Friday 5: Let’s Get Physical

How confidently could you turn a cartwheel right now?

Not at all. I’m writing this ahead of schedule with a bum ankle, but that doesn’t change anything at the moment of you reading this, wherever and whenever you are. Gymnastics is not my thing.

How (physically) flexible are you?


I’m not a human pretzel, but yoga keeps me relatively limber. So I’d like to think, anyway. That said, I’ve let yoga fall by the wayside and that’s maybe a bad idea. The hardest part is always getting started again.

How are your Frisbee-throwing skills?

Pretty bad.


Which carnival game do you have the best shot at winning?

I actually won one of those “toss the rings on a bottle” games at Six Flags, when I was maybe 13 or so? And I won a HUGE stuffed orangutan. I won—on my first or second throw, to boot. Everyone involved was surprised: I obviously lost my preteen mind; the college-age park employee looked genuinely unprepared for this and awkwardly asked me to return the rest of the rings in my pile; my parents now had to figure out what to do with this huge prize.

Tang (that’s his name) is still in a closet somewhere, one of the handful of stuffed animals that I’m just too sentimental to get rid of. But since he’s much bigger than your run-of-the-mill teddy bear, it’s a little harder to take him with you to college, or across the ocean. His fate is thus undecided.

How good are you at toss-the-paper-in-the-wastebasket?

A champ. Why aren’t there Olympic Office Sports?

Friday 5: Mornings Are for Coffee and Contemplation

Why are waffles better than pancakes?

Are they, though? I’ll sit down to a stack of chocolate chip silver dollar pancakes anytime—plenty of fond childhood memories there. Of course, I also have fond memories of 3 AM Waffle House runs, but those aren’t the same kind of fond memory.

I admit, however, to liking Swedish pancakes better than American pancakes.

American pancakes // Photo by Brigitte Tohm on Unsplash

Swedish pancakes are essentially crepes, and an excuse to have dessert for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner…I don’t think they’re a solid breakfast food here?).

Swedish pancakes, basically. // Photo by andreeautza on MorgueFile.com

Swedish waffles are materially identical to American waffles, except in shape.

Swedish waffle, basically. //  Photo by Pietro De Grandi  on Unsplash
American waffle // Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

 

What’s something you remember about being 11?

Middle school? Sixth grade? Lockers? It’s a blur, truthfully.

What experience do you have with role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons?

Middle school is when I got started, though not with Dungeons and Dragons. Online play-by-post RPGs were kind of my thing; I didn’t play D&D proper until college, with a weird mix of people who were really into getting into character and people (like me) who were more meta-gamer about it. Player groups shuffled and changed and settled as social groups shuffled and changed and settled, and now when I spend time with the final line-up (so to speak), it’s not unusual to go for a casual one-shot, just for funsies.

How do you feel about carnival rides that make you go upside-down?

Not great? I don’t like carnival rides in general. They feel so pointless.

You’ve seen Matthew Modine in more films than you realize (which he famously admitted during his opening monologue when he hosted Saturday Night Live in 1988) (filmography here). Which have you seen, and which was the best?

I might have seen him in more films than I realize, but that doesn’t mean I’ve seen him in a lot. The only movies I’ve seen in that list are Full Metal Jacket, The Dark Knight Rises, and Stranger Things (not a movie, but still). Those are all really good, but I think Stranger Things might be the best? And I’m not just saying that because these questions are very obviously based on Stranger Things.

Friday 5: Grabby

There’s a convenience store nearby and you have a small case of the munchies. What do you grab?

A chocolate protein shake and then a croissant or a piece of fruit. Maybe both!

 

You’re about to get on a plane and someone just stole all your reading material, but there’s a newsstand nearby. What magazine (of likely available titles) do you grab? 

 

Why am I so chill about someone stealing my stuff? Because if they’ve stolen my airplane reading material, that means they have my phone!

But I’ll answer this question in the spirit in which it’s intended, which is: what would I grab from Hudson News (or whatever) if I didn’t have any of my own reading material for a flight. The answer is: anything without an airbrushed model or celebrity that isn’t also about business or sports.

 

On a regular work day, where do you grab lunch and what do you get if you don’t bring a lunch from home?

Since I have the luxury of working from phone, I grab lunch in my own kitchen (which is also my office). After putting in a couple hours in the comma mines (I use the Pomodoro Method, but I tend to work for entire hours instead of 25-minute bursts), I take a leisurely lunch: usually a sandwich or a bowl of muesli, sometimes leftovers.

 

Instead of a lunch, you decide you need a quick nap during your workday. Where can you grab 40 winks?



In my own damn bed!

How close to your head is your cell phone when you’re asleep in bed?

Image courtesy DodgertonSkillhause

Not at all. I leave it to charge in the kitchen partially because there’s not enough outlet space by the bed, and partially because having to get up and walk to the opposite end of the apartment to shut off the alarm helps me wake up.

Friday 5: The Shape of Things to Come

What shape is your mood today?

Swings and roundabouts. Is that a shape? The replacement for my cracked smartphone screen is in sooner than I expected and I have work to help me pay for it, so that’s good. But our bed broke and there’s no way getting a new one is worth it, so that’s not so good. But our mattress is in fine shape, as are the wooden slats it was resting on, and have “pillow tops” as well (I think in Swedish they’re the parts that people call mattresses), so we can just live without a bed frame, I guess?

Back when I was a wee thing and my bed was upgraded in order to give my brother a “big kid” bed, I got to sleep on a mattress on the floor for a few days and I thought it was way better than sleeping on a mattress on a proper bed. The novelty hasn’t worn off entirely, so I could be in much worse mood about it than I am. It just sucks that we lose a bit of under-the-bed storage, but oh well.

What snack comes in a fun shape?

I guess those cone-shaped chips you can put on your fingers. Bugles? Yeah, Bugles.

Image courtesy Glane23



Someone’s building your dream house, but it has to be in the shape of a letter of the alphabet.  Which letter do you choose?

For architectural purposes, something like H or I seems the smartest. I’m not vain enough to have my house be in the shape of my initials, definitely (and K seems like not a great shape for a house). C might be nice: you’d have a mostly-enclose courtyard that you could still enter and exit easily.

What’s a great song with a shape in its title or lyrics?

“Circle”:


“Square”:

Don’t judge me. Only Gunde can judge me.

And I guess I’m stretching with this one, but “Pentagram”:

What’s something in your line of sight that can reasonably be called blob-shaped?

I have a couple burnt-down candles on the windowsill.

Friday 5: Don’t Go There

Where were you forbidden (or too frightened) to go when you were growing up, and why?

I wasn’t ever expressly forbidden from going anywhere, but I was always obsessed with a local paper mill that had stood abandoned my entire life. I can’t find a photo to share here, even though it’s prime urban exploration fodder, so I’ll have to make do with photos of a sister plant across the river in New Jersey.

What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve done in the past couple of years?

I totally bought a reduced fare SL ticket when I wasn’t eligible for it! More than once!

Under what circumstances have you gone into a place you knew you weren’t supposed to enter?

I can’t think of any, actually?

Which aisle in your supermarket do you just about never go down?

The pet food aisle. The baby food aisle. The canned-fruits-for-baking aisle.

Here’s one for the “little differences” department: canned fruits and vegetables were pretty normal for me growing up in the US. A couple of Green Giant cans of vegetables were always a side for dinner (unless our own vegetable garden was in season) and the little Del Monte tins of diced pears and peaches were a common packed lunch accessory. I didn’t realize that frozen vegetables were a thing until, well, probably older than I should have been. But in Sweden, the canned fruits live in exile with pie crusts and chocolate chips, and I don’t think canned vegetables even exist?

Not counting traffic situations, when did you last willfully disobey something you read on a sign?

Like property demarcations, signs are something I’m pretty good at obeying signs. Apologies to the Five Man Electrical Band.

Friday 5: Questions Created Very Quickly Late Friday Morning

Photo of books from NinoAndonis on Morguefile.com..
Image from NinoAndonis on Morguefile.com.

What are you reading?

I’m reading Karen Memory for an upcoming feminist science fiction book club meeting. (More on that in a later post.) Other, not-as-high-priority reading includes:

  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, a graphic novel (possibly adapted web comic?) that recounts the fictional adventures of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage in a pocket steampunk universe
  • Kris, my regular allotment of Swedish reading.
  • The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide for my own local critique group
  • The Origins of Totalitarianism, because it’s relevant
  • The Copyeditor’s Handbook for my own edification
  • Foxlowe, which I originally heard about via a book blogger I found via ArmchairBEA a couple years ago (speaking of ArmchairBEA)

 

Musician On Stage

What are you listening to?

While I copyedit, I typically listen to classical. I favor the Romantics and have listened through all of Beethoven’s symphonies a bunch of times by now, but I hop around the musical timeline a lot: Bach, Mozart, Copland, Alice Mary Smith . . .

I play video games in my spare time, mostly Diablo III, and that’s when I like to get in my podcast listening: SawbonesThe Adventure ZoneThe History of the English LanguageAdam Ruins Everything, Dirt Nap(interesting and funny but very much NSFW), and Red Skirts (usually SFW) are all good.

I also go running three days a week, with what is probably an utterly unremarkable workout playlist. The more standout selections are from the now-defunct Music Alliance Pact, a monthly round-up of international indie music. My playlist also tilts a little heavily towards Korean music, specifically artists discussed on the Indieful ROK blog (Say Sue Me) or that I learned about while I lived there (Drunken Tiger/MFBTY/Tiger JK).

 

A man in an abandoned building wearing a suit and tie, a colander, and silly glasses, making a silly face.

Anything amusing or strange happen to you recently?

Working with children is always amusing, though in small and unremarkable ways. It’s a good counterbalance to the almost-always private, solitary work that is copyediting. I don’t miss the stress of a classroom and the management that entails, but working with kids in small groups or one-on-one is the dream. Of course, working with adults has own its own set of rewards as well. But adults don’t have the same sideways perspective on things that lead to “kids say the darndest things” aphorisms or puns.

 

A clay jar with a metal ladle and wooden kitchen implements in an out-of-focus kitchen.

What’s cookin’?

So much instant chicken soup. Guess who caught a cold during peak summer season. 🙁

 

What was your contribution to your most recent potluck?

I tried for stewed tomatoes but they didn’t turn out. (Protip: start making food a little earlier than 5 minutes before you’re due to eat.) (Other protip: learn to actually cook.)

My last successful contribution was a vegetarian adaptation of a Hungarian dish called turos csusza: pasta, sour cream, cottage cheese, and then crispy roasted onion instead of bacon. It went over okay, but I think next time I’ll add more roasted onion.

Friday 5: Tiny Gestures

 

What might you put in a small, pretty glass bottle as a romantic gift to someone?

I imagine some kind of memento from a place that’s important to both of you, like some sand from the beach you went to on your honeymoon, or water from the stream you went fishing in for your first date, or a petal from their favorite flower. That kind of thing.

Image from jdurham on MorgueFile.com

Someone you care very much for is leaving for a long time but will be back. What small object (not a photo) might you give him or her to remember you by?

One of my best friends from college has a family tradition of using something white to wave goodbye to someone leaving on a trip. Anything white—when either of us have remembered to do it with each other, it’s usually a receipt from a wallet, purse, or glove compartment. Who doesn’t always have fifty million receipts hanging around?

But I don’t think I would really gift anyone leaving on a trip a proper memento. They’ll be back, right? So what’s the point?

 

If you were to leave a small mark in your current residence, as lasting evidence that you lived there, what would you leave, and where would you leave it?

My family often vacationed at a cabin up in Danby Vermont, right on Tinmouth Pond. We always got at least one breakfast at Sugar and Spice, and my brother and I were allowed something from the gift shop. I almost always opted for a watercolor paint set. They came with maybe five or six thematic pencil sketches (kittens, natural vistas, etc.) for you to paint yourself, and one year I left one of my masterpieces propped on a beam in my loft. I hope it’s still there!

 

What would you like to toss into the fires of Mount Doom?

Microsoft Word’s spell check has saved my bacon on more than one occasion, but the grammar check tool is worse than useless. I’d like to see that one go the way of Clippy.


Those adopt-a-star things are gimmicky rip-offs, but if they weren’t, and someone gave you one as a gift, what would you name it?

Probably after someone I care about. It would depend on who was on my mind at the moment I got the little certificate.

Friday 5: Straight No Chaser

Obligatory:

What keeps you on the straight and narrow?

I use Habitica (formerly HabitRPG) to keep track of my to-do list and to make sure that I stay on task and finish the things I need to do. It includes habits like “15 minutes of focused work” and “30 minutes of focused work” (yes, Pomodoro method!), and also task-based benchmarks like “one pass on a paper” or “finish a blog entry.”

What I need is a better method of keeping track of long-term projects. I have a Swedish translation project I want to get done; I want to finish revising a novel manuscript; I want to finish reading approximately half a dozen books.

And above photo is also relevant because it was my birthday on Wednesday and I have spent the last few days treating myself to a kladdkaka that my sambo baked for me from scratch. Once in a while you need to venture off the straight and narrow path and indulge, in food as in anything else.

Who in your life is a real straight shooter?

Noah (another friend I’ll be visiting en route to the wedding this August) is probably the most forthright friend I have. Exhibit A: After a 24-hour bus journey across three states to see him for the first time in over a year, his first words to me were: “Whoa, you need a shower.”

My dad could probably also take this prize. (This is probably why I get along with Noah so well.)

How straight are your teeth and hair?

My teeth are pretty well aligned. My hair is naturally a touch wavy, which can make having bangs/fringe a little tricky. If you dry them the wrong way, the end result can be a very goofy look.

What’s a good song with the word straight in its lyrics or title?

 The only ones with lyrics in my library with “straight’ in the title are “Straighten Up and Fly Right” and “Straight Outta Compten,” which I guess speaks to the broad range of my musical tastes?
If we include lyrics, then “An Englishman in New York,” “School of Rock,” and no doubt loads of others I can’t remember right now.

What’s something that needs straightening?

My apartment. 🙁 Speaking of long-term projects I have yet to get around to…!

Friday 5: MVP

Most valuable players, huh?

What’s the most important single ingredient in trail mix?

Here’s my typical trail mix:

Image courtesy Anitapepper from MorgueFile.com
Why mess with perfection?

What’s the most important single topping in a taco?

Shredded cheese! Or possibly sour cream. Actually, yes, I’ve changed my mind: sour cream.

What’s the coolest instrument in an orchestra?

I’m going to go with the harp. A deep and abiding love for The Marx Brothers, and Harpo in particular, has left me enamored with this particular instrument.



What’s your favorite animal at the zoo?

I love giraffes and how cute-awkward they are.

I also love okapis, which aren’t quite so common in zoos, but I’m going to count them anyway because they’re relatives of the giraffe and they also have a tough time, so they can use some extra love. (Donate to the Okapi Conservation Project if you feel like helping them out!)

Which are the best pieces in a sampler box of chocolates?

The ones that don’t mix unholy abominations into chocolate, like nuts or peanut butter. Anything else is great, but nuts? Peanut butter? Why would you do that to perfectly good chocolate? Why??

Friday 5: Malfunction Junction

When have you had a wardrobe malfunction?

I lost a skirt to a motorbike gear while I was in Indonesia. Nothing too mortifying, but we needed to stop and get a new one for me. Going to Indonesia with a regular peasant skirt from the US and leaving with a batik print one from Indonesia isn’t a bad deal, though!

Kat Koba Indonesia
Before…
Kat Koba Indonesia
…and after

 

When did you last have a problem with your alarm clock?

Yesterday, actually! Either I slept through it, or the alarm doesn’t automatically override the headphones if they’re plugged in. It’s set for 7:30 and I didn’t wake up until almost 10.

 

What was your most recent computer problem, and what was the fix?

Well, one of the hinges on my laptop is breaking, which seems to be a common denominator in a lot of HP laptops. I’m not sure what the fix is, since at this point it’s no longer under warranty and I can’t really afford the time it would take to send it off for repairs.As for software, once in a while I need to restart Word or OpenOffice because they slow down, but that’s about it.


What’s something about cars you know specifically because you had to have one repaired?

Nothing, really.


Have you had any brain malfunctions this week?

I miscalculated hours for a student (in their favor and not mine, at least) and I missed an important-ish email about an editing project, though I suspect that was an email attempt at sorting spam malfunction more than anything else.