Happy Rants

This was more difficult than I thought, being of a somewhat cynical disposition, but after some effort and a few helpful suggestions by friends I have come up with a list of things that a) make me happy and b) are printable in a family-friendly publication.

New lunch line dividers in Spangler
Just like wheels on suitcases, the solution is so obvious you wonder why nobody thought of it before. No more will you wait in line for ten minutes only to find yourself neatly nudged out of the way by someone you thought was waiting for pasta. No longer will people with plates piled precariously high with salad have to navigate through lines of gossiping sushi-lovers to get to the soft drinks. Gone is the excruciating embarrassment of standing behind someone for five minutes before you realize they weren’t in line at all. All of these problems and more solved by some three foot high poles with extendable fabric strips between them. Innovation works, kids.

Where do I start? I’m starting to believe that Facebook may well be the most important invention since some caveman rubbed two sticks together and blessed the world with heat, light and medium-rare sirloin. I could probably write a full-length novel about how much I love Facebook, but for your sake (and the sake of the Professor who I am supposed to be writing a paper for right now) I’ll restrict myself to four of my favorite things about Facebook:

1. Hilarious groups such as ‘I secretly want to punch slow-walking people in the back of the head’, ‘I use my cell phone to see in the dark’ and a personal favorite: ‘Unintentionally humorous signs/ads/menu items’. The latter is a great way of wasting an hour and causing the people sat near you in the Grille to stare every time you laugh out loud at some picture of a mistranslated Chinese menu advertising ‘grilled foot of baby goat with smelly mushroom’.

2. Being able to announce to the world that you’re going to be in San Francisco for two days, and finding out that three friends you haven’t seen for ages are there too.

3. Scrabulous. The most fun you can have with someone across a computer link without going into a sketchy chatrooms or visiting one of the ‘adult islands’ on Second Life.

4. Poking on Facebook. Is it flirting? Is it just saying hi? How long is it appropriate to wait before poking back? How many people can you poke at once without starting to feel dirty? Is it OK to poke your friend’s girlfriend? If someone you don’t know pokes you, should you call the cops? What do you do if your ex-boyfriend pokes you? Poking on Facebook is like being back in high school and trying to work out if a cute guy fancies you by how many times he walks past your lunch table unnecessarily.

Truffle Oil
A small dribble of truffle oil can make pretty much anything taste fantastic: it transforms pasta, it is a key ingredient in my favorite wild mushroom risotto recipe and if you are feeling adventurous it works pretty well on pizza. Add a small amount to the oil you are roasting potatoes in and it enhances the entire meal. It works really well in rich meat stews and hotpots, which are perfect at this time of year, and is also great to toss through green beans or drizzle on top of creamy soups. Just having it in your kitchen gives the impression that you are a gourmet chef.

In addition, apparently the smell of truffles is an aphrodisiac so it could possibly be used as an emergency substitute for massage oil, if you were so inclined.

Britney Spears
For going above and beyond the call of duty in general amusement value and for allowing even the most alcoholic party girls among us to feel morally superior.

For providing living proof that looking extremely hot in a schoolgirl outfit and making middle-aged men across the world drool does not lead to a life of joy and happiness.

For helping US Weekly enlighten teenage girls everywhere that getting married while drunk in Vegas, driving with a baby on your lap and being photographed in a leopard print bikini are not advisable.

She also received a special commendation for giving her latest train-wreck of a single a name that rhymes with both ‘complete bore’ and ‘stupid whore’, allowing celebrity blog writers to make any number of cheap jokes at her expense.

My BlackBerry
I love it. It is sleek, shiny, has a bobble in the middle to play with and fits neatly into my back pocket. I can check email any time I want and write texts really quickly. It is my alarm clock, International Time Zone checker and calculator. It has GPS, Google maps, Facebook Mobile (see above) and BBC News Updates. Occasionally I even use it to make phonecalls.

I know that many people will disagree with me: there is a huge cohort of BlackBerry haters who see it as intrusive and antisocial. I have one retort to this: if I am checking my email while we are having dinner, it is because you are boring me. You are possibly less interesting than a piece of electronic equipment, and almost certainly less interesting than whatever Facebook notification I just received. You need to brush up on your conversational skills, not take it out on my handheld device.

Of course, I’d rather have an iPhone, but I’m making do for now.

The tagline for Martini used to be ‘Anytime. Anyplace. Anywhere’. Despite the dubious semantic distinction between ‘Anyplace’ and ‘Anywhere’, I applaud this sentiment wholeheartedly.

The perfect martini, in my humble opinion, is based on Tanqueray 10 or Plymouth gin, served straight up with one plain olive (not three, and certainly not one stuffed with blue cheese or anything disgusting like that). I can occasionally be persuaded to have a twist of lemon instead, and if my companion accidentally orders a vodka martini by mistake I will let it go. The martini should always be served ice cold, but never with chips of ice floating in it.

If I’m out with the girls then we will often drink what I like to call Silly Martinis: Saketini, Cosmotini, Appletini etc. These are invariably sickly sweet, brightly colored and will make any girl unused to hard liquor loudly and uninhibitedly drunk within ten minutes. This is, of course, the whole point of the exercise.
The best martinis are usually served in hotel bars: several of the bar staff at Noir at the Charles Hotel already have my preferences memorized and the bar at the Four Seasons in Boston also mixes well, although they will insist on giving me the two spare olives on the side.

I only know one man who can mix a perfect martini at home, and I am tempted to marry him.

My iPod Shuffle
It’s little. It’s pink and shiny. It clips on to my belt for easy accessibility. I accidentally skip songs or turn the volume up painfully loudly if I bump it on the edge of a desk. It has no battery level indicator and a mysterious set of coloured light signals that only Steve Jobs understands. I can only fit around 20% of my favourite songs on it at any one time and my charger cable has broken. I still love it. Did I mention that’s it’s pink and shiny?

As opposed to papers.

RCs, take note for next year: do not take more than one class with a paper, otherwise you will have no spare time, social life and possibly no sleep for the last two weeks of term. You may be dreading your finals now, but compared to trying to write twenty pages on the power dynamics of investment banking between 1am and 4pm the day it is due, four little hours doing a case write-up is a walk in the park.

Section J
At the risk of showing my sentimental side, my section definitely makes the list of Good Things. They both make me happy and annoy me (mainly with MSO polls), but over the last week or two there have been several examples of how we all look out for each other when life does those crazy things that it sometimes does.

Go Flying J.