6.29.2011

1 Bird Investigates: The Impossible Task of Writing About My Trip to Omaha

I'm well aware that my Omaha post is now two days late. I know this because I've been trying to write it for two days and I've still got nothing. And guess what? I think it's time that we, as a people and a nation, embrace the fact that it's just not going to happen. But I refuse to take the blame for this one. Because I tried. I TRIED MY DAMNDEST! I scheduled time to write it, I uploaded pictures, I wrote a jaunty little introduction for it, but in the end, I just couldn't do it. So if not me, who is to blame, you ask? Well, I point the finger directly at my sister. It's totally Rebecca's fault. I am the victim here, if anything! So kindly re-direct all of your pissy emails to her. (Although today is her birthday, so maybe wait until Thursday. Or wish her a happy birthday. Either way: not me.)

Here's the deal: My sister has a baller job. She works here in DC as the meetings and events planner for a large association, and part of her job is to go around the country, stay at fancy-ass hotels for free and see if they're nice enough to host whatever meeting she happens to be planning at that moment. Her association has a big meeting coming up next year in Omaha, so she went there last week to scope things out and I went along to write a
hilarious blog post about my first experience in the Midwest.

We were there for a total of two days and the majority of that time was spent being courted by salespeople from the convention center, the Hilton, and the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau. Going in, these people knew that I would be there, that I'm Becca's sister, and that I write a blog. That was it. Things were nice and vague. However, over the course of our two days together, they tried to fill in some blanks and started to ask questions. And given the nature of my writing and her obvious association, this made my sister
real uncomfortable.

Here's the thing: I would have totally been fine with lying about what I do. Trust me, I lie about it all the time. If I'm at a party or getting along with a stranger or something, obviously I'll tell them all about the blog. However, if I'm talking to a cab driver or the person cutting my hair or a hygienist or something like that and they ask me what I do, I generally make something up. More times than not, I'm an administrative assistant. "Where?" A small consulting firm. "Oh, that's cool." Yeah. It really i
s.

I do this for a variety of reasons:

1.) It shuts down the conversation. (The cruel irony of writing a
book about misanthropy is that it's a hell of a conversation starter.)

2.) I'm lazy.

3.) I don't want The Lecture. "The Lecture" is the conversation that inevitably ensues when I'm stuck with a random person for a brief period of time and I tell them what I do. It varies slightly from person to person but in general, it's pretty consistent. I swear to God, this is almost the exact conversation I had a few months ago with a new gynecologist,
mid-exam:

New Gynecologist: So, Ms. Rowland, what do you do?

Me: I'm a writer.

Gyno: What do you writ
e?

Me: Non-fiction. And I have a blog.

Gyno: What kind of non-fiction?

Me: Ah, comedy, I guess.

Gyno: You're a comedy writer?

Me: Well, on my way to being one, I hope.

Gyno: If you want to be a comedy writer, what are you doing in DC?

Me: Uh, well—

Gyno: If you want to be a comedy writer, you have to live in New York or LA.

Me: That's true, but—

Gyno: Why don't you live in New York or LA?

Me: I actually
did live in New York and I'd eventually like to move back, but

Gyno: Well good, because you're going to have to. Comedy writers write for television right?

Me: Well, and books.

Gyno: No, that's no good. Television is where the money's at.
OK, gonna feel some pressure now! So when are you moving back to New York?

Me: Um, I'm not really sure.

Gyno: Well, if you want things to move forward with your career, you need to do it soon.

Me: Ha ha, well,
better not let my mom hear you say that, ha!

Gyno: Is that why you're still in DC? For your mother? Because you can't live for other people, Meghan.

Me: Oh. No, no, I wasn't being serious. I—

Gyno: This is
your career, after all. If you need to move to New York, you need to move to New York. Although, you should probably move to LA. Slight pinch now! That's where all the comedy writers are. Unless you work for "The Daily Show" or "SNL", I guess.

Me: Ha ha. Yeah. Well, I should be so lucky.

Gyno: Do you do stand-up, Meghan?

Me: No.

Gyno: Why not?

Me: Well, I'm not really a performer. I just want to write.

Gyno: Well, you'll only get discovered if you do stand-up. Or improv. That's how all those guys are discovered. 
Little more pressure now!

Me: Yeah. I think, that's typically the case, but I guess I'm just trying to use my blog as a platform instead.

Gyno: No, you have to do stand-up or improv.

Me: [Sigh] OK.

Gyno: And you have to move to New York or LA.

Me: OK.

Gyno: And you have to do it soon.

Me: OK.

Gyno: And you have to start living for yourself.

Me: OK.

Gyno: And you have to bear down.

Me:
 [Silence]

If at all possible, I prefer to avoid that conversation. Although to be fair, the other party isn't typically Rolex-deep in my vagina when it happens. That was just a very,
very special day for me.

So, yes, had my sister asked, I would have been more than willing to lie about what I do, but she had already told them that I was a blogger and we didn't go in with a game plan, so three glasses of wine and four Coors Lights later, there I was in a parking lot handing out 2b1b stickers to our new sales-friends.

"Thanks, Meg! I can't wait to read it!"

"UM, IT'S KIND OF R-RATED," my sister interjected.

"Well, that's OK."

"YEAH. YOU KNOW. JUST. YOU KNOW. PLEASE DON'T GET ME FIRED."

"Jesus Christ, Rebecca," I said under my breath. "It's not
that bad."

She pulled me aside by my arm and whispered, "Meghan, you talk about [dramatic pause]
masturbation!"

"Yeah, but not EVERY day."

Our new friends waved goodbye as they got into their cars and promised once again that they'd check out the blog. It was at this point that my sister—and I shit you not
yelled across a large stadium parking lot: "GRAIN OF SALT! GRAIN OF SALT!!! TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT!!!!!1!!1!!!"

Flash forward to Sunday night. I had just finished writing the introduction for "1 Bird
Investigates: Omaha, Nebraska!" and it was time to write the meat of the entry. I sat in my bed and stared at the cursor blinking on the overwhelmingly white screen. And I froze. I
never freeze. My parents, my parent's friends, my friend's parents, ex-bosses, ex-boyfriendsthey all read the blog and being aware of that fact never affects me in the slightest. And yet, knowing that those sweet Omahans were back in Nebraska and probably going to read what I was about to write completely fucked with me. Rebecca had planted a seed deep in my brain and it had grown into a giant literary cockblock. She Inception'd me! I tried to shake it off:

"Omaha was................good. I had a good time in Omaha. I definitely did
not masturbate in the great city of Omaha."

God damnit. it wasn't working. I drew myself bath, turned on some
Dr. Dre
or Mama's thinkin' music, if you willhopped in, and tried to write a few paragraphs in my head:

"Mark from the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau took us on a lovely driving tour of Omaha. Although we were encouraged to ask questions, I tried really hard not to ask if Nebraska has a raging crystal methamphetamine problem because the majority of that tour felt like being on 'Intervention: The Ride'." Damnit. STRIKE ONE.

"Mark from the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau took us on a lovely driving tour of Omaha. We drove through
Boys Town. Boys Town is a heartwarming organization and a beacon of hope and absolutely does not sound like the name of a gay gym where you can't swing a dead cat without someone giving you a hand job in the shower." STRIKE TWO.

"Mark from the Omaha Convention and Visitors Bureau took us on a lovely driving tour of Omaha. We went to Boys Town. It was very moving and I took this picture of the iconic statue of Boys Town founder Father Flanagan surrounded by the children he fought so valiantly to save.......................................................................BUT DOESN'T IT KIND OF LOOK LIKE FATHER FLANAGAN HAS A DAINTY LITTLE BALLERINA'S LEG FOR A WANG AND IT'S ABOUT TO GINGERLY KICK SOMEONE SQUARE IN THE GROIN 'CASUE OF THE ANGLE?!?!
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STRIKE THREE.
God damnit. I got out of the bath, robe'd up, and flopped down on my bed in defeat. I decided to watch an episode of "Maude" because I deeply believe that when in doubtMaude, but one episode became two, two became three, three became a season, and a season became the complete series. Which leads us to right now: Wednesday morning and giving in to the fact that this blog post just isn't going to happen. I'm too self conscious. I'm too crass. It's probably a bad sign that I can't write without being all "poopy-poopy-fart-fart" or relying on an arsenal of swears, but at the same time, I believe it was a young Marshall Mathers who once said, "Will Smith don't gotta to cuss in his raps to sell his records; well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too." While I'm generally hesitant to take life advice from anyone from Detroit, I did spend my hard-earned treehouse dollars on a round trip ticket to Omaha for sole purpose of writing about it. I say I embrace my inner Eminem, dive in, and give you a quick and dirty Omaha wrap up. Please keep in mind that my thoughts are my own and not those of my employer*.

(*And in this case, my employer = my sister.)

OMAHA!

1.) I deeply appreciated the weather in Omaha. It was sunny and 78-degrees throughout our entire stay. I can't tell you how genuinely nice it was to look at weather.com and see: "The temperature is: 78-degrees. It feels like: 78-degrees," and not: "The temperature is: 90-degrees. It feels like: The Devil's Assho
le."

2.) People were so unbelievably polite. It started when we were going through security at Reagan and weren't even in the Midwest yet. I got all pissy because there was a family with three little kids in line in front of me who were all taking forever to get their shit together for the X-ray scanner. Annoyed, I loudly sighed and went around them only to end up setting the metal detector off myself, thereby completely holding up the line. As I struggled to quickly put my laptop back in my duffle and put on my shoes at the other end of security, the little kids I had obnoxiously sighed at pulled aside all of my crap for me and handed me back my jewelry piece by piece to make sure I got it all. 
Ugh. It took everything in me not to look at them and be like, "I'M SO SORRY. I'M SUCH AN ASSHOLE. I SAW YOUR BLOND HAIR AND BLUE EYES AND IMMEDIATELY GOT DEFENSIVE. YOU HAVE TO UNDERSTANDI'M A JEW."

I told Becca about this as we sat down for a beer at the Sam Adams bar. "Dude, it's because they're Midwesterners! I'm telling you
they're all polite!" I asked her why she thought this was. "Well, think about it: they're all descended from pussies. Their early American ancestors couldn't hack it on the gritty East Coast but they didn't have the chutzpah to make it all the way to the West Coast, so they just kind of gave up somewhere in the middle." I realize that I'm not married, nevertheless a parent, but I can still securely say that I 100% trust my sister to teach my children U.S. History.

3.) Another blanket statement I'm going to make about Midwesterners is that they love
shtick. I really don't know how to describe what I'm thinking of besides "shtick". They shtick ya. I guess another way to say it is that they like to be playfully difficult. For example:

"Can you please pass me the rolls?"

"UP—HOW BAD DO YOU WANT 'EM? HOW MUCH ARE YOU GONNA PAY ME? HUH? HUH? NAHHH, I'M JUST PLAYING WITH YA, HERE YOU GO."

It's
shtick. I say this is a Midwestern thing because my brother-in-law and his father (Midwesterners) always shtick me and I got a ton of shtick out in Nebraska. While I'm a big fan of my brother-in-law and his father, I do not like shtick. It's not that I think shtick is mean-spirited or annoyingit's just that my brain literally can't compute it. I'm incapable of playing along with shtick when it's happening because in my head I'm like, "Shit, what did I do wrong? Why won't he just pass me the rolls? What did I say to piss him off?!" And then 10 seconds later I'm realize, "OH! He was just being fun. I get it!" But by then it's too late and I feel like an asshole because I've been staring back all wide-eyed and confused for slightly too long.

Take the case of Monte. Monte was our DC to Omaha flight attendant and I can say without exaggeration that he is my best friend in the entire world:

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Monte was great. Monte and I connected immediately. Unfortunately, this connection also meant that he shticked me for the duration of our flight. For example, because I was sitting in the first row, there wasn't a seat in front of me to put my carry-on bag under. I've never sat in the first row of a plane before, so I was very confused when Monte came over and asked me to stow my purse in the overhead compartment for take off and landing. "I'll give it back to you once we're cruising," he said, "but in the mean time, you could possibly use it as a weapon and you look like the kind of girl who would." In retrospect, he was obviously kidding, but because he said it with such a straight face I was like, "Oh my God, is he kidding? Is that a joke? I'm wearing a maxi dress for Christ's sake! He has to be kidding! BUT 9/11 CHANGED EVERYTHING, I DON'T THINK HE CAN LEGALLY SAY THAT AND NOT BE SERIOUS!?" After what felt like forever, he finally chuckled and I stopped preparing my body to be slammed by an Air Marshall at any given second.

Or there was the time when I came out of the bathroom and Monte was waiting for me with a quarter in his hand. "Need a quarter?" he asked. Again, internal monologue: "What? A quarter? What the hell would I need a quarter for? DID I NOT FLUSH PROPERLY? Do you have to pay to flush on Fronteir? I know times are tough and they downgraded us to one cookie per flight, but
Christ. He's still staring at me. He can't be joking. Why the shit would I need a quarter? I guess I did have to pay a euro to use some public bathrooms in Europe, so it's not that weird. HAS MONTE BEEN TO BRUGES??" And again, Monte finally chuckled, patted me on the shoulder and moved on. Frankly, I'm still confused.

I feel like I should be able to get shtick because I'm such a deeply sarcastic person. I'm quick. I'm clever. I like giving people a hard time. I should be able to get it. Alex had a professor in Madrid who once told him that to the Spanish, Portuguese sounds like someone trying to speak Spanish with a dick in their mouth. That is
exactly how I feel about shtick. It's like, logically I should be able to understand Shtick because Shtick and Sarcasm are next-door neighbors, but then someone starts shticking me and I can't understand what they're saying through all those balls in their mouth.

4.) Although most of my time with the convention center/Hilton salespeople was spent socializing, I did tag along to a few of Becca's meetings and
OOF. It has been a while since I've been in a professional setting. When your only co-worker is Tulane Chris and your boss is an editor your own age who emails you all day about "X-Files" episodes and whether or not we should seriously approach Gary Shandling about doing a murder-mystery TV series, it's easy to forget how to conduct yourself professionally. I chose to deal with this in Omaha by not talking. At all. But then we all sat down for a lunch tasting at the convention center and the conversation somehow turned to blue collar comedians, specifically Ron White. Before I knew it, "UGHVOMIT!" had flown out of my mouth. Loudly. I apologized and explained that I just really, really don't like Ron White. Inevitably, somebody asked me why not. "He's just...um...well, as a human being, he just...I just feel like he...I mean, I've never met him, but...he seems like he would...you know...I mean..." Painful second after painful second went by as I searched my brain for the most professional, eloquent, and non-offensive way to say that Ron White just seems like the kind of guy who would...rape you. The term "might force himself upon you" came to mind, but I ultimately went with, "Um. He weirds me out." And I call myself a writer...

5.) I swear I'm not just saying this because today is her birthday, but I have such an unbelievable amount of respect for my sister and what she does. It's like, you write "I am a detail-oriented, highly organized, motivated self-starter," on so many cover letters that the words begin to completely lose their meaning, and then you meet someone who
actually is all of those things and it's like, holy shitnarwhals are real! all over again.

6.) I'm very weary of salespeople because my last "real" job was in a position supporting salespeople who were the worst human beings on the planet. When it dawned on me in Omaha that we were about to spend an intense amount of time with salespeople, I got incredibly anxious. That being said, these were the nicest fucking people I have ever met in my entire life. And they may have just been bullshitting us to get my sister to sign a contract with them, but fuck it
they did it well. By the time we left, they felt like old friends of the family. Sitting here right now, I can legitimately say that I miss them. One of the saleswomen from the Hilton told me in passing that she's in DC about six times a year and I had to bite my tongue so, "HEHEHE ZOMG DO WANNA GO TO DINNER NEXT TIME YOU'RE IN TOWN?!!??!?!" didn't fly out of my mouth. And frankly, had it, I'm sure she would have said yes! Because she was so nice!

The cynic in me keeps reminding myself that they were only nice because they wanted the money from my sister's account, but it
felt genuine. And in my world, that's newsworthy. At a certain point when we were all out to dinner before the College World Series game, they began to press me for details about what I do. I told them my "Story" from college graduation to where I am now, fully expecting them to not take me seriously and nervously glancing at my sister for help the entire time. When I was done, the sales representative form the convention center paused, looked me in the eye and said, "Meghan, I am so proud of you." I know I had a few glasses of Malbec swishing around inside of me at the time, but I thought I was going to burst into tears. To clarify, it's not like I'm not used to getting support or anythingmy family and friends are insanely supportive. It's just that I'm used to telling people outside my inner circle about this shit show and getting jaded responses in return. "That's...nice." "Oh. Cool. I had a Xenga in college?" "Well, I saw Julie & Julia and thought it was...cute."

But this woman continued, "You just must be so proud of yourself
."

"Well, thank you," I said, awkwardly.

"Really, just
so proud."

"Truthfully, it's hard to feel proud because we don't monetize and monetizing is how I gauge success. I know that sounds really shallow, but you know...it's almost been four years. Mostly I just feel really stupid and like why am I still doing this?" (I mean, Christ. I've had
therapists who I've admitted less to.)

"You can't look at it that way, Meghan. You can't. Because you're doing something special: you're chasing your dream. Even if nothing happens to your career and in three months not a single book sells, absolutely no one can take that away from you."

Normally being told to "chase my dream" because "nobody can take that away from me" would be enough to make me vomit my moderately priced chicken dish back up into my meagerly priced handbag, but coming from this woman, with all of the heart and emotion behind it
shit got REAL. She continued on for a bit and then kept doing that thing where she looked at me and shook her head back and forth while repeating "SO impressed". Had Rebecca and I chugged a few Bud Lights in our hotel room before coming to dinner like we had planned, I probably would have jumped across the table, burrowed myself betwixt her breasts, cried hysterically and asked her to say "SO impressed" a few more times and really enunciate so I could make it my new ringtone. I don't know if all Midwest salespeople are that genuine, but fucking hats off to Omaha. Of course Rebecca ended up signing a contract with them and had I had the money, I would have throw down a fucking 20 of my own because whatever the contract ended up being, trust me, they deserve more.

7.) As mentioned, we saw a College World Series baseball game and it was awesome. We sat in the
MECA
box and I fell in love with a Hilton employee's son who was also in said box. I'm not naming names, but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that it happened. He went out of his way to shake my hand twice. I don't know. In some countries I could be pregnant. When Becca and I were drinking $5 pitchers of margaritas the next day at the American GI Forum (because that did happen), I said that if we were in a rom-com, I'd miss my plane and dramatically burst into the kid's office to be like, "I CAN'T LEAVE YOU!!!!" We then tried to think of what said rom-com about a big city gal who goes to Omaha and falls in love at a baseball game would be called. Becca had some good baseball punny ones, but we ultimately decided to go with one of my gems:
The Seventh-Inning Vagina Stretch. You're welcome for that mental picture.

8.) So, yes. $5 pitchers of margaritas and $1 delicious enchiladas at the American GI Forum on Fridays in Omaha. It'
s a real thing:Photobucket
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And a great thing.

9.) And a
potent thing. I was like, lose-your-virginity-in-a-frat-house-bathtub drunk AN single drink in, which is very uncharacteristic of me. I talked about the kid a lot, which led to this slurry exchangege:

Me: I mean, I'd move to Omaha.
Shhhhhit yeah I'd move to Omaha! You have to make sacrifices for love, dude.

Rebecca: Yes. Like
getting to know someone.

10.) Speaking of Rebecca's sass-mouth, she told everyone in our box about how college athletics
stress me out because I can't stop thinking about how the student athletes balance it with their schoolwork. It was embarrassing. If not accurate. While it was nice to not have to think about the in-school factor during the game, a Cal outfielder quite literally dropped the ball and let UVA score a few more runs. You could see how upset he was for like 20 minutes afterwards and I thought I was going to have a panic attack from secondhand sports failure anxiety. So instead of leaning over to ask Becca questions about time management, I kept leaning over all, "DO YOU THINK HE'S OK?! I FEEL HORRIBLE!!! IS HE GOING TO GET
RAZZED IN THE DUGOUT?? WILL I GET IN TROUBLE IF I RUN OUT ONTO THE FIELD AND HUG HIM??" Finally one of the convention center salespeople leaned over, put her hand on my knee and said, "Aw Meghan, you have such a big heart!" Internally, I had a field day with that one. I was like, "GAWD, I really do have a big heart! And it so rarely gets noticed! I'm a sweetheart!" Later when said saleswoman went to the bathroom, I leaned over to Becca with a shit-eating grin on my face and said, "Soooooooo, did you hear her tell me that I have a big heart??" "Yeah. Well," she responded, "If anything, it's just proof that she clearly doesn't know you." RAZZED!

12.) If you held a gun to my head and forced me to complain about
one thing on our trip, it's that I had to keep playing the old "Don't Blog About It!" game. "Don't Blog About It!" is fairly self-explanatory: it's when someone finds out that you're a blogger and then constantly asks you not to blog about asinine things that you would have never blogged about in the first place. It is, without a doubt, my biggest blogging pet peeve. I'd take 500 anonymous comments telling me to eat my own shit if it meant avoiding even one round of "Don't Blog About It!"

Although my
track record may suggest otherwise, I, for the most part, always ask if I'm going to write about something that a friend or acquaintance specifically said or did. Similarly, my friends don't censor themselves around me and rarely ask me not to mention something on the blog. More times than not, they trust my judgement and that I'm not a completely shitty person. Because of this, my friends are not the ones I have to play "Don't Blog About It!" with. It's always random fucking friends of friends who have clearly never read the blog and always ask me not to blog about something extremely personal or fucked up that I would never even blog about. For example: I'm at a party with a group of people and a friend asks someone that I don't really know well, "Oh, Blah Blah, how is your grandfather doing?" "Well truthfullyand Meg, please don't blog about thishe really took a turn for the worse over the weekend and the doctors don't think he'll make it past Wednesday." WHAT?!?!? WHY THE SHIT WOULD I EVER BLOG ABOUT THAT?? Like, beyond the fact that this isn't 2 Tragedies 1 Blog, beyond the fact that believe it or not, I'm not a completely horrible person, the shit these people go out of their way to ask me not to blog about is never even good material! It's like, OH RASPBERRIES! There goes a comedic blog post for the ages: "Did You Know a Friend of a Friend's Grandfather is Terminally Ill?" Drats! I really thought that one was going to go viral, too! Christ.

So, yes. Didn't
love playing that, but on a scale of one to Ron White, it really wasn't that bad.

11. ) This is a sign for the "Gas Works Grill" in Ameritrade Park:
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I mention this only because Becca thought it was a giant sign that said "GAY SWORDS" and that's never not funny to m
e.

All in all, our trip to Omaha was pretty awesome. I can definitely understand the appeal of the Midwest, but much to the dismay of my handshake fiance and gynecologist, I think I'm going to stick to the surly, rude, insincere, heartless East Coast. Not a day goes by in this swampy hellhole that I don't want to kill someone or need to take a Xantac/Xanax "Let It Go Cocktail", but shit—thank God I can blog about it!

6.24.2011

Greetings from the Omaha airport!

Alright, my plane is boarding in 25 minutes and my laptop dies in 20, so I'm going to make this short and sweet: T.G.I. Hagman, bitchez!
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As of 3:07 (CENTRAL TIME) on June 24, 2011, Larry Hagman is...
alive! And buying half-priced Texas CWS garb, I'm sure.
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Poor Texas. Expert noodlers; not so good at baseball. Christopher. Anyway! Thanks for reading and we'll see you right back here Monday morning for 1 Bird Investigates: OMAHA! Have a great weekend.

6.23.2011

Tulane Chris' Four Loko Roast!

So… I have a confession to make. Remember several months ago, when Meg and I did our infamous Bum Wine tasting and talked a lot of tall shit about Four Loko, the formerly caffeinated, sugar-and-booze tallboy the kids are so into these days? Well… I may or may not (but definitely HAVE) had a change of heart. I kept taking little sips of other people’s Four Lokos (Fours Loko? Fours Lokos?) so that I could “make sure it was as bad as I remembered.” And what do you know? Just like the D.A.R.E. officer said, sips turned into gulps, and one what-the-hell purchase of the new Green Apple xXx flavor turned into a three-a-week habit. I use them as meal-replacement shakes, like in a crash diet. The results are interesting.

Anyway, you know how you can use soda as the base for a marinade on a roast? The sugar gives the meat that sweet flavor a lot of people like, and the phosphoric acid tenderizes it. So if you can cook meat in soda and in wine, why not in their unholy foster child? So, for 2Birds1Blog’s first, and likely last,

RECIPE CORNER

may I present: Porc au quatre loko.
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You will need:

A pork roast
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A can of Four Loko (I used the Lemon-Lime flavor because the old recipe books I got the soda-marinade idea from recommend Sprite for pork)

A crock pot or other slow cooker (You can do it in the oven but I didn’t want to fuss with “exact temperatures” and so forth)

Some spices n’ shit. I chose from my spice cabinet by smelling the spice, smelling the Four Loko, smelling the spice again, and putting in the spices that didn’t especially clash.
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I used paprika, garlic powder, mustard, a little cayenne, curry powder, coarse ground black pepper, and a hearty dose of Tony Chachere’s Cajun Seasoning – the extra spicy kind, which is my default seasoning. I like to throw in a lot of spices, but you could get by with garlic, pepper, and salt. I also threw in some MSG, which you may remember us investigating a while ago. I’m already playing fast and loose with my health and God’s creation, so I might as well go all in.
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A pat of butter, more or less for luck

A small glass

Instructions:

Place the roast in the crock pot. This first step is crucial. Pour yourself a small glass of Four Loko to drink as you cook, then pour the rest in around the roast.
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Add the spices and stir it all up, coating the roast. If you like it peppery, add the pepper last so the grains are more likely to stick to the roast. Let it sit in the fridge overnight; ideally make the marinade in the early evening then flop the roast over before bed. In the morning, flop the roast again and turn the crock pot on low. Let it cook for several hours: it will get tough, then fall-apart tender.
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Results:

The most alarming part of all this, so far, is that the Four Loko’s notoriously vivid color leached into the fat on the roast, dyeing the meat a distressing green. This mostly passed after a few hours of roasting. The resulting roast is actually pretty good. It kept some of the sweetness, but most of the Four Loko flavor boiled away, although there is a not completely pleasant aftertaste. It is very tender. I should have used much more pepper and some more Tony’s, but overall it’s not a bad dinner. I may try a darker flavor on a beef roast later, and will keep you posted.
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6.22.2011

Three Exciting Pieces of News:

- Piggybacking off of Chris' bucket list post from yesterday, I'm happy to report that I got to cross something off of my own bucket list the other day. I didn't stand in a cranberry bog or have sex in a hot tub (which I've seriously reconsidered since you guys pointed out the "Vagina on Fire" factor that I in no way took into account. I was going to amend it to sex in a bath tub, but then I saw the bath tub rape scene in The Moderns and decided that it looks too uncomfortable. And not just because of the whole forced entry thing, but also because it's like, ACK, small spaces. Nermal! So I guess my goal now is to discuss fiscal responsibility in a warm body of water with a member of the opposite sex while respecting each other's opinions, emotional boundaries, and personal space. Which, frankly, feels excitingly attainable!), but I did see Hall and Oates on Monday night. LIVE. In concert. I KNOW.

How was it? Oh, I don't know. How's breathing? How's walking into the Sistine Chapel and looking up? How's knowing the power of true love? Trying to put it into words won't do it any justiceyou just have to
experience it. That being said, I will say the following:

1.) I know my parents were the ones who actually purchased the tickets, but I'm going to take full credit for the majesty of this Rowland family excursion. When I saw Hall and Oates on Wolftrap's summer schedule, I immediately changed the homepage on both of my parents' laptops to the ticket order site and tiled their desktop with the following to remind them of old priority one:

PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
This was especially funny to me because my mom had no idea how how to change any of it back to her defaults, so we were playing for keeps for a while there. Was it obnoxious? Yes. Was it effective? Yes. So, you're welcome, rest of the family.

2.) Becca and 
I got drunk and took a sloppy picture with "Wolfy" the Wolftrap mascot, which is now on their Facebook page. I've done a lot of things in my life, but I think that's what I'm most proud of. 

3.) H&O 
sound just as tight, if not tighter now than they did then. And normally I'd be horrified by seeing "tight" that many times in a sentence, but in this case I'm just aroused.

4.) Daryl Hall looks a whole hell of a lot like Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star these days, and againaroused.

5.) Being part of a 4,000 person amphitheater clapping along to "Private Eyes" kind of makes me understand the draw of megachurches.


6.) I bought a H&O t-shirt and I would just like to say that American Apparel's ladies tee sizing is wildly inaccurate. I got a large, walked all the way back to my seat, held it up, saw that it covered approximately one-tenth of my left shoulder and was then faced with the conundrum of do I waste 30 of my precious dollars or do I physically get up again? And oh, what a Sophie's Choice it was. I asked my dad to go back and do it for me because that feels like something a dad should do and he said no, which was as surprising as it was upsetting. (He also said no when I offered to wash his car for $10 the other day because apparently he doesn't trust me with it. I can't decide what's more depressing: the fact that my dad doesn't trust me to properly wash his car despite the fact that I'm a 26-year-old woman and not a 12-year-old neighborhood hooligan, or the fact that I genuinely needed that $10.) In the end I walked all the way back to the merch table and was like, "UM, EXCUSE ME MA'AMMY TITTIES DON'T FIT INTO THIS SHIRT" and got a more reasonably sized unisex one. In retrospect, I think I made the right choice.

5.) H&O's sax player. I mean, my God. We were in the balcony and I just had my iphone so I couldn't zoom in and get a good picture, but I wish you could have seen him. He was a "sturdy" gentleman in a blueberry blue three-piece suit with long, luxurious blond locks that ended just above his asshole. If I ever have to get really, really bad news, I want him to deliver it to me and then dive directly into a sax rendition of Jefferson Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now". I feel like I could handle literally anything after that, including but not limited to the world running out of lovers. And corporation games.

6.) I'm 99% sure I met my soulmate. I didn't so much "meet" him as gawk at him from afar, but either way, I'm glad he's in my life now. I don't really know how to say this gracefully, so I'm just going to say it: he was an incredibly large black gentleman with a gangbangery blue bandanna tied around his head who really aggressively wanted to hear "Sara Smile". He was standing in the back of the balcony one section over from mine and let me tell you something: that man likes him some Hall and Oates. And I get it.
Oh how do I get it. He was rocking the fuck out the entire time. Just gettin' down with it. At one point I looked back and he was doing the like, lean back, I'm-pretending-to-turn-my-steering-wheel-back-and-forth dance move normally reserved for The Rap Videos and the like. But you know what? Paired with "I Can't Go For That", it just made sense. I liked his innovation. I also liked that he wasn't afraid to let Daryl Hall and John Oates know exactly what he wanted to hear at any given moment from half a football field away. Overall I've just never been so close to walking up to a total stranger in public and offering to have intercourse with them in a courtesy tent. And I've been to Preakness.

7.) There is no human being I am more jealous of than H&O's tambourine player. He wore a jaunty little vest and stood directly behind Hall with a tambourine in each hand and his only task of the night was to
jam. And jam he did! I had this moment of clarity somewhere in the middle of the concert when I realized that the happiest I think I could ever humanly be is the following: on stage at a Hall and Oates concert wearing a big 'ole pair of espadrilles, cut-off daisy duke shorts, Confederate flag bikini top, aviator sunglasses, lighted incense sticking out of my high pony tail, a tambourine in each hand, just fucking feeling it for an hour and a half every night 'til death do us part. That is my heaven. I'm not saying it for LOLZ, I'm not saying it to be ironic; it's just truly the happiest I can imagine myself. Do I find it upsetting that the happiest I can imagine myself involves semi-racist swimwear, Hall and Oates, and a thick cloud of sandalwood? No. No, I do not. Frankly, I think it's pretty par for the course. My name is Meghan Rowland and I approve this fantasy.

- The next exciting piece of news is that we're having our first out-of-state District reader meetup this Thursday night in Omaha, Nebraska! Because I'm going to Omaha, Nebraska! In a few hours! My sister is going for business and she emailed me a few weeks ago being like, "Wanna go to Nebraska with me? We can go to the American Legion and get tacos and drink $5 pitchers of margaritas with grizzled Midwestern veterans and you can make it a solo 2b1b Investigates." And I said madam, you had me at American Legion and tacos. So, if you're in the greater Omaha, Nebraska area this Thursday night, my sister and I will be at Mr. Toad's in the Old Market at 10pm. And I know 10 is kind of late for a "school night", but we're going to see a College World Series game beforehand and I'm psyched. Not just because I like baseball, mind you, but also because I'm excited to see a collegiate sporting event when school isn't in session. My dad's company has a box at the Naval Academy stadium, so our family goes to a lot of Navy lacrosse and football games and I can't enjoy a single one because I'm too stressed out by the concept of handling a full course load
and playing a sport. I drive my sister crazy because I spend the entire game leaning over and being like, "...So do you think they do their work before the game or after?" I'm sure it's just the result of having an incredibly time consuming major, but it seriously stresses me the fuck out. I thought I was going to shit my pants at my first home Navy football game because the entire school has to march out onto the field and stay to watch the game. I was like, "WHATTHEY HAVE TO?! LIKE HAVE HAVE TO? IT'S SUNDAY! WHAT IF THEY HAVE TO WRITE A PAPER? WHAT IF THEY HAVE TOO MUCH SCHOOL WORK AND JUST CAN'T DO IT? THIS IS TWO SOLID HOURS THEY COULD BE WORKING!!!1" (Speaking of Navy lacrosse games, we were at a game a few months ago and my dad's colleague brought his daughter and her teammates who play lacrosse for American. I was like, "Oh, cool, I went to American." And they were like, "Oh, what year?" "2007. What about you guys?" "2014." WHAT??? 2014?!!?!?!? That is a class of flying cars and robot butlers and beach houses on the moon and it took everything in my power not to be like, "PSHH 2014? What's the use of getting a college degree at that pointwe'll all be dead by then anyway.") 

(Also, they asked me if I played a sport at American and I swear to God I responded, "Um, no, I was more involved in the literary magazine and that kind of...scene". They slowly nodded their heads at me and immediately went back to talking to Becca about Bucknell. ALRIGHT LISTEN YOU PRISSY LITTLE SHITS: a.) AmLit was the tits and I make no apologies for it, b.) YES, WE, AS A STUDENT ORGANIZATION, HAD EMOTIONS. And we chose to channel those emotions through poetry, prose, art, photography, and design and yeah, maybe I also listened to a fair bit of The Smiths at the time, but I played sports in high school so back off, butter; and c.) you can't legally drink until like 2045, and I could make a fort in my apartment out of boxes of wine right now if I wanted to and there's nothing Johnny Law could do about it, so what's up?)

Now I don't remember what I was originally talking about. OH! Yes. Reader meetup. You should come. Because obviously from the above story, I'm super fun. Again, Mr. Toad's, 10pm. We'll be the east coasters with the metric ton of free 2b1b stickers.
Email me if you have any questions!

- My third and final exciting piece of news is that I recently found out that there's a difference between base jumping and freebasing. And guess what? It's a biggie.

On that note, I will be in Nebraska until Friday night if you need me. GO HUSKERS!


6.21.2011

Chris' Bucket List

I decided to write a bucket list. I was kind of superstitious about doing it, because it somehow just seems like bad luck or tempting fate:

Man: I need to do these things before I die.

Zeus, king of the gods: The Gods will not be ordered.

Eris, goddess of discord: I don’t see how you’re going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with the colitis you’re about to start having.

Atropos, who determines the length of men’s lives: You should… hurry.

Aphrodite, goddess of love: You’re not going to bed a supermodel, I’ll tell you that now. I might get you someone from the Lane Bryant catalog if you leave a good offering, but that’s the best I can do.

Poseidon, god of the seas: You can’t cross the Atlantic in your own sailboat. I say this not as God of the Seas, but as someone who can see that you sunburn easily, have terrible astigmatism, and regularly gets lost on the way to the mailbox.

See what I mean? But then, two things happened: I did some cool things that it would have been fun to cross off my bucket list had I made one, and I got desperate for blog topics. So here we are. I’ll leave off the items that have to do with “personal growth and fulfillment,” since presumably, you don’t want to read about how I want to, just once, be in good shape and good health and “really feel at home in my body.” It would undoubtedly be funny, but not on purpose. Onward:

To Do:

Hit someone in the face with a pie, and be hit in the face with a pie: This is a symptom of my having watched too much TV as a child, especially I Love Lucy. Whenever the writers didn’t know how to wrap everything up in the two minutes remaining, everyone had a good old-fashioned pie fight and laughed and made up. It just seems so reasonable and so fun, and you get to eat the debris!

Reveal the identity of the real killer: Another TV neurosis. The two TV shows I have the clearest childhood memories of, excluding the reruns I lived on, are The Golden Girls and Murder, She Wrote. They had predictable results: Blanche Devereaux taught me how to act around men, and Jessica Fletcher made me yearn to unmask the murderer. I knew Murder, She Wrote was fiction but I didn’t know the premise was fictional, too. I just assumed that at some point in most people’s lives, they would be stranded in a castle during a terrible storm, a duke would be stabbed to death with an antique halberd, and before the police arrived one of the guests would call everyone into the library and explain how, through careful observation and deduction, they had learned who the murderer was. I don’t know why I thought I would be the one to figure it out, since I’m not observant at all and have the attention span of a fruit fly with a drinking problem, but there it was. I especially liked when Jessica said, “The butler couldn’t possibly have known where the keys were kept. But you could.” When other kids were playing cowboys and Indians, I played “assemble the suspects and reveal the terrible secrets the blackmailer had learned.” My poor, patient parents.

Publish a book: Check! Buy The Misanthrope’s Guide to Life September 18th!!!!!1!

Watch the Eurovision Song Contest: It’s everything I love. Bad music, nations competing, and broad stereotypes. For those of you who haven’t uncovered this joy, what happens is this: every European country who wants to, plus occasionally some countries on the fringes like Morocco, Israel, Lebanon, and the Caucasian countries, each choose an artist and song to compete at the big televised contest in spring. The songs are insanely kitschy: recently Latvia entered a pirate anthem called “Wolves of the Sea.” Each country “votes,” and since you can’t vote for your own country there’s a lot of weird political bickering: Greece and Cyprus always vote for each other and never for Turkey, Germany regularly throws Israel some “Did we mention we’re sorry?” points, and Eastern Europe either votes for Russia or not depending on how tense things are at the time. Greece almost boycotted Finland in 2006 over the Finns’ allegedly Satanic entry – which won. Remember the Celtic music craze of the 90s? Ireland kept sending one red-haired woman to sing about faeries and the morning mists, and regularly won. Italy stopped playing because it never won. Do you see how cool this is!? It’s like a macroscopic high school theatre department, if all the theatre kids had spent most of the last century fighting wars of extermination against each other. For some completely inexplicable reason, this delight is not broadcast in the United States, so sometimes I’m going to go to Europe in April, get a hotel room, and go nuts.

Visit every continent: It just seems like something you should do, doesn’t it? Also every state.

Learn to drive a standard transmission: I actually learned to drive in a standard, but then sort of… drove the truck into a ditch. I’ve never driven a stick since. I don’t really think I need to know, but it’s one of those “well, but what if… a man should know….” things.

Be able to pass the French Foreign Legion fitness test: I don’t want to join the French Foreign Legion – can you really imagine me in an equatorial outpost in one of France’s allegedly independent colonies, shouldering my rifle as I gaze up at the Tricolor and whisper “Pour la France…” Also, according to rumor they check your underwear for cleanliness and if there are “blemishes” they make you lick them clean. All that said… what if? What if I just totally, totally fuck up and need a new life, likerightnow? Also, I want it to be my decision not to be in the French Foreign Legion, not “Monsieur has too much of le paunch.” It’s pretty intense – I don’t have the exact requirements to hand, but it’s a lot of running and lifting and… motion. I figure I can build up to that level over three or four years, do it once, then rest on those laurels forever.

Swim with seals: Dolphins are too humanlike and whales are too large. I imagine swimming with seals is like being around a pack of aquatic puppies. Plus, I wanted to have something on this list that someone might conceivably take me to do for my birthday.

Learn to play the musical saw: I don’t need to explain why this would be cool, do I? The musical saw.
So, there it is: my plan for a happy life, given to you all free of charge. I may expand it into a book called Ah, Hell, You Might As Well. Think of it as Eat, Pray, Love for people who think Eat, Pray, Love sucks.
 
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