Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Golden Birthday

Today is my golden birthday. Those of you who are completely and utterly out of the loop are probably asking, "What in tarnation is a golden birthday, Eteffi?" I'm glad you asked, you old so-and-so. The golden birthday is the birthday when your age matches the day on which you were born. So, today is October 27, and I am turning -- dun dun DUNNNNNNN! -- 27.

I know, I can't believe I am this ancient, either. Plus, I have now finally reached that age where if I make a joke about being old, people don't really laugh anymore. When you're 21 and you say, "Oh my God, I'm so old!" people either laugh or smack you upside the head. But when you say that when you're 27, people just sort of nod sympathetically and avert their eyes. But you know what? I'm okay with being just heartbeats away from (gasp!) thirty. I still feel as young as I did when I was 25-and-a-half! Maybe even 25!

You know, they say that 27 is the new 17, which means that I should be expecting my parents to buy me a 1997 Chevy Cavalier any day now and should start thinking about my prom dress. So I have all that to look forward to.

Anyway, I'm off to celebrate my birthday by hunting down a seasonal flu shot, a task that has proved nearly impossible here in DC. Wish me luck. And happy birthday, if you think of it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Ode to Wife Swap

Hi bloggerheads. I am writing you from the cozy interior of a tea shop in Cambridge where I have been camping out for the last few days, since my internet no longer works in Al's place. It's okay, though, because this place has Argentine yerba mate (sin bombilla y mate gourd, unfortunately) and free wireless. Oh, and they serve bi bim bap. Yes!

Since I only use the internet while I'm at the tea shop, I take advantage of the time that I'm here to catch up on celebrity gossip, email people, read advice columns, check my horoscope and very occasionally read the news. Today, in fact, I was scanning the news and I saw this headline: "Six-year-old boy floats away in homemade balloon." I clicked on it, thinking it was a really early (or really late), mid-month April Fool's joke, but it turned out to be a real story. The kid who floated away (maybe -- we're still not sure) in his parents' homemade experimental balloon (sigh) is the child of a family that was featured on the truly underappreciated ABC show Wife Swap, one of my favorite shows on TV.

I actually saw the episode featuring this wackjob family, the Heenes, and had to turn it off midway because the nutcase, manic, rageaholic dad was driving me batty and I couldn't watch the poor swapped wife be abused by him anymore. Also, I was watching it at the gym and I was done with my workout, so...yeah. Anyway, this family, the Heenes, claim to be "science-obsessed" storm chasers who sleep in their clothes and pull their kids out of school to go chase tornadoes. In reality, though, they were just all kind of a-holes. The dad, as I mentioned, was a scary nutjob, the mom was a subservient, unhinged nutjob, and the kids were disgusting, unruly little hooligan nutjobs who were encouraged to fart and burp at the dinner table and jump off furniture, etc. They were truly awful.

So now, one of the little monsters from that family has apparently climbed into this balloon and has floated away. But the balloon has landed and there was no child inside, so now people are wondering whether he fell out or whether he was even in there to begin with because it was a publicity stunt staged by the family. Like I said, wackjobs.

But the point of this post is not to give the Heenes any more press than they already have, but to extol the virtues of Wife Swap. Here's the basic idea of the show, if you haven't seen it: http://abc.go.com/shows/wife-swap/about-the-show.

Only on Wife Swap do you unearth such wonderful moments as this:

It's pretty amazing. ABC somehow manages each week to find extremely odd families with bizarre parenting philosophies and lifestyles AND swap those families with ones that subscribe to the polar opposite set of philosophies and lifestyles. It's an art form. They've done neat-messy, hippy-conservative, winners-losers, safety-adventure, feminist-misogynist, junkfood-obsessed-exercise-obsessed...and the list goes on! Oddly, I always find myself siding with the uptight, rules-bound families that make their kids take Chinese language classes and aerial gymnastics lessons and have a rigid punishment/chore system. (Hey future kids! You have a lot to look forward to with me. Get ready!)

Part of the reason the show is so fun to watch is the sheer craziness of the families and the fireworks that inevitably ensue when the uptight, neat-freak wife has to milk a goat or whatever, but the real joy of Wife Swap is seeing the families actually learn from each other. Seriously, it's heartwarming. Everyone should watch this show.

Oh, yeah, and I hope the balloon kid is okay.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Bangkok, finally.

I have been putting off writing about the end of our Thailand trip for several reasons, partly because the trip ended well over a month ago, and the longer I put off blogging about it, the more absurd it seems to write the post at all. But the real reason is that I don't have that much good stuff to say about Bangkok. You know that saying "If you can't say nothing nice, don't say nothing at all?"* Yeah, I kinda feel that way about Bangkok. But to be fair, let me try to create a list of nice things about Bangkok:

1. Lots of cute street cats that don't seem obviously rabid
2. Noodles
3. "Little Arabia" neighborhood with bomb kebobs ("kebombs?")
4. Air conditioning in our hostel -- actually, our hostel was the best part of Bangkok. It was called Lub'd and it was super, super cool. They had UNO in the lobby!
5. Noodles

That's all I got.

My basic problem with Bangkok is that it's impossible to have good, clean fun there. Don't get me wrong, I didn't come to Thailand and expect to sit around a campfire singing Girl Scout songs and making s'mores (although some s'mores would have been nice), but I did expect to be able to go into a bar and have a drink without my boyfriend being solicited by prostitutes, or walk down the street without several people asking me if I want to see a woman cut a banana with her hoo-hah (answer: no). I mean, come ON! Shouldn't Bangkok make some effort to appeal to the approximately 3% of its visitors who aren't interested in having sex with underage prostitutes and/or seeing a woman smoke a cigarette using mainly her Kegel muscles? Bluh. I was grossed out by the whole scene.

On our last night in Thailand, which was supposed to be our big blow-out night, all we wanted to do was karaoke. That turned out to be an impossible dream. Like many things in Bangkok, turns out that karaoke involves prostitutes (and, as it happens, obscenely expensive beers). I think we could have lived with the prostitutes (even though they had terrible singing voices) but the $10 beers were completely unacceptable. So, we traipsed around the city for well over an hour trying to find a legit karaoke establishment (preferably one with The Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man"), but to no avail. After several disastrous and unmentionable** turns of event, we ended up back in our hostel, drinking Changs and playing UNO. Sigh.

So Bangkok was not my cup of tea. But at least now I've blogged about it. Yay. Now I can move on to other things in my life and you can look forward to more frequent blog posts (maybe). We'll see.

Okay, bye.

* Folksy double-negatives added by me.
** Won't-mentionable, really.