Monday, November 29, 2010

The Bleh Threshold

I recently crossed the Bleh Threshold again, thus eliminating another lunch option.

The Bleh Threshold is the point at which some delightful item or experience suddenly becomes loathsome due to overexposure. I reach this point pretty often with food, due to my extremely lazy cooking habits. When I discover a dish that is both delicious and convenient, I will happily eat it for ten meals in a row until I never want to see it again.

That’s what happened with baked pumpkin. Thanks to Halloween, I acquired several pounds of jack-o-lantern leftovers and cooked it all into fragrant, chemical-spill-orange mush.

Since I grew up eating a lot of baked squash, my pile of pumpkin-and-butter-filled Tupperware promised delectable lunches and dinners for most of the week. I was equally thrilled about the food and about the chance to feel cool by eating something my coworkers thought was weird.

My first jack-o-lunch was like a mouthful of magical unicorn sunshine. I spent the afternoon dreaming about eating it for supper, and the gold-plated laughter of kittens and bunnies did not disappoint. Tuesday repeated all of Monday’s glory, if not more.

Three bites in to Wednesday’s serving of concentrated enchantment, I abruptly realized that this was the most disgusting food I had ever tried to swallow. If rubber cement and boogers had ugly children, they would beat this stuff instantly. And I had another quart at home.

I should know better by now. Childhood experience with the Bleh Threshold has already driven me away from Pop-Tarts, frozen chicken fried rice, butterscotch pudding, Teriyaki Chicken Bowl carry-out, Orange Crush, and some creamy casserole with a lot of black pepper, all of which are delicious three times a month and vomitous three times a week. Apparently the whole “too much of a good thing” idea is for real, despite protests from the internal four-year-old in charge of my self-control.

This distressing phenomenon isn’t limited to food. With computer games, the Bleh Threshold usually hits as soon as I am legitimately sick and have nothing else to do. With clothes, I tend to reach the BT upon finally seeing a picture of myself and realizing how my favorite sweater appears to the outside world.

With music, the process is drawn out and always tragically self-inflicted:

Anybody want some pumpkin?

EXTRA CREDIT: Hit Repeat and join the cycle!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Challenge

I know this week’s post is late, and I’m sorry. I’ve been busy. This is why:

A few days ago, I (and the rest of my office) received the following urgent message from our CEO:

In case anyone missed the important part, here it is again:

I am aware that my boss composed this message to be festive and cute. At the same time, a person presented with an offer like this would be crazy to refuse it. Or at least that person would not be me.

After a trip to Hobby Lobby and a few hours with the hot glue gun, I was able to show up on Tuesday as follows:

(TIP: If you get hot glue on your glasses, get used to having it there. It is now an immovable structural component.)

As it turned out, while my coworkers seemed pleased with the outfit, no one was surprised. A couple of them had been taking bets, not on whether I would dress like a turkey, but on which day. Apparently I'm becoming predictable.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Change Is Bad

This is my pillow.

* It is covered with pictures of African grassland animals, not a thriving biohazard community.

This is not my sleeping-at-night-in-a-bed pillow. I am a Grown-Up and I have a fluffy, white, safari-free one for that. It is my napping-on-the-couch-instead-of-balancing-my-checkbook pillow.

It is not actually very comfortable. My mom made it when I was three or four, and I used it for car trips and hitting my brother until the stuffing formed five or six large, tough clumps. This development made the pillow less satisfactory for sleeping but much more satisfactory as a weapon.

Eventually he got big enough to fight back, so the pillow was retired to a corner with the creepy stuffed cat and that baby doll whose legs were eaten by the dog.

One day in middle school, I came home to discover that my mom had been sewing. She had retrieved my decrepit pillow and lovingly refilled it with fresh, fluffy stuffing, cleverly transforming a disused childhood treasure into a functional element of my young adult life.

This was not okay.

The old stuffing had suddenly become crucially important to my emotional wellbeing. After several volleys of tearful accusations, my poor, bemused mother pointed me to the sewing room trash can, where the discarded clumps were headed for their eternal rest. I cleaned away all the clinging threads and scraps of fabric, savagely cast out the new filling, and returned things to their proper and natural state with a great sense of righteousness.

Using this pillow now is a lot like covering the ground with a sheet and some rocks and hoping you hit just right. I triumphed over the demons of change, though, and those lumps are my badge of honor. Along with the bruises on my head.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Robin Hood

I finally watched Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves—the one with Kevin Costner and a very confusing relationship between the Sheriff of Nottingham and a shrieking witch. That only leaves a half million more versions of Robin Hood to go!

Actually, I had seen this movie once before, but I didn’t remember anything after the first ten minutes because I was too busy being emotionally devastated. But we’ll get back to that in a minute.

Like the rest of my generation, I was a Disney junkie as a child. My parents say that I wasn’t very interested in the princesses, though. Instead, after I saw The Little Mermaid at about age four, I liked to stomp around the house wearing my mom’s snow parka and cackling like Ursula. Later I switched to Sleeping Beauty’s evil fairy godmother, Maleficent. She was cooler because she had green skin and no tentacles and a better name. And she could turn into a dragon.

But my favorite Disney movie of all time ever was Robin Hood. All the characters are animals, including a singing rooster voiced by Roger Miller, and Robin himself is a dashingly handsome red fox. I’m pretty sure that canine outlaw was my first true love.

Anyway, my mom knew how obsessed I was with the movie, even if she didn’t fully grasp my feelings for the hero, so she rented a copy of Prince of Thieves for me to see. “It’s a different version of Robin Hood,” she explained. “You’ll like it!” I was sure she was right.

I was seven or eight, and this was my first experience with multiple adaptations of the same story. I did already understand about the same actors playing different characters, though, thanks to concurrent viewing of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow.

(TANGENT: I asked my mom one day why LeVar Burton had an earring on Reading Rainbow. She didn’t know how to explain this phenomenon to a first-grader, so she told me that he wanted to be sure we could tell the difference between LeVar and Geordi La Forge.)

So I curled up in a big chair and waited, overwhelmingly excited to see a whole new movie about my very favorite characters.

Imagine my disappointment when, instead of my furry beloved, I was faced with THIS guy and his radical 1991 costume epic pseudo-mullet.

I hadn’t known until that moment that the Robin Hood story was about humans. I assumed that any “different version” would have a different fox and a different bear, just like how the live-action version of 101 Dalmatians still has dogs.

This revelation ranks as one of the major traumas of my childhood, right up there with losing my second-favorite My Little Pony or almost getting swept out to sea.

I don’t remember watching past Robin’s return to England in the second scene. My mom probably turned it off, either because my innocent childhood illusions were shattering violently or because she noticed how many maimings, blindings, skewerings, and attempted rapes were going on.

Though I never gave up on Robin entirely, I eventually transferred most of my energies to practicing running on all fours and writing dozens of first-person stories about wolves, in case I was able to fulfill my career goal of becoming one. Of course, most of the process repeated itself a couple of years later when I got to see Balto.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Your Mother Should Know

I made Muddy Buddies this weekend. That’s where you soak Chex cereal in calories to create the most divine chocolate-peanut butter snack food ever to exist.

I was making them late at night for a Halloween party, and of course I had to keep tasting to make sure they came out okay. The following chart summarizes my experience with this process:

As it turns out, eating a pound and a half of sugar at midnight is not just a bad idea right then. It is also a bad idea the next morning.

Waking up with the digestive equivalent of a hangover was the latest in my body’s series of educational seminars, together titled “Your Mother Was Right.”

Apparently, “All that sugar will make you sick!” is an actual fact of nature and not just a way for parents to suck the fun from Halloween and birthdays. Who knew?

I also owe my mom credit for “It’s past your bedtime!” Sleep deprivation has been an awesome way for me to accomplish important stuff like reading Chuck Norris jokes online, but I’m gradually realizing that it has legitimate consequences such as exhaustion and acting stupid.

Extreme sleepiness routinely makes me too dumb to get another blanket or go to the bathroom when I wake up cold or...whatever. But I reached a new low last week when I woke up at 4 a.m. too dumb to roll over.

I had fallen asleep immediately upon contact with the bed, and it took a couple of hours for my body to work out that it was really uncomfortable and try to get my brain to fix the situation. Unfortunately, when I regained consciousness with my neck bent like an elbow, I couldn’t work out what to do about it.

So, Mama, I’m going to bed now. And I ate real food for supper along with my ice cream. I’m definitely going to keep swallowing watermelon seeds, though.