariot Song Everybody Loves…It’s the Olympics!

Holy swimmer’s ear! I was so caught up in the creation of my blog and life in general that I forgot to do the post about the Olympics! Apparently everyone has to share their opinion on the festivities thus far and even my small, feeble excuse for a blog is not pardoned this honor.

I’ll start by being both honest and sincere: I love the Olympics. Yes, the music is corny and that opening ceremony with the dirty Englishmen promoting pollution (I’m assuming that’s what it was doing) and Kenneth Branagh speaking in language from this century for once was confusing to everyone but England. However, these games always remind me of the power of nationalism, the true nature of competitive sport and the fact that I have wasted my life as a 24 year old student when I should have won at least 19 gold medals by now. So thanks for that, Olympics.

Some rights reserved by beth.rand via Flickr

We fucking get it we’re lazy assholes and you started training at 5.

Another thing I noticed is the insane scheduling. According to my supreme overlord, Comcast Broadband Xfinity Monopoly III, I have 4 separate channels for Olympic coverage, all in HD. So finding one event is basically performing a search via card catalog. I have to assume some stuff based on the event popularity, dodge multiple announcer segment interrupts with Ryan Seacrest and other people paid too much to talk for a living, and try to guess the sex of those involved either by the appearance of an Adam’s apple or a bulge in their spanx. All in all, I have seen one actual event I wanted to see (I’m a huuuge fan of the beach volleyball team Treanor and Walsh) and that was on mistake. I just happened to be surfing my 30088903 channels and they popped up in their ill-fitting uniforms battling some Austrian sisters I had never heard of before today.

So no, I can’t offer any coverage or summaries or anything. I can say I still love the Olympics (no matter what Comcast may think) and hope (I mean that’s what all this stuff is based on) I can catch the other events I actually give a damn about: the 100 m dash, the finals of beach volleyball and the women’s gymnastics all-around.

If not, I will have another wonderful post waiting in the wings to fully capture my bitchy anger towards programming today. Or I might just watch it online. To be continued….

Crazy News from Tuesday, Jul 31st

A Brief Overview of Crazy News From Today:

  • Some Brazilian Dude lost $6 Billion Today due to production cuts
  • Some Assholes in Chicago stole $3K worth of merchandise in what the media has called ‘grab mobs’ where large groups enter a store and steal. Really Youth? This is what we want to be know for in 2050?
  • Phelps won his 19th Olympic medal
  • Ebola is back in Uganda. The president there has asked people to stop kissing and holding hands to hopefully inhibit the disease from killing more people (14 have died in the last few weeks

Not the best news, but apparently that is what is going on around here.

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