Thursday, May 27, 2010

And that's what you call "ironic"

I took a quiz online today in which I was required to look at a world map--a rather small and squishy one, I might add--and type in every country in the world by memory (there are 195 countries, in case you are wondering). No, it wasn't for a class.


Yes, yes, this is what I do for fun.

(Addendum: This is what I do for fun aside from practicing, of course.)

And so.

I began. Though not required to do so, I decided to name the countries by order of continent, so as to be sure not to miss any.

I started with North America. With no trouble, I soon named all 23 countries.

On to South America, the easiest continent of all, with only 12 countries.

Then Europe. It took some thinking, but I got all those, too.

Next up: Asia. 44 countries later, I needed only two more. But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what I was missing.

So, glancing at the ticking timer (the allotted time of 15 minutes goes by quickly), I moved on to Africa. Piece of cheese--all 53 countries in the bag.

Australia (which includes Oceania). Typing away furiously, I named those islands off like they were my own children.

I then looked at my country count: 193/195--perfect, but for those two illusive Asian countries. I racked my brains. I searched. I puzzled. I hmmmed and hawed. All the obvious ones were there--China, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea, India. And all the not-so-obvious ones were there, too--Bhutan, Brunei, Timor-Leste, Azerbaijan, Qatar.

WHAT was I missing?

With baited breath, I watched my last few seconds slip away and then the two countries I had missed appeared in red.

Iran and Iraq.

IRAN. and. IRAQ.

Uggggggg. Here goes again...

If you also would like to conquer the world:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

G-POD the Second

I once lived in a g-pod. When I moved out of this g-pod, I did rejoice muchly. I entered a (mostly) blissful living existence in which my environment was clean, there was very little drama, and my roommates were kind and considerate of others.

But I should have known that such an ideal way of life couldn't last forever, let alone more than one semester.

With that introduction, we now begin the saga of G-pod the Second.

Beginning of spring term: my dear, wonderful roommate, Alice, moves out to head to Montana for a summer internship. Into her place moves Tiffany (*name has been changed*), whose previous residence was Heritage Halls. Though slightly apprehensive about living with a person who is still quite freshly out of high school and the freshman dorms, I don't immediately suspect that things will soon be not-so-very-pleasant. For the time being, all is fine and dandy.


A couple days later, I come home to find a stranger surfing the internet whilst lounging on my couch with a pillow and blanket, all of her worldly possessions stacked around her in what was once my apartment's small but adequate living room space. A folded mattress is stashed in the corner of the room, and a big green tote occupies the coffee table, its innumerable contents spilling onto the floor. A sleeping bag and several miscellaneous objects litter the other couch. I notice a hairbrush precariously resting on top of the refrigerator. A feeling of panicked anxiety enters my mind as my days of toxic rubbish smotherization (i.e. crumbled cracker crumbs, dirty dishes, used tissues, soiled socks, bits of trash, etc.) in the g-pod suddenly flash before my eyes.

"Are you one of my new roommates?" I ask apprehensively. "Did you buy the available contract?"

"Oh, hello!" she replies, seeming slightly startled. "I'm one of Tiffany's friends. And no, I'm not a new roommate." But before the rushing feeling of relief had quite calmed my racing heartbeat, she adds, "I'll just be staying here for the summer."

"Uh? What?" I ask, thoroughly confused by her apparently oxymoronic statement.

"Well, I'm doing this sort of camping study abroad thing."

"Camping study abroad?" I thought to myself. "What, camping on our living room couch?"

"Hmmm, okay," I said, deciding not to judge things too quickly and inquire further later.


Several days pass. The apartment becomes increasingly filled with rubbish. I ask illegal-roommate (Helga, for our future reference here, seeing as she is [as one of my coworkers put it] "practically a Viking invader") in a very nice manner if she could please clean up her (I was very tempted to use the word CRAP, but did not) because I couldn't have the apartment in such a state when teaching piano lessons. She kind of nods her head, but her eyes stay glued to the computer screen, and her earphones stay clamped on.

I come back from work just in time to teach one of my Friday afternoon piano students. He arrives for his lesson, along with his mother, but there is not even a place for her to sit on the couch, as nothing has been cleaned up whatsoever. I apologize, and realize that something has GOT to be done.

But then, suddenly, Helga disappears. Unfortunately, not all of her stuff disappears with her, but Helga has, for a few days at least, departed our abode.


A week passes. The apartment is cleaned up and livable once again. I begin to wonder if I had misinterpreted Helga's intentions about staying for the summer. But alas, no.

She returns.

How do I know she is back?

I come home Monday night and can barely open the front door for all of the revolting clutter lying everywhere in the living room. Piles of dirty clothes, smelly camping gear: it is quite awful, no exaggeration. Even G-pod the First doesn't compare. But things only get worse from here. I go to the kitchen to find something for dinner and open my cupboard. Food that had been there hours before has now mysteriously disappeared. I go upstairs to take a shower. My bathroom towel is not only soaking wet, (um, ew?) but also has mysterious pink stuff smeared all over it. What is the pink stuff? I don't even want to know. I retrieve a clean towel from my bedroom and take a shower. I climb in bed, (Tiffany dozing in the bunk bed above me, though she has left the light on), and glance at the clock: almost midnight. I wonder where Helga is, as she is not occupying her usual space on the living room couch and the hour is late.

A while later, my question is joltingly answered: the doorbell rings. As anyone who has ever visited my apartment or rang the doorbell knows full well, this particular doorbell is loud enough to awaken the dinosaurs from extinction. So, naturally, I grumble to myself about the complete lack of common courtesy some people seem to possess, turn over, pull my covers a little tighter, and assume Tiffany will get up and let her friend in. But, as the last tones of the doorbell die away and the ringing in my ears begins to grow fainter, no stirrings come from the bed above me. And then the pounding on the door and a voice yelling up at our window begins. Before I have time to pull back the covers, the doorbell rings again. I go downstairs and open the door, and Helga enters without so much as a "thank you." I go back upstairs to bed.

(Grammar alert: I'm changing tenses. Writing about the past in the present is officially no longer amusing me.)

Yesterday, while at work, I received a text from my other roommate, Ashley--one of the most mild-mannered, kind, thoughtful roommates anyone could possibly ask for. But mild-mannered, soft-spoken Ashley was no more. The text she sent me was a message that was nearly six texts long, an explosion from someone who had finally had the last straw. Her 21st birthday is today, so she had invited some friends over last night to celebrate a little early and obviously didn't want them to have to wallow in filth. So she'd asked Helga very politely to clean up her mess. But did she? No. Not only was the apartment still a filthy mess, but now also beginning to smell. No, not just smell. Reek. Is there anything more disgusting than the smell of ripe body odor?

Ashley proceeded to give the apartment a thorough cleaning. She stacked all of Helga's belongings in one corner (she was very kind not to put them outside), and left a long note telling her that we'd had enough and that she was no longer welcome to stay with us (though she hadn't even asked in the first place, anyway).

When I got off work and came home, the apartment was sparkling clean, and completely silent, though it still smelled. I opened up a window to get a draft of cool, rain-freshened air to begin airing out the stench, and walked into the kitchen, where I found Helga sitting silently at the kitchen table. No words were exchanged. I went upstairs where Tiffany was sitting in our bedroom. She was silently doing homework. I went to bed, and when I woke up this morning, the apartment was still clean. There was no sleeping Helga sprawled on the couch.

Though her stuff is still piled in our apartment, I believe she may have learned her lesson: when one is a guest, one should act like a guest.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Squirm, wiggle, flinch, cough, gag

Have you ever seen a really corny engagement photo? And I mean really, REALLY corny? The kind that makes you embarrassed for the poor couple who thinks it's clever or cute? Well, I am here to tell you that the particular photo you may now be envisioning in your mind is nothing compared to what is about to assault your eyeballs. Yes, folks, "corniness" now has a new definition: engagement VIDEO.

(You'll have to be signed in to your facebook account to be able to view it. And no, I don't actually know the people--the video just appeared in my newsfeed because a friend commented on it.)


Or prepare yourselves for one minute and 36 seconds of squirming awkwardness.

Note: No offense intended.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I understand a secret code.

Okay, maybe it's not secret.

And maybe it's not code.

BUT. I understand it.

Haitian Creole.

Who'dve thunk?! Well, maybe knowing that nearly 80% of the vocabulary words in Haitian Creole are based on French, you might've thunk. But still.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

In other news, yesterday I got some targeted spam email (here it is copy and pasted directly, minus the links--I hope you enjoy the glorious formatting, perfect punctuation and capitalization, grammatically immaculate sentence structures, and the impeccable spelling):

The Ultimate 2 DVD Collection

Musicteachers, Bands, Musicians Songwriters etc
This 2 DVD Compilation contains a goldmine of Information.
Learn to sing like a pro, Play spine tingling guitar riffs,
Learn how to Songwrite, and much more.
The Music Industry is an extremely competitive market,
this product will give you that edge needed to succeed.

Sheet Music (over 1 gb)
Complete Full Works of:
Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Chopin,
Debussy, Grieg, Hayden, Liszt,
Mendelssohn, Mozart, Rachmaninov, Ravelli,
Scarlatti, Schubert, Schuman
Plus Many Modern:
Robbie Williams Celine Dion,
Beatles, Elton John,
Madonna, Avril Lavinge,
Phil Collins, No Doubt, Sting,
Christina Aquerilla and many more

Great Britain £39.50
Post & Packing/Shipping £4.50
United Stated $65.25
Post & Packing/Shipping $7.45
Australia $71.95
Post & Packing/Shipping $8.25
Canada $69.50
Post & Packing/Shipping $7.90
Euro E44.25
Post & Packing/Shipping e5.05


Hmmmm...seem a little iffy?

Yes, I think I'll order some Hayden, Ravioli--oh, sorry, Ravelli--and Schuman. Or--oops--was that Shoeman? And throw in some good ol' Avril La-cringe *cough* Lavinge while you're at it.

Possibly the person who wrote this ad had had a little too much Aquerilla to drink? Wait, no--my mistake--that's the name of a pop star, not an alcoholic beverage.