Saturday, May 22, 2010
It's Friday.

I'm on vacation.

I've been drinking.

I'm not fall down drunk. I'm not even time warp drunk. I'm "comment on obscure friend's and relatives' facebook pages" drunk. And apparently, that includes blogging drunk.

So I just commented on a friend's blog. I really like this blog. She was one of the first people to follow me that wasn't related by blood or marriage, and she's doing almost exactly what I'm doing, though hers is a few countries away instead of a few states. I completely admire her bravery, and the fact that she's willing to risk everything, and trade all familiarity, for love. Good for her! What I'm doing is far easier (I don't have to learn a new language), but sometimes when I miss my family, or my friends, or completely feel like a drunken little fish out of water, I check my blogger dashboard to see if she's posted something. She posts nearly every day, which simultaneously makes me feel like an inferior blogger, and makes me ridiculously happy. I love getting little insights on her life by reading her blog. I literally stood up and danced around in a circle when I found out her Boyfriend had become her Husband; I was so happy for her. I feel like if I met her dog, he would jump up on me and smother me in gooey doggy kisses. Such is the world of blogging, I suppose. Making friends around the world that you will never meet.

I'm off on a tangent, however. The point of this blog is not how much I love Sara in Le Petit Village, but how difficult it is to comment on her blog after a couple of beers.

Boyfriend and I are going through the same thing, right now. The reason we are both having so much difficulty/fun doing these things, is because there is simulated inebriation to go with the actual deed. He is trying to play Grand Theft Auto 4 while drunk, while I am trying to be social, via Blogger. It's much the same. Simulated, computer generated drunkeness... processed through actual human drunkeness. Because it's Friday, so why not?

He has taken his character out to socialize with an Irishman (so he took him to a bar), and I have commented on a favorite blog of mine. Why is my activity the same as fictionalized drinking with an Irishman? His is straight forward. Mine is subtly malicious.

I bet you can't do it. I bet you were going about your business, reading your Lori-blog, when you were side-swiped by this strange and unexpected challenge to your theoretical manhood. So go ahead, I'll give you time to look over the materials and chug a few drinks, and then be thwarted by the difficulty. I know I was. I was like, "La-dee-da... I'm, catching up on blogs and commenting on funny things" and then, POW! My friend's blog side-swiped me with a Captcha.

I don't know if you know what a Captcha is, but it's from the Devil. Straight from his horny little red desk. Imagine taking this:

And turning it into this:

It may not seem so daunting sober, but... Holy shit. When you've had three or four beers on a Friday night... yikes. It's undulating and wavey. You're trying to focus on it and, BAM! it's moving. Not only is it hard to read sober, but give it a try with a few in you. I dare you.

It's a normal, every day word (or pair of every day words) distorted far past every terrible imagining. It's some simple vocabulary word skewed until it is no longer recognizable. Sober! Imagine taking a comfortable High School vocabulary word like "intermittent" or "perfunctory" and letting the Devil twist it around until it looks like it's being sucked into a wormhole.

And then imagine trying to make drunk people do it. Take a normal looking word, and put it through your Photoshop's Drunk Filter. I was staring at Sara's captcha, trying to make the words hold still long enough to type them. I remember a 'p', and an 'h' afterwards... but for some inexplicable reason I became hungry for pizza right after that, and everything's been a blur.

Captchas are supposed to stop bots from trolling through the internet universe and dropping ads and stealing precious personal information. Since Blogger has Captchas, all it tells me is that robots are roaming wild throughout our blogs, and that captchas are their only kryptonite. These little word traps, these curvy, tripsy little traps are preventing bots from flooding our blog comments with Viagra selling sites.

Cause, you know, that's the worst the internet has to offer.
Monday, May 10, 2010
I know I said I'd post the kidney infection/stone episode next... and I'm sure I'll get to it. But I figured I should also post the apartment search.

We got back to Seattle late Monday night, which I guess is actually Tuesday morning. It was about 4am, and I was driving while Boyfriend manned the iPod and G and D slept in the back. (Boyfriend and I had slept all day in the van.)

Once we woke up Tuesday afternoon, I began my hunt. We originally wanted to find a room in someone's house. We figured we'd have to share a bathroom, but we'd also have use of a real kitchen and living room. We're also terribly shy, so we figured if we could find some cool housemates, it would be built in friends, and then we wouldn't feel like such anti-social losers.

But the recent turmoil with G and his wife made me want something a little more secure. I crunched the numbers between what I have in savings, and what Boyfriend usually makes in a month, and decided that if we could find a studio apartment under $500 a month, we could afford to keep it while we were away on tour. That way, the few possessions we have (as well as G and D's) could be kept somewhere safe, and be there when we returned from the next tour (which is slotted for August-October.)

I kept looking for both rooms and studio apartments, because I also figured if we had cool housemates, we could afford to keep the room over tour, as well. By Wednesday evening every inquiry I'd sent out about renting a room to a couple had come back negative. Of the dozen or so I'd sent out, every one said single occupancy only. Most of the ads flat out state as much (I didn't email those.) I stumbled across an ad on Craigslist for a studio apartment for $401 a month, with free parking in their garage if you signed a twelve month lease.

I was IMing my dad on Facebook at the time, and told him about it. Within a minute or two he had done the dad thing and looked up reviews and whatnot. It wasn't the greatest neighborhood, not surprisingly, since it was smack dab in the middle of Chinatown. Ok, well, fine. It's $401 a month, and the 'shady people' that live in or around the building (as it criticized in the review) may very well be what a lot of people think of Boyfriend and I at first glance. Long shaggy hair, mostly black wardrobe, not used to sunlight... I could see how people would interpret us as threatening (as very many people in MidWestern WalMarts did.)

And one of the reviews of the building said that the former owner (an ex-Nun) was murdered by one of her own employees. That sounds so Days of Our Lives-ish that it made me want to see the place even more.

Honestly, I wouldn't mind living in a bad neighborhood, as long as I wasn't living next door to a methlab that might blow me up at any given moment. I'm not stupid enough to go out alone late at night, or pull wads of cash out of my purse in plain view. I realize that we're poor, and 9 times out of 10, Poor = Bad Neighborhood.

I called and made an appointment for us to go look at the apartment for Thursday afternoon, before Boyfriend had to go to work. We arrived in Chinatown, found a parking space about a block away, and arrived just in time for our 4:00 appointment. The air was drenched with delicious smells, and my stomach took no time in reminding me how terribly hungry I was. My craving for Lo Mien was almost debilitating.

The building itself was a little over 100 years old, but didn't look to be in poor condition. The red brick exterior was obviously aged, but looked awesome. I have a soft spot for historical buildings, though, so I'm probably a little biased. All of the windows in the front were whole, none broken or boarded. There was an electronic key pad by the door that you had to use to open it. The neighborhood may not have been the best, but at least the building knew it. We were let in by who I assume was one of the managers, and asked to wait for the woman we had our appointment with. No big deal.

Boyfriend and I did notice, however, that the residents coming and going did look a bit shabbier than we usually do. But hey, who are we to judge? Maybe they're awesome people, just down on their luck. Maybe they're starving artists, living on as little as possible to do what they love. You never know. The idea of spending our first lease together in a shabby, historic apartment building in Chinatown was starting to become a little romanticized.
The woman we had our appointment with finished showing around the people she was with, and took us up the tiny, rickety elevator to the third floor. The halls were a creamy colored plaster, with dark wooden doors and frames. The floor was the same dark wood, but had obviously lightened from decades of foot traffic. A long stretch of carpet ran through the middle of the halls. She opened the door to the first apartment and the first thing I saw was what looked like a spacious bathroom. I thought it might not be so bad after all. Then I saw the rest of the studio 'apartment'. It was about the same size as the spacious bathroom. The toilet and shower were on the immediate right, but with no separation from the rest of the room at all. There was a bit of open space between the door and the 'bathroom', but it seemed gargantuan and out of place when compared to the tiny bit of actual living area. I would have guessed it to be about 8' x 8', but my brain may be shrinking the dimensions retrospectively. It might have been as large as 10' x 10'. Regardless of the dimensions my memory gives it, it was still a very tiny room with a full sized refrigerator, cabinets, a sink, and a hot plate crammed into it. Probably the same square footage of the van we were just living in, sans benches and two other musicians. And it was tile. All tiny, varying shades of brown tile throughout the entire 'apartment.'
As Apartment Lady was pointing out the amenities, she mentioned the price as $425 for that unit. We made small talk about the small apartment, but she was perceptive enough to realize that we weren't really digging this unit. Maybe she looked at the size of the room, and at the size of Boyfriend and I (6'3" and 5'11", respectively) and guided us to a second unit down the hall.

No, our hair is not tangled together.

This one was visibly larger, but still far too small. The 'bathroom' area at least didn't waste space, but there was what looked like a big water heater on a shelf over the toilet. If we did live there, I would be constantly imagining the apparatus crashing down on me and smooshing the life out of me while I did my business. Not cool.

This is what toilets look like in Chinatown. Shut up.

Then, while Apartment Lady was talking about this one, pointing out the view from the window (which made the rest of the room look smaller by comparison), mentioned that this unit was $525 a month. Boyfriend and I made nice, but got out of there as quickly as possible. Obviously, the ad on Craigslist was referring to the broom closet on the fifth floor, not any of the studio apartments left for rent.

We decided not to waste the 45 minutes we had left on the parking meter, so went to Uwajimaya, which is apparently a world famous Asian Supermarket I'd never heard of. (Thanks, homeschooling.) We got the ingredients for dinner, poked the funny looking fish in the seafood section, and splurged on some Red Curry in the food court area.

The first looksie at an apartment might have been a dud, but at least the afternoon wasn't.
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Last night I dreamt about Cranberry Sauce.

I was searching frantically through this big high school, where all the children looked to be about ten years old. I ducked into one room, and it was the kitchen of the home I grew up in, post-house fire. I resumed my frenzied quest for cranberry sauce, but either the cupboards were empty, or all I could find were cans of whole berry, which as everyone knows, are totally disgusting.

So I woke up uncomfortable (my back is still a bit achy from the Kidney episode I have yet to blog about), and slightly dream-mad/frustrated, to the sound of a toddler screaming. Boyfriend, however, was a champ. G's step son had made us both stir. Boyfriend kissed the side of my forehead and asked, "How are you feeling?" (He's doing really well with the whole Lori-is-sick thing.)

To which I replied, "My back's a little achy. And I dreamt of cranberry sauce."

And Boyfriend sleepily mumbled, "There's some in the pantry," and snuggled closer.
So now I have a snuggly Boyfriend next to me as I blog, and a can of Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce chilling in the fridge. Life is perfect.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Okay, today is not so sunny as this is our second day in Oregon. So it's lovely and rainy and gray. Exactly the way I like it.

But it's a happy day for me. I got to sleep in a bed last night, got pancakes and orange juice for breakfast, and got to take a shower before we hit the road. Best of all, my back didn't hurt this morning when I woke up. (The blog about the kidney stones I suddenly got in AZ will follow sometime this week.)

It's also the first day since we left AZ on the 30th that we haven't spent all day driving, so I was able to get online. I know we survived as a species for millions of years without the internet, but I can't manage without it now. I feel better now that I've had some connectivity.

And what should I see when I log on but that I have two new followers! The loverly Sara Louise in Le Petit Village has awarded me the Sunshine Award. I was also given this award by Jinxie back in February, right before the start of tour, so I never got around to doing my awardy duties.

According to Jinxie, I'm supposed to pass this on to twelve people. Twelve seems super daunting and I'm supposed to be running the merch table right now. But I'm blogging. It's what I do. Sara, however, didn't list any rules. So since I'm pinched for time I will pass the two awards I've won on to only two other bloggers. But bloggers who always make my days sunnier.

The first will go to my other blogging cousin, Sara, for her blog Succisive Thoughts. She's one hell of a writer, and her blogs weave humor into her social observations.

The other recipient is going to The Bestest, Abbi for A Plethora of Lessons I've Almost Learned. Her writing is witty and poignant, showcasing her never ending quest of self discovery. On a list of people I'm privileged to know, Abbi's right at the top.

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Seattle, United States
During this course of study, you will come to learn much about the strange eating, sleeping and mating habits of the Instrospective Lori under stress. We will observe as she moves halfway across the country to start a life with her own Captain Wentworth, takes a year off of work to pursue a writing career, and incessantly references Jane Austen.
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