Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hell's Kitchen

Hell doesn't have a kitchen. Hell is a kitchen. It's a kitchen with white tile floor so that you see and feel every particle of food waste that drips on to it. A kitchen with a stack of dishes so high that they call it Mt. Doom. A kitchen with trash that reeks of rotting meat and old cabbage. A kitchen where all the pots and pans are way to high too reach. A kitchen with infinite Tupperware but no lids. A kitchen with a microwave that doesn't rotate, a stove that smokes, and a refrigerator that doesn't stay closed. In essence, Hell's Kitchen is my apartment kitchen.

God has given me a few Catch 22s to work through. The quagmire that has so particularly vexed me of late is my love of eating vs. my hatred of cooking.
Guys, I love eating, but I hate cooking.
Like, I never get so close to swearing as I do when I am cooking.

I'm going to college so that I can make enough money to never cook again. As far as I'm concerned the purpose of getting rich is so that you don't have to make your own food. That's why a Culinary Arts degree is the biggest joke in the world. WHAT'S THE POINT OF MAKING GOOD MONEY IF YOU STILL WIND UP COOKING FOR YOURSELF?

When I'm stirring a pot I feel like all the elements of the universe have conspired together to stir the pot of my life. Only, my life isn't a pot; it's a hornets' nest. I'm not crying because I'm cutting onions. Oh wait, yes I am. I just hate cutting onions so much that I can't hold back the tears.

Some people were born to cook. I am not one of those people. "Make your own food," they said. "It'll be fun," they said. Two hours later the house is a mess, the embers of an unidentifiable mass are still smoking, and you can't tell that I've been crying rivers because I'm soaked from the explosive sink that showered me when I tried rinsing off a spoon and now I have to explain to everyone I talk to for the next half hour that I didn't wet my pants... again.

When I make cookies for people they say, "Thanks for the biscuits." When I make barbecue chicken, it has to be thrown away because it breaks four health code restrictions, five UN ordinances, and two terms of agreement of the Geneva Convention.  My roommates sees my outcast food and asks who vomited in the trash. Only all my hopes and dreams.

It all started with the bread maker, or rather the dough maker. Whatever it's called, it wasted my hard-earned dough and didn't make me bread. It just made me sad. IS ONE SLICE OF HOMEMADE BREAD TOO MUCH TO ASK?! OH THE HUMANITY!!

I can't have my cake and bake it too.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Time I Joined a Gang: Crips vs. Bloods

Tonight I joined a gang. You may have heard of them. They are called the Crips. Crips wear blue. Their arch nemeses are the Bloods who wear all red. Crips want to beat Bloods always.

Surprised that I joined a gang? Would it also surprise you that I started a gang in the third grade called The Running Wolves? Godfather much? Godchild? I didn't choose the thug life; thug life chose me. 

The occasion for joining the gang was the annual Blood Bowl, a rumble of famous gang leaders that is broadcasted to all the members of the respective gangs world-wide.

Like a good Crip, I was wearing blue clothing. I cheered when our opponents were beaten to bloody pulps. I cried blue tears when our brothers were crippled (welcome to the blog where puns are always intended). There was a lot of energy. It was a riot. A literal riot.

At one point we saw some bloody Bloods on our turf. We were in public so we didn't physically abuse them, but my gang was content shouting obscenities and slurs. I tried to join in:

Hey losers! Red is a stupid color! Red-iculous, am I right?! Hey, where did you get that shirt? Target?! Karl Marx called, he wants his favorite color back!

The guys next to me were like, "Okay, that's enough bro."
Gang can't even handle me right now.

Apparently there are a lot more gang members than I would have suspected in Rexburg. People came from all around to watch the rumble. Some brought their kids. It was interesting to see otherwise good Christian folk lose all human decency in the midst of the melee. These people probably work together, worship together, and heck, maybe they play Chutes and Ladders together on the weekends. But the minute they don the red or blue it's as if they have insulted every homeland, mother, and child of the other. It's like Batman and Robin suddenly becoming Batman and Joker. Makes you wonder. 

When the dust of the battlefield finally settled, I began to think. Why do we join gangs? Why do we buy all the blue clothing and merchandise if the gang doesn't do anything for us in return? Why do we hate members of the other gang? They probably never did anything to hurt us personally. Why do we give absolute devotion to the gang like it's some sort of cult? I don't even personally know the leaders of the gang. They sure don't know or care about me. 

Wait..... what? I can't believe it........ Stop the press!....... How stupid of me!......... That wasn't a gang rumble at all. I was watching the BYU vs. Utah football game! 

What a hilarious misunderstanding.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ask Ethel- Back to School

Note from the editor: Ethel Epstein is a native of New Jersey who started writing this advice column in 1973. Since then she has helped countless people with her quick wit, concrete principles, and no-nonsense approach. After several requests we have added her column to the blog. It helps if you read with a New Jersey accent. The contents of Ethel's column in no way reflect the attitudes, views, or opinions of Tanner or Bryan.

Dear Ethel,
    Today is my first day of college. Do you have any advice on how I should dress, what classes I should take, and particularly, how I can attract men?

Yours truly,
Freaking Out Freshman

Dear Freaking,
     Oh how I love to hear from Fresh-fries. You all are so adorable in you little roller backpacks and your hopelessly lost expressions. It reminds me of the first time I accidentally wandered into a army barracks after hours. But that's a different story dear. We're here to talk about college, and I am the perfect person to do so. After all, I hold several degrees from prestigious universities.

     First of all, there's no need to "freak out."Compose yourself darling, you're an adult now... unless you're one of those freaky home school children that goes to college when they're ten years old. My, that's horrific. Imagine a toddler in college! Not that there's anything wrong with homeschool, mind you. I myself home schooled my son Johannes Brahms well into his 30s. Unfortunately the lousy excuse for our government doesn't recognize his degree as legitimate. They even said that Canasta Theory and Practice isn't even a real course! As if! How insulting. What happened to America?
     Don't worry about classes. I never graduated college (or high school for that matter), and I never regretted that. Why worry about class when you have bigger proverbial fish to fry? College isn't about going to class; It's about having class! Which brings us to the next point...
     What should you wear? The worst mistake that a college girl makes is dressing like a jungle floozy who could only be comfortable on a corner of 7th Avenue. Here are my "Five Don'ts of College Fashion:" 1) Don't wear read. It's the color of flappers, stop signs, and fire hydrants. 2) Don't wear leather. Leave that to the animals and mature humans. 3) Don't wear too much makeup. A woman's face is a canvas, and unless your name is Leo Da Vinci, you shouldn't be painting. 4) Don't expose yourself. Wolves like raw meat darling. Wolves. 5) Don't wear lots of expensive jewelry. It will intimidate a man. He will never buy you pearls or diamonds if he thinks you already have enough.
     Now we arrive at my specialty, attracting men. It's a curse really. I've never touched a man, but oh how they flock to me! Why Robert Redford once told me.... oh dear, I'm getting ahead of myself.... Let's just say we all have our crosses to bear, and beauty is mine. So what's the secret? Genes, dear. Genes. You got it or you don't and that's the truth. I won't sugar coat it for you. However, if your genes don't quite cut it, you can read another one of my letters about How to Win a Man.
     Remember, college is all about being who you want to be. Love yourself. Do what makes you happy. Clothes don't make a person. Classes don't define your class. And good strong relationships begin with good strong individuals.

Ethel Epstein is a mother, cosmetician, fashionista, Christian, Jew, Bingo player, 2 time winner of the New Jersey State Lottery, and athlete (Gin Rummy). Questions to "Ask Ethel" may be posted in the comments section of this article.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

If We're Not Friends, Don't Add Me

As of this moment, I have 54 unanswered friend requests on facebook. I know I'll probably never accept or decline most of them. I'm too tender-hearted to say no, but too practical to say yes. This is a letter to those people:

Dear Person,

Sorry for not calling you "friend." Well, I'm not really sorry. We are not in fact friends. Sure maybe we met at a party a year ago, but that was the last time I saw you. I didn't even catch your last name. I probably don't remember your first name. I probably had to creepily look through your pictures to see if I even recognized you. I don't think that one encounter was grounds for me having to read every status update that you post for the rest of your mortal existence.Trust me, if I was that interested in the lives of total strangers, I would watch reality TV.
Person, you don't know me so you probably don't realize that I can hardly hold on to a serious relationship for a week. Imagine the pressure you are placing on my shoulders by asking me to accept your friendship request that for all I know is valid til death do you part. Every time you listen to Lady Gaga on Spotify, or like One Direction's page, or cryptically complain about vague problems, or post pictures of your homemade pasta, I have to see it. The more strangers that I add, the more time I have to spend scrolling through my news feed until I find people that I actually know. Now with advertisements, my news feed is infinity long, and I just can't endure the possibility of it becoming more dense with information about people I don't know.
"What's the big deal?" you might ask. "I just wanted to get to know you." I guess I have a different outlook on interpersonal relationships. Call me old fashioned, but I like to meet and get to know people face to face.
If you don't know what I'm talking about when I say "face to face" then ask your grandparents. They can tell you about times shortly after the Jurassic era when there were no cell phones, the internet was in black and white, and you could buy a new home for a nickel. Back in those days they didn't have facebook. Instead, people would use their mouths to talk to each other! Crazy right? Like, what's the point of having thumbs if you aren't even going to text people? In those times, people didn't have ipods either, so they actually used their ears to listen to what others said. Sounds exhausting right? But that's what they did. And guess what, that's what I prefer also.

So if you want to be friends, come to La Jolla 102. We can talk, laugh, cry, bake cookies, frolic in a meadow, play Truth or Dare, create inside jokes, watch funny videos, or do a host of other things that real friends do.
Your less-than-friend,
Tanner G