February 17, 2008

The Party House - or How I Grew a Spine

Living in a dorm sucks. Sure, it is great to have that opportunity to meet new people and share your interests and catch that bug that's going around, but at the end of the day, it really sucks to see a gob of hair that isn't yours clogging the shower drain, little tendrils of gross tickling your toes.

After my year of dorm living was up, I moved into a house with some friends of mine. Before I continue, I'm one of 'those' girls- the one whose friends are all male. I think I have maybe one female friend. Most of the time, when I meet another girl who is like me, we usually squeal and giggle about how much we hate girls (those catty bitches), that guys are soooo easygoing, we should really hang out and go for coffee sometime. Which never happens.

Anyway, I moved into this house with four guys. It was a huge house, two stories, gigantic addition in the back, two kitchens, five bedrooms, blahblahblah. Ok, so the carpets were a little worn-down and there was hideous Laura Ashley floral wallpaper on 'accent' walls, but it was our house and we were finally living like adults.

In reality, I think we all had a different idea of what living there would be like. For me, it was a sanctuary, a place to hang out with my closest friends without crossing the front stoop, the place where I'd really get my act together with the studying thing. For them, it was a place to party and smoke weed without worrying about the R.A. knocking on the door.

It was pretty naive of me to expect 19-20 year old guys, living on their own for the first time, to think about things like taking out the trash or throwing away the moldy steaks they left in the fridge. It drove me crazy, trying to keep things clean and in relative order. When I introduced a system of emptying/running the dishwasher when we first moved in, they thought it was crazy and said that everyone would just pitch in and do what needed to be done. After about three months, they grudgingly admitted that no one in their right mind would stop and empty the dishwasher when there was an A-Team marathon on.

Then there was the partying. With a house that size and that close to campus, it was pretty perfect for partying (elderly neighbors be damned!). Most people were grateful to get out of their cramped apartments and get some elbow room.

What became a problem, however, was people coming over at all hours of the day. Friends of the guys that lived there, people I knew but wasn't particularly close to, would show up at 11 a.m. and just walk in the front door. Once I awoke from a nap and walked downstairs to find two friends of ours playing a video game. No one else was home and they hadn't bothered to think to come back another time.

There were parties every weekend- not small, close affairs, either. Two kegs and half the student body would show up. Then came the beer pong table in the living room, and it wasn't just a handful of times I'd have to go downstairs at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday to ask them to keep it down.

After a while, I did something I never in a million years thought I would do- I started to grow a spine. Quiet pleadings to 'try to stay quiet' turned into 'look, faggots, it's Tuesday, go home'. Once, when my roommate and I had a small birthday party (we invited maybe 20-25 people and told them not to bring a bunch of friends), one of the regular party crashers, 'Sven', showed up. We let him in, as he was good to hang out with, when 30 minutes later the doorbell rang. I opened up the door to a couple of overly made-up girls and a handful of douchy-looking boys. I asked them who called them and they said 'Sven' had. Before I could say anything, they walked straight into the house and into the kitchen, opening the fridge and asking for beer.

I calmly shut the door and went to the kitchen. "I'll have to ask you guys to leave."

They stared at me, uncomprehendingly, as if I were speaking French. "No, I'm serious, this is a private party and we invited some close friends."

Still, they hesitated, not sure if this plain, short girl was serious. Then I said the phrase that would serve me so well for the next few months: "Get the fuck out."

All of my life I've been very timid; if my order was wrong at a restaurant, I'd shut up and eat it. If someone pushed me out of the way or cut in a line, I'd look the other way. There's a lot to be said for turning the other cheek, but I'm no holy man and sometimes you can't let people walk all over you.

The rest of my time at the house was a lot more comfortable, and the parties were kept under better control. See how you feel after the third group of party hoppers (people who drive around town and show up at strangers' parties once the host is drunk) walks in your house, tracking mud in and not bothering to find out who lives there. There were many people I pissed off, I was called a bitch and some other not-so-nice names. The people who were our friends and especially my other roommates were grateful someone stood up and said what they were all secretly hoping to say.

It's so damn nice to have my own apartment, though.

February 15, 2008

Idiots will buy anything

Whenever things like this come up, I find myself grateful that I am getting a marketing degree. Market anything well enough and people will buy it. Even with the expanse of research available on the Internet, people usually do some cursory Google search, read the company's webpage and that's about it.

What am I referring to, you say?

The GMC Yukon Hybrid. It even got its own special SuperBowl Ad. It's a beautiful-looking commercial, attention-getting, but definitely wrong for the SuperBowl. However, it's also pompous navel-gazing crap. Great, one of the biggest SUVs available is going to be a hybrid.

GM is also releasing a Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, which I will refer to in the rest of this post.

According to the commercial, estimated gas mileage is 21. CarandDriver Magazine has this to say:
By EPA measures, the hybrid Tahoe four-by-four is rated at 20 mpg city and highway. The standard Tahoe four-by-four’s ratings are 14 city and 19 highway. Our as-tested mileage for the hybrid was 19 mpg, way better than the 12 mpg we got with the regular Tahoe...
It seats 6 or 7 people, and if you're the unfortunate sap who has to cart around 6-7 people, it may make sense. However, the Honda Odyssey also seats 6 or 7 people. Its EPA estimated fuel economy is... 21 mpg! About the same as the Tahoe Hybrid.

The base model Honda starts at $25,860. The Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid price for the 2WD version starts at $50,490.

Some people may claim I am comparing apples to oranges, but SUVs are essentially sexier minivans. While they may have originally been designed for actual 'sport-utility', their off-road capabilities are doubtful. Minivans also don't have that nasty little habit of rollovers.

However, if you feel you are too cool for a minivan and too smart for a 'regular' car, by all means, pay for an abysmal 19 mpg and ugly stickers that scream 'I care- without really caring', then I hope you enjoy your purchase.


Full CarandDriver article here.

February 5, 2008

Welcome to my site, now go away

You don't want to read a big sappy intro, so I'll spare you. Instead, here's a bunch of links since I'm a huge internet nerd.

Useful stuff:
SiteShuffle - Good for those sites you visit everyday. Frees up tab space on Firefox.
Quizlet - Flash cards that generate quizzes and scores. An excellent way to study and a beautiful compendium of coding languages. The boy who made it will go far.
FreeTranslation - I find this to be more reliable than Babelfish. I've only used it for French and Spanish, so don't bitch to me if you claim to be a jelly doughnut.
Gmaps Pedometer - Calculate distance using Google Maps. Very useful for joggers, maybe even more so for the lazy.

Cooking and Food:
Simply Recipes - Simple, good, generally uncomplicated recipes. Today's recipe was a stock using chicken feet, something absolutely delicious that deserves to be widespread.
BentoTV - Sarah, the host, has been keeping it up almost daily since August 2006. She specializes in Bento, a popular way to make lunch in Japan. However, she also has neat recipes and tips for packing a nutritious lunch. I've personally ordered from her shop and have been very satisfied.
Use Real Butter - I wish I could remember how I stumbled upon this one. The photography is captivating and the recipes challenging but intriguing. She includes a lot of Asian dishes, which, as you will discover, I am very partial to. Updates almost daily.
Wheel of Lunch - Having a hard time deciding where to eat? Just plug in your zip code and it will choose a restaurant at random. I recommend leaving in 'restaurant' as a search term, as it will search everything from fast food to tablecloth.
HeatEatReview - Review site for frozen foods. Cute name, eh? Definitely leans toward the lighter meals, which I'm not complaining about. Even if you scoff at frozen foods, read their zero star reviews on a slow work afternoon.
GoodEats - A fan page that catalogs the scripts for every Good Eats episode. Extremely handy if you want more information than just the recipe. Warning: uses frames. Navigate at your own frustration.

Fashion (sorry guys, can't help you much here):
Go Fug Yourself - Half fashion, half celebrity gossip. Updates multiple times a day and rarely fails to be entertaining.
Fashion Under $100 - Celebrity-inspired street clothes. This site does a great job of pulling together lookalikes. However, it relies on VERY cheap clothes as she includes even the handbag and shoes. It's still a great site and worth a look.

As embarrassing and lowbrow as it is, sometimes we need a break from thinking.
Aforementioned Go Fug Yourself.
Pink is the New Blog - Best for those once-a-day internet browsers. Trent is very thorough and optimistic but tends to be biased toward gay favorites such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
Dlisted - A new favorite of mine. Michael K is very opinionated and more pessimistic than Janeane Garofalo (no I didn't have to look that up... ok, I lied). Updated every damn second.

Neatorama - If you've ever read BoingBoing, please switch to this. Same idea (compendium of neat articles, facts and gadgets) but without the insufferable Xeni Jardin or Cory Doctorow. I'll have a rant about BoingBoing soon enough.
The Sneeze - Random stuff. I can't really describe it. Let's just say it's the only time I've read about someone's kid without wanting to claw my own eyes out.
WaiterRant - Cynical waiter who has a knack for prose.
Disgruntled Workforce - PostSecret for pissed-off workers.
Passive-Aggrestive Notes - PostSecret for pissed-off people.

Now that I've shown you sites that are more complete, have archives of interesting posts, and more useful than mine, please come back again!