My Brother the Theater Critic

This is not a new story - it happened like 18 years ago - but it's one of my favorites and I've been thinking about it lately and I need to get something posted here after all these months. So, here:

There is a nice local theater in my city that puts on a few productions a year.  One show they did was "Hair", and somehow my mom had gotten word that a former classmate of my sister & brother was going to be in it. So my mom told Jeff, and he immediately wanted to go because he loves a good musical.  No, that's not it. He immediately wanted to go because Hair => Naked People, and this was a legit opportunity to see this girl nude.  So he and my sister's boyfriend went to the play, and afterward they came back to my sister's place and we were all there (Rachael had infant twins at the time so we spent a LOT of time babysitting or just hanging out & helping her baby-wrangle).

So anyway, I asked Jeff how the show was, and he had exactly one opinion:

The lighting sucked.


There's a lot going on lately, so much that I get overwhelmed every time I feel like writing a post. But I do feel like writing a post, and the longer I wait, the more stuff is going on, and the more overwhelming it gets.  So I'm just going to dump most of it in a Random Useless Tidbits style post (tm K) even though some of it is not useless at all, but it is quite random.

A few weeks ago, I was in Target and as I made a quick pass through the feminine hygiene aisle, I saw a guy helping his girlfriend comparison-shop maxi-pads.  Like, she was holding one pack, and he was holding another, and they were each reading the side panel of their respective pack, presumably so she could make an informed decision. Except she was a grown-ass woman and shouldn't really need such consult by now.  So I walked away thinking, "Man, that guy deserves a medal."

Then I was all, "No, that guy deserves a new girlfriend."


Work is completely crazy lately, in every sense of the word.  I can't quite figure out the firm management sometimes; I get sent in one direction & then I get asked why I went in that direction.  I think I'm handling it OK, and my manager is being really supportive so I'm not worried, but it's freaking weird.  On top of that, things got insanely busy the last few weeks & I'm stressed.  BUT.


I'm going on vacation next week! To Myrtle Beach with my best friend from college & her partner and a bunch of their friends. I guess they go every year, and invited me along this year.  We're driving down Friday & Saturday & coming back next weekend, and it's going to be awesome. I hope.  I plan on doing absolutely nothing.  I'm loading up my nook & my ipad and packing all the stretchiest pants I can cram in a suitcase.


Then, when I get back, I am having surgery. On my boob.  I had a baseline mammogram last month, and they saw something they needed a second look at. So I went back, and they did another mammogram, and then they did an ultrasound, and then they did a biopsy.  But they were SURE it was NOTHING, just cysts, we don't even treat cysts! But they stuck a needle in my boob anyway.  They scheduled my post-biopsy appointment with a retired surgeon, because I wasn't going to actually *need* surgery, it's just cysts after all. So they sent me to the guy who only works part time. And he was an absolute delight, and we got on famously, and he went on to tell me I have PASH, whatever the fuck that is. Seriously, even the medical experts at my world-class hospital can't explain it. And while it's not harmful or likely to become harmful, they recommend I have it removed. So I talked to another surgeon, who didn't want me to wait too long (I hoped to hold off til January & knock out my 2014 deductible early, but no dice). So, on September 26, I'm getting it taken care of.

It should be fairly simple; it's an outpatient procedure but I will be under general anesthesia (THANK JESUS).  They say by the following day I'll be practically pain-free, but they will send me home with meds anyway.  My biggest fear is that I'll puke when I wake up after the operation.  I've been under general anesthesia twice, when I was 8 & 12, and both times it made me sick. They say they'll give me anti-nausea medicine, but yeah, I'm probably gonna vomit.  I'll tell you guys all about it, you can be sure.


Once I recuperate from that, I'll be having a belated 40th birthday party (J & I can't seem to find a good date for it until early October), then I'm off for a weekend in Galveston with Erica, Donna, Shelly, & T! and OH MY GOD IT'S GOING TO BE AWESOME.

So! That's what's in my head, from the trivial to the not-trivial-at-all, the stuff that made me have one of the top 3 most awkward phone calls with my dad, ever.  ("Ihadamammogramandtheyfoundsomethingtheyareoingtoremovebutitisokdon'tworryOKloveyoubye")

Books I Read in February & March

Someday I will write about something other than what I've been reading. I'm not sure when that day will be. In the meantime, here's another book post.

February was a slow month; I only finished 3 books. BUT, that's only 1 short of a book per week, so I guess that's not so bad.

The Kill Order (prequel to the Maze Runner trilogy): Pro tip - if you're going to read this, wait until you've read all 3 trilogy books.  It matters.  Or just don't read it at all.  I didn't care for it. There was a character who I found annoying, and I still don't know if there was stuff in this story that I was supposed to connect to the rest of the series or not.

The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2): I didn't like this as much as I liked the first book, but it was pretty good. I liked the way the next phase of the story went.  It was a better second book than some others I've read in the past couple years.  But nothing really sticks out in my memory about it anymore, so.

When You Reach Me: Really, really good. I have never read A Wrinkle In Time & I'm not sure if that would have helped me get more out of this or not, but I enjoyed it at face value all the same.


The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3):  So, I have this pet peeve about non-English words being italicized. I get why it's done, and I don't have a problem with it when there's a whole sentence or passage or something. But there's a character in this book who calls everyone muchacho/muchacha all the time. Like, he ends pretty much every sentence with it. And it's italicized every time. And I know it's a Spanish word, but come on. It occurs like 800 times. Can't we come up with a better way to handle this?  And that's my big takeaway from this book. It was fine, I was glad to be done with the series, and if I never see the word muchacho again, that is fine with me.

Warm Bodies: I read this after Shelly & I saw the movie, which was fricking delightful. The book was quite good, and the things I thought were cool in the movie were so much more robust in the book.  And I feel like even if I'd read it first, I still would have liked the movie quite a bit, even with the differences. So there's that.

Sad Desk Salad: Good, fun, quick read chick lit.

The Dinner: I felt like this was very hyped, and I just don't get it. First, I just thought it was boring. Second, the whole deal is you're supposed to see kind of this big twist because you start out knowing that the son of one of the main characters did something horrible, and in learning how the families handle it, you get a glimpse at how the father is pretty messed up himself. But from the very first scene, the father's kind of an asshole anyway so it's not like he's fooling anyone. Did not like.

HHhH: Every few years I try to read some historical fiction.  I'm pretty much never successful. I abandoned this very early on.

Thing I Like: Rival Lunch Crock

Last year for my birthday, my mom gave me a Rival Lunch Crock. I had never heard of them before, but she'd heard of them through some cooking listserve she's been on for a hundred years.  People raved about them and when she went to order me one, they were even on back order.

image courtesy
If you work in an office, I cannot recommend this highly enough. You plug it in at your desk, heat your food without waiting in line to use a grody microwave, and eat straight from it (at least I do - why dirty a second dish?).

It's super-simple.  There's not even an on/off switch. You plug it in to turn it on and unplug it to turn it off.  It's not a full-on crockpot - it warms food but won't cook it  - but it does heat pretty slowly.  I usually plug it in around 90 minutes before I want to eat.  By the time I'm ready for lunch, it's the perfect temperature.

The thing that blows my mind is that while your food is heating, you can't smell it.  I don't know how they do it. I've heated a bunch of different kinds of soup, black beans & rice, and even taco meat.  And I can't smell it.  I use it mostly for soups, but I tried pierogies in it once with decent results.

Cleanup is crazy easy. Nothing sticks to the metal insert, even after cooking in there all morning. There is a flexible lid that fits the insert, underneath the colored plastic one shown in the picture.  The instructions indicate you can carry your food to work in the insert, and leave the outer case at your desk.  I don't trust the insert lid enough to do this.  I need spillproof.

This is not a sponsored post.  I just really like this thing & wanted to share.

Books I read in January

I've gotten this year off to a decent start with respect to reading. I actually got through several books in the first month, after despairing in December that I never had time to read and when I did, I couldn't pay attention to anything. So I want to chronicle it while I'm on a roll, and hopefully get a better record of what I liked/disliked than just my goodreads ratings (pretty much everything gets a 3 star rating from me there, and I almost never comment. So it's maybe less than useful for reflection/reference purposes).

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, by Jenny Lawson.  I really, really liked the beginning of this book.  By the end, I just couldn't take it anymore.  Part of it might have been that I got to a point where I was reading stories I was already familiar with from her blog, or maybe I just have to do The Bloggess in small doses with long breaks in between.  I don't know.  I actually quit before finishing, but I'm counting it as read anyway because of the blog-reading.  And then I had to quit her blog, and unfollow her on twitter.  I'll go back, I'm sure, I just overdosed or something.

The Reformed Vampire Support Group, by Catherine Jinks. Decent YA take on vampires; a group has sworn off drinking human blood & formed a support group led by a non-vampire priest. They end up rescuing a werewolf who's been held captive & made to participate in dogfights. Which leads to...

The Abused Werewolf Rescue Group, by Catherine Jinks.  Not as good.  I listened to the audiobook, which I think decreased my enjoyment significantly (a couple of the voices were super annoying).  And it seems like it's written for a younger young adult than the previous book was.  I listened to almost all of it but turned it off in a fit when the voices got to me.  If I do many more of these lists, you will eventually notice a trend of me getting within reach of finishing a book and then chucking it. Or not getting far at all, and chucking it.  I have very little patience, and there's too much else to read, to stick with stuff I don't like.  Anyway.

The Ramen King and I: How the Inventor of Instant Noodles Fixed My Love Life, by Andy Raskin.  Have you read books liked Yes Man or The Year of Living Biblically? This is very similar.  The author makes it his quest to meet the inventor of instant ramen noodles, and in the meantime, his romantic life is a complete mess.  Unrelated, yes, but you see how he deals with each thing parallel-ly.  Yes, that is a word.

Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn.  I liked this better than Gone Girl. I didn't love it.  I thought the story was interesting but not compelling. Like, I feel like I went through both of these books superficially, never getting drawn in at all.  It all felt very matter-of-fact.  Maybe it's me, I don't know.  But I will say this: girlfriend knows her way around sociopaths.

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner.  I really, really, really liked this.  Oh, MAN, was it good.