Friday, July 26, 2013

Cool Summer's Round-Up

All too often in life I get stuck in a goove.

In part because I'm considering how to help my blog through some transitions, and in part because I'm moving soon and am swamped preparing for that, I'm posting another round-up. I like this as a form. Enjoy.

A principal has been insulting a few teachers at her school, and is catching heat for it. I think there's a Change.org petition about this, so have a look for it if you think this is deplorable.

It's not news, but my favorite live storytelling event is telling a story at one of my favorite wine bars on Monday night. If  you're looking for something fun, check it out.

WBEZ answers burning questions about why Chicagoans don't eat ketchup on their hot dogs and other burning questions. I linked to this because of the oldest sidewalk in Chicago; I thought the idea was charming.

I haven't watched Robin Thicke's video, or at least not all of it. I did watch about thirty seconds for the context of this video, but that was all I could take. I like this single better, and it was fun to watch even without the context of Robin Thicke and misogyny.

This article in the New York Times shows bums me out; health care is still an institution serving our nation's women inequitably.

On that tip, our nation's legislators are f-ing it up for all of us trying to get insurance. When I think about Congress, I want to emigrate, preferably to a small tropical island.

This is a lovely meditation on the connection between yoga and our religious and/or spiritual practice.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Trending

I've been thinking a lot about trends: you know, what it means for a thing--video, look, object, location, meal--to be hip and the "must-have" of the moment. What comes to mind? Hm.... that Harlem Shake video-ridiculousness; poutine; sous vide as a method of cooking (for foodies, as opposed to the bastion of individuals abandoned to frozen convenience meals); Chevron stripes (!); Ombre; detoxing; fried eggs on cheeseburgers (are they still doing that, I haven't had a cheeseburger in years...); and skirts with short hems in front and long in back. (Bill Cunningham loves these; I don't.)

So for some people, being trendy is the thing, right? For some of us, if we see a wine rack made of bent records, or a chandelier built from a re-purposed wooden pallet, then we MUST have one too. If someone is spray painting and gold-leafing plastic animals to make bookends out of them, then damnit, to the craft store we go, to find our own animals to spray paint and gold leaf. If we see some Brooklyn apartment using a pair of girl's roller skates as door stops on Apartment Therapy, we spend the next month scouring antique marts and estate sales for a similar pair to prop open doors in our flats (and between you and me, the doors stay open on their own).

Why do we behave this way? I'm not talking about the common usage of some phrases, the way that the word "lothario" came into and went out of everyday usage. I'm talking about the idea of a gaggle of people seeing something cute in a magazine or on a website, and then running like mad zombies into our nearest retailer so that we can buy something that will create the new look.

I say this without any malice or judgment, now. For months, I've been feeling like my/our home (specifically) needed freshening up, and between that and the coming move, it's a great excuse to troll Pinterest and other places looking for ideas to fill up  my head and objects to fill up my home. It's definitely a mixed bag. So I write this as the person at the front of the consumerist zombie charge.

(For the record, I know very little about zombies. When I use the term in this context, I'm thinking more about the I Am Legend/28 Days Later kind of zombie, that moves fast and insatiable, rather than the slow, drooling, brain-eating zombies trekking deliberately across the foggy countryside. Shoppers don't look like this until the end of the day.)

But are we filling our closets, homes, lives with objects and practices just because everyone else is doing them? Or are we the folks who pooh-pooh every trend and go against the grain just so we can count ourselves anti-establishment?

What happens when our lives are so governed by what's trending that we lose sight of what we actually like, or what serves us? I worry about myself sometimes, about getting so caught up in trends that I forget that I have taste. I think that sounds a little bitchy, but I sure don't mean it to. I just mean that the other day I was swimming among trends, looking for ways to transform my life and I thought, "Wait a minute. I hate Anthropologie. Why do I care about making my own crocheted lighting fixtures or rope necklaces? Chevron just reminds me of herringbone; why would I want that on my wall? What good do all these tips do me if I can't make my life function because of them?"

So I suppose I have to take my time absorbing all the cool music, cool clothes, cool ideas and practices, and I have to take them all with a grain of salt. Not every list of ways to improve my life is worth trying.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Am I Trayvon Martin?

Like so many of the rest of us, I've had the verdict and its effects (micro and macro) on my mind since it was announced last week. I've read some of the articles and essays, I watched the speech President Obama gave--a longer, more thoughtful reaction to the news--and on the way to lunch on Saturday I stopped by the rally in Federal Plaza.
It was really interesting. I hadn't planned on going to the rally, hadn't even known about it actually. I figured that all the rallies had happened already. But I walked through the Chicago streets, dazzling with sunshine, listening to the faint buzz of a helicopter overhead, until I arrived at Dearborn and Adams. Lots of people holding signs, as you can see, and a male voice on the microphone. Lots of different kinds of people were there, which I found encouraging.

I didn't stay long. I didn't carry a sign, or text anything to any number. I listened for a moment, and then I walked across the street and joined my husband for lunch.

We spent most of our time talking about what "justice for Trayvon Martin" actually means.

I've heard/read a lot of folks saying, I am Trayvon Martin, as well as I am not Trayvon Martin. I can't really answer that question one way or the other. Am I Trayvon? Am I someone who scares white people who carry guns, and provokes them so that they feel justified in killing me? Or am I not? Am I instead a person who swims in privilege and lives easily knowing that others will always assume the best about me and treat me like a human and not a stereotype?

Some days I'm Trayvon Martin; some days I'm not. I think it generally depends on who else is around. There are absolutely women (and maybe men) who view me as a threat and not an ally.

I feel really convicted by some of the language that asserts that we all perceive young black men as threats, as animals and monsters. I think about what happens inside me when I walk down the street among black men... I say to my shame that I want to be the person who sees my father, my brothers, my uncles and cousins, and sometimes I am that person, sometimes I do see them. But sometimes I see the guy in junior high who used to push me around at my locker; sometimes I see the guy in high school who used to grab my ass uninvited. Sometimes I see the guy my mother warned me about, the man she feared, and probably still fears. This is really complicated for me. When I consider this, I wonder if I'm being asked implicitly by this dialogue to separate my womanhood from my race. When I feel this way, I remember the words of Audre Lorde:

"There's always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself - whether it's Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. - because that's the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else."

If Audre Lorde says I can keep all parts of myself, then I'm gonna, 'cause she speaks the truth.

As a woman, it's hard for me to feel safe all the time. I'm happy, I'm friendly, I like to smile. I don't like having to think about whether my skirt is so short that it will invite a man to stare at me. I like to talk to strangers, but I don't like being hit on by strange men. In fact, there's only one man whom I enjoy hitting on me; I liked it so much I married him. But maybe this feeling is borne of ego. Maybe it's just pure arrogance to think that every man who speaks to me on the street wants to take something from me. We are all human. Not every man is a sexual predator, and to treat them as such is to disrespect the diversity of human beings.

When a man calls me "Sweetie" and I can't see his face because I'm not sure which voice came from the five of them; when a man my father's age compliments my locs and asks me if he can wash my hair as I am headed to work; when I have to walk through a group of men positively vibrating with youth and testosterone: it seems impossible to feel safe. How can I not want to defend myself against what I perceive as a threat?

I don't (often) shout obscenities at strangers. I don't imagine that every man who passes me on the street is rigid with desire and only seconds from ravishing me. But I don't want to be groped. I want to wear a strapless dress or miniskirt without fielding comments about my body, or hearing the phrase "asking for it" from anyone.

I feel trapped by this bind.

I appreciate men who hold my gaze on the street, rather than giving me the "elevator eyes". I appreciate men who address me as "Sister" or "Queen" (it happened once) instead of "Baby" or "Shortie". I am not afraid of strangers. I'm afraid of being taken. Objectified and possessed.

It occurs to me that this is exactly what happened to Trayvon Martin. He was taken, objectified and possessed by another human being. I still can't make sense of the fact that a grown adult could fear a teenager, armed only with a can of iced tea and a pack of Skittles. I don't understand. I read a headline asking if our country will ever heal from this. I wonder who's really hurting. It sounds crass and dispassionate, I know. I know the Martins are hurting. I know (some) people who thought America's race problem was over are hurting. I know black people are hurting; but ours is a different kind of hurt. The hurt that makes Trayvon like Emmett Till. Black people are accustomed to our community suffering in a way that no other is here in America. Some of us are not surprised. That doesn't make us hurt any less, though.

As you can see, I'm all over the place about this. I suppose at the end of it all, I know my privilege, I know the metaphoric weight of my body--its race and gender--in the world, and I know that others' perceptions of me is something over which I have little (but not zero) control.

I know it is difficult to walk this earth and assume the best about people, and still protect myself from negativity, in any form.

Friday, July 19, 2013

An Experiment: Round-Up

Taken at the Gold Coast Art Fair

I've never done a round-up before. But I'm trying some new things in this space (and hopefully in the days and weeks to come) so I thought I'd share some of the most interesting/lovely/compelling things I've looked at this week. You'll notice a lot of it skews the direction of the response to the Trayvon Martin murder trial. It's been a big deal to me.

Things I looked at or thought about this week:
Enjoy. Maybe there'll be another one of these down the line. Still trying to find my footing about it.


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pinterest!

As a part of my moving prep, I've joined Pinterest. If you weren't late to the party, like I was, you know what this is, but for all y'all who aren't clear on it, Pinterest is a kind of Internet bulletin board. I'm not exactly sure when this happened, but at some point, designers and advertisers and techies all got together (I believe this explains how "sexy" and "chic" weddings have become) and made these things called "Inspiration Boards" wherein you put stuff you like: images, articles, processes, etc. Pinterest is like a giant, global, cloud-based Inspiration Board.

This photo is one one of my private boards, because really, you don't need to see what I'm considering for my home decor. I'm not sure where it started, because it only links to its own image. 

For a while, I just couldn't care less about Pinterest, but when it became clear to me that I needed a better way to show my husband potential furnishings than shouting to him across the apartment to, "C'mere and look at this!", I opened an account. (Of course, to see anything I was looking at, he had to open one too; that's how they get you.) So since I started looking at other people's Pinterest boards and pinning my own little tidbits of interesting stuff, a few things occur to me:

A) I think Pinterst is a giant place to buy stuff and to show others what you're buying. It feels like a way to market things, and I mean market ideas and images as much as objects, I mean "buying" as in buying into ideas, not just buying things. I've been pinning lots of yoga images: inspiring quotes, nature scenes, icons, and pictures of beautiful people in asana, or poses. This is the weird one for me, though: some of the poses seem really lovely and motivating--there are a couple of lovely old  mend and women in astonishing poses, and some very regular poses that we can all get into. But some other asana photos, that I've been reluctant to post, feature gorgeous, slicked bodies in poses that are pretty advanced. There's something that makes my stomach hurt in how spectacular and fabulous these yoga pictures can get. If we're spending as much--or more--energy on trying to get the best yoga picture as we are on trying to have the most present yoga experience, we might as well be at the gym preening for others. Yoga can give us beautiful bodies, but it doesn't always, and too great an attachment to that would be problematic, I think. It would certainly get in the way of my existence; some days it already does.

There's an article in the NY Times about yoga and instagram that made me shake my head and turn away. Likewise, Yoga Journal's June issue featured a spread of a woman in a bandeau and hot pants doing Sura Namaskar A and B to publicize the release of her book, a photo essay of the Ashtanga Primary series. I'd seen a video for the book on a crowd-fundraising site. Interesting, but not enough to get me to go in my pocket. The YJ spread is as stark and disciplined as Ashtanga yoga is, but if you're into scantily clad women in bendy positions, you could do worse than these images. I'm no stranger to Ashtanga; there's something so ordered about the practice that really appeals to me. Likewise, it requires, and cultivates, a kind of discipline that has eluded me my entire adult life, so I feel a sense of envy about it. But it's also really kind of cult-y. Without a tame ego, an Ashtanga yogi can get really insufferable.


So I'm a bit concerned about the potential for Pinterest to take interests of mine, like yoga or gluten-free, vegan cooking, or right now home furnishings and decor, and turn them into porn, which then makes them a tool for escape, judgment and a lack of self-compassion. Pinterest is a dream world, where I can covet a lifestyle in as many shades as I want that is in no way mine.

B) There are a lot of stay-at-home moms and wives on Pinterest. Is that still the term? Have we all co-opted Nigella Lawson's "domestic goddess"? What are we calling women who work in the home creating a life space and lifestyle for themselves and their families? (The idea answer is: friend, sister, lover, wife, mom, right, but there's some society label, too.) Whatever the label, there are lots of places wherein people are pinning "helpful" schedules for keeping an immaculate house. For the record, they involve things like running the dishwasher daily, sweeping and vacuuming daily, and taking out the trash daily. I don't know about you, but in my house, those chores happen as necessary, not with the rising and setting of the sun. Of course, it's not lost on me that part of my astonishment about how Pinterest is a bastion for women with real creativity, with real homemaking skills, who pack perfectly photograph-able lunches and live in homes that show like catalogs, is that I don't live that life. My home looks lived in. In a dusty, paper-clogged kind of way; the only thing missing is pet hair. I love decorating but hate cleaning, and I carry some baggage about being a good life partner means I can "keep a house". (I blame the patriarchy.) So when I see 101 ways to organize your homes, or tiny napkins folded into Origami cranes, I feel the judgment of all those housewives out there who do this stuff every day. It's probably not real either, but still, I feel like less. Which brings me right back to letter A).

C) It's been incredibly useful. Lest you think I'm completely down on Pinterest, it has absolutely been doing what I hired it to do. It makes so much sense to have a place where I'm putting pictures of furniture that we can afford and that I like, colors that I think would tie a room together nicely, tips on how to re-caulk a bathtub (!) crafty how-to's even I could complete. It's getting the job done. Of course, if my husband checked the board more often, it might facilitate conversation between us about which dining table would be best for the price, but that's a different problem to solve.

D) Like a lot of social media, it's addictive. I thought I'd just be dabbling a bit in furniture here and there, but after less than a month, I feel like I spend hours searching out lovely things--recipes, photos, useful lists, etc.--to pin on my boards. Just like so many other platforms, every time I get a notification, I'm checking the site, and for nothing, because nothing actually happens when someone follows me or repins or likes something I've pinned. It's just another way to over-connect myself to the Hive Mind.

So at the end of it, I don't know if Pinterest has added a lot to my life experience. I suppose the proof is in how easily, and affordably, my husband and I are able to furnish our next home. If I spend ten grand on Chevron curtains and chalkboards to write menus and furniture that I have spend an addition five grand in supplies just so I can repurpose it, well we'll know that Pinterest has won and I have lost--my mind.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Attention, Big Box Shoppers

Last night, on the way home from Jazzin' at the Shedd. You haven't seen Marine wildlife until you've seen it at dusk, buzzed, listening to Rick James covers.

So I read this article in Slate.com about Wal-Mart's battle to open six new stores in Washington D.C. (For what seems like an update about this matter in DC, read this article in the NY Times.)I remember when Wal-Mart first showed up in the Southern Ohio suburb I grew up in. I thought it was amazing, a marvel: a store that sold Popsicles, hot dogs and buns, hunting rifles, Capri pants, board games and furniture all under the same roof. I couldn't believe it. My parents and I shopped there, not weekly or even regularly, but with some degree of frequency. Then, a year later a Target opened up across the street, right next door to a Best Buy. Goodbye Wal-Mart, Hello, Red Bulls Eye. I was smitten, and I've been a loyal customer ever since.

But I don't like big-box stores. Really. I don't like the idea that I could fall in love with a garment and guarantee that there are a million other women out there who fell in love with it too, and who bought it and will look just like me, because there's only one left in my size. I don't like how seductive Target often feels: I walk in looking to buy disinfecting wipes and paper towels and come out with 40 bucks in jewelry and accessories--of course, that's just as much about my lack of self-control as it is about the store's layout and marketing. (But I know there's some sneaky ish going on there, still...)When I learned a little bit about how badly big box stores treat their employees, I really disliked them, and ditto for their farming and agriculture practices. Yech.

But I still shop at Target. I'm a hypocrite. Absolutely.

I'd love to say that Wal-Mart is a different story than Target, that Target, with its young, polished advertising and contemporary vibe is different from Wal-Mart, and that's why I feel free to shop at Target and not Wal-Mart. I could even make it political, and say that Wal-Mart is definitely pandering to red-state, right-to-life, you'll-take-my-guns-outta-my-white-Republican-cold-dead-hands voters.

But it's not true. They're both big-box stores, with employment and contract practices that are questionable at best and downright inhuman at worst. Somehow, Wal-Mart occupies a space in my brain of all bad American consumerism. It was a big deal to me when Chicago was considering whether or not to allow Wal-Mart to open stores in city limits. (Although, it can't be a surprise to anyone that the city gave them permission to build, right? At the end of the day, revenue is king, especially in a city like Chicago.) When I discovered that Pearl, a fantastic arts and crafts store in Chicago's River North neighborhood, had been transformed into a Wal-Mart Express, I was crestfallen.

But Target is everywhere. In my first neighborhood in Chicago, there was a Target nearby, and I was there monthly. When my husband and I lived in Rogers Park, we were at Target frequently running errands. It was as if I just chose to turn off the part of my brain that considered how other people were being treated so that I could buy scarves and bathmats on the cheap.

Yesterday I was driving home and discovered that another Target was being build on Division st., in one of those neighborhoods that's in a sort of border spot--near Old Town, east of Ukrainian Village, known to locals as Cabrini Green, after the housing development that used to be there. At this point, though, it seems like Targets are popping up like mushrooms. There are two downtown--or precisely one in the Loop, one in the South Loop--one in West Town on Jackson, one in Uptown, one in Lincoln Park, one in Avondale, Rogers Park, Archer Heights, Chatham, Bedford Park AND Morgan Park. That's eleven. Eleven Target stores within city limits. Not including the Target that's in development.

Who am I to say that's too many Target stores? I'm only a citizen of the city, someone who cares about Chicago, and about commerce here, who wants small and mid-level stores to have as much chance of success as big box stores. That's not sarcasm you're hearing. I get that I'm only one consumer, and that while I'm not powerless, as only one, my power's limited. But I try to purchase consciously. I like shopping at mom-and-pop places, and I do. I buy local, I frequent farmer's markets. But sometimes nothing but that damn big box store will suffice.

So what do I do? I don't think I'll stop shopping at Target. Give me a petition to sign for better treatment, and I'll sign it. But I haven't hit the point where I'm willing to spend my money elsewhere yet. Still, I'd love it if in five years, Target wasn't as overrun in this city as Starbucks is. Something about big box stores and technology, about Amazon and Google glasses... I fear our world is becoming too accommodating, and I'm not sure that's only a good thing.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Legacy


Only in America can a white man (because really, the fact that the shooter has a Latina mother hasn't prevented any of us from reading or claiming him as white) shoot and kill an unarmed black boy and be rewarded with his freedom.

It physically hurts me to watch coverage of the aftermath of the trial for Trayvon Martin's shooter. I don't want to look. I don't want to cry, to be reminded of my net worth as a citizen as defined by my country's behavior (that is to say, nothing.)

If I hear or read any more language about marriage equality being the last bastion of the American Civil Rights movement, I will break something.

This is our legacy, fellow Americans. I heard a scholar on the Melissa Harris-Perry show say this morning that this is the freest Black Americans have ever been, in the history of our nation, and after centuries of subjugation. If this is as good as it gets, we're all screwed.

What is my citizenship worth if in my own country, more than four hundred years after its inception, I can be executed by another and forgotten as yesterday's coffee?

I can't think deeply about this. My pain is too great.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Good Morning

A dirty little secret:

Some mornings, I promise myself that if I do the yoga, I can have a luscious, decadent breakfast.

What's for breakfast today? Another green smoothie. Ah, well. I suppose decadence is a bit more challenging when I'm a gluten-free vegan... or rather, it just takes more advanced planning.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The cost of doing business

I've started apartment hunting, here in Chicago. I'm trying to find a way to describe the process, that stressful mix of defensiveness and desperation. It's a tough time to be searching for a new home: with the housing market slowly rebounding, but people unable to buy homes with the ease of five years ago, renting has gotten really complicated. The odds aren't in the favor of renters, because so many owners are having to rent, but that means they can be super-choosy. It's tough.


We're renting and not buying, just like so many other consumers. There are lots of reasons why I'm not interested in buying a house: I'm not actually sure if I want to be a person who owns property. I'm not worried about being one of "those kinds of people", but owning a home ties you to a location in a way that--lots of us are finding out--isn't so easy to release. I'm not sure if I can get a home that I'll feel happy in that's also in a spot that I'll feel happy in. I know that a lot of life is about making peace with what is and releasing expectations--that's ALL of life. But it's still not easy. Finally, buying property feels like putting down roots into the ground, and for years I've been hesitant to tie myself to one location. (No more of that, but that's a story for a different day.)

In the course of trying to find us a new home, I've been spending time on Craigslist. I'm dismayed to discover that the classified section has been taken over by real estate agents. For the record, I have no damage with real estate as an industry, nor with agents. I suppose my surprise is about how much the industry's changed. It seemed virtually anathema for me to deal with owners and managers, but instead, I've spend a lot of time on the phone with real estate agents, all of whom have treated me both as someone they're desperate to work with and whom they deeply distrust.

I met a particularly interesting woman named Marcy. My husband and I were at lunch when she returned my call about an apartment in Uptown. I answered the phone, and was launched into a conversation. The first question she asked was, "are you an agent?"

Later, I'd come to view this question as suspect, as if she was asking me, are you an agent of a malevolent, otherworldly force, like the sunglasses-wearing Mr. Smith of The Matrix. At the time, I knew she meant real estate agent. I was flummoxed. "Uh, no," I replied, "I'm a--human--person--I'm a person seeking a home."

So, I expected her to tell me a bit about the apartment, and to make an appointment to see meet here there so I could see it. Instead, I got a barrage of questions that got increasingly personal, and culminated with, "Gross monthly income?"

No one has ever asked me my gross monthly income in order to show me an apartment. I get that owners are trying to protect themselves. It's not just in San Francisco that owners are trying to protect their rights, even if it is at the expense of renters. But as the person who feels like she's getting screwed by the lack of trust or faith, I'm really discouraged by the way that people are relating to each other.

Someone is reading this and thinking about the story they heard about the renter who seemed great and who moved into their friend's home, and then bought five cats and never cleaned up after them, and was behind on the rent six months, and who left food out to rot and who basically turned what was beautiful rental property into condemned housing. I know, I know: one bad apple spoils the whole bunch, right? But there has to be a way for us all to do business that protects everyone's interest while still protecting everyone's integrity and humanity.

Chicago skyline from top of Lincoln Park WFM parking structure. It's a beautiful city I live in;
and full of some real sons of bitches, too.


I didn't give Marcy my gross monthly income. We argued about it over the phone later, and eventually I offered her a ballpark just so she would show me the apartment I called about. For the record, the place was kind of a dump: a roomy three bedroom, but dirty, smelly, rusty, worn, across and adjacent to several abandoned buildings and with a third bedroom that I never got to see because evidently it locks from the inside. (Wha?...) She showed me a couple of other places that were charming but not quite right.

Every time I go through this housing rigmarole, I'm reminded of how tough and difficult it is to do business with other humans. It seems impossible for people to respect each other. We all just view each other as either a means to an end or an obstacle to blow up and blast through. This discourages me. I don't know if it was ever possible for people to do business over a glass of wine and with smiles and kindness, but I long for that. Right now, it all seems so soulless and dispassionate.

I need to do some more chanting. I need to chant compassion for the agents and brokers and movers and shakers, so that their money goggles fall off and they remember they are people and we are people. And maybe I'll chant compassion for myself, so that when other suck at treating me with compassion and humanity, I can love them and forgive them.

If that fails, there's always bourbon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Stargazing

We've talked about how much I love science, right?

Like, love it.

This isn't the periodic table; or rather, it's not the Periodic Table of Elements. It's a periodic table of frozen yogurt flavors that I took at a shop in Minnesota. But I took it because it reminded me of Chemistry, and Mrs. Austin, and the headache of balancing equations, and the first time that I felt like a strong woman.

Recently, my Favorite and I took a trip to the Adler Planetarium. I'd been begging to go for a while, and while I could have gone without him, it's better to have a partner to gaze at the stars with and get dizzy while checking out the wonders of the universe, right? So we went.

I can't say a lot about how spectacular it was; the scale and scope of hour universe is so great, my language begins to fail when I consider it. But I'll say this: it's cool that the salinity of my body mimics that of the earth's oceans. But I've been blase about it for a while: "Oh, sure, I've got salt water inside just like our planet has on the outside. Yah, yah..."

But when I consider that I have the same molecules and atoms in me and that they came from stars exploding and knitting together to make rock that can support algae, plant, animal, human, me--now that's deep. Stardust. I'm made of stardust. So are you.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Making the house hunt a less sobering experience

We had drinks a while back, on my birthday. Mine is on the left, three times more ice than his.
Introducing an HGTV drinking game.

As you're sitting down with HGTV and looking to get your home-improvement buzz on, we'd suggest choosing a beer that's crafted in the city you're moving to. If you're like my Favorite, you'd enjoy playing with a nice Goose Island Green Line, or Revolution Brewing's Anti-Hero IPA. I've heard good things about Brooklyn Lager (obvious choice for NY) and Yuengling beers, which is the oldest brewery in America, in Pottsville, PA. If you're in Kentucky, lucky you: play with Knob Creek or Eagle Rare, which is a great bourbon. Alternatively, you could choose a drink representing where folks on the show live or are moving to: Canadian Whiskey (lots of families from the great white North), Newcastle or Strongbow for those English folk moving to the countryside, or a lovely Bordeaux to celebrate a couple relocating to France. Anyone moving to Mexico or the Caribbean gets to choose: rum or tequila as you prefer. Yow!


  • Any time someone comments on the "open floor plan" or "open concept", take a sip.
  • Any time someone comments on the view, take a sip.
  • Any time someone comments about closet space or storage, take a sip.
  • Any time someone mentions "granite counter tops", do a shot.
  • Any time someone renovates, do a shot.
  • If someone sells a house, give someone in your group a shot.
  • If someone buys a house, do a shot.
  • If someone finds asbestos or knob and tube wiring, shotgun a beer.
I haven't actually played this game because my tolerance is so weak that I'd be utterly wasted inside the first fifteen minutes of a program. But I've enjoyed shouting, "Drink!" at the TV while watching couples try to find a place to live. I'm considering filling my flask with Eagle Rare and taking it with me on the next round of apartment hunting, just to make the experience a bit less stressful. Don't worry, he'll drive.