Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Taking one for the team

The other day I did something completely selfless: I didn't go to work. Not at all! Not even for a little while! On a workday!

And it was all for you, dear readers! I know that there have been days when you've felt a bit peaked* and have considered staying home, but you've thought, "But what would I do all day? Won't all that free time and relaxation be hard to manage?" Thus, I decided to bravely explore the treacherous unknown terrain of the Sick Day so that I could make it safe for all of you.

And explore I did! have prepared a detailed map of the best way to handle your day at home:

7:00: Wake up. Note sore throat, swollen glands. Turn off alarm. Rejoice.

9:00: Send "staying home sick" email to work. (Eliminates conundrum re: Should you fake a sorer throat than you actually have on the phone. Not that your sickness is fake or anything! but risk that primordial instinct for exaggeration will take over cannot be ignored.)

9:05: Realize that, in preparation for impending move, you have efficiently packed all books and DVDs. Reconsider sick day, but persevere.

9:06-10:30: Sleep on couch.

10:30-11:00: Eat bagel while reading Entertainment Weekly. Learn that Rosario Dawson grew up as a squatter and ponder why Al Gore looks like a Chinese Leonard Nimoy. Deep thoughts for day: check!

11:00-12:00: Watch World Series of Pop Culture on VH1 (and cosponsored by Entertainment Weekly; did EW brand the sick day when I wasn't paying attention? Is this blog entry a copyright violation?). Find experience more enjoyable than average gameshow-viewing: World Series is low-budget in authentic way; e.g., contestants mutter snarky things about opponents under their breath and you can kind of hear them; unflattering lighting makes even pretty players look wrinkly, worried, accessible. Consider feeling like failure when you do not know many of the answers (The name of the boat in Jaws? The cost of a vowel?), but decide to take positive view that this means you do not watch too much TV, after all.

12:00-1:00: Sleep on couch.

1:00-1:20: Eat cereal while reading Entertainment Weekly. Read about drug problems of guy who plays Jay in Jay and Silent Bob; find desire to watch Clerks II increased not at all.

1:20-3:00: Flip back and forth between HGTV and "How Do I Look" marathon. Consider feeling superior to makeover victims who cling to much-too-large sweatpants and torn T-shirts like life rafts, but then wonder how self would react if large hoodie sweatshirts were taken away; reconsider superiority.

3:00-3:30: Sense impending feeling of slothfulness, self-loathing. Get off couch, do dishes, take bath.

3:30-4:30: Look at the internets (in chair, not couch). Find world depressing, but design-conscious pet decor inspiring.

4:30-5:30: Concerns re sloth can be safely abandoned after 4 pm; return to couch. Watch portions of Stepford Wives (remake); note movie is very bad, Nicole Kidman's immobile forehead makes her look like bat. Return to HGTV; find fear of homeownership increasing; switch back to VH1.

5:30-6:00: Eat Spaghettios while reading Entertainment Weekly. Make note to self to take magazine's advice by watching Weeds on DVD and visiting

And there you have it! Don't all those unstructured hours seem a little less scary now? Be brave, dear readers, and explore the Sick Day yourself!

*Peaked, not PEEKd, as in "How sad for Britney, she peaked at 17 and now it's all downhill," but PEEK-Ed, as in "You look a little bit peaked, T&A Girl," as my mom used to say, which literally means "you are not wearing any makeup so you look kind of pale and I am acquiescing to your obvious desire to stay home today."

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Excuses, excuses

If you've been worried that my nearly month-long absence means I'm pulling a David Lat and abandoning my blog for greener pastures, never fear, I'm not going noplace. What's my excuse this time? Well, I'm passing over my usual "I'm lazy" in favor of the bolder option: I've been busy! Shockingly, I even have something to show for it: Mr. T&A and the T&A Kitties and I are joining the propertied class by buying a house. Consider yourself warned: In the future you can expect to see discussions of such issues as paint colors and patio furniture (if things go well) and second jobs and foreclosures (if not so much).

Contemplating which excuse to use to explain my absence has led me to reflect on what makes a good excuse. Popular culture, in its endless bounty, has recently provided us with several impressive examples:

Zidane: The French soccer star who headbutted the Italian player and got kicked out of the World Cup final says he doesn't regret it because the other guy insulted his sister and sick mother, made a comment about getting with his wife, or called him the "son of a terrorist whore," depending on who you talk to.
Discussion: The mother/sister/wife combo captures the the ultimate trifecta of unforgiveable disses, and Zidane's savvy refusal to say exactly what the insult was allows our imaginations to cavort about in a filthy mess of sexual/religious/racial possibilities. On the other hand, he screwed up a game that I understand a lot of people care a lot about. I give it an B+.

The Italian guy: Said he couldn't have provoked the head-butt by calling Zidane a terrorist because "I'm ignorant. I don't even know what the word means."
Discussion: Huh? There may be some kind of different-cultures-how-can-we-possibly-understand-one-another explanation for this, but that's lame--a good excuse should transcend our differences, if you will. This barely gets a C-.

Britney: In the midst of the gum-chomping, hair-not-combing, boob-flopping, mascara-clumping, maternity-hooker-clothing-sporting glory that was Britney's interview with Matt Lauer, Brit-Brit managed to explain that she drives with her baby in her lap rather than in a car seat because her family is "country."
Explanation: At first glance this might seem as inexplicable as the Italian guy's "ignorant" thing, but upon further examination you realize: No, it actually works, because you really believe it. I totally buy that Britney remembers sitting on her dad's lap as a little girl--albeit probably a 6-year-old, not an infant--and that she has ignored all the information about car seats that one might have picked up in the intervening 18 years. Also, the word "country" itself is great--it's relatively innocuous, but it invokes a rich tapestry of stereotypes about trailer trash that are reinforced by Britney's aforementioned appearance. Good job, Mrs. Federline--I give it an A-.

That's it for now, folks. Tune in next time, same bat-channel, couldn't say what bat-month.