Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The case of the mysterious unlocked door

We'rreeeee back!!!

We were welcomed into our home with a gift bag from our friendly, perpetually dry, upstairs neighbors Mark and Becky, who not only gave us chocolate, but wrote us a three-page note detailing our frustrating experience.
Like we don't remember, Mark and Becky
A pair of pears for a pair of us!
This must be the picture where I put the camera on self-timer and then ran into the wall,
causing Adrienne to fall into an unnecessary fit of laughter
Sentimental picture SUCCESS
Everything in the apartment was in tip-top shape. The contractors had taken our toilet paper holder and shower rod for some reason, but who needs bathroom fixtures when you're never planning on getting wet again?

The very first order of business was walking on our new carpet without making a squishing sound and then laying down on it while not getting wet.  I hardly recognized the scent of the place. It smelled like air. Pure, not-damp, free of black mold, air. Air that gave us life instead of implanting spores in our lungs that would slowly kill us. Ahhhh, it's the little things.

My apartment key was sadly a casualty of the flood, so I left our gloriously new apartment unlocked before I journeyed to work. When I returned home that night, I was greeted with a knob that wouldn't turn and a door that wouldn't budge.

But this couldn't be! I knew I had left the door unlocked. I had checked it twice, even. Immediately, a sense of betrayal washed over me like the Colorado flood.
Why apartment, why? After all of these months, through which my promise to return to you never faltered, do you lock me out now when I specifically told you not to? 

I knew i hadn't locked the door, I was almost positively certain. Perhaps my landlady had stopped by to make sure we had moved everything into our apartment from 5A, noticed the door was unlocked, and then locked it herself. That must be the case! I was almost positively certain of it!

I alerted the main parties in the lockout case. My sister asserted she hadn't been home since Sunday night, the neighbor had been at work and hadn't seen anything, and my landlady hadn't stopped by either. And I knew none of them believed my "It was unlocked and now it's locked!" story. 

"That sucks!" said my sister.
"Have some tea," said my neighbor.
"Haha, that's so strange!" said my landlady, who had previously been my prime suspect in the lockout case. 
"That'll be $50," said emergency lockout services.

The locksmith arrived and let me in. 
"Oo! Was it deadbolted?" I exclaimed, sensing a breakthrough. The door can only be deadbolted with a key from the outside, which would mean that someone else had locked it.
"Nope," the locksmith said gruffly.
My hopes and dreams sank, much like our carpet had when it was drenched in floodwaters two months ago. I thanked the locksmith, but I gave him a look to let him know I was going to get to the bottom of this. It was dark out, so I don't think he saw it, but I'm sure he felt it.

I moseyed into my apartment and sat on the dry carpet that apparently didn't want me to be there. After some quality moping time, I walked into the bathroom to continue being said. Oh the things I could have done with fifty dollars, like have it in my bank account, I thought. Then, I looked in the mirror and noticed something strange.
Shout out to Makenna Wesner for giving me an Alaskan flag
that conveniently doubles as half of a shower curtain
Looks like an ordinary bathroom, right?

Right! But it shouldn't! Yesterday, we were missing a toilet paper holder and a shower rod, and then magically today, we have those things. This means the contractors were here during the day, which means they locked the door while I was at work, which means I didn't lock myself out of the apartment, the contractors did, and my apartment still loves me!
BOOM! Sherlock HOMED.
Because this is a case about where I live
I should have known. It's always the person who isn't even on the suspect list.


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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgiving Part II: The Boys of Thanksgiving (And How to Properly Ask Out a Girl)

I was asked out by two guys on the same day, and contrary to what every Hallmark movie has ever taught me, I did not quickly become wrapped up in a complicated love triangle where I start falling for one guy, the one that seems perfect at first but we later and sadly realize we have nothing in common, and then end up with the previously in second place guy. This was much more realistic. Because it just happened in real life.

The Ask-Out
Boy #1: The guy with the puppy asked Chris for my number the next day. He was nice enough, mildly awkward, but also had a kind of weird "I-like-to-twirl-knives-around-my-hands" personality. Since he didn't actually ask me for my number, I told Chris and Ad that they could give him my number if they told him I wasn’t interested in dating, only friends. To which he replied to them, "Friends, or friends with bennies?" How about NO.

Boy #2: I was sitting at the library and a guy from an adjacent table came up to me and said something like, "Hi, sorry to bother you, I just saw you sitting there and I was wondering if you'd like to get a coffee with me or something sometime?" I said 'Suuuuuuure' and he gave me his email address, russianspy####@gmail.com, so I could set it up. He was also kind of awkward, had a dark, frizzy afro and wore glasses. I'm guessing he's a nerd of some sort, but I'm not sure what kind yet. Science geek? Gamer? Communist? Time will tell.

The Follow-Up
Boy #1: I was quite confident that Boy #1 wouldn’t call me seeing as how I wasn't interested in dating him. However, I was mildly incorrect. On Saturday, he texted me: 
Boy #1: Hey Audrey, this is Chris’ friend, Boy #1, I was curious if you’d like to do something this week?
I told him I probably wouldn’t be in Denver this week, but I’d let him know if things changed (they won’t), and the conversation basically ended there.

Boy #2: I wasn’t planning on contacting Boy #2, but my friend John told me I needed to live and little and I believed him. I sent Boy #2 my email address, saying it was Audrey from the library. He responded later that day.
Boy #2:
Wow, cool.

I'm studying right now, feel free to stop by, so I remember what you look like ;)

xox

To which I am not responding. If he had a fluffy Burmese mountain dog puppy, it may be a different story, but in reality, I just can’t motivate myself to go out of my way to be friendly to someone I’m not too gun-ho about seeing.

I was surprised how these boys went about asking a girl out. I thought the proper way to ask was common knowledge, but apparently not. Boys, hopefully you’ll find these steps to be a no-brainer and these two guys are the clueless abnormality.

How to Ask a Girl Out

1) Ask her for her number. Don’t ask her friend to ask her friend for her number, or ask her friend for her number without considering that the girl you’re interested in may not want you to have it. It’s off-putting and mildly creepy to receive a text out of the blue from a guy who never actually asked you if it was OK to contact you. You’ll have much more success by putting on your man pants and asking the girl yourself.

2) Call her. The key word being call. Don’t text. Don’t email. Not only is it easier to reject you in writing, but it’s way more flattering to receive an actual phone call. Since we’re not in the ‘90s where you’d be shaking in your boots because there was always the chance that the girl’s dad could answer the phone, having to actually talk to the chick you like will have to be nerve-racking enough.  Texts are plentiful and calls are few and far between these days, so the girl will appreciate that you purposefully contacted her without the copout in your back pocket if she rejects you of, “Oh sorry, my buddy took my phone LOL. I wasn’t actually asking you out.”

3) Have a plan. Some sort of plan. Don’t say, “Hey do you want to do something sometime?” If she says, “Sure”, you best have a follow-up, boy. But do yourself a favor, and start off with something a wee bit specific, like:
“Would you like to get coffee this week?” [Yes] “Yayyyy! What day works best for you?”
“I’m going to try and trap a squirrel using a recycling bin, a stick tied to a piece of a string, and several glazed almonds. Would you like to come?”
“Here’s some chocolate. Can I eat it with you?” (Because foooooood)

While I thought being asked out would be at the very least flattering, the opposite happened. I was quite bummed out and had a bit of a self-esteem crisis for a few hours.  It felt like the lameness of the guys was a reflection onto me. A sneaky, vague text and an incredibly strange email? Is that all I’m worth? Then I discovered I was being silly, looked myself over and realized, Yep, still awesome.

So hopefully, those steps seemed like common sense to you. If not, for the love of your love life, take note.

*Note: If you use these steps and it lands you a date, I accept soft pretzels and cookies as payment.



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Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving Part I: The day that pretty much wasn't awkward

In this Part I of Thanksgiving, you’ll see how Thanksgiving Day was mainly a day of celebrating averting awkwardness.
In tomorrow’s Part II of Thanksgiving, you’ll see how the day after Thanksgiving I was asked out awkwardly by two guys. Excitement!

I spent Thanksgiving with Adrienne's boyfriend's (Chris) family, and I thought it was going to be quite awkward, especially considering Adrienne had only just met them a few days prior and she said there wouldn't be any board games or puppies to play with. But in a surprising plot twist, a bundle of fun was had. Chris' dad Cordell is super white despite his obvious black man's name and his mom Carol is super no-nonsense. Right when I walked in, she barked, "Adrienne's sister! Grab me that chair!" I fell in love with her immediately.

They also had a few family friends over who had kids our age that we dined with at the kids' table. Aside from the twenty-somethings, I had the great privilege of meeting a fourteen-year-old girl who was the most stereotypical teenager I have ever met. She had straight blond hair and wore black tights and UGG boots and whenever we talked about football, she'd whine and say, "Let's talk about the Kardashians! OhMyGosh so last week, Kim was...." She also pulled out her pink bedazzled phone and thrust it toward the ceiling lamp, which made Adrienne and I visibly cower in our seats exactly like when Belle tells Beast to step into the light.

Then, one of the guys there who actually lived in the neighborhood said he had a 7 month old golden retriever puppy at home. So a couple of us moseyed over there, took a shot of Thanksgiving tequila for good measure, then brought the dog back and made my dreams come true.

The awkward moments of the night were at an all-time low of two.
No. 1:
One of the moms, Cathy, said to Adrienne, “You’re so nice!" Then she turned slightly to look at me and didn't say anything. 
I said, “Cathy! You made it sound like you're actually saying, "Adrienne, you're so nice! Your sister on the other hand..."" 
Cathy replied, "No, I've just known her 30 minutes longer, so you have 30 minutes to catch up." 
"Well in that case, 'How are you doing, beautiful eyes."
Her daughter quickly jumped in with, "Hey, quit hitting on my mom!"

No. 2:
I left to use the bathroom and as I was leaving, Carol shouted, "First door on the left!" and then some other nonsense.
"Thanks Carol, but I've been there many times!" I shouted back.
Then I realized she wanted me to grab the Pictionary game, but instead everyone heard me yell about how much I like urinating in her house.

But other than that, not too shabby!



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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The farm from Craigslist

FEMA recently awarded Adrienne and me about $1700 in rent assistance. At first, we were rightfully stoked. We could finally get that TV like the last FEMA guy tried to swindle for us (or buy every flavor of pop-tart all at once like I always wanted) and just live out of our car instead. But as with all government funding, there are strings attached. We have to use the check for its allotted purposes, so laundering money is apparently still frowned upon even in a time of physical and emotional crisis. And, seeing as how we aren't the only ones who had to evacuate, there are next to no places to rent. What's the use of $1700 if we can't spend it? Especially if we can't spend it on pop-tarts?

On a whim, I decided to check for house sitting gigs on Craigslist. I found one sole posting in Gunbarrel from a desparate girl whose sitters fell through at the last minute, and she needed animal care as well. Animals? On a country road in the middle of nowhere where no one can hear me scream?  Sounds like a no-brainer. Why stay with loving friends when I can invade a complete stranger's house who may or may not be luring me to my imminent death by water well? 

But instead of getting killed at the Craigslist house, I landed in farm heaven.

Gosh, I can't wait to eat your unborn children
My friendly Neighh-bor!
Mastiff fight!
Bonus: I have my very own stripper pole and an unlimited supply of Hello Kitty merchandise to stare at me while I sleep!
I think I'll be a natural
Cattack!
The girl who rents the apartment was incredibly nice and quite chill. She gave me permission to pillage her basket of goods she picks each week at the CSA farm share she's a part of, granted me free range of her unhatched chicken babies, and told me to help myself to whatever's in the cupboards (which let's face it, I was going to do anyway because I'm a hungry yet horrible person). 

All in all this is to say, Craigslist is the best and the government…well, you tried.


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Monday, September 23, 2013

Flood Update: God is good and so is pie

I always imagined that if I were to be evacuated due to a natural disaster, it would be in an epic and terrifying fashion. Preferably in high winds with a storm brewing in the distance (no rain though- I don't like to be wet). Lightning flashes, and the children start crying. I push them aside along with any nurturing instincts I may have; as I recall, it's "women and children first" not "children and women".  Then I put on a fashionable yellow poncho and jump into the rescue chopper right before my home explodes. 
But that isn't at all what happened.

Our landlady Marian emerged from the sunshine and knocked on our door while saying in a sing-song voice, "Hellooooo?"
"Come on in," we answered, staying firmly seated on our couch and breathing in black mold spores.
"I have bad news," she began sheepishly. "We need to gut the apartment, so we need you out for about three weeks to a month while that happens."
This was probably the most chill way possible to be evacuated, and I was not amused. But in fact, I was more peeved because Marian had interrupted my birthday card coloring time.

We slowly absorbed this, along with the mold spores of course, and began to devise a plan. Adrienne decided to freak herself out about the effects of black mold ("Did you know that once you inhale mold it just keeps growing in your lungs and you don't realize you're sick until it's too late to treat it and then you DIE!?") before doing something useful. In the meantime, I waited for her to do something useful.

She texted all of her comrades pleading for open floor space, because we were now officially homeless, you see. 

After securing a place for the weekend, we coped in the best way possible: baking and puns.
Octo-pie!
And, Adrienne got a great Halloween costume idea out of this ordeal. She's going to be the Colorado flood, which is essentially letting yourself into people's houses and laying on their floors uninvited while drooling on all of their stuff.

But in all seriousness, the flood for us has been a mild nuisance at worst. Very little of our belongings were damaged (aside from our nonexistent TV that was completely totaled), we have a plethora of generous friends who live in dry, non-molding homes, and our landlady is being a literal boss getting our apartment taken care of. Plus, there's nothing like a good old-fashioned natural disaster to remind you that God is good. That may seem counterintuitive, but it's nice to know that whatever happens, God is here and there's no disaster that could make Him throw up His hands and say, "Well shoot, you all are really in a pice because I do not know how to take care of that." Even if it flooded for the rest of my life, sixty years is a blip taken in the perspective of eternity. 
And there are no oceans in heaven. So there's that (Rev 21:1, yes please).

Thursday, September 12, 2013

At least it's not a Sharknado

"I just heard about the flash flooding in Boulder! Did that affect you or your apartment at all?" our needlessly worried mother asked, waking Adrienne at the tender time of 7:30am.
Adrienne groaned and groggily replied, "I just got up. I don't think so."
Then she stepped on the carpet to as resounding of a squish as a squish can be.
"Nope. Nope! Nope! NOPE! NOPE!"

We quickly realized that our day has just turned into a massive game of 'The floor is lava' that we did not remember signing up to play. This was our first natural disaster, and it soon became apparent that we had no idea what to do except yell, "Chanticleer! Chanticleer!" and hope that would make the sun come out. When that didn't work, we pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and brushed our teeth.

Next, we dressed for success, so I put on my Lions sweatshirt. I immediately started feeling like a champ who could probably suck out all the water with a straw and sheer willpower

I wanted to be a winner, or at least start strong before inexplicably falling apart
Then Adrienne began texting her friends: 
The new pool is open at my place! Come swim in our living room and grab a pancake from the poolside kitchen bar! 
Seriously though, anyone have fans I can borrow?
It's walk in warm!
Some were quite helpful and offered us places to stay and numerous fans, others, not so much.

Lance: Why do you need a fan?
Ad: It's the only way I know how to take care of a flood.
Lance: Do you have central heating or heated floorboards?
Then she yelled at her phone: DO YOU HAVE A FAN OR NOT LANCE!

John: I don't know if you've thought about it, but now is probably the most logical time to fill your apartment with dirt and prairie dogs.
Aud: You're right! My priorities have been all wrong!
John: You're just a glass half-empty kind of person. This is an opportunity, not a disaster!


Then we began assessing the damage.
Of course the Bible isn't damaged at all. Show off.
Let this be a lesson in cleanliness

You are not as waterproof as you claim to be, pants!

Results of: "Can the Pastula girls handle a natural disaster?" are still pending.



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Monday, September 9, 2013

Look, a Ginger brother! Mom, can we keep him?

I went a bit stir-crazy this weekend in expenditures because I am now somewhat gainfully employed. And by stir-crazy I mean $35, like the price of our new Wal-Mart vacuum cleaner. My mom and dad both said they almost started crying when they heard I finally landed a job. Probably because they were excited their child isn't an unemployed loser anymore, but perhaps I'm just projecting.

On Friday, a dream was realized that I never knew I even had- a night out playing trivia with a plethora of astrophysics majors. The conversation vacillated between football and jet engines, satellites and words I can't pronounce. 

Perhaps the best question of trivia night was, for 2 points, in the category of "Women":
"What percentage of Americans identify as feminists?"

Offense TAKEN, Buffalo Wild Wings. I bet all of the questions in your "Men" category are worth at least 3 points.
Also, I don't know the answer. I'm not very good at math.

But even better than astrophysicists, which I initially thought could not be bested, was the arrival of my ginger brother. 
I would accept the fro alone as my bro
The wildlife sanctuary wasn't quite what we expected. The signs were the meanest, telling us that there were a dozen wolves in the habitat yet we couldn't see just one because we never took I Spy seriously as children. I think we saw more sob stories and gnomes than actual animals, but gosh it was worth it. 



See what I mean?
Love is in the bear? But the bear was in the tub.
So by the transitive property, that must mean love is in the tub.
The tub is full of water.
Love is water?
Water is horrible and it'll kill you with its drowning powers.
Love doesn't sound very fun.
At the end of the mile high walkway is where they harvest all your organs and feed them to the animals. You know, to keep costs down. 
Your donation is greatly appreciated

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Monday, September 2, 2013

Our gay best friend?

Adrienne came home from the climbing gym with the sweetest news she had ever hoped to share.
"I think I met my new gay best friend!" She exclaimed, bounding around the house.
"What makes you say that?" I asked.
"Steve, the guy I roped up with. I asked him how he got into climbing and I'm pretty sure he said, 'A guy I dated.'"
"You're pretty sure?"
"He said, 'guy'!" She insisted. "Plus, there's no sexual tension when we text and he uses a lot of exclamation points."
"Adrienne, just because a guy isn't interested in you doesn't mean he's gay."
"He said, 'guy'!" She repeated giddily. 

I had met Steve, or Happy Steve as we came to call him, briefly at the gym as well, but not long enough to be able to tell if he would in fact be our new gay best friend. On Saturday, Adrienne invited him outdoor climbing, where we would determine if he could actually fit the one crucial criteria for being the gay best friend.

As Steve was belaying Adrienne, I asked him how he got into climbing.
"A gal I dated," he responded.
However, I had forgotten Adrienne had asked him that same question and hadn't been listening closely for his answer. Did he just say gal? Or was it guy? It felt like we were about to be immersed in an episode of Seinfeld.

Steve: I played spin the bottle back in middle school.
Us: Did you ever get the girl you wanted?
Steve: No.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elaine: Of course he didn't get the girl he wanted in spin the bottle! He didn't want any girl! Because he's gay!
Kramer: You're being ridiculous. You think you can just spin his words any way you want to, don't you, Elaine!

Steve: I'm pretty sure Lance Bass is gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elaine: Of course he doesn't think there's anything wrong with that. He's gay! Why would he think there was something wrong with him?
Jerry: He's just saying he's not homophobic.
Elaine: Are you homophobic? Is that why you keep insisting he's straight?

Us: How did you get into climbing?
Steve: A guy I dated.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jerry: He clearly said "gal". You're just hearing what you want to hear.
Elaine: Who says "gal" these days? He's 26 years old, not a soldier from the '20s.

Steve: FRO-YO! (while doing his happy dance)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Elaine: The only people who get that excited about frozen yogurt are college girls and gay guys.
Jerry: Frozen yogurt is a delicious treat for all ages, genders, and orientations! 
George: I can get a whole meal out of the sample cups alone!

Steve: I had a crush on Miss Frizzle when I was a kid.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jerry: Explain that one, Elaine. How is it exactly that your gay best friend likes women?
Elaine: He was a kid! I wanted to marry my dog when I was his age.


Compelling arguments, clearly, but Adrienne is so set on having a gay best friend that she's operating under the notion "Gay until absolutely proven otherwise."

Friday, August 23, 2013

Mom and Mrs. Parney Hate Their Lives

Adrienne suggested a nice, easy hike for Mom and Mrs. Parney to experience while visiting Colorado. What they thought would be a pleasant stroll in the woods turned out to be a whining-filled, rock scrambling nightmare. 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Adventures in Interviewing

After going on a crazy amount of interviews, I have long given up the idea of trying to ace one. When I was hired for my last job, the only reason the interview went well is because the interviewers talked amongst themselves and didn't ask me any questions. Take note future employers, I have impeccable listening skills.

So now, my goal is to just not say anything awkward. That's it. But even with the bar set so low, I still manage to closeline myself with it every time. 

One of the questions I stumble over is the weakness question. When I told an interviewer at DOWL HKM that I was impatient, she raised her eyebrows and said, "Wow, that was an honest answer." 
Too honest? I think it was too honest. I decided I needed a new answer.

For my first interview in Colorado at a company called Cardno ChemRisk, I decided I had a great weakness to share. I was going to tell them, "I feel like I'm flexible, but to a point. In the making of a schedule, it can be as vague or as detailed can be, but once the schedule is set, I like to stick to it."
Solid, right?
Thank goodness they didn't ask me my weakness, because they said, "At this job, you'll be working on a task, and then another one will come in and it will take precedent. Sometimes your whole day will be flipped upside down and your schedule will just fly out the window. How does that sound?"
I painted a smile on my face. "That sounds exciting."

I thought that since I had dodged the weakness bullet, this interview was going well. But then they asked me a simple game changer question: "What do you like about the admin role?"
I answered, "I like having the responsibility of being designated as the organizer or administrator, because if I'm not, then I'll let whatever group project I'm working on fail."
Nailed it. 
Shortly after that prize-winning answer, I flashed back to an interview at a media company I had in Alaska where the boss said simply, "So tell me about yourself."
I balked. "Well, I have a mom and a dad…"

Following the ChemRisk interview, I realized I needed a plethora of weaknesses I could grab from depending on the company. So when someone asks, "Audrey, what's your weakness?" I can respond with one of the following options:

1. Hot fudge sundae pop tarts. I would literally give away all of your company's secrets for a box of those. Why do you ask? Do you have a coupon?
2. Dragonfire. Also, I don't answer questions appropriately.
3. I'm not good at explaining things…and that's all I have to say about that.
4. I'm awkward and I don't know what to do with my hands. *strokes face*
5. Sometimes I yell at my sister when she doesn't even do anything wrong.
6. I don't have any relevant weaknesses.

Most recently, I interviewed for a marketing internship at a diving company. I was nervous the entire time that the one, dreaded question would come up: "So how do you feel about the ocean?"
As I chatted with the marketing director, just yucking it up, he said, "So, any interest in getting your diving certification?"
"Maaaaaaaaybe," I said slowly, laughing awkwardly.
"Oh? Why the hesitation?" He asked pleasantly enough.
"BECAUSE I'M SCARED OF WATER!" I blurted out, hoping if I said it quickly and loudly enough, he wouldn't actually understand what I said.
He laughed. "Like, you only drink Coke because you're so scared, or…?"
"Lakes. Ponds. I thought I had a traumatic experience when I was eight where the riptide was sucking me in, but really I was just standing in ankle deep water as the tide went gently in and out."
"I see," he chuckled, hopefully in a nonjudgmental manner.
"I'm also a really terrible swimmer."

Feel free to share your awkward interview moments in the comments.



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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Mysterious Alaskan Easter Basket

On Friday, I came home to this mysterious box at my door. It took me the longest time to figure out why someone named "Pizza Tale" was sending me a package from my home address. I then realized Peter Cottontail had sent me an Easter basket all the way from Michigan! 

With great willpower, I waited until Easter morning to open it up. I thought maybe that at the age of 22 I'd be able to get a full night's rest without excitedly waking up hours before my alarm rang because I was too amped out to sleep, but alas, perhaps next year.
The best of the best.
And how did Bunny know I can't afford beef jerky- nice call on the slim jims!
BREAKFAST!
I'd had many questions since the box arrived. Why didn't Peter just drop it off like the rest of the baskets? Is Alaska too far of a hop? Does he not have a Canadian passport? Does he do the same thing for Hawaiians? Why did he spell his last name incorrectly as 'Tale' instead of 'Tail'?

I received my answer to some of these conundrums in this note:

This was strange, because 100% of the kids I encountered at church today had received Easter baskets. They weren't even shipped! This led me to believe that either Peter is just a lazy liar, or the kids' parents are making the Easter baskets, which is a ridiculous idea. If a bunny is offering to pass out candy every year, let him do it!

I called my parents to let them know of the epic haul I had received in my Easter basket, and I thanked them for mailing it for Peter.
"We didn't ship it. He probably just wrote our home address in case there were any mailing problems," they said.

This blew my mind. How did Peter Cottontail ship all of those baskets to Alaska without rousing any suspicion? Does he have someone on the inside?
I think the answer lies below:
This is how the Easter Bunny actually looks!
My parents called me again telling me to double check the fruit snack eggs. "Your sister received a special surprise in one of the eggs. Maybe you did too. Maybe you should open all of the eggs. Maybe there's something special in there for you."
I wasn't sure what they were talking about, but for some unwarranted reason, I had a sudden urge to open all of the fruit snack eggs.
For every Alaskan child that doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny, he gives me $1.
I quickly texted my sister to relay the message to my mom and dad.
"$50 in the Easter egg! Righteousss!"
"What?! I only got $20!"
"That's what you get for living at home!'

After the Easter service at church, we dined on resurrection tacos, righteous rice, bean (raised from the dead) dip, and holy guacamole, catered by Sirrano's. Really, Pastor Levi just loves Mexican food and wanted an excuse to eat it.
FREE FOOD
Anne and Krista sang the song "Alive" by Natalie Grant, and the lyrics are really awesome (I linked the song, but Krista's version was so insanely good I wish I'd recorded it). Also, the book Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo has been coming up in quite a few sermons lately, including today's Easter sermon. His story makes the reality of heaven seem a lot more tangible. If you haven't read it yet, do it RIGHT NOW! 
Happy Easter from Alaska! 


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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Adventures in winter sports and not dating

My friends invited me cross country skiing. Of all the winter sports, I thought this one may be the most in my favor. Ice skating is one crack away from being that scene in "It's a Wonderful Life"; I once snowboarded down an entire hill because I realized too late it was covered in ice and I'd maul my face if I fell; and the worst as of yet was my adventure in downhill skiing.
The first time I went downhill skiing, I got tangled up in the bunny hill pulley and the operators had to turn it off while they waited for me to right myself and ski down on the wrong side of the line. I managed to make it down the hill and find my way back to the car where I had an extraordinarily good nap.

But perhaps cross country skiing would be different, I thought. We'd be on a flat bike path with poles to lean on while cruising at a steady 5 mph.

These dreams were quickly dashed as we set out at Kincaid Park, where we accidentally embarked on the Advanced Skate Ski trail. This meant instead of a peaceful glide through the woods, much of my time was spent falling, trying to get up without accidentally bending my leg into a broken limb position, sliding down uphills while yelling "NOOOOO!", and thinking, "Maybe this time I'll make it down the hill without falling!"

As I was out there, I realized that if I crashed into a moose and sliced off my finger with my wild ski, I was going to be doubly upset. Not only would I have injured myself, but it would have been done while doing something I didn't even like in the first place. If I tripped and fell while eating ice cream, I'd think, "Well at least I hurt myself doing what I loved." 
This was my view for most of the trip.
Mercifully, we made it back to the car in two hours.  Then suddenly, we realized we had burned like 3,000 calories. More like 5,000 if you count all the negative thoughts I turned into vocal energy.

We drove to Spenard Roadhouse, which is not a rundown biker bar as I expected, where we saw this:
Nazi Girl or Nate's Girl? Or $25 poorly spent?
And this:
Yes. 
And at that moment I knew, this was the best life choice I had made all day.

Seth: My dad always told me that hunger is the best seasoning.*
[*This quote is irrelevant to cinnamon sugar donut holes]
I wasn’t initially interested in going out for lunch because I am a broke, (recently-graduated) college student. That doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. A broke college student has no money because he’s spending it on a quality education to secure the job of his dreams. I, on the other hand, have no money because I bought health insurance and six pounds of fancy Gala apples instead of Braeburns because they taste like fruity Styrofoam. But Ryan, bless his heart, opened his wallet to the good cause.

Then the day ended with this exchange:
Waiter: Is anyone together?
Ryan: We are...she just doesn't know it yet.
Waiter: Haha! Are you feeling sleepy?
Us: Ha..ha?
[Waiter leaves]
Ryan: What does that mean?
Me: Wait, was that a date rape joke?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Did you know the papal race is actually a sprint race? Weird.

Mary: Welcome back to the first ever live telecast of the Papal Race.
John: Held every four years, just like the Olympics.
Mary: Not once has that happened. 

Mary: After three false starts, the crowd is anxious that the race for the papacy will officially end today. But with 115 elderly contenders who are known to throw a few elbows, we could very well be here a while longer. Today's race will be underway any moment now, and it will consist of, once again, a 200-meter sprint within the Sistine Chapel. 
John: We expected a long conclave but the turnover between the false starts has been progressing much more rapidly than expected. This is a great relief to the crowd in the Vatican, who have been distracted by a seagull most of the morning. Some were saying it was a sign from God, others…making their own assumptions.
Mary: Before the race begins again, let’s take a look at the conclave’s frontrunners.

Mary: In lane one, we have Brazilian Archbishop Odilo Scherer, who would be the first non-European pope in nearly 1300 years. 
Mary: In lane two is Italy’s Angelo Scola, who is hoping to return the papacy to Italian hands after 35 years under German rule. Scola was a hot favorite for pope in the last papal race eight years ago but was tripped up by eventual winner Benedict.  
John: Literally.
Mary: In lane three is Canada’s Marc Ouelett. Wait a minute, where is he? I see him now on the sidelines. It looks like he’s limping and trying to get out of the race. I’m not so sure that’s a legitimate injury, seeing as how Ouelett once said that being pope "would be a nightmare.2" Let's see if his dream comes true today.
Mary: Lane four features Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, who could become the first African pope in modern times3. 
John: We are being asked not to make a correlation between the 200-meter dash in the Olympics games, where seven of the past nine victors were black.
Mary: Whoa! Turkson just shed his cardinal robes to reveal a sleek tracksuit!
John: We still can't comment on that? Really? 
Mary: Americans are hoping for Sean Patrick  “Cappuccino2”O'Malley of Boston or Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York to come out with the gold. No American has ever won the papacy, and some cardinals worry an American pope's actions would be viewed as serving the U.S. instead of the church1.President Obama disagreed with this sentiment, but added that the pope can serve the U.S if he wants to because, "Hey, it's a free country, isn't it?!" 

Mary: Let’s go to the live picture.
Mary: The other live picture.

Mary: Close enough.
John: It seems our competitors are greeting each other with a good luck handshake. Let's get a closer look.
Scherer: Peace be with you.
Dolan: And also with you.
Scherer: GAH! I think you just broke my hand. That's my blessing hand!
Dolan: I have a confession to make. I'm glad.
Mary: Ha. Ha. I'm sure they're joking. Let's zero in on some of the other cardinals.
Scola: Have you thought about what your pope name would be?
Unknown Cardinal: Yes, I'd choose Saint Francis of Assisi.
Scola (mumbling): More like Saint Francis of a sissy.
Unknown Cardinal: What was that?
Scola:...Amen.


John: Enough with the cardinal chirping, let's get this race started! 
Mary: The gun is fired, and the race is on! 
Mary: Scherer is quick out of the gates, perhaps quick is too strong of a word. We’re hoping it’s not another false start, and no flags are raised! FINALLY! We will not being seeing black smoke after this race!
John: Cappuccino is hot on Scherer's tail going full steam in the "espresso lane", as he calls it. I wonder if those uniforms are tricky to maneuver..Speak of the cloth devil! Scherer is tripped up by his own robe! Oo, I don’t think he’ll recover from that one, Mary.

John: Scola, after easily edging into fourth, is trying strenuously to overtake Dolan on the first turn. Dolan is not even leaving enough space for Jesus! I bet Scola is wishing he had a pair of Dolan’s 63-year-old legs to beat him with!
Mary: That sounds morbid.
John: In the middle of the pack, we're seeing a not-so-surprisingly leisurely pace from Ouelett. It appears you can make him run, but you can't make him race.
Mary: I would not want to cross that man.
John: Well his pace would suggest that he doesn't want to be crossed himself.

Mary: Back to the front, we now have Turkson in the lead-
John: Big surprise. I mean, I am surprised, but also not surprised. He seemed equally qualified compared to the other competitors.
Mary: -with Scherer in second and….who is that in third?
John: I'm not sure; he wasn't one of the frontrunners we named earlier.
Mary: We'll find his name later. 
Mary: The cardinals are turning onto the home stretch! Turkson and Scherer are side by side with…Jorge Bergoglio it appears, breathing down their necks. 
John: They shouldn't make the elderly run like this. This is really uncomfortable to watch. 
Mary: Well, that's why it's not normally televised, John. 

Mary: There's 10 meters to the finish line. It's going to be Turkson! No, Scherer! Turkson! 
John: Is that the Holy Spirit?
John: It's Ber-go-go-goooalllllll with the win! Holy smokes! What a race! 
Mary: The white smoke is out, and the crowd is rushing the arena, trying to get to their new pope and hoist him in the air.

John: Oh goodness, No! Did he just fall down? I don't think the cardinals could handle another race! Oh, nope he's just Tebowing. 


Sources:
  1. http://gma.yahoo.com/obama-says-american-pope-effective-131206741.html;_ylt=AoxOdueXb6RT4S7xYxGu4Wx.oFlH;_ylu=X3oDMTRmdmY2cjFlBGNjb2RlA3ZzaGFyZWFnMnVwcmVzdARtaXQDTmV3cyBmb3IgeW91BHBrZwNmNjVkYjM5Zi1jYzczLTMwZDMtYWE4OC00NWEwZWE1N2QxNDkEcG9zAzIEc2VjA25ld3NfZm9yX3lvdQR2ZXIDOWE5M2M2YzgtOGJkZi0xMWUyLWJmZTMtMTVkNmJkNzNiYzIy;_ylg=X3oDMTMyY21oZHB1BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDMTliYTVjM2ItZDM5MS0zMDdlLThlZGItYjRjODY1NmRkYTUzBHBzdGNhdANob21lfHRvcHN0b3JpZXMEcHQDc3RvcnlwYWdl;_ylv=3 
  2. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130313/NATION/303130348/Papal-candidates-range-from-conservatives-prolific-tweeters?odyssey=mod|newswell|img|FRONTPAGE|p
  3. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/cardinals-choose-pope-succeed-benedict-181023715.html 






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Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Bible Bacon Fest that never was

If you asked me the type of person I'd expect to meet when entering into a new city, the last guy I'd think of would be the guy Jesus encountered. The first person who greeted Jesus when he stepped off the boat in Garsenes wasn't a sweet old woman with a basket full of friendship bread and a twinkle in her eyes. Instead, he was met by a demon-possessed, homeless and naked, living-in-the-local-cemetery man, who seemed to be having a bit of an inner conflict.

Before the man even had a chance to say, "Help me, there's a demon in my body! ARGGHHH get away! Just kidding, I love you! NOOOOO I DON'T!", Jesus had already commanded the demon out of him. He just looked at the man and knew something was up. Or down, in this situation.

But the man wasn't filled with just one demon, he was housing a plethora of parasitic, soul-sucking hell-raisers, and the demons were none-too-pleased about the prospect of being sent home to papa. In fact, they were scared humanless. The mere sight of Jesus made them shriek and leave their host, knowing that their wild days of partying and mayhem were over.

Fortunately for the demons, there happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. Unfortunately for the shepherd who owned the pigs, his herd was about to get dealt with.

"Please let us go into the pigs! Don't send us back to the underworld" the herd of demons cried. 
Jesus said ok, and the demons entered into the pigs. The entire herd of about 2000 demon-possessed pigs proceeded to bolt to the nearest cliff, fling themselves off it, and drown. If only someone had had the foresight to start a massive bonfire, the town could have had bacon for months.

(Luke 8:26-39)


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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The curious day my dad didn't die

Patrick Pastula, 58, died Monday after a well-fought battle with a heart arrhythmia. Pat’s
doctor said, “We always knew that non-fatal heart murmur was going to be the end of him.” He
paused, and added, “I guess.”

He is survived by his wife and two daughters, but not the family dog, who Pat despised.

When asked how she felt about her husband’s death, recently widowed Jill Pastula responded,
“I feel like I just won a million dollars!” referring to the life insurance policy she recently cashed
in. When the Pastulas’ insurance agent and family friend Ron Scholl heard the news, he stated,
“I feel like I’m going to vomit.”

The day’s events began with a phone call, or it would have, had the Pastulas’ daughter Adrienne
answered the phone. Since she is living alone while her mother and father vacation in Florida,
she has been fearful of having to answer the question, “When will your parents be back?” and reveal her unprotected status. Pat and Jill were not scheduled to return to their home at 343 Hillsdale
Street until March 7. Adrienne works at the Hillsdale Community Hospital from 3:30pm to
11:30pm on a casual schedule, and usually returns home around midnight to sleep in the northeast corner of the house.

The early phone call at 7:00 AM would have been unusual if not for the profession of
telemarketing. Adrienne chocked it up to an overzealous telemarketer, but after the eighth ring,
the thought did cross her mind that it may be someone trying desperately to reach the family.
However, she decided against answering the call because “the bed was cozy.”

Adrienne was subsequently reawakened by a knocking at the door. Still believing telemarketers
were to blame for the morning annoyances, she decided it was a kid wanting to make $20
for ten minutes of snow shoveling work, something she is capable of doing herself due to her
abnormally large biceps.

However, the knocker would not leave unacknowledged. Adrienne peered out her window and
noticed a familiar looking vehicle in the driveway: a red Chevrolet belonging to family friend Dan
English, a counselor at Hillsdale High School.

To Adrienne, this was a dream come true in the worst way possible. For reasons not subject to logic,
Adrienne had always imagined hearing her dad’s death from Mr. English at an odd hour of the
morning.

Adrienne opened the door for Mr. English and noticed a series of tracks in the driveway due to
his anxious pacing. He answered the door with a worried look on his face and a cell phone held
to his ear. It is at this point, she reported, she knew something was amiss.

Mr. English asked Adrienne if she had heard from her parents recently, to which she responded
“No” in a more cheerful and non-grieving manner than he expected. Mr. English, who intended
to receive answers from her, now realizes he had unwittingly positioned himself to tell this
woman-child of as-yet-unknown-emotional-reactivity level the news of her father’s passing.

Adrienne, noticing Mr. English’s discomfort, formulated a frantic jumbled prayer only God could
decipher with the basic gist of “Please don’t let any of what Mr. English is about to say be true”
and told Mr. English with overcompensating cheeriness, “No, please, tell me, it’s fine.”

Mr. English paused and responded, “Adrienne, I’m so sorry to tell you this, but your father is
dead. I heard it from Mrs. VanOrman at [Hillsdale High] school who heard it from a ‘reliable
source’. Is there someone we can call to find out?”

Adrienne immediately dialed her mother’s cell phone, who answered on the fourth ring.

“Hello!” Jill answered brightly, perhaps too brightly for someone whose husband had just died,
Adrienne speculated.

Adrienne nonchalantly asked, ”How’s it going down in Florida?” instead of asking directly, “MR
ENGLISH IS HERE AND SAID DAD IS DEAD SO WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THAT AND WHY DO YOU SOUND HAPPY?”

Jill replied, “The sun is shining, I’m about to go out for a run; all in all a great day so far. Why,
what are you calling about?”

Adrienne then told her of the rumor circulating the halls of Hillsdale High School of her dad’s
death. This, coming as news to Jill, responded that Pat was in bed sleeping, but if someone in
Hillsdale said otherwise, perhaps he wasn’t actually sleeping.

Jill checked on her husband and verified his liveliness. This news caused Mr. English to clutch his
chest and subsequently die with relief.

When Pat was asked how he felt about the matter, he said, “I’m retired, not dead.”

Update: At this time, the ‘reliable source’ has not been identified, although it has been
speculated to be Hillsdale hooligan Jerry Rumler.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The first time the Bible made me laugh

I remember the first time the Bible made me laugh.
I was at PAC Camp (Presbyterian Activiites Camp, though technically I suppose it's called "Presbyterian Activities Camp Camp") zoning out in the pews during Bible time. I was around the age of eight and I hated Bible time. The room reeked of reverence and the stained glass windows reminded me of the Catholic masses I was forced to attend each week. I didn't like that our counselors called this place the Sanctuary. Outside playing the Parachute game was a sanctuary. That place was breezy and exciting and made me feel like I was running under a rainbow. This place, however, was a fun-sucking prison.
I love church camp, as long as it's run by Reverend Rainbow.
But this year was different. That's because this year, a man named Doug Rutledge was our speaker. Doug was about 40-years-old with curly brown hair, a goofy smile, and a wedding ring. What?! He can't be that holy if he's married. He took his place at the sanctuary steps and addressed the room of third graders.
"Did you guys know that the Bible is funny?"
"No!" We responded loudly. Everyone knows that, Doug. Wouldn't that be illegal anyway?
"Seriously?" He said, chuckling. "Have you guys ever read the Bible?"
"Um, yes!" We said defiantly. We go to PAC Camp, of course we've read the Bible. But we were all wondering, Have we read the Bible? Wouldn't we have noticed a joke in there if we had?
"Well I think it's hilarious," he said. Then, he flipped open his Bible to Judges 3 and began to tell us the story of the morbidly obese king who changed my life.

"The Israelites were under the rule of King Eglon for eighteen years, and they were fed up with him. So, God sent Ehud to deliver them from King Eglon's rule15. Keep in mind that King Eglon is very fat. This is important. It's actually the way the Bible introduces King Eglon. It says, ‘Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man17’ Isn't that sad? What if that's how someone introduced you? 'This is Doug; look at how fat he is! That's really all you need to remember about Doug.'
"So, Ehud gathered some gifts and a posse to carry it, and strapped a double-edged sword to his thigh under his clothing16. Luckily Ehud's clothing was very loose, so the guards did not notice that there was a two-and-a-half foot long killing machine attached to his leg. This is why we now have airport security.
"Whatcha got under there?"
Just two and a half of these delicious sandwiches....
"Ehud presented the tribute to the king, and sent the carriers on their way18. Since the king now had his delightful presents, he didn't need Ehud anymore. But to stay a while longer, Ehud said, ‘I have a secret message for you19That got his attention.
"'Leave us!' King Eglon demanded, and his attendants immediately exited the room20.'
               "Ehud approached the king's throne and said, 'I have a message from God for you.21' Which is exciting. Who wouldn't want to have a personal message from the Lord Almighty?
"Eglon eagerly waited his super secret message, entertaining the possibilities. Eglon, you are just the nicest, or, Eglon, I'm going to make it rain grapes tomorrow; just an FYI. While Eglon was preparing for the news, Ehud whipped out his "secret message" and stabbed him in the stomach with it21!  Surprise!

"Then the Bible goes into great detail describing Eglon's guts. Listen up; if it's in the Bible, it must be important: 'His bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.22’  Guys, that's gross. He's so fat, you could lose a 2 ½ foot-long sword in his body.
"Then, Ehud escaped out the back door and locked it behind him.
“After Ehud had left, the servants went to check on their king, but the back door was locked. 
“He must be relieving himself,24' they guessed awkwardly.
“The servants waited to the point of embarrassment25. The king has been in there for a long time, supposedly taking the largest poop of his life, but it was still plausible. "Where's King Eglon?" Just in the bathroom. He's fat, so, ya know…
“After waiting for many minutes in an uncomfortable tizzy and tapping their sandals for ages, they finally mustered up the nerve to go check on their toilet-bound king, only to find him dead. 
“Guys, that's a crappy way to die.”

After that, Bible became my favorite time of day, even better than when I was pretending to be attacked by sharks in the Parachute game.

Have you ever read a Bible story that made you laugh?


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