January 25th, 2007


Lake City or Bust

Today in my mail, I got an envelope from The Incredible Librarian. "Oooh," I thought as I brought it in, "I bet it's a Christmas gift!"

Back around Christmas-time, she had said something about "still making" some gifts. At the time, i had figured it to be either cookies or a mix-cd. Each of which would have been cool.

I had no idea.

The envelope was too small for cookies, so I figured it would be a mix. Neat! K was once the queen of mix tapes, back when people still made mix tapes. I opened it up, and indeed a CD fell out. A card too, but I ignored it at first. What kind of songs had she picked out this time? No playlist....

It was hand-written with a date. 1989. The year we graduated from high school together. Had she converted one of her old mix tapes to CD? I frowned at it, trying to figure out what the title meant. Lake City '89 Then it clicked. "Noooooo...." I exclaimed involuntarily.

But yes! Our senior year of high school, a small group of girlfriends went up north on spring break to spend a week at our friend's cabin. A cabin in Lake City. A video camera attended the gathering, and some remarkably bad but amusing footage was taken.

A couple of the girls have copies of the tape, and it's been pulled out a few times at New Year's Eve gatherings. I wasn't one with a copy though, and I don't think I've seen it since.... gosh.... i don't know how long. Almost 10 years?

Now I had what was clearly a DVD copy of that old video tape. TOO COOL!

Naturally I popped it right into my computer and watched the whole thing. Wow. It was much like I remembered: pretty bad, very silly, and full of crazy memories. That '80's hair, those strange clothes... dancing and singing to 80's alternative music (remember when it wasn't 80's music, just music?). We all looked so different! We were so young.

Our stereo, full of records, tapes, and CDs, was the first thing we unpacked when we got there, and the last thing we packed up when we left. It rained almost the entire week, so all of our outdoorsy plans turned into reading and making music videos and such inside.

It was a really good time. I love the fact that I'm still in regular contact with three of those girls, and even the other two I still see now and then.

What a great idea 'Katie', and thank you! I loved watching it again. (: (: I have only one question: weren't there more dances once? I seem to remember doing Language is a Virus....

Put a fork in it

A couple of nights ago when I was working late, I heated up a 100 Grand Bar for a little snack. I looked around the office kitchen for a spoon with which to eat it, and I couldn't find one. Fortunately I was able to find a box of knives.

Being nothing if not adaptable, I ate my candy bar with a plastic knife. I also cooked it using its own wrapper as a container of sorts, since I couldn't find any plates either.

It reminded me of my freshman days of college. I lived on the fourth floor of an all-frosh co-ed dormitory. We had one older student living on the floor to, the RA who was supposed to organize us and make us feel good and such. Her way of doing this was by having monthly ice cream pie parties, to celebrate birthdays.

She provided the pies and plates, but we were expected to bring our own utensil. Not a fork, not a spoon, just a utensil. We were poor college students who ate all of our meals at the dining hall after all. Most of us only owned one utensil.

Kids would wander into her room everry month holding their utensil -- sometimes a fork, perhaps a spoon, a butter knife, even the occasional spork. My utensil was, if I recall correctly, a spoon stolen from cafeteria. But it was ice cream pie. It could be eaten with any sort of utensil, as long as one threw away any old-age parent-imposed notions of what should be eaten with what.

That was one of the things I learned in college - how to make do with whatever I had available. I could climb two stories with a bunch of chairs piled on top of one another to hang a tapestry. I pounded in nails with a bike lock. I found out how to decorate a Christmas tree with nothing but school supplies and lunch leftovers.... I even know how to enjoy yogurt with a fork.

I did not learn to cook my candy bars there, if that is what you are thinking Gentle Reader. No... all I owned was a hot pot and a toaster oven (and a spoon). I knew how to make grilled cheese sandwiches, but microwaving chocolate was beyond my abilities.

It was after college that I learned that many treats are better warmed up. Take a Moon Pie, for example. I had a fun conversation with a few people about the Moon Pie in the con suite on friday night. On its own, it's kind of like a s'more, but not nearly as good, and rather dry. But if you put it in the microwave for just 20 seconds, it gets all warm and melty, the marshmallow stretchy, and delicious when eaten with a spoon. I can't take credit for this discovery: it's written right on some of the wrappers.

100 Grand Bars are much the same way. Microwave it for just 15 seconds, and it's no longer as chewey. Instead the chocolate is soft but not actively melting, and the caramel is gooshy and delicious. Definitely spoon material -- or knife, in a pinch.

Lots of other sweet treats are better when stuck in a microwave for a bit. I'm capable of eating these items raw. I just prefer them cooked.