Those Pheremones are Some Powerful Stuff

Deana and I met because we lived in the same college dorm. The TV room was near to my own room, so it was fairly easy to arrange an accidental meeting when she came down to watch. Turns out she liked Star Trek, so guess what… I like Star Trek, too! After a few days it turned into a thing. We’d meet after dinner in the TV room to watch Star Trek, flirt harmlessly, and be teenagers (She was a Good Girl so the hanky panky didn’t start until much later). As a side note, it’s funny to look back and see how chaste and reserved our coutship was. We’d chat and laugh and stare deeply into each other’s eyes… and then go separately back to our own rooms. We talked like Modern, Mature Adults but acted like Rob and Laura Petrie. It’s really just cute.

My recollection of those evenings is mostly about her, but I remember genuinely liking Star Trek as well. A bit over the top, sure, but all in good fun.

Anyway, fast forward twenty years and three kids. Upon seeing that G4 is running the old Star Treks, we decided to watch an episode for nostaliga’s sake. By coincidence, it was The City on the Edge of Forever. That’s one of the good ones, and it won various awards for writing. So we opened some wine and watched. You can’t go home again.

Wow, what a stinker. Community theater quality. The cast blame typecasting for carreer troubles, but I think that the truth both is sadder and simpler: later casting directors had seen the show. It’s really hard to believe that any of them ever worked again. Shatner has to be physically restrained from chewing on the sets. That famous, hazy Kirk-POV whenever he looks at a woman really just makes it seem like he needs glasses.

Seriously, it looks like a bad fan film. Did I really used to like this? I remember other things I liked back then, so the only conclusion I can come to is that the show has received a halo from it’s association with The Girl.

This is kind of the same experience I had watching some old home video taken when Deana was pregnant with our youngest. I took the videos, and I clearly remember thinking how great she looked that day. Curvy and ripe and appealing. Not only was she incredibly sexy, but pregnancy itself was magical. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised upon watching the videos to see that she looked about as sexy as a tug boat. Watching the video, with years separating me from her emotions and her powerful chemistry, I have the same reaction that I do when I see any hugely pregnant woman I’m not married to: I think, “Poor thing, that looks uncomfortable”. Pretty much the opposite of sexy.

Man, those pheremones are some powerful stuff.

Inspiring words from a man who knows how to ski

So the monkey has decided that he’s Korean.

Somewhere he got the idea that Korea is the place that monkeys come from, or at least it’s the place where he came from. This is not to say that he has any thoughts about Korean people one way or another (he’s not a racist, just a monkey), just that good ol’ Pan Troglodytes is asian.

That’s the best I’ve been able to puzzle out, anyway. When he gets drunk — which is more and more often lately — he’ll go over to the world map I have up in my office, point to Korea, and make the sign for “home”. At least I think that’s the sign he’s making. He kind of slurs his signing when he’s had a few drinks so it’s either “home” or “mailbox”. “Mailbox” makes even less sense, so I’m guessing that he thinks that Korea is home.

How he came to live with me is a story for another day, but for now just take my word that I wasn’t aware that Korea had played any part in his travels. I’m pretty sure that he was born in Nigeria (although at one point we were convinced that he was from Cameroon, so we’re not really 100% sure).

Whatever the reason, he’s completely focused on Korea lately and genuinely seems to be pining for the place. So to cheer him up, I’m taking him to there for a week in early June.

Don’t laugh. I can’t claim to understand what this Korea thing is all about, but it’s affecting his work. If a trip to Korea is what it takes to raise his spirits, then a trip to Korea he’ll get. Besides, he’s great to travel with. He’s small and strong, mixes a mean drink, and if you think that puppies get chicks then you’ve never seen my monkey in action. He’s a babe magnet. People take to him right away when we go out, and he’s he’s had all of his shots. When he bites, it almost never get infected.

Anyway, I don’t speak any Korean so I looked around for lessons that I could get online. I’ve spent a depressingly large fraction of my life in airports, and I’ve seen those stalls selling yellow boxes many times. The company that makes them is called “Rosetta Stone“, and I figure that if they’ve been around for that long selling such expensive software, they must be at least pretty good. Turns out that you can sign up for aceess to their lessons on a month-by-month basis, so I decided to give it a try.

The way that it works, for the early lessons at least, is that they show you a set of pictures and then play a recording of a native speaker saying some words that identify one of them (“the boy is under the table”, etc). You are supposed to pick the one that matches. It’s done entirely in the language you’re working on, and doesn’t have any explicit vocabulary or grammar lessons.

Sounds pretty cheesy, but so far it’s worked surprisingly well. I’m not going to pretend that I have learned Korean, but I do feel like I’ve learned more than I would have if I’d followed a more traditional approach. In the past I’ve studied French, Spanish, German, and Hebrew with varying degrees of success. I was reasonably fluent in French, but languages have always been extremely painful for me. This is the first time I’ve ever tried to learn one that wasn’t an exercise in frustration.

I’ll post an update to let you know how well I’m doing before my trip, but I’m optimistic.

PS – Twenty five points to the first person who can identify the quote that I used for the title. And yes, I’m keeping score.

PPS – Actually, I might not be so quick to say that he’s not a racist. He does seem to hate the Irish, and usually ends up doing something I have to apologize for on St. Patrick’s day.

UPDATE: andiscandis was first to identify “language lessons” as the connective tissue linking the title to the post. She not only earns the promised 25 points for this, but also an extra 5 for that thing that only she and I know about. This gives her a total of 30 points and places her solidly in the lead.

Ruby, Don’t Take Your Scrapbooks To Town

So Deana got a weekend pass. She went to a friend’s cabin with some of her girlfriends for a weekend of “catching up on their scrapbooking”.


I mean, that’s a pretense if ever I heard one. I fully expected her to come back with a case of hepatitis-B and a tattoo on her ass. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t encourage that sort of behavior and I wasn’t happy about it, but I love her and if she’s feeling squirrelly, well… I’ll be here when she gets back.

So I had the monkey make me a few pitchers of extra-strong mojitos, hid my tears, and told her to have fun.

Fast forward to Sunday night. What did she actually have when she came back? A big stack of completed scrapbook pages, the makings of a braided rug, and some other crafty crap. Not a single tale of lingerie pillow fights, no bruises, not even a hangover.

I saw the stuff she left with. It was… the raw materials for the stuff she came back with. Unless there’s a service doing crafts for women who want a cover story (hey wait, that’s a good idea), she really spent the weekend, I can barely bring myself to think it, working on crafts.

When did we get so old?