Friday, April 30, 2010

Hooray - I'm Losing Touch With Reality!

I've been having exceptionally vivid dreams over the past month or two. It's gotten to the point where I'll have little flashes of memory and be briefly unsure as to whether the memory is of something that actually happened or of something I recently dreamed about.

Don't get me wrong - figuring out some of these flashes is a no-brainer. I have no difficulty realizing, for example, that my memory of riding down a series of massive water slides that had progressively longer and longer drops into giant swimming pools where I could breathe underwater and there was furniture everywhere at the bottom of the pool and... well, I have no difficulty realizing that was a dream.

Things get hazy, though, with more mundane memories/dreams like these:

Did I actually go to the bank and get a roll of quarters yesterday?

Did I really get in a minor car accident on the way to work last night?

I don't know what's causing this dream/reality crossover issue. I've endured no recent trauma, no major changes in lifestyle, diet or medication. It's puzzling. I don't know if I should be concerned that I'm going crazy, or if I should just relax and enjoy the ride.

Well, I was going to write more, but I need to go call my mom and ask if she and my dad really moved into an enormous mansion with an attached parking garage.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

POMC Week: Grand Finale

Because this is Pictures of My Cats Week, and not merely Photos of My Cats Week, I decided that I should flex my artistic muscles by pulling out my markers and making a couple drawings of Mina and Spike.

And that's what I did.

In the spirit of fun, though, I decided that I should challenge myself a little.

First, by drawing them while I was blindfolded:

And then by holding the markers between my toes (I took the blindfold off for this one. I'm not that fun.):

I'm proud enough of my foot art, but something tells me that Christy Brown wouldn't have been impressed.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

POMC Week: A Matter of Perspective

Here are two different photos of me with Mina:

Above photo by Jason Dubinsky

My challenge to you:

Guess which photo shows a more accurate portrayal of the Lola/Mina size difference.

Huh? Huh?

Bonus question:

What was I about to say to Mina in that first photo before she shushed me?

Test Your Logic and Motor Skills!

My coworker and good friend, Matt, recently decided to kick off the end of his semester by fracturing his ankle. Because I know he has a lot of time on his hands now, I figured it would be nice of me to create a fun and challenging diversion for him.

I invite you to enjoy the maze I created for him as well... just click on the image and print!

Monday, April 26, 2010

POMC Week: Paparazzi Smackdown

Today for Pictures of My Cats Week, we have a series of photos depicting Spike in an angry-celebrity-vs.-paparazzi-esque run-in culminating in his attempt to tear the camera out the photographer's hands.

"No pictures."

"Seriously man, no pictures."

"I said, 'NO PICTURES!'"

Sunday, April 25, 2010

POMC Week: Threesome

Lola naps on bed.

Cats nap on Lola.

Mina has clearly discovered the cushiest place on earth to rest her head.

Photo by Jason Dubinsky.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

POMC Week: The Dark Tower

Come with me, friends, won't you?

I'm going on a spectacular journey - one that will span several days and include images that will both delight and awe you. A journey that I am hereby dubbing:

Pictures of My Cats Week!

The following photos are from a collection that I posted a couple of years ago on my Facebook page, back when little Spike (/Frank/Scutaroff/Jim Snuggleman, Esq.) was new to our family:

Spike was exhausted after reading The Gunslinger...

...the battles he had endured had tested his mind, his body and his very spirit...

... but, in the end, he and his companion finally made it to the Dark Tower.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Introducing: Lucky, Mina, Hrothgar, Sweetfry, Frank, Spike, Scutaroff and Jim Snuggleman, Esq.

Jason and I had been searching for a foster family for our two cats for the months of August through December, and our two amazing friends, Kolleen Carney-O'Brien and Jeff O'Brien graciously offered to take them in.

Kolleen informed us that she and Jeff, as foster parents, are claiming their right to choose their own names for the cats. Jason and I are supportive. So I thought that this would be a good time to examine the name evolution of my two fat, furry buddies.

When I adopted her, on my 21st birthday, her name was Lucky. I thought this was a dumb name. I adopted her along with her all-white brother, Casper, and I decided it would be cute to give them coordinating names. Inspired by a recent viewing of Bram Stoker's Dracula, I renamed them Mina and Van Helsing.

Van Helsing got very sick and died a few months later, but Mina has been my constant cuddlebuddy for almost seven years now.

At some point, Jason's good friend Conor decided to provide alternate names for both our cats. He insisted on referring to Mina only as "Hrothgar", and further insisted on only saying her name in the heartiest, most booming voice possible.


Mina's new name, under Jeff and Kolleen's care, will be Sweetfry.

When Jason and I adopted him, his name was Frank. Sticking with the vampire theme, we named him after a character from Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Spike (also known as William the Bloody.)

At the same time our friend Conor dubbed Mina "Hrothgar", he renamed Spike "Scutaroff". Or Skutaroff. Or Scooter-Off. I don't know how it's meant to be spelled, but you get the idea.

Upon entering the O'Brien home, Spike will be reborn as Jim Snuggleman, Esq.

Photos by Jason Dubinsky.


I am a hugger.

During greetings and farewells, I prefer to forgo the formal handshake, the breezy wave, the fraternal fist-bump; I go right in for a hug.

And, though it might be a tad unfair, I can't help but judge people by the quality of their hugs. The vast majority of people are genuinely warm and receptive, even those who express initial confusion (I get a fair amount of, "Oh... a hug..." when they realize I've reached past their outstretched hand and am going in for the good stuff.) The occasional limp embrace, though, always leaves me feeling suspicious.

So, in celebration of Earth Day, it made perfect sense that I should go out and give the earth a big hug. Jason took photos.

Enjoy the following picture. I will attempt to anticipate and respond to your comments below.

1. Yes, I realize that this more closely resembles a crime scene photograph than a commemorative Earth Day snapshot.

2. Yes, the earth gives good hugs.

3. No, this entry is not an attempt at a cover-up directed toward anyone who might have seen me passed out in front of my house after last night's Sox game.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

She Bangs: A New Beginning

Quite a few of you weighed in on the Bangs Debate that Jason and I linked to a few weeks ago on Facebook. The vast majority voted anti-bangs.

I listened to your advice. I considered it carefully.

Then I ignored it.

Eat THAT, bang-naysayers!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wait... What?

One of the most perplexing situations I deal with at work:

I ask a guest a question. The guest answers me. Then, after an awkward, agonizing pause, I realize that they haven't given me an answer at all.


Me: (Gesturing to a near-empty plate.) Are you still working on your meal or would you like me to clear your plate?
Guest: Yes.

I am both paranoid and imaginative, so in a scenario like this - instead of immediately realizing that the guest is just a bit spacey - I usually become fearful that my mind is crumbling and reality is folding in on itself. Instead of asking the guest to clarify their preference, I tend to smile nervously and run.

This one happened just a week ago:

Me: (Nodding toward a wineglass that has only a sip left.) Would you like another glass of wine?
Guest: Maybe...
(Five second pause.)
Me: So...?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Imma Bee

I can't hear that new Black Eyed Peas "Imma Be" song without thinking that the lyrics are "I'm A Bee".

And I like it that way.

I'm a bee spreadin' my wings,
I'm a bee doin' my thing...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Hurricane Lola?

Tonight, as I was reading through an old entry that mentioned Hurricane Bob, I wondered if there had ever been a Hurricane Lola. While my internet search yielded no evidence of any such hurricane, I was able to find information on 2008's Moderate Tropical Storm Lola.

I was instantly disappointed that the tropical storm that shared my name was so "moderate"... other storms from the 2007-08 South-West Indian Ocean cyclone season, like Intense Tropical Cyclone Ivan and Severe Tropical Storm Bongwe, sounded so much more badass.

Then I read the description for Moderate Lola.

Paraphrased from Wikipedia:

An area of disturbed weather, identified on March 20, became a tropical disturbance on March 21, and a depression later that day. The system became Moderate Tropical Storm Lola early March 22 based on it having gale-force winds in the southern quadrant far away from the center and due to it having deep convection. Lola weakened back to a tropical depression that afternoon. It alternated between depression and disturbance a few times until the final advisory was issued on March 26.

Erratically alternating between depression and disturbance? The evolution of this storm exactly mirrored my own development from puberty through high school! Amazing!

The part about having deep convection struck a chord as well - but, please, no comments about me having "gale-force winds in the southern quadrant".

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Unhappiest Family in America

In June of 1995, my parents took my sister and me on a vacation to Disney World. I remember having a great time but, for some reason, in the only three pictures I have that document the experience we all look acutely miserable.


See that face my mom is making? That face says, "Make one comment about my Hawaiian shirt and I will destroy you."

My sister seems to be attempting at least a half smile in this photo. I seem to be praying for the moment when I can put my headphones back on.

My dad, my sister and I - all refusing to even look at the camera in this one. Even the woman sitting behind my dad looks pissed off.

So, what happened? Are my memories of a happy vacation actually a trick that my mind played to block the intense suffering we all endured? All three of these photos were taken in restaurants... maybe the service was just really slow?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Let's Get High! A Follow-Up

I slept pretty late today, so I didn't get a chance to start high five-ing people until I got to work. Within my first hour at the restaurant, I high fived almost every employee: servers, bartenders, managers, cooks, dishwashers... there was one holdout, but I won't dignify this high five miser by discussing him any further.

I had promised myself that I would high five at least one stranger, so I surveyed my prospects and eventually approached a gentleman who was dining by himself at the bar.

Me: Excuse me sir, may I ask you a question?
Man at Bar: Sure.
Me: I haven't met you before, have I?
Man at Bar: No, I don't think so.
Me: Oh, good! I promised myself I would high five a stranger today (Offering my hand up high.) Would you be okay with that?
Man at Bar: Oh... okay... (gives me a very limp high five.)
Me: Thanks! Today's National High Five Day.
Man at Bar: (Brightening up.) Oh, okay! (Gives me two consecutive, much more energetic high fives.)

Let's Get High!

Today is National High Five Day!

Your mission, regardless of whether or not you choose to accept it: High five at least one stranger today.

Obviously, you should also high five every friend, family member and coworker who crosses your path as well. It feels so good!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Great American Dialogues

One of the great perks of my job is that, as a perceived "non-human entity", I get to eavesdrop on a lot of conversations. From family squabbles, to soul-sucking business plots, to intimate confessions - I hear it all. Most people don't notice me as I lean in, because I'm wearing all black and scraping their soiled handi-wipes off the tabletop.

Today, however, as I cleared and cleaned a table, I enjoyed the singular pleasure of listening in on a husband-and-wife conversation that revolved around the thought-provoking content of the back of a Heinz ketchup bottle.

Him: Huh. "Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth."
Her: Hmm.
Him: "Shake well before first use."
Her: (sucking noisily on a shrimp tail) Huh.
(Ten second pause.)
Him: "For best results... refrigerate after opening."

Well, this was certainly a couple that enjoyed the little things.

I would like to point out at this point that "stopping and smelling the roses" doesn't necessarily require that one measure the number, length and width of the thorns.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Can You Feel It?

Because it's coming at you...

Narcissus of the Toilet

I spent most of yesterday doing my best impression of Narcissus. Only, instead of slowly perishing while staring into the water of a reflecting pool,  I was staring into the water of a toilet bowl. When I wasn't spending serious face time with the toilet, I was in bed - whimpering, sweating and attempting to keep down the tiny sips of Gatorade that Jason was feeding me.

The last time I remember feeling that sick was when I had meningitis. A close runner-up, though, would be when, as a kid, I played in puddles of hurricane water after Hurricane Bob and got giardiasis. Interested in a bad time? Get giardiasis. The misery of this intestinal infection was followed closely by the humiliation of learning that giardiasis is also known as "beaver fever".

Yup. My name is Lola, and I once suffered from beaver fever.

I'm feeling much better now. Tonight I was able to eat some actual solid food for the first time since Friday. I felt so grown up! Tomorrow's plans include more solid food and, at some point, a blog entry that doesn't focus on stomach ailments.

Wish me luck.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Proud Traditions

Tonight,while doing an image search on Google, I stumbled across a very bizarre picture.

Is it just me, or does the wording of this grim warning label make it sound more like a proud advertisement?

Ah yes, 5-gallon buckets: proudly carrying on the tradition of drowning children for over two and a half decades.

(more than 100 blog entries
published since 2008)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

#933 on the List of Things That Confuse Me

To me, the phrase, "a number of" is completely bizarre. Unlike words such as "few", "some", "several" and "many", "a number of" is utterly ambiguous.

Check it out:

A number of ninjas were spotted loitering in the alley.

What does that mean? It could have been a million ninjas or just one. One is, after all, a number, right? How could a person possibly gauge how many ninjas they might be dealing with here?

The phrase is useful, I suppose, for making your life sound more scandalous or interesting than it actually is.

Ms. Hensel has married a number of men. (One.)

It is also useful for exaggerating modest accomplishments.

Ms. Hensel has traveled to a number of European countries. (Again, just one.)

So, in my mind, "a number of" gets bonus points for its usefulness toward intentional self-aggrandizement, but loses points for its unreliability in ninja tallying.

And now I must retire to my bedroom. I have a number of guys waiting for me in my bed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Lola learns a new word...

Google Analytics allows me to see a list of search engine keywords that have lead people to my blog. For example, if you entered, "Lola Cutter Hensel Mega Awesome Smash Bigtime" into a search engine and then found my blog, I'd be able to see that on my Analytics page.

Some of the keywords make perfect sense ("composing lola", "lasik" or "photoshop"), and some seem random and hilarious. A few weeks ago, Jason pointed out one particularly bizarre-sounding keyword phrase:

pig man vore

Pig man vore? We had no idea what that meant, or why it would lead people to my blog. We laughed it off. Then, tonight, I checked my Analytics account and found another curious keyword phrase:

lola bunny vore

At least this one has my name in it, I thought - but I was now officially curious enough to look up the word "vore" online.

And, oh boy...

From Urban Dictionary:
1. vore

Short for "voraphilia" or "vorarephilia": a fetish in which one fantasizes about being eaten alive or eating another creature alive (sometimes known as phagophilia). The most common type of vore is "soft vore", being swallowed or swallowing whole with no bloodshed. There is also the less common "hard vore" which involves the tearing and chewing of flesh.


Now, as I think back over blog entries where I...

1. Devour a small whatsit

2. Post photos of my face smeared with what looks a bit like ravaged viscera

3. Allude to eating a live cat

... it all makes a little more sense.

I will now go to bed with that warm, squishy feeling that only accompanies a revelation that is simultaneously both horrific and delightful. Sweet dreams y'all!

My New Favorite Mispronunciation

My coworker, Brian, was trying to describe the unusual look of a man who was walking through the restaurant.

Brian: Oh, I know what it is - he looks like Merlin (pronounced mer-LIN).
Me: (Laughing.) Wait, what did you call him?
Brian: MerLIN. From the King Arthur stories. (noticing my mirth) Isn't that his name?
Me: Sort of...

This provoked me to envision a transgendered Arthurian wizard named MerLynne. It also reminded me of one of my favorite jokes.

Q. What do you call a wizard who lives in Germany?

A. Berlin

Monday, April 5, 2010


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Baffles the Mind

This picture of Hopedale High classmate Karl and I was taken backstage after our Drama Club's performance of Fame:

I feel a little guilty posting this picture, because it's an epically unflattering shot of Karl. He is actually very good looking, and not nearly as sweaty as this photo would have you believe (visit his MySpace site if you need photographic evidence.)

What drove me to share this photo is this:

I wanted my character, "Coco", to be sexy. So, how did I choose to accessorize?

A fake tribal bellybutton tattoo...

... cow print fingernails...

... and... what is that? A grill?

No, wait - it's just an enormous, shimmering set of braces.

I'm still trying to figure out how I finally convinced a guy to date me that year.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Learn From My Mistakes

This photo of me was taken when I was ten years old - years before I got my braces off. I hadn't yet been taught that I shouldn't let my eyebrows grow wild.

Or wear white socks with black pants.

Or wear that shirt.

Ah, sweet innocence.

Anyway, here's your lesson for the day:

If you decide that you must immediately know how much of your head and torso you could fit beneath a bar stool, should you...

A) Just go for it!


B) Appraise all bystanders and ask yourself, "If my arms and shoulders get pinned down, and I fall over, kicking, squealing and calling for help, will these people help me or will they first run, cackling, to find a camera with which to photograph me?"

The answer is "B".

P.S. Thanks for the photos, Mom.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools!

Last night, Jason called me into the living room. He was hunched over his laptop.

"Hey," he said, "Be careful when you use the Word program on my computer. It has some sort of virus."

A sense of glee began to well up in my chest.

"Oh yeah?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, "Whenever I type in the word 'the', something else pops up."

"Show me," I said, feigning confusion. "Type in, 'Jason Dubinsky is the best."

He typed it in. Then he shook his head and furrowed his brow, saying, "What the...?"

Jason had typed in, "Jason Dubinsky is the best." But what showed up was:

Then Jason heard me giggle and saw my victorious fist pump.

"Wait," he said, "Did you do that?"

Oh, yes. Yes, I did that.

A few weeks ago, inspired by a story from a coworker, I realized that I could pull a great prank on Jay by going into the Word program on his computer and messing with the "AutoCorrect" settings. I set the word "the" to AutoCorrect to "purplepoodlepenis" and then set it up so "Dubinsky" would AutoCorrect to "McTwittyfarts".

Now, I know this will probably reach my readers a little late for April Fools' Day use. Regardless, I enthusiastically encourage you all to try out this prank the next time you have access to a friend's computer - it's good, wholesome, geeky fun for the whole family.