Nov 26

Dear Loyal Readers,

My deepest apologies for the tardiness of this latest installment of the blog that could [but shouldn’t have]. It is most embarrassing that this, my Thanksgiving post, should present itself on this darkest of days, Black Friday, but to have written about Thanksgiving 2010 without first having experienced Thanksgiving 2010 seemed an unfair swindle of sorts to you my thirteen extraordinarily steadfast readers who deserve only the best of bad blog posts.

And so it is with great delight that I introduce you to Thanksgiving with The Troi Family.

The Troi Family enjoys a humble Thanksgiving in the Portland suburb of Tualatin at my Uncle Gym’s condominium (name misspelled to protect the privacy of my Uncle Gym’s name). I prepare our Thanksgiving Dinner by journeying to New Seasons to gather the ingredients* for our meal.

*Gathering the ingredients looks like this:

Troi: Hi, I’d like to order your pre-made Thanksgiving dinner for 4-6, please.
New Seasons Employee: You again, huh? Haven’t you ever considered cooking a Thanksgiving dinner?
Troi: I’d like to order it with an extra pumpkin pie, please.
New Seasons Employee: You know, you could bake a pumpkin pie much cheaper than the price of our pumpkin pie, which is $10.99.
Troi: I’d like the free range turkey, but not the organic free range turkey. I’m of moderate income and I have a hermit crab to feed.
New Seasons Employee: You could go turkey-hunting. Those turkeys are pretty organic.
Troi: Please bill my Uncle Gym for this meal.

After having gathered the ingredients for our homecooked Thanksgiving, I make my way South and eventually come upon the tiny town of Tualatin. Sometimes I bring a significant other to my family’s Thanksgiving festivities, for example on Leap Year and when Republicans take control of the Senate; other years I go stag.

Something is in the air on Thanksgiving 2010, something that smells of insanity, because suddenly my formerly tranquil environment is disrupted by discordant melodies as my entire family breaks into song and begins flailing their extremities convulsively in a fit of what they appear to classify as ‘dancing’ while a screechy voice from the fifties spits out tedious tunes from a turntable. My family seems to think they’re having fun.

When the dinner has been reheated to perfection, The Troi Family ceases its dancing and heads to the kitchen to consume the food, and I take my opportunity to seize the turntable and hide it behind the couch in the living room. (If my family asks you for a Clue, it was Troi, in the living room, with the turntable.)

And of course, no Thanksgiving would be complete without my grandmother eating three bites and then hovering near the door insisting she needs to return to her assisted living home for their Thanksgiving feast, which is actually just Oscar Meyer turkey bologna and tater tots served on a cafeteria tray with a side of jello. Which is why this Thanksgiving wasn’t quite complete, because this was our first year without her. In honor of my grandma, I made sure to hover near the door, although my reasons were more related to the aforementioned extremity-flailing and bad music than to longing for a cold turkey bologna dinner.

And there you have it, straight from the source: Troi’s Thanksgiving Dinner 2010. Look for my next post: Black Friday: The Day Troi Burned the Leftovers, But Ate Them Anyway.

–Troi out

Nov 10

Dear Readers,

For those of you thinking that Facebook is just another time-sapping vacuum for the proficient procrastinator, think again. Our dear social networking friend is currently being used to identify social trends, the latest being the most common times of year during which people experience a break-up.

London-based author David McCandless compiled and analyzed the annual data from over 10,000 Facebook updates to identify the most common times people end their relationships. And I don’t mean to brag, but I’m pretty sure he took all of his data from my status updates alone, which singlehandedly span far greater than 10,000 breakups.

McCandless discovered three peak breakup times throughout the year: prior to spring break (of course —- who wants to date somebody in April —- SO restricting), right before the summer holidays begin (obviously —- sharing a sunny day at the beach with your loved one —- SO lame), and several weeks before Christmas (undoubtedly —- if you haven’t been naughty, Santa will bring you everything you need anyway).

You might be wondering just how this information can help you. Well, if you’re half of a couple, and you notice one of these peak break-up times approaching, you can salvage your relationship by cutting off all communication with your partner, thereby obviating the possibility of a breakup. Being that a breakup requires the successful transmission of dire news from one party to the other, shutting down your computer, turning off your cell phone, and avoiding face-to-face interactions with your partner at all costs will ensure the continuation of your solid relationship without interruption. Once the peak break-up time passes, you can turn your phone and computer back on and resume contact with your partner, confident that you’ve avoided danger and that you’ll stay together forever, or until several weeks before Christmas.

And while I’d like to credit myself for deriving this ingenious data-driven plan for relationship success, please remember that I couldn’t have done it without the help of relationship status updates (that crucial component of a breakup that publicizes it for all to see, without which you might forget that you just ended your relationship) from which McCandless derived his statistics. So, thank you Facebook*.

*Facebook: Bringing People Who Shouldn’t Be Together, Together, for Longer Than Necessary.

–Troi out

Nov 1

Dear Readers,

Upon returning home from work today, I was delighted to receive a voice mail from an employee of my beloved* state farm agent inquiring as to whether I was interested in receiving a quote on renter’s insurance or life insurance.

*Yes, the very same state farm agent who last year asked me over the phone whether I was a bad driver, or simply a good driver with bad luck—- to which I responded something to the effect of “I’ll take ‘good driver’ for $200, sir, since that’s what I’m paying monthly to keep this insurance plan”—- but that’s a story for another time, when the tickets have fallen off of my record and I can speak more freely.

It was lovely for my state farm agent to think of me for renter’s insurance, although being that he is in charge of my homeowner’s insurance on the condo that I own, I would, perhaps naively, have hoped he would be privy to the fact that I’m not so much in need of renter’s insurance. And as I agonize over this perplexing voice mail I received eight minutes ago, I’m becoming convinced that perhaps he is privy to something I’m not, such as—-for example—-a massive fault line directly straddled by my Portland condominium, and perhaps my insurance agent has a direct line to God, or to an exceptionally gifted meteorologist who offered him a tip on tonight’s downtown Portland earthquake in exchange for $20 off his car insurance. FOR EXAMPLE.

And don’t even get me started on his proposal that I acquire life insurance, because I’ve already decided not to leave my soon-to-be earthquake–ravaged dwelling lest I get hit by a bus or meteor until I’ve gotten this overzealous employee on the phone to find out exactly from whom he’s getting his information on my impending death, and why nobody mentioned it to me.

I haven’t worked it all out yet, but I’m thinking maybe this fictitious earthquake has something to do with my make-believe death.

Either that, or my beloved state farm insurance agency (I picked them for their awesome jingle, which I use to sing myself to sleep at night, which may have something to do with my recent break-up…?) is going under, and calling everybody with a proffer of quotes on life and renter’s insurance to bolster finances whether or not we live on a giant fault line of death. Either way, it’s best I start looking for a back-up agent. Here’s what I’ve found:

Pros: 15 minutes could save me 15% or more on my car insurance.
Cons: I think they’re getting kickbacks from PETA, because they employ lizards instead of real humans.

Pros: They’re “progressive,” which tells me is “characterized by such progress, or by continuous improvement.” I feel warm and fuzzy and like I’m contributing in some important way to humanity when I choose Progressive.
Cons: I don’t think they’re actually progressive. I think they just want you to feel warm and fuzzy and like you’re contributing in some important way to humanity when you choose Progressive.

Pros: They’re available in all states. I assume.
Cons: I wonder if they’re available in Oregon.

Having exhausted myself with the laborious process of researching insurance companies online, I will now ruminate on the various options before making my final decision. Which I will need to make tonight, before the earthquake. And meteor.

–Troi out