Category Archives: Fun!

Vacation, how my family is the best, and my ESPN anniversary

You know those things in life that you don’t plan for, the ones you have no expectations for, that end up being some of the best times in your life?

I’ve had a few of them in the past year. I had a week of them last week. I sit here two days out of vacation still laughing at jokes and incidents from the vacay, the now-inside jokes my cousins and I shared and just the bizarre nature of my family.

I sit here looking back at my first year in Connecticut, still wondering how I got here, but pleased as hell that I’m here.

This is the kind of blog that’s going to take subheads. I’ve missed breaking those bad boys out – editors are so nerdy – so here I go.

Yes, I took this picture of myself. Yes, I’m wearing a hat. My Wicked Stepmother (haha) made me. The Waterfront is in the background — I’m standing on our awesome Big Dock outside the cottage.

On Keuka Lake

I spent six days in upstate New York with my family, on Keuka Lake, in the gorgeous Finger Lakes region. My family has been going there forEVER and I’d only been once, when I was like 10 or 11. Living in Oklahoma and being a workaholic didn’t afford many opportunities for visiting upstate New York. Now, I look forward to going every year, or at least way more often.

Keuka, between Penn Yan Village and Hammondsport, N.Y., is where the water flows as well as the wine. Vineyards dot the landscape, which is replete with rolling hills and bluffs, vistas and meadows. Roadside fruit and veggies stands pop out of nowhere this time of year, hawking the sweetest corn you’ll ever taste. Mennonite wagons are plentiful, and signs warn you of upcoming buggies containing bonneted lasses and their bearded brethren.

The topography isn’t too different from Connecticut, and it certainly wasn’t any cooler outside, but being in the waters my grandfather used to fish was – well, it was inspirational and uplifting.

Not that I spent a lot of time pondering that while I was there. I hashed those thoughts over on the drive up and back. Most of the time in the cottage was spent laughing, boating, sunning, drinking and talking. I don’t drink that much anymore, but on this trip I would’ve made Charles Bukowski blush and Jim Morrison cheer. Our cottage was next door to a bar and a short distance from another bar. Not to mention my aunts, uncles and parents kept buying more beer. It was kind of perfect.

It started like this – my dad and my cousin John flew into Hartford, then I gave them a tour of ESPN. They got to meet Herm Edwards, among others, and John is a huge sports fan, so it was A DELIGHT (James Lipton voice) to see him and my dad’s eyes as we walked through my place of employment.

We left the next day for Keuka. We arrived later than planned, which is the way I like to road trip. My Uncle Jack (The Patriarch) rented a boat, and thus began a weekend of controlled debauchery, moonlight boat rides, ridiculous giggling, a little foosball and relaxation.

I spent a lot of time with John and his brother Ryan, who got there a few days later, but also got to spend scads of time with my dad, who is having surgery next week and with whom I was excited to spend time. (Note: My fam and I also had an extensive conversation about ending sentences with prepositions, so I’m trying to avoid that. Yes, we’re definitely related.) But that’s the way it typically works out – I always hang with my sisters and cousins most. I have a great bond with all of ‘em. I might’ve forced both John and Ryan to promise we’d do this when our parents are old. I might’ve been a bit drunk. But I meant it.

The bar next to the cottage, The Waterfront, was where Sunday night started and ended. They have this thing called Clammin’ and Jammin’, and a band played the early part of the night – one dude got so into it, he undressed, much to the chagrin of every woman in the place. Probably the men, too.

After the band went home, John and I sat outside the tiki part of the bar until we were invited by the locals to sit up front with them. John proceeded to tell everyone I work at ESPN, and then the night took a ridiculous (and somewhat embarrassing for me) turn. I answered all the questions, they bought shots, and then it all got kinda hazy. I took pictures of a fish John caught – I don’t remember taking the pictures, and it’s more of John’s drunken face and less of the alleged fish. He swears it flopped back in the water.

Somewhere in the middle of all that – before extreme drunkenness, of course — we went on a midnight boat ride with my uncles. Gorgeous.

We also visited the Switzerland Inn, or the Switz as it’s called, a place of legend among my family and where Ryan nearly got into a fight with the biggest, dumbest dude I’ve ever seen. Ryan was just being a smartass, as usual, but apparently you don’t poke the local bear. I do not doubt Ryan’s toughness, but he’s far too pretty to get his face bashed in. I thought I was going to have to do some fast-talking.

I also met or was reintroduced to the Troll side of my family (yes, that’s a family name – you shan’t make fun). They live all over Alaska, in New York, in Texas, in Seattle – all over the place. I’d met a few of them, but certainly not all. Of course, we had a great time. They are a fabulous bunch of folks. They stayed across the lake, and we boated over a few nights for excellent dinners, beer and wine tastings and conversation. The first night was a tribute to one of the Troll sisters who died in December. It was touching and sweet, and even though I’d never met Mimi, I felt her presence and, me being me, I cried.

What surprised me about the whole trip was that I hadn’t really thought about it before I went. Work had been crazy, I’d had a lot going on there, and I didn’t let it build up in my head. I think that’s what made it so great – it was an unexpected six-day pleasure trip. And honestly, my family is just so fun and so goddamned goofy. We’re excellent conversationalists too. It was one of my better vacations.

My year anniversary at ESPN

Just a random picture of Ryan Braun. Le Sigh.

The day before I left Keuka, Aug. 1, was my one-year anniversary at the Worldwide Leader. I’m still in love with my job. Most days I leave with a smile on my face. I hope they like me too – I want to stay there as long as they’ll have me. I feel like I’ve found what I was looking for on the workfront (still waiting for Ryan Braun or one of his brethren to realize they need a short, pleasantly plump Shiksa woman to make their lives complete, but that’s another blog).

I think ESPN might be my lifeline. I had to do it. People say I’m brave for packing it up and moving away, but I think it was a foregone conclusion. I had to do it, and I’m not looking back, especially when it’s 111 in Oklahoma today!

Over the past year, I’ve been afforded so many opportunities to be amazed, pleased and to excel. It’s been a busy, crazy, intoxicating year (not in the aforementioned beer-y way, though). I like to say that on Oct. 9, 2011, Tim Tebow was named starting QB of the Denver Broncos, and Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State on Nov. 9, 2011, and it’s been nine kinds of crazy ever since. And that brings me to…

The bureau meeting
Without getting into a lot of organizational chart-job title-ESPN insider info stuff, suffice it to say there are a lot of mega-talented folks at ESPN, many of whom roam the countryside with microphones in hand, stopping at sporting events to report what’s going on. If you’re a sports fan, you’ve seen these people on TV. They are bureau reporters, and once a year, they and their requisite bureau producers converge in Bristol for a few days of workshops, etc. I got to take part in these workshops this year, as I work hand-in-hand with these guys every day. I had talked to them all on the phone, but only met a couple face-to-face. It was an exciting day for me – to be surrounded by so many talented, hard-working people who have the same ambitions in life as me, the same work ethic and the same drive. It was another one of those “is this real life?” moments.

We all met for dinner one night, and I sat at a table filled with pedigree and talent. At the table was Vince Doria, senior vice president and director of news, who is a down-to-earth, unassuming and brilliant man. Also at my table were reporters Jeremy Schaap, T.J. Quinn and Mark Schwarz. If you’re not a sports fan and don’t know those names, trust me, they’re good. And hilarious. I laughed all night and felt included in the club. I am honored to be a part of ESPN, thrilled to be a part of all that talent, and overjoyed that I’ve been given so many blessings in life. I don’t know if I deserve them all, but I’ll always be grateful.

Losing weight
I’ve turned a corner in my thinking, and even though I have a condition that doesn’t make weight loss easy, I’m going to work hard. I just want to be healthy. I got the happy part down, but I want to be healthy enough to enjoy this happiness for a long time. I lost three pounds on vacation – I’m proud of that. I think I’ve finally realized that it’s not a diet I’m on, but the rest of my life being healthy. I spent the first 36 years (give or take a year or two) eating whatever I wanted and not exercising religiously. I’m so proud of my cousin John, who never really had a huge weight problem but inherited some of the Hart genes. He’s worked his ass off and he looks fantastic. He and my fabulous father continue to be inspirations.

So to recap, things are going pretty good for me right now. Except for the whole no-Jewish man thing. I’m still working on that one. Wish me luck, even though I feel guilty asking for anything else! 🙂

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Family, Fun!, General Nonsense, Health, Love, New York, Sports, Travel

The Great Northeast’s Super Bowl, or How I Fell Back in Love with the NBA

It’s not like I fell out of love with the National Basketball Association, really, I just would’ve been really ticked had they not played this year. For all the good that was done last year with the Mavericks winning, Kevin Durant and Co. bringing fun back to the game and the Heat and Lakers losing (HA! Still funny) it would’ve all been undone had the fools in suits tossed aside the year. I understand it’s a business, but for selfish reasons, I’m really glad they came to an –albeit tenuous — compromise.

Kevin Durant

Oh, Kevin Durant... you're the reason God make the Oklahoma City Thunder. Besides that whole Longhorn thing. We forgive you.

And if it wasn’t for the NBA and its glorious offspring, NCAA men’s basketball, I’m not sure I could tolerate the end of the football season. You see, I live in Connecticut, a state divided among Red Sox and Yankees fans, Jets and Giants and Patriots fans and Rangers and Bruins fans. A state that probably likes the Celtics a lot more than the Knicks, but I understand that.

What I don’t understand is how the 49ers and Ravens let this happen. For the love of Pete — it’s a rematch game. Didn’t we get enough of those during the BCS title game? I certainly did. And though I’m not a huge fan of any NFL team, I would’ve liked to have seen the 49ers back in this — and as a somewhat Cowboys fan, it’s not easy to  say that. My Canadian brother-in-law, whom I adore, is a big-time 49ers fan, even if their stadium looks like a glorified summer league baseball diamond. He loves the 49ers for who they had — namely Jerry Rice. And he’s Canadian, so he really doesn’t understand anyway. He doesn’t like being in the dark, either (points if you get that reference.)

Side note: The first time I saw Jerry Rice lurking about the ESPN newsroom I swear I felt a little faint. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but he seems like a nice guy, one who should be my friend. I’m afraid if I start talking to him I’ll go all Chris Farley and start asking, “You remember that time you were in the  Super Bowl? That was awesome.”

And I assume the rest of the world isn’t too thrilled about seeing Tom Brady trot his funky bunch out there again to face Eli “Elite” Manning and his stable of giant-handed receivers.

It’s safe to say that the good folks at ESPN who are from around these parts are thrilled with the participants of the Super Bowl, except for the large contingent of Jets fans, who’ve thrown their support to the Giants. I’ve moved on, to bigger and better — and rounder — balls. (Teehee! You know what I mean.) I have found myself watching the NBA ad nauseum lately, even insignificant games. But at the Worldwide Leader, with access to every game every night, I watch whatever I want. Yesterday I watched the team I hate the most, the Los Angeles Lakers, get defeated by the Milwaukee (Algonquin for “The Good Land,” thank you Alice Cooper) Bucks. It was glorious. And needless to say, if Kevin Durant and the Thunder are playing, they’re on my TV. Same with the Clippers, unless their times conflict.

The NBA was my first pro-sports love, the sport that harvested my very soul during the late 80s and 90s. So it seems natural that once again, I’m able to name starters for  most teams, as well as sixth- and seventh-man alternatives for a lot of them.

But going back to the Super Bowl: As a semi-Cowboys fan, I shouldn’t say this. But I will. I am cheering for the Giants. Have been in every game except the NFC Championship, when my love for my bro-in-law Joel and my yet-to-know-it-yet BFF Jerry Rice flourished. I am not a good Cowboys fan. I realize this. I loved Clinton Portis, have cheered for the Steelers, and didn’t hate Donovan McNabb as much as I should have. I did, however, laugh when The Real Roy Williams broke Terrell Owens’ leg. But let’s not go off-topic.

I will watch the Super Bowl. I will probably enjoy the Super Bowl. But I think the Patriots are going to win, even if I really, really, really don’t want them to. My vehemence against a team doesn’t usually help it, case in point Every Lakers Championship Ever. The day the Spurs beat them for the 2003 Western Conference semifinals, I went outside to make sure the sky wasn’t falling. I’m not making this up.

But know this: not everyone in the ESPN newsroom is basking in the glory of an all-East Coast Super Bowl. There are a lot of Cowboys fans in the newsroom, though few of them come by geographically like me. There are also a lot of Eagles and Steelers fans. Even a few Bengals and Browns fans, and a fair share of Packer Backers. It’s a motley crew of fandom.

But if you don’t want to watch the Super Bowl, that’s cool, it’s on a competing network so I’m not going to try to force it on you. I will, however, politely suggest that you tune into the NBA this season. It’s fast-paced and fun, and strike-shortened, which gives it a gladiator quality: Only the strong will survive. So many more injuries than a typical year.

And there’s talk that Gilbert Arenas may be a Laker soon. Talk about taking a gun to a knife fight! Arenas AND Artest aka Metta World Peace. Wow.

Another blog for another time…

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Filed under Connecticut, ESPN, Fun!, Kevin Durant, Oklahoma, Sports, Tulsa, Uncategorized

GC’s incredibly easy “That’s Italian!” tomato gravy stuff, or why I love Connecticut grocery stores

Whatever Italian the Garish Chicken has in her mottled bloodline has been ever so present since moving to New England.

Maybe it’s the people. The people here are different shades than those of Oklahoma. Not that I’m smart enough, I’ve figured out, to determine who’s what. I’m from Oklahoma. I assume everyone’s Indian. Here, we got a lot more Jewish and Italian people. I don’t know the difference. I like to think it’s because I’m a lover of all people, but it probably just means I’m an under-educated hick.

Despite my ignorance, I know there are more Italians here because the grocery stores are jam-packed with delicious Italia. The kind of stuff the foodies talk about. Real pastas, not just American Beauty or Martha Gooch (that WHORE… kidding, I don’t know anything about her). The kind that you cook al dente and go “Oh, that’s what that’s all about.” And then you know how to cook it that way, and never want mushy crap pasta again.

San Freakin' Marzanos.

That's the stuff: If you can't find these, buy them on Amazon. DO EEEEET.

My first trip to the grocery store in Avon, Ct., not far from une casa, I found San Marzano tomatoes, which Giada goes on and on about on her TV show. (I don’t tend to trust skinny chefs, but she’s the exception. I’ve cooked many of her recipes and been pleased.)

That's Amore! Garlic paste.

Amore Garlic Paste: I know it sounds like I'm being lazy, but this stuff is incredible. Trust me.

I’d never seen San Marzanos in Oklahoma. Here, they were $4 for a large can, but apparently that’s fairly cheap.

So I bought a large can of San Marzano tomatoes, thinking I would further adapt one of Giada’s recipes for Little Thimbles Sciue Sciue (hurry hurry) that I adore, but wish it was saucier and a cooked sauce rather than her precious raw sauce. I don’t like raw tomatoes – I know, I’m weird. I could mainline marinara, but raw tomatoes make me gag.

I also found garlic paste at the store. I’d never seen or used it before, but I thought, it’s garlic in a tube, I can’t think how that would be bad. I went to the pasta section and found ditalini from a brand called Sclafini, a Connecticut brand. They had all the pasta shapes I’d dreamed about but were hard to come by in Tulsa. Little hats, tubitini, pasta rings – but the ditalini is what’s called for in this dish, though the little hats are  quite good too.

I next went to produce and found a large container of basil for $3. Enough to curb my basil tooth. Some folks crave sugar, I crave herbs. I use a lot more basil in this dish than you probably have to.

Anyway – I went home and concocted something I thought was pretty amazing. It’s probably breaking some sort of Italian code or is the same thing as Ragu or something otherwise basic.

But this little recipe, since I’ve moved to Connecticut, has been made once, sometimes twice, a week.

The key is to use less pasta than tomatoes. You want the tomato gravy. And that garlic paste? I will die happier having found it. It’s salty and luscious. And I could use a lot of it at a time, but it’s kind of expensive so I’m moderate with it.

This one is so different than my basic sauce, which requires onions, lots of fresh garlic, wine and lots of time. But I think I like this one better, at least for now, and it’s ready in like 15 minutes, counting pasta time.

 

GC’s Ditalini with Fresh Mozzarella

1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes whole tomatoes (find them. Trust me.)

Half-bag (1 cup or so) of ditalini pasta, or some other small pasta (get the good stuff)

Garlic paste, Amore brand is delicious

Basil

Salt and pepper

Herbes de Provence

Dried basil or whatever you like dried-herb wise

1 ball of fresh mozzarella

Fancy or unfancy Parm (your choice. I won’t judge.)

 

Coat the bottom of a medium skillet with olive oil. Like enough so that when you drop in the tomatoes, they will separate from the acid and oil meeting. Like enough to flavor a sauce.

Meanwhile, in a laboratory downtown… kidding, on another burner, get some pasta water a-boilin’. Add salt. I always forget, but I’ll say it this time. ADD THE DAMNED SALT. And some olive oil if you’re so inclined.

Back to the skillet. Heat on low-medium. Add the can of whole tomatoes. Let it heat up a bit, then take a wooden spoon and mash the tomatoes bits. They’ll cook down – I like mine smooth, so I stir them into oblivion. Why not buy tomato sauce you say? The whole tomatoes are so good and when they break down slowly, it tastes so fresh.

Add however much garlic you like. You can, of course, use fresh garlic. I just think this stuff is so flavorful that I can’t match that with fresh garlic. Maybe I’m doing it wrong – but I work 12 hour days and don’t have TIME TO MAKE GARLIC PASTE, OK FOODIES?

I’m sorry. I lost my mind for a minute.

Deep breaths. Squirt in the delicious no-excuses garlic paste. Add your herb mix – I love herbes de Provence, mostly because I bought a shit-ton of it and keep it in my freezer, so I just try to use it in everything. But it goes well in this sauce. Just use a little, like teaspoon or so. Add some dried basil, or if you’ve gone off the deep end like me, buy the Amore Italian herbs in a tube.

But don’t use too much – you don’t want herbs to overpower the general deliciousness of the tomatoes and garlic. Add S&P to your taste, but don’t overdo salt.

Let that simmer slowly. Taste for S&P.

Throw your pasta in boiling water. If you bought good pasta, it will take a bit longer to cook, but you should never overcook it. Every time you overcook pasta, a darling Sicilian grandmother dies. Do the al dente thing and never look back. Again, good pasta doesn’t overcook as fast, so keep that in mind.

When the pasta’s done, turn off the heat on the sauce and let the pasta sit for a minute in the hot water – just a minute though. Tear your fresh basil into the sauce. With a slotted spoon, add the pasta directly to the sauce. If you get a bit of pasta water in it, no one would judge you. You can even thin out the sauce if you’re so inclined with a tablespoon of that water. I always keep it aside for such reasons.

Open the fresh mozz and tear it asunder and top the pasta-sauce mix. Stir it all together. The mozz will melt quickly, so serve it quickly. Top with whatever parm you have.

Another weird Connecticut thing – they have Parmeseano Reggiano pre-shredded in bags for less than $10. I’m happy here.

Seriously, this is a fast, delicious meal – I don’t even need bread with it. And I’m sure you could serve some nice sausage or chicken or something on the side, but I’m nearly a vegetarian these days, so do what you feel.

Enjoy!

Love, the Garish San Marzano-chugging Chicken

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Filed under Connecticut, Food, Fun!

East Coast Girls are hip (and other tales of moving to a foreign state)

With apologies to the Beach Boys, I prefer David Lee Roth‘s version of ” California Girls.” Holy crap, what a great video. If you don’t remember it, it’s here. David Lee Roth and in some instances, (I’m talkin’ to you, “Hot For Teacher“) Van Halen, made perhaps the best videos of the Great Video Era, the era that made me who I am today. Ah, MTV. You are now so full of suck.

But I am belaboring the point of this blog. It does, however, make nice little entry points into what I really want to talk about: ME!

In fewer than three weeks, I’ll be living and working in Connecticut. I know I’ll be working in Bristol for ESPN. I’m not sure, however, where I’ll be living. That’ll take care of itself. And since I have absolutely no idea if I want to live in the city or country, I guess I’ll know it when I see it. Fortunately, Disney/ESPN has an app for that — a real life app/counselor who will show me around the great Nutmeg state until I find someplace where me, the dog and everyone else can live in peace and harmony and sports.

I haven’t blogged, yes, I know, but my life has been in relative chaos, plus my brain hurts. I think I’m vapor-locked. I have been getting just exhausted at the idea of doing anything — but then I get so much accomplished, I’m shocked. Today I’m waiting for people to call to tell me how to go about selling my house. I had already sorta gone through this with my own Realtor, but you know, Disney has their own way of doing things — and that’s totally cool since they’re moving me gratis.

I’m going to let them ship my car, then rent a car and make the trek up to C-State with my bro Nick. He’s already requested to see a large ball of twine. Challenge accepted.

I haven’t hardly had a chance to let the whole “I’m leaving Oklahoma, land that I love” angle sink in yet, and that’s probably a good thing. I will NOT be listening to any Shelley West/David Frizzell classics, at least until I’m so settled I can’t change my mind. “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” was the reason I moved back to the Sooner State after living in Dallas. But Dallas was so much closer — and the job wasn’t as awesome as the one I’m about to undertake. Holy crap, I’m workin’ for ESPN.

I’m kind of packing, mostly just getting rid of stuff. Disney’s moving team does the actual packing. I just have to pack the stuff I don’t want them to see! Seriously, I don’t want them reading my crappy poetry from the 90s and thinking I’m a psycho. I’m sure they won’t but I’m a paranoid girl who wrote a lot of bad poetry.

Life is sort of on one of those weird collision courses right now. Way too many coincidences. It’s like when I lived in Tahlequah and I knew I was exactly in the right place at the right time. I missed Tahlequah and my friends before our time was even up. Right now, I just can’t help but think this is, great job aside, where I belong.

Not to go all transcendental weirdo here, but I had a dream a few years ago that I moved to Portland, Maine, and it started this whole East Coast love again. Don’t know why I’ve always had it. Since I was 11, when I went there on a summer trip, seeing Boston, Nantucket, Cape Cod… I felt like it was sort of my next home. And lo and behold, it is.

Now, instead of wondering about the news value of 2012’s supposed End O’ the World, I’m hoping it’s all bollocks and I will live in New England in a great apartment FOREVER. Make bi-annual trips to the Cape, actually become acquainted with NYC, go to Red Sox games (preferably during Interleague, when the Rockies are in town) and a million other things.

(Yes, I wondered at the news value of the End of Days. I can’t help it. 100 percent journalist.)

I’m still waiting for ESPN to call and tell me the deal’s off.  They haven’t yet. In fact, they keep calling with more details, so I guess it’s really going to happen. Geez, am I ready for this? And I know I’ll be missing all my Oklahoma people before long. I know they’re happy for me though, and with the magic of the Garish  Chicken, I intend to keep you all hanging on my every word (haha, yeah right.)

To avoid a possible meltdown here, I’m going to do what I do best and deflect with music. Let’s go back to the land of the music video, that bygone era when music and movies came together for 3 to 5 minutes of brilliance.

Case in point:  Yankee Rose. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Connecticut, ESPN, Fun!, Moving, Music, Tahlequah, Travel, Tulsa, TV

Comparisons: 1995 Sarah vs. 2011 Sarah (Introspection 101)

I’m a few months from my 37th birthday. That doesn’t look as bad on the computer screen as it feels in my head.

I realize that 37 isn’t technically old. It ain’t 22, which I’m pretty sure was my favorite year on earth. I say pretty sure because I don’t remember much of it. Ah, college. Ah, Tahlequah. The entire city has an above-the-legal-limit blood alcohol level, I’m convinced.

I’ve been a Tulsan since 2002, after spending 10 years in Tahlequah. This year, especially, has been pivotal, and I have a feeling the Wheel of Fortune hasn’t stopped turning, either for bad or for evil. (I’m not talking about the show, though in my advanced years, I like that a lot now too.)

Events in my life seem to be spiraling quickly. Once you set the ol’ wheel in motion in my life, you have to hold on. I’m slow to motivate, but once I’ve got my mind made up, it’s on. I blame my fiery Aries mama for this.

Some new developments, for those who care: Still waiting to hear from ESPN. Lost my job at the Food Bank. Putting my house on the market. Hopefully doing some freelance work. Minimizing, my stuff and my rotund self.

To kick off this effort (that sound SO MUCH like a press release) I’ve decided to pit 2011 Sarah against 1995 Sarah. It’s a startling contrast, and I’m proud to say that 2011 Sarah wins… not in the Charlie Sheen sense, but still.

1995 Sarah’s job: Manager, Del Rancho restaurant.
2011 Sarah’s job: Assistant editor, Tulsa World.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s bedtime:  5 a.m., or whenever we heard the birds and the streetsweeper, we knew it was time to retire.
2011 Sarah’s bedtime: A much more reasonable 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., but only because I now only have one job and it’s a later start. And I’m a natural night owl.
Advantage: 2011, though 1995 was way more fun.

Oh, Sarah. Where did you get these ridiculous outfits? The hair alone is bad enough. But I thought I was bad-ass. Hilarious. It was 1995. That's my excuse.

1995 Sarah’s clothes: Hippie not-so-chic, cut-off corduroys, flower-print Doc Martens, band T-shirts, no makeup, no hairdryer, no straightener, no jewelry. Sack-like dresses
2011 Sarah’s clothes: Black pants in various cuts, black dresses, solid-print tops with black cardigans, black and more black, a spot of jewelry, hair blown dry every day and straightened, or at least brushed, makeup every day.
Advantage: 2011, by a longshot.

1995 Sarah’s diet: Pasta-Roni, Taco Bell, sandwiches. Chinese food from Grand China.
2011 Sarah’s diet: Whatever I can find, Taco Bueno, homemade Chinese food, lots of soup.
Advantage: Tie. I still eat horrible food on occasion. I really wish my parents would’ve let me have more fast food growing up so I didn’t feel the compulsion to make up for lost time.

1995 Sarah’s fitness: 12-ounce curls, bong-lifting and other recreational “hobbies,”  couch-jumping.
2011 Sarah’s fitness: Lots of walking, active gym membership (just got a new one at the Y, going today for the first time!)… but more than that, an actual knowledge of the need for fitness instead of a general lack of caring.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s relationships: Blah.
2011 Sarah’s relationships: Blah, but don’t really give a shit.
Advantage: Blah.

1995 Sarah’s inner peace: Fabricated by copious amounts of weed and alcohol
2011 Sarah’s inner peace: Somewhat tattered, but at least it can pass a drug test. Lack of paranoia is refreshing.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s ambition: Throwing the Best Party Ever, seeing more shows than you.
2011 Sarah’s ambition: Sky-high. Maybe I can still become a singer (kidding). Entering poetry and short-story contests.  Trying for new job on the East Coast. The Novel isn’t just a dream anymore, it’s rising to the surface.
Advantage: Depends on the outcome. Some days, I really miss the carefree days of college, when I was just accruing debt instead of dreaming about paying it off. I miss going to two shows a week, drinking shots every night, etc. But now, I wake up with more hope instead of hangovers. If I accomplish everything I hope to, then definitely Advantage 2011.

1995 Sarah’s lodging: Cheap rent house. At one time, we paid $53/month to rent this cheap little house because so many people lived in it.
2011 Sarah’s lodging: My own house, which I’m about to put on the market. Homeownership is great, some of the time.
Advantage: I wouldn’t be saying this last year, but advantage 1995. I miss renting. I miss the freedom to just up and leave. I hope my house sells.

1995 Sarah’s friends: I saw them every day. I had a lot. I loved them like family.
2011 Sarah’s friends: I don’t see them enough. I have many left. I love them like family.
Advantage: Tie. Damn we had fun. I made the best friends I could’ve ever made in college, and fortunately, most of them are still just a phone call away. The slight tip of the scale would go to 1995, but 2011 is strong in the knowledge that they’re not going anywhere. Love you guys.

 1995 Sarah’s cash flow: I lived paycheck to paycheck, but didn’t hardly have any bills. Always had money for clothes and … well, everything.
2011 Sarah’s cash flow: I live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m doing what I love. Never have money.
Advantage: 2011, though it’s a close call. In 1995, I didn’t even have credit cards. I spent like there was no tomorrow and lived for financial aid’s change checks. At least in 2011 I have some accountability, and am paying off the debt I accrued in the early 2000s.

1995 Sarah’s music: Jane’s Addiction, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, The Doors, Tripping Daisy, Ween, Hole, Pearl Jam, Flaming Lips, anything “stoner rock” or “trippy rock.”
2011 Sarah’s music: Boundless. Ween (for the win!), Bob Dylan, Professor Longhair, The Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols, Nat King Cole, The Libertines, U2, Jane’s Addiction, Balfa Brothers, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Morrissey/Smiths, Black Sabbath, Pavement, Norah Jones… the list goes on.
Advantage: 2011. Technology has made my music library swell to unbelievable heights. I don’t get to go to as many shows as before, but I can immerse myself in music so much easier than before. It’s still my No. 1 hobby, which hasn’t changed since 1978, but now it’s all at my fingertips… HUGE advantage 2011.

There are more comparisons, but these are the ones I’ve undertaken. I challenge you to pit yourself against another time and see what era comes out the winner. It’s enlightening to see how far you’ve come, and it makes you realize that you’re got it pretty good.

Advantage: Sarah.

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Things to do before the Rapture (Saturday)

It’s been a busy few weeks for me. I’ll elaborate later, probably with pictures. Not THOSE kind of pictures… those don’t get downloaded.

Other failed attemps at Rapture

An earlier failed attemps at Rapture... OR WAS IT?

I’ve been reading with scant interest the reports of the Rapture wiping out all of humanity on Saturday. I’m Episcopalian; as far as I know we don’t really believe in Rapture. Then again, we’re kinda like Nell sometimes: “Tay in the wind, chickapee,” just sorta swinging from side to side, hoping our beliefs will find purchase… But Rapture hasn’t been brought up as far as I know.

But suffice it to say, the idea of Rapture A) is inspiration enough for a blog; and B) makes me want to trade in my to-do list for an “actually want to do” list.

And of course, I’m a broke-ass journalist, so I don’t have the funds to do fun stuff like “Sail to Italy” or “Buy device that will explode land so I can sail in a straight line to Italy nonstop.” So I won’t offer any suggestions that will require lots of money.*

(* = OK, one will cost a lot. But I have ideas on where to get the cash.)

So what can you do on a limited budget, to satisfy your need to accomplish something/do something fun/fuck around before the Rapture?

Prince: Just don't look 'em in the eye.

Prince: Just don't look 'em in the eye.

* Call the Guy. You know the one, Dr. Everything Be All Right, ‘stead of asking how much of your time is left, ask him much of your mind, baby… Sorry, every now and then Prince just takes over my body. I looked him in the eye. But seriously. You should call The Guy or The Girl and tell ‘em what’s up. It’s easy. Just say, “I’ve always loved you, I can’t live without you and don’t want to, so it’s a good thing the world is ending because you’re A) Married B) In Witness Protection C) currently renewing the protective order, or D) A commitmentphobe who’s just not that into me.” Just make the call! This Rapture thing’s for sure, right?
  

DO IT! We're all gonna die anyway.

The KFC DoubleDown: On any Rapture-Friendly Menu.

* Eat a KFC Double-Down. I’ve wanted to since KFC foisted this upon us, and even though I inhale tacos like there is no tomorrow (haha!), the Double-Down seems like something you’d eat only if you were sure the End O’ Days was around the bend. My brother eats them, but he also can bench-press a 1980s-era Dodge Ram. He can eat whatever he wants and it turns to Pure Steel.

* Graffiti your own house. Since I’ve been a homeowner, the same week that Katrina happened – shoulda been an omen – I’ve wanted to do something really crazy like tag my own house. I’m not good with spray-painting, I don’t think, since I can barely scrawl my name using an actual stylus. But wouldn’t it be fun? I’d spray-paint Charles Bukowski quotes on my garage door. Now THAT’s irony, folks. No one will be around to get it, but at least I got it.

Steelers, no.

Not a Steelers fan, but I've always been quite the Mike Tomlin fan. Meow.

* Go black. (Stay with me on this one… I promise it’s not racist.) As the ol’ saying goes, you can never go back, so now’s the time! If you can’t live with the idea of actually expressing your desire for another human being based on what they look like, the Rapture list is made for you!  I’ve always thought this phrase ridiculous, but then again, I’m attracted to everything, even the occasional table lamp. Skin color has absolutely nothing to do with who I’m attracted to, and it never will. I’ve “gone black,” and been back, and “gone black” again, then been back again. I’ve even “gone toast-colored.” But if you’re one of those people who’s kinda freaked out by race, always wanted to try it but are afraid of What The Neighbors Will Think, this is your week!

Her womb was so polluted

Her womb was so polluted, she couldn't even have a little baby. -- Tony Montana

* Go Scarface on a pile of cocaine. Or whatever you’ve always wanted to do. But remember: While I’m 100 percent sure that the Rapture is coming, (It says so on the Internet) on the off-chance that it’s not, you still might be random drug-tested the next day. And who knows how long it takes to pee out a Tony Montaña-sized pile of cocaine? This doesn’t really qualify as something you’d do on a budget, so you should probably preface a drug binge of this magnitude with selling your house, robbing a liquor store, brazenly walking into convenience stores and stealing their “Save the Children” buckets, stuff like that.

Of course, these are just suggestions. You do whatever you want with your last days. Hell, what have you got to lose? It’s the end of the world as you know it, you might as well feel fine.

And yes, I know every word to that song.

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Why I didn’t watch the Royal Wedding

I didn’t watch  it, OK? That does not make me a love-hater, hater of love. My neglecting to watch the nuptials had nothing to do with any sort of anti-British mentality. I actually aspire to go to London first in my conquering (read: extensive tourism) of Europe. I plan to have a Joey-esque time the entire trip, shouting, “London, BABY!” as often and loudly as possible.

No, the reason I didn’t watch is was because it was broadcast too damn early and I work 12- to 14-hour days. I need sleep. Another reason? It was a wedding… a WEDDING. The wedding part would’ve been fine, I guess — one of my good friends says I should’ve watched because it cast my denomination, Episcopalian nee Anglican, in a good light. I can get behind that logic. But it had the feeling of an awards show, something else I seldom watch. I really just can’t stand all that fluff in a broadcast. I fast-forward the Oscars, or wait until the winners list is out. I just can’t do it.

Perhaps this has something to do with being an editor who’s had to cut plenty of stories to fit into tiny spaces. I can no longer tolerate deadwood. And the only opinions I care about are those of people I actually know. For instance, I will read a column by Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler after an important game, among other local columnists. I will read post-game analysis by college football beat writers. I will read a Q&A with Carrie Underwood or Blake Shelton written by an Oklahoma writer. But to hear some ditsy entertainment reporter on any host of networks go on and on and on about hats, dresses, etc.? No thanks.

Have I gone hyper-local? Perhaps. About some things.

In the case of Osama bin Laden, I went international, even watching coverage from al-Jazeera.

But that was the death of the biggest fucking plague to walk the erf in the last few decades. Killed by US — that’s U.S., U-S, One Nation Under God. At that moment, I felt united.

Friends who watched the wedding told me they felt united with the world  during the ceremony — the millions of badly-dentistried Britains in the street, while 400 million or so had their  eyes turned mistily to the tube, watching as the lovely Kate was adored by her now-husband Prince William.

The beauty is not lost on me, but  watching 14 straight hours of coverage is. I recall watching Lady Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding. I was also 6, so my Princess Phase was in full swing. I grew out of that when my Barbies became sexually active, around the time I was 8 or 9.

And truth be told, I really loved Di. I thought she was immaculate. I think her sons are too, but maybe the wound of her death would’ve been too much for me. I cry a lot. I didn’t need my whole Friday wrecked because of the spectacle.

Friends in the newsroom told me that this was “their Super Bowl,” and if I didn’t watch, I wasn’t to make fun of those who did. And I’m not. Really. It just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t my Super Bowl, or college football national championship, or Final Four, or even Frozen Four.

Game 6 of just about any NBA playoff game? A random May Rockies game that magically appears on TV (it happens rarely; I never see Colorado on TV unless I’m at the World, where they have every channel known to man, or if the Rockies are in the playoffs and Big Sports is forced to air them) I’d watch any day of the week.

I’m still not getting up a 4 a.m. to watch, however. And my DVR space is important to me. Recording 137 straight hours of wedding coverage sounds like that time I accidentally recorded “Ghost Hunters” seven-hour Halloween special: Annoying and DVR-clogging.

I’m glad so many people witnessed the beauty and splendor of the wedding. But please, do not think of me as The Elephant Man because I didn’t. I am not an animal.

Perhaps I am a love hater, hater of love. Andre Benjamin? You might have to help me out with this one.

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