Friday, February 29, 2008

Things I Do To Avoid Packing: Redux

Six months ago.

This morning:

7am: Wake up by mistake. Try to go back to sleep.
7:12am: Tell cat to shut up.
7:14am: Sufficiently annoyed by cat, get up to go to the bathroom.
7:19am: Reset 8am alarm for 8:20.
8:20am: Turn off alarm.
9am: Meet friend for coffee.
10:10am: Come home. Feed cat; eat yogurt.
10:33am: Frame picture.
10:45am: Take Scrabulous turns.
10:57am: Start a game of Chain Factor.
11:22am: End Chain factor at a disappointing 149,000 points. Check Scrabulous. Bingo with SEATING. Feel better about self.
11:23am: Think about stuff.
11:40am: Pack a box.

Dear Internet: Please come to my house and pack my stuff. Love, Gillian

P.S. Please also bring supplies. So far today I have eaten: yogurt & granola, a cup-a-soup, and a chocolate letter G.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Richie Game

Both Lisa and Brianna have recently mentioned "Richie" on their blogs of late (OK, Lisa's last mention was in August, but whatever), so let me give you a little overview of the Richie Game.

The Richie Game can be played with any number of players who are approximately equally fiscally-enabled. The goal of the game is to notice when one of your friends mentions something that cost money, then call him or her "Richie." There are straightforward examples, like:
"I bought a new car yesterday."
The game really gets going, though, when you notice those things for which your friends are casually spending money, and working the Richie into the conversation without explicit justification.

Allow me to illustrate with a few examples.

Example 1
Greg*: The baby's crying.
Gillian: Oh, you could afford to have a baby? Richie.

Analysis: This example is somewhat crass, as the second player calls out the first player's wealth ("you could afford...").

Example 2
Greg: When I was in university...
Gillian: You went to university? Richie.

Analysis: Here we have a slightly subtler example. The wealth of those with higher educations is implied.

Example 3
Gillian: I'll pick up Swiss Chalet for dinner.
Greg: Ooh, takeout. Richie.

Analysis: This one's funny because Swiss Chalet? Cheap.

OK, got the gist of it now? Great, let's move on to defensive moves. In the Richie Game, a defense is successful if you can show that you're not really rich. In our examples, good defensive moves might look like this.

Example 1
Greg: The baby's crying.
Gillian: Oh, you could afford to a baby? Richie.
Greg: Yeah, but now I'm broke because all my money goes to the baby.

Example 2
Greg: When I was in university...
Gillian: You went to university? Richie.
Greg: It was community college. And I got a scholarship.

Example 3
Gillian: I'll pick up Swiss Chalet for dinner.
Greg: Ooh, takeout. Richie.
Gillian: Only once a month, and I have a coupon.

Now that we've established game play, you too can enjoy endless hours of entertainment playing the Richie Game. When you're finished with that, you can play Do You Know What Your Problem Is?, which can be just as fun.

I leave you with the most stellar example of Richie game play I've ever seen.

Gillian: Maury Povich was making a speech in the next room, and John, Dave and Greg offered me $60 to go kiss him.
Kate: Did you take it?
Gillian: No!
Kate: Richie.

*Not his real name.**
**OK, yes it is.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

On My Mind

1. The 50mm lens I ordered from eBay this morning so that I can take pictures like this. Eventually.

2. Packing. Going to Puerto Rico this weekend to avoid packing. Packing for Puerto Rico. [Boo.]

3. Ways to start a scene in improv. This one plagues me. I love the improv class, but I have to tell you, whenever it's my turn to start a scene I break into a sweat. I have some ideas this week, including:

- Rifling through clothing racks and saying, "You know, Roberta, sometimes you can find really great deals at Goodwill."
- "Chad, thank you so much for getting us a room at the Holiday Inn Express for our tenth anniversary!"

[Chad: No offense.]
[Mike: You didn't see this, and tomorrow night my ideas are ALL NEW.]

4. Avoiding the jars of deliciousness at work.

$900 Poorer

Last Friday I went to B&H to buy the Nikon D40 kit with extra lens. I followed the DSLR breadcrumbs to the counter upstairs, put on my friendliest smile, and announced to the gentleman lucky enough to serve me that I was in the market for my first DSLR.

Me: I've done some research*, and I've narrowed it down to the Canon XTi...
B&H Guy: Excellent, excellent, that's a great camera.
Me: ...or the Nikon D40.
[insert crickets chirping here]
Me: I take it you're not a big fan of the Nikon?
B&H Guy: The Canon is an excellent camera.

And so it went, until I left 20 minutes later with a quote for the Canon (body only), a $230 lens, and a few other necessities that would total $880. I needed to sleep on it so I went home and read too many reviews (again) of the Canon and the Nikon and played a few (dozen) games of Chain Factor in between. Today after work I went back to B&H and upped my tally to a nice even $900 (they were out of the 2GB CF cards so what the heck! I bought a 4GB one).

I brought it home and let it sit in the bag for an hour while I ate dinner. Then, and I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, I played another game of Chain Factor (my high score is over 200,000!). Moments ago I unwrapped my lovely new camera, snapped on the lens and took a couple of really crappy photos.

Next step: RTFM, and relearn everything Mr. McDonald taught me in Grade 11 Photography Class.

*The understatement of the year. I have read every article on entry-level DSLRs and most reviews of lenses in my price range. And my eyes are bleeding (probably why I can't take a decent picture tonight).

P.S. I went with the Canon because I really want a 50mm lens, and I want it to auto-focus. The cheapest Nikon body that will support that for existing Nikon lenses is the D80, and it rings up at $800. Big huge thanks, again, to everyone who emailed me and left comments with advice, especially Mike, who proved that you don't need IM or Facebook to waste a lot of time at work.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


OK Internet, I admit it, I've been holding out on you. But holy crap do I have some good news: I am moving into what may be my absolutely perfect and ideal apartment. And so I bring you:

The UFF FAQ to Gillian's Brand New Awesome Apartment

Q: What's so great about this new apartment?
A: I would have a much easier time answering what ISN'T great about it, to which the answer would be NOTHING. But since you asked, here is a partial list of what it has:

1. A beautiful kitchen with very new appliances (including a kickass stainless steel fridge and a gorgeous gas range)
2. A private (!) backyard
3. Two bedrooms, one of which will be used as an office
4. The closet of my dreams (in fact, I didn't even know I had a dream closet until I saw this one!)
5. Laundry in the basement

Also, crazily, the current tenants not only have the same rug I have in my bedroom now, they painted the bedroom to match it. And cats are welcome, which is, as you know, a requirement.

Q: Where are these fabulous new digs, anyway?
A: I'm glad you asked! The apartment is steps away from (for real, not the fake Craigslist ad "steps away from" which is short for "steps away from the subway that will take you to") Prospect Park and Grand Army Plaza (and the Green Market!), not to mention a Crunch gym (hello HBMAMJJASOND!). There's also excellent public transportation nearby (my commute will be a very reasonable 40 minutes).

Q: Why are you leaving BP:LE? I thought it was the cat's meow!
A: It's been a good six months, but despite a few moments of harmony, Memphis and Grapple are decidedly not BFF. But that's not the main reason...

Q: Will you be living in GBNAA alone, Missy?
A: Tee hee. No. I will be sharing the apartment with my special friend. Did I mention tee hee? I'll introduce you to him soon, promise. Let's just say things are very happy, and I definitely have a Valentine this year.

Q: When are you moving?
A: March 1!

I do need to bitch for a moment about the process of applying for an apartment in NY. It SUCKS. For one, you can't really start looking for a place until a few weeks before you're ready to move, because the market moves so quickly. You have to submit a crazily huge application package, including pay stubs and income tax info, references (yes, written references), and a credit check. Your annual income needs to be at least 40x the monthly rent. Then you have to wait for a few days while you anxiously pick at your cuticles until they are all bleeding - oh, wait, that might just be me. When you finally sign the lease (a year, minimum) you usually need to pay first and last months' rent plus a security deposit (usually another month's rent). And all that is if you're lucky enough to find a place without using brokers, who are not only slimy liars (Windsor Terrace might be getting nicer, but that doesn't mean that Park Slope is "growing"), they also charge ridiculously high fees (1-3 months' rent, FOR REAL).

Anyhoo, I can start letting the skin on my fingers grow back now. Too many good times to even count.

P.S. Thanks for all the awesome comments about the cake! Did I mention that they *paid* for it? Did I also mention good times?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Taking the Cake

Side 1
Originally uploaded by Kitty LaRoux.

A few weeks ago, I brought cupcakes to a friend's birthday party. Another girl there liked the cupcakes enough to recommend that I do the baking for an upcoming Indian-themed birthday party, and this cake is the result. The decorations are inspired by mendhi designs. More pics on Flickr.

(Sorry for the crap photos - I'm going to buy my new camera this week!)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Improv and Life

1. don't be nervous
2. "There are no mistakes in improv, only bad follow-throughs" (which is to say, the only way YOU can mess up is if you make somebody else look like they messed up)
3. just pay attention and be focused
4. don't feel awkward - whatever you're doing, just commit to it!

That's the advice LaFarlow gave me when I emailed her about my improv class that starts tonight. Seems applicable.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


It is completely ridiculous when I unsubscribe to some annoying spam service (ZDNet and, I'm looking at you) and I get a message along the lines of: "Please allow up to 10 days for changes to your subscriptions to take effect." Seriously, if there's really a TECHNICAL reason that it takes that long, your service is not one that I want to be using anyway.

Advice for the Unemployed

I quite enjoyed my week of unemployment and would like to impart some words of advice to you, dear UFF reader, that might come in handy should you ever find yourself in the glorious predicament of having some amount of time on the pogey, as they say. If I had it to do again, and believe me, I will, because unemployment is really awesome versus working, I'd take at least 3 weeks off.

Week 1 I would spend vising my family/friends (like I did last week).

Week 2, I'd take an intensive class of some sort. For example, the Culinary Institute of America has these 4- and 5-day Boot Camps at their Hyde Park campus and I'd be really into any of them. Scratch that, all of them. (Prospective sugar daddies, please leave me a note in the comments.)

Week 3 I'd get my life together. I got home late last night from watching the best Super Bowl I've ever seen (go Giants!) and then had to do laundry for my first day at scho^H^H^H^Hwork! Oops. I haven't even unpacked from my trip to Canadia last week, and I have a bunch of administrivia that it would be oh-so-nice to get done, like getting a NY driver's license (yes, it has been 8 years, and yes, I still have the Ontario one).

However, I only took a week, and today I started my Brand New Job, which is going to be really great (even though it does cut into my ability to take Scrabulous turns). Happily though, my improv class starts on Wednesday night! Start collecting those rotten tomatoes; the end-of-class show is on March 29 at 1 p.m., and you're invited.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Canadianisms, Part the Fifth

On my recent voyage to Canadia, a few more Canadianisms occurred to me.

1. Shortening of "afternoon" to "aft," as in, "There's supposed to be a snowstorm this aft." I even heard a radio dude do it!

2. Getting in "heck" as the equivalent of getting in "trouble": "If I don't get the car home before the snowstorm this aft, I'm going go to get in heck." It's very wholesome, which makes me wonder if it might also be a Midwestern US expression. Anyone?

3. The Ceasar, a cocktail similar to a Bloody Mary but made with Clamato which is popular in Canada - in fact, according to Wikipedia, it's "popularly known as the 'official cocktail' of Canada." It's also quite delicious, and I highly recommend that my American readers mix one up. Usage: "If that kid doesn't get the car home before the snowstorm this aft, he is going to be in a lot of heck. Will you mix me a Ceasar?"

I'm back in the US of A, celebrating my final day of unemployment with a hangover. I bid farewell to HBJ with a few (OK, 4) glasses of red wine and I'm now welcoming HBF and, inspired by Deniser, I'm making 2008 the Year of the 140s. I haven't seen the 140s probably since high school, so it's going to be some good times.