Friday, June 24, 2011

Guilt By Association: Part 2

for Part 1 click here

This really IS the front of "The Mansion", creepy as all get out, eh?

I had no choice but to follow the group of girls as we headed across the front field of the school. One of them tried to grab my hand and I shook it off with a look that could have turned her to stone had my eyes not been so heavily clouded with impending tears.

"I have your 'buddy', and the dorm is 'hand held', you have to take my hand" she told me.

"The fuck I do."

 "That'll cost a dollar."

 "Fuck you"

"That's another dollar... KELLY!! I can't stop her from saying the f-word, will I still be charged because I have her buddy?"

Kelly, the DP,  wandered over to me and said "Look, you are not allowed to say the F-word, every time you do, you get charged a dollar.  When a student arrives at school they are buddied. That means someone is with you, at all times, within arms reach until you are un-buddied. Everything that you do, against the rules, is on them. New Girls, the dorm you are in, is currently farmed. We have no contact with the rest of the campus for now. Ok?

"Uh, no. Not okay."

Giggles escaped from the other girls.

"Look, we won't be farmed for much longer, as long as no one screws shit up" said one of the girls while pulling on her bangs as she spoke. She then told the DP, Kelly, that she would take my buddy, and grabbed my hand. I allowed it. There was something about the girl I trusted. Later I would find out that her habit of pulling on her bangs was due to an odd obsession with having them be stick straight. The rest of her hair was in perfect brunette corkscrew curls that hung just past her shoulders... but her bangs? Pin straight. Meh. It was the 80's, we all did REALLY stupid things with our hair. Who was I to judge?

My new buddy turned to me as we walked and introduced herself as "Amy, but that's A. I. M. E. E." She went on to tell me the names of everyone else in the dorm, but at that point I really didn't care. All that I cared about was how I was going to get out of there.

Once we made it to the edge of the campus, my feet on the paved road that could take me out of there... I had no idea if I should go left or right. I didn't even know where I was, or even what State I was in for that matter. In retrospect, yes, I could have taken off running ... but Aimee was still holding my hand, and the DP, Kelly, had taken my other one. In fact ALL the girls were holding each others hands as we collectively crossed the street. Man, "Officer Friendly" would have been pleased as punch to witness that sort of caution while crossing a street.

(photo via my friend Mark, I blurred out Max's face for privacy)
Turned out that the dorm, New Girls, had been placed off the campus, while farmed, in an old house known as Lichtenstein. I still, to this day, have no idea why it was called that. (To be honest, I really don't care.) After we went inside, all the girls took off their shoes; this was something that happened all over the campus. Other than the dining hall, the gym, and the school building, shoes HAD to come off. If they were worn into a dorm, even accidentally, it was known as a turn in. In fact anything anyone did against the rules was a turn in. PLUS, if you knew someone had a turn in, and they didn't turn it in themselves, then YOU had a turn in. If they turn themselves in and turn in the fact that you knew about it... then you have a turn in. Moreover, if you don't turn someone in for having turn ins, which means that you then have turn ins, and they don't turn themselves or you in ... well.. THAT is what let you know who your truest friends were after a while. It's was a messed up way to try to teach people how to hold themselves accountable for their actions. What it really ended up doing was teaching most of us how to hold onto secrets, as well as resentments.

Kelly & Joanna (who at that time was the assistant DP) took me into the living room, they called it "the lobby." I was told to sit on the floor while they emptied my purse in front of me. Any and all make up I had in my bag was taken away, the pack of pills (birth control- what? Like it's that shocking for a 16 yr old to be on them?) was taken away. The pack of gum? Taken. My wallet was opened, and everything was taken out of it, including my drivers license and money, as little as there was. I had 2 cassette tapes as well; Metallica "And Justice For All", & Black Sabbath "Paranoid"... both taken. We weren't allowed to have music. (?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!)

Next up was the duffel bag that my parents left me with. I had no idea what was in there, but soon found out that all the clothes were mostly things I had never seen before, and the tags were still attached. Kelly & Joanna dug through my belongings, confiscating things left and right. I just sat there, pretty much in shock that this was happening. In my head though ... I was planning my escape. I was watching every move they made, trying to figure out where my drivers license was being placed, my money, my make up... the things I'd want once I took off.

Eventually I was taken out of the living room by Aimee. She walked me towards the back of the house where I could hear drums being played, loudly. I peeked in a small window in the door and saw 4 guys in there. I was told we weren't allowed to speak to them, being farmed and all. I also found out that it was the school's band, and this is where they practiced. They went by the name "Misguided Youth", but the other girls said the band was trying to change the name since a bunch of the original members had left school. I offered the suggestion of "Unlucky Fucks"... and was reminded, yet again... that would cost a dollar.

Dinner arrived via two of the girls in the dorm, they had gone up to the dining hall to pick up the food. Each of us took one of the styrofoam containers, sat on the floor in the lobby, and opened them up. I think I ate once over the following two days, purely out of starvation, but to be honest, the styrofoam containers that our food arrived in would have been tastier, and probably more nutritious.

(NOT me, but it could have been...)
My next day, a FULL day in hell, was a crash course in what to expect. Non-stop dorm meetings where people dealt with whatever bullshit drama they felt the need to talk about and lots of petty nit picking. I was not allowed to wear the clothes I had worn the day before, and instead had to rummage through the bag of new clothes that were left with me at school. I'm sure telling you I had a duffel bag full of new clothes sounds fantastic, but let's put this in perspective for a moment: it was 1988... & MY MOTHER (who used to be REALLY conservative) picked out these clothes.Throw in the fact that there was a dress code (more on that later) we all had to follow at school, and... well... it's no wonder that to this day I despise being told what to wear, how to wear something, or any pants other than jeans.
oh yeah, if you lived through the 80's you TOTALLY remember Merry Go Round & their craptastic clothes.

By the time New Girls was allowed back on campus, and after we had moved our measly possessions to our dorm, known as "South", we were able to join the rest of the campus in the dining room for dinner.
 I actually remember what was served that night, as I sat in the far back corner with my back to the entire room. Deep fried popcorn shrimp. I almost puked at the smell of it, I never liked seafood and to this day I still won't touch it. I existed on some slimy string beans that evening, and a glass of milk. At the end of the meal there were "announcements" and one of them was that it was a person's birthday. The entire campus sang a pathetic "Happy Birthday to youuuuu" song, and got a sugar rush from the nasty Sysco® ice cream cake that was sliced up and served to all who wanted some. (It had chocolate in it, I declined.)Shortly after, the guy whose birthday it was ran away from school, and never came back. Can't really blame him, it was his 18th, he was a legal adult. I never met him.
*side note... YEARS later (like 20 years later) I had started dating a person that went to this same fucked up school, and it turned out that birthday we "celebrated" that evening was HIS. Life is weird isn't it?
("thanks" to my friend Seth for this picture)

The following afternoon, after I learned about the birthday boy running away, I started counting the days till my 18th birthday and trying to figure out how I could fake it for a year in the real world till I was 18. How I could exist as a minor and live as an adult. Eventually I had a plan.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hey Diddle Diddle

I DO understand that "in the moment" questions about things that make zero sense to someone are kinda exceptions... but I've been noticing over the past year or so that not too many (read: not enough) people take the time to try to figure out things for themselves. Seems people are quick to ask how/why/when/where without bothering to think the answers are super easy to find. Hi Google! I ♥ you!
There is NOTHING wrong with asking questions, nor should anyone ever be afraid to ask one ... but sometimes it will pay off to find the answer yourself if you can.
So for once and for all I am about to placate quite a few, 'cause I'm gettin' sick of answering the question "What are fiddleheads?"... or "how do I cook them?"... though the cooking question I fully understand, but only because I tend to want recipes from people I personally know that have cooked the dish. You know, 'cause it's already had a test run. Ever try to find a recipe on line, and read the comments that appear under it? I swear every person says stuff like "this was good & all, but I'd add/leave out *insert food item*" or they complain about oven temp/cooking time... ad nauseam.

Soooo.... in answer to the 2 questions I have been asked REPEATEDLY over the past two months (What are fiddleheads?/how do you cook them?) .........

"Fiddleheads or Fiddlehead greens are the furled fronds of a young fern,[1] harvested for use as a vegetable. Left on the plant, each fiddlehead would unroll into a new frond (circinate vernation). As fiddleheads are harvested early in the black season before the frond has opened and reached its full height, they are cut fairly close to the ground.
Fiddleheads have antioxidant activity, are a source of Omega 3 and Omega 6, and are high in iron and fibre.[2]
The fiddlehead resembles the curled ornamentation (called a scroll) on the end of a stringed instrument, such as a violin. It is also called a crozier, after the curved staff used by bishops, which has its origins in the shepherd's crook." (Wikipedia)

So there is the technical answer. My answer to "what are fiddleheads?" ? THREE DIFFERENT KINDS OF AWESOME, THAT'S WHAT!!! Seriously, if you dig asparagus... you'll love the @#$% outta fiddleheads! (Asparagus is the only vegetable I can even remotely compare fiddleheads to, but the truth is, they're only vaguely similar in taste/texture)

How do you cook them? Well, I'll tell you how I cook them.... and lucky you... I took pictures.

First you gotta clean them off. I bought one of those sink strainers at Ikea years ago (totally worth the $10 bucks)

 THEN.... you can cut a little bit of the ends off, or just break them off. I couldn't break them off AND take a picture. I'm just not that awesome... so I cut them.
 Next up:
  • boil some water... 
  • while the water is boiling, slice up some bacon (like 3 or 4 slices) into 1" to 2" chunks. 
  • throw the bacon into a frying pan

  • check the water... & once it's boiling throw in the fiddleheads.
Take note of the time....

'cause only 1 minute later....
  • Take the fiddleheads off the burner. 
You can strain them, in a colander, or use one like I've got over my sink... (OR just do what I did and use a slotted spoon... 'cause I'm wicked lazy and didn't want to do a bunch of dishes)... then dump them into the frying pan with the pretty much cooked bacon. Stir um all up together....
and if you have some lemon (I HIGHLY recommend organic lemons, holy crap they're yummy!!)... cut a wedge off and squeeze it in there too...

THEN... dump it all in a big bowl and eat the $#!& out of it!! 
 There really are TONS of recipes out there for fiddleheads, but this is MY favorite (for now) way to cook them... and after not eating since yesterday around 3pm (not including multiple cups of coffee & tea)... it tasted EXTRA yummy :)

Enjoy! ... and by all means, if you have some tried & true recipes for fiddleheads, PLEASE share 'um!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

100 Words: Deep South Sticky

It's "deep south sticky" right now. Every hair that blows in the fevered, yet mild, breeze sticks to my skin, only I've been so wiped out by the sweltering temperature that I just let them stay. I am unable to undress more than I already have, not without having to go to a private room... but those rooms have no breeze. I'm seconds away from sitting outside in practically nothing, waiting for the darkened skies to open up, dropping jewelry in my wake as I rid my skin of anything blocking a breeze... *clink*...*clink*....*clink* in anticipation of an invigorating deluge.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

You've Gotta Ask Yourself, "Do I Feel Lucky?" Well Do You, Punk?

So..... there's been a change of plans this summer. My bartending gig at the place I worked last summer has a .000000001% chance of existing at any point this summer. I was sad about it for like an hour, pissed off for like a day or two... then guess what? Totally over it. Too bad really, since I loved that gig... BUT... like with almost all things we loved once, going back to them isn't always as fun.

THOUGH, I will say that the person I was working with last summer, who just about every customer complained about because she was always in a bad mood, is back there this summer. I found it interesting (and totally flattering & smile inducing) that so many different people had individually come up to me, before the bar reopened, to tell me they had asked about me/requested that I be there again... but the person hired back (who I'll totally admit is quite a good bartender, at least at making drinks properly, she's been doing it for years) is the one everyone complained to me about.

Yes, that's her...& no, I did not take that picture
I would have shrugged that off too, but on opening night it was my best friend's birthday... and a group of mutual friends were out with a bunch of girls at a bachelorette party that had decided to go dancing at my old bar... so, seeing as how it was my best friend's birthday, and I was the designated driver that night (someone had to get us home safe, and the birthday girl could barely sit on a bar stool safely halfway through the night)... I went down there. It was like going to your ex's place after a shitty break up. I didn't like it, but what made me just walk out of there without a word was looking behind the bar and seeing the moody bartender in a short pink wig. Yeah, I found it mildly pathetic, and left.

you've seen MY hair, right?

When I went back upstairs to the other bar I sat down to talk to one of the bartenders I totally think the world of and we laughed about it. THEN some random guy goes and sits right next to me (mind you, the bar itself was rather empty, he had a wide range of bar stools to pick from) and while my initial instinct was to just ignore him and continue my conversation with the bartender, the guy engages me in conversation, has some funny stuff to say, and then asks me "where are you from?" When I told him I lived here on the island, and "in fact I used to be a bartender downstairs", he laughs and says "well why the hell aren't you still down there? You're fun as hell, and way nicer than that grumpy wig wearin' bitch they've got there now." Oh man, I laughed my ass off! He proceeded to tell me how he and his friends had stopped in there at the beginning of the night and she was HORRIBLE to them. Totally cold and unfriendly. To the point that a bunch of guys, after a long day at work, chugged their drinks so they could get out of there ASAP. I laughed harder, THEN I witnessed him complain to the bar staff about her. Yeah, I enjoyed myself immensely from that moment forward. The guy was a lot of fun, and from my home town of Chicago (♥!!!). At the end of the night we exchanged emails and promised to get in touch so we could hang out again when he came back to the island (he and his work crew come out here once or twice a year to do work for a wealthy family from back home that has a 2nd house here) and I took Drunky McBirthdayGirl (and some others) home safely.

I loved that the next day I got a txt from her that said "thank you for driving last night!"
So I sent one back that just said "Thank you for NOT driving!"... and I also got a good laugh via facebook:
*click to enlarge*....this has been deleted in the past day or so, probably by her.
As far as jobs go....I ended up scoring a great job for the summer, full time (& started a few weeks ago... hence the sparse blog posts & comments on yours (sorry 'bout that!!!).... with FREE HEALTH CARE! What? Who woulda thought I'd land one of those, eh? Every day I spend the majority of my day sitting on a lovely wooden deck staring at the ocean... since the deck hangs OVER it.. again... WHAT?! The people I work with are fun, and very nice... and the customers, while mostly fairly stupid tourists, are at least nice. Sounds rather perfect doesn't it?
Yeah, I thought so. I was ready to stick with this job for the long haul all summer, and when the season ended... come back to it next summer.

What changed?

Well, the other day (about a week back, in fact the day after I saw the @#$%* in the pink wig) a friend of mine stopped into the office of my current job and we were talking about the shop he was opening with a few others (it's a motorcycle repair shop & retail store). I sorta half jokingly asked him if he was looking for any help, thinking (at the time) that having 3 jobs for the summer just wasn't enough... I didn't really expect his lit up facial reaction!

A day or two later I stopped by the shop, we talked, and I suddenly not only WANTED to work there, but felt like I NEEDED to.

(I love that we look like a 2 headed freak)
I discussed all this with one of my co-workers (who happens to be a good great friend) and it turned out she wanted to quit one of her jobs and work more hours at the job she & I shared... so you know what we did? We switched!

Today we finalized things, and the switcheroos will take place over the next few weeks.

I still have the awesome job overlooking the ocean, but no more free health care though, 'cause I won't be over 40hrs a week there any longer. It'll be in the evenings (& one 10 hr day) each week now, AND I will be working full time, all day, everyday at the bike shop... and doing a ton of graphic design for a business here on the island that has hired me to crank out a bunch of stuff for pretty good money. FINALLY! Life is good!

Throw in the fact that I stopped at the post office today to check my PO Box and there was a fat check from the state. Guess some taxes got overpaid. Um... again... WHAT?! This kind of thing NEVER happens to me! Way to take it up a notch 2011! You've scored yourself one hell of a fightin' chance at awesomeness!!

Anyone else havin' a strange, yet epically excellent bunch of stuff happen lately? I know the saying goes "misery loves company"... but sometimes (most times) I really enjoy hearing other people's good news instead. So, please, do tell!!