Monday, September 29, 2014

Age appropriate footwear

Over the weekend I went to a shoe shop and bought a pair of high-top Converse.

I needed something in between my brown leather "work" shoes and my flipflops. Over the years, I've owned many a pair of high-top Converse. They're classic and comfy. An obvious choice.



When I was paying for my new kicks, the girl behind the counter complimented me on my bowl cut. I left the place feeling on top of the world.

Then came the self doubt.

I'm not just a carefree 27-year-old anymore. I'm a 28-year-old ADULT WOMAN. Are high-top clown shoes really appropriate at my age?

Also, Andy once made an offhanded comment about how I dress like a young Justin Bieber. Dang, that stung. The insults that contain an element of truth always hurt the most.

On the other hand, I have seen stylish older women sporting high top Converse sneakers before. They're usually a bit earthy and wear their natural grey/white hair with confidence. They're funky and free spirited, but still fashionable. Helen Mirren types.

Anyway, this is boring. Let's pinoop1 it.

I'll be back tomorrow with something better to write. I PROMISE!

Cheers,
Margaret


1Pinoop
 Verb
 verb; pinoop or pinoop it; 3rd person present: pinoops; past tense: pinooped; past participle: pinooped; gerund or  present participle: pinooping
 To immediately stop the conversation, no questions asked.
       "Solange started to try and convince Beyonce to file the papers, but Beyonce pinooped it."
 Synonyms: shut it down, enough, zip it 
 Antonyms: discuss, divulge, do tell

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This American Life — So hot right now

The fact that 'This American Life' is the best radio show on the air is nothing new. We've all known it for years. We all love the fiasco episode. We all guiltily give five bucks to the show once a decade. We all have Ira's name in a heart tattooed on our biceps. OK, I get it. I GET IT. 'This American Life' is good and the fact that it's good doesn't merit an entire blog post.

But hear me out. At the moment, it's particularly good. Two recent episodes—Not So Simple Majority and The Secret Recordings of Carmen Segarra—are really, really top notch. Top notchier than usual.

If you're going for a run, driving to work or getting a beard weave like Denzel on America's Next Top Model, then I recommend popping these TAL episodes in the ol' Microsoft Zune.

Ira's senior photo, 1977 via Milford Mill High School via Wikimedia Commons


OK. I wish I could write more, but I've been procrastinating all weekend and have to do some actual work now. Andy is in France and I've had no one to stop me from watching Real Housewives of New Jersey until 3am every night. Yes, you read that right. Alert the presses, I've finally gotten around to watching RHONJ. And yes, it's every bit as wonderful as you've all told me.

Cheers,
Margaret

P.S. I've spoken not a single word today. I haven't talked to anyone in person, on the phone or on Skype. I've remained utterly silent. It's always bizarre the few days a year that this happens.

P.P.S. I just said "hello" out loud.

P.P.P.S. Just did it again and filmed it.

video

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Things NOT to do this autumn



Double double, toil and trouble — take heed of our autumnal warnings. 
What ever you do this autumn, DO NOT:
  • Buy a chunky sweater, shrink it and wear it anyway. Uniboob + can't lift your arms without your stomach showing = you not feeling good about yourself.
  • Try to make butternut squash soup in a rush. Those gourds are difficult to "peel" and you will cut yourself. 
  • Take the garbage out really fast whilst barefoot. You know it's getting too cold for that. Be sensible and slip some shoes on. 
  • Drink Starbucks hot chocolate through a straw. It could scald you.
  • Use a stencil to carve your pumpkin. Whatever you carve will not look nearly as good without one, and you might mess up and accidentally cut off one of the Jack-o-lantern's teeth, but you'll at least have your dignity. 
  • Put a piece of candy corn up your nose.
  • Use a leaf blower as a tea pot. 
  • Eat a bowl of crunchy leaves.
  • Legally change your name to 'Cornucopia'.
  • Throw a frozen turkey through your neighbour's window.
Good day, 

Margaret

Friday, September 26, 2014

My thoughts on Top Chef: Duels

Oh look, Top Chef's on! Yay!

Wait a second...

Something's not right.

Top Chef Duels?

What in basil-infused mascarpone semifreddo hell? It's a GOD DAMN SPINOFF. Oh heck no.

HECK no.



Brief pause




Ahem.

OK, that was my initial reaction to Bravo's Top Chef spinoff show 'Top Chef: Duels'.

I don't usually like reality show spinoffs. They feature the B team of judges, the prizes aren't as good and nothing's very well thought out. They're meant to tide you over until the actual show starts back up again, but what they actually do is make you miss it even more. They always feel like a watered down knock-off.

Prime example: that absolute embarrassment 'Project Accessory'. Watching it made me long for the day I squirted glowstick fluid in my eye (true story - it was an accident - Poison Control was consulted).

However, you may have noticed that I like to begin my blog posts by making you think I'm headed in a certain direction, and then do a complete 180! HA. So clever.

The truth is, I actually LIKE 'Top Chef:Duels'!!!



Don't get me wrong, it's not quite as good as normal Top Chef. But it's pretty dern entertaining! I'm not totally offended by Aussie chef Curtis Stone filling in for Tom Colicchio as head judge. And the show's format—chef 1 sets a challenge, chef 2 sets a challenge, judges set a challenge—keeps things moving along at a nice pace.

The best part of the show, though, is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. It actually feels pretty loose, or dare I say, saucy, from time to time. Everyone seems to get that it's just a fake show (it's not the real Top Chef), so they all let their hair down a bit more.

Take the most recent episode. The judges and the guests were sitting around between dishes chatting and the lovely Gail Simmons happened to quote Justin Bieber. And earlier in the season Wolfgang Puck made some comment about how Gail only gains weight in her "chest". BAH!



These might seem like small things, but if you watch enough reality TV, you know how even slightly different editing styles can create a totally different vibe. I suspect 'Top Chef: Duels' has a more laid back production crew than the normal show. Leaving random clips in, like the Gail and Wolfgang one-liners, spices things up a bit.

That's all for now.

Cheers,
Margaret

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 Ryder Cup: why YOU should tune in

Golf. Even the name is boring.

Golf.

It sounds like a type of bird that builds nests in your drainage gutters and poops all over your driveway.

Or it could just be a word that refers to a long passage of time. "I haven't seen you in golfs!" "Bob has worked at the bank for nearly six golfs, building up a broad range of experience across a large cross section of client sectors."

They could have at least gone with 'golfball'. That would have sounded a bit more enticing, a bit more sporty. Why didn't they go with 'golfball'?

Still, even if you manage to get past the name, golf actually turns out to be pretty boring. Yeah, it does. Exactly as you suspected, it's slow, anticlimactic and the "athletes" don't ever say anything like "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you gon' get!"

So why then am I urging you to watch the Ryder Cup this year? Because the Ryder Cup is an exception! It's also a gateway tournament. If, like I did for so long, you find golf painfully dull, then the Ryder Cup might be what changes your mind. Before you know it, you'll be shopping for argyle socks and crafting golf tee porcupines for people's Christmas presents.

Allow me to explain (scroll down).

Alex Goro and I at Ten Tiny Tees - Seaside, Oregon 

Reasons to watch the Ryder Cup this year:

✓ Mickelson is throwin' shade

The smack talk has already begun! When asked about the USA team's ability to play as a team, Phil Mickelson responded, "Well, not only are we able to play together, we also don't litigate against each other." ZING!

He's referring to a lawsuit between Rory McIlroy and his former management company, which still represents his former Ryder Cup partner Graeme McDowell (and Rory's major complaint is that they charged McDowell way less than they charged him. McDowell said his and Rory's relationship is "strained", blah blah blah).

✓  It's back where it all began

The first official Ryder Cup was held in 1927 in Massachusetts, but it was six years earlier at Gleneagles (host of this year's Ryder Cup) that the tournament was unofficially born.

✓ Golf's most eligible bachelor is back in form

Yep, Golf's weasel-faced boy genius has ditched his ball 'n chain and seems to be winning again because of it. While engaged to tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, Rory McIlroy was always tweeting annoying photos of them watching movies on the couch and he was NOT playing very good golf. They broke up, and he won two majors back to back.

But don't get too excited, ladies. Rory says that "golf is his girlfriend" for the foreseeable future.

✓ It's the 40th anniversary

OK, it's not a massive milestone. But it's better than saying the "27th" or "43rd" Ryder Cup in history. It's a nice, round number that we can all agree feels a bit more momentous than usual.

✓ Rickie Fowler's hair

Let's just say he's sporting the "Joe Nelson" circa Winter Olympics '06. Take a look.
(Joe is my cousin - I believe he shaved the letters 'U S A' into his hair for the bobsled event in Turin.)

✓ It's a chance for America to be international

My favourite thing about the Ryder Cup is the fact that it's one of the only times the US gets to join in on the international sports conversation and play for national pride.

Yes, there's the Olympics every four years. And this summer the World Cup reached a mainstream American audience for the first time. But for the most part, US sporting events exist in a red, white and blue vacuum. The Super Bowl, March Madness, the "World" Series — every team is ultimately still on Team USA.

Instead of pitting the country's best golfers against each other, like normal, the Ryder Cup pits them against the best golfers in Europe. It turns golf, decisively an individual sport, into a team sport. And it's just crazy enough to work!!

SIGH.

Maybe I convinced you. Maybe I didn't. One thing is for sure though: it's my bedtime.

Nighty night,
Margaret

P.S. Tee-off is at 7:35am tomorrow (Scotland time)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Pizza now, pizza tomorrow, pizza forever

OK, here we go again.

Day 3. Just 362 to go.

Reality is really starting to set in.

But let's not dwell on that! Time is a wastin' and I have a half-watched Mindy Project to get back to.

Today's topic: food! More specifically, pizza. If you know me at all, then you know how much I love the stuff. I've also been known to argue that pizza isn't that bad for you. Because it isn't! It's basically just tomatoes, cheese and bread. What's so bad about that?

Top tip: I like to sprinkle rocket, aka arugula aka rucola aka peppery greens on my pizza after it comes out of the oven! 
Top tip: I like to put my foot on the oven handle when posing for a photo next to my homemade pizzas!
It just seems like pizza gets a disproportionally bad rap. It might not be kale or roasted pumpkin seeds or acai berry (yikes, my health food references are so dated), but it's not a Krispy Kreme donut either. Yet, we—SOCIETY—have made pizza the villain.

Why am I so defensive? Because I'm going to have pizza tonight for the second night in a row. I made it last night with Andy, and Char's hosting a belated birthday 'za party for me this evening.

In the interest of balance and fairness, I will say that there's another side to the pizzathusiast lifestyle. A dark side. A greasy underworld. I've witnessed it first hand.

The year: 2007
The city: Spokane
The pizza joint: Eatza Pizza on Division Street

All you can eat pizza for just $5 each? Sounds too good to be true, we thought, as we pulled into the parking lot. Foreshadowing alert: it was. 

Fivers in our pockets and pizza on our minds, my friends and I headed into the no-frills family restaurant with high hopes. It actually felt like walking into the inside of a pizza. The velvety red carpet, the mozzarella-white curtains, the oily leather cushions in the curved bell pepper booths. It was like a pizza-themed ride at a budget amusement park. I had the sudden urge to blot my face with a napkin.

We approached the large buffet table. It ran almost the length of the restaurant, yet only three small pizzas lay before us. Enough for a couple slices each, without being rude to the other patrons. As the evening went on, we realised that this was a huge part of Eatza Pizza's business model. It was indeed 'all you can eat', but only if you had the time to sit around and wait for them to make the pizza, one scrawny pie at a time.

Back in our booth, we dined. Spongey crust, bland cheese and ketchupy sauce, but all in all, it was OK. The pizza was OK. 

Then, a pajama-clad lady in a reclining wheelchair was rolled into the restaurant by her carer. I had watched shows about obesity on TLC, but she was the largest person I'd seen in real life. She instructed her chauffeur to wheel her to the buffet, where she picked up an entire pizza and ate it on the spot. It was incredibly sad. 

It was also disgusting. 

But I knew that, if I let myself love pizza the way I knew I could, that would be me some day. We're all just a few bad months away from eating ourselves into an enormous pizza-shaped grave. 

Yelp tells me
 that Eatza Pizza is now closed. That's probably for the best. But I will be 
forever grateful for what that place taught me about the highs and lows of pizza eating, and the value of moderation.

A sign and an empty lot — all that remains of Eatza Pizza on Google Street View.

So, there you have it. Pizza, like all controversial subjects, is much more complex than the mainstream media makes it out to be. That's why you have Madgespace—voted top alternative news source by people who read—to turn to for the real truth.

Love ya,
Margaret "Pizza" Kay

P.S. Pizza

P.P.S. Just one more thing
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