Tuesday, October 28, 2008

LOLHouse: Season 5, Episode 5

So the point of last week's episode of House seemed to be that actress Olivia Wilde ("Thirteen", for you heathens who don't tune in every Tuesday) is totally cool with making out with women. Oh, and to further elaborate on the fact that Thirteen has Huntington's Disease and will eventually die but not before she plows her way through several more chicks on camera. The Patient of the Week (tPOW) was Thirteen's Flavor of the Night who had a seizure immediately after sex. Personally I'd take that as a compliment, since all I've ever contributed to is a pulled hamstring and my own tears. No, not at the same time.

After sixty-one minutes of being told she had an incurable illness, House somehow figured out that tPOW couldn't produce tears but with some eyedrops and antibiotics, she'd be cured and ready to resume sleeping with strangers.

The episode also featured two of my favorite recurring improbabilities, including House and Foreman breaking into Thirteen's place to look for clues since doctors always leave work to play Harry and Marv. Also, Thirteen got fired after coming to work drunk and giving herself IV fluids but she--of course--continued to stay at the hospital afterwards because the only difference between being an actual employee and being shitcanned is whether or not you still wear a white coat. As someone who has been fired from several jobs every job, I assure you that they don't just let you hang around the premises. Explain to me again why I'm not a writer for this show?

Finally, it seems like Wilson is back at Princeton-Plainsboro for good, the Private Investigator made a brief appearance, and Cuddy is getting ready to adopt a baby because, despite trying to find a sperm donor, her empty womb is dustier than most Steinbeck novels. We'll see if that actually happens since TVGuide's synopsis for tonight involves phrases like "Cuddy's baby mama" and "gravely ill". Until then...

Episode 5: "Lucky Thirteen"

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'm finally back from three days of awesome in Ohio, a trip you can expect to hear more about, including the delirium that follows 14 hours in the car and the demise of approximately eight generations of Sour Patch Kids. After sifting through a weekend's worth of emails and comments, I learned that the lovely Mojito had tagged me in a meme, which normally I don't do, mainly because I get distracted by shiny things in the kitchen drawers ("I own poultry shears?!") and forget. Not today. Two of the other bloggers she tagged are from Minneapolis--the city that provided me with The Replacements, Target, and people who wear Ugg boots for practical purposes--which is a good enough trio of reasons for me to share Seven Random Facts About Myself.

1) I have a weakness for blue eyes. This bodes well for Hugh Laurie, The New Boyfriend, and anyone with access to Freshlook contact lenses.

2) I don't recall the last time I was the one who ended a relationship. I'm riding a fifteen year Dumpee streak, dating back to the 8th grade when my then-boyfriend Justin decided to kill our two week courtship (which included perks like unselfishly sharing my scoop of mashed potatoes, holding hands on the way to Civics class and periodically making out behind the dumpster) during WJLS's All Request show. "The Big Dawg In Country" spent every Saturday night letting callers make cheesetastic song dedications, which basically meant three straight hours of Garth Brooks' "Shameless" being played for girls who all spelled Christy a different way.

Anyway, Justin decided that we weren't right for each other and he told me using 34,00 watts and a Tracy Byrd song. He selected "Walking to Jerusalem" as his Eff Yew, which didn't make sense in any context since he was a brooding atheist and because lines like "hangin' out with that Christian Dior crowd" didn't exactly apply to our school, which offered more than one meat packing class and hosted homecoming parades that involved tractors covered with glitter. I recently heard that he's now an insurance salesman who--ironically--doesn't have health insurance, meaning that his family's maladies are funded by putting donation jars in some of our hometown's finer bait shops.

3) When I was in the 5th grade, I almost choked to death on a piece of Ramada Inn roast beef during a county-wide banquet for gifted children. Apparently I thought I could completely digest gristle bits using nothing but my INCREDIBLY GIFTED mind.

I could not.

Shortly after attempting to swallow an entire undercooked cow, I turned blue and began helplessly flapping my gravy-covered cloth napkin around until I caught the attention of a large woman who was chaperoning the dinner mainly to keep an eye on her own daughter whose name was frequently heard on WJLS. She raced to my red vinyl seat, yanked me up and gave me her own violent interpretation of the Heimlich maneuver which both saved my life and launched the beef out of my mouth with enough force to send it to the other side of the room where it landed with a satisfying wet sound at the feet of local newscaster George Strange. Mr. Strange was concerned enough to interview me after the incident but my chance to be the lead story on that night's newscast was scrapped after I told him that my father had always called him Strange George.

4) One of my best friends from college just got married which wrecked my plans for the next decade or so. No, not because I was romantically interested in him or anything, even though he was the kind of guy who would find you passed out on the Alpha Sig beach volleyball court and instead of drawing a dick on your head in Sharpie would carry you to your room, tuck you in, and draw a dick on your head in lipstick because that would be easier to wipe off. Anyway, ten years ago we promised each other that if we were still single when we turned 30, we'd move to an island and live together with nothing but a television and a monkey butler. We were serious enough about this to write the proposed name of said island in concrete on the college campus, but never got to the practical parts of the plan, like how we'd get cable or whether or not we'd agree to eat the monkey if we couldn't find other food. Anyway, I'm just a handful of exits away from Thirty and now officially have no plans since he was selfish enough to find eternal love and shit.

5) I distinctly remember one summer morning when I put on my Greenbrier Tennis Camp t-shirt, a pair of Duckhead khaki shorts, and a dickey and looked at my recently permed reflection and solemnly wished that I would look like that forever.

The fact that I don't is as good an argument for a benevolent God as I've ever heard.
6) My life includes a six month period when I wore a dickey under my t-shirts. Read that sentence again.

7) The three things I am afraid of (other than dickies) are porcelain dolls, music boxes, and seeing a mirror in a dark room. The first two are obviously just creepy and evil, but the mirror thing is a remnant from elementary school when some of the sixth grade girls would find a way to trick the younger kids into going into the bathroom every day after lunch so they could turn the lights out and tell us that a ghost called Bloody Mary was going to show up in the mirror and yank us through to the other side. I'm not sure why I fell for this EVERY DAMN DAY but I'm sure they told me that Huey Lewis was in there or somebody just shat out a My Little Pony or something equally plausible.

The setup--that there was restless demon who would reach out of the darkness and pull us to the other side--was ridiculous. The only thing beyond that wall was the janitor's closet, which meant sometimes you'd smell cigarette smoke seeping through the mirror's edges or hear the crackle of a walkie talkie followed by a weary-sounding "Shit" as he undoubtedly opened another can of sawdust to sprinkle on a puddle of partially-digested corn niblets in the hallway. Knowing that didn't make it less terrifying when the lights went out and we'd all scramble for the door. Obviously, Bloody Mary was a no-show but Sabrina the Sixth Grade Repeater got detention for the rest of the year.

I've never stopped hoping that somebody dumped her on the radio too.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Bad Touch

Last week I eased myself back into running, covering about 18 miles during three workouts--the most pavement pounding I'd done in a month. The first two outings were hip pain-free and I was optimistic that I'd either healed completely or had transferred my malady to strangers I'd rubbed against in the Harris Teeter checkout line. But Sunday's eight miler proved me wrong. Before I'd even stopped sweating, my pelvis felt liked it had been ground into mulch and the pain hasn't lessened any as the week has gone by. I've done everything but sprinkle ibuprofen on my cereal and have been intermittently icing it by sitting on a bag of Dora the Explorer brand frozen edamame, which makes me feel creepy on a number of levels.

As luck would have it--and trust me, Luck rings my bell less often than Job Offers or Clear Skin--I got a birthday card from My Former Boyfriend this week that contained a gift certificate to a local massage parlor, perhaps as his way of saying I'm no longer interested in touching you, so maybe these people will. I ignored the fact that my birthday was a solid five months ago; considering that he forgot not to spelunk other women during our relationship, I can see how my 29th might slip his mind too.

Anyway, it's been a long time since I've had a massage because day spas--along with property taxes, oil changes, and brand-name soup--are luxuries that don't exactly fit into my budget. I haven't even thought of paying someone to rub my back since I went to the '07 Orange Bowl when my hotel had a heavily advertised spa the size of a Sam's Club. I had some time before it was appropriate to start drinking heavily so I slipped into the embroidered robe hanging in my closet and decided to check it out. I strolled down the hall and was immediately greeted by a chiseled Abercrombie dropping whose name was probably a noun. He led me into a treatment room and had me answer a list of questions including whether I've ever had a baby and my thoughts on rheumatoid arthritis. I stared at his biceps and quickly checked all of the 'No' boxes, wondering how soon he'd have his hands on me.

He took my clipboard and scanned my answers, his mouth visibly moving as he read down the page. "So where would you like me to focus my efforts today?" he asked earnestly. I clicked the logo ballpoint pen a few times, trying to gather myself before I could snicker or say "My vagina" but the wicked smile that slowly seeped across my face was hard not to notice.

He noticed.

Tucking his hair behind his ears, he stood up and gave me a look like I'd just shoved his puka shell necklace up my ass. He suggested that I didn't have the "proper constitution" for these treatments and walked out of the room, the door softly closing behind him. I shrugged it off as just another rejection in a lifetime chock full of 'em, and stayed behind long enough to fill the pockets of my robe with bottled water and tubes of hotel branded lotion.

Cut To: yesterday when I took my gift certificate across town to a strip mall anchored by an organic grocery store and a couple of boutiques that sell sustainable articles of clothing that look itchy and smell like dirt farts. I hurried past each open door before they could realize I'm a meat-eating, non-recycling Earthfucker and punish me accordingly, possibly by making me wear one of their outfits. The massage place was on the end of the row and before I even opened the door, I was assaulted by eucalyptus-scented potpourri, like they spent the morning roasting koalas on a bed of cough drops.

A woman who introduced herself as Wisdom typed my name into the computer as a pair of men wearing sterile-looking shirts arranged aromatherapy candles on the shelf. They were both superhot and looked like they could spend their days wrestling large animals if only it didn't wreck their cuticles.

I was wondering which one of them I'd get to disrobe for--and how early in the massage I could tell him to please focus on my butt meat--when Wisdom signaled for my attention. "OK, you're all set", she said, her eyes magnified behind a pair of Lisa Loeb glasses she borrowed from 1994. "Ruth will be taking care of you today." Ruth? Shit. I've only known one Ruth in my entire life, a pinched looking woman who lived in my parents' neighborhood whose passion for cigarettes was only matched by her passion for gum disease and yelling.

As if on cue, she lumbered out to greet me and my ste-Ruth-otype was right on. She was a large, broad-backed woman, the kind that if placed on all fours would make an excellent coffee table. Shaking her hand was like shoving it into a trash compactor and I was still rubbing my fingerbones as she led me down a dimly lit hallway to the massage room. "Get undressed to the point you're comfortable," she said, a phrase that would sound more seductive if it wasn't being whispered by a woman the size of a Chevy Nova. I tossed my clothes on the chair, got under the sheet, and noticed that there was a softly-playing soundtrack of birds chirping. It was supposed to be soothing but instead I felt like I'd been left in a field to die.

Ruth came back into the room and dimmed the lights. I told her a bit about my hip issues and she gave a concerned-sounding grunt before jamming the heels of both hands into my upper back, rubbing with the intensity of someone trying to smooth a stubborn bubble out of a piece of wallpaper. "So what do you do for work?" she asked me. I stopped biting my clenched fists long enough to answer. "I'm a freelance writer," I told her, because a liberal arts education means I can say freelancer instead of unemployed.

"Lots of time at one of them computers," she said, ramming her knuckles into the base of my neck. "That explains this knot right here. It's the size of a box turtle." I'm altogether unfamiliar with box turtles, other than knowing what it feels like to run over one so I didn't know what to say other than "Really?"

"Yup. Before them computers, a hundred years ago, you wouldn't have box turtles like this." Of course not, Ruth. Because one of the village elders would have extracted it and cooked it into a stew. "Don't worry," she said, pummeling me with either her elbow or a tree branch. "I'm gettin' rid of this turtle."

It's always unnerving when people have to use amphibians to describe your body. I couldn't wait till she told me my hamstrings were like a bucket of angry salamanders. I was also sweating from the pain and wondering whether we should've established a safe word when she grabbed my butt. I clenched. I seized. I...cleized. "You could bounce a quarter off these glutes," she offered.

"Um...thanks?" I replied, horrified and considering jumping out the window before she could show me the other techniques she learned in the women's prison. "That ain't a good thing," she told me, mashing away like she was fixing a divot.

Despite the fact that she was still muttering the word "turtle" under her breath, I somehow managed to relax. I let Ruth do her job--which meant trying to crush my bones like empty soda cans--and the rest of the hour flew by like the sparrows that were chasing each other through the speakers. It also meant that my hip felt...better. "All set," she told me, wiping her hands on the front of her pants. "Get yourself dressed and I'll see you out front".

I stood up on unsteady legs, wobbling like a shopping cart with a bad wheel. I walked out, tipped Ruth and waved goodbye to Wisdom. "Happy birthday!" she shouted at my back before I got all the way out the door. I started walking back to my car, passing two of the eco-boutiques before breaking into a run and feeling younger than I had all year.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

LOLHouse Season 5, Episode 4

Last week's episode, "Birthmarks", was an ambitious one that brought Wilson back into House's life for at least an hour between Target commercials. That meant the medical aspect was completely secondary--or maybe thirdary--to explaining how House and Wilson met and also giving House the chance to wreck the funeral of the man who may or may not have been his father. The scene where Wilson explains the first time he met House was a bit contrived because of course the officer who just arrested you on an outstanding warrant would like to hear a delightful fable from your past. But it did make their relationship (sorry TVGuide...I'll be damned if I call it a bromance) a bit more complex since it was apparently House who came to Wilson's rescue the first time, bailing him out of jail for getting into a bar fight with...a mirror.

Anyway, between that and House discovering that his mom was totally banging the neighbor so the guy who grounded him every summer wasn't his real dad, there weren't a lot of minutes left for the patient, who was also looking for her real parents. Instead of a tearful reunion, she learned that they tried to kill her as a baby because that's what Chinese people do with spare infants. The bad news? Your parents kind of suck. The good news? Think of all the money you'll save on long distance phone calls.

Episode 4: Birthmarks