Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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How to be a Seattle-ite

April 11, 2011

If you’re reading this, you probably know I moved to Seattle a few months ago. I have spent the past few months settling in, and Seattle definitely has its own distinctive feel.  Trying to fit in is very tricky, and natives are very good at spotting outsiders, but thanks to my keen observation skills, I have learned some easy ways to blend in.  Just follow this handy guide, the more points you get, the more Seattle-ish you will seem, and soon you too can fool people into thinking you are from the Emerald City.

GIRLS’ HAIR

  • Cut your hair short- 1 point
  • Dye your hair black or platinum blonde- 1 point

GUYS’ HAIR

  • Dread your hair- 1 point
  • Handlebar mustache- 1 point (1 bonus point if you wax it)
  • Hobo Beard- 1 point (1 bonus point if you dread the ends)

CLOTHES

  • 1 point for every flannel in your closet (bonus point for each that is from a thrift/vintage/consignment shop)
  • Thick rimmed (aka Buddy Holly style) glasses- 2 points (1 bonus point if they’re not prescription)
  • Everything you own is pre-1980- 4 points
  • Minus 3 points if you carry an umbrella

OUTWARD ADORNMENTS

  • Facial piercing- 1 point for every piercing up to two, minus a point for each after that
  • Bellybutton piercing- Minus 5 points
  • Get a tattoo- 3 points (Bonus point if what it references is too obscure for 75% of the population to understand)

EMPLOYMENT (or lack thereof)

  • Work at a coffee shop- 2 points
  • You work less than 20 hours a week and it’s your only job- 1 point
  • Your only job is less than 20 hours a week AND it’s at a coffee shop- 5 points

HOBBIES (aka, The 4 B’s)

  • Be in a band- 3 points (1 bonus point if it’s a male band with token girl, another bonus point if she plays violin BUT triple bonus points if it’s a female band with a token guy)  NOTE: This is a pretty crucial one for fitting in, but if you lack all musical ability, you can get one point for dating someone in a band.
  • Bicycling- Own a bike- 1 point, Ride it to work- 3 points, 1 bonus point for each hip accessory (ie. waterproof saddle-bags)
  • Brewing your own beer- 3 points (1 bonus point if it’s in your garage)
  • Board games in bars- 1 point

FOOD

  • You buy only organic- 1 point (bonus point if you only buy local, bonus if you only buy at farmers’ markets, triple bonus if you grow your food in your own backyard)
  • You’re vegetarian- 1 point (bonus point if you’re vegan, bonus point if you’re gluten-free)
  • You carry your groceries in reusable totes- 1 point (bonus point if you sewed them yourself)

This is really only the tip of the iceberg, but if you try and gain as many points as possible soon it is a big leap forward in your ability to become a true Seattle-ite (or at least fool people into thinking you are one).

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An Open Letter to Lindsay Lohan

March 29, 2011

Dear Lindsay Lohan,

A headline caught my eye this week. It caught my eye in a bad way, a way that made me very worried, both personally and globally. It concerned me enough that I read the actual article, and what it said was this: you are planning to change your name, specifically, that you are planning to drop your last name and just go by Lindsay.

I beg you, on behalf of all the Lindsey/Lindsays, please don’t do this.

Haven’t you done enough to soil the good name of Lindsay?  You are synonymous with the name; when people hear the name Lindsay they think of you. When I was in Thailand and would introduce myself to people, their response was typically “Oh, Lindsey, like Lindsay Lohan?” My instinctual reply was “No. No, not like Lindsay Lohan, nothing like Lindsay Lohan.” But that would obviously just confuse people, so all I could say, with a weary sigh and a heavy heart, was “Yes, like Lindsay Lohan.”

When you first became famous, I was so happy.  Finally, a famous Lindsay, our name would finally get the recognition it deserved. How I would come to regret it. Now, thanks to you, Lindsay/Lindseys worldwide are associated with DUIs, drugs, stealing fur coats and making movies like “I Know Who Killed Me.”  That last one alone is shameful enough.

So please, you’ve already done enough damage. If you really have your heart set on changing your name, here’s a thought: change it to something other than Lindsay! I hear Chantal is up for grabs!

In conclusion, until you start generating some publicity other than “Lindsay Lohan is a trainwreck,” please just keep things the way they are. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lindsey “Not Like Lohan” Chandler

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The Only Thing You Have to Fear is… Raccoons

November 25, 2010

(Note: This post started as something entirely different, about how much I hate moving, and then turned into the following. Maybe I’ll attempt to write that post again another day, but for now you get this).

My work let me live for free this past summer in the dorm where they house the student workers. That’s right, I was that weird girl who graduated a while ago but for some reason is still always around.  She walks by and you wave and say hi, and as soon as she is past you mouth to each other “Why is she still here?” That’s ok, I accept it. It was free housing, and when considering the options, my poverty outweighed my dignity and sense of shame.

I had a room that would normally house three people all to myself, which meant that I had three closets all to myself.  “But Lindsey,” you might ask, “what did you possibly do with so much closet space?  No one has enough clothes to fill three closets on their own!” Au contraire. I do. One closet holds my work wardrobe, one closet holds casual clothes, and the middle closet holds only dresses. That’s right, I have that many dresses. Hung up in color order. This might be a heavily contributing factor to my hatred for moving. But I digress.

The kitchen/living room space for the student workers and I was one of the dorm lounges.  This dorm was set up like a circle, with suites all around the loop and an open courtyard in the center.  We were all in the top corner suite, and the lounge was diagonally across from us, all the way on the other side of the courtyard.  Because we had a lot of food and belongings in there (and because other college employees can’t grasp the concept that just because food is there doesn’t mean you can eat it), we locked the room when we weren’t in there.  Well, you should know that the college’s locksmith is not a real locksmith. He’s pretty much just a guy they hired and told him he was a locksmith, which might explain why one morning when I turned the latch the lock just fell off. Yep. Just fell right off the door into my hand. I feel safe.

Since the “locksmith” was in the hospital for the next several weeks, this meant that the front door could not be fixed, and was stuck closed and locked.  We had to go around to the back door, by the dumpsters, bordering a heavily wooded, shrubby area.  During the day this was not a problem, but at night it was haunted by the most terrifying creatures on earth: raccoons.

You might be laughing at me right now. “Raccoons?!” You might scoff, “seriously Lindsey? Those cute little furry animals with the masks? Those are hardly terrifying.”

Wrong.

You are probably picturing something like this:

Adorable, right? Well, the reality looks a lot more like this:

This animal wants nothing more than to peel the skin off your face like lunch meat. Disgusting, I know, but necessary to convey the sheet evil of raccoons.  They are Satan’s masked minions, and nothing is going to convince me otherwise.  I mean, let’s be logical here.  Lots of people are afraid of being attacked by  shark or a bear, and that is way sillier than being afraid of raccoon attack.  For one, it is fairly rare to encounter those animals. Raccoons live in your own backyard (And besides, sharks are way too busy fighting off octopus attacks to bother with puny humans, exhibit a: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9A-oxUMAy8&feature=search).  Two, those animals are huge, a bear you can hear clomping through the trees, and all sharks are accompanied by the theme music from jaws.  There is no way they could sneak up on you.  A raccoon is small and stealthy, and they can hide inside trash cans and leap out when you lift the lid to throw away moldy leftovers. Thirdly, bears and sharks are just misunderstood. They are only trying to protect their environment from infringement by humans, and reacting out of fear.  Raccoons are the ones infringing on our environment!  They are lurking around our homes, eating our trash.  And they’re not scared of humans the way other animals are, oh no.  They want to fight you.  They see you coming and say “Bring it on!  Your blood will just serve to season my dinner of garbage!” When I would come around the corner, the raccoons would be there lurking, and they would come towards me!  Or they would be up in the tree, and chatter at me.

Then one night, I experienced the most terrifying encounter of all. I arrived home one evening and walked through the courtyard whistling, heading to the kitchen to set out some chocolate croissants to rise over night.  Then, some movement caught my eye. And I saw it.  At the other end of the courtyard, a GIANT raccoon, scampering along the sidewalk.  IT WAS IN THE COURTYARD!  Is nowhere safe anymore?!  And it was huge, comparable to a Rodent of Unusual Size.  After that I pretty much stopped leaving my room at night.  All I would want was a late night snack, but I couldn’t get one because I couldn’t get past the raccoons, and encountering them would stress me out, which would make me want to stress eat but I couldn’t because I couldn’t get to my food!  It was a vicious cycle.

So you there you have it, irrefutable, anecdotal evidence that  raccoons are the greatest danger you will face on this earth.

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Greece: The Beach, and Not Much Else

September 29, 2010

Honestly, there’s not a terrible amount to say, because we weren’t there that long, and while we were there we didn’t do a whole lot.  We flew to Athens and arrived at our hostel around 5, which gave us just enough time to drop our bags and race to the Acropolis before it closed. I was obsessed with Greek mythology as a child (and to answer your question pre-emptively, yes, I was the coolest kid in school), so seeing the Parthenon was pretty fun.  However, we were both so hot and so tired, we wouldn’t have made it much longer, even if the place hadn’t been closing. We grabbed food on the way back to our hostel and collapsed into bed before getting up at 5:45 in order to catch a bus to the port for our 7:30 am ferry to Santorini. We made it to the boat with five minutes to spare, like, they were pulling up the ramps. No matter how much time we give ourselves, we always seem to end up sprinting through train stations and airports and docks, in our giant backpacks, inciting laughter in all who see us.

But we did make it, and 8 hours later we got to Santorini, where we immediately went to our hostel (which was actually a hotel, and by far the nicest place we’ve stayed, yet one of the cheapest). We dropped our bags and headed for the black sand beach, which was a mere 100 yards down the road. That evening we asked our concierge where a restaurant listed in my guidebook was, but he immediately told us that we could go there, but it was not very good. He said we should go to a restaurant just to the left of the hostel, where he ate every day, and it was authentic Greek, and everything was caught fresh, and if we didn’t like it we could come and tell him. We ate there, and he didn’t steer us wrong, it was delicious. Plus, when we asked for the check, they brought it out with “second dessert,” for free. That pretty much sealed the deal, and for the next 48 hours we didn’t leave that triangle of space. We went from our hotel to the beach, to the restaurant for lunch, back to the beach, the restaurant for dinner, after dinner walk on the beach, and back to the hotel to have a drink on our porch and talk. It was glorious. Did we see the adorable village at the top of the island that you’re supposed to see? No. Did we hike to the volcano crater, or go snorkeling? No. We lay around and read and ate, and I do not regret it for a second. It was perfect.

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Italy: 9 Days, 9 Gelatos

September 25, 2010

Yep, that’s a gelato a day (technically we had two in one day since we didn’t get any the night we arrived).  I won’t lie, gelato was a glorious part of the whole experience.  But I guess there was some other cool stuff too.

Florence was… okay.  I see now what people mean when they say it’s a “dead city.”  It was just so full of tourists (and yes, I acknowledge that I am one of them, I just like a good mix of tourists and people who actually live there).  But despite the crowds, we did enjoy some incredible art.  The very long museum lines passed quickly thanks to the sixth Harry Potter book on tape we have on Tiffany’s ipod.  We are that cool.  Michelangelo’s David really was worth all the hype.  Pictures don’t do it justice.  The tendon behind the knee, the bones in the hand, the vein in the forearm; everything is just perfectly executed.

Even if I hadn’t enjoyed the art and architecture, Florence would have all been worth it for this one meal we had.  You will think I am exaggerating or lying when I say this, but I promise you I am not: it was the best meal of my entire life. I know it seems impossible that I could say that with certainty, but I can. Tiffany’s friend had told us to go to this restaurant, and had told us to order the pasta sample, steak sampler, and picked a bottle of wine we should order. We got the pasta sampler, and it was random, just a small dish of whatever they had cooking at the moment.  I won’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that each was delicious, cooked to the perfect tenderness. Then, since I don’t eat steak, Tiff decided to just get one steak, and I picked some chicken cooked in Port (sweet wine). You guys. This sauce was the most delicious thing I have ever eaten. Tiff enjoyed her steak, but she admitted this sauce was incredible. Sweet and savory and buttery, I can’t describe it adequately, so I’ll just say this: I was having an emotional experience eating this chicken. I am not joking when I say that I was near tears, it was that good. I want to evangelize for this sauce, because it makes me sad thinking that there are people in the world who don’t know about this sauce. As I ate, I thought that I might not live much longer since I would never eat again, because why would I put something in my mouth that wasn’t this sauce, now that I had seen the light?

Ok, I’m done, but if you ever go to Florence I will tell you where to eat. Don’t argue with me. Just do it.  On to Rome.  We heard repeatedly that we should get a guided tour for the Vatican museums and Sistine chapel, so finally we decided to cough up the money and do it. It was well worth it, like everyone said. You get so much history. I didn’t know that Michelangelo hadn’t really painted at all before the chapel. That’s incredible! But for sure my favorite in ROme, and possibly of the whole trip, was the church of San Clemente. Many thanks to my sister for suggesting this one, because it was wonderful. The ground level church isn’t anything exceptional, built in the 12th century, but if you go down a level you can walk through the 4th century church it was built on and see some wonderful frescoes. Then go down another level, and there are ancient Pagan ruins! Imagine the most awesome underground maze of rooms and tunnels that your ten-year-old self (or current self) would want to run around in. That’s what this was. No pictures were allowed, so you’ll have to go see it for yourself. At one point you can fill up your water bottle from a 1st century underground spring! It was so much fun.

I won’t bore you with more detailed descriptions of my gastronomical adventures, just imagine a lot of pizza and even more pasta. Ciao!

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France: We’ll Always Have Paris (but I Liked Lyon Better)

September 18, 2010

Oh France. I liked you so much more than I thought! For some reason pre-Paris, I got myself completely worked up, and was convinced I was going to hate Paris. I thought the people were going to be mean, and it was going to be big and overwhelming, and I would want to leave immediately. Well, of course, none of that was true. Just between the train station and our hostel, two people stopped and asked if we needed help when they saw us looking at our map and scratching our heads. And I don’t think they were just distracting us so a cohort could pick our pockets, esepcially since the first was a grandmotherly looking woman who barely came up to my waist. But who knows.

Paris was wonderful. My favorite museum was probably the Musee D’Orsay, we just loved seeing Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, and my favorite, Degas. For those unfamiliar, a lot of his work is of dancers, both two dimensional (pastels maybe?) as well as small scupltures, which are my favorite. I’ve loved him for a long time, but they had a lot of his pieces and it just reminded me why I loved it.  Also loved the Musee Rodin, (he did The Thinker and The Kiss), the sculptures of his they had in the garden were just so full of emotion and torment, he really saw the inner struggle in people.  The Eiffel Tower was wonderful. I had a moment as we were walking to it thinking “Holy cow, I’m about to see the Eiffel Tower.”  Nothing else had really hit me like that, I think just because it’s so iconic, even little kids know what the Eiffel Tower is, your whole life it’s the Eiffel Tower in Paris, but then to be there touching it? It’s a little surreal.  I have to say however, I don’t know if I really get the whole romantic aspect. Maybe that’s just because I was there with Tiffany (and don’t get me wrong, she’s a very attractive girl and all), but I was looking around thinking “Well, it’s a very impressive structure, and the view is amazing, but I’ve climbed a lot of tall things in Europe. There are a lot of amazing views, and I think there are just prettier places that would seem more romantic than a big metal tower.”

Then there was Lyon. Oh my. What an unexpected jopy that city was.  I didn’t know much about Lyon, but we just so happened to pick a hostel in Old Lyon, and good thing we did.  The newer section is fine, but Old Lyon is simply stunning. It’s right along the river, and the buildings are beautiful, the people are so friendly, and the food. Oh the food! Every day for lunch Tiff and I walked over to a market and bought cheese and fresh fruit, and then went to a bakery recommended to us to get a baguette and some tasty treat for dessert, and we would eat it outside. It was heaven. The baguettes this place made were perfect, crackling crust on the outside, soft and warm on the inside. They also made these cookies, macarons, and sandwiched in the middle was either Nutella or raspberry jam. I can’t explain why they were so amazing, fluffy yet moist, sweet with a slight almond flavor.  All I can say is I weep at the thought that I might never have one again.

When we weren’t busy stuffing our faces, we loved walking around Lyon.  They have a huge park that is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen.  It has free botanical gardens and a zoo!  The monkeys were hilarious!  This one moved like a little old lady, and was totally fascinated by Tiffany.  There was also a lake with a tiny island in the middle that has some sturcture called Memorial to the Dead, and you can’t see it because the island is so covered with trees.  They way you get to it is by underwater tunnel.  You really want to know what’s on the island, don’t you?  Well, so do I, and I can’t tell you because we couldn’t go in the tunnel.  I fogot to mention that it was pouring rain the night we arrived (like thunder and lightning, which made the walk up the 45 degree hill to our hostel super awesome). As a result, the tunnel was flooded, and was still closed when I made Tiff go back on our last day there. It seriously kills me that I don’t know what is on that island. I will get back there someday, and I will find out if I have to build a boat and row there myself. I have to know! 

We also went to a museum about the French Resistance and the Deportation, which was very fascinating.  I didn’t realize the Resistance was really working against their own government as well as the Nazi regime.  They were really on their own, which makes their fight all the more impressive. Lastly, we went to Tiffany’s pick for the day, something she saw on our map called the Robot Museum.  Sounds awesome right? Oh it is, but not in the way you think. Turns out Lyon, in addition to food, is also famous for puppets, and one small segment of that is animatronic figurines, like the Santas you see in store windows at Christmas. And this museum had hundreds of them. All in motion, all the time. It was hilarious! (and less creepy than you would expect). There were actually some very cool scenes set up, including a Peter Pan one, and some pretty impressive motor work.  Well, that’s the gist of France. On to Italy!  Au revoir.

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Belgium: Waffles, Fries, and Chocolate

September 10, 2010

After London we went on to Belgium, starting with Brussels.  Have to say, not a big fan.  Dirty, and covered in graffiti, and just… gray.  The sky was gray, the buildings were gray, people even dressed in gray.  That’s not to say it was all bad, there were some beautiful buildings in the center square, and the famous chocolatery Neuhaus was so delicious.  I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate in my lifetime, and I mean A LOT, but I seriously think this was the best.

By far the best part of Brussels were the spontaneous things.  After leaving the square we walked by a huge church and decided to check it out.  We determined that it was the Cathedral de St. Michel et St. Gudule, and it was absolutely gorgeous, as so many churches here are.  As we were leaving, I stopped to see if there was anything explaining the lives of the saints while Tiffany walked out.  I then saw a gate leading underground, and a sign that said & Euro and had a picture of some sort of tunnel.  I obviously had to go.  I ran out to get Tiff, and we walked down into an underground tunnel that held the ruins from the ancient church that had been on this same site.  It had been discovered a few years ago during remodeling, and was just fascinating.

We went on to Bruges then, and it was so adorable.  I don’t even care if it’s just for tourists, it was beautiful.  It looks like Belle’s town when she wakes up and sings at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast (anyone? anyone?)  We rented bikes and rode along the river past windmills and over bridges.  The bikes were a wonderful break from all the walking we’ve been doing, though there was more than one point I thought I might die, sometimes  by bus, sometimes just through the combination of cobblestones and my own lack of coordination.  We climbed the tower int he center of town, and the view was stunning. Then we rewarded ourselves with waffles and fries for lunch, and bought some more chocolate.  It was just a great relaxing day.  We also loved getting to know our roommates, especially Vivian. She was from Japan, and didn’t really know anyone, but was just the sweetest girl.  We all had breakfast together, and it is so neat to hear other people’s experiences.  Did you know college is free in Sweden?! Why didn’t I live there.  All in all, loved Belgiun (well, Bruges anyway). Next up, France!