Saturday, April 23, 2011

Cat Lady (or, "Why I Want to be a Hobo")

It occurred to me recently that I am well on my way to being a crazy cat lady.

I have three (yes, THREE) cats.  And my boyfriend has two.  Which means if we were ever to live together, we would then have five (5) cats.

That seems... excessive.

The really bad thing about this?  It wouldn't be the first time I've had five cats.

This picture was taking in late 2005, after my house flooded in New Orleans and I moved in with my parents.  The cats are:  Theta (top), Elvira, or "Ellie" (black), Matilda, or "Tillie"(tortoiseshell), Jazz (right with darker ears), and  Blues (bottom).  Ellie and Tillie were my cats when I was in middle school and high school.  When I left, they stayed with my parents.  Theta was a birthday present from my sister in 2001, and Jazz and Blues were my former boss' cats, and refugees from New Orleans.  Basically, we had too many cats.  Ellie and Tillie didn't live much longer after this, they were already nearing 20  years old and had been on Thyroid medications for about half that.  There was also a dog.  In this picture they were waiting to be fed.  With five cats, you don't hesitate to feed them on time, because they will start looking at you like they might eat you.

When I was in high school, I had this dream of being a crazy old lady living in the haunted house on the top of the hill.  I had it pictured perfectly.  Leaky roof, and rotten floorboards, and a thousand cats.  I would know all of them by name.  I would never cut or comb my hair, so it would be long, and gray, and fly-away.  I would wear a bathrobe to the grocery store, and always get the squeaky cart.  I would fill it with an eclectic variety of food along with all of the boxes of Cocoa Pebbles in the store, and then wander off and leave the cart by the pharmacy.

But you see, that was a joke.  I didn't expect that I might actually live that life.

It is possible that my only escape is to become a hobo.

The more I think about it, the more appealing living my life ridin' the rails sounds.  Let's break this down:

My Job:
There is always this back and forth motion in my life regarding "working for a living".  Work stresses me out, so I don't have the time or energy to do the things I would like to do, or paint or make art, or write a novel.  But when I don't work, I get distracted by things like "eating" and "making rent", and I end up not making art, but daydreaming about food and elaborate schemes to eat all of the free samples in the store before they drag me away kicking and screaming.  Even if I have enough food to start out, I don't have enough art supplies to actually make art or (gasp) try to sell it.

If I were a hobo, I could make my art with shoplifted spray paint on the sides of trains.  My art would certainly be more noticeable than it is now.

My Car:
Don't get me wrong.  I love my car.  I wanted my car when it was new, back in 1999.  But because I tend to sabotage myself every few years by quitting whatever job I have and trying to "make it" as an artist, I have never trusted that I would be able to make car payments, so I never bought my dream car.  Until a year ago.  And I got my 1999 Audi A4.  And I paid cash.

Yes, it has 124,900 miles on it.  Yes, it has a tape deck.  It's still my favoritest car EVER.  The problem is that she is an expensive little bitch, and I had to shell out nearly a month's take-home wages to get her to pass emissions.

Sure, I couldn't afford that as a hobo, but then, I wouldn't have a car at all as a hobo. I would be riding trains or something.  You spend less when you have less.

I would certainly save money by actually wearing out my jeans, instead of purchasing pre-stressed fashion jeans.  And I would still fit in.  Hell, I would even have my natural body odor as perfume, instead of purchasing expensive Au du Hobo at Urban Outfitters.  For once in my life, I would be one of the cool kids.*

Diet and Fitness:
Here I am, day after day, trying to eat less and exercise more so that one day, I too, can be considered "hawt".  I have never been.

If I were a hobo, not only would I get toned legs and abs from constant walking, running from store managers, and leaping on to moving trains, but I would have a very limited supply of food.  I have a feeling that homelessness would be the Best.  Diet.  Ever.  Even better than the flu.

I would be all Hawt Hobo.

The more I think about this, the better it sounds...  I would probably even be better equipped to survive the inevitable zombie apocalypse...

Yeah.  I totally want to be a hobo when I grow up.

Mom will be so proud.

*It turns out that Urban Outfitters doesn't actually sell a perfume called Au du Hobo.  I was mistaken.  They just sell patchouli oil, which smells like the same thing to me.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Why I Can't be a Mechanic

I have been having some car troubles.  No, no, car runs great.  It's all zippy and fun and luxurious.

The problem is that it apparently pollutes the environment.

Stupid people want to breathe or something.

I just assumed that since I bought the car a year ago, it ran well, didn't smoke, didn't have any alarms, didn't smell funny, and drove great that I shouldn't have any problems.

So I put off taking the emissions test.

And didn't pass.

Apparently, my car is emitting NOx.

I have two weeks before my plates are more than a month expired. They were due in March, and I didn't get tested until April. I think the car maybe didn't pass because I procrastinated. If I'd done it early, there wouldn't have been any problems.

Another problem here is that I have an Audi so no one wants to work on it. Apparently they're complicated.

My thought was that somehow gremlins had gotten into my car and started wrecking havoc.

So I asked around.  Not one person mentioned gremlins.

"Your car is running too lean."  -- OK, we'll get the high calorie gas?  What does this even mean?

"Your car is running too hot." -- I tried shouting at my engine.  "Chill out, bitch!  You're running too hot!"  but she totally ignored me.  Then I felt bad and said, "I'm sorry, baby.  We'll work it out."

"You have a bad cat." -- Ummm... I know people were trying to be helpful, but don't dis my cat.  I don't even know which one you're talking about.  I have three cats.  And a dog.

"Stop sniffing the tail pipe, that's nitrogen oxide, not nitrous oxide." -- Apparently, both will make you high, but one is a deadly toxin and the other is what they call laughing gas.  I guess I should have paid attention in chemistry class.

Turns out, they were talking about catalytic converter.  Which is apparently a part on the car.  OOooooh.  I knew that.

Are you sure it's not gremlins?   I might have fed the car after midnight, after all...

Being both cheap and broke, I had a mechanic replace the oxygen sensor.  He said it was first thing to try.  

I went back in to the emissions place and it was worse than it was before.


After having a complete mental breakdown, blubbering all over the poor emissions testers and bewailing the unfairness of the world, and screw Colorado air laws!  It's a big conspiracy to take away my money!  It's a tax on the poor!  DOWN WITH THE MAN!, I went to work.

Being really stressed out made me a little gassy, and I felt kinda bad for the guy in the next cubicle.  I am pretty sure that I personally would not pass any kind of "emissions" test.

A friend recommended another mechanic, this one in Boulder.  He wants to replace the catalytic converter with an OEM one ($900), and while he's at it, wants to take a look at the EGR valve (who knows?  Sounds important).  I go in Wednesday.

Meanwhile, I will give my car a wash, and treat her nice, and tell her I will always love her, and she should just do her best.  I promise not to leave you for that cute little Jeep CJ over there...

I am counting down until the end of the month when it will be no longer legal to drive my car.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

How Ginger Beer is Ruining my Life

Something that I don't often talk about is beer.

This is funny, because beer is a really big part of my life.

I'm not saying that I'm an alcoholic or anything, just... you know, into it.  We have a group of friends that gathers every couple weeks to brew beer in the back yard on the turkey fryer, and every month we go to a local homebrewers club.  I dig craft beers, and love going to new breweries.  Beer is a hobby (and also the probably culprit of my weight gain in the last year or two).

Anyway, I decided one day that I wanted to make ginger beer.

It seemed simple enough.  Sugar.  Ginger.  Water.  Yeast.  GO!

But it wasn't.  The stupid internet.  Has to be all informative and stuff.  While looking for some good directions, I came across some crazy information.  Ginger beer is not made with brewers yeast or baking yeast or champagne yeast... no no no.  Ginger beer, REAL ginger beer, uses a magical substance called "Ginger Beer Plant".

What is it?  Apparently, it is not a plant.  It is what is commonly (among microbiologists) referred to as a SCOBY.  That is, a Symbiotic Colony of Bacteria and Yeast.  And not just ANY yeast and bacteria, a very specific combination of two varieties.

Why isn't anything I ever do simple?

The problem with the internet for research is that it is both really informative, and ridiculously uninformed.  You can't just take the first thing you see at face value.  Oh no, you have to assume the writer is on crack, and cross check it and everything to make sure you don't fall prey to a Nigerian Lottery Scheme while trying to learn about SCOBY's.

After some hemming and hawing, I finally caved and paid £11 to have some of this magical substance shipped from the UK from what appears to be a reliable source.  I could have put my name up on a message board and tried to get someone to send me some for free, but I wanted it now.

It was sent in two zip-lock baggies in a bubble mailer via Royal Mail.  It wasn't dripping, at least, but when I opened the top, it smelled, very strongly, alcoholic.  Very very alcoholic.  While promising, I wondered how this thing ever made it through customs.

It was also partially frozen, because it was about 10 below zero for the few days it was in transit.  Of course.

The Ginger Beer Plant upon arrival.
I was pretty sure it was ruined.

Instead of crying about it though, I decided to go ahead and do a tender loving care batch or 3 and see if I could bring it back to life.  The TLC batch is raw cane sugar (the kind that comes in cone form), a little lemon, and chlorine-free water.

About the 3rd tender loving care batch.  It was a bit like watching a lava lamp as bits of GBP floated to the top when they had too much CO2, the fall to the bottom again.

The GBP did amazingly well.  After about a month, I was ready to start my first batch of ginger beer.

Heat up some water.
Everything seemed to go smoothly the first time through.  I mean, how could it go wrong?  I brew beer all the time!

Grate up some slightly seared fresh ginger..
And this recipe is so simple.  The ginger beer plant (or GBP for short), is incredibly resilient.  It can leap buildings in a single bound.

My ginger beer was going to be the most wonderful, most magical ginger beer ever made.  My ginger beer would change history!

Put it all together.
I was so excited.

I wanted more alcohol, so I transferred to a secondary fermentation.

And I could have made a mostly alcohol-free version, but... well.  If I am going to take the time to ferment something, there had better be some freaking booze involved.  Just sayin'.

It kept clarifying.  It had bubbles.  Everything was going good.

With the regular malt beers, I am not the primary mover and shaker.  I don't pick the recipe, I don't do most of the work.  I stand around and drink beer, supervising the others.

But this was mine.

Check the specific gravity so I could figure out the alcohol.

It came out at about 6%, which is TOTALLY acceptable for a beery substance.

Taste to make sure it's good.
And it was delicious.  It just needed time to carbonate.


Problem #1:  It never carbonated.  Tastes great, but without the bubbles it's... weird.  Since it's so dry, I haven't decided on a mixer.

Problem #2: While making the second batch, everything got moldy.

I failed.  Everything is wrong.  My ginger beer is going to kill me. 

Now I am certain that everything I do is going to fail, I will be fired from my job, never pass emissions, get pulled over for having expired plates, probably thrown in jail, and possibly become a mold zombie.

Excuse me while I crawl under the table.  I think I am going to hide from my failures.  It's easier than dealing with them, and if I stay down there long enough, my epic ginger beer failure will be forgotten.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I am Officially a Running Wimp

I stepped on the scale in the wellness center at work.  Up... Still more... tap, tap tap... It was one of those old fashioned, doctor's office type scales, with a little balance at the top.

"Hey," I said loudly, "I haven't lost any weight, and I've been working out for like, three days."

A random lady in the locker room laughed.  Oh yeah.  Not. At. Home.  People can hear me.

It is actually pretty spectacular that I have actually been working out at all.  I've been running.  OK, I've been jogging a little, and walking.  The hope is that some day I will be a super athlete.  Every time I jog more than a minute at a time, I imagine that someday soon, I will qualify to run the marathon in the Olympics.  Before you know it, I will be running 100 mile races without breaking a sweat.

Who says I can't set realistic long term goals?

Hollywood has completely ruined my expectations, though.  In movies, as soon as someone decides they are going to try to get in shape, all it takes is a montage, and they have the body of Angelina Jolie.  Apparently, in real life, a montage takes several months.  And plastic surgery.

One of the hardest things about getting off my butt and actually doing anything is this fear of judgment.  I was talking to a coworker about this when we were on a walk.

Me:  "I don't want to run here, really.  Everyone can see me.  They'll judge me."

Her:  "Ha ha.  No they won't."

Me: "Sure they do."

Her: "You don't judge the other people running."

Me: "Um... Yes I do."

Then she stopped talking to me.

I am sure she was judging me as a judging judge.  Which is probably true.  But as an "armchair athlete", I think I am entitled.  I know what good running is supposed to look like.  Form, balance, stride, blah blah blah.  I read about it all the time.  Just because I can't do it doesn't mean it isn't right.


It's just about time to sign up for the Bolder Boulder.  Seven weeks from Monday.  Can I run a 10K race and not die? 

Last year was a bit of a disaster.  But this time, this time, I'll totally beat the other 55,000 runners.  Because I have seven weeks to go from not being able to run a mile into SUPER ATHLETE who eats Cocoa Pebbles for breakfast every day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The "Thing" on the Wing

OK, OK.  I will stop bragging about my three-day vacation in New Orleans.  Even if it was awesome.

Even if we got to eat at Adolfo's.

Adolfo's above the Apple Barrel on Frenchmen Street.

Even if we got to eat some amazing fried chicken at Fiorella's.

So.  Good.

Even if we had beignets and cafe au laits at the Cafe du Monde.

Mmmm... cafe au lait.

Beignets are one of the greasiest, sugariest, awesomest things, ever.

Even though we got to watch the fog rolling in over the river when it finally cooled off at night,

That streak on the left is the ferry during a long exposure.

and drank Pimms cups at Napoleon House,

The cucumber makes this.

and had Mint Juleps at Pat O'Brien's,

Surprisingly tasty considering how much booze they put in.

and some absinthe at Pirate's Alley,

Lip numbing licorice.

and have some jambalaya at my favorite hole in the wall.

Rabbit and sausage jambalaya no less.

EVEN IF I have a lot to brag about.  I totally won't.  See how big I am?


I will tell you about going home.

It was Tuesday.  A week ago today, in fact.  We had stayed up the night before.  On our way home from Adolpho's (eating the amazing food after an incredible wait because, you know, you have to wait for everything in New Orleans) we heard this magical voice drifting out of a bar.

One thing I have noticed in New Orleans is that even the cats can sing on key.  We had stopped in at Checkpoint Charlies for a quick beer as we entered the Quarter and they were having karaoke.  Normally this means run screaming before your ears bleed, but some of these guys were actually worth listening to.  We had a beer and continued up Decatur, when we heard this lady, and we had to stop watch.

Lynn Drury.  I don't think I would normally like this music, but it was perfect for the night.  I have been listening to her music at work all week.
She had a group of five old men that kinda looked like groupies, but may have been stalkers, and she looked happy to see us.  We stuck around until she was done singing.

Anyway, after all that, and then having to ride the streetcar uptown to my friend's house, it was late.

So what I am saying is that we slept in on Tuesday after our AMAZING WEEKEND THAT I AM NOT BRAGGING ABOUT, even though it was only a half day, and our last day in town, we just kinda shitted around the apartment and looked at picture books and packed.  The cab was due at 3PM.

We got to the airport about 2 hours before out flight.  Once again, I was disappointed that my passage through security was incredibly easy and required no pat-downs or naked cancer-inducing pictures of me. TSA seriously needs to stop claiming to be this evil monster of security, and start following through.

We hung out in the airport, and finally boarded.

I have issues on planes.  It's not that I am claustrophobic, but I don't like being around people that much.  It makes me tense.  I try to mitigate this by sitting by the window, but for some reason this plane was curvy in such a way that I kept hitting my head on the window.  I was also right above the wing, and didn't realize until too late that my seat didn't lean back.

Chris and I sat next to each other, quietly reading and waiting for take-off.  The captain came on the speaker, "Sorry about the delay, folks.  There is a lightning storm, so we can't finish loading the baggage until it's safe for the handlers to come out."

I looked out the window.

Ever see that old Twilight Zone episode, "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet"?  It looked like that.  And while I was pretty sure that it was OK for us to sit in a plane on a big tarmac during a lightning storm, I wasn't positive.

I don't know why I was so nervous, and after a while, I didn't want to look outside, either, because I didn't want to see the thing on the wing that was going to make us crash.  Seriously, if there was some kind of gremlin out there, I didn't want to know.  Go on, dude, chew on those wire, rip out those hydraulics, I don't care.

Or maybe something followed us from the open tomb at the cemetery.

But that meant I had to kind of point my body inward, towards people.

And people make me nervous.

And I didn't want to talk, because I am constantly saying inappropriate things about explosions and guns and whatnot, and I was pretty sure if I opened my mouth on the plane, I was going to be arrested (although, I hear Cuba is pretty this time of year).

After an hour, the flight attendants walked up and down the aisles with water.  I didn't want water.  I wanted food.  I mean, dinner was getting farther and farther away from me as we sat there.

Another hour, and they opened the hatch... to let us off?  Oh no.  They were cramming more people on who had missed their connections.  Because what a plane needs is MORE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME.

I must have looked stressed, because Chris said, "Are you OK?  Is there anything I can do?"

"No..." I said.  I couldn't tell him about the thing that was probably on the wing and how we were going to crash, and if not, I might just start screaming and punching.  I felt ridiculous.  There were children.  Old people.  And everyone else was all calm and collected, talking and doing their thing.  What is wrong with me that I can't do that?

We did eventually take off.

And we didn't die.

There were so many big storms that our cruising altitude ended up being 40,000 feet, so I am pretty sure the pressure froze the gremlin that I didn't see on the wing.  I did take the time to figure out that terminal velocity for a human is about 120 miles per hour, and 40,000 feet is about 7 and a half miles above the ground, so if the plane, say, broke apart, and I was plunging to the earth, it would take (roughly) four minutes to hit the ground.  I was concerned that I didn't know what I should think about for those four minutes, but then I realized that my eyeballs would probably freeze and I would blow up like a balloon in the lack of pressure, so I might not actually survive that long. 

Somehow, this was comforting.

And the two hour delay didn't help me wake up the next day.  Not.  At.  All.

So you see, you don't have to be all jealous of my vacation.  I had an annoying plane ride, and it was all hard to come back to work.

Honestly, I wanted to go out again on Wednesday, and then remembered I was not in New Orleans,  and felt a little sad.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Snowball's Chance

I lived a few places in New Orleans.

The last place I lived was in a Pepto-Bismol pink house with fuchsia trim.

What the house looked like when I was there.  The papaya tree was just a little stick that took over the front of the house in about four months.  

It was a duplex of shotgun houses, the other unit having access to the upstairs.  I only had a "closet" halfway through the house that was actually a stairway to nowhere.

The bathroom sloped down in the back, as it obviously use to be the back porch, and I was always convinced that the concrete backyard had a latrine buried underneath.

The bathroom consisted of a bath and a toilet.  No shower, and no sink.  The toilet rocked back and forth when anyone sat on it, and it leaked a little bit of water onto the floor.  It was also where the banana slugs came in.

I had a phobia of the toilet. I was convinced that the boards underneath were rotted through, and eventually, I would fall, pants around my ankles, and get stuck in the crawl space with the rats and spiders, bleeding and covered with sewerage.

The only sink in the house shared a wall with the bathroom and had a metal bowl about the size of a thimble. Sometimes sewer gas would come up.

The house had hornets in the siding that would sometimes make it through the quarter inch drywall, the windows had to be held up with blocks, the air conditioners would freeze up on a regular basis, and the floor would always leave a gray soot on the bottom of my feet no matter how much I cleaned.

It also had fourteen foot ceilings, was easy walking distance to almost everywhere I wanted to go, and I loved it, even with the super-gay neighbor who was a parody of himself.

He put grape-vine lights and a light up palm tree in the back "yard".  He also had a tiny little fluff of a dog he named Precious.  I never told him that the name reminded me of Gollum from The Lord of the Rings, and maybe the serial killer Jame Gumb from The Silence of the Lambs, even after he nixed my idea of putting up pink flamingos because they were "too tacky".  He kinda reminded me of both.

After I moved out, the landlord painted the house and cut down my papaya tree.

Up close, it looks like they just painted the whole thing white and the old color shows through.  We walked by on our way to the Bywater BBQ for brunch and bloody marys on Sunday

The first place I lived in New Orleans was in Mid City.

I had moved with my sister and our friend Ben, and we were so close to the park, we were lucky we didn't get eaten by nutria.

We lived in a little brick house that looked nothing like the pretty houses nearby.  Our house looked like it should be in a suburb in Anywhere, USA.  But it was super-duper cheap, and the laundromat down the street was right next to the snowball place.

Chris and Kami and I decided we had to have a snowball.  No excuses this time.  And it had to have condensed milk on the bottom, in the middle, and on top.

We went here:

It isn't really that it's so popular.  It just looks that way because it takes 45 minutes to get served.
I forgot how much you have to wait for... pretty much everything in New Orleans.

And yes, it actually is worth the wait.
After about 20 minutes, we were too invested to leave, and once we ordered,we were committed.

I mean, seriously.  Good stuff.
By the time we got them, we were hot, sweaty, thirsty, and tired.  The snowballs lasted almost the full five minutes it took to go to City Park.

The snowballs didn't even make it to the park.  
 City Park is cleaner than I remembered, even before Katrina.  And busier.  But there were still plenty of quiet spots underneath the oak trees.

I love City Park.
We were just relaxing, taking pictures, walking about...

I realized I really really missed living here.

And then I saw this:

Damn faces are following me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Flip Flops on the Levy

I went to New Orleans, and no, it wasn't Mardi Gras or Jazz Fest.

I felt like I needed to get out of town before I went all postal... or is that "cubicle"? Anyway, I felt like I was going crazy, and a little vacation with lots of alcohol might help.

The first thing we did on Saturday morning was head uptown.  We met up with a friend for an early lunch at a cute little BBQ on Oak Street.

While the name wasn't really that appetizing, it was a nice place.

My friend suggested we walk on the levy on the way back if we had time.

There are a few things she must have forgotten about me:
  1. I live in Colorado, so 80 degrees with 80% humidity is freaking hot.
  2. I could get lost in my own bedroom.
  3. I never went uptown when I lived here.  I had no idea how far it was to get back.
It might also be worth noting that I didn't look at a map.

It started out nice.

We walked along the levy, looked at the river.

It really was pretty.  Funny that I had never been here before.
I was happy for the breeze coming off the river because I could feel myself getting sweaty.  Oh, wait.  A woman doesn't sweat.  She glows.  So, I was happy for the breeze coming off the river because I was getting all "glowy".  I imagine that if it weren't for the wind, my face would have looked like it had been lacquered.

After a while, Chris said, "How far is it?  I think we're moving away from the streetcar."

I had no idea because I have NO. SENSE. OF. DIRECTION.  However, I figured you can't be too lost if you can see the river... I mean, it flows right by just about everything.  "Well," I said, "We can turn at Audubon Park."

I knew where Audubon Park was in theory.  We had passed an entrance on the way up to Oak Street.  When we were riding the street car.  And not walking.  And on the other side.

We reached a nice little spot with about nine-hundred-million-bazillion people laying on the grass above the river, making BBQ, and playing soccer.  It seemed hopeful.

We kept walking.

There was  a path that looked like it was headed roughly towards the direction of the streetcars, but when we got close, there was a gate.  It looked like they wanted to charge money.

"Why is it gated?" Chris said.


"Ummm..." I said.  I had no idea until I caught a flash of pink out of the corner of my eye.  "The zoo!" I said, "That's right, there's a zoo here!"  I could see flamingos.

Chris didn't say anything.

"We should be able to go around the zoo, and then get back over..."  Over to what I wasn't 100% sure, but at least we would find a streetcar or major street.  Probably.

There was a turn off, after the zoo.  There were even trees.

Once we got off the levy, the breeze couldn't get to us anymore.  And it was hot.  I was thirsty.  I was wearing flip flops.  And there were probably alligators or nutria or something.

There was a tree covered in gigantic white birds.  I stopped to watch, zooming in with my camera.  Two of them seemed to be fighting.  Oh, wait.  They were having sex.  No, this isn't the picture of them, what are you, some kind of bird sex voyeur?

After an eternity, we came to St. Charles, and the streetcar, coming out by Loyola University.  The place was crawling with children.

"SNOWBALLS!" I said.  More than ANYTHING I HAD TO HAVE ONE.  With condensed milk.  We got in line.

As we stood waiting for frozen deliciousness, a streetcar went by across the street and packed with people.  Then another.  When the third one went by and we'd been there about 20 minutes, I said, "Um, maybe we should just leave.  The line hasn't moved yet."

By then, I was all out of waiting.  There was a huge line at the streetcar stop, and it was in the sun.

So we decided to walk.  Of course.  Because we hadn't just been walking all day.

We did get back to my friend's house eventually.  We had to take showers and drink gallons of water.  My feet were so dirty that I looked homeless.

After the shower, I realized that it wasn't just dirt. My pasty self was burnt to a crisp.

Somehow, it was after 5PM before we ever got around to drinking.  When did I become so bad at being a drunk?

I did get a nice burn line, though.

P.S. This photo was requested by hoodyhoo.  I don't know WHY she wanted the picture of birds having sex, but here you go: