It was a good night, that.

It was just three of us in the car, impulsively driving north and farther north, away from the neon streets and the bright city lights. Driving through darkness with no finite destination, and then "Dreamgirl" started to play. I’d never heard the song before, but she turned around from the front seat and performed an inconspicuous duet with Dave Matthews for me. I watched her and smiled, cozy and curled up in the back, my heart still full of that silly and wonderful love, that love so pure and harmless a person can’t really be faulted for wanting to keep it for always and ever.

I heard the song again tonight, the first time since. So much has changed now, but without missing a beat I remembered. I remembered that night, I remembered that drive, I remembered that joy. How could I have known, then? How could I have anticipated I would be where I am, who I am today? And sometimes, it feels like just that: driving through darkness, trying to escape the chaos. Truth be told, we had a vague idea of where we wanted to end up and an even vaguer idea of how to get there, but we made a lot of wrong turns and detours and did a lot of second-guessing along the way. All the same: we eventually got to exactly where we wanted to be, and it was everything I’d hoped for and more. And I might not be the passenger this time, but I have hopes for a repeat success. If nothing else, I still have a heart full of love.

Yet another triumphant notch in my Belt o’ Converts

A friend of mine used to swear by Pinkberry. He and his friends/coworkers/army whatevers would drive 75 miles just to satisfy their Pinkberry cravings.

When I found this out, I could not stop giving him shit about it. I’m not against the idea of driving so far for frozen yogurt– I’ll go 400 miles for pie, after all– but just against the idea of Pinkberry. I was annoyed enough that I went 4 miles for the stuff, if you recall.

Cefiore, I told him. Cefiore is where the real quality frozen yogurt is at. He scoffed at my claims, insisting Pinkberry was delicious and I was insane and "Cefiore" sounded like "sulfuric acid" and it probably tasted like chemicals. I swore I would get him to Cefiore one of these days and learn him up right.

There’s one down the street of my house, incidentally, but as it would turn out, the Cefiore of enlightenment choice would be in Arcadia, CA. I dragged him inside, he ordered a small original with some fruit, and I held my breath as he took his first spoonful, half-expecting him to spitefully inform me that there was no difference between that and Pinkberry whatsoever.

Instead, he paused. Looked at me, almost quizzically. Took another spoonful. Paused again.

I couldn’t stand it. "Well??" I demanded.

"This… is really good." He spoke in that newly-awakened, what-was-I-thinking-all-that-time-before voice. "This… *doesn’t* taste like crap. Wow."

And now his Pinkberry preference is wiped. A-frigging-men.

I really liked the OM in “RENT”: “SPEEEAAAK.”

I just switched voicemail clients and I haven’t recorded a new greeting yet. Mostly out of laziness, but also partly out of conflicted intentions.

This is what my outgoing message has more or less been, for as long as I can remember:

"Hi, this is Lora; sorry I missed your call, but if you leave me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks!"

(Yes. You can *hear* that semi-colon.)

Now, a dissection.

Hi,

Standard greeting. Nothing wrong or inappropriate here.

this is Lora;

Indeed. The voice of the person recording the outgoing message belongs to Lora, as does the voice mailbox associated with said outgoing message.

sorry I missed your call,

And so begins the stickiness. Many times, I *am* sorry I missed the call, but many times as well, I am quite indifferent to having missed the call– and even still are times when I am not sorry I missed the call, but in fact *deliberately* did not answer the phone! Thus, the odds of this clause upholding its truthfulness are, at best, 50/50. Which means at least half the time, this casual apology is a flat-out lie.

but if you leave me a message, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Oh! Oho! Oh man. There– you know, I don’t know if there’s a shred of truth in any part of that. This is a falsehood on every level possible. Which would be three. And they are!:

Level One, The Simpler: If you leave me a message, I will NOT get back to you as soon as I can. I will probably hem and haw for anywhere between five minutes and a couple of hours. Sometimes, I won’t get back to you at all, either because I procrastinated for so long that I completely forgot or because I just really didn’t feel the necessity of the action.

Level Two, The Slightly More Complex: There’s a conditional implied by this wording. *IF* you leave me a message, *THEN* I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. Applying a little elementary Logic gives you "All instances in which you leave me a message are instances in which I get back to you as soon as I can." Or, for the graphically inclined:

The thing is, it’s misleading. The caller is given to believe that I will *only* get back to them as soon as I can under the condition that they leave me a damn message. Logic, of course, would prove otherwise; given "if P then Q", it is false that "if not P then not Q". And a quick glance back at the graph shows that there is plenty of room inside of A for an alternative to B. I can think of two off-hand, in fact– C) call five times in the space of one minute to indicate urgency, and D) send me a text demanding that I call you ASAP.

Level Three, The Vaguely Unrelated: Actually, I delete 70% of my messages without even listening to them. Sometimes before I even call that person back.

Thanks!

This is more a reflex than it is a heartfelt sentiment, so I don’t know how to analyze it. It’s *filler*, really, except tacked onto the end. Thanks for what? For attempting to get a hold of me? For listening to this outgoing message instead of hanging up in frustrated disgust after the final ring? For harboring a desire to engage in voice-to-voice conversation with me?

I’ve been trying to come up with an honest yet tactful [1] outgoing message, but so far, the best I’ve produced is: "Hi, this is Lora; I’ve missed your call, but feel free to leave me a message summarizing your purpose and/or intent. If this is an urgent matter, to ensure the speediest response, I would recommend contacting me via either e-mail or SMS. Thank you!"

No superficial apologies, no false promises. But lord, does it sound anal. And who wants to have to listen to all that, just to leave a message? Then again, maybe it’ll discourage people from leaving messages. Man. I– I really– I’m *not* a phone person.

[1] The asshole version, of course, being something like: "Hi, this is Lora and you’ve reached my voice mailbox because I haven’t answered my phone; this may or may not have been intentional on my part. Either way, you’re welcome to leave a me a message, though doing so won’t guarantee a timely response, nor will it guarantee any response whatsoever. If I know who you are, actually, I probably won’t even listen to the message before I call you back, so there’s no point in leaving one. And as always, the most effective way of getting a hold of me is through e-mail and text messaging. Have a good one!"

They probably wouldn’t, too, is the thing. They’d just sigh and roll their eyes and shrug and say, “Well, that’s Lora for you.”

I’ve been doing another ridiculous art project on the floor of my bedroom again, which means there’s chicken wire everywhere. The majority of it is at the foot of the bed, and every time I have a near-miss with stepping directly onto an edge of sharp little prongs (which would be every time I get off the bed), I keep thinking I really ought to move this project, if not out of my bedroom entirely, then at least into a corner where there isn’t so much foot traffic.

But, no. I leave it there, thumbing my nose at fate. I will probably die, and the headlines will be tragic, a travesty worthy of the ancient Greeks. "Penetration of chicken wire source of local female’s podiatric fatality; family saddened over the sudden loss, but admit to not being highly surprised given the departed’s general scatterbrainedness."

I have else nothing for you. I ought to; enough has been happening over these last two weeks that I should be able to keep your screens chock-a-block full of stories. I suppose I am just being selfish, then.

I also spontaneously transform into a T-Rex.

1. Someone told me I was "Lor-adorable". I thought this was hilarious until I repeated it to someone else, and as soon as the word was out of my mouth I was floored with how nauseatingly cheesy it was. Eugh.

2. "You don’t like H&M?"
"It’s just not really my style."
"So let me guess, you’re more Forever 21."
"Uh, Wet Seal, thank you very much."
"I’m going to open my own clothing store and name it Moist Porpoise."
[thinking he’s just said "Moist Purpose"] "…What??"
"But I might have some trouble with the copyright. What do you think?"
[getting it] "Oh! Ohh. Um, you might have better luck with ‘Damp Walrus’."
[skeptical] "That just sounds dirty, though."
"BECAUSE MOIST PORPOISE DOESN’T."

3. I still refer to the garbage disposal as the Sink Monster. And today I fed him cantaloupe rind, and lo, he was appeased.

And will Calc III and IV teach me how to better balance my checkbook? DIDN’T THINK SO.

I recently had a little fossil fuel epiphany: Costco gas, for me, is actually pretty expensive.

When I’ve re-eeeally pushed it to where I’m practically running on fumes, filling up my tank totals to about 13.5 gallons. On average, I get 30 miles to the gallon.

Say Costco gas is, oh, let’s be generous– say it’s $0.10 cheaper than the mean price of all the gas stations either close to my house or on the way to a point in my daily, or near-daily, commute (e.g., work or school). By filling my tank with Costco gas, I’d therefore be saving $1.35, which is pretty much chump change by the numbers, but that’s *four bags of Skittles (on sale, which they almost always are at the grocery chains)*! Hey!

Except. Except the nearest Costco is approximately 10 miles from my house, and those ten miles are in a direction I rarely ever travel, unless my intended destination is– yup– Costco. And I don’t even shop at Costco, which means the only reason I ever drive to Costco is– yup– for the cheap gas (and the rare berry smoothie. I love their berry smoothies. I just love smoothies, period).

Even the commercial district where this Costco is located– reasons few and far in between for me to go there. The only three things over there that I can think of, off the top of my head, that might incite me to drive to that part of town are: Best Buy, the mall and Mimi’s Cafe. Oh, and DSW. But I haven’t wanted or needed anything from Best Buy or DSW in months; and the only time I go to Mimi’s is with Feather, and our schedules haven’t been agreeable enough in ages to manage a Catsup Date. And I hate the mall. I hate having to go to the mall. Though Dick’s Sporting Goods is at that mall (The Wife used this as an argument to me one hot sticky afternoon, in an attempt to drag me from my nap and go bra shopping at the damn mall instead: "But you LOVE Dick’s!" It was a point I couldn’t even fathom countering).

My point being, I can’t remember the last time I just happened to be by the Galleria and I just happened to be low on fuel, and what a coincidence! Costco’s right around the corner. No. It’s always the 10-mile drive to the gas station.

But here’s the kicker: my house is the closest thing to that Costco. Work and school are even farther. So my minimum route of travel to get gas involves a 20-mile drive, round-trip. That’s 2/3 of a gallon for me, on average, which, at the current Costco gas price, is 2/3 of $4.27. Which is $2.85.

I waste $2.85 in gas to fill up my tank with gas that ultimately only saves me $1.35. Which means I’m out $1.50, which, when distributed into the price per gallon, actually makes Costco gas $0.11 more than the mean price! And that’s assuming the generous -$0.10 difference to begin with! Say Costco is only $0.05 cheaper; for the tank alone, I’d save $0.68, putting me out $2.17, making Costco’s price per gallon $0.16 higher than the mean for me. To say nothing of the productivity costs I absorb by spending the time to drive to and from Costco (and, depending on the time of day, waiting in line at the fuel pumps). And as prices go up, the more expensive Costco gas becomes for me.

Numbers, as proof:

Costco: $4.27/gal * 13.5 gal = $57.65 + ($4.27/gal * 2/3 gal) = $60.50
Random gas station right on my daily route: $4.37/gal * 13.5 gal = $59.00
Difference: $1.50 / 13.5 gal = $0.11/gal extra

Costco: $8.00/gal * 13.5 gal = $108.00 + ($8.00/gal * 2/3 gal) = $113.33
Random: $8.10/gal * 13.5 gal = $109.35
Difference: $3.98 / 13.5 gal = $0.29/gal extra

And suddenly, it’s hello, Chevron. Why yes, I would like a car wash with my purchase today.

One song glory (or, So this one time, I had a vegetarian dinner with Thom Yorke’s secret love child)

So last summer heralded a number of milestones for me. I learned C++, got my first tattoos, and grew as a student, as a dancer, and as a person overall.

I also had a song written for me. I have to confess, it was never on my List of Feasibly Attainable Goals to have someone be inspired enough to write a song either for or about me, probably because I was pretty sure that said song would go something along the lines of "You sucked the life from me and, well, / I hope you die and go to hell". Despite the fact that 1) I am not really that bad of a person and 2) I was going to say I would never associate with anyone who turned out to possess such a combination of emo+petty, but looking back through my life, this is an entirely untrue sentiment.

ANYWAY. The song! Was recorded last week and posted a day or two ago! You can listen to it here and the lyrics are here. I can’t tell you how exciting it is to see my name spelled correctly five times (six, if you count the title). And maybe it’s a sign of narcissism, but I couldn’t really claim to care: I love my song. It’s light and summery and silly, free of symbolism or pretense to deeper meanings. It is exactly what it is. Happiness, curled toes and all.

Night shifts give you a lot of time to feel bad about yourself

I can’t fix the global food crisis.

I can’t make this country’s economy stop making it so hard for so many of its citizens to even just get through the day.

I can’t change the constantly rising price of fuel, which affects so much more than a person’s daily commute.

But after I woke up this afternoon, I went out on the balcony and saw that a couple of the neighbors’ recycling bins had blown all the way down into an empty corner lot, so I went outside and rescued them all from the wind and rain, stacked them neatly somewhere visible where they couldn’t topple over and get scattered again– and for a few seconds, I felt like an okay human being.

Still. *Still*.