What this is all about...

A quarter life crisis is a real thing. I know this because myself, and my best girlfriends, are going through it right now. This blog is dedicated to the day to day banalities/craziness of those quarter life crises. For those of you with questions, the qlc is when you realize that you have to be Responsible. It is when the job you accept is the beginning of a Career Path. It is when the guy/girl you date might be The One. It is when you get pushed out of the nest and you have to flap your wings enough to cushion the fall. Perhaps your thirties are when you get to fly?
The question isn't who is going to let me; 
it's who is going to stop me.
-Ayn Rand

Friday, February 25, 2011

Guest Post

The Road Best Taken
By Jacob

I'd hate to be a self-defeatist or pessimist, but for whatever reason, I am faced with this question a lot:  How much is too much to fight for the affection of the opposite gender?  Is the only love worthwhile that which is almost instantly returned?  Do the ends justify the means?  That is to say, if it takes three months for your actual soul mate to realize that fact, are those twelve weeks of effort really a problem at all?  Picture the classic fork in the road, except both paths are dark and have spooky vegetation.

There are two opposing trains of thought in this discussion.  One is a more aggressive, independent, and self-confident 'take me or leave me' attitude.  We’ll call this the Me Approach.  The focus of this philosophy is on Me; my personal satisfaction and pride, and it definitely has its merits.  Why fight through thorns and treacherous ground for someone who isn't putting in the same effort?  The case could be made that the only people worthwhile in your life, romantically or otherwise, are those that are as equally interested in earning your trust and respect.  Trying too hard to earn someone's affection is considered demeaning, demoralizing, and disrespectful of your own self-worth.

The other approach, seemingly more romantic, says that love is worth fighting for.  This one we’ll call the Us Approach. This premise is based on the rationale that there is a more than reasonable chance that there is an eventual Us to be had, given that one doesn’t give up the fight.  This idea has made its way into movies and literature for centuries.  Boy meets Girl.  Girl dismisses Boy because of a perceived shortcoming.  Boy tirelessly charms, schemes, and bares all for Girl.  Girl slowly realizes Boy's allure.  Lo and behold, at minute 75 or page 237 (of 260), Girl falls in love with Boy.  And in spite of, or because of, the very act of his fighting for her despite her misgivings, they do indeed live happily ever after.  Most importantly, they are better off for his struggles.  As long as we're talking about a reasonable Boy taking reasonable action, and not pressing on despite frequent and intense law enforcement involvement, this is a perfectly viable option.

I cannot decide for the life of me which of these approaches is the best.  As in most everything in life, a little bit of both is probably in order.  Unfortunately, these two approaches are almost mutually exclusive.  Why?  Let's compose a scenario.  Through whatever means, a bar, a dating site, mutual friends, Boy meets Girl and they have a First Date (duh duh duhhhhh).  It goes reasonably well.  Girl doesn't want to throw her martini in Boy's face, but neither is she head over heels in anticipation of their next encounter.  Seeing that this is the modern world, Boy texts Girl random chatter occasionally.  Girl isn’t first to initiate the conversation, she is not especially verbose, but she always responds.  There’s even the occasional lol or :) thrown in and come on, that’s got to mean something right?  Lets state an assumption that she is coy at best, indifferent at worst.  It's a tossup for Boy, does he forge ahead or find the next Girl?

This is where we realize that these two viewpoints are hard to hold equally.  Asking Girl on a second date after she hasn't made her own attempts at flirtation breaks Rule #1 of the Me Approach.  She hasn't made any effort?  Well, goddammit, I'm not going to either.  Why exert any further effort when there are plenty of other fish in the sea?  But this is rule #1 of the Us Approach.  I am interested in this girl and, goddammit, I am going to do this!  A second date could work, it’s not like she's actively rejecting my presence, she's just not wildly in love and that is fine for now.

Impasse.  In retrospect it’s easy to see that each of these approaches has worked for hundreds of thousands of Boys and Girls over the years.  Meet any amount of couples at a gathering and you can hear both versions: the I Just Knew He Was the One story and the Listen to What He Did When We Were Dating story.  They've also failed plenty of suitors of either gender.  While we can imagine the lost possibilities of quitting too soon, we can actually see the futile efforts of an unrequited lover.  It's unfortunate that foresight will never be as good as hindsight because a huge leap of faith is necessary, regardless of which dark and spooky path you take at the dating fork.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"Prayin" - new song to check out

Definitely not for you techno types, but for those of you who want some lazy rainy day music, here's a great new song from my friend Charlie:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of Paige’s favorite holiday, I’ve decided to dedicate this post to one of my favorite successful relationships. I think everyone has that friend who is part of the perfect couple. For me, it’s Isabella. Her relationship gives me hope, and her stories make me smile. I can’t even be jealous because they are so freaking cute together. For all those single girls out there, or anyone who wants to hear a love story, read on….

Once upon a time there was a sweet princess named Isabella. She lived in a castle with her parents and little sister, and sometimes worked in the town market. She loved animals and even graduated from college with a degree in Zoology! But then, just for awhile, she couldn’t decide what to do with her life. Should she move to a different kingdom? Should she marry the boy she met at the tavern the other night? There were so many questions to answer, and she just did not know what to do. One boy had courted her earlier, and she had thought maybe she was in love, so when it ended, she was very sad. But as any good princess knows, a painful heartbreak always precedes something wonderful. She patiently waited, and waited, and waited. She met many young men from the kingdom and once, when she was a bit desperate for that good thing to happen, she even kissed a frog.

One day, Isabella was spending time with her girlfriends in the park. One of her friends had been dating a nice boy from a kingdom not too far away, and was entertaining the group with a story from his last visit. Isabella couldn’t help think how lucky her friend was, and hope that her own good fortune was just around the corner. That young man decided to bring his friends to visit their kingdom, and a party was planned for the next month. Oh how the girls threw themselves into preparations! Some bought new dresses, some played with different hairstyles, and all fantasized about the men they would meet and fall in love with. All but one. Princess Isabella had given up on finding her true love anytime soon. She had thrown herself into work, and some days she forgot to wonder when her Fairy Godmother would deliver her a prince. She got ready with the other girls and helped them look their most beautiful, and when the time came, she walked gracefully into the party looking as she did any other day. The other girls told her she was being foolish, but secretly they envied her because she still was the most beautiful.

Isabella had a wonderful time at the party, laughing and dancing with the young men from the neighboring kingdom. One man in particular kept her dance card full, and although she usually liked to spend time with everyone, something inside her kept her dancing in his arms all night. When the music ended and the women were walking slowly towards their carriages, this young man found Isabella in the crowd and slipped a note into her hand. She didn’t dare read it until she was safely in bed for fear of starting rumors amongst her less polite girlfriends. When she finally opened the note, it simply said, “Isabella, please write me” followed by his address in the neighboring kingdom. Oh what she wouldn’t give to be able to talk to him instantly! But because this was once upon a time, she had to contact him the only way possible: by post.

They spent several weeks writing letters back and forth to one another. Her mother saw the excitement in Isabella’s eyes whenever she heard the ding of the mail arriving. She would open the letter and a smile would play across her face as she took in every word. Eventually she couldn’t take the distance anymore, she felt she had to see him. Her girlfriends organized a weekend trip to the neighboring kingdom, and this time Isabella was as excited as the rest. She brought her most lovely dresses and styled her hair in the most fashionable way. When the carriage arrived in the other kingdom, her stomach felt full of butterflies and she wanted to dance in the street.

Sadly, Isabella’s perfect weekend was not to happen. Her love had become very ill and was unable to attend any of the parties. Isabella was very upset, but because she was a sweet princess, she did not let anyone see her pain. She wanted the other girls to have a good time and enjoy their own suitors. On the last night though, Isabella could bear it no longer, and she slipped into her beloved’s castle. As she was a friend to all animals, some palace guard dogs led her to his sickbed. He was sound asleep, and looked very ill. She cried, thinking that she had finally found her love and was about to lose him. She turned to leave, but before she could stop herself, her heart turned her back around and she planted a soft kiss on his lips. Nothing happened.

Isabella returned to her own kingdom and spent the next few weeks alone in her room, rereading his letters. Her mother eventually came in and asked what had happened on the trip. Had her beloved run off with another girl? Had he been eaten by a dragon? What could be so wrong? Isabella cried, saying she thought he had died because the last time she saw him he was very sick and she hadn’t heard from him in weeks. Her mother held her hand and read her the stories of Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty as if Isabella was a young girl. Soon the princess was fast asleep.

The next morning Isabella woke up and saw it was a beautiful day outside. She told herself that this was a sign; it was time to move on and be happy again. She put on a beautiful dress, tied her hair back, and asked her sister to go for a walk by the pond. As they left the castle, she noticed a parade of horses and carriages coming towards them. The girls stepped to the side to let everyone pass, and as she did, she saw the rider of the first horse. It was her beloved! Their eyes met and he immediately stopped the procession. Without speaking, he jumped off his horse and they ran to meet each other, stopping only when their lips met for their first kiss.

I think we all know how this story ends, but I’ll say it anyway: They lived happily ever after. To be fair, there were a few arguments over which kingdom to live in, and the distance was a bit hard, especially when his carriage broke. Fairy tales never include that nonsense though, so I’ll just call this the abridged version. Trust me, they lived happily ever after. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Men in Uniform

This week I attended My Husband’s graduation from Airmen Leadership School. I found myself in a ballroom with easily 150-200 men, all wearing their dress blues. For those of you wondering what that is, here's a pic to give you the idea:
More than one of my friends, including Paige and Kate, asked me where they could get one of those guys for Valentine's Day. It occurred to me, we were all under the influence of Men in Uniform (MIU).

Why do women swoon for an MIU? After a sleepless night, I came up with the following list:

1.     Women, at least most American women, associate a uniform with the idea of safety. MIU should thank D.A.R.E. for this phenomenon. We are taught from a young age to run to police, trust a firefighter, and listen to our doctors. It’s no wonder our hearts aflutter when we see these guys later in life. For better or worse, we associate the uniform with safety, and safety is always good for a relationship.

2.     If a guy is in uniform, it means he has a job. I know I bring up the fact that women are looking for someone with a stable career a lot, but the fact is, women don’t want to date a bum. Subconsciously, we see the uniform and think, “Great, now there is a guy who won’t sit on my couch and just drink beer all day.” From experience, I’m here to tell you that that is not entirely true. What you should think is, “There is a somewhat responsible guy with insurance who can buy me dinner once in awhile.”

3.     TV only casts yummy actors in MIU parts. Let’s take a look at the evidence:

Shemar Moore (FBI) Criminal Minds

Ben McKenzie (Cop) Southland 
Scott Foley (Military) The Unit
Patrick Dempsy (Doctor) Grey’s Anatomy
Jake Pavelka (Pilot) The Bachelor 
George Clooney (Doctor) E.R.


4.     MIU are usually in some type of perceived danger. Danger = Hot. Now, this is not true day to day. Doctors are not always at the mercy of bombs (Grey’s Anatomy) or tromping through Africa (E.R). I can personally attest to the fact that not every guy in the Air Force is in mortal danger just by showing up to work. The fact is, they could be in danger, more so than those men who work from their Blackberry all day. You don’t hear about a lot of lawyers directly saving lives on the news. But get a glimpse of a fireman walking out of a burning building, and we get a little breathless. Risking his life to save someone else? H O T. I can't explain why. Probably because we assume it means he will risk his life to save ours in the event we meet a terrorist or car jacker. 

5.     MIU are usually in somewhat good shape. Thank Hollywood for making us believe they are all in great shape, but in reality it is still pretty good. The military makes them do physical fitness tests every now and again, and I’m assuming the S.W.A.T. team and firefighters can’t get too fat since they have to be active in a moment’s notice. And doctor’s? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I think I’d trust a portly doctor less than one in some sort of relative good shape. To all the guys reading out there: women like men who are in somewhat good shape. I am not saying you have to be Shemar Moore (swoon) but being healthy does have its benefits. Plus, one of my friends did tell me that she realized she subconsciously was equating a guy’s ability to run around with his dog in the park to his potential to run around with their future children. Just saying.

To those guys who don’t wear a uniform to work, do not worry. Plenty of girls swoon for suits as well – just ask Barney Stinson. I also struggled with the inclusion of athletes in my list of MIU. Yes, they wear uniforms, and yes, many of them are hot. I don’t know if they inspire the same feelings of safety and fear that cause some sort of chemical riot in our female brains though. However, they do hold jobs, are in great shape, and the media tends to focus on the hotter athletes, even the silver foxes like Brett Favre. I just wish Joe Mauer got more airtime. *Sigh* (Jen, can you get me his autograph?????)

Did I miss anything? Any other reasons you can think of that we drool a little bit over a cute guy in uniform? 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Glee Cast Chevrolet Commercial

Didn't catch the Glee Cast Super Bowl Commercial? Or you loved it and want to watch it over and over again? Here it is! Thank you YouTube!


Planning a Trip

For me, planning a trip is like choosing a college. Everyone went about choosing a college a bit differently, but here’s how I chose mine:
1.     Fun Factor
2.     Rowing Team willing to give me money/decently good
3.     Big enough so I could change my major if needed (which I did multiple times)
4.     Good reputation
5.     Safe city
6.     Distance from home
7.     Cost (but refer to #2)

Last week I went for a short trip to Prague and Krakow. For those of you wondering what Krakow is, it is a city in Poland. A lot of people go there to visit Auschwitz –Birkenau, and then drink away the feelings that their day trip to Auschwitz brought on within them. I chose these cities the exact same way I chose my university, and I thought it was interesting enough to warrant a blog post.

In 2004 Wisconsin was consistently at the top of the Party Schools rankings. You know what Prague and Krakow are known for? Yep, you guessed it – the nightlife. Upon arrival at the hostels you even get a free beer, so apparently they appreciate day drinking as well. My kind of places! Prague is also known for its beer. Hopefully it is better than Czeckvar, which I used to (try to) sell.  Fun Factor is high.

In lieu of finding a rowing team to pay for my trip, I’ll have to fund it myself. Therefore, I’ll mix #2 and #7 and just make it about cost. Although nowhere in Europe is as cheap as Southeast Asia, this is Eastern Europe and not London or Madrid. Recently I discovered that a three-hour train trip from Barcelona to Madrid is $150. The same distance in Italy is about $40, depending on precise locations. Needless to say, the 9 hour, $70 overnight train from Prague to Krakow seemed like quite a steal. Then to hostels. One night in a top hostel during the cold low season is around $15. Yes, I will share a room with 8-12 other people, but that is how you meet life long friends and have incredible nights out. You’ll never be at a loss for company!

Although I will not be changing my major on this trip, I need a city big enough to give me many opportunities for sightseeing, eating, and drinking. Sure, I could pick a city because it has the most bars per capita (wait, what’s that Wisconsin?), but I also need to consider my sightseeing opportunities. I want a nice balance of potential landmarks, museums, historical sights, and of course a UNESCO World Heritage site or two.

Both Prague and Krakow have a good reputation and are relatively safe. Like I’ve told a few people who expressed worry about this trip; if I can travel alone in Thailand for a month, I can handle a week in Eastern Europe. To my great excitement, I’ve also discovered that I know a group of guys heading to Krakow the same weekend. A nice coincidence indeed!

Finally, I had to contemplate the distance from home. Using one of the cheapo airlines here in Europe, I managed to secure a ticket for $30 from Venice to Prague, therefore turning a long train journey into a two-hour plane ride. Although I love myself a good train ride, and I am greatly looking forward to the one from Prague to Krakow, I will concede that it is convenient to hop on a plane in one place, and hop off not too long later at your destination.

I had a wonderful trip to the Czech Republic and Poland, and I'll post my photos and talk about some adventures later this week. In the meantime, I challenge you to think about where you would go if you had an opportunity to travel anywhere. Don't worry about money, it is your dream so you can be a billionaire if you like. Or you can be on a budget, so waste some time playing on hostelworld.com. Whatever floats your boat. 

One last thing - if are in need of some good reading material and would also like laugh on every page, I highly recommend The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran. It's about two friends who decide to race around the globe in opposite directions, without using planes. If you want a good read, but will forgo the laughter, then read Bel Canto by Anne Patchett. A team of terrorists capture 50 something hostages at a diplomatic party in South America. The book is about the resulting 4 months of hostage/terrorist relationships, and was inspired by the 1996 Japanese Embassy Hostage Crisis in Lima, Peru. It's incredibly well written and is truly as melodramatic as an opera (and that's your only hint!). Happy Reading :)