Top Ten Signs That You’re Consuming Too Much Caffeine

June 29, 2008

10. When the new guy from accounting announces the coffee machine is broken, you threaten to slow-roast his ass, Folgers style! 9. You've stopped mixing Red Bull with Vodka and replaced it with Jolt Cola. 8. You are asked to leave a Starbuck's after you show up with an IV and try to hook the cappuccino machine into your vein (innocu-latte anyone?). 7. You’re having the ‘jitters’ but they feel more like the ‘jitt-itt-itt-itt-itters-itt-itt-itters-ers- 6. You tell everyone you can see through time and then warn them about the dreaded Y3K. 5. If you don't have your morning cup of joe, you become crankier than a one-legged diabetic at a candy store. 4. Your schedule has become really crammed: 8am Amp, 9am Starbucks Doubleshot, 10am Crunk, 10:30 Monster, 10:45 Jolt, 10:50 Full Throttle, 10:53 Rockstar, 10:54 Vault, 10:55 sniffing Expo markers... 3. You've started a letter writing campaign to your senator to ban the decaffeination of coffee as an unnatural act against nature. 2. You’ve earned enough Pepsi reward points to put a hit on K-Fed. 1. You keep having the same reoccurring dream where you and Juan Valdez ride around on a flying horse spreading coffee bean rainbows all across the world.

What Do You Do?

June 26, 2008

How do you answer the question "What do you do?" It's a decidedly quarterlife question. Until your mid-20s, most people go on the assumption that you are a student (an annoying assumption for those of us who didn't take the collegiate route), and thus the question need not be asked. But during your post-graduate age, whenever you go out to parties, or bars, or leave your apartment at all, the question inevitably gets asked, "What do you do?" Now, that's all well and good if you are doing something. It can be easily deflected by those of us who are in careers that we enjoy - "I'm a graphic designer," or "I'm a teacher," or "I sell kidneys on the black market." However, if you find yourself approaching, in, or just exiting your quarterlife crisis, this little question can be another foot in the hole that is the crisis. It's not that the question is inherently offensive; it's a standard ice breaker, getting-to-know-you, make-a-first-impression question. If someone is asking it in a romantic situation, it can be a tool to size you up - "Am I going to have to work while this loser plays Wii all day?" Mostly, though, the question is used to get a grasp of who you are so that the following inane chit-chat can have a direction. I hate this question. It is utterly pointless on multiple levels. If someone isn't really interested in getting to know me, then I feel no need to define myself for him or her. If someone is interested in getting to know me, there are far more interesting things about me than "what do you do?" I work at a furniture store (note: I did not say, "I'm a furniture salesperson"), and the people I sell things to all provide for themselves in some way. Do I care how? Not really. My concern is more along the lines of, "What problem do you have that I can find a solution for?" (By the way, we are a very different kind of furniture company!). Overall, I want to know about their needs more than their jobs. By learning about a person's needs, I get a more complete understanding of who that person is than any "what do you do" question could provide me. Of course, the answer to this question in times of crisis can bring up the inner quarterlife monster, who responds with a resounding "NOTHING!" It's a constant, forced introspection, a reevaluation of where you are in life. If, like many of us, you are in a crappy entry-level job in a field you hate, a graduate program that seems to go on forever, or unemployed, your response to this question echoes in your head, "I am a failure." Except that you're not. Sure, we all have unfulfilled potential and life may not have gone the way we intended (If it did, call me! I know some doctoral students who would love to study you.). It's realizing that what you "do" may not be defining who you "are." I've always wanted to do something inspiring that changed the world. I wanted to make a difference. My crisis made me doubt my relevance in the world. So, when people would ask me, "What do you do?" I didn't have a response. Sometimes the answer was, "nothing." Sometimes I embellished the most recent part-time, temporary project I had in order to make myself feel better about not having what I thought was a good enough answer. Ultimately, that is the issue: having a good enough answer, not for the person asking, but for yourself. It took a long time for me to come to terms with not having an answer at all. Now my answer changes all the time. Sometimes it is related to my work, and other times it is an element of who I am. Sometimes I am a contributor to a fabulous new website and other days I'm a semi-professional opera singer. I think that we all need to keep reminding ourselves about the parts of who we are that matter, and not get stuck on the parts that the world wants to matter, because, in the end, you're the only person to whom you have to answer.

Weekly Quarterlife Links

June 24, 2008

Top Ten Ways to Save Money on a Date

June 22, 2008

10. Two words: Jack in the Box 9. Mention to your date before dinner that you're an equal rights advocate, making it easier to suggest that you split the check. 8. Dinner and a movie = Hot Pocket 4 Cheeser and a VHS bootleg copy of a Styx concert. 7. A walk in the park - $0, meeting the folks at a family BBQ - $0, falling asleep under the stars - $0; The Perfect Date = Priceless.  No seriously, PRICELESS. 6. Explain that spending a "Snuggles" night consists of doing your laundry together and, it really will strengthen your relationship. 5. Planned Parenthood always gives out free condoms. 4. Ramen + soy sauce + fancy garnish = gourmet Thai! 3. Play Scrabble. It gives you the opportunity to ask subtle questions like, "How many points for 'cunninglingus'?" 2. "Hey, baby. Come in. I hope you're hungry. For the main course we'll be having Michelena's Swedish meatballs. And for dessert, I'll be opening a can of hot Manwich." 1. Trade in the champagne and chocolates for hooch and Pop-Tarts.

WTF for Friday, June 20th 2008

June 20, 2008

  • Measuring Sensibly Who knew 12 inches was 1.5 five month old fetuses end to end? Sensible Units
  • Song chart memes and pop culture finally explained in graph form! Ever wonder what pop music would look like in a pie chart? Me too! Graph Jam!

Quarter-life Crisis?

June 17, 2008

Guest Written by:  Lindsay Love So I just turned 27, at least a quarter of my life is now behind me. The sun has set on my childhood, my formative years, and sadly, my opportunity to use youthful naivety as an excuse for my follies and shortcomings. Am I experiencing an existential dilemma? Am I staring wide-eyed at a crossroads in my life's journey? Well... no, I don't think so, but I will let you know for sure as soon as I find some time to think about it. Right now, I am too busy finishing my Bachelor's degree, working full-time, and most importantly, raising a 5-year-old little girl. I'm in the 10-year-B.A. program. What, they don't have that at your school? It is structured around the rule of twos. Allow me to elaborate; all you do is take classes fulltime for two years, then take two years off for an unplanned pregnancy, followed by taking two classes per semester for the rest of your life. Now that I am in constant struggle to squeeze in a little studying during naptimes, weekends, and Sponge-Bob Squarepants marathons, I can look back fondly on my first attempt at higher education. To think I never appreciated the days when my only distractions from homework were dorm neighbors blaring Rage Against the Machine and skateboarding raucously in the courtyard outside my door. Boy, those were the days. No kids, no job, no supervision, is it any wonder I filled my days with the pursuit of intoxication, a bit of whoring around, and generalized loafing? Thank God I gave birth to my daughter when I did. Finally, I had someone to force me to act like an adult, to get my proverbial shit together. Nowadays, I put so much energy into rearing a well-adjusted citizen that it is rather inconsequential that I am not even sure I have achieved that status myself. Everyday is so full of activities and responsibilities that it's almost out of necessity that I live my life like a recovering alcoholic: one day at a time. I promise I'll work on my 5 year plan soon, but right now I just have to cook a nutritious dinner, start a load of laundry, and untangle a Slinky for the fortieth-insert an expletive-time. Then, before I know it, it's time to perform my little one's highly-involved bedtime routine. I'll spare you details; it's boring even for me. But finally, after one hug, two kisses, and if and only if all of her stuffed animals are properly aligned on the side of the bed, I tuck her in, shut the door and take a deep breath. Some days I am at peace, but other days I think "Phew, thank God that is over!" Those "other days" are a fine example of why I need to work on my Zen parenting skills. I really strive to live in the now. I tell myself there is no "after the bedtime routine." I have to live in the moment; embrace the hair-brushing. But there are times, when my patience is on E, running on fumes if you will, and I cannot embrace the hair brushing. Then there are even uglier times when I am so far gone that I catch myself brushing my daughter's hair so violently that it may actually be considered a form of child abuse. I despise those times, when I wear my stress like a backpack full of cannon balls that drags me down into a baser life-form. After much self-loathing, I apologize profusely for being such a wretch of a mother to this most tender child who loves so unconditionally. I promise myself to try harder tomorrow to be the patient, present mother that I really want to be. As I typed that last sentence, I had an epiphany. I just realized why I am not having a quarter-life crisis. It's not that I haven't had the time; it's that I haven't had the need. While most people my age are wondering which career, or location, or creative endeavor, or relationship will fulfill their life's purpose, I already know that my life's purpose is sitting in the next room and she's been amusing herself for the last hour with 3 markers and a cardboard box. I know that the reason I have to finish my degree is not to have a better career, but to set an example for my daughter, because I want her to go to college and to finish, no matter how long it takes. I want to be a better person so that I can be a better mother because my daughter deserves that and so much more, because I love her the way only a mother can, with the most ferocious kind of love that fills your heart so completely that it could almost burst into a million glittering pieces.

Top Ten Questions To Ask A Potential Roomate

June 15, 2008

10. What's your take on "after hours" nudity?

9. When you tell your friends and other guests, "Mi casa es su casa," do you mean it literally or figuratively?

8. Every Thursday night I have a Lord of the Rings Anonymous meeting. Would you be interested in precious?

7. Does your idea of a good house party involve cheap booze, cold mud, coked-up strippers, barnyard animals, colorful balloons, and a confused midget? Mine too!

6. Do you have a Wii? Do you have, "the Kart?"

5. Do you promise to leave your dirty dishes in the sink, Tupperwares of god knows what in the fridge, and your wet, molding laundry in the washer? Yes? Awesome.

4. I've left a sharpie and a roll of masking tape next to the fridge for you to label each and every one of your grocery purchases. Is that going to be a problem? Don't touch my soymilk!

3. Can you pass a background check, credit check, employment check, tenant check, DNA check, cashier's check, prostate check, mic check...check one, check, check, chiggity-check...

2. Every roommate I've had so far has ended up as an ex. I'm trying to break the pattern and you seem nice enough that that wouldn't happen again. Are you free for dinner?

1. Do you believe that cleanliness is next to godliness, because if so, cover me in chocolate syrup and PRAISE THE LORD!

Zen Beer-ism

June 13, 2008

Sometimes inspiration comes when you least expect it. For example, last weekend I was at an Irish pub in upstate New York. The waitress had just brought an order of hot wings and another tall, frothy, cold beer. It was a dark amber ale with a good head and great body. Clear. Smooth. Rich. It was hypnotic, and I fell into its trance. The tiny bubbles floated to the top, each one like a little planet racing into outer space. Before long I was floating in the beer. I was swimming around the planets, giddy like a kid on Christmas morning. Okay, maybe I was a little drunk. But inspiration nonetheless struck, and my great realization came: beer is a metaphor for life. I know this may sound like a fraternity initiation speech or an ode to the alcoholic. But it's not. Beer lovers consider it both an art and a skilled craft. Beer has always been an essential part of our lives. Its roots are embedded throughout history. It's said that the Pilgrims stopped at Plymouth Rock due to dwindling supplies, especially of their beer. Most of the Founding Fathers, including Jefferson and Washington, were brewers. And let's not forget "Billy Beers." But it wasn't the history of beer that made me come to my realization; it was the process of making it. A few days before my evening at the Irish pub, I attempted to brew my own beer, an India Pale Ale. The kit I used had more ingredients and steps than I expected. Gypsum powder, two different types of hops, a malt barley liquid, liquid malt extract (LME), and terms like "mash" and "wort" all made it seem very complicated. But after my intoxicating experience at the pub, I realized what it all meant. Like all life the process begins with water. You add the gypsum, then the malt barley, and bring the mixture to a boil, otherwise known as steeping. This is the basis for your beer, or what we'd consider to be adolescence. From here on out everything that is added will contribute to your flavor and appearance. Enzymes in the malt will break down the starches, or what some of us may refer to as high school, and produce a sugary liquid called wort. Once the wort has come to a boil, you can use cheese cloth to add various types of crushed grain. Though not required, this step adds to the overall flavor and color, or what we consider college. Now, here is where it gets interesting. Once you've removed the grain, you can add your first set of hops. This step represents our quarterlives. It's where the main flavor change occurs. The flavoring becomes dry, toasty, and bitter, but as a result adds longevity to the beer. Speaking for myself, I can say my quarterlife is having its fair share of difficulties. The flavors are definitely changing from the college years. Trouble with jobs and relationships, struggles with money, identity crises, and other unsavory factors will probably add to my bitterness. But, like beer, it's essential in making that final flavor. Once the first set of hops have been added, we'll need a continuous stir to prevent the wort from boiling over - this I'll refer to as a steady job. Then, we add the liquid malt extract (extra sugar). This step is important because it'll determine our alcohol content and increase our value. These are the sweeter things in life: marriage, children, home ownership, and job security. After our first set of hops and LME sugars have boiled for roughly fifteen minutes, we add the finishing hops, or midlife crisis. This, of course, finishes the flavoring, and extends the life of the beer to its fullest. Once the boiling is finished, you remove the wort, letting it cool. This stage, where nothing much happens, will be known as our fifties. Now comes the fun part. We add the yeast, or what I will consider retirement. The yeast acts as a catalyst for the fermentation process, breaking down the sugars, and thereby creating alcohol. The fermentation process may sound bad, but it's the best stage of all. At this point we can sit back and enjoy ourselves. No worries about adding any more ingredients, about boiling over, or about killing the yeast. We can just sit back, collect our retirement money, and ferment. Of course, the last step is the most important. Once fermentation is complete, it's time to bottle the product. And only when it's bottled can you tell what your final flavor will be. Only at the very end are you able to know what all those steps and ingredients have made your beer taste like. And that's life: only at the very end are you able to see who you've become and what your experiences have made of you. Other types of beers will have different steps and different ingredients - not everyone will follow the same process. Nonetheless, we tend to look for the same results: good ingredients, long shelf life, and great flavor. So, if you come across difficult times, finding yourself lost and looking for answers, just look to the beer (metaphorically speaking). Let the beer take you home (with a designated driver). Drown yourself in intoxicating thought (thought, not beer). And don't forget it's all about that final flavor.

WTF for Friday, June 13th 2008

June 12, 2008

  • Where's Chef Boyardee When You Need him? Not sure what to make for dinner? Let this website help you. Of course, you may end up with apple tuna casserole. Look Great in the Kitchen NOW!
  • "Get Up Offa That Fig!" Have you ever wanted to see what it would be like if food got funky? BUSTA MOVE!

Weekly Quarterlife Links

June 11, 2008

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