I don’t want to talk about it…

…you know, that thing that blew up in everyone’s faces just about a week ago?  So, I’m not going to.

Instead, let me tell you about this terrible cloud of stench that’s following me around today! Don’t worry, it’s not a fart story (yet. I’m pretty good at devolving any story into a fart story if given enough time, so I make no promises about where this will end up).

I’m very sensitive to smells. Side note: my husband might argue that if I was truly sensitive to smells, I’d make more of an effort to clean out whatever is currently making our fridge stink like a kimchi experiment gone wrong, but that’s a smell I can get away from simply by shutting the refrigerator door and thus I’m not particularly motivated to fix the situation. Don’t like the smell? Just shut the door! I’m a problem solver. 

Anyway.

Smells that I can’t get away from are an issue for me. Strong smells will often give me a headache, bring on the asthmatic Throat Tickle Of Doom, and wreck whatever small semblance of concentration I may have tenuously pieced together. As such, I don’t wear perfume or heavily scented personal hygiene products, I buy either unscented or only very lightly scented laundry soap, I tend to clean with white vinegar because it’s way less smelly (to me, anyway) than chemical cleaners, I’m anti car-air-freshener…you get the picture.

When I suddenly can’t find my preferred brand of a normally scent-containing thing and am forced to buy something different on the fly, a whole ridiculous process ensues. I’ll spend at least ten minutes sniff-checking every scent variety of the thing I need.  I’ll talk to myself in the middle of the store aisle, muttering about how Option A smells like mothballs and cat pee but Option B smells like vanilla extract and death. I’ll make up my mind, then see another interesting option, sniff THAT, and end up changing my mind 17 times. All this while having random coughing fits because of the aforementioned asthmatic Throat Tickle Of Doom. I usually end up getting so pissed off about the whole thing that I end up just chucking SOMETHING in my cart in the interest of not having to live out the rest of my days twitching and coughing in the health and beauty aisle.

Which is exactly what happened when I was grocery shopping on Saturday and, to my horror, couldn’t find my preferred brand of deodorant. Ten minutes into my Sniff All The Things routine I was finally so fed up with my inability to JUST FUCKING PICK ONE AND MOVE ON that I ended up tossing the one I currently had in my hand into the cart and stomping off.

Without sniff-testing it.

I didn’t shower on Sunday, so the horror of what I had done didn’t become clear until this morning when I was getting ready for work. I popped the cap off the new stuff, turned the dial to raise the product, and got my first whiff of it. It was a fairly inoffensive fruity smell – I think it was trying to be pomegranate or something? I don’t know. I was running late as usual so I just rubbed it on my pits and then went to get dressed. As I was getting dressed I got another good whiff of it and thought to myself, “ugh, that’s kind of strong”, but short of getting undressed and scrubbing my armpits, there really wasn’t anything I could do about it at that point.

On the way to work I was trapped in the car with the smell and had plenty of time to think about the mistake I had made. What initially seemed like an inoffensive fruity smell is now akin to Hawaiian Punch with undertones of mothballs and formaldehyde. It smells like the “family heirloom” afghan your great aunt Edna had in storage for 20 years and then freshened up with a dousing of her favorite Febreeze formulation, Tropic Nightmare, before gifting it to you. It’s like someone steeped pine cones and cedar shavings in one of those buckets of “just add booze” strawberry margarita mix that contains no ACTUAL fruit, only a slurry of high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, preservatives, red dye #4 and “strawberry flavor”, then boiled it down to crystalline form and SET IT ON FIRE.

Every time I lift up my arms the smell assaults me. The good news is, I work at a desk and I type 90% of the day, so I’m not lifting my arms up that much, right? Right!

Except that this afternoon is yoga class. Not only will my arms be up a good 60% of the time I’m in class, but I’ll also be hot and sweaty which will, I presume, make the scent even stronger.

This is how I die, people: shakily trying to hold Warrior II pose while my super helpful yoga teacher keeps reminding me to breathe and my oxygen supply slowly gets cut off from the stench of my own deodorant.

It was nice knowing you all.

00037000478782

Look at Mr. Clean. His eyes say, “if this is what Hawaii really smells like, I’ll just stay in Cleveland.”

 

what have I done?

You may remember that last year, instead of doing NaNoWriMo like everybody and their fucking brother, I did the bastard blog version called NaBloPoMo. I started out using the suggested prompts but soon jumped ship because the prompts were banal horseshit.

Wow, I’m sweary tonight. And that’s after a cup of Sleepytime Tea. Can you imagine what I’d be like if I was snorting coke?! It would either be amazing or I’d end up getting punched in the face. Possibly both. Doesn’t coke make people aggro? Maybe I’d be the one punching people in the face, then. I definitely have some anger issues.

ANYWAY.

NaBloPoMo was actually pretty hard once I stopped using the shitty prompts because then it was just like “OK smart-ass, you said you’d post every damn day for a month and you’re supposed to be some kind of funny person so get crackin’ with the LOLs”. Except I can’t be funny every day for a month straight. Not enough to write blog posts AND keep me afloat in real life, anyway…so I struggled. It was good and I learned about myself, but I don’t fucking want to do it again.

So this year I’m biting the bullet and trying NaNoWriMo instead. I’ve been talking lately to a writer friend who keeps saying things like “writers write” and “anybody can NOT write a story”. The way he says it, it doesn’t sound like pretentious writer twat drivel though, trust me. More importantly, it has got me thinking that every day I sit around here twiddling my thumbs waiting for ‘inspiration’ to strike is another day closer I get to death. I mean, not to be a gigantic bummer or anything, but Jesus Christ you guys. SPOILER WARNING: we’re all gonna die. I don’t like the idea of croaking without having at least TRIED to do some of the things I’d like to do, you know? And since chances are REAL slim that I’m going to be hauling my lard ass up the side of the Andes to visit Machu Pichu, or building my own private otter preserve in my back yard any time soon (if ever), I figure I should aim a little lower and try actually writing instead.

That’s not to say that blogging isn’t ‘actually writing’, by the way. And it’s not to say that I’m not going to blog for a whole month. I’m just going to try this other kind of writing that I used to enjoy and be reasonably good at before I grew up and my brain turned to mush.

I’m not doing any of the official NaNoWriMo stuff like tracking my word count on their site, etc. I’m just going to commit to writing 1000 words or one hour a day, whichever happens first. If I write 1000 words or a whole hour and it feels like I want to keep going, I will…but I don’t currently have the mental energy to commit to something as grand as the traditional 50,000 words in a month NaNoWriMo goal. Ain’t happenin’.

Soooo…yeah. I might end up posting excerpts of the story I’m working on here, or I might not. Kind of depends on how awful it turns out. I can tell you this, though: I’m writing a story about writing a terrible story. After all, write what you know, right?

book-club-recomendations.jpg

Mmm, books. I bet they smell so good. Unless some hippy doused them in patchouli, anyway. Why you gotta ruin everything with fucking patchouli, hippies? Damn.

I may need a Poké-vention

Last weekend we were at a gaming event with some friends. Almost all of them had downloaded the Pokémon Go app and were happily spending their down-time between actual card games walking around hunting Pokémon. One friend especially, Geoff, was pretty obsessed. He clocked something like three miles of walking over the course of the day, all in the name of catching electronic critters. I had a couple conversations with people about how the game worked just out of general interest, and I MIGHT at one point have said “if my phone wasn’t such a piece of crap I’d download the game and try it”, but aside from that I didn’t think too much of it and had pretty much forgotten about it by the time we got home on Saturday evening.

Wednesday morning, Mark walked into the kitchen and held his phone out for me to look at. It showed a little picture of a guy on a bright green map with roads traced in grey and a cheerful blue sky full of puffy white clouds on the horizon.

“REALLY?” I asked, rolling my eyes. The map he was showing me was the main Pokémon Go screen. He had downloaded the game and installed it onto his phone.

“YES! Where’s your phone? I’ll download it on yours too!”

“It won’t work, I don’t have enough memory,” I hedged, and busied myself with making breakfast.

“Sure you do, I’ll clear your cache. See? TONS of memory freed up!” He held the phone out to show me, beaming. As I stuttered out protests about how I didn’t know what Pokémon even WAS or what the point of the game was aside from walking around picking things up, he was tapping away happily and downloading the app. Clearly this was going to happen no matter what I said. Knowing that my phone is a temperamental little shitbox, I figured that the app wouldn’t even open once it was downloaded or would crash catastrophically, thus giving me an out for deleting it and retaining what minuscule shreds of adult-ness I could desperately grasp at.

Not so much, it turns out.

The phone DID run the app, so after breakfast I set up my little character. Mark took off down the driveway to see if he could find any Pokémon but I stayed inside, drinking my tea and generally not paying that much attention to my phone at all.

Then the phone buzzed. I looked down and it said something about a wild Charmander appearing. After a few botched attempts, I managed to catch the Charmander, to much fanfare from my phone.

004Charmander_Dream

Cute, right?

“Well, that’s nice,” I thought, and then shut the app off so that I could go get ready for work. Mark came back just about then, looking forlorn.

“I walked all the way to the corner and back and I didn’t find ANYTHING,” he said.

At that point I felt the beginnings of something start to unfurl in the dark recesses of my lizard brain.

“Oh, really? That’s funny because I didn’t even move from my chair but a Charmander popped up and I caught it,” I said smugly. He looked slightly affronted, but then HIS phone buzzed and he was distracted by catching some kind of critter of his own.

Since Wednesday morning I’ve developed a bit of an addiction problem. I can’t stop playing this stupid game.

On the drive to work yesterday and today, I pulled over at almost every single rest stop / turn-out / lay-by on the side of the road to see if there were any Pokémon hanging around.

I read something about certain types of Pokémon only showing up in their specific environments in the real world, so I went out of my way to drive to the beach this morning and sit there for five minutes hoping some kind of water Pokémon would appear.

Last night it was 85 degrees and about 90% humidity but Mark and I walked the dog over a mile out to the end of our road (where there is a conveniently located Poké Stop, it turns out) and back, just in the name of finding more Pokémon.

I have already caught myself several times today pre-planning my errand-running route tomorrow in order to maximize time that I can explore known Pokémon-laden territory.

I don’t even know what the fuck any of these animals are, what they do, which ones are rare, how to battle with them or ANYTHING, seriously…but it doesn’t matter because they’re out there and I WANT THEM. And not only do I want them, but I want more, bigger and better ones than my Husband has. I’m generally not that competitive of a person, but apparently when it comes to building menageries of imaginary animals, I MUST BE QUEEN.

It’s totally weird.

(And it’s basically all Geoff’s fault.)

Pocket Trap

A few weeks back, I went shopping for some summer clothes. I bought, among other things, a pair of white twill capri pants. I have no business owning light-colored pants (or any other light-colored clothing, for that matter) to begin with, but these capri pants wouldn’t quit calling my name while I was wandering around the store (possibly because they actually fit my epic ass, which is a momentous thing. The fitting, not the ass. Well, both actually, but I digress…), so I said fuck it and bought them.

I hung the pants in my closet (only new clothes get hung up. After the first washing it’s laundro-bed all the way), and basically forgot that I bought them until this morning when I realized I was out of clean jeans…aaaand pretty much every other work-appropriate bottom-half covering garment. My options were a) wear the skirt I’m always vaguely uncomfortable in, b) wear the white capri pants, or c) come up with an excuse to work from home so I could just give up on adulting completely and wear yoga pants all day. Since I knew I had a meeting this morning that I couldn’t reschedule, staying home was struck from the list immediately (and sadly. So, so sadly). Vaguely uncomfortable skirt was a total no-go on meeting day as well because I can’t concentrate for shit when I’m self-conscious. So, white capri pants won by default.

Everything was going swimmingly as I got dressed. I even remembered to wear light-colored underpants so that people weren’t pointing and laughing at my shadow-wedgie any time I walked by. ADULT WARDROBING POINTS FOR ME! The capris actually fit even better this morning than when I tried them on in the dressing room, so that was good for a little happy dance. After putting on my shirt, I grabbed my phone and slid it into my pocket.

Except the phone landed on the carpet with a thud.

Because these pants?

THEY HAVE NO POCKETS.

Actually, to put a finer point on it, these pants have something worse than no pockets: they have those bullshit totally non-functional faux pockets:

IMG_20160607_133232302

Looks like a pocket, doesn’t it? Well it’s NOT a pocket. IT’S A TRAP. A BULLSHIT TRAP.

Because the fashion industry, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that all women are obviously more concerned with smooth lines on their clothing than they are with ACTUAL FUNCTIONALITY.

So now, instead of a slightly misshapen hip (which was going to be covered by my shirt anyway, fashion police), I have a slightly misshapen TIT because the only place I have to stash my phone is in my FREAKING BRA.

How is the threat of potentially short-circuiting my phone with boob sweat (or possibly more importantly, the idea of irradiating my boob with radio waves) a better idea than having pockets in these pants, fashion industry? I mean, granted, you’re not FORCING me to stash my phone in my cleavage. I COULD technically carry it around in my hand every time I get up and go do anything, thus rendering my hands half as useful as they’d be IF I HAD POCKETS.

And true, purses are technically an option that many ladies use. But I need my phone during the day. Do you know how idiotic it would be to have to carry a purse around the office all god damned day? PRETTY IDIOTIC. People would be side-eying me and saying stuff like “Geez, is she carrying coke around with her in that thing or something? And if she’s doing coke, why is she still so fat?”  And then I’d have to be like “bitch, who needs coke when there’s cheese“, which would a) answer the fatness question and b) confuse everyone, and I’d have to explain to them the article that I just linked, except out loud in my own words, which is WAY more difficult for me because I get easily sidetracked talking about stuff like marmots and existentialism and the pros and cons of different forms of magnesium supplements, and basically at that point everybody loses.

The moral of this story, I think, is that if having actual functioning clothing is important to you, then you need to either a) be a man, b) be willing to wear men’s pants (which I’d be totally fine with if I could find ones that actually fit but apparently my Jessica Rabbit-esque waist-to-hip ratio precludes me from having that option), or c) check for pockets BEFORE you buy new pants. And don’t just check that it LOOKS like there are pockets – make sure you can actually get your hand, phone, vial of coke, marmot, or whatever else it is you want to not have to stash in your bra, into said pocket.

Don’t fall for the bullshit faux pocket trap. Let my suffering be a lesson to you all.

 

oops

You may notice things look a little…different…around here.

They’re going to look even more different-er soon because I am super duper not in love with this theme that I mistakenly ended up applying to the site.

Sooo…yeah. Bear with me while I tear my hair out and try to find a set-up I actually like.

Why do I do these things to myself?

Ugh.

Barf.

potential pork disaster

I’ve explained before why I chose to call this blog, “How Bad Can It Go”. The short version is that, basically, I have two modes:

  • Hyper-analytical super overly cautious mode, where I come up with every completely unfeasible nightmare scenario imaginable and either completely talk myself out of doing everything or just totally paralyze myself with doubt, and
  • Impulsive mode, where I just DO shit (usually weird and/or inadvisable shit), with the mantra “how bad can it go?” playing over and over in my head.

The impulsive side of me is definitely the more creative side. Impulsive me starts a blog, for instance! Impulsive me randomly embroiders rainbow pterodactyls and makes up narratives to go with squirrel pictures. 

When I’m cooking, sometimes the impulsive side of me takes over and I end up creating masterpieces. Other times, I just create messes.

Tonight’s cooking, I fear, could go either way.

I got an Instant Pot for Christmas. It’s an electric pressure cooker, essentially. It does a bunch of other stuff too, but the part with the steepest potential learning curve is the pressure cooking part. Cooking under pressure doesn’t work like regular cooking. There are adjustments to cooking times, ratios of liquids to solids, and all kinds of other happy horseshit that I frankly haven’t bothered to read up on yet (which, if you know me at all, does not surprise you in the least). Point being – you can’t just take a normal recipe and put everything in the Instant Pot exactly like you would a regular pot and expect it to actually, you know, work.

So, tonight when I started just randomly throwing things into the Instant Pot, I may have set myself up to find out just how bad it CAN go.

I don’t think it will blow up. Let’s get that cleared up right now. I also don’t think it will catch fire…definitely another plus.

Am I entirely sure whether the 3lbs of pork I put in there with two cans of tomatoes, half a can of green chiles, a whole bunch of spices and a little water will actually turn into chili in the randomly selected time I set it to cook for, though?

Mmm…not so much.

But like I said, I’m pretty sure it won’t blow up, at least.

 

IMG_20160106_214645753

“Mahm, don’t wake me up unless it’s edible. For serious.”

 

 

 

fruitcake chronicles: in the beginning

In the beginning, there was booze.

Two kinds of booze, to be precise.

IMG_20151129_122808237

The much-coveted Screech was on sale. IT WAS A SIGN!

There was also an ass-load of dried fruit, but that’s nowhere near as exciting as the booze. Also, ignore that random onion in the background. I don’t know. This is why I’m not a famous food blogger. I can’t control what’s going on in the background of my pictures. Or my life.

Anyway.

I made fruitcake on Sunday and also managed to get pretty well schnockered in the process. It wasn’t my intent to get wasted while baking AT ALL, but that Screech, man. It’s so good. And so smooth. And I just kept sipping it..and sipping it…and mixing it with apple cider and sipping THAT…

…and about an hour later I realized, quite to my surprise, that I was fucking LIT.

I feel like I kept things pretty well under control, though:

  • I didn’t burn the fruitcake (or the potholders or the walls or anything else).
  • I didn’t cut myself AT ALL even while handling multiple knives (none of which are especially sharp, to be fair. Kind of like me).
  • I even managed to construct a truth be told quite magnificent turkey pot pie after the fruitcake, all without maiming anyone, poisoning anyone or blowing anything up.

However, I DO wish that I had taken before and after shots of my kitchen cabinets. I went to grab the potato starch tonight while making dinner and basically had to take everything out of the baking cabinet to find it. Similarly, the kosher salt was buried all the way at the back of the bottom shelf when it’s usually front and center. The bag of sugar was precariously balanced on top of a leaning tower of plastic containers partially full of various dried fruits, and there was a box of currants leaning at a 45 degree angle on some of the shorter jars of spices. My cabinets aren’t organized to an anal degree or anything, but I try to kind of keep sections – dry goods section, spice section, oils and vinegars section, canned goods section. You know…just sort of a basic semblance of order so that I’m not, for instance, swearing and throwing shit left and right in the middle of making gravy, trying to find the stupid fucking potato starch at the last second.

Also, valuable lessons about day drinking were re-learned on Sunday… chief among them, the reason why I don’t usually day drink. You see, when you drink yourself stupid at night, you can just go crash on your comfy wonderful bed, close your eyes and fall blissfully into a deep and dreamless stupor. You awaken the next morning, if not refreshed, then at least usually with a modicum of functionality. The drunkenness becomes a thing of the past and you move on with life.

When you day-drink, you’re fully conscious and aware of the sobering up. At least, unless you’ve REALLY gone overboard, in which case you may have bigger problems. Point is, being awake and aware of slowly becoming less drunk is basically no fun at all. It’s like the polar opposite of all the fun you had getting drunk, but with added ennui, guilt, and quite possibly shame. Being aware of moving back up through those layers of suckitude on the way back to sobriety is pretty depressing.

That’s how it seems to work for me anyway. It’s quite possible that there are plenty of people who handle day liquor better than I do. I decided on Sunday that I didn’t really want to learn that skill, though.

I’ll just stick to evening drinking and going to bed at relatively appropriate times to sleep it off, thanks.

tactical error

Last night on the way home from Carnage we stopped at the Long Trail Brewery for dinner and drinks with friends.  I really like Long Trail’s pumpkin ale, which is one of their specialties this time of year, but when I tried to order one the waitress informed me they were out.  Sadface.  Then she mentioned that they did have plenty of the Imperial Pumpkin and asked if I wanted to try that instead.  It sounded good to me so I said sure, and off she went to get me one.

It’s worth mentioning here that “Imperial”, when it comes to American-made beers at least, usually means that the alcohol content is higher than normal beer – generally somewhere between 8-12%, which is double what normal beer usually runs.

Long story short, I ended up drinking two glasses of the Imperial Pumpkin, plus about half a pint of my husband’s hard cider, by the time all was said and done. WHEEE!  By the time we were ready to leave I had decided that I really needed a growler of the Imperial Pumpkin to take home.  We bought the growler plus a bottle of a fancy stout that my husband wanted to try, and then headed home.

When I got home, I started reading the printed info on the back of the growler bottle at home, I noticed that it said it should be consumed within 72 hours of bottling…and within 24 hours of opening.

A growler, for the record, is 64 ounces. 64 ounces of beer is a LOT. I was definitely thinking this bottle of beer was going to last me the better part of a week, not A DAY. There’s no way I can drink it all tonight, certainly…especially given that I have to work tomorrow.  I’m just going to have to hope that it keeps ok for another couple days.

Moral of the story: don’t go beer shopping when you’re already drunk.

View this post on Instagram

Legit.

A post shared by Rhubarb Swank (@ealachan) on

sock-mergency

The weather app on my phone lied to me again this morning.

It claimed that the temperature was supposed to be around 55 degrees and there was supposed to be sunshine.

Currently, it’s 46 degrees, overcast, and gusting wind.  Which, to be fair, is a lot more common weather for Vermont this time of year than the whole “55 and sunny” scenario.

Unfortunately, rather than listening to my realist brain this morning, I listened to the weather app, and dressed for 55 and sunny.

And now I’m fucking freezing.

Now granted, I do work in an office so it’s not like I’m not sheltered from the elements, but my office is in a very old farmhouse so the term “sheltered” is used…somewhat conditionally.  There are, for instance, 3/4″ gaps between the window casings and the frames of the crappy old removable plate-glass windows.  You can see a sizable strip of daylight between the two, and wind certainly has no problem gusting right in as well.  More than a couple times in the past eight years I’ve actually seen rain or snow driven through these gaps when the wind has wheeled in just the right direction.

I do have a small cache of knitted goods in my office for exactly this reason.  There’s a pair of finger-less mitts and a big fuzzy stole / scarf / lap-blanket thing currently, and supplemental scarves will be added as winter grinds on.

What I do NOT have, which I clearly need if today is any indication, is a pair of emergency socks for the days when my idiot self listens to the weather app.

Sock-Saturday-Pile-RGB

Hi, I’m Shelby and I like to torture myself.