Showing posts with label cold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cold. Show all posts

Friday, January 10, 2014

A Question Deserves An Answer

Anonymous said... 

Where for art thou Amberance? 

10:49 PM 

Very good question, anonymous. It's been a rough couple of months. Moving to a new country, even one that you love, is emotionally more difficult than it is possible to prepare for. Christmas, which is normally my FAVORITE THING IN THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD, was mostly a nightmare, and my birthday, which is Sunday and which I would normally have been reminding you all about on a daily basis for the last six weeks is only being observed at all this year to appease StereoNinja, who has made it very clear that my strategy of hiding in the bedroom ignoring him (and everyone else) while failing to engage in any of my beloved hobbies (blogging, my birthday, gratuitous nudity) is no longer acceptable. Having now spoken to a number of people who have already done this, I've had to severely lower my expectations for the foreseeable future, as the collective wisdom of those who have gone before me is that I will continue to burst into tears at completely random intervals due to vicious and overwhelming homesickness for at least 18 months. I don't even want to talk about how miserable I was on New Years, though at least I managed to leave Devon the day before it disappeared into the sea.

I have two papers due in a week, so as I said in November, let me get those written and turned in, and then check back here as I plan to reward myself by writing the next Fifty Shades review and/or going to Prague (oh yeah, I've decided I want to spend a weekend in Prague though I have absolutely no idea what is actually in Prague or why I want to go there - my main motivation seems to be the ability to say "When I was in Prague over the weekend..." - so advice on what I should actually DO in Prague would be lovely). I've been ready to write it for a while actually, but have been putting it off because I felt that I was upset about the wrong things and was trying to adjust my rage to match my logic. It hasn't worked, so I'm just going to write it the way I'm feeling it and then pack my bags for my journey to Hades since I am a terrible person.

Where I am at this very minute is sitting in my living room looking out at the sea. While all you guys in the U.S. have been at the travelling Antarctica Experience exhibition this week (the first time I saw someone write "Chiberia" made me laugh much harder than was probably warranted), the U.K. has been dealing with its own disastrous weather since roughly Christmas, mostly in the form of massive rainstorms combined with extremely high tides and a recent habit of building homes on floodplains. In typical British fashion, this was described on the news in the most hilariously understated way possible as "unusual weather". Living on an island in the Thames as I do, it is impossible not to notice. The field directly across the river from us which is typically filled with sheep first became a lake (which I named Lake Titicacao because tits! and chocolate! and I'm a massive child!) and then a few days ago even that was swallowed up and now the whole thing is just part of the river. Our marina is entirely flooded, the water covering not only the gangway that goes around the outside of the marina but also the first two steps leading up to our garden It is an inch from covering the third, which would leave only two more stairs before we go from living on riverfront property to living in the actual river. There are two roads leading into the island, but only one road that leads away from it, and that road is also flooded, meaning I actually drove my car through the Thames twice this morning. I was lucky I made it through - on my way back, there were two cars stranded on the road who had tried to drive through the river but were too low profile to get through and were now stranded in non-working cars waiting for rescue. If the river doesn't crest today I may be stranded here all weekend. Every once in a while, a helicopter flies over and I imagine them looking down at us and saying "Yep, still flooded." I think I should write a really rude message for them or draw some tits so their day will be more interesting.

Anyway, give me a week to finish my papers and I will write you guys a scathing review about how E.L. James has apparently never been to a bank and being threatened with rape is super romantic. 

P.S. I have enjoyed answering this question. Feel free to send me more questions you would like answers to and I'll answer them in a future blog post. It will be like a conversation!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


Hey you guys! I haven't forgotten I have a blog or anything, I'm just on vacation. StereoNinja and I decided it was cold in Chicago so we have escaped to Miami for a little while. There will be stories about our crazy times with the Word Whore from Air Out My Shorts, a douchebag art dealer, shenanigans at Walgreens, and hotel remodeling (aka fights with security). There will not be any stories about Christmas dildos. We also made you a video of my leftover notes from Chapters 7 and 8 in which I give good but vague advice on how to perform oral sex. Also StereoNinja bought me a camera light for Christmas so now everyone can see what my face looks like, so there's that. Back soon with more reviews my little candy canes!

Friday, November 02, 2012

My Last Trip To Wales

Long time readers of Bizzybiz may recall that I have been to Wales before, and that I swore I would never go back there again. But the BBC in their infinite wisdom has decided that Cardiff is the best place for filming Doctor Who and that therefore it is also the ideal location for the Doctor Who Experience, and so it was that I found myself paying £6 for the privilege of crossing a bridge to get into Wales.

For the record, Wales is not the ideal location for anything unless cold, wet, and misery are essential components.

Wales was just as I remembered it: howling wind blowing rain right in my face, impossibly gray and cold in a way that had me absolutely convinced the sun had floated away and would never return, and as soul crushing as a pile of dead kittens drowned in the tears of starving children. The situation was not at all helped by the fact that I guessed wrong on which direction the exhibit was from the car park and became hopelessly lost. I had to use maps on my asshole phone to find my way back (thank fuck I didn't update to iOS 6, I would still be lost in Cardiff. Or more likely frozen to death a la Jack Torrence in Cardiff). The path Asshole Phone (this is what I have actually named it) led me through a car park, some overgrown brush, across a busy street where I very nearly got flattened by a truck, across a river, and through a dodgy looking industrial park. It took just over an hour to get to a place that when navigated properly should only be a five minute walk from where I'd left the car.

The Doctor Who Experience itself is fabulous. There is an interactive bit at the beginning where Matt Smith's 11th Doctor has managed to get stranded without the TARDIS, which involves getting to help drive the TARDIS so he can get it back, surviving an encounter with the Daleks, getting safely past the weeping angels (which was actually terrifying), and some sort of 3D movie that I know nothing about because I spent the duration of it staring at the floor and trying not to vomit. Then there is a museum bit with tons of props, costumes, and set pieces dating back to the origin of the series, and exhibits of all the major monsters including two showing the evolution of the Daleks and the Cybermen over time. I felt the gift shop could be a bit better, especially a couple of days later when I saw how much better and more plentiful the Doctor Who merchandise was at Forbidden Planet.

The best part of my field trip to Wales was leaving. After spending the balance of the day in overcast damp and cold, I found myself back on the bridge looking up at the sky and laughing hysterically. I could actually see the edge of the cloud line which ended right over the water, giving way to the kind of beautiful sunny English afternoon that has been characteristic of my last few trips over. Yes, the clouds ended at the exact border of the country. I am not making this up for dramatic effect, that ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

I mean it this time you guys, I am done visiting Wales. At least until I can figure out how to invent personal sizes weather systems that will keep the sun shining around me the whole time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

50 Sobs Harder

H-Town and amberance read Fifty Shades Darker so you don't have to.

H-Town: I read Chapters 3 and 4 last night
and hated myself

me: I kept yelling out loud at it.

H-Town: When I put it down last night I told A-Town "This is one of the stupidest books I have ever read."
She asked me to share some examples of why it sucked
And I held up the entire book

In Chapter 3, Ana goes to work and is shocked, SHOCKED, when her boss asks her to do actual work. She has email conversations with Christian that read like junior high notes passed in class both before and after actually doing it. In the latter series she e-mails from her work account how bored she is and Christian points out that her work email is monitored, though not before sending a bunch of sexual innuendos to that same address. Ana, of course, had NO IDEA that companies monitor corporate email accounts.

H-Town:Chapter 3
the Shit Show continues
I love that when she gets in to work and her boss has work for her to do, she gives him a "horrified expression"


H-Town: Life is so hard, Ana.
And yes, you giant fucking idiot, work monitors your email.
and your internet usage
so I'm sure all her visits to are noted

me: well at least we know she won't get in trouble for watching porn

says Ana.

me: That too, but I feel like her first question would be "What's porn?"

H-Town: Is it like corn?

me: if it has anything to do with food I'm not interested

After work she is invited out for drinks by Creepy Boss, and is relieved to find out other people are going too. She tells them she'll catch up with them because she needs to make herself pretty for when she meets up with Christian later. Jack asks her what she wants to drink to which she responds "a beer" as if that narrows it down AT ALL. Bartenders must fucking hate this girl. She emails Christian to tell him where they will be, which is a bar across the street called, no lie, Fifty's. I hate everything.

On her way to the bar she is waylaid by a pale and monumentally sad girl who looks a startling amount like Ana. The girl has a bandage on her wrist that everyone in the entire universe except for Ana can tell is from a recent suicide attempt. She knows Ana's name and tells her she "just wanted to look at" her before creepily disappearing into the night. Ana tells exactly no one about it. OK SURE.

H-Town: Post-crapper, we get some random Ghost Woman on the street

me: oh she's going to be a thing, I can FEEL it

H-Town: Look, if something that weird happens to me, everybody in the bar's going to hear about it
"Dude, you guys, some crazy ghost chick cornered me outside just now!"

me: Her stalker is going to have to protect her from her other stalker

H-Town: at some point they're all going to look up and find them all stalking each other at the same time
they'll all be in the bushes outside each other's houses

At the bar, Creepy Boss corners Ana and gets way too close to her while asking her uncomfortably inappropriate questions. She can't handle this or tell him to back the fuck up because all women can't stand up for themselves and need a man to take care of them. Luckily, the far more terrifying Christian has arrived to save the day like he's fucking Mighty Mouse.

me: oh by the way
"he looks edible"
i wrote next to it "He's made out of ice cream!"

H-Town: not that she would eat him
he could be made out of yogurt and she wouldn't eat him
since that's all she eats every five days

me: oh see i think the opposite. if all food was made out of Christian she'd be a giant fat ass
she worships him, it'd be like communion for her

H-Town: wait

me: DUDE


me: good, can we stop reading now?

H-Town: the line about her boss mentally assessing the fine specimen of a man in front of him
my notes: KILL

me: similarly, all the women are checking him out and she's like "DON'T LOOK AT HIM"
protip:if you want NO ONE to EVER look at your man, try dating a troll!

H-Town: I hope she pees around him to properly mark her territory.

Christian and Ana leave the bar and are picked up by Taylor, who begins driving them to Ana's place. Ana is embarrassed because he can hear them talking, even though the only thing that has been said at this point is "Hi". Meanwhile, Christian is giving her a "scorching, panty-combusting look." Jesus fuck.

me: I got so excited when she wrote "panty combusting" because I couldn't wait to make fun of it with you

H-Town: YES I wrote that down too


H-Town: maybe her panties are combusting because something dark is pooling

me: right? Does she excrete gasoline?

H-Town: Hi, I'm Ana Steele. When I'm having a particularly hot day, I make sure to wear my Depends flame-retardant underwear - both because I'm around a panty-combusting kind of guy, and because I'm a bit "retardant" myself. HA HA.
goes to hell

Christian has become enraged - again - by the behavior of Creepy Boss. I'm conflicted about it because he's right, but for all the wrong stalky, possessive reasons. He begins repeatedly threatening to have him removed from his position if he so much as looks at her wrong. Ana thinks he can't possibly do that. OH BUT HE CAN, ANA. HE CAN.

H-Town: and then we find out he BOUGHT HER COMPANY

My note was "FUCK THIS SO HARD"
"oh well, I was wanting to get into publishing anyway" (seriously, this is how he justifies this to her)
"I'm sure Kindle is just a phase"

H-Town: Well, he is into Blackberry

Ana is legit mad that he went out and bought her company, behind her back no less. But only until he smiles at her. Because if he's smiling at her, everything is right in her world so, hey, no harm, no foul, right? RIGHT? I loathe her. They get to her apartment planning to have dinner together but there is no food of any kind in the entire house. Like, at all. For fuck's sake, even I have pasta in the house and I eat candy bars for breakfast.

H-Town: and Ana goes "Am I a grown-up? Sort of?"
No, you are dumb.
You should be a grown-up, but you have the mental capacity of a tape measure.

me: so many things in this scene, I couldn't even get a handle on it
like "OH EM GEE we haven't screwed in almost forever!" (This is Christian. "I haven't fucked you in a while - a long while.")
a week
it has been EXACTLY one week

She was in bodywash withdrawal


H-Town: And of course she has no food in her apartment
"What's a fr-frij? a Fridge?"

me: I thought that was just for all the alcohol I'm constantly drinking

H-Town: I keep my computer in there.

me: and a vile of my emo, emo tears

H-Town: I also keep my snowqueen's icedragon in the freezer

They go out shopping because they need more wine and, you know, FOOD. Then they try to make dinner, but it's hopeless because they haven't fucked in A WEEK you guys. HOW COULD ANYONE BE THINKING OF FOOD AT A TIME LIKE THIS? Christian gives up and tells her to put the chicken in the fridge, which Ana thinks it the absolute sexiest thing anyone has ever said, so they go to her room for some boring sex that I would have called anti-climatic if EL James had any idea how to build tension in a scene.

H-Town: "Put the chicken in the fridge."
that's so seductive

me: my chicken/fridge note was "OOOOO THE SEXY TALK"

panties explode

me: like the Fourth of July
my only note from the actual sex was "still can't say vagina"

aaaand scene

After a mind genital numbingly boring sex scene, they go back to that whole dinner thing they abandoned earlier. They also go back to their argument about him buying the company she works for. He tells her that he will, in fact, buy ANY company she tries to work for, no matter what it is. He calls this "protecting her".  I call it "ultra stalking" though that doesn't seem nearly strong enough.

me: Chapter 4 -Stupidity Strikes Back
immediately, first words of the chapter "As sanity returns..."

H-Town: Still dumb!

me: "so if I work somewhere else, you'll just buy that company too."

H-Town: "Also, I bought the Totes Company."

me: I was thinking work for the government, he can't buy that
but he probably can

H-Town: Maybe he'll play a game where every word she says for the next five minutes, he'll go buy the related company.
I farted! BOOM, just bought Gas-X

me: I'm tired! I just bought Sealy, Tempurpedic AND Sleep number

H-Town: I took a dump! Great, I'll buy whomever published this book!

me: icedragon burn

She gives up arguing with him because this is not really something she needs to be concerned about at all, and offers him some ice cream for dessert. Ice cream is SO FUCKING SEXY though, they decide to go to her room and fuck it instead of eating it.

H-Town: During the sexy food time I wrote "This is the anti-horny."

me: I liked "Oh it's cold"

H-Town: So they do it again and she calls herself "the sorcerer's apprentice"
and I want to die. Again.

me: was she trying to entice the Harry Potter market with that shit? If so, I want some quidditch sex, like, RIGHT NOW

H-Town: hahaha
would you like...a BROOM STICK?

me: I'll bludger your quaffle
where's the snitch?

H-Town: anyway, after more boring, LITERAL vanilla sex, she finally brings up crazy ghost chick.

me: of course it's Leila.

H-Town: I wonder if she' him on his knees...Leila
lamest joke ever

me: because you did it wrong. it should have been
i wonder if she's...(puts on sunglasses) him on his knees

It's the same girl that put BritBrit on his iPod. So you can tell just from that she's CLEARLY going to be unstable. Christian knows exactly who it is as soon as she mentions it. Turns out Leila was "the situation" he had to rush home from Georgia about. It seems she saw a photo of Christian and Ana in the paper, LEFT HER HUSBAND over it, came to Christian's home and slit her wrist in front of his housekeeper. By the time he got back to town, she had checked herself out of the hospital and disappeared. She now seems to be stalking Ana. I've got twenty bucks right here that says by the end of this series she will have threatened Ana's life with a knife or a gun.

The next day, after a sex scene James mercifully implies but skips describing, they have a weird conversation about her working out with his trainer (oddly "Claude" the body building, foreign, ex-Olympic contender somehow isn't a threat, but Creepy Boss and Jose that she's never been interested in for one second are his mortal enemies), and she mentions that she needs to deposit the $24,000 check he gave her when Taylor sold her Beetle so she can buy a car. This is when he tells her that Taylor stopped by last night and dropped off her Audi. Ana loses her shit and tries to give him the check back. When he won't take it, she rips it triumphantly into tiny pieces. Once again, she had underestimated how completely fucking insane he is. His next move is to immediately get on the phone to someone at his office and demand that they deposit $24,000 directly into her bank account.

me: ok, so my favorite part is coming up
favorite = largest amount of rage

H-Town: where she tears up $24,000?
or the "I know your account #" (actual quote from Christian when she discovers this fact: "I know everything about you." HE IS TOM CRUISE CRAZY. RUN, ANA, RUN.)

me: ALL of it

H-Town: then RAGE MAKE OUT
I just tore up $24k! LET'S BANG

me: I really, REALLY wanted her to shout at him "I'M NOT YOUR WHORE"
and then he'd be like "OH YEAH?"
and then fuck her while sticking dollar bills in her ass

and then after all they they just go get a haircut
crazy stalk money thing, rage kiss, haircut time!

me: I laughed out loud that he owns a chain of salons. so hard
It makes NO SENSE
the publishing I can MAYBE see because his company deals in some vague media things, but WHY THE FUCK would he own a salon?
I'll tell you why
Because everywhere he takes Ana, he owns it, no matter what
want a beer? owns the bar
need an oil change? owns the Audi dealership
need a new stove? owns Sears
I wrote in my notes "He owns everything in Seattle. He's like Biff in Back to the Future 2"

H-Town: now there's a reference

me: and then I started yelling to the bartender "I OWN the police!"
because that's the one line I remember from that whole movie
which, he probably does own the police
that's how he finds shit out so easily

H-Town: hahaha

me: she needs to pull a Katie Holmes is what she needs to do
get a prepaid phone, a lawyer in another state, and wait for him to go to Iceland
which he's probably going to buy any minute now
"I've always wanted to get into the volcano market"
"Snow is big right now. Ima buy all of it"

H-Town: "I hear ice is melting. I wanna get the last of it...AND MELT IT ON YOUR HOO-HA."

me: and she'll be surprised that it's cold

H-Town: Ice is cold? WHAT?
panties explode

The salon Christian inexplicably owns is mega high end, natch. Everyone that works there is gorgeous, especially the stunningly beautiful woman who appears to be running the place. Shit's about to get real for Ms. Anastasia Steele, you guys.

me: so the big bombshell. did you see it coming? did she do enough foreshadowing, or did you need some more?

H-Town: remind me

me: there's a woman at the salon
an OLDER woman
and she's beautiful
I have been waiting for this moment.
all my notes said was "OH SHIT Y'ALL"

H-Town: it is ON

shit's about to go DOWN
or not
she'll probably just be polite and then break up with him for no reason and cry for five days while starving herself to death

H-Town: and listening to the iPad

Yep, it's his ex-Domme, the evil child molester, smiling warmly at her like a total bitch. Here James spins the wheel of similes and decides that the realization hits Ana "like a wrecking ball". Fuck me, I wish it had literally been a wrecking ball. I would pay money to see that moron get hit with a wrecking ball.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Good News, Everyone!

As you can tell from my last post, I am all signed up for the zombie 5k in Indianapolis this June, which I will again be running with H-Town and this time we will be joined by her brother E-Town. This week I start training again, which I assume will suck just as much if not more than it did last time because I haven't run since the last race in October and despite this El Nino miracle weather going on, it is still way the fuck colder outside than when I last trained for this sort of stupidity in September/October. I have downloaded a shit ton more of The Prodigy from iTunes to help me in matching my running soundtrack to my white hot anger about the fact that I am running.

So what's the good news, then? Well, since you asked, the good news is that after June I am never doing this again. I know I said that last time, but this time it is for real because this time I have a completely legit reason. I was discussing how much I hate running with some of the other women in my dance class last night and as we were talking, the great Michelle L'Amour began making a grimacy sad face at us. "All right," she said in a tone of voice that indicated it wasn't remotely all right, "but please make sure you stretch really well before and after. Running really shortens your hamstrings."

RIGHT THERE. Did you see it? Running shortens your hamstrings. And I am a dancer now, and I need my hamstrings to be long and flexible so I can do cool sexy bendy things. AND I already sit at a desk all day long which is also REALLY BAD for your hamstrings. So you see? I should not be running. At all. Ever. My dance instructor told me so and that woman can bend herself into a very sexy pretzel. I am done with any and all running after June. Instead, following in the footsteps of Mrs. Sizemore, I will be starting trapeze lessons in the spring. Yes, yes I will.

Training Advice From Heather

H-Town:  hey - when are you going to start training for zombie time in June?

me: ugh, i think i should probably start next week actually
i need to be in at least decent shape a month from now because my friends in england have promised to chase me up hills

H-Town: and then reward you with sexy times

me: haha, well some of them

H-Town: tell them to stand nude at the top of said hills
that'll motivate you
"Here I am naked - sure wish someone would come up here and totally do me n stuff"

me: they'll be like "but it's march"
and i'll be like "do you want this piece of ass or not?"
and then they'll be like "it's arse you idiot."

H-Town: "We've secretly replaced Amber's bed with giant hills topped with hot naked people. Let's see if she notices."

me: oh my god we so need to film me not noticing the difference

Monday, October 24, 2011


The zombie 5K was this weekend in Baltimore, and I am proud to announce that I survived. Well, actually I didn't, I died. But I lived through it. I'll explain in a minute.

My training can best be described as "half-assed". Actually, half-assed may be a slight exaggeration. Quarter-assed is a bit more like it. As you may remember from previous posts, I HATE running. And while I started out with the best of intentions, no amount of progress in my abilities was enough to convince me that I liked it. In fact, I think it made me hate running even more. I started to rationalize reasons why I didn't really have to train. "I had dance class on Tuesday, that should count." "I totally did cardio-kickboxing for 10 whole minutes, that's exactly the same as running for 20 minutes." The last couple weeks I didn't bother to train at all, telling myself even more lies: "The adrenaline of being chased will carry me through it." "I should just sit on the couch all week - I need to conserve my energy."

Despite the nagging feeling that I was woefully under-prepared, I was getting very excited. A few days before the race the organizers sent out a tantalizing e-mail. There would be mud, red dye, strobe lights and four feet of standing water. We should "use our best judgement" in the event we had a seizure disorder, or an allergy to latex. Oh, and could we also print out and sign this wavier indicating that we understood we might potentially die? It was starting to sound awesome.

Race day came, and H-town and I got up at the ass crack of dawn to drive out to the race site. There were actually three of us who would be running together: me, with my half- to quarter-assed training, H-Town, who also hates running but had trained diligently, and Callie, who is a maniac and does this sort of running shit all the time. We discussed our training regimens and reactions to it on the shuttle from the parking lot to the race site. I reported my reaction the same way I always do: I am never, EVER running anywhere ever again.

Callie, H-Town and me, blissfully unaware of what lay ahead.

On arrival at the actual race site, we got our race packets, put on our numbers and our flag belts and got in line to check our bags. Each of us was in a different line, but we all had a similar experience of being given tips by people who had already completed the race. We already knew there were two kinds of zombies - "theatrical" zombies who were for show, and "athletic" zombies who would chase you and take your flags (this was the zombies' job. If you finished the race with none of your flags left, you were dead, and weren't eligible to win a prize). We were advised to look out for zombies who looked theatrical, but would turn around and chase you after you'd passed. We were also given advice for the "four feet of water" we'd been warned about, namely that it was way more than four feet deep, it was very cold, and we should grab the ropes to pull ourselves across rather than try to swim it. We all met up at the starting line and compared our notes. And then the race started.

We were not prepared.

Our various levels of training made no difference as we quickly realized that no one had actually trained properly at all. Running at a steady pace on relatively level, always dry, usually concrete surfaces is in no way at all adequate preparations for running through the woods up and down ridiculously steep hills, the surface of which had been reduced to a muddy slop, while being chased by zombies. In hindsight we should have been practicing running up and down various inclines and a fuck ton of suicide sprints.

We first realized this when we encountered our first obstacle - giant piles of hay we had to climb over. We reached the top and looked down to find a sea of zombies waiting for us on the other side who were sprinting after people trying to get their flags.

Holy Fuck.

 This would become a theme - go through some arduous task like climbing up a cargo net or clawing your way up a muddy hill, and face the waiting zombies on the other side/at the top. Also, for something that had been billed as a 5K run, there wasn't really a whole lot of actual running. Sprinting away from the zombies used up most of your energy so that when you did get to a zombie-free straightaway, you were usually too spent to run it. Which really didn't matter anyway because those sections were almost all so incredibly muddy you couldn't possibly have run through them without constantly falling. Still, it was pretty cool and we were having a ton of fun.


The water obstacle was to swim across a pond. There were two ropes stretched across it to help in pulling yourself along. We scrambled down the embankment and stepped into water up to our waists. It was stunningly cold, but seemed manageable. For five seconds, until we took another step. We all found ourselves submerged to the neck in 40 degree pond water. There is no way to grasp exactly how cold that is without actually doing it. The shock of the cold hit me like an anvil to the chest. FUCKING HOLY HAIRY NUN TESTICLES, I thought, but didn't say, because I was too stunned to speak. The bottom of the pond was nowhere to be found. We pulled ourselves along the rope hand over completely numb hand, urged along by H-Town, who was the only one with the ability to speak and was channeling her inner Dory - with Tourettes- all the way across. "JUST KEEP FUCKING SWIMMING!" she screamed. "FUCK YOU, NEMO!" I had a sudden moment of clarity remembering the text of the waiver I had signed - I could actually for real die in water that cold if I didn't get out of it as quickly as possible.

Somehow we all managed to get across to the other side and pull ourselves up the steep embankment. With two miles to go we were now cold, tired and soaking wet. Additionally, my saturated hoodie added another 10 pounds of weight for me to try and run with. We got to a very steep downhill that I almost ended up tumbling down, only to be faced at the bottom of it with an even steeper and higher hill that we would need to climb, which was also a river of mud. Climbing it took just about everything out of me, so when the zombie who had been sitting on the ground giving people high fives as they came over the hill suddenly jumped up and snatched away my last flag I barely even reacted. It actually turned out to be more fun once we had no flags left to worry about (it's not like we had any shot of coming in the top 3 anyway). We started deliberately messing with the zombies, trying to hug them and get them to high five us. We also did our good deed for the day and started running interference for the runners who did still have flags, blocking the zombies from being able to reach them, or tricking them into thinking we still had a flag on us somewhere.

The end was now in sight. Cold, wet, exhausted, filthy, lungs on fire, we could see the finish line (chain link fence that you had to crawl, or as H-Town did, slide under), and Callie led the way for the three of us, who were all determined to finish the race actually running. We babbled to one another excitedly while we got our medals, developing the strategies that would have been a lot more useful to us if we'd thought of them during the race. We grabbed our bags so that we could change into the clean and dry clothing we had brought, pausing first to have our photo taken together while we were still a hot mess, and giving the photographer and her friend who had yet to run all the advice we could think of. The shoes we ran in were all destroyed and we threw them away with great ceremony. Then we went off in search of the free beer we had been promised and something to eat.

The beer was like the nectar of heaven. The cheeseburgers H-Town and I procured were the most delicious either of us had ever had in our lives and we ate the crap out of them. We said goodbye to Callie, who is insane and was teaching a yoga class later in the day, and decided to head down near the course to watch some of the next wave. We stood near the first obstacle, the giant piles of hay, with a number of other people who had also finished the race, and watched as the next wave crested the hay and headed into the sea of zombies. We'd been through it before and knew that the direction they needed to run wasn't readily apparent, so the entire spectator gallery began shouting at them and pointing "To the right! THE RIGHT! Head for the trees! Go towards THE TREES!" After the wave passed by us, we went to the section between the maze and the downhill, where a ton of zombies waited in ambush all the way down the hill. Again, we used our knowledge to help the runners. "Wait for a group! Go in a group! There's too many of them, you'll never make it by yourself! Everyone go together and overwhelm them!" Most people took our advice, and a few of them even gathered around a leader who would get them all geared up Braveheart style and then all together make a break for the zombie gauntlet shouting guttural war cries. One who didn't was a guy dressed up as Superman, who actually did manage to get past them all without losing any of his flags, although one of the more enterprising zombies managed to steal his cape.

We drove home in absolute exhaustion, extremely pleased with ourselves for choosing an early heat when we noticed the traffic backed up for miles along the two lane road that led to the race (the traffic turned out to be a  huge problem and quite a few people unfortunately didn't get to run). We got home and spent 15 minutes excitedly relaying to H-Town's lovely wife all the details of our adventure before passing out.

I hate running, you guys. I really, really mean it. But there's just something about being chased by zombies. So despite the fact that I still swear I will never run again, when H-Town turned to me on Sunday afternoon just after we came home from dinner and suggested that we might want to sign up for the zombie run next year in Indianapolis  I agreed that we were kidding ourselves if we thought there was any chance that we won't.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Britannia 2011 - Parte The Seconde


Chester is an old Roman city near the border with Wales, and one of the best preserved walled cities anywhere in Britain. It is well defended to this day - the comic and I drove past our hotel and all the way back around the ring road no less than four times because all roads either lead away from it, are one way streets in the wrong direction, or are under construction with traffic diverted in the opposite direction from where we needed to go. Eventually we admitted defeat and parked in the car park meant for the nearby shopping center. These frustrations were immediately forgotten upon looking out our bedroom window and seeing this directly across the street:

Roman amphitheater, which thankfully was not showing "The Hangover 2".
This was obviously a cause for celebration and we immediately went out and found an Italian restaurant where we ate and drank like motherfuckers, then drunk dialed H-town in Baltimore, yelled something at her about art lovers and equilibrium and stumbled back to the hotel to sleep it off.

The next day we walked around the city, and by walked around the city I actually mean "around" - with almost all of the walls still intact, you can basically walk all the way around on the top of them. There are also spectacular little plaques along the way, inscribed with facts about the their construction, the history of the area, and random factoids (also a recipe), the best of which was this one:

This is awesome and henceforth is the standard by which I will judge the information on all other plaques.

We left Chester with considerably more ease than we'd had getting there and drove to Wales. Wales is a country of immense beauty, but also a completely insane, largely unpronounceable and completely unspellable language. They have a thing for doubling letters unnecessarily causing their words to be ridiculously long and while the Welsh language does have vowels, they are loathe to use them unless they've completely run out of doubled consonants.

A river running through Llangollen, where we stayed, which in English is the River Dee, but in Welsh is probably spelled more like Gogllywnnscestt or Wydnollffydd or something like that.
Here's the thing about Wales, ok? Because I'm from Chicago by way of Cleveland, right? So I know what cold feels like. When you walk out your door here and it's 2 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill making it feel more like 12 below, that is a cold that will slap you right in the face, rip off your nipples, then shrivel your lungs into raisins. Whoever came up with the adage "Don't make a fact like that, it might freeze that way forever" was almost certainly standing outside in Chicago in January when he said it. What I'm trying to say is, I've been cold before.

But not like this.

The cold in Wales is a cold like no other cold I've ever experienced. It's a damp, heavy cold that gets in you and stays there, obliterating all hope that you might ever feel warm again. In Chicago, when it's cold, you just go inside, wait two minutes and then Presto! - you are warm. I spent less than 24 hours in Wales, but even after I went inside, even after I'd left, I stayed cold for six days. It was like someone had filled my soul with equal parts sorrow, hopelessness and dead puppies. I'm still recovering.

Other than that, though, Wales is beautiful, the audience at the comic's gig was brilliantly weird and whatever I had for dinner was delicious (I don't remember what it was because alcohol happened. Oh wait! Prawns? I think it had something to do with prawns). And then I went to bed to get some rest for the next day's planned activities, which didn't happened due to there being a drunk comedian in the room who was snoring like it's his job. It didn't matter - we ended up doing none of the things we'd originally planned to do anyway, but with good reason: the comic realized suddenly that Penrith is sort of on the way to Newcastle.

For an account of my time in Chester and Wales in which I do not actually appear other than a veiled reference to the terrible weather being my fault, check out the comic's blog.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

You Can't Get There From Here

When I woke up yesterday, the 18th of April, and I looked out the window and saw that it had snowed two inches in the early morning hours of April the 18th, and my sleep fogged brain realized that it was snowing, and it was April, I have to say I was pretty fucking pissed off. I stomped off to work and spent the day complaining about the fact that it was cold, and it was snowing, and it was April. Even so, I was relatively certain that it would be the worst morning of my week, what with the snowing and the April, and on the whole I think I took it in stride.

I spent a lot of time thinking wistfully about yesterday morning during the two and a half hour clusterfuck that served as my commute this morning.

It started out well enough. I timed the leaving of my house in a such a way that I would largely miss the rain on my 1/2 mile walk to the train, thereby allowing me to leave my umbrella at home and saving me from having to buy yet another umbrella since I almost invariably forget I have one with me and leave it on the train. A train pulled into the station in due course, and I stepped onto it and found a seat, which is always a bit of a victory. I finished the sudoku while we traveled a few stops. In between Paulina and Southport we stood on the tracks for an unusually long amount of time. I finished the crossword puzzle. The conductor told us there was some trouble with a train that had "broken" ahead of us and that we would be standing "momentarily". I still wasn't alarmed as this happens frequently and we are usually moving again inside of five minutes. Fifteen minutes later we still hadn't moved.

By now I had read the entire paper (to be fair it's the free morning paper and there's not a whole lot to it once you skip all the celebrity gossip and stories about a new bar that won't be open long enough for you to check it out). The conductor came back on to give us the exact same announcement which seemed superfluous as the situation hadn't changed and no one had gotten on or off the train since the last announcement. After another ten minutes he did make a new announcement: the broken train was fairly well fucked. It would not be going anywhere for a while and neither would we. And further to that, when we did go somewhere, it would be to the Southport stop, where we would need to get off and get onto a shuttle bus which would take us to Fullerton where we could get back on a train having bypassed several miles of track to which they had cut power. We had some time to think about our individual game plans though as we couldn't pull into Southport until the train that was already there was able to get onto the northbound tracks and out of our way. Even at this point I was remaining calm. Sometimes things break and it's nobody's fault and there's little you can do about it but soldier on. I called my office and explained the situation and that I didn't know what time I would be in. Then I remembered I had Peggle on my phone and started playing it.

Eventually we pulled into Southport, where we were told there were shuttle buses waiting for us downstairs to take us to Fullerton. Out on the street I did indeed see two buses and also a man in an orange vest with a clipboard who seemed to be directing things. Everything appeared to be under control. It fucking wasn't. There was firstly a problem of physics and the inability to condense the volume of humans that fit into eight train cars into the space of two buses. There was additionally the problem that trains were continuing to come into the station and drop off their human cargo. For me personally, there was the problem that it was 40 degrees outside and that it had started pissing down ice cold rain and I hadn't brought an umbrella. A very lovely Asian girl with an enormous Cubs umbrella offered me a space beneath it - don't ever try to tell me that Cubs fans are assholes, it simply isn't true. The first batch of buses were full up and left without us. I managed to wedge myself on to one of the second set of buses and we took off in rush hour traffic on a circumlocutory route designed to pick up, per orange vest guy, "as many people as possible" from the other three train stops between the one we were at and the one we were headed for. It was possible for us to fit exactly zero other passengers on our clown car of a bus, and we drove past the other stranded CTA customers feeling a mixture of relief and survivor's guilt.

Upon our eventual arrival at Fullerton, we filed into the station like a horde of spawning salmon and headed, logically we collectively believed, to the southbound platform in order that we might catch a southbound train. After allowing us to stand there for ten minutes in the freezing rain and wind, we were disabused of this ridiculous notion by a man on the loudspeaker who told us in a tone dripping with irritation at our stupidity that it was obvious we needed to catch a southbound train on the northbound tracks. As we headed back down the stairs to get to the other platform the woman next to me summed up the feelings of all of us by saying "I've never wanted to get to work so much in my entire life." Almost immediately after the last of us had reached the northbound platform, a brown line train pulled up to the southbound platform we had just vacated. It was followed in about two minutes time by a red line train pulling up to the southbound platform. Those of us who chose not to run back to the other side like the proverbial chicken stood there dumbfounded for the fifteen minutes it took for a train to pull up to the platform to which we had been directed.

By now I was soaked to the core and shivering, having lost my umbrella buddy in the shuffle, and I stepped on the train with no small measure of relief, pleased as punch to find a seat available and for once not caring that there was a mother holding a screaming infant in the seat just in front of me (I also ignored that she was speaking fucking French). About this time, the same announcer who had chastised us earlier began to tell us in the same exasperated tone as before that we were NOT to go to the northbound platform, that southbound trains must obviously be boarded from the southbound platform. He didn't actually finish with "you fucking idiots" but we all heard it. I was already on a train, and had been informed by the conductor that it was a southbound train to the loop, and also I was sitting and starting to dry - I was not, under any circumstances, getting up to go back where I had been in the first place. I continued to sit there for the half hour it took that train to finally close its doors and pull away towards the oasis of downtown. I finally arrived in the office around 11 a.m. at nearly the same time as the person who had flown in that morning from Boston in less time than it had taken me to commute from Lakeview.

And to think, only yesterday I had woken to the sight of beautiful, pristine, non-public transit interrupting April snow. Sigh...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Eleven Degrees Farenheit = ....

... not nearly enough degrees.

I can't feel my face.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Dear El Nino,

What the hell, bro? It's 13 degrees. Supposed to go down to 4 tonight. Four degrees. F-o-u-r. You have some explaining to do buddy.

When I first heard it was an El Nino year, I was overjoyed. I remembered my last El Nino: Mild temperatures all winter long, hardly ever dropped below freezing, barely any snow. I could not wait. I was so excited to see you again. I greeted you with open arms. Indeed, much of the last month was remarkable.


I walked out of my house this morning and the temperature sucker punched me in the face. I saw stars. Seconds later I lost all feeling in my extremities. I could have been wearing 9 snowsuits and it wouldn't have made a difference. I would have screamed but I was afraid that if I opened my mouth all of my internal organs would freeze. I stood on the platform waiting for the train, even though it was obvious I was going to die before it came. Two words for you, dickhead: booger icicles.

Am I in Canada? No, I'm not. I don't know who shit in your dildo drawer, jackwad, but there's no reason for you to take it out on me. I never did anything to you. So get your lazy ass in gear and fix this shit right now, because if I die it's on your head. Jerk.



Thursday, February 24, 2005

Chicago: Week One

Ah, the Windy City. Mother Fucking Cold as a Witch's Tit City would be a more appropriate moniker, I think. Despite that, things are going well. Some highlights:

I found an AWESOME apartment, one which I was repeatedly told did not exist. It's a one bedroom in a two flat, and it's in Roscoe Village. For those of you I've lost (most of the Cleveland contingency, I would think) a two flat is a rowhouse with two apartments in it, basically a duplex. Much of this area consists of two flats and three flats. And almost all of those are two or three bedroom places. When Cap asked me what kind of a place i was looking for I said I wanted a one bedroom, and I wanted it in a house, like his. Oh, he laughed and laughed. So did all of his fraternity brothers, the bartender and his crew and a girl I made out with at Tai's. One bedrooms don't exist in two flats and three flats, they said. Hmm. Well. I found one. And not only that, but the kitchen and bathroom were both completely remodeled so everything is new AND I have a dishwasher AND a dining room big enough for my ginormous table. So raspberries to all of them.

I also had an interview this morning. The firm really seemed to like me, so I hope it pans out. It's an even smaller office than where I came from, only 6 people. In fact, I interviewed with every single person in the firm. I'd be the only Analyst/Support Consultant in the firm if I get it. We will wait and see.

Cap is thoroughly enjoying Alistair. For one thing his car no-go right now. But more importantly, as he puts it, "This thing corners like it's on rails! ON FUCKIN' RAILS!" I've been pretty much letting him do all the driving since he knows where he's going and I don't.

Speaking of not knowing where I'm going I had the chattiest cab driver EVER on Wednesday morning. The guy would not shut up. I didn't really mind, I played along, told him I just moved on Sunday, loved it here, yada yada yada, and was rewarded with a comprehensive list of, I think, everything there is to do in Chicago. Then he asked how I was getting around, so I told him I never have any idea where I am, unless I can see it from Tai's. He suggested that I learn the grid system, and then launched into a monologue about how great the grid system was and why don't other cities have this? I said, "Well, it helps if you've burned down the entire city and started from scratch."

I also attended two new bars on Tuesday night. Vicodin Jim was texting me like there was no monyana trying to get me to go out with him because he is depressed and needs someone to talk to. Yeah, alcohol is good for that. "IM AT THE MUTINY. U HAVE TO COME I NEED HUMAN COMPANY," he sent.

"I am tired, I want to go to bed, [the bartender] blew me off earlier and I don't even know where that bar is," I replied.


"Western? Western and what? I'm not from here remember?"


At this point, Cap, who was following the play by play, volunteered to drop me off. "on my way" I sent to Jim.

The Mutiny is a complete dive that looks extremely sketchy from the outside, but on the inside is a very nice bartender named Rhonda, who immediately liked me because I ordered her favorite drink. Also inside was a worn out looking stripper who was shooting pool with Jim and trying to distract him by flashing her tits and rubbing herself everytime he took a shot (Jim won). And my friend Karen, the aforementioned girl-I-made-out-with-at-Tai's. She was not feeling so hot, so Jim ordered her a Sprite so she wouldn't puke on us, and shortly thereafter the girl she was with took her home.

The Mutiny closes at 2, but here in Chicago, the party is just getting started at 2, so Jim and I hopped in a cab and headed over to the Under Bar, which is a late night bar that is filled with punks. Everyone was decked out in black, most had chains, interesting haircuts, 7 pounds of metal in their face and arms full of tattoos. Also everyone was very very nice, and were polite enough not to make fun of me, despite the fact that I looked like a complete asshole in my khakis and t-shirt with a cartoon chearleader on it. I told Jim that if I was going to hang out with him on any kind of regular basis, I was just going to have to own many more black shirts and pants. There are dozens and dozens of mirrors on the wall in this place. I pointed out to Jim that it was freaking me out. "You're freaked out by mirrors?" he asked.

"No, no, it's just that there's so many of them. Everywhere I look I see multiple copies of the same people and the people who are here just aren't attractive enough to warrant this many images, including us. I mean, look, I'm everywhere."

"But we're cute," Jim replied. I tried not to look anywhere but at Jim or the table. Way too many mirrors. I sent a text to the bartender, "Underbar? All I know is there's a lot of mirrors in here."

So. Witch Tit City has treated me well so far. We'll see how next week turns out.

Oh, by the way, my keychain vibrator? Showed it to Jim. He pretended to think it was wierd, but I think he was secretly digging it.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Fuckin Guy

The Gander is at it again. He's in and out of my office throwing a tantrum like a petulant child because of something that is neither my fault nor my problem. Today he wants to know if some transactions happened for a particular client. I asked what accounts were supposed to have activity, and what date that activity was supposed to have started. I get this response: "I need to know what happened and what didn't happen." Thank you Captain Obvious, for clarifying that.

So I go on the website and print out all the transactions for the month of November thus far. I leave the stack on his chair. Five minutes later he storms back in my office and asks me what he is supposed to do with them. Here's an idea - try reading them and seeing what happened and what didn't happen. I certainly hope that I'm not expected to teach an Ivy League educated individual how to read transaction statements. So I told him I didn't know what he was supposed to do with them, but probably what I would do is add up the transactions to see if they moved all the money or not. He said, "FINE. THANKS." and stomped back off to his lair.

*deep breath*

I am trying to not get that upset, because he is under a lot of pressure and his job is hard. But MY job is hard too, and I am under pressure, and I'm not flitting around the office like a seething tyrant with a Napoleonic complex and e-mailing people nasty-grams at the slightest provocation. An even better comparison would be the Great One, who does the exact same job as the Gander, but without all the cussing and throwing things. It's total bullshit, he's pissing me off, and I don't feel like doing this anymore.

And it's fucking cold outside.