They grow culture in a petri dish.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Funnest Game Ever!

Dear Reader,

So, I'll have to out myself here...that's right, I've been watching Big Brother 7 (All-Stars). In general, I'd say that this fact is punishment enough if I didn't know that there are other watchers out there and if it wasn't so much damn fun. All-Stars combines members from the household of other Big Brother seasons based on the highest number of viewer votes. Y'see, these players "got game." The program incorporates a system of contests in which the players battle for control of the house, power veto (so they won't be eliminated), Last night's episode showcased a food competition in what has to be the most hilarious game I've ever seen.

In this game, called "the Birds and the Bees," or some such nonsense, the four players dressed in spongy-fabric bird and bee outfits jump into a vat of necter. They then run over to the "flower" area where they lie over a grate and, with the help of the flower-outfitted players, "pollenate" the flower by squeezing the nectar out of their suits. The nectar then runs into vats which, when filled, will give them some basic food-group prize to eat for the week (like "grains," yea!) or some special food option (they won "Christmas in August"). (While this isn't the best picture I could find, thank God someone took a picture.)

This might all sound pretty straightforward (if weird) until I clarify what I mean by "squeezing." When the bird or bee people ran over to the flower grate, the flower person literally jumped on them and rolled around on top of them. I thought I would die laughing. While one of these flower people, Erika, is one of the resident hotties (as is evidenced by her choice of day-wear: bikini), the other is a heavy-ish married guy in his late-forties/early-fifties named (get this) Chicken George. He was completely into squishing the nectar out of people. It was a little obscene. Can I just say that I love this game? I LOVE this game! I totally want to play this wacked-out pollenation game at my next birthday party. Y'all know how I likes me some costumes, and some humiliating human sandwich action would keep me in hysterics for years to come. I've called it: make it happen.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

10 Reasons Why I Would be Thrown out of Culinary School

10. Cucumber Cheddar Ball

9. Gatorade Ice-Cream Float

8. Applesauce and Asparagus Compote

7. Country Fried Salmon

6. Raisin and Mixed Nut Pizza

5. Cold Ground Beef Salad

4. Pear Chicken Casserole

3. Eggplant Walnut Bread

2. Liver and Kidney Omlette

1. Hummus Cheesecake

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ye Gods—the Beginning of the Semester is Upon Us!

I've been racing around frantically as of late, trying to prepare for the new semester. And, of course, this has been complicated by my preparations for my oral exams, my planning of a conference in October, planning and attendance of ERGO-based events, and visits with Andretta's fun-tastic sister, who was visiting. This week will be no different from the last and will feature two, count 'em—two, parties in the same night. [Takes breath...]

Here's a rundown and rating of my recent activities:

1. Studying for Oral Test: C
Highlight: not reading last three texts needed for list.
Drawback: not reading last three texts needed for list.

2. Writing for Written Test: A-
Highlight: getting a lot of great revising done; may actually have one chapter finished by end of week.
Drawback: need better articulation of argument/more sources; taking away from reading time.

3. Communication with Dissertation Committee: B
Highlight: successfully set date/reserved room for orals.
Drawback: didn't meet with outside reader as suggested (yet); nervously speed-talked through summer work to second reader at random meeting in Oaks Mall.

4. ERGO Presentation at New Grad Student Orientation: B+
Highlight: having group of people laugh at humor; successfully addressing new group of peers; writing notes to Whatta Babe during other presentations
Drawback: severe butterflies/personal doubt beforehand; double-thumbs administered finger-gun style during presentation.

5. Attendance of Party at Tom and Reginald Witherspoon's: A
Highlight: had a freaking good time at point in which a freaking good time was sorely needed; danced; talked with lots of people; didn't make ass of self (for once).
Drawback: too tired to go dancing the next night at Leandra's party.

6. Visiting with Andretta's Sister, Nike: A
Highlight: playing Apples to Apples and watching Jumpin' Jack Flash
Drawback: slimy dog toy (belonging to Jolanda's dog); the shivers; missed dancing

7. Exercise: B-
Highlight: got new tape
Drawback: haven't learned moves fully; using it in fits and starts

That about does it for a rundown of recent business. With any luck, I'll get back into a posting rhythm once the semester settles down. Or, you know, have something more interesting to say about next two parties...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A Few Pictures from the Going Away Party

Six of the seven people pictured in this photo were not bitten by a pony. One person from this photo is going to be Very Famous. Another person (at least one of them that I know of and possibly more) is a model. Six of the seven people in this picture aren't men. One person in this picture brought "Polly Pockets" to play with and likes to hug people a lot. One person in this photo is allergic to almost everything including wheat, cheese, and tomatos.

Ok this second picture is very funny verging on hilarious because the child shown looks almost exactly like the daughter of my cousin and his wife (who are pictured) except that she's not theirs. She's the daughter of another cousin on the other side of the family. So, years from now, when all of us are senile, we'll look back on this picture and think "what the hey?" This reminds me of opening gifts one Christmas. Someone was reading off the "from" part of the tag and mistakenly linked members from different families as having given the present. This struck us as funny because, you know, when is this cross-section of people going to get together to buy gifts together? I think I my thank you letters read something like this: "Dear [Cousin], Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, Keith Urban, Martha Stewart, and Reverand Al Sharpton: Thank you so much for the bath salts. I know you're all very busy, which makes the gift that much more special."


Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sensing "Teat-fingers," Pony Chomps Thumb

About a year or so ago, Andretta and I were leaving Panera Bread after having eaten lunch. As we returned to the parking lot, I bent down to pet a guy's black lab puppy. This puppy responded by sucking on my fingers, which led Andretta to observe, "dude—he thinks your fingers are teats". Thus the unfortunate nickname "Teat-fingers Meltzer" was born.

Yesterday, I went to Palatka to celebrate Jake and Kinya's move to New York. My parents had arranged a family party at their house, and we had a good number of people attend from both sides of the family. We ate pizza, salad, veggies, and cake. It was the kind of party you write a nice blog entry about in which you extoll the many virtues of said brother, his girlfriend, and your parents. Until, that is, the animals come out.

My folks live in a rural-ish area on a full acre of land. Their neighbors to the right have a large spread which includes goats. Their neighbors to the left have two big dogs, two horses, and—though it pains me to say it—two ponies. After lunch, we took my cousins' kids, four girls between 4 and 8, to feed apples to the horses and ponies. I'd fed the horses before, and, since my mother hadn't come over to oversee operations, I launched into the "how to feed animals" speech. When offering food, you have to lay your hand flat, fingers together, and curl the food up towards the animal's mouth. Ostensibly, this technique protects your hand and helps the animal to distinguish what "is" food and what "isn't." So, after handing out apple quarters, we all got down to the business of feeding. Most of the kids were clustered around the horses but my brother and I were stationed at the ponies. Turns out, the ponies tend to fight over food, and I suspect one of them doesn't like apple skins. I tried to feed the tan pony an apple quarter, but she persisted in eating the non-skin part without taking the whole piece. Frustrated, the black pony tried to steal apple piece only to chop down on my thumb and pull.

Okay, so when you have four little girls and two huge strange dogs crowded together in a small area, it's not a good idea to make a commotion. Fortunately, I didn't. I'm pretty sure my reaction was something like, "Hey! Give me my thumb back!" expressed in a surprised and admonitory manner. I'm pretty sure I didn't punch a pony. The pony released my thumb, and I was sort of holding it in a possessive manner and looking for water to clean it off. Then, I felt *really* woozy and went up to the porch to sit down and drink some water. The weird thing about the situation was the way the kids seemed kind of nonplussed about it while the adults, in silent agreement, didn't freak out. When we were leaving, the husband-pony-owner offered to rig up the cart for rides, and my brother kind of smoothly replied, "I think we're ok on animals for now."

So, yeah, good party! At least I stayed out of the hospital.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Urgent Note to Readers: Do Not Engineer Your Own Demise!

Yesterday, I was catching up on some news, and I found a clip of Matt Lauer interviewing a boy who, on Saturday, July 29th at Newport Beach, dug a five foot hole only to have it cave in on him. While bystanders did manage to rescue the 13 year-old, he was buried alive for about five minutes and came out looking blue. Long story short: he could have died.

This interview has to be one of the more bizarre things I've ever seen. They started by explaining the situation and lost me at "five foot hole." Five foot hole? Five foot hole? You've got to be kidding me. I don't even want to imagine what my mother would have done to me if I had ever tried to dig five feet into the ground without permission. Wait, turns out his mother knew what he was doing. Apparently, she had advised him not to dig so deep because it is dangerous. But her son—a thirteen year old sans engineering degree—assured her that it was not, indeed, dangerous. He continuted digging. Again, I don't want to think of what my mother would have done to me if I had disregarded such a warning, but I assure you that being buried alive under five feet of sand would have been the least of my worries.

As I was watching this interview, I could only think "what is the purpose of this segment?" The mother indicated that you "shouldn't let your children convince you that something isn't dangerous." Um...duh! That's the point of parenting. Running with scissors is dangerous. Playing in the street is dangerous. Making your own fireworks is dangerous. If you're a parent, make sure your kids don't do these things! And, of course, the complete "moral" of the story is...and I am loathe to state this: don't dig a freakin' five foot hole at the beach. Don't dig a five foot hole for the hell of it. Honestly, people, I hope I've gotten the word out soon enough. I'll be making a round of calls tonight, but, if I don't hear from everyone, I'm calling out the lifeguards.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Digs (Part I): I Fire My Guns Repeatedly, Run out of Biological Ammo

Hey—it's August! And in Gainesville, that means everyone in the entire town is moving somewhere else. Couches and wall units and wicker chairs are left destitute by the dumpsters such that, with a little initiative, the most enterprising of scavengers could completely refurnish her house. While I'm personally staying put, I wasn't immune to a request for help; Monday, I helped Max move into his new house. Or, more specifically, I helped him move tons of furniture into his new kitchen so the carpet people could replace the carpet in said house.

First off, let me just say that I'm cool with moving. Most people rate their feelings towards moving on a scale from "strongly dislike" to "hate with the white-hot passion of a thousand suns." What can I say? I like the planning, the moderate exercise, and especially the unpacking/decorating. For Max's move, the plan was to pick up the U-Haul van, go get some furniture from a person who I mistakenly believed to be "Ray, the prostitute," and drop me back off at the U-Haul place to pick up and move my car. We finished the first two tasks without incident. Then, as we neared the U-Haul place, Max indicated that he would have a trouble navigating the van across traffic and that he would "drop me off" across the street. No problem. But, as we got closer, it became apparent that by "drop me off," he meant "stop the van while in traffic and let me out." Problem.

Now, I'm not sure how other people view this, but it quickly became clear that he and I were viewing each other across a gulf of "WTF?" It took a little persuading on my part to verify that, indeed, I would not be exiting the vehicle as it was being operated within the flow of traffic. Call me crazy. Yes, I have a whole theory of traffic etiquette though, in this situation, I later clarified my position thus: "I'm not afraid to say that my ass is much too precious to be dropped off in the middle of the street."

Having quickly put this incident behind us, we then moved one car-load and three van-loads of personal stuff and furniture. This was a little tricky because there were only two of us, and we were moving furniture out of his two-story apartment (argh!). Even so, I think we did a pretty good job. The only piece of furniture that got the best of me was a heavy entertainment center. It was so heavy, it made my ovaries cry. Fortunately, though, I told Max that his expectations for what we could move basically met my physical limit. Guns: empty. After we'd finished, I went home, showered, and slept. I dreamt that I was Saint Violet, patron saint of cheap stuff worth keeping. And, no, I won't help you move.