Friday 5: Yule Never Be Alone

  1. About how many family Christmas photo-cards did you receive this year? None.
  2. About how many family Christmas newsletters did you receive this year? None. No one I know actually does that, thank God.
  3. What do you do with the Christmas photo-cards and newsletters you get each year? We have a little cork board in our dining area where I pin all sorts of things–we have some wedding stuff up there right now, we keep stamps and return-address labels there, whatever. I pin any cards we get year-round up there and just rotate them out. The only one I’ve kept up so far is an engagement card from my cousin.
  4. What’s a good solution for singles who want to participate in this tradition without coming across as a loser? I think just either sending a regular card without a photo or having a sense of humor about it.
  5. About how many old-school, hand-addressed Christmas cards did you receive this year? I think all the cards we got were, although that wasn’t many–mostly from my fiancé’s siblings living far away.

Booking Through Thursday: Snow Day

What kind of book do you like to curl up with on a snowy day?

Man, I feel like I’ve given this answer a thousand times to a thousand different questions, but I’m gonna say it anyway–I almost never pick books based on circumstances or seasons or timeliness or anything like that. I just move to the next thing on the shelf like it’s a to-do list. So really, no preference. I just like to tackle whatever I’m in the middle of at the moment and make some progress on it so I can move on to the next one.

Saturday 9: Love Yourself

Saturday 9: Love Yourself (2015)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) In this song, Justin sings that he doesn’t like to admit he’s wrong. When did you most recently cop to a mistake? I can’t remember, but statistically, probably something to my fiancé.

2) He also complains that his girl doesn’t like his friends. Who is someone that you’ve met recently and liked? I haven’t met too many new people recently, aside from brief interactions with my fiancé’s former coworkers. The only one I can think of who I spent enough time with to really form an opinion was Ian, who he worked with at Alcoa and I heard a lot about at the time. Ian and his girlfriend were both really nice and really cool.

3) Justin first performed this song live on The Ellen Degeneres Show. Who is your favorite talk show host? I don’t watch many talk shows anymore–a combination of working full time and not having cable. But Ellen is definitely one. I don’t know how much it counts as a talk show, but I’m also a Dr. Phil fan, strangely, because he takes no shit.

4) Young Mr. Bieber recently had his credit card rejected … at a Subway Sandwich Shop. Think about your last trip to a fast food restaurant. Did you pay with cash or plastic or your phone? I rarely carry much cash, and most recently, I got a credit card mostly for the balance-transfer offer, but one of the perks is cash back. So to really take advantage of that, I’ve been putting all my purchases on the card then paying them off as soon as the transactions post to the account.

Even though we’re featuring a lack-of-love song, this is the last Saturday  9 before Valentine’s Day and so this morning we shall focus on the upcoming holiday. 

5) In Victorian England, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine. Have you ever received an anonymous card from a secret admirer? No, but some friends in high school once raided my locker and included pseudo ransom notes.

6) Retailers report that approximately 3% of pet owners buy Valentines for their furry friends. Have you ever purchased a gift for a pet on a special occasion? Me personally, no, but my mom always buys gifts for the dog for Christmas.

7) It was once believed that if a maiden ate a heavy meal before bed on February 13, her dreams that night would reveal the identity of the man she would eventually marry. Do you find that eating too close to bedtime disrupts your sleep? Nope.
8) The postmaster in Verona, Italy, reports that Shakespeare’s Juliet Capulet still receives love letters. Without looking it up, can you give us a quote from Romeo and JulietI can toss out a few stray lines from the very beginning. Mostly “in far Verona, where we lay our scene,” and “two star-crossed lovers take their life.”
9) Necco’s Sweethearts — those little candy hearts that say things like “Be Mine” — are Valentine Day’s top-selling confection. Sam never could stand eating these candies. Do you like them? Nope. Does anyone? For real?

Friday 5: Hold on to the Knight

  1. When and how did you learn to play chess? I was a kid and my dad taught me, but beyond that, I don’t remember.
  2. How is your chess game? Terrible now because I haven’t played in years and I’ve forgotten how to play.
  3. When did you last find yourself in a stalemate? Maybe kind of with work. I’d like something new, but I haven’t had the time to look lately because of freelance opportunities and wedding planning. On top of that, my mom has advised me to stay put because we’re also looking for a house, so we obviously want a steady, reliable income, but on top of that, when we’re looking at home loans, banks are going to want to see that I’ve been employed at the same place for a long period of time.
  4. A gambit is a chess opening in which a player sacrifices a piece in hopes of gaining an advantageous position.  What was one of your recent, real-world gambits? I can’t think of one, but ask me again as we creep closer to my wedding.
  5. Which piece on the chessboard is most like you, and why? I really wasn’t sure, partly because it has been so long since I played, so I turned to trusty Internet personality quizzes to guide me. The verdict: Pawn. “You are a great team player. Sometimes people underestimate you, yourself included, but with the right kind of structure and support around you, you are a formidable opponent, never backing down, and bursting with hidden potential.”

Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck

Saturday 9: Some Guys Have All the Luck (1984)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) Do you consider yourself lucky? No. In fact, the running joke is that my brother is the lucky one and wins things all the time, and the whole family remembers an ill-fated childhood Mardi Gras where he won a prize immediately, I didn’t, I started crying, and everyone felt bad and bought me tickets until I won. My parents have insisted I keep my prize until death, a pink stuffed bear they call Costly.

2) When did you last risk money in a game of chance (lottery, raffle ticket, slot machine, etc.)? How did you do? It was a slot machine, I think a few weeks, maybe a month ago.

3)  There’s a major football game this weekend. Will you be watching? Do you have any money riding on the outcome? It’s now over because I’m getting to this quite late, but I didn’t watch, just as planned.

4) The composer of this song, Jeff Fortgang, is an interesting guy who’s had two disparate careers: first pop musician, then Yale-educated clinical psychologist. It’s possible that many of the patients who see him for help with anxiety or depression have no idea that he wrote this song. What’s something your coworkers (or, if you’re not working, casual friends) would be surprised to know about you? I don’t know. Most know that I write, which isn’t too surprising as it is because the job does attract English majors. Maybe that I play guitar, too.

5) Similarly, fans are often surprised to learn that this week’s featured artist, Rod Stewart, is a history buff who loves reading about WWII. Is there a period of time or historic event that has captured your interest? My dad’s a WWII buff, too, and I got a little bit of that in that I’m particularly interested in the Holocaust. I also went through phases of being fascinated by ancient Egypt and the Titanic as a kid. Although I wouldn’t say I’m totally over the ancient Egypt thing.

6) Rod met his current wife as the result of a dare. Penny Lancaster, then in her 20s, spotted the decades-older celebrity in a bar and only approached him because her friends bet her she didn’t have the guts to talk to him. Are you, like Penny, vulnerable to peer pressure? Can your friends talk you into doing things you might not otherwise do? They can, but I’m getting more assertive when it comes to things I feel strongly about.

7) Rod vividly recalls being 11 years old and going to see Little Richard perform in a film comedy called The Girl Can’t Help It. When you were a kid, did you enjoy going to the movies? What do you recall seeing? I did, and I still do. I remember seeing a lot of the classic ’90s Disney movies in theaters. I remember seeing The Lion King at the drive-in, and I also remember seeing A Bug’s Life, Toy StoryThe Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. I also saw one of the Star Trek movies with my dad. If he tries to tell you he’s not a nerd, he’s lying.

8) The lyrics tell of when Rod’s car overheats and he calls a friend, who doesn’t come through. Tell us about a time recently when you were there and helped a buddy out. My best friend fell on ice last week and broke her arm in two places. A few days ago, she came home from getting it looked at again to find that her dog had gotten into a cabinet she’s never touched before and ate all sorts of things, leading to a bit of a swollen stomach. She can’t drive for medical reasons as it is and has a broken arm anyway and her usual go-to people who live closer were all unavailable, so I drove out about 45 minutes with my fiancé to take the dog to the vet. We got Taco Bell for our troubles.

9) The lyrics mention that “some guys do nothing but complain.” Who do you know who is like that? Do you have a friend, relative or coworker who just always seems to find fault? Not so much these days, fortunately, but I’ve known some in the past.

Friday 5: Grade Check

  1. What grade do you give yourself this week for comportment? An A!
  2. What grade do you give yourself this week for cooperation? Also an A.
  3. What grade do you give yourself this week for self-control? B. I’m very good at it in general, but I have slipped a little.
  4. What grade do you give yourself this week for punctuality? Solid B. I’m always late for everything, but I’ve managed to be less late for work than usual and in the few personal arrangements I’ve had, I’ve been about right on time.
  5. What grade do you give yourself this week for congeniality? An A again. I’m a pretty nice, easygoing person, hence all the As.

Saturday 9: Brokenhearted

Saturday 9: Brokenhearted (2012)

Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) This song is about a girl who is eager and anxious for her new lover to call. Do you owe anyone a call? An email? A text? I wouldn’t say I owe anyone, but I would say it wouldn’t kill me to reach out to some friends and family.

2) The lyrics are peppered with the informal English exclamation, “cheerio!” What pops into your head when you close your eyes and think of England? Big Ben.

3) This week’s artist, Karmin, is a husband/wife duo who met at college, and that meeting changed the course of their lives and careers. Think of someone who has had a huge impact on your life. Did you know, as soon as you met, that this was going to be a life-changing relationship? I’m gonna go with my fiancé because obviously. And no, I didn’t. I kind of thought he’d just disappear and nothing would come of his borderline flirting, as usually happened to me.

4) Though she sings about consuming tequila, the female side of Karmin, Amy, is a big proponent of healthy eating. She recommends organic foods that are free of pesticides, hormones, food coloring and added sugar. Think about your most recent meal. Was it a good example of “healthy eating?” It actually was! I’m trying to eat healthier, but sometimes I cave and eat shit. But I just ate a dinner of a kale salad with fake vegetarian chicken.

5) Husband Nick has his own Twitter account (@NickKarmin), but he doesn’t use it often. His last tweet was back in August. What’s the last thing you posted to social media? (No, your blog doesn’t count.) A tweet to a band who was having a contest where the first so many people to tweet a link to their single got a free copy of their album. I won!

6) Karmin performed “Brokenhearted” live on Dancing with the StarsDWTSis  very big business for ABC-TV. So many people vote for their favorite couples each week that their phone and text systems often overload. Have you ever voted for a contestant on American Idol, DWTS, The Voice, etc.? I have. I have strong opinions on who I think should win and hate it when it becomes a popularity contest instead of going off of the actual talent.

7)  In 2012, the year”Brokenhearted” was popular, the average cost for a gallon of gas was $3.91. In 2016, it had dropped to $2.40. When it’s time to fill up your tank, do you shop around for the lowest price/gal.? Are you brand loyal and always return to the same station, regardless of price? Or do you just buy gas from the nearest station when you’re running low? If I’m in a position to shop around, I do, but since I get so much of gas with groceries, I try to go to that gas station. Failing that, I go anywhere I have any kind of loyalty card. If I’m really low, though, closest one it is.

8) In 2012, the Space Shuttle Endeavor was retired and placed on permanent display at the California Science Center, a Los Angeles museum dedicated to encouraging excitement and enthusiasm about air and space travel. Let’s say you had a long weekend to spend in Los Angeles. Would you go out of your way to see The Endeavor? What else would you like to do during your time in the City of Angels? I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it, but I’d still like to visit that museum. I don’t know what else I’d want to do, really, other than visit obvious must-sees.

9) While we’re thinking about aviation … Statistics show that it’s still a predominantly male field, and less than 10% of commercial pilots are women. Would you be nervous flying with a woman pilot? No, and anyone who would is sexist.

Friday 5: Shiver Me Timbers

Thanks to another large batch of articles that I managed to fall miserably behind on, I disappeared off most of the internet planet for about two weeks, which is kind of ridiculous. So I’m catching up.

  1. When did you last make what could be described as a wriggling motion? I think trying to get out of a tight t-shirt. Boobs don’t help with that.
  2. What never fails to give you the willies? Spiders.
  3. What’s something you’ve seen on TV or in a movie that made you squirm? I mention from time to time that I work for a closed-captioning company, so I get to watch a lot of TV before it airs. We can adjust the size of the video, and of all the medical shows I’ve watched with surgeries and other gory things, the only time I ever had to use that feature was when I was working on Monsters Inside Me and they were showing the gruesomeness of having a parasite living in a dude’s face.
  4. What’s something in your life that could be described as serpentine? I honestly don’t know!
  5. Where can you get a really great shake? Look, it’s hard to mess up a milkshake and even harder to find one I don’t like. But I’m always a fan of small, local ice-cream stands, and Vinny’s out near my parents’ house is my favorite go-to for that. That had this great cappuccino shake I drank a lot one summer. And now I’m bummed that they’re closed for the season and I’ll be dogsitting next weekend.