Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Look! Up there in the URL box thingy!

Minor changes that matter to, like, no one but me:

You can now reach me at www.thesunsetfog.com, instead of through the blogger site. (Yeah, I had to have the article "the". Yes, you currently need the www. (This was explained to me in words I don't understand but should go away eventually. I think?)) WHEE!

Thanks to Chad for doing the hard part on the domain website and listening to me explain via email "Uhhh, I dunno?" about my utter lack of tech savviness. I rely heavily on the kindness of strangers.

You can also email me at lisa@thesunsetfog.com. Okay, not yet but it'll be live soon(ish). Right?! I'm spppeeccialll! *twirls around in taffeta skirt* (Not really, but I could.)

So yeah. Taking the world wide web by storm!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Annual Ode to College Football

I sent out an email the other day to my friends alerting them to the fact that it my favorite major holiday: college football kickoff Saturday. LSU opens with a marquee game against the Oregon Ducks. (La la la la I can't hear anything else about legal woes, fingers in ears!) I'll be at North Star bar watching the game with Abita. I have been lobbying, quietly and to no one who cares, to make this the LSU bar for a few years and alas! it is! I win something I wasn't even trying to win! (I also went there last night, through a series of random events, and despite a guy wearing Affliction bumping into me often, had a bizarrely good time. Even if it is the bar where I met The Dude who... sigh. Memories.)

Most of my friends won't be watching with me due to an ex-friend's wedding, which is a bit of a bummer because I love amusing them as I scream nonsensically at the TV about "goddamn hit the motherfucking summabitch!" Sorry for the swear words but that's really how it sounds around here on Saturdays. More than once my non football understanding mom has shouted down the stairs to see if I am okay, thinking I am being attacked. I used to laugh at her and be all, "Yeah, I'm fine." Now I yell back, "NO I am NOT okay! The freaking quarterback couldn't find the broadside of a barn, let alone the wide receiver AND just threw into double coverage when he paniced! GEEZUS!" (I'm not an expert, as has been pointed out, but I get a bit of it. Which considering I wasn't raised on football is pretty good, in my humble opinion.)

Anyway, not getting to share this with most of my friends, as they celebrate nuptials, is a bit of a bummer. However, I am so glad to not be friends with this person anymore, for a lot of reasons, but right now: only in the non-South does some asshat have a wedding during football season. WHO DOES THAT? No one in their right mind that I know, that's for damn sure. There are about four acceptable weekends a year to get married if you hail from the South. I call dibs on the weekend after conference championships/before bowl games in December. Then you have most of the summer if you aren't die hard baseball and really that's a 162 games so you can spare a weekend. From September to January, if you even THINK about having a wedding on a day when major games are going on, you know that half your wedding party is gonna be parked at the one TV in the bar pouring over scores. (Digression: I have been mentally planning weddings lately. And having dreams about them. I blame this entirely on some stupid wedding magazine that is taking up residence in our bathroom that I mindlessly flip through when in there. I mean, seriously. This is me. I'm not even dating anyone/hate everyone right now so WTF, brain?)

Despite some friends not being there, others are going to be watching with me and that makes my wee little heart happy. Because these are people that mostly could give the slightest thought to sports generally. When someone who has the mildest passing interest in sports IMs you, "I am oddly excited to go watch sports with you again!" out of the blue, you feel like you've actually accomplished something. It is a small accomplishment, but in this non-college football obsessed city, it's a victory.

The fact that San Francisco is not at all a college football town was covered beautifully right here. That condescending tone? Drives me nuts. Look, I'm fairly accomplished. I went to college. I know a thing or two about a thing or two. Being a football fan does not negate my intelligence, ironically tattooed hipster who loves Burning Man. 

In fact, I have lately realized that nothing will coalesce your beliefs like having them attacked. This person whose wedding is next weekend once told me, "I think being a fan of sports is stupid. Like really stupid. To be fair, I think being a fan of ANYTHING is stupid but football is particularly dumb." Oh, well now, that's a pretty unforgettable indictment on my core beliefs. Mainly: nothing makes me giddier than college football and things that make me happy make me a better person and being a better person is good. (Yeah, really glad to not have this person in my life anymore.) For all the various things in my life I would change, ending up accidentally at LSU, loving it, and falling in love with football is decidedly not one of them. My personality generally hovers somewhere around apathetic. I don't do extreme poles of emotion. An ex used to get mad at me constantly for not being more excited about everything ever. College football is not one of those things. It brings me this bizarre happy sense of joy that very very little else does. And I'll be goddamned if someone tells me that's ridiculous ever again.

So with that I say: bring it on! Bring on four months of insanity and grass eating and losing but still winning and clock management jokes and my obsession with the color purple and the fear of the jinx and the heartbreak and Lou Holtz mumbling through broadcasts and being up insanely early to watch College Gameday because I live on the West Coast and texts from the stepsister, college roommate, and other various assorted friends about the games. Bring on a loathing of: Rocky Top, creamsicle orange, Bama, Nick Saban, all things Auburn, and playful smack talking in crowded bars.

Can. Not. Wait. For. Next. Saturday...


(P.S. The dude in San Diego who told me I was angry and The Dude...Sigh are both going to Dallas for the LSU/Oregon game even though neither of them are alums of either school. The cruel injustice of it! Temptation to text something witty: high. Temptation to drive to Dallas because wtf not? and try and procure a ticket: also high but I am a mostly rational person with no actual funds so I won't be doing this.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Love Stories

Y'alllll. I went and saw Crazy, Stupid, Love.

It's not, despite what the trailers would have you believe, a romantic comedy. It's just straight romance. Don't get me wrong, I laughed. I laughed a lot. Probably more than the other six people in the theater with my mother and I. (There is something amazing about going to the movie theater in Daly City in the middle of the day... We also now always cheat and get the kids pack of popcorn and a small soda. It's like getting a happy meal. You feel like you're ripping them off but really it's still not a fair trade, I'm sure. Next time I want to bring a burrito with me. I used to love eating burritos in movie theaters when I was in high school. Anyway, I digress.)

Um. I had my heart broken about twenty different times during the movie. I didn't see the twist coming, which I won't divulge, even though I was at one point thinking, "But wait..." about the characters and then twist was revealed and I was all, "AHHH!" And just...

Sorry, deep breath, I'll try and type in actual sentences now.

I'm not going to tell you the plot but the basics are that Steve Carell gets dumped by his wife, Julianne Moore. He meets Ryan Gosling who teaches him how to be a player only Ryan Gosling then falls in love. Role reversal! Life lessons!

I was just pondering the other day how I had finally come to terms with being brunette. This is the first time in a very long time I've just been brunette. No honey or cinnamon or caramel highlights (those are actual descriptions I have used to tell the hairdresser what I want done to my hair). And then I see Emma Stone and I want her hair. Covet. Deep auburn, the color I used to constantly aspire to. Which is hysterical because she's a natural blonde. Actually, who am I kidding? I want to be Emma Stone. I have skin that tans so I'll keep that, but the raspy voice and the big blue eyes and the amazing laugh and the skinny and she always plays these totally no nonsense characters who say what they think and cause trouble.

There's this scene. The her and Ryan Gosling's abs scene. And I was laughing and grinning and relating because the way she was talking and what was going on...geezus, the amount of times I have done that. The amount of times I continue to do that. And those teeny tiny things that are so the way I act and remind me of guys I have met, the ones that amuse me and actually matter, not the ones I just tolerate. Plus, her character was a girl studying for the bar so, nah, I have no idea what that's like.

I know some of you hate romantic comedies, even as I consider it one of the great paradoxes of my personality that I love them. And I totally get that. They are usually awful and predictable and portray women as weak or crazy. But this movie wasn't treacly or schmaltzy. And like I said: not a romcom. More interpersonal relationship study with a heavy dose of wit. It was just well done and painfully on point and really all I got is one of my long drawn out le siggghhhs.

It is something of our impatient nature nowadays that I want the instant gratification of being able to buy something I love on iTunes immediately. I feel that way about Crazy, Stupid, Love. And that's about the best endorsement I can give it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Why Being A College Athlete Kinda Sucks

I used to think being a pro athlete was the coolest job in the world. You get to PLAY a GAME! What's more awesome than that? Getting to do it for a lot of money, that's what. Even I, female, aspired to that as a kid. Before it became readily apparent that I have absolutely no discernible athletic skills.

Being a pro athlete still seemed so awesome though. The weekly glory on the gridiron or the diamond or the court. The travel, which, while grinding, is still impressive. ("Brass spittoons in the lobbies, brass beds in the rooms.") The seemingly impossible feats of athletic strength. Access to places and people the rest of us can only dream of. Unending adoration by legions of fans. The cars and money and women.

In college I saw a small slice of this. Guys were suddenly driving the newest, fanciest cars the day the college season ended. Even while in school, and being a mediocre football team at the start of my college career, they were treated like gods. Women threw themselves at them and they rarely said no. (A kicker of ours once called a girl for notes for a class he missed. She came over in the afternoon and suddenly he appears in the living room, where my roommate is studying with his roommate, asking for a condom. He later said, "Seriously, I just wanted the notes." The KICKER.) They had access to whatever bar they wanted to go to and never paid for drinks because having the athletes there meant having other people follow; it was good for business. And that was just the tiny visible stuff. They were golden football gods.

As I've grown up and become more and more interested in, and aware of, the business side of sports, I've come to the conclusion that being a pro athlete might not be the best deal out there. There are easier, less punishing ways, to make the same amount of money. I thought I'd explore a little bit why. Since the clearest path is football, we'll use that as our case study.

In what is part one of two, I first explore the college aspect of the path to being a pro athlete.

Monday, August 22, 2011

2 Very Different Vacations

Sorry for the absence. I've been off living my life. I know, right? I just had two consecutive weekends that were both fun for very different reasons. But both served, again, in very different ways, as ass kicks that I need to be out LIVING my life and not endlessly reading my Twitter feed. (That shit is SO hard to kick as addictions go, you have no idea. Which is annoying because maybe 5% of it is even memorable. But there I sit, reading everything 140 characters at a time. ANYWAY.)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pasta Carbonara

I'm working on an epically long sports post that I'm hoping to have done before I leave for Vegas. (I will! I will have it done! Like I got f*ck all else going on...)

In the meantime, as I am in a writing mood, pretending to eat carrots like they are actually so delicious and not just sticks to shove in my face, I confer on you my most favoritest pasta recipe ever. Guaranteed to stop your heart. Seriously, eat this only very rarely, it will kill you. But it's also super easy to make. I ate it the other night before drinking my weight in Corona. (Fat forever, y'all!)

What ya need:
  • Pancetta. That's Italian for bacon. If you don't want to spend money on pancetta, just get bacon. But make sure it's GOOD bacon. Like really good. Remember our rule: the better the ingredients, the better the dish. You need like half a pound of this. More if you want. Seriously, it's bacon. You can't go wrong.
  • 1 c heavy whipping cream
  • 1 c (maybe more like 1 1/2. I like cheese, I use a lot) grated parmesan reggiano cheese. Yes, the good expensive stuff. From Italy. Your parm should not be made in Wisconsin.
  • 6 egg yolks (Told you this dish would kill you.)
  • Your preferred long pasta. I'm partial to linguine but whatever works.

Dice up your pancetta/bacon. Fry it in a pan til all crispy and golden. Resist temptation to walk by and eat it piece by piece leaving none for pasta dish. In the meantime, boil a large part of water for your pasta. In a mixing bowl, whisk together your egg yolks and cream, dump in all the cheese you want. Set aside. Okay, cook your pasta to perfection and drain. Put the bacon in the pot you just emptied of pasta and add about a tablespoon of the bacon grease, return the pasta to the bowl and toss it all together. Put it on low heat and dump on your egg yolk mixture. Gently toss all to coat and for it to thicken up a bit.

That's it. Plate and serve. Red pepper flakes can add a little punch and you can always add more cheese but that's the extent of making the carbonara. You can feel less guilty when you eat scrambled egg whites, from separating yolk and white, the next morning instead of just eggs. But not really.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Weekend

I finally got out of the serious funk I've been in lately by remembering some basic truths, mainly: I'm kinda awesome. And what makes me awesome is going out in the world and having experiences. When I hide from that, I suck at life and feel crappy. I may be a giant disaster of a person, but I'm not the world's biggest fuck up, which is how I'd been feeling. Just an average ordinary fuck up. I have some redeeming qualities, right? All the mistakes and missteps that lead to all the ridiculous stories I write about are my mistakes and missteps and I own them. So here's to more mistakes and missteps! Or, um, maybe a few less mistakes but still good stories.

This weekend, despite pervasive SF summer fog, was pretty awesome. It started by leaving the fog and going to Santa Rosa to pick up the stepmom. Since dad and I got there early, we headed to his friend's winery not too far away and sat on the giant wrap around porch drinking wine early in the afternoon. His house is gorgeous and it's a flower...farm? along with being a wedding site and vineyard and it was pretty fun. Except the mom of the 1 year old, dad's friend's fiance, told the one year old, about to unplug something on the porch to, "Make good decisions!" Sorry for this but: lolz wut? I don't have kids, nor want them, but pretty sure at 1 you just tell them NO. They don't have the cognitive ability to understand what making a decision is. I learned that much in some child psych class I took in college. It was surreal.

Anyway, there are worse things than private wine tasting in Sonoma. The wine drinking continued with dinner at a Santa Rosa wine bar and more wine on stepmom's front porch. Got home and watched movies, chatted on the internet with friends 'til too late and finally passed out. 

Despite being a little worse for the wear the next day, I still managed to go kick some gym ass before making dinner and heading to the party my brother and two friends were holding at a bar for their birthdays. I love the heck out of my brother's friends. Him and I may have our sibling rivalry differences (which amazingly enough are starting to lessen with the introduction of his girlfriend who has completely humanized him. Even one of his lifelong best friends last night said, "Yeah. He's not an asshole now that he's with her." Awww!) but he has legit awesome friends who I have known for years and years, some of them going back to when we were little kids. And they've mostly all now gotten married to super cool girls who I really like too. (Except the one wife I really like and her husband are apparently having lots of issues and he's mentioned divorce, but for seeing them at occasional social events, she's really cool and I hope they work through it.)

It was held at this 70s themed bar that we had to ourselves from 7-10 p.m. Once my mom left, or really before that even, we had some serious fun. I never didn't have a beer in my hand and I spent exactly zero dollars. Considering I arrived at 7:30 with my mom and left at 2:15 with my dad, I HURT today.

There isn't much of a rundown of the party to give, other than it was cool people and lots of chatting but some quotes to frame the evening:

After about twenty minutes at the bar, brother's good friend, "You're a bitch!" Me, "Yeah, you say that like it's a bad thing." "Why you gotta be so meaaaan?" "Awww, Charlie, if I didn't pick on you it would mean I didn't like you. Be glad for that." Mom, "It's true."

Brother's best friend's wife: "We can't be parents yet. Joe and I won't even let the dogs out. They want to pee at 2 a.m.? They can pee in the house. I'd rather deal with it in the morning than get out of bed and let them out. Could you imagine if we had a kid?"

Firefighter friend: "Hey! You know my friend, (Guy that screwed with my head 2 summers ago and is also a firefighter)?" Me, "Yes, of course." FF, "He's still single." Me, withering glare, "Fuuuuuuuuuuck yoooouuu." Grab other firefighter friend, who knows the whole story of all that transpired between me and this guy, "Know what Mike just said to me?! '(Firefighter)'s still single!'" He laughs hysterically.

Standing between Joe and Mike, both married to lovely ladies. Mike, "Yeah, (guy we went to grade school with) still hates me because I hooked up with that girl that was his ex." Me, "Oh yeah! I forgot you hooked up with her! I was there that night...And Joe made out with her best friend! And I stopped hanging out with all those girls because I realized they were using me to get to (brother)'s friends, which is you guys, and for free drinks at bars where I knew the bartenders. You guys are directly responsible for that!" Joe, out of earshot of wife, "Ya know what though? She was a crazy good kisser. She was like really into it. And then I'm still hungover the next morning walking home, you already had the word somehow and I see you and you yell out the window to me, 'Heard you made out with (skanky ho)!' That was fun. Felt like throwing up right then." Me, "Yep. She's married to some dude that's like 15 years older than her and has a 3 year old now." Joe, "Like I give a shit." Love these boys.

Joe, "$60 if you make out with that dude." Me, "Seriously, do you not know me at all? You really don't have to pay me to make out with people. Is this how married people amuse themselves?" 

Mike, "Where'd Sean go?" Me, "He left with a girl." Mike, "Sean? Never. He did not." Me, "I swear to god! He just got in a cab with some girl!" Brother, "No way. Sean does not get in cabs with girls." Me, "Trust me. He's gone." Mike, "Well shit. He was my ride home." Me, "Dude, you live eight blocks from me. We'll take you home."

One of the best things about the night is all the hugs. My brother is not a small person and he does not surround himself with small people and it's just all these big dudes and tall girls and I feel kind of small, which is unusual, with big bear hugs from guys I consider to be like brothers to me. It's the best. 

There were also many not unattractive guys there, who won't come within a thousand feet of me because I'm my brother's sister. (This is how I'm known in SF. Not by my name. They just shout his name, possessive, and then add sister. Love you San Francisco!) Also, the most attractive and adorable guy I talked to, who I had been told was adorable but had never met, happens to be a cop. Sigh. I'd consider amending my no cops policy. If, ya know, I had a chance in hell with this totally adorable dude. Which I don't. Double sigh. (He was in San Diego when I was, but I didn't meet him then, and a certain stepsister of mine totally underplayed his adorableness. But I've also heard he's over the top ridiculous with women in the not understanding relationships and doing stupid things for them and needs the sort of tough touch I can provide. If I had the opportunity.)

I finally changed out of the clothes I wore to the bar on Saturday at about 5 p.m. on Sunday (I keep it classy), just in time to head to a steakhouse for my brother's actual birthday dinner. Since I am broke, I made him about 10 pounds of homemade cookies. I had told his girlfriend, who has a sweet tooth, what I was doing, so when I give them to him, she gets excited and goes to grab them. But funny enough, my brother didn't want to share. Sometimes I do things right. It's rare, but it happens.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Vegas, baby, Vegas

(That line is truly obligatory when discussing Vegas, isn't it?)

(For my money, and a soft spot for 80s Tom Cruise, this scene is better. Because nothing says familial love like abusing your autistic brother for his card counting skills.)

I'm going to Vegas in a little less than two weeks. I haven't been to Vegas in four years or so and that time I went with a significant other. I have never gone to Vegas as an unattached adult. The opportunity for so many bad decisions awaits! But not mine. Nope. Not mine.

I'm going with Andy. Who is, we all know, younger than me. And has yet to make a single bad decision is his life. Like, seriously, frighteningly together. Annoyingly, even. So my goal is to get HIM to make bad decisions. First challenge, "I won't get drunk. I mean, it'd take a lot."

Wait, was that a challenge? I feel like that was a challenge. I feel like years of South Louisiana rum and coke followed by whiskey and coke followed by straight whiskey and a fool proof recipe for jello shots should take that as a challenge. It's the height weight distribution thing making him believe it will take a lot to get him drunk because Andy's tall. So you tall people, how do we get you drunk? It's also the frighteningly well behaved thing which I've promised to beat out of him that keeps him from getting drunk. Because I am not going to Vegas (which I'm truly doing some toe tapping to afford) to behave. Nope. I could do that here. I don't want to be here.

I'm bummed the stepsis is having her wisdom teeth pulled and not making the drive to join us because she's more his peer and even I'm incapable of resisting her peer pressure. He'd be helpless.

In trip planning, we had the following conversation:

Andy: We're going to In-n-Out, by the way. Maybe more than once.
me: Yes, we can go to In N Out. But as I previously mentioned, we are also going to Canes. And so help me god there will be at least one sit down meal at a restaurant that would be acceptable in SF and you will drink wine and be fancy and not complain
Andy: I know.
http://www.raisingcanes.com/ -- I assume this is not what you mean.
me: That is exactly what I meant.
Andy: Oooooh, that looks good.
me: not for the sit down part, no
but for the going to Canes, yes, that is what I mean

Andy is from Florida and has thus never had the pleasure of In N Out. Or anything passing for cuisine. Ever. (Why yes, I do enjoy mocking Florida. It should really be a national pastime.) Cane's was a staple in my college town. As the chain has expanded, the furthest West it has ventured is Vegas. So the entirety of our plan so far involves fast food. Gonna be fat foooorrreeevvveeerrrr.

I should also point out that I'm a terrible gambler. I feel totally intimidated at the tables, like I'm a complete idiot and don't know what I'm doing. Which is how I should feel because it's true. I like blackjack because the principal is simple. Get to 21 without going over. But as I've played it a bit, I also know it requires paying attention to the rest of the table because it matters how many cards have been dealt out. It's not so much chance as it is stats. Which I am awful with and never took in college.

Poker requires too much paying attention and I'm seriously ADD and unable to remember all the different what beats what. Plus I want to play EVERY HAND to see how it's gonna come out. I don't like folding. Which makes me probably a really annoying person to sit at a poker table with.

I really want to like craps and play but am totally intimidated by the table, again, as said above. I watched Guys and Dolls far too many times growing up, which unfortunately does very little to explain the rules of the game. Same stepsis won a ton at craps in New Orleans but that's because she was doing that cute doe eyed thing which I am wholly incapable of pulling off.

So mostly I'm going to sit by the pool, drink, eat, and hopefully go to one of those ridiculous Vegas nightclubs if I can get my brother, or one of his well connected friends, to help me get on a list somewhere. Though I'd also be cool with one of the divier bars I know exist in hidden corners of Vegas. And yes, I'll probably throw $25 on black and see what happens. Or red. Black. No, no, red. Maybe. I do like black...

If you have any suggestions on a place for a nice not too pricey meal, or the best place to gamble without looking like an idiot, or a place for some nightlife, send 'em along. I could seriously use some suggestions.