Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In which I rant

I have been keeping a big secret from everyone.  I have been trying to pretend that everything is ok, and that I am normal, like everyone else, but it's not true.

I have to be honest, and I hope you will still love me even when you find this out:


I can barely use any of the following:

My iPhone

My MacBook

The Internet

Dental floss 
(seriously, once the dental hygienist asked me to show her how I floss, I did, and then she was all "huh-uh" and I still don't know what I was doing wrong.  Hope I can figure out how to work dentures).

I do, however, know how to work my DVR.  Can't miss an episode of House.

This is really an embarrassing situation, mostly because I feel like everyone else knows all these things and that I have somehow been left in the dark.  It is as if everyone is walking around knowing how to use the newest applications, and I'm still trying to figure out how to download a damn photo.  

I was at a seminar recently where they said the Gen Xers are sort of caught in the middle - that Baby Boomers don't have to know how to use the newest technology, and Millennials have grown up using computers and email and video games.  Gen Xers feel like they should know how to use computers with ease, but they often don't and instead try to fake it.  This is my life.

I recently purchased this MacBook and I really like it.  But I have learned the three things I know about computers on an IBM and not all of that transfers to Apple.  I try to figure it out, I really do, but how are you supposed to do anything when you CAN'T RIGHT CLICK?  Seriously, right click is my go-to command, and I can't do anything without it.  Combine this with the fact that Blogger is all stupid and won't let me drag photos into my posts makes my blogging life generally miserable.  

I think I am beginning to have paranoid delusions that all technology is plotting to TORTURE me.

I'll bet if I set my alarm for 3 am I will wake up to find my laptop, phone and wine opener sitting around laughing and drinking my Grey Goose, the dental floss smirking quietly and smoking a cigarette (not one of mine - I don't smoke - but that wine opener has a death wish). The ziplock on the bag of gluten free tortillas probably brings the snacks.

I suppose that I could have worse problems than modern technology.  At least I am not waiting for the wagon to come with that big block of ice so I can be free from the worry of ptomaine poisoning.  I guess I'd rather have to figure out how to hook up the printer than have to type on carbon paper.  I'd probably never pay a bill on time if I actually had to put it in the mail, rather than paying on line.  

If only they would make a computer that could floss my teeth.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In which I give you my final words of wisdom

It is my understanding that the world might end tomorrow.  Actually, the world could end anytime, with or without notice, but tomorrow might seriously be it.  We may actually get sucked away by a black hole.

So it is my intention to address the burning questions you might have before we all go to the great beyond.  Questions like, what is the meaning of life?  What is our purpose here?  Why do both good and evil have to exist?  How can I get rid of this bunion?  

Unfortunately, I don't know the answer to any of those questions, so let's talk about nachos instead.  Having grown up in Texas and New Mexico made me an authority, nay, an expert on Mexican food and anything pretending to be a variation of Mexican food.  Seriously, the FBI could call me in as an expert witness in a Tex-Mex vs. California Mexican food showdown.  I can tell you exactly what's in that guacamole.  I will make a mean chili con queso any day of the week.  And I know nachos.  Boy, do I know nachos.

Now to me, nachos are what my mom used to make for Superbowl parties, or when my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Kathy came over.  Top plain old tortilla chips with real cheddar cheese and one pickled jalapeno slice on each chip, then you slip them in the oven till the cheese melts.  They were NOT those awful things you get at the movies or the high school football concession stand. 

Generally, if you order nachos at a restaurant in the United States, they come with sour cream and guacamole and pico de gallo and beans or some combination thereof.  If you order them in Iceland, this is what you get:

The nachos above were found in Akureyri, the second largest city in Iceland.  They were described on the menu as being corn chips served with cheese and salsa sause (sic).  I had to try them.  Can you see the dusting of red powder on the chips?  Those are Nacho Cheese Doritos, my friends.  Nacho Cheese Doritos with Icelandic football stadium sause and flavorless salsa. 

Oh, don't think for a second that I didn't eat them. 

But I figured surely that would be it - nachos, as it were, only in the densely populated, often visited cities.  

I was wrong.  On our long driving day from Akureyri to Skaftafell National Park (which I haven't written about yet, don't even try to look for it), we stopped in Egilsstadir for lunch and guess what was on the menu? 

These were at least a little closer to the real thing.  I think they used regular Doritos instead of the Nacho Cheese, which was quite an improvement.  See the melted cheese on top?  Yes!  That's the way to do it - real cheese that you melt, rather than a gloppy glob of orangey chemicals.  Underneath - salsa and fresh vegetables.  Interesting, I thought - and I liked the veggies.  I think it was carrots and zucchini, but who cares, with all that cheese?

I planned then to try and find them in the next town, but to no avail.  Honestly, that was probably in everyone's best interests, seeing as how the rental car was pretty small and, well, you know what happens when you eat too much Mexican.  

So, now you know all about Icelandic nachos.  Aren't you glad you learned that before you get swallowed by a man made black hole?  If we do ever get devoured by a black hole, I hope I am in my mama's kitchen, devouring a tray of her nachos.

Monday, September 1, 2008

In which I figure out how to post the rest of the photos that I wanted to post in the last post

If you squint really hard, you can see a puffin.  It's there, I promise.

Me at the Arctic Circle.  

On the way back to the mainland.

In which I lose my breakfast and all sense of dignity

Oh, the day was filled with so much promise.  Clay and I were on our way to the isle of Grimsey,north of Iceland, which is crossed by the Arctic Circle.  This was my idea, because I wanted to be able to go to the Arctic Circle simply so I could lord it over others who hadn't been there. Because not that many people have. I have been to the Arctic Circle, HAVE YOU? 

Honestly, no one seems terribly impressed.

We got up super early and went to breakfast in the hotel, where Clay ran into Ruth from Iowa.  The elevator opened and out stepped Ruth from Iowa and her husband Bill, causing Clay to exclaim "Ruth from Iowa!"  He proceeded to chat with her and Bill as I tried to hold the elevator door open.  My bag got caught and I nearly lost an arm as I wrestled with the door, but old friends Ruth from Iowa and Clay were barely disturbed by this.  Except they weren't old friends.  Clay just happened to read her tour group distributed name tag out loud instead of in his head and was therefore forced to chat with her while I was nearly digested by an Icelandic elevator.  We eventually made it safely back to our room, sans Ruth from Iowa and Bill, of course, where we busted out the Dramamine for Clay.  I had purchased it before we left New York, because he told me he got seasick and had been the last time he was on a ferry.  

"I never get seasick," I bragged, "I only get a little dizzy, but I've never thrown up."  However, Clay's tales of vomit made me decide to take a pill just in case.  The last boat I was on was the ferry to Catalina, and that was in Southern California, not the North Sea.  I thought it best to be as prepared as possible, and it made me feel good to head off any possibility of throwing up.  

We found the ferry docked in Dalvik, which is on Eyjafjordur in the northern part of the country, parked the car and made our way on the boat. Soon as we got going, Clay and I went on deck to take pictures of the beautiful fjord and the mountains surrounding it.  

Oh, hey look!  Those clouds.  They were the precursor to the storm that decided to move south as we traveled north.  Clay and I were sitting in the cabin and I could see the increasingly rough seas were starting to make him feel bad.  Thank goodness I took that Dramamine, I thought, because I feel ok.  But poor Clay.  And then I got sympathy nausea for him.  Only it wasn't sympathetic so much as it was the real thing.  I decided I might feel better if I went to the restroom in the bottom of the boat, which was being rocked by waves.  I was so off balance I could barely stand up.  I went back to my seat and leaned over to Clay.  "I think maybe I should take another pill.  Do you have them with you?"  "Let me look," he moaned.  "No," came the answer.  "I left them in my suitcase."  Bad news indeed.  

Seconds later, I was puking into a trash can I had spotted earlier.  "I never get seasick; I never throw up" my own memory mocked me.  The woman who had checked us in on the boat appeared and offered me a bag and some paper towels.  Then she offered to take me out on deck.  "Let her help you, Liz," Clay whimpered, "because I can't."  She put me in a deck chair facing backwards and brought me a blanket.  I felt so humiliated throwing up in front of all of those people. I bet Ruth from Iowa wouldn't have been sick. Everyone else seemed fine.  Until I started looking around.  I thought the gentleman standing next to the railing was enjoying the view, then I saw him lean over the side and let loose.  A couple came outside holding the same little white bags the woman had offered me and sat on a bench looking utterly miserable.  I took a nap.  

Once we landed, of course, everyone was fine.  Clay and I started up the walk to the Arctic Circle.  The island was cold and wet, but still beautiful, filled with puffins and arctic terns.  I'd post a picture of them, but Blogger won't let me (0r, I don't know how to work Blogger is a more likely explanation).  We made it to the Arctic Circle and took photos next to something that looked like a burial mound, then headed back down the island to find some lunch.  

After lunch we found Icelandic candy, bought more seasick pills, mailed some postcards and then reluctantly returned to the boat.  As we boarded, Clay told the nice lady with the little white bags that he wanted us to take the smooth route back.  She laughed and agreed.

The trip back was beautiful - the storm was long gone, the sea was calm and the sun was bright.  I saw dolphins swimming alongside the boat.  It was so amazing that I leaned my head on the seat in front of me and fell asleep. We made it back to Dalvik and then Akureyri without incident.  Next time, I think I'll go by plane.