S-s-s-singin’ that blah, blah, blah

So, there I was, mindlessly singing along to the radio on my mundane, road construction-filled drive from one job to another, when I realized: “What the heck am I singing?”
A. Top 40.
B. A song I don’t necessarily like but, nonetheless, know all the words to.
C. Idiotic lyrics.
D. All of the above.

Guilty. And I've given up caring who sees me.

D., of course. Unless it’s the LSAT or my nutrition class, where they throw in options like “A and C only,” or pose questions like “Which could be, but need not be, true,” just to make you second-guess yourself.

But, really, as someone who oftentimes likes songs solely for their lyrics, I felt like I was betraying myself. When I really think about how little a song contributes lyrically and how much depends on a catchy tune or the name of the person singing, it kind of makes me want to just turn off the radio.

Metal has nothing to do with the Top 40 pop music I'm discussing, but this was too good.

Not to be all pretentious and obnoxious. I’ll listen to Top 40 radio as much as the next guy. But we don’t always pay attention to the lyrics; that’s the beauty of music — if the tune is catchy, it doesn’t really matter how stupid the words that go along with it are.¬† But once you start to think about them (if you’re like me, at least), you realize how much you would make fun of the lyrics if, say, a local band (or someone like Rebecca Black, whose song I will not even include in this post because it’s glaringly obvious) were singing them.

This is the advertisement for an actual band. It came from MySpace, so it has to be true.

Allow me to illustrate:

“Right There” by Nicole Scherzinger featuring 50 Cent
Would we love it if 50 Cent didn’t proclaim, “It’s just another one / Another number one,” at the beginning of the song? Probably, because the radio tells us to.
Here are some gems:
“Me like the way that you hold my body / Me like the way that you touch my body / Me like the way that you kiss my / Yeah yeah yeah me like it.”

See, it’s a little different when you see it in writing. Come on, Nicole, use your big girl words!

 

“Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown
Gems:
“Better cuff your chick if you with her / I can get her / And she accidentally slip and fall on my d*** / Oops, I said on my d*** / I ain’t really mean to say on my d*** / But since we’re talking about my d*** / All of you haters say hi to it / I’m done.”

Um … so are we supposed to be impressed when we “look at you now,” because I literally giggled at how ridiculous those lines are when I read them for the first time. I had no idea he was saying that, probably because I’ve only ever heard the radio edit.

 

“What’s my Name” by Rihanna featuring Drake
I feel like Rihanna’s gotten a lot of play on my blog. I really don’t dislike her music, she just gives me a lot of things to write about.
Gems:
“The square root of 69 is eight-something, right? / ‘Cause I’ve been tryna work it out, oh.”

Is that supposed to be a pickup line? Smooth …

“I can get you through a mighty long day / Soon as you go, the text that I write is gon’ say / Oh na na, what’s my name? / Oh na na, what’s my name? / Oh na na, what’s my name? / What’s my name? / What’s my name?”

You know how I would feel if I got a text message like that. Most people would probably be like, uh, what the heck? That’s obnoxious.

 

“Peacock” by Katy Perry
Heard this one on the radio for the first time yesterday. It provides some lovely new inappropriate lyrics for small children nationwide to unwittingly belt out. Katy Perry pesters some guy the whole song to let her see his “peacock,” and then this is her reaction:
“Oh my God, no exaggeration / Boy, all this time was worth the waiting / I just shed a tear / I am so unprepared / You’ve got the finest architecture / End of the rainbow looking treasure / Such a sight for me to see / And it’s all for me.”

1. Why are there so many shlong songs lately? Can we sing about something substantial please? Plus, the day I hear my 10 year-old sister singing, “Are you brave enough to let me see your peacock? / Don’t be a chicken, boy, stop acting like a beeyotch,” I say I’ll drop over dead, but I’ll probably just blog furiously about it again. If I don’t even realize how often I’m senselessly singing about wieners and random girls’ luscious booties in the club, how are they supposed to?
2. Is shedding a tear a good reaction? That seems a little over-the-top.

 

“I Know You Want Me” by Pit Bull
This song has to contain one of my favorite ridiculous lines ever:

“Mami got an a** like a donkey with a monkey that looks like King Kong.”

Uh, is that a good thing? This line was brought to my attention by this video segment from The Current news channel a few years ago.

And this screenshot from it always runs through my head when I hear that line:

And Sergio saying, "Oh, yeah. That's hot." Or whatever he says with it. The video's worth watching just for that clip.

(I realize I didn’t embed the actual video. It was disabled by request. ūüė¶ Mer.)

 

“The Call” by the Backstreet Boys
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a BSB fan and, yes, it’s a guilty pleasure. “The Call” is the tale of how the Backstreet Boys cheated on their apparently collective girlfriend and made up a lie to her about it over a cell phone conversation. My friend Jessie and I share feelings on how awesomely terrible the lyrics to this song are. Pretty sure we sang karaoke to this song at our high school graduation party … And that probably won’t be the last time.
Gems:
Chorus: “Listen baby I’m sorry / Just wanna tell you don’t worry / I will be late, don’t stay up and wait for me / I’ll say again you’re dropping out / My battery is low / Just so you know we’re going to a place nearby / Gotta go.” (Yes, I recited these lines from memory.)

 

“Summer Girls” by LFO
It’s not new. It’s rarely on the radio anymore. But it takes the award for the song with the worst lyrics ever. (Well, maybe now it ties with “Friday.”) But “Summer Girls” moves completely into the realm of “so bad, it’s good.”

The way they jump completely from one subject to another for the sake of rhyme and rhythm alone is hilarious. If you looked up none of the other lyrics, this one is worth clicking the link for solely because it’s so bad it’s funny. (It’s okay, I still know all the words to it from when nine year old Kaitlin found it on her “Totally Hits” CD and listened to it on her boombox while playing Barbies. Yeah. Either it’s that old, or I’m that young. Whichever way you want to look at it.

Gems:
–The chorus, of course: “New Kids on the Block had a bunch of hits / Chinese food makes me sick / And I think it’s fly when girls stop by for the summer / For the summer / I like girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch / I’d take her if I had one wish / But she’s been gone since that summer / Since that summer.”
–“You’re the best girl that I ever did see / The great Larry Byrd: jersey 33 / When you take a sip you buzz like a hornet / Willy Shakespeare wrote a whole bunch of sonnets.”

 

Next time you find yourself mumbling that catchy song you don’t really care much about, aside from the fact that it’s on the radio every 20 minutes, listen to the words you’re actually mumbling. It’s pretty good for a laugh and a hopeless head-shaking at the demise of lyrical quality in pop music.

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Some things are better left unexplained.

Well, hello blog. It’s been a few days. Here are some tidbits that are just vague enough to either be confusing and unrelatable, or universally understood. You decide. Sometimes my inner beeyotch just has to come out, but never to who needs to hear it. I just smile and bend over backward. Eventually, it has to come out, and usually in this form … only, usually, not publically.

  • Passive-aggressiveness should not be allowed in the workplace.

  • Putting in one’s two weeks notice means, “I will no longer be employed at your establishment after two weeks.” Not, “Sure, I’ll pick up extra hours because you’ve continued to put me on the schedule two weeks after my two weeks notice.”
  • What is this “fluff” criticism crap? I like fluff. It’s a welcome distraction from how much people can suck. Fluff is not here to harm, it’s here to make people happy. Maybe everyone could use some more fluff.
  • Some people just never get the hint.

  • I’m sacrificing what small semblance of a life I’m currently grasping on to, is there anything else I can do for you? (The answer is always yes. I’ve learned the hard way to stop phrasing this in the form of a question … which goes into effect after this morning, when I did phrase it in the form of a question.)

  • Hot coffee, when given the chance, will always spill. Same with most other liquids. This also applies metaphorically.
  • On a related note, don’t leave that hot coffee alone too long. It gets cold really fast. That can be metaphorical, too, if you want it to.

  • Jack Johnson was mostly right. “Maybe” always means “no.” Same with a lack of response. It sucks to be on the receiving end, but, as mentioned earlier, other people need to also learn to take the hint.
  • People will generally make stupid, unwarranted, uninformed comments on most things you post online. YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW.
  • There’s never such a thing as too much time. Or too much money. And, unfortunately, the two are not friends.

  • I wish I had nothing better to do than sit around in coffee shops being pretentious.
  • There’s only so much one can do before they reach the point of *metaphorical brain explosion*. This is characterized by silence, glazed over eyes, and extreme lack of motivation. This person requires a recovery period, or more caffeine.

I only wish a kitty was the source of my brain explosions.

  • A teeny bit of consideration can go a long way.
  • Those people who never get the hint? They’ll really rub it in your face that they don’t get the hint. It’s karma’s way of punishing you for not just spouting off to them. I’m currently suffering a terrible punishment.

  • Haters gon’ hate. Control freaks gon’ control. And the rest of us just have to deal with them apparently. I deal by writing long, bitchy e-mails to said Control Freak and then never sending them. Passive aggressive? Kinda. Therapeutic? Absolutely.
  • Just because someone isn’t working for you at the moment doesn’t mean they’re just sitting on their ass in a beanbag in front of the TV eating bon bons and getting fatter. Don’t assume they’re not working somewhere else.

  • Instructors of online classes should still make an effort to be a fricking teacher. You know, answering voicemails, e-mails, grading assignments before the last week of class …
  • It’s dangerous to bank on it not raining.

  • Don’t pass up an awesome deal because you assume it’ll still be there when you have more wiggle room in your wallet to buy it. When the time comes, the price goes.
  • Can I take back all the hours I never took naps as a child and use them now?
  • Weekends are never long enough.
  • Anxiety is more often used for evil than good.

  • There’s a fine line between pointing out errors in work to be helpful and being completely obnoxious.
  • Wow … and your computer will always short-circuit, displaying a huge error message that basically says, “You’re screwed” every time you’re in the middle of something important. Every. Time.

If I had a little more energy, I could have probably cleverly weaved these bullet points into a crafty little post. But I don’t, so this is what you get.

REALISTIC Couponing

I love nothing more than a good deal. I’m nothing like the “extreme couponers” you see on TV, but I like to consider myself an amateur bargain-hunter. No matter how awesome it would be to buy over $2,000 worth of groceries and have the store owe me $50, (like I saw on one episode of Extreme Couponing) there’s only so much time the average person with a life and responsibilities can devote to saving money. There’s nothing better than getting an awesome deal on something and for me, on a college budget, it’s either find the deepest discount or go without. And I don’t know that I could go without.

Yes, I’ll clip coupons I take from the newspapers at work that no one wants. It saves me about $10 a trip on everyday necessities. Absolutely, I use a fuel discount card. For some reason, the one I have oftentimes gives me $.10 off per gallon instead of the $.05 it’s supposed to. I don’t know why this happens, but I love it. So, of course I’m loving the new craze of discount shopping online. College budget or not, everyone likes to save a little here and there, right? So I thought I’d share some of the places I frequent and find the best deals.

Rue La LaThis was the one that started it all for me. I got an invite from one of my friends and was hooked ever since. The brands and designers featured appear in “boutiques” that change daily at 10 a.m. central time. Once an item is sold out, it’s likely gone forever, so if you see a brand coming up that you like, you’d better be at your computer hitting refresh at 9:58 a.m. It’s the thrill of the chase. They’re target is mostly women shoppers, but they have a ton of men’s stuff daily, plus trip deals, children’s clothes, and household items. Some current and upcoming sales include Columbia, Juicy Couture, kate spade, Calvin Klein home, and Dolce & Gabbana swimwear.

Admittedly, I’ve spent some money on this site, but nothing close to what I would have spent at full price. Some of my finds there include a parka by A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz that handles the North Dakota winters well and retails for $278 for only $79, a Sir Alistair Rai silk scarf that retails at some ridiculous price near or over $100 for $19, and a pair of Sperry Top Siders (regularly $79) for just $10 because I had a $30 credit on my account. The only downside to Rue is that shipping is a flat $9.95 no matter what, with the dangerous incentive that if you order anything else the day you place your order, shipping on that item is free.

If you’re not a member yet, here’s an invite to check it out. After all, it costs nothing just to join.

The ClymbIf you’re liking the idea of limited time deals with the edge of beating out other shoppers for the best deal, but not so crazy about designer fashion and more into fitness, The Clymb may be a great place for you. This site features brands that specialize in sportswear. Whether you’re a runner, a biker, a rock climber, or a yoga enthusiast, The Clymb will feature Rue La La-like deals in an area you can get excited about. They carry everything from apparel, to tents and sleeping bags, to water bottles, to specialized extreme sport accessories. The Clymb is a relatively new kid on the block for this genre of sites, but has a solid interface and positive feedback. Some brands they’ve featured include Mountain Hardwear, Keen, Dakine, Salomon, and CamelBak. They’re shipping rates vary from $.95 to $7.95 depending on the item and every shipment is 100% carbon neutral. Unfortunately, they don’t process international orders yet, but are working to expand.

If you want to get in on the member pricing deals, here’s an invite.

6pm.comUnlike Rue La La and many similar sites that I’m a member of but rarely visit, (Gilt Groupe, ideeli, MYHABIT — Amazon’s answer to the members-only discount craze, Groupon, and LivingSocial) 6pm doesn’t require you to be a member and doesn’t have limited time deals. It’s like an (almost) “everything” outlet store with some of the best prices you’ll find on brand-name items. Shipping is regularly $6.95, although sometimes (like right now) they have specials offering $2.95 shipping. The only thing you have to watch out for on 6pm is that the prices on items can sometimes fluctuate by day or by week, for whatever reason. 6pm also doesn’t accept coupon codes because, honestly, their discounts are already pretty deep.

One of my favorite purchases from 6pm is this pair of Oakley sunglasses, which retails for $85, for only $35.

Rent the RunwayThis one isn’t offering guy options just yet. (Probably because guys have been able to rent tuxes since the dawn of time.) But it’s never been a commonplace option for a girl to rent a dress for a prom, wedding, or other black tie event. And why not? I always thought it would make sense. You buy a big expensive dress for every prom, formal, and homecoming that comes up during high school and college and then struggle with how to fit the stupid thing into your closet for the rest of eternity. That’s why I wish I would have learned about this before I stopped being able to go to proms.

With Rent the Runway, you can choose a designer dress from their massive selection online and request to rent it for a period of four days over the time you have an event. RTR always lets you choose two sizes, in case one doesn’t fit, and every rental comes shipped with a “fit kit” to make small, temporary alterations to your dress, ensuring your dress fits like a tailor altered it just for you. Dress rentals range from $30 or $40 to $200+, but the retail prices on RTR’s selection range from $200+ to $1800. When you’re event’s over, you put the dress in the prepaid envelope and send it back to RTR, where they dry clean it and prepare it for its next event.

I haven’t got to try out the full experience yet, but I’ve rented this Mark & James by Badgley Mischka dress for a wedding in August. The dress retails for $395, but the rental price is $50. I got it for even less because I had a 20% off coupon code, which RTR will periodically e-mail to members, or that you can sometimes find online.

If you want to check out Rent the Runway, you can get in quicker (I was on a waiting list for a few weeks) with this invitation.

Coupon Codes — So easy, yet so easily forgotten. Before I buy anything online, I always do a quick Google search for coupon codes for whatever site I’m on. I’ve found that RetailMeNot and Dealigg generally have the most reliable and comprehensive list of coupon codes. I always got jealous of people in line in front of me at the mall who had coupons and wondered how they got them. This way, you can score deals meant for the “beautiful people” (a.k.a. coupon holders who I am jealous of) without having to sign up for all the junk mail crap. (Although, the junk mail crap definitely pays off once in a while. So much so that it makes deleting 20 unwanted e-mails per day worth it.)

For my last bargain brag of the day, last summer I got a new pair of Nike Free Run running shoes which, as shown by the link, still retail for about $85. I found a site that had the best price on them and then found a coupon code that got me an extra $20 off and free shipping. Sometimes it takes some digging, but it’s definitely worth it.

Amazon PrimeIf you regularly buy things from the tried and true always low-priced Amazon.com, a Prime account could be a great way to save a little extra. Prime gives you free two-day shipping on qualifying merchandise, and $3.99 overnight shipping (even on Saturdays). Shipping costs can add up if you’re buying things like textbooks or groceries often.

Prime also lets you access Amazon’s collection of over 6,000 TV shows and movies for free with Amazon’s Instant Video service (think Netflix). If you’re a student and sign up for Amazon Student with your .edu e-mail address, you can get a year of Amazon Prime for free.¬† Childrens’ primary caregivers can also get three months of Amazon Prime for free by signing up for Amazon Mom. And if you’re neither of those, Amazon gives everyone a one-month free trial of Amazon Prime to get you hooked.

Restaurant.com —¬† Eating at restaurants for every meal can be a huge part of a vacation expense. So take that expense out of your summer vacation budget by checking Restaurant.com. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help us out a lot in eastern North Dakota, but if you’re heading for Minneapolis or almost anywhere out of state, check Restaurant.com for deeply discounted $25 gift cards. Fargo has deals at WF Maxells and Playmakers at The Hub (neither of which I’m familiar with, but you can find the listings at the above link.) It depends on the individual restaurant, but oftentimes you can purchase a $25 gift certificate for only $10, and sometimes as little as $3. My friend Matt used some $3 ones he found on our Spring Break trip to Panama City Beach, FL, this March. Of course, don’t forget to check for coupon codes here, too. You might just find an even bigger discount.


Did you get any awesome deals on any of these sites? I love hearing about it. Any sites you know of that I should add to my arsenal?

What the heck are you guys searching?

I find this funny. You might too. (P.S. Thanks for not telling me about the random “y” that was dangling at the end of that sentence for like a month now! I LOATHE¬†typos, so tell me about them immediately. Twenty lashes with a wet noodle for me, as my dreaded first grade teacher would say.) Even on a slow … “thought” day (Like today. I guess it can’t be called a slow news day on this kind of blog.) I’m surprised by the hits I sometimes get on my blog. WordPress has this awesome little feature that tells you what search terms your readers typed in to get to your blog. They never cease to amaze me. Here are a few:

  • “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” appears almost daily. Here are a few uber specific Gypsy search terms that make me laugh:
    Pictures of gypsy girls in short skirts looking for future husbands on TLC
    My big fat gypsy wedding show contact
    My big fat gypsy wedding kaitli — No typo.’
    The gypsies tent inn
    My big fat gypsy secrets
    I’m big fat gypsy wedding
  • Some variation of “cankles” is also a daily one
    Celebrities with cankles
    What are cankles
    Why have I got no ankles
    Cankle liposuction
    Cankles deutsch
    And, my personal favorite: Hottest cankles in town
  • A slew of North Dakota search terms
    North Dakota nice
    Show pictures of Williston ND in a snow storm
    Are there any fish in Spring Lake Park Williston ND
    North Dakota — it doesn’t exist (Ha ha.)
    Has Williston ND ever flooded?
    Williston city North Dakota oil June 2011 boom New York (What was this person looking for?!?)
    A child forced to grow up too fast North Dakota
    Is a Menards moving into Williston ND
  • Stuff I’m assuming got people to the iPad story
    iTunes license agreement kidney
    Human CentiPad agreement mouth
    Who wants to buy my kidney?
    What kind of saying is I’d sell my kidney?
  • These ones are in a category of their own: WTF?
    Mischa Barton obesa
    Lap dance
    Inappropriate pictures of Miley Cyrus (multiple times)
    My name is enough
    Gender neutral baby car seat
    Crab pole dance
    Mischa Barton cellulitis (Um, what? And why so much hate on Mischa??)
    A fat Mexican girl with big boobs
    No little brother ¬†for kids can’t go in my room kids
    Dresses for fat teens

I’m not hating — However you got here, I’m glad you’re here and love you for reading. But you’ve got to admit, this search data is pretty entertaining. Hope you got a kick out of it, too.

“I guess this is growing up …”

As I approach my 21st birthday next Thursday, I’m realizing I’m already feeling signs of getting older. Not like 21 is a magical number — I’m no different this week (or, for that matter, 6 months ago) than I will be next week, except that I will somehow magically be recognized as “mature” enough to legally consume alcohol. But I’m just realizing that something my dad told me once has some truth behind it: 21 is the last age you really look forward to turning. It’s a little bleak, but when you think about it, no one particularly enjoys saying they’re 50, or even 30, even if they don’t act or look “old.” It seems like there’s just a stigma with getting older that occurs sometime between 22-29 that makes birthdays seem more like something to dread than to be excited for.

I remember as a kid when every birthday was amazing; I had a countdown to it on my calendar for months. Probably because my birthday was an extravaganza in the Ring household. I usually had my “kid party” on a family-friendly weekend if my real birthday didn’t fall on one, so that extended the celebration into two days. I had mountains of presents from friends and family. My mom would organize games and prizes and activities for the guests. The entire house would be decorated in the theme I’d chosen that year, and it ranged from unicorns to Spongebob. I’m not saying I ever had one of those outrageous kid parties, but my family made sure I always had a good time. So, I came to feel that my birthday was the best day of the year to me. Better than Christmas even. I always loved having an excuse to just be happy and have fun with everyone I liked — Plus, everyone had to be nice to me, or else they were just jerks.

Even if I had demanded a camel at one of my birthday parties, Williston, ND, wouldn't have been able to accommodate it. We had about three options for birthday party locales: the bowling alley, McDonald's, or a hotel swimming pool. I usually opted for my house.

Last year was the first birthday that it really seemed like just another day. I didn’t get the day off from work (first sign of being a “big girl”). No one there remembered that it was my birthday, either, so no one wished me it. I almost forgot it was my favorite day of the year the entire time I was there. (And I don’t care how selfish that sounds — I enjoy my birthday, dammit.)

After work, my mom surprised me with a giant¬†smorgasbord¬†and presents she had delivered to my door, which was a¬†monumental gesture that¬† made my whole day. But after that, my boyfriend and I went out for a quiet dinner and ate the cake my mom sent.¬†That was about it. No pony. No bouncy castle. No “Happy Birthday” song. In a way, it was a sad indication of a departure from my childhood. But in another way, it was oddly exactly what I wanted — A relaxing day where I could be inherently happy just because it was June 23. No excuses. I guess I should make more days that way. I’ll add it to my to-do list. ūüėČ

A year later, I’m thinking about how the maturity of my last birthday was an indication of the rest of my year. By no means am I complaining that I’m getting old; I know I’m still very young. I’m just amazed by these changes because I’ve never experienced this strange phenomenon of aging outside of my childhood and teenage years, when getting another year older was different. It was all about cake and presents. Here are some of the reasons from the past year that have made me decide I’m growing up.

  • I bought my first welcome mat yesterday. This might not seem like anything to you, but to me, it felt like a rite of passage. I have a place to welcome people to. My welcome mat may sit uselessly in the hallway of an apartment building outside of a studio apartment that hardly sees any visitors, but it’s my welcome mat at my apartment. The fact that I think this way about it seems like a sign of maturation … or maybe just a sign that I’m really lame and need to get a life. I prefer the former, but you can decide for yourself.

    This is actually the exact doormat that sits outside my door.

  • I have acquired a taste for stores like Lowes, Pier 1, and other home interior outlets. I remember when I was a kid and my family would make the two hour drive to get to the nearest mall. I always got so excited to get out of town for a day or two, but I dreaded the inevitable trip to Menard’s. Up until about a year ago, it was a dreadful experience to me — the most boring place in the world. Now, the possibilities there are endless. I talk about decorations and improvements I could make to my little apartment. I have day projects. I spend money¬†on decorations.¬†How¬†has this happened?!

    I have an obsession with wall decals. This one's over my doorway.

  • My palette has greatly expanded.¬†I used to be a semi picky kid. I didn’t like vegetables or fish or other yucky stuff. But since my high school years, my taste in foods has steadily expanded. I’d now consider myself to be the opposite of picky. Whatever that is. A lardy? Anyway, if there’s food in front of me, even if I’m not particularly the biggest fan, I’ll eat it and enjoy it. (Unless there happens to be a crusty food chunk leftover on my plate/glass/utensil — MAJOR pet peeve — can’t touch it after that.) I like almost everything, with the strict exceptions of Greek food that includes feta cheese and kalamata olives. Being open to a wide variety of foods is a sign of maturity, right? Either that or it’s just a warning sign to myself that I’ll eat pretty much anything, since soon I won’t be able to depend on my metabolism anymore to keep it from catching up with me.

    One of the few food dishes that's not my cup of tea.

  • I hit 20 and fell apart. I guess my first cavity happened when I was 18, not 20, but that was a sign of the things to come. Last summer, I started having stomach pains every time I ate. I went to the doctor, who told me my colon was in the wrong spot and made me endure a whole day of worrying what the heck that would mean for the rest of my life before I came back the next day and they told me they read the X-ray wrong. I never did figure out what exactly was wrong with me, but I never got any better either. In the past year, I caught almost every cold that oozed its way around UND’s campus. My hips, knees, and ankles now hurt when I run — I got shin splints from walking my boyfriend’s dog. I could keep the¬†chiropractor¬†in business, but I’ve learned to crack most of my issues myself (not good, I know). My fingernails, which were always strong and grew fine, started getting brittle and peeling. I’ve probably developed multiple ulcers from stressing out and worrying too much. And then I start worrying about that … It’s a vicious cycle. I see what people mean when they say things stop working as you get older — What the heck am I going to be like when I’m 50?

    This would happen to me.

  • I’m tired — Always.¬†I never took a nap as a child. Ever. I still can hardly ever nap during the day unless I’m really sick. Because of this, I’ve become a die-hard caffeine addict. I can’t function without coffee, and I usually need another cup or a jolt of soda for an afternoon pick-me-up. I know it’s cliche, but I now strongly believe in the saying “I wish I could take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was little.” Yet, I never go to bed early. I’m always up late doing either really stupid or really productive things. That’s got to be a sign that my tastes aren’t getting too¬†mature for my age yet.
Like every other little kid, I spent my whole childhood so excited to be “big.” It’s just really weird for it to actually happen. I thought junior high would be the only awkward phase I’d go through, but adjusting to all this is pretty different too. (Except way easier – Less acne, raging hormones, and snooty girls.)
Is there some other later stage of life when you feel these kinds of changes? If there are, no one ever says much about them — You mostly hear about adolescence and mid-life crises. Any other twentysomethings feeling any of the same weirdness toward the first steps of growing up?

Don’t mind me – I’m from ND: Travel

In my continued effort to raise awareness of North Dakotans’ existence in other parts of the country, I realized there are many things that we just don’t see around here. Especially when traveling. If you find yourself around someone looking puzzled or behind a driver struggling with any of these things, chances are they’re Midwestern, maybe even North Dakotan.

Let’s not kid ourselves, this clip applies to North Dakotan drivers, for sure. I may be a good driver in my own domain (North Dakota) — I’ve never been in an accident or been pulled over for a traffic violation (although my car has been hit several times while it’s parked.) But I wouldn’t trust myself on a road with actual traffic. I won’t even drive in the suburbs of Minneapolis. In fact, I white-knuckle it the whole time I’m driving in Fargo, ND, too.

Toll Roads — I first came across a toll road when I was 19. I had heard of these mythical highways existing, but I was honestly a little skeptical that I’d ever come across one. I thought they were extremely rare and only enforced on super fancy highways. I also thought they sounded like a rip-off. (Living in ND also makes you frugal, since you’re not used to having to pay for things like this.) But the first time I visited my boyfriend’s hometown of Damascus, MD, I realized they’re a part of a lot of people’s daily lives. Making road trips to Bethany Beach, DE, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia (yeah, it was a whirlwind trip) I was introduced to not only toll roads, but the E-Z Passes people who frequently take them buy, allowing drivers to pass under the toll both and have the money zapped from the credit card associated with the little machine they keep in their car. I’m still admittedly a little fascinated by this, but I try to play it cool since I’ve been to the D.C. metro area three times now, and my amazement only further points out how sheltered I really am.

They do exist!

Paying to park— This is really similar to the toll roads, but it’s something I never encountered until coming to college at the University of North Dakota. Like toll roads, I wasn’t entirely sure parking meters really existed. I wonder how that would work as an excuse for not paying at the meter on campus at UND. Although I complain about that system of parking here, it’s nothing compared to parking in the east. (I’ve never been west, so forgive my constant comparisons to the east coast!) There, free parking seemed to come by once in a blue moon, while in North Dakota, it’s the other way around. We complain about $5 event parking to see a sporting event and try to find ways to weasel around the system.

I've learned to hate these now. The novelty has worn off.

Traffic Jams — I also saw my first traffic jam two years ago, at age 19. I even got to be in one once. I wanted to take pictures. Miles and miles of gridlocked traffic — It was a sight I’d never seen before! All that was running through my mind was, Wow! A real traffic jam! I’m in a big city!You can imagine the annoyance the native-East Coasters I was driving with felt toward my excitement.

These are still somewhat exciting to me.

Public Transportation:

Taxis – I still have never been inside a taxi … unless you count the ones in Grand Forks that UND students can ride for $3 a person. But I don’t, because they’re not yellow, or even a unified color for the whole fleet. They don’t have a ticker telling how much of a bill you’re racking up. They’re just normal cars or vans with the words “Taxi” printed on the side. I would do it just for the experience, but I feel like it needs to be done in New York City. I have at least seena yellow taxi now, though. I even have a picture:

I spent a day and a half in NYC and somehow saw almost everything you could want to see in Manhattan. It was glorious.

The Subway — I did ride the Subway often in my short time in New York City. It was everything I could have dreamed of and more. The cars were packed, so sometimes we had to stand and hold on to the rails from the ceiling like the people on TV. It was roughly 110 degrees, so everyone was all sweaty and smelly. There were even homeless peopleplaying music for money — one guy whipped out a flute! I felt so urban. I would have gotten a picture of myself on the subway, but I didn’t want to appear to touristy. However, I did get one in the subway station, featured below. (Flattering, I know. I also don’t know what justifies that as any less touristy.)

Sweaty subway station

The Metro — I’m a little more familiar with it, but that never takes the fun out of riding it. I can kind of figure out how to navigate the stops … well, the ones that sound familiar, that I’ve taken before. That’s good enough for me.

A Metro station!

Moving sidewalks/Escalators — In all of western North Dakota, I think its safe to say there is one escalator. That’s in Medora, ND, and was installed primarily to facilitate the transportation of old people who attend the Medora Musical annually into and out of the amphitheater. (If you don’t know about the Medora Musical, you’re missing out. It’s apparently “North Dakota’s #1 destination,” but I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.) So, anyway, escalators are cool, but they’re somewhat familiar to us. We don’t see moving sidewalks often. (The first one I saw was at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport when I was 18, going to Close Up in Washington, D.C., with members of my high school senior class. That was also my first time on an airplane. I hyperventilated a little, but ended up enjoying flying.) What I’m getting at with all this is that we generally don’t know the rules about the right side being for standing and the left side being for walking. I’ll talk more about this in the next listing.

View from an escalator at the Medora Musical. They're huge. (P.S. I didn't take this.)

Passing when Driving — I honestly forgot there are rules for this until a year or so ago. We never really encounter other cars on the highway in North Dakota, so it’s easy to forget. I faintly remembered reading something about rules for passing in ND’s driver education manual when I was 14 and studying to get my permit, but I must not have retained it. (I had my license at 14 and a half.) A lot of times, I would drive on the left side of the road on the highway just so I could think to myself, Hee hee. I’m in England. Nobody really minds here. People still do it all the time. But now that I know the rules about how you’re supposed to drive, I get annoyed with the people who do. So, if there’s ever some person driving in front of you at snail speed in the left lane, or someone who regularly passes on the right, before you curse them and whip out the bird, take a moment to consider if they could be from North Dakota. Our feelings get hurt easily when honked at or flipped off on the road.

That goes for pretty much everything on this list. We’re not trying to disrupt your travel or make your lift more difficult. We’re merely unaware. In North Dakota, we don’t often rush to get places and rarely resort to honking or yelling (unless someone makes an exceptionally ridiculous mistake). We’re North Dakota nice and take it personally when yelled at. We’re not idiots or socially inept or any other colorful language you can come up with. We’re just from North Dakota, and that should be explanation enough.

Is there anything you’ve noticed, as North Dakotans, that we don’t see around here? Or anything some tourist has done to get them yelled at in a big city?

Had a bad day?

I can’t be in a bad mood after a YouTube fix containing a few of these. Don’t knock the multiple Rocko’s Modern Life listings on here. It’s classic.

  1. “Fortune Cookie” – Rocko’s Modern Life
    Here’s the gist of the episode, and all you need to really watch to crack a smile.
  2.  The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack
    Some friends and I used to get together every week and watch this little-known show on Cartoon Network. I still laugh every time I see this clip.
  3. Family Guy
    Peter stops at the drive-thru on his way to take a woman in labor to the hospital.
  4. “Jetscream” – Rocko’s Modern Life
    I can’t find a clip for this one, but here’s the quote. Such hilarious social commentary I didn’t get when I was little:
    Flight Attendant: Flight 1313 to Las Vegas is now boarding. Will all one-legged weasels born on the right side of a watermelon please board?
  5. Googly Eyes Gardener Saturday Night Live skit
    I just think the concept of this is hilarious.

    Embedding this one isn’t working, so here’s the link.I did this before I left for my freshman year of college so I’d have a “companion.” I had a picture, but it must be on my old phone. ūüė¶ I got a two-stemmed cactus from Wal-Mart for $.99, glued googly eyes to both of them, and named them Carlos and Juanita. It’s a shame I don’t have a picture of them.
  6.  My weird cat, Mr. Trouble
    He was an orphan kitty that was left in my parents’ garage one stormy night. We have untamed domesticated cats living in the fields around my house, and they must have abandoned him. My dad affectionately calls him a “bastard from a basket.”

    "Are you my mother?"

    He grew up to be a bit of a trouble-maker.

    Classy.

    He’s now huge and terrorizes my parents’ house, bathing himself under the sink stream every time someone turns on the water because he has an obsession with it. My brother refers to him as a pygmy mountain lion.