Pro-Procrastination


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State of the Paulina Pt. 2

Paulina is melting – The weather forecast in Dallas has been 108 degrees for the past two weeks, which hasn’t been too bad since I decided the other day to never go outside for the rest of the summer. The best part of not having any air conditioning in my car is that I’ve spent a lot of time bonding with random strangers on the road when I see them with all four windows down, just like me. One guy actually gave us a thumbs-up when Ernesto and I pulled up next to him at a red light. The good news is that next Friday we’re supposed to hit a refreshing 97 degrees!

Paulina can’t stop watching Breaking Bad – UM I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO START. I don’t think I’ve been this simultaneously horrified and enthralled by a teledrama since LOST, which is saying a lot considering that Breaking Bad is zero parts magical realism and all parts meth/Mexican drug dealers. And fantastic music, like this scene where they play Tamacun. Also, does Walt look familiar to you? You might have seen him in Malcolm in the Middle..

OR IN DRIVE COSTARRING ALONGSIDE RYAN GOSLING!
Bryan Cranston plays Shannon in Drive, and he worked on the movie in the middle of playing Walt in Breaking Bad. I like to think that there’s a missing Breaking Bad episode out there somewhere that highlights the strained relationship between Walt and Jesse as the former is forced to choose partners. 
Rough storyboard:
 “He’s leaving me for Ryan, isn’t he?”
It’s a character development jackpot. Besides the fabulous connections this show has with Ryan Gozlin’, it also constantly refers to places/names that have been a part of my life for a long time like Tampico and Salamanca. Hearing them tossed around in dialogue while referring to meth and murder is slightly offputting, but I’ll take what I can get. ALSO, Jesse Pinkman’s character and I are both allergic to erythromycin! If that isn’t enough to justify my unhealthy addiction to this show, I don’t know what will. 

Paulina is shocked and appalled– Given that the chances of the Red Sox getting their faces out of their butts in time to make the play-offs are slim to none, Ernesto and I finally admitted that we probably are not going to see a Rangers vs. BoSox baseball game this fall. Then I got really excited about maybe getting tickets to see the girls 2012 gymnastics team perform alongside Nastia Liukin in Dallas. Aaaaaand that’s when I learned that Ernesto doesn’t know who Nastia Liukin is. Um. Our exchange was something like this:

Paulina miraculously hasn’t run out of tears yet – The amount of crying I do for anything Olympics-related is disgusting. It doesn’t even have to be an athletic event, it could just be a Fruit of the Loom commercial with a vague allusion to gymnastics and I guarantee that I will be mopping bucketfuls of my tears away. The amount of crying I did at the opening ceremony ALONE easily quadruples the amount of crying I did when one of my family’s dogs died this year (sorry Buddy.. nothing personal). THE BEST (and by ‘best’ I mean ‘worst’) part of the 3 hour+ opening ceremony was that my family and I spent all of it at Buffalo Wild Wings, where the waitress kept politely asking if everything was alright and I had to pretend to be super interested in my spinach-artichoke dip so she wouldn’t see how red my eyes were from bawling at the tv screens.

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The Boutique Cupcake

Not even Nostradamus could have warned us about the cupcake, that miniature dessert dressed in layer upon layer of frosting rosettes that has seduced the country with its hollow decadence. Bit by extravagantly decorated bit, the twenty-first century’s All-American Boutique Cupcake has invaded every possible venue with unnecessarily polka-dotted, pink or curlycued cupcake services, erasing from the nation’s memory such once-beloved delicacies as the Apple Pie or the S’More. The following instructions indicate how, with just a handful of ingredients, you too can contribute to this cream cheese-frosted, sprinkle-covered skid mark in the nation’s culinary history.

Prep time: Varies
Baking Time: 0 minutes
Yield: Three-dozen cupcakes

Ingredients:

Old family recipe for fairy cakes

15 ½ ounces all-purpose flour

1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

3 eggs

1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/8 cup water

1 episode of Sex and the City

5 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1 dump truck filled with confectioner’s sugar

Assorted buckets of food coloring

1-3 starving artists (use as needed)

Directions

1. Refer to an old family recipe for fairy cakes, the boutique cupcake’s homely English predecessor. Hold the yellowed, tea-stained piece of paper in your hands as you relish the thought that you are about to make a vintage dessert. Following the instructions that have been passed down for generations, combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well before adding the eggs, vanilla and water. Set the mixture aside.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. As you wait, help yourself to an episode of Sex and the City. Observe as Carrie Bradshaw and her girlfriends buy cupcakes from Magnolia’s Bakery Shop. Notice that the cupcakes these women buy are just as glittery and glamorous as their sequined clutches and sparkly platform heels. Wonder whether the recipe you are using will include instructions for red velvet cake, which is Carrie’s favorite flavor.

3. Return to the old, tea-stained family recipe for vintage fairy cakes. Read the instructions from beginning to end, and frown as you realize that this 1850’s recipe doesn’t tell you how to make red velvet batter. Frown even more as you notice the recipe’s lack of instruction for elaborate frosting methods, proper sprinkle application or marzipan garnish techniques. Deem the old English recipe absolutely useless and stuff it down the garbage disposal along with the flour, baking soda, salt, eggs, vanilla extract and water mixture you prepared earlier.

4. Turn off the oven. Buy a red velvet sheet cake. Using a thin knife, carefully cut round, fluted cup shapes out of the sheet cake. Refer to one of your paper liners as a model. After cutting out the first cupcake, briefly consider cutting in straight cylindrical shapes, or even cubes to reduce the leftover cake scraps. Decide that the traditional cup shape is much cuter than any efficient alternative, and continue cutting. As you cut out each cupcake, keep in mind the proper cake-slice-to-cupcake ratio; one hearty, satisfying cake slice should be the equivalent to 1.7 cupcakes. A successful all-American boutique cupcake denies the eater a satisfactory helping of dessert after one serving, but leaves the eater feeling guilty and engorged after a second. Throw the remaining sheet cake scraps down the garbage disposal.

5. In a pink, polka-dotted, or Rachel Ray-endorsed saucepan, prepare the frosting by whisking the flour with the milk and setting over heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is as thick as the fake French accents you’ve heard on Cupcake Wars. Add the confectioner’s sugar to the mixture one bucketful at a time, stirring occasionally. To create batches of colored frosting, add ¼ bucket of food coloring to each bucket of icing at a time and stir briskly, adding more coloring as needed. Summon one or more artists, and put their extensive backgrounds in color theory to use by having them create your frosting palette.

6. When you have made enough icing to create an edible life-size statue of Paula Deen, remove the saucepan from the stovetop and let cool. Divide the frosting among your various artists. Drawing from any number of sources for inspiration, choose several objects and/or scenes that will take each artist at least 2 hours to sculpt or paint using the icing provided. Encourage each artist to incorporate the traditional elements of design (e.g. form, line, value, rhythm, variety, symmetry) as they stack nauseatingly overworked poodles, Hello Kitties, flower arrangements, Muppet characters, Mario Party scenes, ladybugs and lipsticks on top of each cupcake. Carefully measure the icing-to-cake ratio of each cupcake; ideally, the amount of icing on each cupcake should be equal to 1n+4, where n = amount of cake and the units are measured in the average human mouthful.

7. When all of the cupcakes have been adequately frosted, place them delicately inside their respective paper liners. Although you may choose from a variety of these, note that any self-respecting cupcake liner comes in animal print, floral print, plaid or paisley patterns. If the pattern isn’t short-circuiting your retina, select another cupcake liner. Alternatively, you may choose to construct your cupcake liners using hand-made paper made with exotic flower petals or dried fall leaves, depending on the occasion. You may also opt for disposable lace liners cut with butterfly patterns, snowflakes, picket fences, intertwining hearts, family crests or flower silhouettes. Although these can be accomplished with any laser-cutter, it is in the spirit of the all-American boutique cupcake to waste more time, energy and morale by cutting each delicate pattern by hand.

8. Spare no expense when it comes to arranging your cupcakes. Stack tray upon pastel-colored tray of your chocolate-frosting sugar bombs to create faux wedding cakes. For an attempt at classiness, serve cupcakes in expensive wine glasses alongside sparklers, flower arrangements, or any other largesse that will distract from the fact that you are dressing up a child’s dessert in high heels.

9. At no point should you stop to consider the implications of contributing to this current culinary trend. Do not stop to ask yourself why the boutique cupcake so depends on its frosting, its liners, its arrangements and its endless embellishments. Doing so might reveal that the cupcake is not a dessert at all, but just a brightly colored illustration of what “delicious” might look like if it were made with more than sugar and food coloring. Doing so might remind you that while four shades of orange frosting topped with a marzipan sun and a hand-embroidered liner taste like very little, a goopy, half-melted ice cream cone makes up for its lack of aesthetic in Rocky-Road flavored relief from the summer sun. Doing so might remind you that fried Reese’s bars don’t need to dress up in frosting because the experience of battered peanut butter is memorable enough to last an entire year. Doing so might remind you that licking the streams of lemon syrup running from the popsicle stick in your hand down to your elbow does more for your senses than seeing a million perfect pink sugar rosettes.


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Missed You

Hey there Internet old buddy old pal! It’s been a long, dark and desolate week without you. By ‘long, dark and desolate,’ I actually mean ‘warm and sunny and next to the beach’. And surrounded by Mexico’s finest federal police and army personnel! This year, da homeland had the honor of hosting the annual G20, so everyone at Los Cabos cleaned up real nice. We stayed at the same hotel that hosted  the Russian representatives, which meant that we had to walk through metal detectors and let security X-ray our stuff every time we felt like going through the lobby. Although that made it feel like we never really left the airport, the hotel made up for it by very conveniently activating free WiFi in the lobby just as Russia’s finance ministers checked in. Clever girl..

We spared no expense. (4 RUSSIA!!!)

That said, the only person who used the free WiFi was my dad, who needed to go online to read his birthday wall posts on FB. AND book us a room in a different hotel so we wouldn’t be homeless on Saturday night, since G20 took up all the weekend rooms.

Speaking of Russia messing things up, HOW ABOUT DAT EUROCUP?! Ernesto and I were constantly peeking into bars along the streets in Cabo to get the game scores all week, and the look on his face when Russia lost to Greece was pretty dang satisfying. So satisfying, in fact, that it almost made me forget that Greece > Russia was probably the only upset that I didn’t put on my 2012 EurUpset Bracket. I’m happy to see losers come out on top, but it would’ve been cool if the losers I’d wanted to win would do so. LOOKING ATCHU, THE NETHERLANDS.  What does it feel like to see my predicted 2012 Eurocup Champ get eliminated in the group phase with a grand total of Z E R O points? Sort of like this:

WTH THE NETHERLANDS 

Spending the next few weeks watching my bracket fall into lower and lower percentile rankings won’t be so bad as long as Spain doesn’t win this thing. I swear to you over all that is dear to me, I’ll probably claw my eyes out with soccer cleats if I have to watch Spain carry a Eurocup Trophy out of that stadium.

This whole rant about my complicated feelings regarding the Eurocup was supposed to be a tweet, but well. Obviously 140 characters wasn’t going to cut it. Why do I even have a twitter? All I do is go past the character limit and creep on Amelie Gillette. No less than half of the tweets I start to type are Young Money lyrics, but I’ve managed to self-censor myself in time for each one (you’re welcome, world). 
I can tell that this is very quickly going to turn into a ranty rant, so here’s a summary of what it was like to get back in touch with the Internet after a week of webstinence (GEDDIT): 
1. Go on ESPN.com and hate own bracket 
2. Go on Twitter and hate own twitterature 
3. Go on Gmail and be shocked at lack of new emails since last log-in. Realize this is mostly due to the end of Carleton.
4. Go on here to see someone else articulate my feelings about graduating better than I can.
5. Go on Youtube to listen to Selena sing “Amor Prohibido” as I entertain my sadness while mourning the late and great Chicana supastar.
6. Go on Selena’s wiki and learn that George W. Bush made April 16th “Selena Day” in Texas. Gain the first inkling of sincere appreciation for the former president. Get more excited to move to Texas in a week and a half. 


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22B422 Pt. 22: TOO SOON

Things on my TOO SOON list (for which the pain is much too fresh for me to spend more than two seconds thinking about before locking myself in a room and playing Someone Like You on repeat)

-Titanic in 3-D
-“Fast Car”, seriously
-My lack of an Ed Studies concentration
-The ruuuude Pepsi Max ads at Target Field today
– Pan-Pan going out of business
– Anything related to comps
– The last chapter of “The Women of Brewster Place”
– THE RAPE OF MOTHER EFFING NAN KING
– RIP Greg Sellnow
– The Quarry Hill murder
– Kony graffiti on Spoonbridge and Cherry
– Jason Varitek’s retirement
– Manny Ramirez’s comeback
– every single thing I’ve turned in so far for Creative Non-Fiction


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Sad Timez

Well, February has wasted no time in becoming the most depressing, soul-sucking month of my life since the time my brother RUINED Harry Potter 5 for me when I was a quarter into the book, and I had to go through the next 400 pages knowing that Sirius was just gonna die and that Harry would never have a family. Yes, it was horrible. Yes, I got my revenge by telling him that Dumbledore dies in Book 6. No, I don’t regret it for a second.

So February was shaping up to be a fantaaastic time right after the Ebony show, which I will write about later. I was actually planning a whole post about Ebony and dance at Carleton College, which was completely thrown on the back burner when Mike Freaking Kelley killed himself. Of all the art majors at Carleton, I’m probably one of the least informed or passionate about contemporary artists, mainly because I spend my free time having karaoke contests with Ernesto to see which one of us is better at Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” instead of watching Art21 or whatever good art students do. You’ll understand, then, that it is a Big Deal for me to go out of my way and fall in love (actually) with someone’s work. I was first introduced to Mike Kelley’s work when I saw “More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid” at the Walker Art Museum’s Spectacular of Vernacular show about a year ago, and later when I came across “Educational Complex.”

 Since then, I’ve written essays and a powerpoint about Kelley because his work largely informed my comps (my senior major thesis project that is currently sucking up all of my time, energy and belief in happiness), so I should be able to write a sentence about why this guy’s work impacts me so profoundly, but honestly I just want to wallow in sadness while listening to “I Will Always Love You.”

… YOU KNEW THIS WAS COMING. Whitney Houston is gone. Before any of you bring up the fact that Etta James ALSO died and I didn’t write an incoherent, whiney blog post about that fantastic black singer whose music I seriously wanted to mashup for Da Wedding, let me point out that unlike Etta James, Whitney Houston has been a part of my family since 1992, when my dad got a some sort of cassette-playing alarm clock that would play “I Will Always Love You” at 6:30 a.m. every morning for an entire year. I loved Whitney Houston before I knew what she was singing about. That song is practically engraved into my eardrum. AND there is the fact that I spent the last two weeks of fall term writing a comparative paper about the role of Whitney Houston’s music in the book and film versions of “Waiting to Exhale.” Remember? The paper also provided some insightful insight into the steamy relationship between Whitney’s character and the guy from Allstate commercials.. this is one of the (many) (MANY) scenes I memorized after watching the movie 4 times (seriously). You know, for academic purposes.

You’ll be disappointed to hear that because of Whitney’s unexpected death, they’ve had to cancel the promising Waiting to Exhale sequel.

Let me ask you this. Is it a coincidence that Mike Kelley and Whitney Houston died after the groundbreaking scholarship I produced about them?

I
think
not.

So, this is a public service announcement that the following individuals should consider themselves in danger of death, having recently been the subjects of Paulina’s homework: Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Katrin Sigurdadottir, Bill Clinton and Lauren DiCioccio.


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S/Cr/Nc

On Carleton Moving its S/Cr/Nc Deadline to Seventh Week
Sooooo for those of you who have anything to do with Carleton College, you are probably aware by now that faculty voted with a 67-21 majority to make several nightmarish unpleasant changes to the beloved S/Cr/Nc policy that has saved us in our darkest hours. Previously, the S/Cr/Nc (pronounced ‘scrunch’.. gettit?!) policy allowed students up until the last day of classes to designate a maximum of 6 credits (= one normal class) reviewed on a Pass/Fail basis. Students who anticipated getting a low grade in a class (or students like me who are anal about their GPA and cry every time they get anything other than an A-) could designate one class per term, six classes over all four years at Carleton, as S/Cr/Nc and receive either a Satisfactory (i.e. “Pass”) , Credit Received (i.e. “Barely Passed”), or No Credit (i.e. “Faiiiiil!”).

The new policy doesn’t completely eliminate the S/Cr/Nc option, but is pretty radical nonetheless. For starters, it changes the S/Cr/Nc designation deadline from the last day of classes (end of 10th week) to the Friday of 7th week. It also requires the course professor to sign off whenever a student wants to Scrunch the class, whereas before the professor wasn’t contacted about the student’s decision until after all grades were submitted, and some higher power (the registrar’s office?) changed Scrunched classes’ A-F grades to S-NC grades.

I have beef with these changes. (Did I say that right, Jersey Shore Cast? Probably not. )

I think these changes suck. The new policy changes the Scrunch deadline to 7th week regardless of whether you’ve gotten enough graded work or feedback from a professor in a class to make an informed decision of how you’re doing. Two of my classes (English and Political Science) this term didn’t give me graded work back until 6th week, in part because they didn’t assign anything until 5th week (wtf..). Ernesto’s Biochemistry class schedules all of its TWO exams 6th week or later, and hasn’t yet heard how he did on the first one. The 7th week Scrunch deadline would be a terrible indicator of whether it would be a good idea to Scrunch a class when we’ve only gotten one or two assignments graded by then.

I have scrunched one class* during my time at Carleton (science, physics-related, required a graphing calculator and a comfortable knowledge of high school-level math that I have tried very hard to forget.. you understand this). It wasn’t an easy decision either time, mainly because whether to Scrunch or not depended on how I did on the second exam before the final, which typically got graded after 7th week. While I know that some students might be 100% sure that they’ll Scrunch a class from Day One, most people wait until 8th, 9th, and even 10th week to make a decision based on graded assignments and returned exams.

Assuming that I pass all my classes and don’t fail comps and eventually graduate in June, I’ll be far, far away from this campus by the time these policy changes get implemented in Fall ’12. So what do I care.  But it irks** me to think that what used to be a useful policy that gave students the flexibility to choose how a course was to affect their GPA, transcript, etc, is now essentially being rendered moot by an earlier deadline.
* Edit: I thought I’d scrunched two classes, I’ve actually only scrunched one
** I believe this is the first time I’ve ever said “irk”

This post was originally going to be about a bunch of other thoughts, but my stomach is pretty much yodeling right now, so I’m gonna go tend to more important needs.

Take-away point from this rant: Carleton has very efficiently been deteriorating since I got here, I just want to leaaaaaaaaaave.