Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sometimes A Sweaty Gross Old T Shirt Is Actually The (Black) Key To World Of Excellent Friends And Music. You Can't Always Get What You Want, But You Get What You Need, by Allison

I had the most fabulous, totally fun and excellent evening of music,
under twinkly lights,
surrounded by friends and awesomeness last night.

Like, just one of those transcendent nights -
 where all is well and life is good . . .
I guess cheesy stuff you'd put on a T shirt?

Except I would not wear that T shirt.
Because I have T shirt laws and they are:
Band T shirts, only.

But in the circle never ends wisdom thing?

Or Rolling Stones wisdom of you can't always get what you want,
but you get what you need?

Or, sometimes good things happen when you harass people at the gym,
 and try to buy their ratty old T shirts in boot camp class? 

(I realize that is not an actual thing, in general.
 In my life, it is a totally true and valid truism.)


Years Of Absurd Over-Sharing And Chatter About Music,
What I Think And Why Pays Off!, by Allison

Ok, so I have always been self-proclaimed, very dedicated PR and Promotions person for any bands or music that I like.
(I had a clipboard in middle school, full of Duran Duran facts.
There are witnesses, who are still my friends -
AND are Duran Duran fans to this day, so there! I am right.
I am always right, really.)

That is nothing new.
But a few years ago, for some reason,
probably insanity or sleep deprivation or brainwashing mind tricks?
I left the civilized Pilates studio at my gym,
which had very challenging Pilates classes I loved,
plus you didn't have to wear sneakers -

(Note: I hate sneakers.
Tennis shoes.
I am reluctant and recalcitrant in wearing them.
Which is sad, considering daily,
I wear them more than any of my delightful army of excellent shoes.
Sigh. I digress.)

And I entered the Thunderdome.

I didn't realize what I was doing,
 or I would have run the other way,
 as fast as I could in my newly acquired ugly stupid gym shoes.

But no,
I had heard this "360" class was fun and cool and I should try it.
I was tricked.

The name isn't scary, right?
Like, It's not INSANITY 90 TIMES XX HELL ON EARTH, or such.
I know to avoid those.

360 seemed kind of introspective and aspirational.
I am an idiot.

I go in, and am told by Very Serious Trainer to tether myself to the railing.

I am honestly baffled, because nothing he said made any sense to me at all.

He tried again, with "Tether yourself to the railing, for suicide sprints and bear crawls."

Not helpful.

That sounded REALLY unfun.

That is why I didn't want stupid gym shoes.
Can I go back to Pilates, please?

I am somehow tethered to a railing and everything else is a blur, except I lived.

And, I felt kind of like a badass when I was able to walk(ish) out of that room,
having done things I had never heard of or would agree to do,

Plus, there must have been brainwashing that I didn't realize,
 because I was still trying to process why I was hitting a tire with a stick.

I went back!
And eventually, was shocked I could do some of this crazy stuff.

But, the reason I do stuff at the gym and not at home?
I am inherently lazy and will find something, anything, to do other than exercise.
That is why books and music exist.

Group exercise is helpful,
 because I am amongst other people suffering,
also wearing stupid gym shoes,
and I am not allowed to pull out my Kindle and hide in the corner.

One of the drawbacks, however,
to the benignly named, totally awful 360 classes is this:

No chatting.

You can't catch your breath,
and Very Serious Trainer does not care if you tell him you are sweating from your eyeballs.
(That happened.)

So, though I was now in a group of people willingly being tormented,
 there wasn't any time for conversation.


Plus afterwards?
You just want to leave,
limp or whatever - get out of there.

One is the loneliest number,
you know.
Ask any elevator Musak.

And so I couldn't continue with this "no talking or making friends or I have a funny story" thing for long -

So Hurray!
As with most things in life,
I was saved by music.

Or more specifically,
 a dude who came to class in an old, ratty, iron on Black Keys T shirt.
One of the first ones.
From Akron.
Iron on old band T!
Band I love!
I summoned enough oxygen to completely freak out this poor dude,
 by trying to bribe or beg or buy his disgusting T shirt,
as the real, old iron on Akron Ohio T's are like unicorns.


Of course, as most reasonable people would,
that guy completely ignored me.
And never came back again.
But silver lining?
The friendly, happy,
almost absurdly cheerfully Zen
(I did not know that was a thing until I met him,
but it is a thing)
dude from my 360 class?
Named Paul?
Was like "Oh, you like music?"
Open the floodgates.
Get this?
He not only travels for shows,
 and is as content and happy to talk and share and expound upon music as I am,
but also?
He Field Of Dreams, Music Edition
 and bands come and play.
Good bands, from all over.
There are twinkly lights,
and excellent crowd,
and really good musicians.
I am not sure how he does it, other than,
the whole thing is kind of magical,
who wouldn't want to be a part of it?
(Note: Paul is also the only person I know who will see a show in Chapel Hill with us,
and then agree that it is a fabulous idea we should go see them in Charlotte the next night.
He somehow remains bright-eyed and in good spirits afterwards.
I internally and externally pay the price for my music gluttony.
I'm fine with that, just jealous I cannot rally like he does. )
And last night, we saw a fabulous band, Barnaby Bright,
at the Backyard Stage of Paul's house,
in the end-of-summer twinkly shimmery kind of an evening in which I am not grumpy over the hot since it is coming to an end -
And the band?
They were awesome.
Really talented, excellent musicians with all sorts of stringed instruments (guitar, banjo, ukulele, maybe more) and keys and harmonium!
They were fabulous.
Fabulous night of music, Barnaby Bright are amazing
And you can hear them and find them at,
and here's their "Old Coats" video:
Last night we heard a killer version of Billie Holiday's "Fine and Mellow," had a blast, got to talk to the awesome band -
Am total fangirl !! Me with Barnaby Bright after their awesome show

All thanks to Fabulous Awesome Music Friend "He Built It, And Thank Heavens It's Music Not Baseball!!" Paul.

Lesson of the Day:

It's Totally Ok To Freak Out A Dude At The Gym By Trying To Buy His Old Black Keys T Shirt, Because You Might Meet Awesome Friend And Have Fun Forevermore.

(Also, Dude You Freaked Out Will Most Likely Never Come Back To Your Gym So No Awkward Social Situations!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dear Diet Coke Cans, Stop Tormenting Me. I Do Not Like Go-Getters, Or Sharing. You Are Totally Not My BFF Anymore, by Allison

Dear Diet Coke Cans,

I am very disgruntled with you,
and this pains me-
you are my trusty, stalwart, required morning beverage.

It is a known fact that there must be Diet Coke, in CANS

(Note: Bottles are only for gas stations and airports.
 Fountain drinks don't count,
 and are gross and totally not actually Diet Coke.)

in my refrigerator, at all times,
or The World Will End.

You'd think the sheer volume of Diet Coke cans I've consumed,
and the volume of the fits I've thrown if someone drank the last Diet Coke,
would earn me frequent consumer status.

Is that a thing?

It should totally be a thing.

Tell Starbucks too.

I mainline Trenta green teas, for the antioxidant infusion -
to counteract the oxidants I require daily,
from my three Diet Coke cans.
Consumed immediately after I wake up,

I have a LOT of making up to do,
is how I justify all my tea.

Because I used to be way worse.

Like, I think there were a few years (law school, for sure)?
In which 98 percent of the fluids I consumed were cans of Diet Coke.

I left half-full cans on the roof of my car,
which was not a good idea -

 but I had a theory that I'd remember where I put it,
 if I put it on the roof of my car.
(Note: This is a totally specious and terrible theory,
and it doesn't work for wallets either.

I left them in the freezer, in case I ran out of cold ones,
only to have to clean up frozen, exploded can of Diet Coke after I forgot I did that.

Maybe ten million times.

I'm better now.
I have a more balanced approach to my irrational needs for beverages at all times -


Still irrational.
I've just added to the list of required beverages.

Some could posit that I am actually worse than ever.

But I Can't Quit You, Diet Coke Cans!

I am now very grumpy with you.

As a chronic,
avid consumer?
(For?  Exact number of years redacted due to my vanity.
But it is quite a while,
though I am still very, very young)

I am insulted and affronted by your dumb, lame,
generic gimmick marketing strategy.

Specifically, the generic,  bossy suggestions on the side of my Diet Coke Cans.

Telling me to "Share a Diet Coke with a Go-Getter."
Or a "Buddy."
Or a "Friend."

WTF, Diet Coke?

Are you scrimping on your focus group budget?

Who shares a can of Diet Coke?

Not me.
At all, ever.

And also?

It is early, I am trying to wake up.
Stop pressuring me.

I don't want to share in the first place,
but especially NOT with a Go-Getter.

I actively avoid Go-Getters,
although I am not exactly sure what you mean by Go-Getter,
but whatever.
That sounds like someone who makes lists,
 and will tell me what the weather is and why I am late for something.

Not happening.

And cans telling me to share with a "Buddy?" "Pal?"

You are driving me insane,
Diet Coke Cans.

First of all, you are not the boss of me.

And secondly?
You are embarrassingly uncreative -
those are the blandest, most boring,
overly broad,
unspecific categories ever.

It is the exact opposite of what I totally think is clever,
targeted marketing on your bottles, Diet Coke.

The bottles with names?
Actual names, of people?

I have seen kids be wildly excited upon receiving a gift of an empty Diet Coke bottle with their name on it.

And as gas station/airport bottle purchaser,
I totally look for a name I like, or that makes me laugh,
or is someone I am married to, and then buy one.


Totally worked!
Excellent idea you had.
Gold star for you.

Why did you have to ruin things, Diet Coke?

The reason the names on the bottles idea works so well is that it is a name.
Of a specific person.

Not vague, boring "Buddy" or "BFF."
Not stressful like "Go-Getter."

If you have to do something with the cans, can you get a snarkier ad team?
Find better focus groups?

Because I'd totally buy Diet Coke Cans with snarky or absurd suggestions -

Worst Friend Ever?
Obnoxious Neighbor?
The Guy From Twilight? (I would buy a bunch of those, actually.)

Or, better yet?

"Don't Share This Diet Coke With Anyone.
It Is Yours And Yours Alone."

Those would crack me up.
instead of spontaneous combustion of rant rage.

Much better way to start the day.

Please fix this egregious error immediately, Diet Coke Cans.
You are better than this.


Your Frequent Consumer and Advocate (as long as you are cold and in my fridge and MINE),

PS: I am not your Buddy, Pal, OR BFF as long as this continues.

PPS: Also I am not a Go-Getter, and please don't send one to my house.

PPPS: And the only thing I share is my opinion.
But I am totally right, and you are welcome.

Monday, August 18, 2014

FORMS, The F Word That Inspires Many Other F Words. Please Somebody Stop This, Or Send Intern, By Allison

It is FORM time, everybody.

And like bad sequels to already bad movies,
or swarm of locusts or whatever,
it keeps getting worse.

Every year, they multiply.


The dreaded F word. 

I am bad with FORMS, in that I almost always spill tea on them,
forget to look up the dentist’s number,
 and have to go find that and then: 
Something shiny!

And I leave FORM incomplete,
then get plagued with guilt about undone FORM,
and then go to do it.

But I realize I never looked up the dentist number, . . . . 
and here we go again.

And seriously, each year,
when I think we have enough sweat equity or FORM filling out information,
at schools or dance studio or whatever,
and it can't be as bad as last year?
 It keeps getting worse.)

I have just filled out seven majillion FORMS.

All with the exact same information -
just swap age of girl and grade in school,
all information on these FORMS is exactly the same.
Because the subjects of these FORMS have shockingly similar,
otherwise known as exact same,
information on their home,
and upkeep and care. 

V, E, and M all live in same house,
go to same doctor,
have same parents,
same insurance,
same ALL of it. SAME 

I realize camp and school can't just have a completed FORM and two others that say,
” See everything on V’s form except this one is E and she is 11.
Otherwise, same.
And also M, she is 8.
Otherwise, all same."  

But that would be so cool, FORM People.
I am so going to start a thing on that.

And the FORMS are all,
old school come in the mail,
fill them out in pen -
(Or? only writing implement at your disposal is pink Sharpie.


Advance notice.

If you won't let me cut and paste,
you run the risk of Sharpie scribblings,
dotted with tears and green tea.

I am given NO opportunity use the computer for cutting and pasting purposes,  
a computer similar to the ones totally used to create the FORM.
If I have to handwrite all this over and over, it should be quid pro quo. 

Eye for an eye,
tired writing hand for tired writing hand. 

I am going to work on that,
 now that I have completed the FORMS.

And can now relax and
 just mail the FORMS back, right?

I wish.

No rest for the wicked.
(Although I proffer that in this situation,
the FORMS are wicked,
 and I am saint-like, wrangling FORMS.)

Can’t  leave out step where I have to go to the doctor’s office,
and I am not kidding:

No lie NO LIE I am not making this up,
have to fill out a FORM for each FORM I need the doctor to sign. 

The FORM wants all the information that is on the other FORMS.
Can’t they get that information from the existing FORM?

Can I borrow a Xerox?


No, must fill out one FORM per FORM I am asking them to sign. 
Plus there are clipboards with FORMS on them too.

I tried pleading, “Look, it is on the FORM already,
on this FORM I am giving you,
right there! “

But no.

And I have to write the girls' names, addresses, doctor’s information  -
Is insane,  
because I am currently IN the doctor’s office.
So it should be kind of obvious who their doctor is,
plus I ALREADY WROTE IT ON ELEVENTY FORMS and am giving them to you,
that information is right there,
and there,
and there,
and also there. 

Please, no more FORMS.

Or how about?
Not the same FORM from the same place two times in one day, at least give me that?
 (V registering for middle school volleyball team,
plus taking FORMS to other FORM people.)

At least I have finally cobbled together a list of witnesses willing to testify on behalf of  my Totally True Printer Malevolence Making Everything Worse By Eating FORMS.

I am normally met with disbelief when I say
 "My printer won't work today.
It is having a fit or a bad day or something.
It just groans at me."

And as I am trying to print out repeated FORMS for sports and dance and lunch and etc,
the printer is all,
"Ug, I am not feeling up to this.
I shall make groaning noises and flash lights and kind of attempt to print,
but totally not print the actual FORM,
nevermind FORM times three because you have so many children needing FORMS."

I was super happy to have witnesses my printer rebellion,
because otherwise,
given past history of technology abuse,
and spilling,
or kicking,
and cursing at computer parts,
no one would believe me when I said that my printer was having a hissy fit.
 And I am really trying to not be the worst.

 I am attempting to not send in late, green tea splattered FORMS this year.

It’s the new me!  
Turning over leaf!  

When situations like this arise, I am now asking myself, what do I NOT want to do right now? 
Ok, that’s the thing I should probably do. 

So far, so good, I just started attempt number (not telling how many years but it is embarrassing)
FORM wrangling today.
 I can’t say if it is going to work long-term.
So I fill out the FORMS with our names and all the information on the FORM.

And I know from previous half-attempted FORM hell,
 that FORMS will multiply and breed,
 and do bad biblical plague things come FORM time.

I try to prepare emotionally,
but that is not possible.

I am rubber, FORMS are glue, 
they bounce off me,
spotted with beverages,
and bounce,
three weeks late,
to wrong person,
stuck like glue to the bottom of someone's shoe.

So at doctors' office the second time in one day,
Is ridiculous and not helping me in my quest to defeat the FORMS -

I try,

I even look at one of the FORMS to fill out this new FORM,
and I am sitting on the ground,
with FORMS spread out around me in piles,
to make sure I get the FORM for each FORM,
for each kid,
for each thing.

So I look like a lunatic -
Pediatricians’ office floors are a very dumb place to choose as your work station,
but I have to make sure each FORM has its New Friend,
also known as FORM,

No matter what I do,
I will forget or leave off or not initial something,
resulting in questionable tetanus shot information,
or some such disaster that I cannot seem to circumvent every year.

So that leads to me sitting on ebola virus floor making piles of FORMS.

And showing FORMS to the girls, all
"Look. I filled it out.
Do not turn on me if the bad dog eats it."

(Note: The dog actually eats FORMS!!
I am not making that up.
I always thought "the dog ate my homework" was a derivative and lame fake excuse,
but seriously,
I have had to write "I am very sorry but the dog ate her vocabulary words" more than once.)

But we all know that there is no way,
with ornery printer,
purple crayon as only writing tool,
FORMS off multiplying like evil gremlin,
or bad aliens,
or bunnies?
There is no way I can win.


This is why I really, really, really want an intern.