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Archive for the ‘shameless self-promotion’ Category

NTKOG #113: The kind of deeply altruistic girl who floods the streets with her tears for orphans, kittens, orphaned kittens, etc., then writes checks to ballast her compassion.

I am: too broke to make more than one or two carefully considered contributions a year.

I am not: virtuous enough to make the sacrifices that would allow me to give more. Regret to inform, I’m more or less pulling a solid B+/A- in “being a basically good human being”.

The Scene: The little town square across the street from my work in the pouring rain last Wednesday. Weather forecasters had called for several inches of snow (never showed up) and we were all grimly excited about the blizzard; no greeting was complete without a “whew, it’s going to be a rough one”.

As I walked past, a Save The Children volunteer beckoned me near. His hair and beard were already plastered down to his face. I started my standard response: “I admire what you’re doing, but I’m just really broke,” and the guy smiled at me like I’d just bought his mom a new car.

“Don’t worry about it!” he grinned. “I don’t need money. Just thirty seconds of your time.” When you look at the words they seem banal, but his face was limpid and radiant — even as water flumed down the side of his nostrils he remained serene as a mountain, transparent and bottomless as a freshwater pool. Even his face moving to form words looked like nothing more than the wind rippling sweet meadow grasses. Real Pocahontas-style voodoo shit, is what I’m saying, and I knew immediately that he was deeply religious but one of those dudes who never brings it up unless you ask and doesn’t think you’re going to hell, not even if you have sex with robots and punch foreign dignitaries.

He gave me a lightning-round history of Save The Children, talked about their low corporate overhead, showed me pictures of some kids in the Congo, then checked his watch. Exactly thirty seconds.

“Dude,” I smiled at him. “I’ll bet people are awful to you sometimes, aren’t they? I always see people shouting, ‘Save the children? I want to eat the children!’ and stuff like that.”

“Oh, I love those people!” he grinned with genuine enthusiasm. “When they tell me they want to eat the children, I ask them to come over and swap recipes with me. When they tell me they hate the children, I say I’ll sell them a black market slave child! You just can’t take yourself too seriously. I love those people.”

I don’t know what happened but somehow, magically, my Visa was in my hands. As the man took my information, he told me about atrocities in the Congo and what the program’s money was doing. And, I dunno, a particle of dust must have wormed its way in or something, ’cause my eyes started to emit a transparent salty liquid.

After he handed me back my form and card, and had thanked me a few times, I took one last look at his drenched skin and clothes. Really sucks having to be out in this weather all day, I told him — and what about when the blizzard hits?

“Oh, we’re not supposed to be out here today. The company is closed. But I woke up excited this morning. I knew I had to come out here no matter how bad the weather was, just in case someone needed to hear what I had to say.”

Oh jesus. My eyes. They’re malfunctioning.

The Verdict: Made a one-time donation and have vowed to myself that if my temp job becomes permanent, I’ll set up a recurring monthly payment. Pretty psyched about the research I’ve done about this particular organization. That said, I take absolutely zero credit for pretending to be a good person on this one. This guy was a thinly disguised angel in Converse, and the next time I see him out there, I’m bringing him a cup of coffee to thank him for helping me keep my faith in people. And to warm him up ’cause, dude, it is cold out there to have a canvassing job.

This post too chipper for you? I know! Vom! Balance it out by checking out Secret Society of List Addicts and reading my list of phrases I would be perfectly okay never hearing again (and will punch you repeatedly if you say to me).

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Guys, thank you so much for enthusiastically entering my giveaway! I was completely overwhelmed by the number of responses! I truly appreciated all the comments, and am working my way both through the songs (some awesome ones so far!) and checking out all of your blogs that aren’t on my Google Reader yet. It’s slow going because my current work computer neither works nor computes, but I’ll get there!

Anyway, that’s not what you came here to see! After a few hours of Excel spreadsheet torture, I asked random.org to pick an iPod winner. The magic of randomness chose:

Sorry I didn't capitalize your names! I feel like that was kind of disrespectful! But a time-saver!

Reading through the comments and typing in 519 entries gave me plenty of time to listen to your music recommendations. Currently stuck in my head: "Canadian, Please." YouTube that magic in honor of the olympics, dudes!

Congratulations to Kelly L of [Insert Clever Title Here]! Enjoy your bright red, 8 gig, slightly late valentine! And thanks to everyone else for entering!

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GUYS! It has already been established that I am unambiguously the worst dancer in the continental United States. Here’s where you profit from it.

NTKOG #102: The kind of loyal blogger who is so appreciative of her (badass) readers that she showers them in gifts beyond her means.

I am: broke.

I am not: above peddling my physical charms (ha!) for the masses to earn said gifts.

The Scene: Agganis Arena, Friday night, watching the Terriers men’s hockey team facecrush UMass. Near the end of the second interval, my favorite moment of the games: the dance-off for an iPod! I won one of these with my STELLAR flailings a few months back, during a not-so-packed basketball game, and — though this is totally pathetic to admit — I was hungry for another victory.

I will not confirm that I practiced my most horrifying dance moves before the match, nor that I donned my trusty fedora for extra stand-out effect. And any rumors that I deliberately sneaked into a less populated area of the stands so the camera would have an easier time finding me? Are vulgar. And, um, accurate.

I danced my spastic heart out and the camera found me right away — not that I knew because I was watching the jumbotron, oh no, I could just hear the difference in the crowd the moment I popped up on the screen.

The biggest proof that I truly am the worst dancer in the world? Not that the whole student section was on their feet shrieking and guffawing for my dancing skills — not that the camera shook from the cameraman’s laughter — not that the universe has given me not one but two iPods just to stop me from dancing. The real proof is that none of this surprises me.

I don’t know if 5,361 people have ever laughed at you — at you — while you just kept rocking your middle-schooler heart out, but I was doing it for you, guys. I was doing it for you.

HOW TO WIN A FRIGGIN’ iPOD NANO

Details: Brand new red 8gig iPod Nano — one of the sexy new ones with the big screens; gets radio and shoots video as well. Comes with earbuds and USB 2.0 cable. Although, full disclosure, BC alumni: it does have “Go Terriers! http://www.agganisarena.com” engraved on the back. But, dude, free iPod. Just pop for a cover if it bugs you.

How To Get Entries: For the sake of my Excel headache, please leave a separate comment for each entry type. And make sure all comments have a valid email address attached so I can get in touch with you if you win. Giveaway open to international readers as well (let’s be pen pals! mail me foreign candy!).

One Entry: Leave a comment telling me a song I should download on my own (very old) iPod.

Two Entries: Follow me in your RSS reader, then comment to let me know. If you were already following me, just comment to let me know that as well!

Two Entries: Tweet a link to this giveaway, then comment here with the URL. Maybe something along the lines of: “Win a friggin’ 8gig iPod Nano from @WhatKindOfGirl. Dude, how are you not clicking this link aready?! http://notthatkindofgirl.net”. Or, y’know, a less Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phrasing…

Three Entries: Become a fan of my blog on Facebook by clicking here and hitting subscribe. Comment here to let me know you did it.

Five Entries: Blog about this giveaway, then comment here with the URL. (And total bonus point if the entry includes an awesome pic of you too being a terrible dancer.)

Giveaway ends at NOON on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 12!

That way, you can get your cute red iPod in the mail right after the Valentine’s Day chocolate high wears off. So spread the word! Tell your friends and fam! I’ll be busy updating my resume to include “two-time award-winning dancer”…

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I am honored today to present a guest post by the inimitable Sarah Von of yes and yes. If you don’t already read her site, you absolutely must check it out: she’s one of those gutsy, inspiring total badasses who we all dream of being, and every time I read a post, I leave absolutely grinning (even on these blah rainy New England days). Check out Sarah’s NTKOG experiment in my hometown — it’ll leave you shooting your beverage (not rancid fruity vodka, I hope) out your nose.

Also, if you’re craving a little TKOG, today I’m posting at Secret Society of List Addicts (another of Sarah’s projects!) about how to put down the wine spritzer and shake up cocktails like a big boy or girl.

NTKOG: who enjoys a) fruit flavored liquor b) attracting the attention of everyone in the bar

I am: the girl who frequents tiny, hole-in-the-wall bars where I can be ignored while I nurse my vodka gimlet, thankyouverymuch.

I am not: a fan of theme bars, sports bars, watching alcohol-related spectacles or being a spectacle myself.

The Scene: The BFF and I were in Las Vegas, escaping the icy clutches of winter for a three-day weekend, eating our weight in buffets and attending ridiculous, vampire-themed Vegas shows.  We had grand plans to meet up with an old friend from our hometown who’d been living in Vegas for nearly ten years. “Where would you like to meet, old friend?  What sort of awesome, locals-only watering hole would you suggest?”  “Why, how about this quaint little place called Kahunaville?” he responded.

Now, it is not a stretch to say that Kahunaville?  It was probably my arch-nemesis bar.  I could not have created, from scratch, a bar that appalled me more.  It was as though someone had reached into my brain and read my list of Things That I Never, Ever Want to See in a Bar.  Things like:
1) Flat screen TVs broadcasting a football game
2) Waitresses wearing skimpy Hawaiian outfits, handing out flower necklaces, asking if you want to get ‘lei-d’
3) Incredibly loud techno music
4) Drinks that stream/explode/are served with fifteen toys/flowers/straws in them.

Yes, I am actually 65 years old on the inside, in case you were wondering.  If you want me, I’ll just be over here muttering about those damn kids having too much fun with their skinny jeans and flavored beers.

While we waited for our friend to join us, the BFF  and I tried to yell a conversation at each other over the sounds of Akon and she picked an umbrella, two test tubes, a fake starfish and a skewer of fruit out of her drink.  But then?  Things got interesting.

In an attempt to make Kahunaville even more entertaining, apparently the management employs trick bartenders.  And apparently the half-time of the football game was performance time.  Just as we were settling into our $15 cocktails, an announcer came striding through the bar, with a microphone instructing us to “Get the F*ck up!  I want to hear you scream!”

With that statement sir,  you have now just guaranteed that I will sit here silently glaring.

As we watched, each of the bartenders on the three sides of the bar put a whistle in their mouths and began one of those Cocktail-caliber drink mixing routines.  Juggling mixers!  Catching the mixer on top of the vodka bottle!  Throwing cherries into the air and catching them on toothpick in their mouths!  All of this was accompanied by a promotional video about each other bartenders tauting their wins at various ‘flair competitions’ and previous occupations (Our guy was a former Chip n Dale’s dancer)

To be totally honest, it was pretty impressive, but once the announcer encouraged us stand on the tables and scream for free shots, I decided to clap sedately in my seat.  Because I’m an a-hole like that.

But as luck would have it, our side of the bar apparently won the hollering contest because, before you could say “pink favored vodka,” Steve “Big Show” Shrearer was standing on the bar handing out shots.  By this time, I had approached the bar out of pure curiosity.  I backed away from the bar as the free shots were coming around and was internally grateful when he ran out.

But as I turned around to head back to the table, the BFF shook her head at me, grinning and pointing back at the bar.  I spun around, with what I’m sure was a look of total horror on my face to see Mr. Big Show, astride the bar.  He was staring me down and doing his best former-stripper finger-curling, come-hither gesture, and pointing at his mix bottle and then at me.

I would be lying if I did not say that I wanted to immediately turn on my heal, walk to the bathroom and hide out there for the next twenty minutes.  But I honestly channeled a bit of our girl NTKOG and thought “Von Bargen, you get outside your comfort zone.  You go up there and let that man pour fruit flavored alcohol down your throat while everyone cheers.”

So I did.  I stood next to the bar while a man nicknamed ‘Big Show’ stood five feet above me and poured pink alcohol down my gullet. All the people standing on their tables whooped, I successfully avoided coughing, choking or melting into the floor with embarrassment.  Then I walked back to our table, licked off that tiny umbrella and drank two test tubes full of vodka.

The Verdict: I didn’t die – of embarrassment or alcohol poisoning. I’m glad I bucked up and tried something new, but at the end of the day, I’m just more of a corner-booth, nurse-my-whiskey Kind of Girl.  I think this is a situation where what happens in Vegas, truly stays in Vegas.  Unless you write about it on the internet, I guess.

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GUYS! Today I have a guest post up at sandyb’s blog! Sandy is, like me, a woman on a self-improvement mission: she has a list of goals to accomplish before she turns 30 this August (and she’s a fantastic writer to boot!). She asked me to make my own list and — look, guys, it isn’t pretty — I may or may not have stripped down my defenses and admitted a few goals that I had been afraid even to voice to myself. So. You can read it, but you can’t make fun of me afterwards, okay?

NTKOG #98: The kind of ethically ambiguous social butterfly who doesn’t let a bouncer, cover charge or guest list get in the way of her attending a private event.

I am: completely happy curled up in bed watching House; if I have to go somewhere, fine, but I’m not going to go out of my way to bust in.

I am not: subtle enough to pull off insinuating myself into upscale private fetes.

The Scene: BU Alumni Winterfest, late afternoon, a wine and chocolate tasting that has been sold out for weeks. WINE, guys. And CHOCOLATE. Finances, ethics and doorcheck mortification be damned. After a long afternoon in the biting Massachusetts weather, I imagined myself creeping in like a saintly orphan from a Victorian children’s novel, begging an elegiac old chocolatier named Jacque to spare me a single truffle, hand-dipped in finest chocolate and dusted with desiccated fairy wings. Later, he would adopt me and, after a few endearing mishaps, I would teach him to once again let love into his heart.

Uh, the point is, I was craving some chocolate. Apparently to the point of delusion.

Sister, Hot Hands and I, along with a few other people, headed down to the event room, the door of which was — curses! — flanked with event organizers toting color-coded guest lists. Our group split into small factions to test the waters, but when a girl asked if there was any chance of coming in or buying a ticket at the door, she was immediately rebuffed.

“These tickets have been sold out all week,” a gentleman who was, honestly, too old to be wearing a lanyard grimaced down at his clipboard. “Try again next year.”

While Sister discussed our options with her group of friends, I boosted her wallet from her purse and stole two dollars. I was halfway to the clipboard crew when Sister grabbed my elbow.

“No! No! Whatever you’re doing, you need to stop it. You’re going to get us kicked out!” she blurted, restraining me with one hand.

“Dude, I’m not trying to bribe my way in. I’m not an idiot. I had a really good plan.” She furrowed her eyebrows in disbelief. “See, if I can’t get in, I thought I could get chocolate out. Hey, clipboard lady, George Washington and his twin here want to know if you can liberate a few truffles. See?! Not embarrassing at all!”

Fortunately for me, Sister was too busy fussing over her ransacked wallet to punch me; unfortunately, she wasn’t so busy that she loosened her deathgrip on my sleeve.

“I guess we could try the back door,” shrugged one of the girls we came downstairs with. “Maybe someone will open it when they leave.” An apathetic grumble went up from the group, ’cause surely an event with such rigorous chocolate policing would think to post a sentry at all exits — surely the door would be locked — surely … shit, we were in. That was easy.

Anti-climactically easy, in fact. Sister refused to enter, citing some sort of alleged principles, but Hot Hands and I barged back in and bee-lined for the chocolate tables. Which were, honestly, disappointing. Not one single sea-salt truffle, hand-dipped by my fantasy Jacque du Chocolat; no edible gold or decorative piping; there wasn’t even that much chocolate. To wit: small vats of irregular chunks of broken Lindt bars in various cacao denominations. Hot Hands and I gamely conducted a blind taste-test to see which of the four percentages of dark chocolate we liked the best (50% dark was the mutual selection), knocked back two Dixie cups of wine (“The bouquet is so — uh — fruity? Look, do you know anything about wine?” “Nope. It just tastes like wine to me.” “Me too!”), and sneaked out as inauspiciously as we had entered.

The Verdict: Huh, turns out that the Little Rascals trick of loitering by the exit is more than just a vaudeville trope. I kind of want to try this in other venues now, like concert halls or — more likely, considering the level of intrigue in my daily life — to sneak into Trader Joe’s after they’ve stopped letting in new customers for the evening. On the whole, though, the event wasn’t worth all the excitement and subterfuge of our entrance; I wouldn’t have been psyched if I’d had to pay the $10 cover charge. So, moral of the story? Next time I’m on the fence about an event with a cover charge, I might try this again, if only because it adds a flavor of adventure to even the most routine proceedings.

Also, must use the George Washington’s twin brother bribery line somewhere, if only to spark a debate over GW’s family tree.

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You guys! Because I am the most negligent blogger I know, I’ve committed a terrible faux pas and let a bit of housework pile up: A few amazingly awesome bloggers have nominated me for those ubiquitous blog awards, and I been a TERRIBLE OAF and not given proper credit where credit is due! So, thanks to:

Elliott of Cheesehead Displacement Syndrome, whose movie quote Mondays are always way too hard for me to guess, but whose Fun Fact Fridays I always look forward to. Like this one about the G Spot, which had me giggling at work.

Thanks to Tara at Wife of a Newly Wife, who’s basically so adorable I want to hug her and whose monthly anniversary posts about her (five-month-ago!) wedding are too cute to miss.

Thanks also to Dating Is My Hobby, whose thoughtful and “omg so true!” posts are a must-read for any other single girls!

Thanks to Sada at 30 is the new 13, about whom I can only say: even when there are 500 unread entries in my Google Reader, I still scroll the sidebar specifically to check whether one of those unread entries is from her. If so? It totes jumps the queue.

Callie at The Secret to Success, on whose archives I’m very happily binging even now.

Ali at My Travel Rambling, whose gorgeous photography and lush descriptions give this happy Bostonian a big ol’ case of wanderlust!

Okay, guys, not going to lie: these blogging awards all come with stipulations to name ten things that make you happy or seven dwarfs that signify  life fulfillment or your fifteen favorite consequences of the fall of the Ottoman Empire — whatever — as well as the requirement to re-tag a few bloggers. But since the format of my site makes reposting blog awards awkward (not that I don’t love receiving them! Hint?), I don’t want to bore you with a million lists.

A compromise: I’ve finally stopped being a total beast and updated my blogroll, on the bottom of my right sidebar. Go check out all those blogs (as well as the ones that awarded me!). Seriously. And you can go ahead and take that as a sign that I’ve tagged you, because obviously I adore you.

Okay, really can’t make up your mind? Blogs that I’ve discovered since the last time I awarded and are most on my mind right now: Nostomanic (Amber, I basically consider this post a let’s-be-besties proposal, dude); Restaurant Refugee (this post is the one that sealed the deal); Hyperbole and a Half (does everyone already read this? I’ll never think of “Apologize” the same way again).

Happy Sunday, dudes. Now I’m off to ride the T with no pants on.

[Edit: Oh my gosh, I am QUADRUPLE OAF WITH A DOUBLE SIDE OF BEASTLY! I completely forgot to thank Sadako at Dibbly Fresh for the Beautiful Blogger Award! This is doubly offensive as I spent much of Sunday going through her archives in honor of her one-year blogiversary! Click that link to see her own top ten posts, and might I add this one on iconoclastic chicks of ’90s pop culture!)

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NTKOG #79: The kind of girl who, instead of just speculating on the personal lives of strangers like a normal person, strides up and DEMANDS CONFIRMATION afterwards!

I am: constantly making predictions about the lives of strangers based on small quirks of their behavior, then narrating the whole thing into a mental novel (she noted wryly, tilting her fedora to cover the steely glint of her keen eyes).

I am not: actually that great at interpreting the behavior of others, it transpires.

The Scene: Last weekend at an adults-only bowling alley/bar in Dedham, on a ladies’ night with Sister, Irish Broad and Snowflake to celebrate the fourth anniversary of Snowflake’s 26th birthday. The wait for a lane is about three hours, so even after we’ve thrown back a few drinks and enjoyed surprisingly gourmet appetizers, we find ourselves lulled into silent people watching.

The majority of the bar is filled with clusters of Lady Gaga-lovin’ woo girls, all leaning a little too long over the shared scorpion bowls, their brassy roots glinting in the light. Among all the youthful revelry, though, one couple stands out: a man and woman, maybe late ’20s. She is short and a little chubby, with long, wildly unkempt hair and the perpetual half-snarl of a girl who has had to learn how to be funny; he is medium height, trim, wearing an expensive but ill-fitting sweater and swirling his chair in wide arcs. They are waiting for their check, and she takes out her credit card and taps it along to the beat of the song blaring in the background. They do not talk or even make eye contact.

Snowflake: Think that’s a first date?
Irish Broad: It has to be. They obviously don’t like each other.
TKOG: But if they were a couple who hated each other, they’d be touching.
Snowflake: But she’s paying!
TKOG: Guys. Let’s find out.

The idea of approaching someone in public to confirm predictions I’d made about them I’ll admit I totally stole from an amusing story on Blonde Monde. Just to up the awk, I drilled the table for a few more predictions. We decided that the couple had met online, and that he was a first-year law student.

The couple was so wrapped up in ignoring each other that it took them almost ten seconds to notice when i stopped at their table; she was still click-clacking her card on the table, while he swirled to look anywhere but at her.

TKOG: Excuse me, this is awkward, but I have a question for you guys.
Angry-Looking Maybe-Dater: What is it?
TKOG: Are you two on a first date?

The pair looked at each other and, for the first time in the twenty minutes we’d been watching, laughed. Like, threw back their heads and guffawed.

ALMD: Absolutely not! We’re friends. We’re ooooold friends.
TKOG: So I suppose you didn’t meet online?
ALMD: We met in college, like twelve years ago.
TKOG: And you’re not a first-year law student, are you?
Swivel Chair Speedracer: I’m a reporter.

I fought my impulse to ask if he needed a secretary, and made my way back to the table. After a moment, the girl leaned over and asked the guy, loudly: “Do we really look that awkward?!”

Yeah, I wanted to say, you totally do. And — spoiler alert — I still think it has something to do with the fact that you don’t like each other! But that, like so many other things, is none of my business.

The Verdict: Dude, this was so much more fun than it was awkward or embarrassing! I don’t think it’s going to go in my daily social-skills repertoire, but next time I’m lookin’ at a dude and really going to die if I don’t find out right then whether he’s a socialist horse jockey, I’m just going to do it. It might end up being a great conversation starter anyway!

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