Sunday, March 29, 2009


B. and I did our first race today, and it was awesome. It was only two miles, which was a nice distance for the first time out. I ended up running about 0.3 mph/faster than I normally go. That may have been because of the excitement of running with other people, or it may have been because I feared hypothermia, given that I was severely underdressed for our freakishly cold weather (mid-30s and snow on the ground after weeks of 60s & 70s). I'm looking for a 5K to do next.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Elf dreams

Over the last four nights, I have had several nightmares. Here's a sampling of what my brain is thinking about while I sleep:

-Osama bin Laden throwing knives at me in my parent's backyard (and hitting me several times).

-A shampoo bottle (somehow) exploding and causing massive destruction at my wedding reception. (Also, my wedding reception in this dream was in a 1970s-style rec room with brown shag carpeting, which is not the current plan.)

-A tornado destroying my house (I am saved by hiding under a pool table).

-Having a screaming match with my parents, complete with profanity, about how I find unreasonable their request that I microwave their pizza rolls at my house and bring them over to their house.

-Greg Kinnear trying to strangle me in my sleep.

-Having a conversation with Barack Obama in the back of a taxicab, in which I realized that he does not actually understand my concerns.

These may sound funny now, but when I woke up from each, I was terrified (or at least, as in the case of the last, severely disappointed). Anyway, because I have been thinking about the word "nightmare" more than I have since I was five years old, I started wondering about the etymology of the word.

Supposedly, the "mare" part of the word "nightmare" is derived from the Old English word "maere"--a demon or incubus that stands on your chest as you sleep, suffocating you. Similarly, in traditional German mythology, nightmares are caused by elves sitting on one's chest; the German word for nightmare means "elf dream." (Incidentally, these elves also steal newborn babies and replace them with deformed elf children.)

Read more here, here, here, here, and here.

Somehow this research has not really eased my mind.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


If you are, like me, a fan of bad and/or late-night television programs, you have probably seen this commercial. If you have not, watch it--you are in for a treat.

I tend to want everything I see on infomercials (or infomercial-type commercials), but usually I am able to control myself. Not this time. This commercial spoke to me as none had before. I spend a great deal of my time sitting on a couch in a freezing apartment, watching tv, reading books, or doing things on the computer. I typically have one or two fleece blankets on top of me, but every time I have to get out the remote control or turn the page, all of the precious heat leaves me. So I ordered a Snuggie (actually two, because you get a second for free).

I have been mercilessly mocked by Fuzzy and others ever since I announced this decision. But I have been vindicated: my Snuggies arrived today, and they are as awesome as I could possibly have hoped. I'm sitting here blogging, as toasty and comfy as can be.

I admit that there are two things in the commercial that seem to me to be a bit misleading: (1) you can't really walk around in a Snuggie, because they are crazy long, and (2) I don't see how on earth it would make sense to wear them to a sporting event, because in addition to making you looking like a huge freak, Snuggies don't close in the back, so your back would be freezing. But these are, as far as I can tell, the only downsides to this product.

This blog has a pretty funny analysis of the Snuggie phenomenon.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My church requires that before people get married, they attend a session on "Natural Family Planning." This method basically involves learning to track your fertility using temperature and other physical symptoms, then abstaining from sex during your most fertile periods as a means of controlling family size without using artificial birth control.

Much of the session was devoted to statements about how incredibly effective this method is. Which, ok, maybe, if you actually follow it. But the likelihood of anyone actually being able to follow it regularly enough to maintain a typical family size was undermined a bit by two facts: (1) Our NFP teacher was pregnant with her 7th child; and (2) A guy in our class mentioned that his parents had taught NFP. He later mentioned that he was one of 12 (!) children.

Monday, January 19, 2009


A couple of days ago, B. and I went to a store to set up a wedding registry. The saleswoman talked to us for about ten minutes about us, our wedding, and what household items we needed, taking notes during the conversation. When we left the store, she handed us a bunch of papers, most of which informed us of our need for several dozen types of obscure dishes and kitchen gadgets we had never heard of. Along with these, presumably by mistake, the saleswoman included the page with the notes she had taken on us:

Couple only has about an hour to spend in the store today. Couple is very artsy. [Panda] is a lawyer and [B.] is a data analyst. Couple does not need luggage. Couple has not registered anywhere else. Couple not needing formal dinnerware. Couple is very artsy.

"Artsy"? "Very artsy"? Artsy enough to mention it twice? We were mystified.