Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What Wine Goes With Cap'n Crunch?

I understand wine is a very snobby thing. I dated a guy once who practically gargled it in his haste to show everyone just how much he knew about wine. I know pretty much next to nothing about wine, except that it's one way to deal with annoying roommates from hell. Thankfully I'll never be rich enough to actually become an alcoholic, which is a great comfort to all who love and worry about my well being. 

My lack of knowledge about wine is freeing. Sure, I may never become a wine taster for a prestigious Napa valley vineyard, but I have perfected the art of unique wine pairings.

Red Zinfandel

Goes with orange chicken and crab rangoon. (The chicken never tasted quite right, but this is what your ex always ordered for you so you labored under the impression that you adored orange chicken for four long years. Maybe it's because he didn't love you enough to decipher what Chinese food you really liked, or maybe he just didn't care enough.) If it's orange chicken, douse your permanent disappointment in it in with a bottle of red zinfandel. It's sweet and it's abnormally high in alcohol content for a bottle of wine, making it the perfect companion to your disillusionments in both romance and Chinese food. 


Goes with General Tso's Chicken and crab rangoon. One day you met a guy who loved you enough to crack the mystery of why the orange chicken didn't taste like what you thought it would. It wasn't the orange chicken you were in love with, it was actually the General Tso's Chicken. Chinese food is so much more than that comfort food you curl up with on the couch after a bad day. It can tell you a lot about the relationships you are in. With this in mind, grab the Chardonnay. It's festive, light, and makes you feel happy, which completely sums up both General Tso's chicken and love. Order an extra helping of the crab rangoon so you have something to snack on when you get hungry, as you probably will be hungry again in an hour. 

Sauvignon Blanc

Pairs with super sharp cheddar and milk chocolate chips. You discover this combination late one night while watching old black and white movies on Netflix with the cat. Sadly, you cannot convince anyone else that this combination is sheer brilliance. On the bright side, you rationalize that at least you don't have to be polite and offer it to anyone else, instead eating it all yourself before the movie is over. 


Goes with three cheese tortellini and basil pesto, topped with an inordinate amount of freshly grated parmesan and sliced tomatoes (unless you were feeling lazy in which case it is perfectly acceptable to ditch the tomatoes). This wine is not for the faint of heart, but you liked the packaging once because you're totally the kind of girl who falls for wine bottles that are targeting women your age because obviously. 


Pairs best with popcorn both from the theater and homemade. Preferably with extra butter on top. This is a beautiful combination of the highbrow and the lowbrow, where two people meet, fall in love, and end up happily ever after though all romantic precedents indicate one should die in an abnormally tragic manner (see Wuthering Heights, Love Story, and Inventing the Abbots). 


Cap'n Crunch. Yes, George Carlin, I have done the research and have solved your eternal question.

Pinot Grigio

You buy this wine because you think it will taste similar to Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately you are wrong. This is the wine you buy in the midst of the quarter life crises, which puts the cherry on the top of your mid twenties angst. You may pair this wine with pizza. You may pair it with quesadillas. You may pair it with english muffins you only recently unearthed from the freezer in an effort to decontaminate it from the Satan that has taken up residence there. You don't pair this wine with anything, because it refuses to pair with anything. You are drinking it to forget, and now that it is the next morning you aren't sure what it was you wanted to forget. You do know that under its influence you apparently went shopping online and spent a small fortune on Sephora. In that way perhaps it could be called a fairy godmother of wine. But then again, it really can't. 


This is what you turn to when the going is tough. Whiskey is a multipurpose solution, rather like how baking soda is the secret to all of your problems. Whiskey is what you drink in your hot tea when you are sick. Whiskey is what you drink when your roommate comes down with strep and you want to kill that niggling feeling in your throat that could be sympathy pains or strep pains. Whiskey can be added to your baking in lieu of vanilla. Whiskey is what you turn to when you have a wedding you really don't want to go to and need something to go in that cute flask you bought six years ago and have never used. Whiskey is the answer to the question, and sits quietly on the counter waiting to be needed. And whiskey tastes so awful you know you'll never be able to drink more than a tablespoon at a time. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

How to Become an Edith Wharton Heroine in One Easy Step

One of the great mysteries of life is how often we mistake being in love with something with being in love with the idea of something. This is an important distinction, and the day you realize this a great many confusions of life will no doubt be cleared up at once.  

I first realized this a few years ago. I thought I was in love with cozy British mysteries. I wasn't. I can't abide British mysteries. But I love the idea of them. I love the idea of being in love with the works of the great dames of mystery, and wanted to be in love with Lord Peter Wimsey. But I'm not, and probably shall never be at this rate. 

Although I love nothing more than the idea of being home on a foggy day with a stack of cozy British mysteries, faced with the prospect I soon throw away the book with disgust. I adore England, I adore cozy rooms on foggy days, but actually reading the dry back and forth dialogues between Hercule Poirot, Peter Wimsey, or any British detective with the person you think is a victim but turns out to be the murderer is something I simply can't get through. I begin to zone out and find myself thinking about windmills, coffee, the latest episode of a nameless television show, and anything, no matter how hard I try to metaphorically shut my eyes and think of England. 

There are so many lovely ideas in the world that it's easy to fall in love with them. You may be in love with the idea of being a doctor, but when you find yourself elbows deep inside someone's body you realize with a thud that this is the last place on earth you want to be, and besides, it smells awful. You may be in love with the idea of being in love with a person, but then realize that though being in love is great, this isn't love, and that you would be better off alone than with an indecisive fish who spends the wee small hours of the night writing bad lyric poetry and posting it on Facebook for all to laugh at. You could be in love with the idea of being an indie hipster, always on the cutting edge of the next big thing, discarding the last big thing before everyone else did, always setting trends. And maybe you are. 

But it is important to not fall so far in love with an idea that you can't wake up. A great many mistakes can happen. 

This is where the tragedy lies. You make the mistake of falling asleep, and then, as all sleepers must do, you wake up. Suddenly you are a doctor, and you can't stop being a doctor because you have too many school loans to pay off. Or you wake up realizing you've made a muddle of your life and are doomed to be with the one person you would not want on that desert island with you, or have a million Facebook photos which will forever incriminate you as being the hipster girl so indie she gave up shampoo, well, at least you'll get a good story out of your life.  So perhaps all is not lost, for then you can be immortalized in a tragic novel like one of Edith Wharton's heroines. And deep down, isn't that what we all want most of all?

Monday, April 7, 2014

The Crown Jewels of Orangutan Patriarchy

It's currently the fashion to yammer about the patriarchy and how it's pulling us down. I'm sure it is pulling us down in countless ways, but I have other pressing things that are bothering me, and one of those subjects seems to be at the root of the patriatrarchal mindset that is opposing all progress whatsoever. That subject is that men simply don't know how to sit. 

As girls we are taught from an early age to sit demurely with our ankles crossed appropriately, taking up as little space possible. This is all fine and dandy for sitting in most public places where space is not a precious commodity. But on public transportation this is terrible information, because we have several generations of orangutanal males who want their seat and your seat, too. 

I've been observing this for several months, now, and am forced to conclude that they are taught this from a very young age. Somewhere in their infancy it seems an evil spirit whispers into their ears that if they ever allow their knees to touch, their precious crown jewels will wither and die, disintegrating into dust and dooming the human race forever. 

I'm here to tell you, men of the world, that that is not the case. Not only will your fertility still flourish, but you’ll also have a better chance of success should you find yourself confronted with a cute girl who just so happens to be sharing the bench with you. If you’re behaving like an orangutan, she probably won’t want to sit by you and instead find the least threatening older lady in the car to sit by. 

The only way to fight this abominable snowman like behavior is to take up as much seat as possible. Don't worry about the glares from other people as you persist in setting up your oversized bag as a fortifying wall against the looming girth of neanderthal men. Don't capitulate to the idea that girls must take up as little room as possible and pop buttons off your coat in your haste to flee from the offending largeness invading your space. Go forth, and conquer orangutans everywhere. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

What A Woman Wants

It is said that women are the more ruthless of the two sexes. It's true. We are ruthless. Despite our fascination with Disney princesses, we have more in common with the Disney villainesses. And just like Ursula, we want Prince Eric. Not because he’s interesting. If anything he’s probably one of the least exciting of all the Disney princes, and not completely on the ball, either. No one has time for a stupid man. But we do want princes. Or to be precise, we want their clothes. 

Expanding our wardrobes is the primary reason for finding a boyfriend. We want those oversized sweatshirts and t-shirts that we can throw on at a moment's notice to answer the door for the mailman delivering our latest order from Sephora. We want those oversized sweatshirts and t-shirts for pajamas, and loungewear. We want those oversized sweatshirts and t-shirts so we can wear them to forget. We want to forget that we have bodies so we can drink as much wine and eat as much chocolate as we please during times of great need, forgetting that calories exist because we are so shrouded in an oversized North Face (one that we would never buy for ourselves because we're too indie for brand names) that we forget we even have a size.

Now before you bring out your arguments about our modern age of feminism and independence to tell me that girls can just buy their own oversized apparel, let me just tell you, you're wrong. No girl in her right mind would ever buy clothes so much larger than her regular size. To do so would be to admit defeat, and would also be a waste of good money which could go to more fun investments such as pink lipstick or new high heels. It's much more economical to steal these necessities of a good life.  

So men, be on your guard. It's prime hunting season. Warm weather means sidewalk cafes, and sidewalk cafes are the best place for dates, because if your date proves to be boring there's plenty of people watching to be had to pass the time. If she is canny enough to suggest sitting outside, she's canny enough to want the shirt off your back. Be forewarned, and sally forth. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Casual Vacancies

My grandmother once referred to a boy at her church as husky. I didn't know that she meant he was fat. I immediately pictured a sinister person, taller than me, with a voice that hissed like a guttural snake yet who never spoke, instead just standing behind you breathing raspily in your ear. A husky person seemed sure to do something evil in the very near future. Then I met the kid at a church potluck and realized that at three times my size I could probably outrun him and that was the end of that.

Words paint pictures. But in today's world of multiple options, they often paint vacancies. I was at a party recently, and since Washington, D.C.'s idea of an ice breaker is "Where do you work?" instead of something that actually breaks the ice like "OMG your shoes are so cute!" it became quickly apparent that I was a lone reed amongst a sea of analysts.

Analysts. What does an analyst actually do? Do they sit behind desks in windowless rooms, regurgitating information that their senior analyst bosses feed them until their eyes are blank white ovals like in Little Orphan Annie? Do they dream of becoming senior analysts and feed the information to other people, or do they merely dream of electric sheep? What is above a senior analyst? Do you get to be an executive analyst? 

I'm sure no one knows, because analysts inhabit some other dimension where nothing really exists. They are vacant spaces of dead air, yet everyone wants to be able to call themselves an analyst because it sounds so foreboding people will never ask them what they do again.

Or maybe that's the point of it. Though it was meant to be an icebreaker and an innocent way of sizing up everyone else, as soon as someone says analyst it immediately kills all conversation. Words used to mean something. You could call your neighbor a dithering fool and you both immediately knew exactly where you stood with each other. It might not be the smartest thing to do, but you could do it. In that way, it was extremely helpful for clearing the air. We are a postmodern civilization, so we use words that don't really mean what we want them to mean. We speak in a language of facades in order to make everything sound better than what they are.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Of Witch Doctors, Water Bottles, and the New Bermuda Triangle

It always amazes me when people refuse to take advantage of technological advances like immunizations, online bill paying, and Twitter. Generally these people are few and far between, or remain confined to my facebook feed where I can unfollow at will. Until last week I (and probably you too) was blissfully ignorant that there were entire regions where people put their faith in mechanisms not backed up with technological data. Then we met Malaysia.

Malaysia is one of those countries you learn how to find on a map in 3rd grade and then promptly forget ever existed. It is not to be confused with Malta, the Maldives, or the Micronesian Islands, which sound extremely interesting but are down by Australia so I'll never find out due to my paralyzing fear of Australian lizards and insects. But now we know all sorts of things about Malaysia. 

We know that Malaysia has a thriving community of witch doctors, and that though Malaysia sounds reputable with companies called modern names like Malaysian Airlines, they still let the witch doctors dance about with melons and divining rods, performing their own special brand of voodoo magic to find a missing 777. 

We know that Malaysia doesn't like to believe companies as reputable as Rolls Royce and Boeing, both of which have been around far longer than Malaysia has been named Malaysia. Though both companies have reported that their data shows the missing plane flew around for a number of hours after Malaysia reports losing contact, Malaysia prefers the more obvious answer that the plane simply vanished. Though Malaysia may not have all the comforts of American living, they do evidently watch our television shows, and they may have taken Lost a little too literally. Planes do not simply disappear, and though an old professor of mine once said that there could be another dimension where socks vanish, it's highly doubtful that planes can slip into that dimension with as much ease. 

We know that Malaysia is a place where logic doesn't always exist, for their search efforts have even exasperated Chinese citizens who have loved ones on the missing plane. Though they have experience living under a governmental regime that doesn't like to give answers and cares little about the lives of human beings, they see Malaysia's problems. When people living in a communist country are protesting your government, you know there's a serious problem.

But hey. There's a place in this world for everyone, and everyone has a place. On the bright side, this shows us that Malaysia is a good place for those who wish to freely indulge their ignorance, ignoring what science has proven, and the relatively low-risk comfort of technology. If you're the type of person who believes that the increase in polio is entirely a fluke, perhaps you would enjoy Malaysia. It's a place of magical happenings, where logic doesn't always exist. And for those who are missing loved ones, please know our thoughts are with you.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Dante's Seven Circles of iCloud

Everyone says social mobility is a thing of the past. Perhaps it is. But we have a better way to procure a happily ever afterlife for ourselves, now, and that is through our superior technological choices.

It's no secret that I love Apple Computers. They really are the greatest. This was drummed into my head at an early age, for Steve Jobs was next to God in our household. Never mind what people say about him being a jerk. We all have our faults, and that was his, and I can overlook it because he put the music into my phone in one gorgeous interface that works practically perfectly in every way. He enabled me to block out all the most annoying people in the world with one invention, and for that I shall always be grateful. 

Yes, Apple makes objets d'art. Why would I want to waste my money on something that is merely functional and has all the beauty of a two bit whore in the early hours of a Sunday morning? I don't. There's nothing quite like the feeling of opening an Apple product for the first time. I can only describe it as akin to the feeling a guy must get when he sees his significant other in lingerie. It's magical, with a hint of what is to come and the heights of happiness that you will attain. Opening up the box to see your new MacBook Air nestled in its packaging, with all its accoutrements in a beautiful rectangular box hovering just above your new laptop is the kind of feeling you treasure until you buy your next Apple product. 

And here you scoff. You sit there, reading this, on your Lenovo, your Toshiba, and your hideous Dell. But just remember the feeling you got when you powered up your iPhone with its newly installed iOS 7 and the smugness you felt as you looked askance at the man beside you on metro, still laboriously using a stylus somehow he forgot to lose on his archaic Blackberry. That's the feeling I get when I get a new Apple product. It's a hint of things to come, for Dante would no doubt agree that there's a special circle of Heaven for those who appreciate great art which also functions better than your PC ever dreamt of. I shall be there, enjoying all the benefits of the great iCloud in the sky, while you curse every antivirus program you ever downloaded.