Discovering The X-Files

Last Sunday Ian and I discovered Netflix has all nine seasons of The X-Files available for streaming, which might not have been the best thing for us to discover at the beginning of the summer. But then again it’s been in the high 80s or low 90s when we get home from work most days, so it’s not like we’re going to be doing a lot outside, anyway.

I don’t really know why I never got into the show while it was on, although I’ve always been behind the curve when it comes to watching popular TV shows. I didn’t get into The Office or Lost until last year, and I’m just now watching NewsRadio (which you might recall from 1995). It’s safe to say that Netflix streaming through Xbox Live has changed my life.

Anyway, back to The X-Files. Holy crap. See, here’s the thing: I don’t like scary movies. I cannot handle them. At all. I’m the type of person who will see a 30-second trailer for a horror movie on TV at 7 p.m. and then have nightmares and not be able to take a shower for the next three days without screaming at random shadows on the wall.

But The X-Files is a good enough show that I am willing to risk getting the crap scared out of me. And it’s not all horror-scary; the creepy factor and conspiracy theories appeal to me greatly. I don’t think about ghosts or extra-terrestrials very often, but I definitely can buy into the idea that the government is keeping evidence of their existence from us.

It also doesn’t hurt that Mulder is easy on the eyes—and Scully, too. I’m trying not to search for info on the other seasons but let’s just say I’ll be very disappointed if those two don’t board the spacecraft to sexytown. (I initially wrote “make their own sexfile” but then realized there is probably an actual sci-fi-themed porno out there by that name. Squick.)

We’re almost done with season one now, and it took me a few episodes to put my finger on something that has seemed odd to me. But I finally realized: This show, at least the season we’re watching now, was made before the Internet was used by everyone and their grandmother. When they are running all over a town or making 100 calls trying to dig up information on someone I keep wanting to scream “GOOGLE IT FOR CHRISSAKES!” or “Just Facebook him, GAH!” but I need to remember that in 1994 the Internet was some newfangled thing that very few people knew about. And even if Scully and Mulder had Internet access, if they wanted to use it to search for information they would have had to use Infoseek or Lycos.

And probably a 28.8k modem. Barf.

Weekend play

Saturday night I met up with a couple of old friends for drinks and a drag show. It was a lot of fun, but my legs are still sore from dancing.

Deranged parodying "Bad Romance"Before I got up the courage to get on the dance floor, one of my friends and I were perched above it looking out over all of the convulsing dancing bodies in the strobe lights. An older man, probably in his 60s, stood next to me and said I should have been out there dancing instead of watching everyone. I detected a British accent and the next thing I knew the conversation devolved into a discussion about how Americans and the British are notorious for having guilt about their nationalities and we always feel like we should apologize for how shitty we treat other countries. I told him that in the south I don’t see many apologetic patriots, but he disagreed. I randomly told him I loved Top Gear, he told me he hated it, and then my friends grabbed me and pulled me onto the dance floor.

If you’ve never been to a drag show, you need to go. I hadn’t been since Connection was still open (it closed in 2005 but I think the last time I was there was probably in 2002 or 2003) and I had forgotten how much fun they are. By default I am not into clubs or dancing or large crowds of people in close proximity sweating on each other in any circumstance, but the great thing about being a girl in a gay bar is the lack of creepy dudes who think they’re god’s gift to women trying to grind on you. My friends and I were able to enjoy the two shows and dance with each other without any creeper interruptions, and the number of skankily dressed, whiny sorostitutes witnessed was at a glorious low. That, combined with the company of good friends, made the night a win.

A few more pictures from the show.

Apple releases statement about the white iPhone 4

If you’ve been scouring the Internet and refreshing your saved “white iPhone 4” search on Twitter for the past week desperate for news on what the fuck is going on with the mysterious lack of the white iPhone 4*, freak out no more: Apple has finally released a statement:

White models of Apple’s new iPhone® 4 have proven more challenging to manufacture than expected, and as a result they will not be available until the second half of July. The availability of the more popular iPhone 4 black models is not affected.

I love how they note the black model is more popular. Well no shit, Sherlock. It is the only model available. I’m no statistician, but I don’t think you can accurately judge the popularity of two things if only one of them is able to be purchased.

Oh, but Apple I can’t stay mad at you, so I’ll be waiting with bated breath to hear when exactly it will be available. I’m kind of anxious because I’ll be visiting my sister for a couple of days in late July, but I suppose after waiting an extra month for the phone it won’t kill me to wait another day or two.

Let’s just hope I don’t have to wait in line at 5 a.m. to get it.

*What, that’s just me?

See also:
The Unofficial Apple Weblog

Crazy eyes

I can’t stop looking at this picture of Link. Is it just me or does he look like a deranged alien here?

It’s so funny how all four of the cats have such distinct personalities, and how they pick up new things all the time. When we got Link a little over a year ago, he didn’t meow or make biscuits. After spending a few months with BK, a very vocal cat, he started to mimic her sounds and eventually his meows started to sound like his own.

Over the past couple months I’ve noticed that he has been making biscuits very frequently, and recently he’s started this thing where he’ll make them on the blanket I use to cover my legs when I sit on the couch. And he makes them with such fervor that he seems to be in a trance, and if I start talking to him while he’s doing it he will stop, start meowing really loudly with his mouth open very wide, and run at me, up my body and toward my face like he’s going to attack.

Except when he gets within inches of my face and I grab him he stops, calms down and then starts purring and rubbing his face on me. Like he was totally embarrassed I caught him making biscuits but then he felt bad for yelling at me so he’s apologizing.

Cats are weird. I guess I’m even weirder for blogging about them.

About that nose piercing

As I alluded to in a previous entry, I woke up on Saturday, May 29, in a Hampton Inn in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, and decided I wanted to get my nose pierced while Ian and I were in Austin visiting Summer and Cole.

I honestly don’t know where this came from; I’ve never really had the desire to have it pierced before. I had my eyebrow and my navel pierced for a while when I was younger, and I have a tattoo, but I’m not really the “let’s get shit pierced!” kind of person. Although this is probably because I work in a professional setting and there are only so many appropriate places I can pierce and still keep my job.

So I don’t know; maybe I was delirious at the thought of having nine full days of vacation ahead of me, maybe it was the freedom and expansiveness I felt on the open road we were traveling in east Texas. Or maybe it is a manifestation of the whole “I don’t give a fuck what anyone thinks” point of liberation everyone told me I would arrive at after I turned 30.

Either way, on Memorial Day after hitting Juan in a Million for breakfast, Summer and I found ourselves looking up reviews on Yelp for piercers in Austin. She found only positive reviews for a man named Pineapple at Shaman Modifications, so I called him up and asked if I could come in that day. He said he could see me in 30 minutes, so I batted down some last minute nerves and we took off for the shop.

The shop itself was very clean, even the front room, which was encouraging. Pineapple, a large dude with every visible part of his body either tattooed or embedded with some sort of metal, was awesome. He was soft-spoken, calming and immediately asked if I had any questions. He helped me pick out which piece of jewelry would fit me best, explained that there hadn’t been a significance to what side was pierced since the 80s (HA!), and then led Summer and I to a room in the back where I would get pierced.

The room reminded me a little of a doctor’s office—very sterile and cold, with lots of gloves and containers of stuff like needles, gauze, rubbing alcohol, etc.—except there were pictures of kanjis hanging and a large mirror spanning almost the entirety of one wall.

We made small talk while Pineapple began his preparations, but then he made sure to explain every single step of the sterilization process. He told me to stop him at any time if I had any questions, and I mentioned that I was glad he was so serious about sterilizing the instruments since my husband had requested I didn’t return with Hepatitis C. Pineapple laughed, and said that was an unusual request but a good one.

Every single thing he touched (with freshly gloved hands the entire time—before and after the items were sterilized) that would touch my skin he sterilized, explaining to me what he was doing and how the sterilization would work. He put everything into a tray that then went inside of an autoclave machine, which would take six to seven minutes to complete the sterilization process. We went up front to complete my paperwork while the tools were sterilizing, and he explained the six rules of taking care of my piercing:

  1. 1. Don’t listen to your friends.
  2. 2. Don’t touch it.
  3. 3. Don’t touch it.
  4. 4. Don’t touch it.
  5. 5. Don’t touch it.
  6. 6. Don’t touch it.

He recommended some soap called Dr. Bronner’s for me to use only if the piercing got dirty (no more than once or twice a month), but otherwise instructed me to never get it wet and rinse it with distilled water if it did (like when I get out of the shower). His motto is basically “Your body knows the best way to heal itself, so leave that shit alone and let it do its job.” Got it.

The actual piercing went quickly, which I had anticipated from having two other body parts pierced in the past. Pineapple cleaned my nose, inside and outside, with rubbing alcohol, and had me lay down on the table and begin taking deep breaths in and blowing out. He explained every step he would take (but also assured me he would tell me everything he was doing as he was doing it). I laid down on the table and noticed a sign affixed on the ceiling that said something to the effect of “Just keep breathing, everything will be ok.” I made a mental note to remember that in my every day life.

And then it just… happened. He had me take a couple of deep breaths, and told me to blow out my third breath very slowly and he would push the needle through. It felt like I was being pinched, and then it was over. He instructed me to turn my head to the right and witness him putting the needle in the Sharps container, and then told me I could sit up but not to stand for a few seconds.

A single tear fell out of my right eye, as is expected with anything involving the nose, but I wouldn’t say that it hurt. It stung for maybe a minute and I was aware that there was a titanium rod through my nostril, but I never felt what I would call pain for maybe more than the couple of seconds it took for him to pierce the skin.

And then we were done! Summer and I headed over to Target to pick up some distilled water, gauze pads and a nasal aspirator bulb (for me to squirt the distilled water onto the piercing), and then over to Central Market to find the Dr. Bronner’s soap, and then back to her house.

I do need to point out that I am SO FREAKING GLAD Summer was there with me. I was trying my hardest not to be nervous, and it helped so much to have someone else there to make sure everything was kosher, take pictures and be available to pick my ass up off the floor in case I fainted.

Pineapple warned that depending on my body and how healthy it is, it could take anywhere from 30 to 90 days to heal so I needed to be careful and follow the six rules for that entire time period. It’s really not that hard to take care of—at first I was washing my face outside of the shower, but I’ve gotten used to the piercing’s location now so I just make sure to not wash that area and then rinse it and pat it dry with the gauze when I get out of the shower. I had one day of “holy shit how do I get this caked-up snot off the inside of the piercing??!” but a few Q-tips and a carefully maneuvered toothpick took care of that. TMI? Sorry.

Every once in a while I can feel the piercing (mainly when I wake up in the morning or right after I rinse and dry it), but for the most part it seems to be healing nicely, as far as I can tell.

I’m a little worried that I don’t quite understand how the bar works (he showed me some kind of bendy thing that fits into the titanium bar and holds it together with tension, and then explained that the gem on the end can be changed without having to remove the bar), but I don’t plan on changing it out any time soon. So I guess I’m good as long as I don’t somehow sneeze it out.

Allergic to soy sauce but not soy. Awesome.

I’ve never been able to stomach any kind of food cooked with soy sauce. In fact, for as long as I can remember I haven’t been able to eat Chinese, Japanese or Thai food without getting sick to my stomach (I’ll leave it at that) soon after.

I’ve mentioned it to two doctors in the past, one a gastroenterologist and one a general practitioner, and they both agreed that I have most likely have an allergy—or at least a sensitivity—to MSG, a preservative used in most Asian cuisines (both for preserving and flavoring).

So I’ve spent the last 10 years or so avoiding Asian foods, which really isn’t that big of a deal because I’m not that big of a fan of it, anyway. However, recently Ian and I have been making stir fries with all of the vegetables we’re getting from our CSA, mainly because it’s quick and easy and, honestly, what else are we going to do with all of that cabbage?

We’ve used two different soy sauces now, each using different preservatives (sodium benzoate in one and I can’t recall the other), and I’ve still had the same reaction. The fact that I eat some sort of soy product on an almost daily basis makes me confident it’s not the soy that I’m allergic to—it is, in fact, the preservative as the doctors had suspected years ago. But not just MSG.

I really like stir fries, but I guess I’m going to have to find some other way of seasoning them without using soy sauce.

Vacation part two: New Orleans 1, Ian and Megan 0

First, know this: New Orleans kicked our asses. Stomped. Into the ground. Big time.

We left Austin Wednesday morning and drove straight to New Orleans, stopping just briefly a couple of times along the way. We arrived right at nightfall, and driving across Lake Ponchartrain, surrounded by those trees with no leaves on them and no other cars in sight, I was a bit creeped out.

After we checked into the W in the French Quarter (which was an awesome place to stay, as W hotels always are), we headed across the street to Gordon Biersch Brewery to grab dinner and some beers. I actually just realized that place is a chain; at the time I thought it was a local joint. Either way, the food was really good and so was the beer.

On our way back to the hotel we made a run through Harrah’s Casino, as it was right next to our hotel and the restaurant, too (seriously everything was all right there—perfect location), to check it out.

The next day was when it all started. We walked the block or two over to Riverwalk and had 32-oz beers for lunch with a side of a small amount of food. And then we had some more beers at The Crazy Lobster. After that we crashed in the room for an hour or so, and because we were already drunk we decided it would be a good idea to head down to Bourbon Street. At like 6 p.m.

Y’all, it’s taken me several days to be able to recap this part of the trip because I couldn’t really think about it without feeling nauseated. We got so drunk so fast. Bourbon Street was great, but it kicked the living shit out of us. We hit up a couple of bars (one where we met this Australian dude who said I didn’t look a day over 23—god bless him) and then settled at this place called Rita’s, where we ran into a guy who had served us beer a couple bars before that.

He decided since we bought beer from him earlier he’d buy us a couple, which he did—I think. I know he bought us some shots. We shot the shit with him for a while, and he invited us to some other bar where he was headed with his girlfriend and her friend but we declined.

After that, we don’t remember much. I remember texting with Summer, I vaguely remember getting up and leaving and stumbling through the streets holding Ian up (or dragging him with me, I’m not sure). The next thing I remember we were back at the hotel, I was starving and eating my aged gouda I’d gotten in Austin like it was a sandwich, then I was ordering a pizza, then I was throwing up said aged gouda. Then I passed out on the bed. When I woke up in the morning I was happy to see Ian had peeled himself off the bathroom floor and had made it to the bed, too.

Neither of us remembered walking back to the hotel, but when I turned on my phone I discovered Google Maps directions routing us from the last bar we were at back to the hotel. So thanks, trusty iPhone and Google Maps, for getting us back safely. It’s nice to know that even in a questionable condition I can operate technology.

We spent the entire next day in the bed trying not to die. No sightseeing, no Mother’s, no beignets, no haunted brewery tour, nothing. Just laying in the bed watching the Scripps National Spelling Bee and trying to psych ourselves up enough to walk to the corner market for Powerade. The hangover lasted two days. Two. Fucking. Days.

The entire drive home we cursed New Orleans, incredulous that two people with a good tolerance for booze could get so messed up so quickly. We wondered if Abita (the beer we drank the most) had a higher alcohol content than most other beer. We wondered why we didn’t eat again before going out that night, or while we were out, or why we at least didn’t eat more for lunch. We wondered if we were drugged.

But then last week at work one of my bosses was asking how the trip to New Orleans went, and as I sheepishly admitted that it about killed us, he started smiling and nodding his head. “I don’t know anyone who hasn’t gotten completely wrecked their first time to New Orleans,” he told me. Apparently getting drunk in New Orleans is unlike getting drunk anywhere else. Apparently, it takes practice to party in New Orleans.

This made me feel better. And, oddly enough, ready to take on the city again. It beat us this time, but next time we will be prepared. We will conquer New Orleans.

But we’re staying the hell off Bourbon Street.

Vacation part one: Holy crap Austin was fun

(Hey that rhymed!)

Just over two weeks ago, Ian and I packed up 10 days worth of crap into our suitcases, shuttled Evil Twin to the vet for boarding (since he’s got the diabeetis and needs his insulin shots), loaded the other cats up with food and water (don’t worry, Ian’s mom came by several times to check on them) and hit the road for what would turn out to be one bad-ass vacation involving visiting our friends Summer and Cole in Austin and then destroying our livers in New Orleans.

We drove as long as we could on Friday, and finally stopped in Mt. Pleasant, Texas, to stay the night in a really nice, new Hampton Inn. We got up Saturday morning to drive the rest of the day to Austin (this was also the morning I woke up with the bright idea that I should get my nose pierced while in Austin). We were going to stop in Dallas but got hung up in traffic, and instead opted to stop briefly for lunch in Temple at a brewery whose name now escapes me but was really, really good. Also? Frontage roads in Texas are confusing as hell but very handy once you get the hang of them.

We got to Austin Saturday evening around 5:30, and after getting acquainted with Summer and Cole’s animal family, headed out to eat dinner and get drunk at the Flying Saucer* there. One of their Twitter friends ended up dropping by (“Twitter-stalking,” as she called it) and we had a hilariously raunchy conversation that ended with Ian yelling “Stop fucking gay guys!” in the parking lot. I don’t think she was offended.

The next day they took us out on their boat at Lake Travis, and despite being mildly hungover, I’m happy to report that I did not vomit. Even at my best I am horribly prone to motion sickness (I honestly can’t believe I survived riding in the backseat of Cole’s truck all that time), and waves have proven especially offensive. Oh, and get this: I actually wore a bathing suit—IN FRONT OF OTHER PEOPLE—and swam in the lake. The last time I remember being in a bathing suit in public was 2003, and that was in Spain where nobody knew me. So thanks to Summer and Cole for not making fun of me. For that and for when I got sunburned ON MY FACE.

Later that night they took us to the legendary Salt Lick, which I had been to on my last visit but Ian wanted to check out. The meat pit did not disappoint, though I ordered their vegetable plate. (I think this is where I’m supposed to confess that despite my staunch vegetarianism since August of last year, I did actually taste a tiny sliver of the brisket that Ian ordered. Don’t worry, it did not convince me to return to the world of meat-eaters.)

The next day, Memorial Day, we hit Juan in a Million for breakfast (well, early lunch), where we each got the famous handshake from Juan! He was nice and gentlemanly with Summer and I, but I could hear the slaps when he shook the fire out of Ian and Cole’s hands. Awesome.

Sometime that afternoon I decided it was time to get a titanium rod shoved through my right nostril, so Summer and I looked up piercers on Yelp and quickly discovered Pineapple at Shaman Modifications was the man to do just that. Actually, this whole experience deserves its own blog post, so hold that thought.

Monday night was the Barenaked Ladies concert at Bass Concert Hall, which I didn’t realize until right before the event was actually on the UT campus. Ian and Cole dropped Summer and I off and then went to go do guy stuff (I don’t know what they did—drank beer and talked about boobs?) while Summer and I got our asses rocked off by BNL. Holy crap, our seats were AMAZING. The opening act, Serena Ryder, was really great, but BNL fucking rules. This was probably my favorite of the three BNL shows I’ve seen this year based on the energy of the crowd and BNL’s performance, with Louisville coming in a very close second. The fact that I was in fucking Austin, Texas, one of the most awesome towns in the country, helped push it over the top.

The next day we just kind of tooled around town, stopping to eat some pizza and grab some cupcakes. That night we had dinner and watched Iron Man 2 at the Alamo Drafthouse, which, if you’re not familiar with it, is the best concept for a movie theater I’ve ever seen. They have a full menu and a crapload of beer (and maybe wine and liquor, too?), and you write your order down on a piece of paper and stick it in this metal bar in front of you, and the server comes by, grabs it and then brings you back what you wanted. It’s all done very quietly and with minimal interruption to the movie and the other people around you. We need one in Nashville. Now.

Wednesday we said our goodbyes (and tremendous thanks!) to Summer and Cole and headed south again toward New Orleans, stopping at this little Czech bakery somewhere in bumfuck Texas where I discovered Lay’s Limón chips. Hand to god, best chips on the planet. But of course, for some reason, despite having tons of Hispanics in Nashville nobody wants to carry their goddamn fence-jumping job-stealing Spanish-language potato chips. So now I have to order them from I hope the money goes straight to helping people sneak in the U.S. illegally. JUST KIDDING.

I was naive in thinking I could recap the entire 10-day vacation in one post, so you’re just going to have to wait for Part two: How New Orleans fucked us. I know you’ve got bated breath.

*Our original plan was to hit as many of the Flying Saucer locations as we could, since many of them are located in East Texas, but we ended up not having enough time for that. We did manage to hit three, though: Memphis (Cordova), Austin and Houston. Let me go ahead and advise that you never go to the Flying Saucer in Houston. We waited almost 15 minutes for anyone to even notice us, and were there probably over an hour just to eat two pretzels and two beers. Lame.