Friday, November 30, 2012

Historical Donuts Part III: Jr High

Jr. High and unassigned lunchroom seating. I never could have expected the impact this would make on not only who I would become but on who I wouldn't stay. (Profound! Give me a medal!)

The first day of Jr. High is traumatic for everyone. At least, for everyone who is me. I was late to a class (Mr. Gideon the clock in your room was five minutes slow.) And immediately, upon arriving to that class was made the butt of the joke by the teacher. The teacher. Wow! Today, that would be bullying. Especially, since the 29 other kids in the class were desperate trying to home on to some sort of driftwood on the Titanic of Day 1: Jr. High, and Captain History Teacher knew this ocean, he was king of it.

But this is not about the first day of Jr. High. It's about doughnuts. 

Because the lunchroom seating was a free-for-all for the 7th grade students to figure out their own places and with whom to sit. I quickly found myself not as part of the massive cool-girl table that was made up of my former classmates from 6th grade. It wasn't obvious shunning but they didn't care if I was there, and they weren't keen on my new friends that I invited to sit with us. So my new friends and I bailed from that table and formed our own group of four, we ate lunch together every day. 
Looking on that now, it is awesome to have lunch with the same group that you love every day. (Working at the retail store I got the same thing when I was in the design department, the same yahoos everyday.) Part of that group was my new best friend, Jessica. Every day for lunch, she would get the cinnamon sugar mini cake mini donuts for sale in the Snack Bar of the cafeteria. I was never one to even think of those donuts. I usually stuck to foods that were cooler than the 'hot lunch meal of the day' but that also didn't cost a million dollars (sorry, big slice of pizza). Which meant I ate a lot of cold sandwiches from the Snack Bar the beginning of that year. When I discovered the mini-donuts, it was fun; cinnamon sugar on a donut! Never heard of that. And soon the mini0donuts were making a regular appearance on my lunch tray, along with my boring cold sandwiches. We would eat those mini donuts every day. It became a joke, and lunch was never complete with out them

Seventh and eighth grade is marked by my constant eating of those cinnamon mini-donuts. I learned later that sometimes my friends would steal a mini-donut from my tray when I wasn't looking. Even now, far removed from 19--, my friends and I still laugh about the mini-donuts. Because, yes that group of four stayed friends all these years, on the tennis team, through different colleges, different cities and what has become very different lives. We were in each other weddings (well, they haven't been in mine because I am not married but it is assumed [so I guess I will cross that bridge when/if I get to it {I don't know what I think about marriage, let alone bridesmaids}]).

Had I stayed with the group I though I 'belonged' too, the former 6th grade classmates that became the cool girls, I don't think I would have eaten mini-donuts every day.  I don't think I would have even discovered them. I probably would have been very lonely, sitting on the edge of that massive table of budding queens and divas jostling for a place. I am not a very good jostle-er, or jouster, but that is a very different thing.  But this isn't about cinnamon sugar mini donuts, it's about realizing there are other worlds out there, even if you don't know what they are. 

 The is essay is part of a multi-part doughnut essay.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hisotrical Donuts: Part Two

My doughnut timeline extends through my youth to sixth grade. I was not obsessed with doughnuts. I enjoyed them when they were present and when they were not life continued. Sometimes, I would even forget about doughnuts.

But in sixth grade my best friend planned a surprise birthday party for me. And like most sixth graders she told me about it before hand with the instruction to "act surprised." (This is another essay for later, I have a lot of opinions on surprise parties. Since I am head of the Department of Surprises.)

My birthday came and the not-so-surprising party arrived. I believe this was the start of my acting career, I was a very convincing surprised person. It was a wonderful party, regardless of my prior knowledge of the surprise. But what is even more wonderful than a party thrown for you by your best friend? A doughnut cake. From the Donut Hole (Which no longer exists).

Yes, a doughnut cake.

Don't imagine anything yet. Let me describe it to you.

The doughnut cake was one large fried doughnut, complete with hole and about a foot in diameter. This giant doughnut was glazed, then frosted with chocolate frosting. Got it? OK, listen up, now it gets good. The doughnut was filled with Bavarian Cream filling!!! The doughnut cake defied all rules of what a doughnut should be! It was huge! It had a hole! And cream filling!! It was novel and delicious. The doughnut cake was served by cutting slices, just like you would on a cake that had a whole in the center.

And it was real doughnut! It was cheating by imitating a cake doughnut (nothing against cake doughnuts, but that seems pretty easy to turn into a cake. BECAUSE CAKE IS ALREADY IN ITS NAME!).

I didn't even know the doughnut cake existed when it was presented at my surprise party. And what's more, it was Bavarian Cream, which previously had a reputation of being an adult doughnut flavor. But this was at a kids birthday party. Or, maybe, the presence of the Bavarian Cream meant that I was transition into an adult. This was the same home where the parents enjoyed Bavarian Cream (and swooped them out of the box at the sleepover previously as referenced here.) I was now an adult as I had a Bavarian Cream inspired doughnut presented to me.

Growing up, Doughnut Style.

This is Part Two in my multi-part Historical Donut Series.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Historical Donuts: Part One

Of all the foods in my life, my experience with doughnuts can chart the course of my life.



Part One: Early Doughnut Adopter

Like most people, my first memories of doughnuts is as kid. Sometimes my mom would by a dozen doughnuts on Friday and then on Saturday morning, we would have doughnuts! All varieties too. And almost always, these doughnuts were popped into the microwave to be 'nuked' for a handful of seconds before the frosting slide off from the heat and the jelly became lava.


I also remember the not-super-frequent trips to the Donut Hole, the donut shop in my medium-size North Dakota town. At the Donut Hole, we got to pick out our own doughnuts. There were so many varieties, this is where I started developing my taste of exciting, unfamiliar foods. My mom would try to steer me away from the doughnuts that she though were out of my taste preferences. I don't blame her for this limiting of my pastry exploration; a child with a doughnut they do not like is probably one of the worst pastry related dramas. But at the Donut Hole, that is where I met my true love: Bavarian Cream. Initially, Bavarian Cream was a doughnut deemed too sophisticated for my taste, as evidenced by my mom suggesting I get a Bismarck if I wanted a filled doughnut. But I knew jelly-filled is no match for pudding-like cream filling of the Bavarian Cream. When those white pastry boxes would show up in our fridge I would search through for Bavarian Cream, biting into decoy doughnuts that contained no filling. My disappointment of finding just more doughnut was staggering (not really) but did not dissuade me from the search. I have eaten many bites of the chocolate frosted doughnut look-a-likes in my search for Bavarian Cream. I remember being at a slumber party where doughnuts were provided for breakfast. I saw two Bavarian Creams sitting in the box and my thrid grade heart swelled, but as soon as doughnut choosing time happened the father scooped his hand in and removed the two Bavarian Creams stating "These are parent donuts."

Why does it seem that Bavarian Cream has an adult reputation? I would argue it is the most kid-friendly of all the doughnuts. First, chocolate frosting. Chocolate frosting is recognizable, familiar and consistently delicious. Second, the round shape provides more frosting surface area and it also a familiar shape. Third, pudding cream filling. Pudding is one of the classic treats for kids. The pudding filled donut is more palatable that the jelly filled Bismarck, especially since the Bismarck tends to have a harsher jelly, which is unlike any jelly a child would have experienced in a PB & J.

The Bavarian Cream is not an adult doughnut. Also, not all kids have the same tastes. And, the more you say 'no' to something, the more I (and your children) will want it.

Bavarian Cream is my favorite doughnut. Do not try to get between my true love doughnut and I.

This is Part One of a multi-part series.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hates. (Warning: The word moist is all over this)

I don't care about the word moist.

But I know you probably hate it. Or if you don't hate it (which I doubt), you know someone who hates the word or you know someone who is grossed out by it.

Oh, you don't know anyone like that?

That's because you know someone who is so passionately grossed out by the word moist, someone who hates moist so much they will cover their ears in its presence as if the intangible word, moist, will crawl up the side of their neck and stick its orally moistened finger into their ear and scoop out the moist living tissue inside.

People hate the word moist. But I say: get over it.

Cue: angry mob of moist hating people waiting to shout at me.

(This angry mob doesn't realize that I just need to shout the word moist at them and they will be powerless.)

Yes, moist is not the prettiest sounding word. Nor does it conjure up images of sturdy, green meadows or some benign something else.

Sure, being moist isn't the best feeling on a person or on anything else. (Except a moist towelette, those are awesome and the phrase moist towelette is a good combo. Nice work, towelette, at taking a chance on a despised word.)

Here's an article by David Pescovitz that addresses why people hate the word moist. (Hello David! I assumed you have a Google alert out on your name! Welcome to my blog!)

It's just a word. And a really stupid word at that, it is an adjective. An adjective! Adjectives are mainly useless, all they do is describe things when usually the noun they are describing can takes care of itself.

People, if you are going to be afraid of a word, at least make is a noun (murderer, snakes, spikes) or a verb (falling, bleeding, apologizing).

Moist is so, so....so obvious. But really non-threatening. Moist is a halfway word. When something is moist it really is just slightly more than damp, definitively not wet or soaking, which are more frigthening states of being. Nor is it dry or dehydrated--also scary. It's a halfway word, moist is non-committal, middle of the road, mediocre. Are you going to let a sort of word like that control your emotions?

Free yourself from your hate of moist. Be powerful, don't let a small word like moist keep you down.

Do you think you can empower yourself to not be affected by a five letter word?

Really?

Then here goes:

Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist, Moist.


This blog was brought to you by my most hated word: lyceum.


Ah gross, lyceum, get off the page!



Monday, November 26, 2012

You can't control the Music, it controls you

After running a highly accurate and official survey, results have determined that the most common Facebook or Twitter complaint during this time of year is about retail stores' Christmas music and how much it annoys the typer.

I am the anomaly in these results. I worked in a retail store for five holiday seasons, the same retail store, that played a set of sixteen holiday songs over and over.

Let me say this again: for five holiday seasons I heard the same sixteen (16) holiday songs on average of 40 hours a week.

I never got sick of those songs.

I loved the chance to learn all the words and timing of each tune. Being able to sing my way through helping pissed off customers into having possibly a slighting less (or more) pissed off day by being helped by a singing employee.

That's false. I didn't even pay attention when I was singing the limited line-up of holiday songs. And let's be truthful, I already knew the words to most of the songs. So did my fellow co-workers. We all knew the various arrangements of Santa Baby and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Some people would curse and scream on Black Friday, not at the hordes of people trying to save $20 by shortening their life span by stressing themselves out to shop on Black Friday. They would curse at the first hearing of the annual holiday music.

But we couldn't control the music.

Eventually, instead of resisting the holiday music and we couldn't control, a calm meditative peace settled over the store. Or at least over me. There is a freedom knowing that you know all the words to the next song, a power in not using any energy to subconsciously identify the next song in your brain (the way your brain is constantly identifying things. Imagine a thrift store, brain recognizes work over time in there.)

Plus, most holiday songs are upbeat and happy. Which puts everyone in a good mood. Even people who say they hate the holiday music, you will notice those are the same people that hate lots of things. Which means hating things is one of the hobbies that they enjoy, therefore hating holiday music makes them happy!

But let's stay on the point. Most holiday songs are happy....except the Christmas Shoes. (Which is such an emotional song that it was made into a Made for TV movie featuring Rob Lowe.)

Ah! A sad song about a kid with a dying mother and new shoes for Jesus.

Thankfully, this song was not one of the 16 that I have cememted in my brain as my holiday soundtrack for like.

To be honest, I think I have only heard The Christmas Shoes once in it's entirety. What I know of the songs comes from friends who were late because they "Got Christmas Shoe-ed" in the car. Because apparently the song will take you by surprise and then lock you in to a frozen zone of weeping, like Medusa and her snake hair but instead of being turned into stone you turn into an emotional monster. People after hearing the Christmas Shoes can be identified by the frozen tear tracks on their face and a sudden need to give their shoes to someone, anyone!

Most people find coping mechanisima for The Christmas Shoes; seasoned Christmas Shoe-ers can recognize the first notes of the song and turn it off before it sucks you in, other people just start talking loudly to distract from the song plays.

But other people will shout "It's the Christmas Shoes!" and run away, leaving unsuspecting victims to wonder what that nutjob meant and listen to the song, therefore getting themselves sucked into the quicksand of music and sadness.

Most people survive a Christmas Shoes attack, however, no one recovers completely, scare left on a surviving listener is the person always telling you that they heard the Christmas Shoes that one time and holiday music has never been the same.

Beware the Christmas Shoes.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Living with SPAM


I am so embarrassed. I knew it was wrong but it felt so good, I didn’t even think about protection. It’s like everyone says, I didn’t think it would happen to me. But now I have to live with the results.
There is no cure. Only maintanence. But even with constant vigilance, there still are flare-ups.
My email address has been spammed.
And I know the exact moment it happened. And I blame Facebook.
On Facebook one of my Facebook friends had ‘claimed’ an offer from Southwest airlines for two free tickets. “Only 100 available”
And because my Facebook cohort had done it (and I like to have fantasies of constantly needing to fly around the country), I clicked on the ad. Then the ad asked me to fill out my contact information ( in order to redeem by free tickets), which I did using my favorite email address (instead of my dummy account that I used for garbage such as this). RED FLAG, HEATHER! But it was for free airline tickets, I whined back to myself. Once I had told the internet all my contact info  and clicked the “Claim your free tickets” button, I was taken to another page that said “Almost there, not claim three of these offers and the tickets will be yours!” What? I had to claim other offers for things like “Free trial subscriptions to Blockbuster” or “Take four surveys about your credit history” in order to get my free airline tickets on an airline that doesn’t even do assigned seating. (Or at least didn’t do that when I last few on Southwest a two summers ago, the do this whole single service seating thing.) It was on this page when I realized that this was a bad idea (finally!), so I left the page abandoning my free tickets.
I silently patted myself on the back for exiting the clear scam. But then I remembered:
I HAD ALREADY TOLD THIS SPAMMING COMPANY ALL MY INFORMATION!
And within 30 minutes of my false victory, I was spammed. From every angle and every stripe but mainly emails, texts and phone calls. Phone calls! Who calls on the phone anymore? My number has been on the Do Not Call List since 2005 (Truth, I checked). Now, I am scrambling to mark all these emails about home loans and dating seniors as spam and send them to the spam government thing. (spam@uce.gov, that’s the address they are the spam stoppers! Report stuff to them!). Why do these spammers think that I am both a single senior, puny muscle seeking wimp, looking to secure a home loan, get out of foreclose and meet playful marrieds in my area? And let’s not forget all the ways I can enlarge my penis!
I am creating new filters by the dozens, but spammers are infinite. I can’t make enough filters to get my head above the spam infested waters.
I know there is a solution. A cure.
Switch email accounts.
I have been with this email address for over ten years and have been able to keep it squeaky clean for that long. Until, one moment of stupid passion for a deal that I didn’t even get!
And now I have to abandon it.
My email has an STD. The only cure is to cut it off.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

President movies that I want to make!!

Dear Avid Readers of my blog,

You all know by now that I have had the most presidential year (if not, you can catch up on that blog here.) Well, my year of presidential pageantry continues with a viewing of LINCOLN last night, featuring one of my favorite actors Daniel Day-Lewis. Even more presidential, I saw the show with the cast of 44 plays for 44 presidents, which made it even more awesome. Especially when I wanted to keep singing the Lincoln song from the play during the movie. 

So I am not going to review the movie here because HOW CAN YOU REVIEW DANIEL DAY-LEWIS? 

However, I am going to suggest that the Hollywood elves make the movie DAY-LEWIS, which would be awesome because it would be Daniel Day-Lewis' life story and then the movie would mainly be about Daniel preparing for all of his amazing roles: My Left Foot, Gangs of New York , Lincoln. There are other movies but I don't want to type them all. Also the DAY-LEWIS movie would show what Daniel does when he is not making movies which is BEING A COBBLER.

So I am waiting for that movie to exits. I'll write it.

Also I would like Daniel Day-Lewis to star in FORD. The Gerald Ford movie. Before Ford was president he was a MODEL!!!

Check it:





That's Gerald Ford on the cover of Cosmo. He was the first man ever to be on the cover of Cosmopolitan Magazine and he accidentally became president!

This will be the best movie ever. I'll write this one too.

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Turkey Trot 5k!

Some times you just have to run a 5K on Thanksgiving morning.

And when I say "Sometimes you have to run" I mean, sometimes you have to dress up in a tu-tu and trot slowly around downtown Minneapolis on Thanksgiving morning.

Which is what I did:



The Turkey Trot is super fun. And is a franchise race (I don't know if that is the a real term, but I am too lazy to really look it up.) so there are lots of them in lots of places in lots of areas of the country. This one was sponsored by Lifetime Fitness. Which I am not a member of, but I still got to trot in their turkey race, along with 20,000 other trotters.

But let's stop talking about that and let's start talking about my tu-tu. The tu-tu's were Brooke's idea, well she texted me and said she was going to make a turkey tu-tu for the run and I texted back "I already have one." Because I do, during my time as a burlesque performer, I do a number involving a brownish colorful tu-tu and ta-da, the perfect tu-tu for the Turkey Trot.

Instagram makes everything better, much like cream cheese.
Our tu-tus were a huge hit amongst the trotters, many of whom were wearing pilgrim outfits, turkey hats and some anachronistic costumes like Godzilla and Dr. Seuss' Thing 1 and Thing 2. There were a number of other trotters in tu-tus but none as colorful and full of body as mine (I am pretty much a professional tutu maker, the largest one I have hardly fits into a giant IKEA, I have to stomp it in.).

I very much enjoyed seeing all the dogs that had signed up for the 5K and I liked it even more when the dogs were in costume. One family had a great look going where to two adults were dressed as pilgrims and there dog was the turkey! Well done!

At the end of the race is almost a party; hot coca, fruit, yogurt, candy, free stuff from various vendors and the general feeling of looking forward to the Thanksgiving meal and knowing that you already burned a lot of calories today and you really can be a couch potato all day and feel accomplished because you did the Turkey Trot.

This was my first year taking part in this event, I do want to do it again, however, this is Minnesota. Yesterday was and awesome 60 degrees for trotting, some Thankgivings are less that than in temperature-wise, but it is only 5K and it is super fun.

So, we'll see if I am up for it next year. It will depend on the weather, not my ability to make a tu-tu that simulates feathers.

Heather out.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Post Not About What You Think

Using the most sophisitcated of statistics 120% of all tweets, Facebook posts and blogs today will be about Thanksgiving.

Today, is also the world championship match of food status updates and tweets. I'll probably tweet about that later.

But I (at least on this blog) will not be bringing you any Thanksgiving tips or turkey tricks. Or how to convince your Uncle Henry to stop slapping the wall. Nor will I tell you that black olives are the best part of Thanksgiving and putting them on the tips of your fingers is indeed the proper way to eat them. I will not share with you my family's tradition of lighting a bayberry candle (Wait, that is Christmas.) I am not going to point out that I think we should eat stuffing every single day of the year, and why should something so delicious be eaten only once a year and why doesn't someone open a stuffing only restaurant in Minneapolis? I am not going to post about how I am or am not participating in Black Friday. Nor will I go into detail about former career in retail. I am not going to talk about pilgrims. At least, not today.



Instead, I bring you a memory of last year's Thanksgiving:

The terrible, horrible, frightening, yet alluring pig squirrel of Loring Park in Minneapolis.

  

What is this creature?????




Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Grapple Apples and ideas for more

Right now, I am eating a Grapple Apple. Are you confused as to what that is? If you are a visitor to the produce section of your grocery store, you probably are not confused. But if you are a non-fruit eater, let me explain what I know.

In the apple section of the grocery store, there's is usually a four pack of apples. On this four pack is a label, it says GRAPPLE. These are the Grapple Apples.

Buy it. Take it home.

Smell it. (I supposed you could also smell it in the store.)

Isn't the smell amazing.

Yup, it does smell like grapes. Grapple apples smell and taste like grapes. But they are apples! I know!

I don't really like apples. (Don't tell the Honeycrisp apples that, sometimes I do get into those.)

But I was feeling particularily adventurous last night beating the Thanksgiving eve-eve crowds, so I bought some Grapples.

I totally expected it to be a genetically modified food.

But it is just a normal apple. That tastes like concord grapes. (If you have never had concord grapes go now and find some they will blow your mind. [I recently discovered these this summer. {however, concord grapes have a weird ratio of seeds to size of fruit, I won't tell, you but it's the trade off of such amazing grapes.}]). 

Concord grape flavor apples? What?

Yup. That is exactly what they are. And as a non-apple eater, I was really into it. Since I was digging them so much I went to their website because I was doubtful that such feats of fruit engineering could be true.

But it is! Grapple Apples were even featured on an episode of Unwrapped. I watched the video and the grape infusing process doesn't add anything bad to the apple. It's just a grape bath!

I know some people that could be improved by a grape bath.

This fruit magic made me think of other things apples could taste like:

Beefpple: The beef flavored apple.

Crapple: The cranberry flavored apple. Great for keeping doctors away from Thanksgiving.

Lemonapple: Lemonade flavor apple. Sweet and sour, perfect for an infusion of fiber on a hot summer day.

Briepple: The Brie cheese flavored apple, for the fancy pants in you.

Pearapple: Finally the marriage between apples and pears will be complete.

Wapple: Even more water than before.

Pineapple: What? Doesn't this already exits? Nope, not like this. The infusion of pine in to apple.

Ok, world make these apples come true. Let me know if you need more ideas. I could keep going but there are three other Grapples in my fridge that I want to eat before I go to work.





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Credit Card Fraud

What would you buy on iTunes for $107.76? That's a hard one, isn't it? That one hundred and seven dollars and seventy-six cents. That is a lot of money for intangible things like, anything off of iTunes.

The most I have ever spent was on the most recent released season of Breaking Bad. I bought this because I am too impatient for it to be released on Netflix, but even that cost just $21.99. And that was in September.

In July, I spend ten dollars on iTunes purchasing music for my 2012 MN Fringe show, Merblades: Memoirs of a James Cameron. The irony with that is, of the five sound cues in the show, all of them were the same song (My Heart Will Go On). My pre and post show music was pretty amazing though.

So that is $31.99 that I had spent on iTunes for all of 2012. Why then, did I have a charge on my credit card for $107.76 from iTunes. I wondered maybe I had a media buying binge one evening. I searched through my shallow iTunes on my computer and found nothing worth that much money. One could priced out every single music or TV show I have on iTunes and the whole total would not come out to be more that $107.76. Unless, of course, you are pricing my original homemade videos at their correct price: priceless. But I assume you are not because Bryan Cranston doesn't star in them.

Even more curious, I didn't have a receipt in my email from iTunes, graciously thanking me for spending a Benjamin and some change with them.

$107.76. There is only one explanation for this.

My cat has learned to use the internet. It could see this coming for a long time now. I would find cat hair in between the keyboard. On more than one occasion, I would share my lap with my large tabby cat and my laptop computer. In these intimate lap sessions, I knew my cat was paying attention to the computer. I could tell he was trying to act all nonchalant and cat like, but he ended up be just chalant enough for me to figure it all out.

When I got to work, my cat gets on the internet and orders hundreds of dollars of things on the internet. The explanation of this lack of new media in my dusty iTunes accounts can only mean that my cat as a separate iSomething device that he downloads his music and movies too. And he must also have a separate email account that the receipts are sent to. I am living with a thief and a hacker! He must be stopped. Do they have feline controls for the internet?

At least, I figured out who's being using my credit card: my cat.


IS THAT WHAT YOU WANTED ME TO THINK CREDIT CARD THIEF?


Yes, yes it was. Fortunately, I only thought that for like a minute, then I called my credit card company and shut down my card.

So, yup. My credit card info was stolen and used to buy crap on iTunes. At least, I can hope that they bought some good stuff.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Age is not a Trampoline

Want to feel old?

Visit a trampoline park.

Last night, I was surprised and delighted (surpriselighted) to find myself on an adventure to Zero Gravity Trampoline Park. A trampoline park is an indoor warehouse space outfitted with millions (OK, twenties) of small trampolines attached to make a floor that you can run and bounce on.

It was really exciting.

Don't tell my mom. My mom is very anti-trampoline. She worked as a pediatric physical therapist and saw lots children paralysed from improper trampoline activity.

So I had her voice in my head the whole 60 (90) minutes of jumping fun. I also quickly found out that she was right and trampolines are deathtraps. Especially for adults.


Trampoline parks are designed for small, flexible 50 pound bodies to flit from one bounce pad to another with the grace of that stupid plastic bag on the wind in American Beauty. You put at adult out there and the whole world changes into American Psycho (minus Christian Bale). Adults are hard, rigid and heavy; they turn each trampoline pad into a cocked slingshot, ready to splat their old bodies across the nearest cement object. In addition to the increased stress on each trampoline, each jump area is surrounded by padded pipes where the trampolines are connected and because an adult takes up more space than a six year old, adults are that much closer to these thinly padded pipes. These padded pipes will kill you if you land on them, trip over them or get your feet trapped under; all of these things I managed to do. But even with this inevitable broken ankle looming in my near future, I couldn't help myself from jumping. ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS JUMP. All of my childhood deprivation of trampolines was let out now. My mom couldn't stop me here. I was in Mounds View, Minnesota, no one knows where that is! I am free! Free to bounce off the walls (yes, the walls are trampolines.) I am king of the tramp! Bouncing! Bouncing! Get out of my way, kid! This is my bounce area. Only one person per trampoline, kid! Oh yeah? I can run too. Watch! Oof, it is hard to run on trampolines. My legs are longer, kid, someday you'll see. Running! Running! Running! Tripping! Running! Falling? Wait, what is this liquid on my head? Am I bleeding? Don't tell my mom? Oh, it's just sweat, pouring from every pore of my body. How am I so sweaty? And out of breath? I've only been here for five minutes. Is that a side ache? No? OK, just checking. I better stop for a moment.

Wow, I didn't know I had muscles there. Why are my hips so sore? So much sweat. Oof, that's my back.

What's that? A FOAM PIT I CAN TRAMPOLINE INTO! Here I go, jumping into the pit of foam cubes! Flop. Ha, ha, ha! So fun. Let's do it again. Wait, I can't move. I am just sinking deeper into the foam cubes. How are those kids running on top of them like Legolas? Slow down, I can hardly move. I am a grown-up! Foam cubes can't keep me down! Why is this like quicksand? I feel like Poseidon emerging from the ocean, if the ocean was made of pudding and Poseidon was non-buoyant 32-year old Midwesterner.

I  tried to flail my legs free from the cubes as air assaults of flying children flew all around me. My legs were acting like there ware attached to different bodies. And each of those bodies did not want to work together to exit the foam pit. I wriggled and wraggled (new word, take that Shakespeare). The cubes sucked me in harder, like that woven finger trap from grade school. The cubes will not keep me down. I just needed to keep my head up, I couldn't let it go beneath the cubes, no one knows what is down there. Swim the cubes, Heather! Swim them like you have never sum cubes before. Umm? Self, I never have swum cubes before. Heather, just do it. My sweat was beginning to lubricate the cubes so I could pass by them easily. Finally, this adult body is working for me. There's the edge of the pit! Now, just to heft myself out. Come on triceps, don't fail me now.........OK, how about I do a combination of life/belly roll out. Yes!  That's what I call the upward squeeze! I belly flopped to the side of the tramp and pulled my betraying body from the foam cubes, if I ever was in possession of gracefulness this was not the moment that it was exhibited. I had conquered the foam pit, it wasn't pretty but it was conquered. Trampoline park, you can't keep me down. Age is just a number!

Hey? What are you doing? One person on the tramp at a time. Don't get so close! Hey!

Who pushed me back in the foam cubes?

I will rise again! (In about twenty minutes)



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Hula hooping at the roller derby

Sometimes I don't know how I get involved with things. Hula-hooping at halftime at the North Star Roller girls, however, was not one of those times. I agreed and planned to be a part of the halftime entertainment at the North Star Roller Girl's Bout 2 "Lei'd Out on the Track." It was a luau themed bout, so of course they needed hula dancers (real ones) and hula-hoopers (mainly real ones and then there was me.)

I got involved with this magical event, through a friend who is a very accomplished hooper, she was organizing the halftime hula hoop dance party and needed more hoopers. As someone who is always up for a chance to do something weird, I said yes, even though my hooping skills have not developed past grade 1 (even though I started hooping two years ago). She said it didn't matter how good I was, they just wanted fun people on the track. Well, I can do that. Oh, she added, and dress for a luau. That I can do!

I spend most of yesterday planning my luau outfit instead of sharpening my hooping skills. I also took a lot of time to apply bronzer to my legs and even longer removing most of it when I got overzealous and ended up looking like a third place Olympic medal on my knees. I even wore giant fish earrings, I had two lei (I don't know the plural if lei. Leis? Leies? Leix? Leia?), and a bikini with a scarf wrap. I as so ready for this.

Cleaning up at the MCAD Art Sale
Since this was a dance party, the audience was invited to hoop on the track with us. So extra hoops were needed. Fortunately, yesterday was the last day of the MCAD art sale, where I had hoops for sale. I swooped by the end of the sale and grabbed my unsold hoops and was ready to spin crazy at the Minneapolis Convention Center (where the derby girls skate).

A North Star Roller Girl Bout is part sport, part biker bar and all parts party. Instead of warming up and practicing for halftime, I did what any hipster would do and took photos (This is incorrect, a hipster would Instagram instead of take photos.).


 Like this:


Look at how fast they are going! Zooom!

We also learned it is important not to spill your beer on the track. It is dangerous to the skaters (also a party foul). If you do spill beer, you have to get the attention of Moppa Mia and she will come and clean it up. I bet she will make fun of you too, this is an event that has Jeerleaders, so they aren't going to coddle you.

This next photo is of Laura. She's the one in the middle, this one is also blurry because of how fast she is going. Watch out!












When I wasn't watching the bout, I was taking other pictures. Still not practicing my limited hooping skills. I posed and took this photo:

Which I think is awesome because the roof of the convention center is circular and Laura (not derby Laura, hooper Laura) was hooping beneath it. Yeah, I win the photography award of the year.

Notice I am still not practicing my hooping.

Halftime finally happened and it as a total dance-o-rama! Dudes and duddetes flooded the track, LED hoops were lit, children were running around and Elvss gave me a high five and a compliment. I swtiched between perfroming the two tricks I knew to pretending to invent new moves to being a hostess when total newbies eagerly approached the track. I found that if I set them up with the basics, they thought I was an expert!

And my clothes stayed on! (I was worried my bikini would become untied because of all of the hooping, not because I have a tendency to rip my clothes off in public. [hmm...there might be proof that disagrees with this statement]).

So that was performing at halftime at the roller derby.

Now to go practice my hooping tricks.








Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hand Turkey Gallery

For your Saturday viewing pleasure please step into the limited time exhibit of North American Hand Turkeys. Please select an audio guide from the table and press the corresponding buttons to hear more about each piece. Press "1" now to hear about the history of the North American Hand Turkey.

1.

The North American Hand Turkey is an indigenous species to North America, almost exclusively found in the United States. The species was developed shortly after the event "The First Thanksgiving" to both commemorate and communicate information about such an event. The hand turkey is often found in flocks, most frequently around schools. However, a solo hand turkey is not an uncommon sight. Today, in this gallery, you will see two of such solo hand turkeys.

Press "2" to hear about the first turkey in this exhibit.

2.


This hand turkey is an unconventional hand turkey. You can see it is found on top of a pizza box. This is most irregular as hand turkeys are usually found 8 1/2 by 11 paper or on construction paper. Controversy has erupted in the art and biological world as to whether this particular bird is even a member of the hand turkey species. Experts have agreed that this example is a hand turkey due to the roughly hand shape of the animal, though purists resist this assessment saying the bird is more like a hand eagle because of the apparent flight this bird may be on, due to speed at which it's finger feathers are in the wind. As you can see the spine feathers of this bird seem, ruffled as if this bird was fleeing an attack, or perhaps suffering from an illness, disease or development disorder. These suspicions of ill health in this bird supports the unusual location in which this bird was found.

Press "3" to hear about the second turkey in this exhibit.

3.

Now, here is an excellent classic example of the North American Hand Turkey. Note the strong, finger feather spread of this specimen. This bird also exhibits the classic autumnal colors of a hand turkey: orange and brown, though reds and yellows are common as well. Rainbow hand turkeys are also frequently spotted and a delight to the avid hand turkey watcher. More striking about this example is the pilgrim hat that this turkey is wearing. Hand turkeys enjoy wearing pilgrim gear and can even be found wearing bonnets (on the female hand turkeys) and buckles shoes (on both genders.) The buckle hat on this bird clearly indicates a male and the word cloud tells us that this is an older bird. Mature hand turkeys do develop speaking ability usually saying "Happy Thanksgiving."  This hand turkey is speaking English and wishing "Florian" a happy thanksgiving. This is highly unorthodox, as Florian is German who is living in Austria right now. It seems as if this hand turkey is on a migration to Europe. Very unusual. Perhaps this bird is bringing goodwill as an ambassador of the hand turkeys? Maybe the hand turkey civilization has advanced so far that they have a government and are looking to gain allies in non-hand turkey settle countries? Are the hand turkeys looking to start a war? Does our government have a plan to deal with the inevitable take over by hand turkeys? Should we stock up on buckle hats, shoes and bonnets now?

Dear hand turkeys, please be gentle.

-Your loyal follower.


Press "4" to hear the conclusion of this exhibit.

4.

Thank you for visiting the limited run of the North American Hand Turkey gallery. Please leave your audio guide at the door and visit the gift shop, where all the proceeds from today's purchases will be donated to the fight against the hand turkey invasion fund.

Friday, November 16, 2012

It's 3am, let's wake up and ride monster bikes

The things I do in the wee cold and dark hours on a Friday morning. What's the thing you would least expect me to be doing from 4am to 6am this morning?

Fighting polar bears?

Nope, even more unexpected.

Dancing with polar bears?

Come on, think unexpected.

Surprising polar bears with a homemade birthday card?

No, enough with the bears. I'll just tell you.

Touchy about the bears.

Stop it!

Ok. Already this morning, I have ridden a PedalPub for two hours. From 4am to 6am as part of Spare Key's Pedal to the Max fundraiser. They hosted a 24hr continues PedalPub (no alcohol, however) ride. My team's shirt was the wee hours of the morning. Which means I got up at 3am to find my way to the magical world of Lilydale, MN (it has a name that evokes whimsy and is almost impossible to find, just like a pixie).

My team was fun and happy and the treats were plentiful and all frozen. We were pedaling! We felt powerful! We had Cheetos! And we were freezing! Middle November mornings in Minnesota are cold, I thought I had worn enough layers, but what I have come to learn is that there is never enough layers. Halfway through our ride, I slipped some toe warmers into my shoes. I hoped this would relieve the numbness of the top of my feet. But no, the toe warmers didn't start warming my feet until I was on my way up the stairs to my apartment at 6:30am AFTER I RETURNED HOME from the ride.

However, our legs did get a good work out for the day. It was fun waving to all the cars that passed us. I hoped they thought that we were a bachelor party gone on way to long. Some cars honked at us when we waved. Others drove by so fast you could almost feel the driver covering the side of her or his face to avoid us recognizing them.

As our enthusasum for our early morning adventure waned so did our energy. At 4am, you don't really think abotu breakfast and the slim jims and energy drinks provided by the organizers weren't really doing it so we were running out of pedaling energy. By 5:45am we were ready to be off the bike and hand it off to the 6am crew.

Now if you are an astute reader of my blog, you will know this is the second 24hr fundraiser event I have participating in in less than 48 hours. On the 13th at 11:30pm I was part of the Huge Improv Theater Improvathon to raise money for Give to the Max Day and today was Pedal to the Max for Spare Key. Excellent observation, you.

This is also the second time in two weeks (and in my entire life) that I have been a part of a new worl record. The first world record I was a part of was on election night, where our production of the Neo-Futurist's play 44 Plays for 44 Presidents along with 44+ other productions, broke the world record for most productions of the same play happening on the same day. Woo!

Today's record was for world's longest PedalPub ride, but we didn't see anyone from Guinness there so we think it might be unoffocial. Unless, the Guinees representative was hiding in a warm car, becuase for sure no one wanted to stand out by the cold coffee (not on purpose).

So that is today. Already, I feel very accomplished. But I still have to go to work.

What? I though biking a giant machine around for two hours was work?

Nope, that was volunteer.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Give to the Max!

It's the ides of November, and I never forget that. Pretty much sense the middle of October I have been reminded daily about the ides of November. In Minnesota, November 15th is Give to the Max Day, a celebration of charitable donations. Every donation given today to qualifying non-profits that are sign-up for Give to the Max day on GiveMn.org has a chance to win even more money for your chosen charity. Many of the non-profits have matching grants today too, so if the reach their goal of, say $1000, their matching grant kicks in and they get an additional $1000! It's a really exciting day of giving.

In addition to the polite invites to donate, some organizations go even further to thank you for your support. Hilarious dance videos (made by non-dancers), cat themed threats (Mixed Blood Theater, I am looking at you are your horrible adorableness) an 28 hour improvathons.

What 28 hour improvathons?

That's right, one of my favorite organizations, Huge Improv Theater is hosting a 28 hr improvathon for Give to the Max day. It started last night with 4 hours of pre-party improv. My team performed last night in the 11:30pm slot. The improvathon goes until midnight tonight as Huge works towards reaching their fundraising goal. Here's the info on how to donate http://givemn.razoo.com/team/Improv-A-Thon-2012. My team is Last Action Movie. We performed an improvised action movie right before your very eyes, based on a title given to us from the audience.

My friend Michael has pledged to watch all 28 hours of the improvathon. That's a lot of funny. 

I always find Give to the Max Day exciting. It is fun to see groups work towards their financial goals and to help people receive matching grants through my donations. There are so many groups I want to support: Animals, Women, Children, THEATRE!

In addition to all the charitable giving, the date of Give to the Max day provides a nice contrast to the upcoming hullabaloo of Christmas shopping and giving and getting. There is a lot of fun in that part of Christmas, but Give to the Max Day relieves us of the need to rush and shop and freak out and drive in the snow and have to return the wrong item and forget to get something for your boss and then realized the Ipad you bought for your niece is broken and wrap and wrap and wrap until feel like you have wrapped your cat up in a box but don't know which box because your cat is an aspiring Maru and loves boxes, but then you get a text message saying the your brother got the same thing for your mom as you and now you have to be the one that finds that ancient VHS tape of that one trip to Wyoming to turn into a DVD in order to not ruin Christmas, and then get mad when your second cousin forgets to send you a thank you card.

Everything on Give to the Max Day is appreciated, there is no "wrong" present on Give to the Max day. So it's more stress free. And you can participate from your computer, or attend an even (like the improvathon!).

And you get to choose the organizations in which you support. So in that way it is exactly like shopping!






Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Today is not a snow day.

I woke up thinking I was in high school and today had the potential to be a snow day. I was excited to turn the radio on to listen for the school closings. Then I remembered that I am not in high school and that there is no snow here right now (Monday's flurries were a fluke, all the snow is gone and deep fall is back).

But realizing that there was no option for a snow day was disappointing. People talk of Daylight Savings Time as getting a free hour, but a snow day is like getting a free day. A day where you can't go anywhere (because you probably can't drive since you are in school and also so much snow) so you are forced to hang out around home. Maybe you'll get some kids together and go sledding. Hopefully, no one will hit that tree and have to go to the hospital. I used to have a dog that would love to come sledding, but then she would get cold and start to walk back home. She would start back up the hill home. Stop, look at us as if to tell us she was going back. Then she would go up towards home a little more, turn around again. Sometimes we would have to tell her "It's OK, you can go home." Then she would trot back to the house to chew the ice balls off of her feet. What an awesome dog.

No snow day today. There is no snow to make it so. I am cool with that (Ha! See that pun.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

That time I entered a cake into the MN State Fair

 
And I shall call myself, Minnesota for I have participated in the Great-Minnesotan-Get-Together: The Minnesota State Fair.

As someone who is motivated by the potential to win things, especially strips of brightly colored satiny fabric, I really want to win a ribbon at the MN State Fair.

Note: For years living in Minneapolis (as a non-native MN-er), I didn’t realize the State Fair was the biggest holiday of the year for the Minnesotan. But it is. And any Minnesotan will talk with you for at least 30 minutes about their favorite and therefore best ways to expereince the state fair. It is the type of joy and magic that only comes when a child is sitting on Santa's lap asking for a pony, before realizing that Santa is a stranger and your parents are nowhere in sight, and that you have been abandoned! But wait, oh, there's mommy waving and taking a photo. But you will never regain that joy from before. 

But now, I know. I’ve been there a few times. Ate the cookies and the things on sticks and rode that ride that got stuck in a tunnel of water (not as romantic as it sounds). But what I really want to do is to win a blue ribbon.

Partially based on dreams of using my North Dakota pride to win a ribbon at the MN State fair, also based on my need to enter contests and then mainly on my deep dark desire to make the world love beets, I entered a cake into the State Fair.

So I cooked up the Chocolate Beet Cake. Which is the only thing that I bake, not the only thing I can bake, but the only thing I will bake.

Take a look at this:

To enter a baked good into the State Fair, you have to register in advance, online. I assumed this would increase my chances at winning, since I understand the internet. I thought the fair required this because so many little old ladies want to enter that online registration would reduce the number of entries.

The hardest part of the whole thing was dropping the cake off to be judged. There is a small window of four hours starting at 8am on a specific Sunday that baked goods can be dropped off, this of course is only if they have been pre-registered and you have your online registration in your hand at the time of drop off. No un-pre-registered goods can set foot on the fairgrounds, ever. If you do, you will been blown away by state pride. Not really, they just won't let you enter your cake.

Just getting on the state fair grounds is hard enough. First you have to find your way to the state fair. Again, as a non-native MNer, I lack the natural instinct to know where the fairgrounds are. But with help from a Google map and my uncanny ability to always know where North is (hint: up), I found the fairgrounds, and the specific bakery good drop off entrance. This specific bakery goods drop off entrance had a line at least ten cars long. All these were cars of people dropping off baked goods. The cars were stopped because everyone had to check in with a police officer! I watched as the officer chatted up and recorded the licence plates of the cars in front of me. Oh no! Did I need some sort of authentication? I do have this cake sitting next to me, but what if it was a bomb cake? The officer has no way of knowing if I made this cake with beets or bombs? 

Then I saw the car directly in front of me hand the officer a bakery box and a coffee. There it is. That is how you do it. Bribe them. It's all too easy. It's bakery drop off day, of course people want the law on their side right before they are about to have their family recipes judged by strangers. Why didn't I think of that? But it was too late to hack off a hunk of my cake to give to the officer, as if I had intended all along to to win their favors through my ability to beat eggs. Too late! Here comes the officer!

Officer: Bakery drop-off?
Me: (fidgeting like a meth addict) Yup, chocolate beet cake, not bomb cake. Right here, it tastes better than in sounds. I should have brought you a piece. I am sorry.
Officer: That is OK. We get a far too many treats on this day.
Me: Oh.
Officer: Alright you can go through.

Ta-da! The officer didn't want any more processed sugar adorations. I was on the winning side. 

Now to find the bakery building. The MN State fairgrounds is it's own little city with a intricate network of roads named after famous Minnesota things. The only road I ever remember is Dan Patch, because I am pretty sure that was a Breyer horse back when I was a horse-brained teenager (I still suffer and live with bouts of horse-brain.).

The line is long and mysterious.
Now that I was out of the car, I had to make the rest of the journey on foot. About 30 feet to be exact, I was parked right next to the bakery building. But wait! Another line! The line to drop off the baked treats is the length of a football field. I am using football field as a measurement because that makes sense to my non-football brain. I supposed I could say polo field but I'd rather not conjure up thoughts of horse poop while talking about my chocolate cake, also I have no idea how large a polo field is, or even if it is called a field. 

So I stood in the whatever sports-size metaphor is appropriate line. The people in front of me had a radio flyer wagon full of cookies, cakes and pies. I just had my small cake on a 9 inch cardboard round: the required 9 inch cardboard round. The instructions said that all cakes had to be submitted on a 9 in cardboard round, all other receptacles, plates, or doilies will not be accepted. However, everyone had space age looking containers in their arms. It was like an intergalactic baby pageant. Except the babies were baked goods. I felt so insignificant with my tiny bundt of chocolate and beets on the allowed 9 inch cardboard round. I wanted to shout "I listened to the rules! I did, you are all cheaters!"

But I didn't, because then the guy behind me said. "Huh, you didn't even put a cover on that. That's odd, well I guess I will have to eat it. Ha Ha Ha." I knew he was trying to psych me out, to make me feel bad about my poorly covered, exposed to the elements tiny cake. And it was working! I was psyched out. Yes, the rules did allow one to cover their cake with a Ziploc bag, but I didn't know how to get a frosted bundt cake into a Ziploc bag with out messing the cake up! The answer: use a fancy (illegal) cake carrier tin Tupperware from the future. Well, I didn't have that. 

See? Unprotected. And there was nothing I could do about it now. I could only wait through the line.

And wait.

And fret about my cake.

And wonder if I filled the online registration out correctly.

And wait.

And remember that no where on my registration did I say that it was a chocolate beet cake.

And wait.

And wonder if the judges are going to think my cake is actually a chocolate cake entered in to the wrong category. Because I had entered it into the Bake Products: Cake, vegetable or fruit category and on first glance you might think my cake is only chocolate. (because I have fooled a great many folks in that way, a lesser handful of beet haters have spit out the cake in my presence, knowing full well there were beets in there in the first place.)

Finally, it was my turn to turn in my cake. I thought I would have a chance to double check my registration info and fill out a identification card.

Nope.

I stepped up to the table, handed my online registration confirmation to the intake worker and my cake was whisked out of my hands, crammed into a Ziploc (Watch the frosting! oh I see, that you, oops, well it doesn't look too...) I was handed a MN State Fair button and a packet of baking yeast. I had to clarify baking yeast so you wouldn't think I caught some sort of yeast infection from the nice but hyper efficient maybe volunteer, but they could also be paid employees of the State Fair.

And that was it. Like dropping a child off at college. But the child is a tiny baked good and college is the mouths and forks of strangers set on judging the living yeast of it.

A few days later, I attended the fair to check on my cake. Did it still recognize me? Did it win a prize?

The answer was no. The cake was different now. It was missing a quarter of it's body. No longer a circle of beets a chocolate, but a stale u-shape, left to dry in the display rack. 

See it there at the bottom midde ^                 No ribbon.                        


I wasn't sad. I was disappointed. Not because I didn't win. But because this won:

 
This is a carrot cake! Carrot cake! The most predictable of all the Baked Products: Cake, vegetable or fruit category. At least a zucchini cake or a watermelon cake could have won. But a carrot cake. Sure carrot cake is delicious but this one is even decorated in the traditional style. Is that why it won? It was dressed well and tasted good? Or were the judged distracted by the tiny frosting carrots to pay attention to the fact that they were eating a cake they have eaten before? What will happen if I dress my cake up like a carrot cake, instead of tiny frosted adorable carrots I festoon my cake with tiny frosted beets? What would that make them feel like? Like giving a ribbon to the tiny beet cake that could?

Scorecard by Judge DJ
In the mail, I received my scorecard for my cake. Though I did not win a ribbon of any color, I did a decent showing. My frosting, which is my least favorite parts of all cakes, got a perfect score. My beet cake only lost 15 points, 5 for being too moist and 10 for flavor. I bet they took 10 off because of the beet flavor, those beet haters. Or they took 10 off because there wasn't enough beet flavor! Next year, more beet flavor!!

Note: This blog was about an event that took place the summer of 2011. I did not enter the state fair in 2012. So I still have not won any sort of ribbon from the MN state fair. I have, however, continued to make the chocolate beet cake which mainly gets rave reviews and only one out of every twenty people has to spit it out in front of me. Apparently, the reaction is so violent they cannot even save face and do it without my knowledge. My friends are jerks.

Note 2: My friends are not jerks.

Note 3: Though I could use more friends that are as passionate about beets as I am.