Saturday 9: Don’t Talk to Strangers

Saturday 9: Don’t Talk to Strangers (1982)

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

1) When did you recently have a conversation with a complete stranger? What did you two discuss? I can’t think of anything that would qualify as an actual conversation. I  guess one of the RenFest vendors who started going off about pesticides and such, and I was with him until he brought up GMOs, because I just can’t get on board with the thought that they’re bad. The evidence isn’t there.

2) In the video for this song, a woman is having a “hot” conversation on a corded, rotary dial phone in her bedroom. Do you have a landline? If so, do you have an extension in your bedroom? I do not, but my husband and I have discussed getting one when we have kids so there’s a sort of central number where we can both be reached.

3) This week’s artist, Rick Springfield, says he wrote this song when he was worried that his girlfriend (now his wife) would cheat on him when he was touring. Would you describe yourself as suspicious or trusting? Trusting. Having done the long-distance-relationship thing for most of the first two years of my relationship, I can tell you that suspicion will kill it. You can very, very easily let your mind wander and think about endless possibilities without even considering whether your partner would actually do it, for one, and it does no good unless you want to get yourself worried over nothing. So I had those worries in the very beginning then killed them. Not trusting your partner, too, without reason is a good way to drive them away and cause unnecessary strain in the relationship. My honest but blunt advice? If trust is an issue for you without reason, you need to work on that before you can be in a serious relationship.

4) He became a daytime heartthrob as Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital. Do you think it would be cool to have a really attractive doctor? Or would it make you uncomfortable? Ha, maybe both? Although I don’t really see myself getting flustered by an attractive doctor to the point of being uncomfortable. I’ve always found that portrayal of people being rendered speechless by physical beauty to be unrealistic and over the top.

5) He’s discussed how sad he was when, as a boy, he had to leave his dog Elvis behind when the family left Australia. While you were growing up, did your family often move? Not at all. We moved twice–from a little apartment into my grandfather’s big, old house with him, and from there to the house my parents bought when I was in middle school. Now, I personally have moved twice more since then, not counting college dorms–from the house to a house in Pittsburgh with some friends, and from that house to my current apartment. I’m hoping to move out of here in 2018.

6) In 1982, when this song was popular, Italy won the World Cup. Do you ever watch soccer? Not really, but I’ve caught in on occasion when I was living at home and my brother would have it on. It is a sport that interests me more than hosts, although it hasn’t captured my attention the way hockey did.

7) “Smiley,” the first emoticon, was introduced in 1982. Do you use emoticons in your communication? Or do you avoid them? I do! They’re fun. I don’t use them a whole lot, though, and I have a few specific go-tos, as does everyone.
8) The Vietnam Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, in 1982. Do you know any veterans of that conflict? If so, tell us about him or her. I don’t think I do, but I’m not 100% positive–all the vets I know are either WWII or Iraq/Afghanistan.

9) Random Question:  Your friends are throwing a birthday “roast” in your honor. Which one quality of yours are you sure will be singled out for laughs? The fact that I’m always late, probably. Maybe the fact that I write–whether or not that gets targeted and the ways it gets targeted depend on the crowd. Vegetarianism. Being messy.


Friday 5: What Ails Ya

  1. How do you treat a bad case of the Mondays? I just power through it, really–hope it’s gonna be a good day, sure, but there’s not much to be done other than do it.
  2. How do you fight off a case of the blahs? Lounge and do things that make me happy–read, watch Netflix, and write especially. Take a bubble bath. If it’s leaning more towards the sad end of blah, that’s when I get more cuddly and need husband hugs.
  3. How do you deal with a bad hair day? I have naturally curly hair, so depending on how you feel about curls, either every day is a bad hair day or no days or bad hair days. Honestly, I love my curls these days. They suit me. I think straight hair, at least without some volume, makes me look tired. And curls mean that if something goes wrong, water will fix it.
  4. What’s your strategy for FOMO? Ha, I don’t think I have one. Although I think it’s partly because I somehow stopped caring, but if you’re looking for advice on how to get to that point, I have none. Other than get real pissed off.
  5. How prone are you to Instagram envy? Man, almost not at all. I mean, it does happen–the point over the summer where all of my social-media feeds were full of beaches was rough. And sometimes people’s food looks really, really good. But on the whole, I enjoy seeing the photos more than anything. With vacations in particular, I just remember that my time will come. And I think sometimes–and this isn’t even specific to Instagram or even social media–the things we’re doing and posting just going about our lives might make other people envious of us. It’s weird to think about it this way, but we all have something someone else wants.

As always, from here.

Friday 5: Sign of the Times

Saturday 9: Sign of the Times (2017)
… because Cat recommended Harry Styles
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.

1) In this song, Harry sings, “We don’t talk enough, we should open up before it’s all too much.” When you have something serious on your mind, who do you share it with? My husband first, then my best friend. Sometimes the order is flip-flopped depending on the issue.

2) As a kid, Harry wanted to be a lawyer because he can see “both sides.” Are you good at seeing both sides of an argument? Generally, yes–I can usually understand someone’s perspective, even if I disagree with it, especially on a very basic level.

3) He can’t decide which is favorite color — orange or blue. Help Harry out: which of those colors do you prefer? Blue, by far.

4) Harry says he prefers older women, but would never go out with someone older than his mother. Do you think age disparity matters in romance? For the most part, no–I think maturity is the more important factor, as well as general compatibility. That said, I am suspicious of huge age gaps, particularly middle-aged men who pursue women in their early 20s. I question their intentions and what it is they really want.

5) He admits to a big crush on Adele, who is six years older than he is. Who are you crushing on right now? (It doesn’t have to be a celebrity.) My husband, I guess, because there’s really no one else! Not even a significant celebrity crush right now. Although I was recently talking about how much I love Viggo Mortensen.

6) It makes Harry’s skin crawl when he sees people use their teeth to open bottles. What creeps you out? Sort of similar, but not quite–teeth being knocked out or pulled. Spiders. Slenderman. The possibility of demonic possession and alien abduction.

7) When he’s on the road, his go-to food is tacos. Do you like Mexican food? I do!

8) Harry has never smoked. Have you ever been a smoker? If you quit, how did you successfully kick the habit? Not really. I had a few cigarettes at parties in college, and that was about it.

9) Random Question: As she pulls out of her parking space, an elderly woman in an old car scrapes an expensive car. Then she drives away. You witness the whole thing. Do you make a note of her license plate and leave it for the owner of the expensive car? Or do you just mind your own business? I probably do leave an note for the owner, because I don’t care who you are, hitting someone’s car then leaving is a dick move, and it’s a real pain to come and find damage to your car you know you didn’t cause. I’ve had it happen twice.

Friday 5: Consumption

  1. What is your paper towel consumption like? Kind of rare, actually. We mostly only use them to clean up messes–we use different stuff for actual everyday cleaning.
  2. What condiment do you use most often? Ketchup, by far.
  3. What is your sticky note consumption like? Also rare, more so than paper towels–I almost never use them. I do use them at work more than home, though. They’re great to stick on the edges of your computer monitor to remind you of something.
  4. What’s your coin jar setup? I don’t really have one. Back when the apartment laundry used quarters, before it switched to a prepaid card system, I did keep a jar of quarters on a little ledge in the kitchen, but now I don’t bother. Change stays in my purse, pretty much.
  5. What’s something you’ve purchased recently that was lower in price than usual? We just set up a joint bank account and need checks for it, but for some reason, it’s not letting either of us order them online through the bank. The last time I needed checks, I ordered through a different site to get a better variety, so I had the bright idea to do the same thing, and since I’d ordered from there before, I had e-mails with coupon codes and got that shit for half off.

As always, from Friday 5.

Saturday 9: 9 to 5

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

1) This song begins with the clacking of a typewriter. Did you ever learn to touch type — beginning with your fingers on “the home row” — or do you hunt and peck? I did learn to type with the home row, but I don’t use it now–it would definitely slow me down. I do just fine without it, and I can even type pretty accurately without looking. I don’t think about it much, but I’m not looking at the keyboard the entire time I type.

2) Much of the video for this song revolves around the office coffee room. Are you enjoying a beverage as you answer these 9 questions? I have a big glass of milk, as I’m digging into leftover wedding cookies (and candy).

3) This week’s artist, Dolly Parton, loves telling the story of how she once lost a Dolly Parton lookalike contest. What contest or sweepstakes have you entered lately? I entered a lot of wedding-related ones–basically, anything that would get me something for free or would get me money to help pay for it. I won approximately none of them.

4) Dolly is one smart blonde. Early in her career she set up a company so she could retain the publishing rights for all her songs. Two alone — “9 to 5” and “I Will Always Love You” — made her a multi-millionaire because they have been recorded so many times. Do you have a good head for business? I think I have some good ideas, but I’m just so uninterested in business as a field. I think about business and politics very similarly–some of the people with the best ideas are so disillusioned that they’ll never get into it.

5) Dolly is a crusader for childhood literacy and her organization, Dolly’s Imagination Library, has donated more than 10 million books all over the country. What’s the last book you read? An American Sickness, a book about the American healthcare system that covers a few different issues within it but essentially discusses the very real problems with the business of our healthcare system and proposes a few potential solutions–and some are as simple as paying attention to hospital bills and making sure you’re not being charged for things you never had done. I think everyone in the country should read it to get an idea of how greedy the medical field has become and how so much of our healthcare is driven by money and business rather than the care itself, and I’d even go so far as to say that if everyone read this book to at least get a look at how things work, it might really change the nature of the healthcare debates in this country.

6) This weekend may offer a golden opportunity for napping and sleeping in. Do you snore? I do, but typically only when I’m really tired. I’ve put this together based on when I hear complaints from people that I’ve snored.

7) Labor Day was introduced to celebrate the achievements of the American worker. How many different employers have you had? Technically, a few–although I’m still in the first job I got out of college, I’ve had I believe three or four freelance writing employers, although that might depend on if we’re counting individual websites or their parent companies.

8) Will you be attending a Labor Day picnic or barbecue? I’m getting to this late, but I had no plans prior to Labor Day and nothing came up that weekend. My (new) husband and I went to the mountains for a hike, then went to my parents’ house, where my brother and sister-in-law were swinging by with their new cat after getting her a vet appointment that morning.

9) Labor Day traditionally marks the beginning of the new school year. When she was a kid, Samantha was crazy for her brand new box of 96 Crayola Crayons. It even had a sharpener in the back! What do you remember about preparing to go back to school? If you’re a parent with school-age kids, are they ready? I remember always going to buy new clothes until we needed uniforms in middle school, but then it just shifted to ordering uniforms that fit. I remember big trips to buy supplies, then sorting through them and packing my backpack. I liked packing my backpack–there’s something I enjoy about packing and unpacking things in general–but not actually going to school. In college, though, I liked looking through the book lists. I also enjoyed school itself more in college.

Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain

A week late on account of, uh, my wedding.
Saturday 9: I Wish It Would Rain (1968)
… because Janelle recommended the Temptations

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

1) This week’s song focuses on rain. Ombrophobia — the fear of rain — is fairly common in children. How do you feel about rainy days? I’m indifferent, unless it seems like they’re never-ending. I remember being fed up with rain twice in my life–once not long after my maternal grandfather died I was just really done with the gloomy weather, and then once a few summers ago when it seemed like it just rained constantly and we couldn’t really enjoy the summer.

2) Lead singer David Ruffin always wore corrective lenses. Are you wearing glasses or contact lenses as you answer these questions? Contacts, but awaiting my shipment of new glasses.

3) Those thick-rimmed glasses were David’s trademark. When he custom-ordered a luxury car, he had the image of those glasses painted on the door. Tell us something that makes your vehicle distinctive. The mess inside it.

4) David also had a penchant for mink. Rumor has it that he wore a mink-lined hat and even had that car upholstered in mink. If you could really splurge on anything right now, what would it be? Car? Travel? Clothes? Jewelry? (NO responsible answers allowed.) Is buying a house considering a “responsible answer”? I mean, it’s probably the thing I want most right now, and we have boxes of wedding gifts and various little items left in here. We desperately need the space.

5) He sings that he badly wants to go outside. What are your plans for today? Will you be outdoors very much? So for the Saturday this was posted, I was outdoors, sort of–my wedding reception was half indoor, half outdoor, with dinner outside under a tent and dancing inside a barn with a big door in the middle open between the two. Today, it looks like a pretty gross, possibly rainy day. We’re hoping to go for a walk on a trail, but we’ll see.

6) The Temptations originally called themselves The Elgins because in 1960, Elgin watches were the high-end timepiece of choice. Today, in the age of cellphones and FitBits, wristwatches aren’t that popular anymore. Do you often wear a watch? No.

7) This sad song was inspired by a real-life event. Motown songwriter Rodger Penzabene discovered his wife was cheating on him. Much to his own surprise, he didn’t want to divorce or even separate from her; he just wanted her to love him and only him again. Tell us about a time when you didn’t react as you thought you would. (Your story doesn’t have to be as dramatic as Rodger’s.) I don’t know, honestly. I can think of a couple times where I reacted differently than I would have in the past for a few different reasons, but not necessarily times when I expected different. I think sometimes I’m a little calmer and more polite than I anticipate–I’ll get all riled up about something like my mother-in-law pushing a bridal shower and insist if she asked one more time I was gonna lose it, then not get as mad in the moment as I expected to. I’m not saying I wavered, just that I wasn’t as forceful as I thought or even would like to be sometimes. I’m a wimp.

8) In 1968, when this song was popular, a Pittsburgh McDonald’s sold the first Big Mac (two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickle and onion on a sesame seed bun). Describe your perfect hamburger. I realize this is blasphemous in some circles, but for starters, it would be a veggie burger, but one of the good ones that has a lot of flavor and good texture. If I were to make one, it would be your standard burger with ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, and some cheese, but I think my favorite is Red Robin’s Banzai burger with pineapple and teriyaki sauce. I will eat pineapple on almost anything.

9) Random question: When you catch a cold, do you soldier through it? Or are you a big baby? Somewhere in between–I can tough it out, but I’ve learned the hard way that all that does is make me feel worse and doesn’t do any good. So now when I get a cold, even in the early stages, I’ll call off work to take a day to try to sleep it off, and it almost always works great. Working through it tends to make it worse, taking a day or so to sleep and hydrate knocks it out faster.

Friday 5: Sandwich or Nah?

  1. Why is or isn’t a hot dog a sandwich? It is a sandwich because it’s something in between bread, and yet it’s not a sandwich because a hot dog is kind of its own thing. I mean, they have different components, different construction, and different ways of being eaten. Sure, you could call it a sandwich on a technicality, but I think to put them in the same category is silly.
  2. Why is or isn’t a hamburger a sandwich? Similar to the hot dog, the argument for a sandwich could be made, and I do think it’s more convincing for this one. But again, there are certain components that make up a burger. This one might be more of a “all burgers are sandwiches but not all sandwiches are burgers” deal.
  3. Why is or isn’t a wrap a sandwich? Again, different components and construction, and when I think of wraps, I generally think of something a little lighter.
  4. Why are or aren’t Oreos and ice cream sandwiches sandwiches? I mean, technically, if we’re going with the bread definition, they’re not, but you are talking about one thing sandwiched between two other things–it’s similar to why one can argue for hot dogs and burgers being sandwiches. And as far as desserts go, there’s not much room for a proper sandwich. And besides, what else are we supposed to call them? “Sandwich” is the most effective word in this case.
  5. Why does or doesn’t listening to an audio book count as reading the book? Again, technically, it’s not. However! You’re getting the exact same content that you would if you were to read it, plus it’s in a way that’s different from, say, a film adaptation. I also think of it this way–if someone who was blind, maybe, told you they’d listened to an audiobook, would you correct them and tell them they didn’t actually read it? No, because that would make you a dick. You’d be able to discuss the content in the exact same way because you both took in the same thing, just in different ways.

As always, from Friday 5.