Things that Paati tells me

The stories that my grandmother – who has lived in the U.S. for more than 20 years, but still bungles basic English – tells me never cease to be unexpected and absurd. This may become a recurring feature.

Lassie on the leftI’ve stopped at home for a few minutes to grab exactly three things: a fresh cup of coffee, my coin purse and a pair of sunglasses. I’m a traveling salesperson by day and these items are very necessary.

As I’m explaining this to Paati, the dog is fervently thumping her tail against the cabinets, puffing and sneezing with the anticipation of something edible getting spilled on the floor.

“Look, she wants coffee, too,” I report.

“Lassie used to drink half a cup of coffee every morning. She would not let ThaTha have until she have.” Paati isn’t looking at me, she’s watching oil bubble on the stovetop, but I know she’s smiling because talking about her dogs makes her proud, I think.

“You’re kidding!” I’m imagining her 50-some years younger, a well-mannered Doberman gazing up at her in place of our fuzzy golden retriever. “How did you give it to her? Did you pour it in her bowl?”

“I had to!” Now we’re facing each other and Paati’s smile has grown into a grin. “She had to have it first or ThaTha couldn’t have it!”

I am incredulous.

“Most dogs don’t like taking shower,” she continues, “they don’t like to go in. ThaTha will say, ‘Lassie, get in shower,’ and she go.”

“Stop, no way she could do that.” Now we’re cracking up.

“She is so smart! When someone come visit, maybe they scared of her, don’t like her. He want her to go away. He say, ‘Lassie, go away from here,’ and she go lay down in his room!”

“No!” I haven’t stopped laughing. “You’re not serious!” Doubled over. “I have to go write this down!”

Harlem Shake, or “SMH white people’ craziness.”

Guys, I really missed the boat on this one.

A “Harlem Shake” video popped up on my Facebook newsfeed a week or so ago. While I watched it and found it mildly entertaining, I didn’t realize that it had already grown warts and broken out into a crusty, full-on meme. So naturally, when I saw “Harlem Reacts to ‘Harlem Shake’ Videos” I felt compelled share this piece of pop v. hip-hop culture:

So many great things are said!

“They look like they just smoked some dust.”

“This would just be another vehicle for America to take off on and make money on.”

“If you’re not from Harlem, don’t do anything that’s associated with it.”
“And don’t try to be someone you not, basically. Stick to your roots.”
“Shit is corny!”

I “know” (scare quotes because after watching this, I don’t think I really know) what the real Harlem Shake is supposed to look like because I knew these two girls in middle school who would always set it off in gym class. That, or the C-Walk. It was all cool as hell.

This “Harlem Shake” thing is the boiling-painfully-under-the-surface pimple on my chin that I will keep coating with thin layers of prescription strength dapsone gel until it goes away overnight. I just … really hate that this is a thing demanding my attention in the social mediasphere.

Have our attention spans completely dissolved? This is how to go viral on YouTube these days: quick cuts, EDM. That’s it. Seriously, that has to be it. It works for Dom Mazzetti. I enjoy Dom Mazzetti.

Watch this:

What did you think of it? I’m actually curious, because I couldn’t watch the whole video. That’s 4 minutes and 9 seconds that I could spend doing a number of other important things. What if this were happening in the morning? It’s good that it didn’t because I would be irate if I wasted even a minute watching this when I could have been packing a lunch more substantial than, say, a handful of pasta without sauce.

And then my next thought is, “ohhhh I bet my electro/house friends have already been listening to Baauer for months, so it’s not really that cool if I start listening to him now.” Meanwhile, I’m writing all of this down instead of watching “Soylent Green,” which I rented on Amazon around this time last night but proceeded to pass out and not watch.

No, I really need to watch this movie and not live blog my research into the Harlem Shake – I only have it for another 24 hours. Here are some links to articles about this phenomenon that I plan to read later:

“A Hip-Hop Moment, but Is It Authentic? Macklemore’s ‘Thrift Shop’ and Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’” – New York Times, Feb. 19, 2013

“Meet Baauer, the Man Behind the Harlem Shake” – The Daily Beast, Feb. 17, 2013

“Baauer’s ‘Harlem Shake’: Gentrification Goes Viral: Trap-rave track games system, exploits Internet goodwill, blows up, grates nerves, inspires Azealia Banks” – SPIN, Feb. 19, 2013:

Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” that squeaky, wubby trap-dance instrumental that has, over the past few weeks, gone full-on viral thanks to endless videos of people dancing to the song, is a moderately interesting slab of post-drop dubstep or EDM. But the Harlem Shake is already a dance. A once-popular and very loaded dance, at that. A few decades old, it rose to the mainstream in 2001 thanks to Harlem rapper G. Dep (“Let’s Get It” and “Special Delivery”) and later on, in a slightly mutated form, as the Chicken Noodle Soup via DJ Webstar’s 2006 song of the same name. And the actual Harlem Shake — a joyful, free-for-all rhythmic vibration of one’s body — is quite different from the meme dancing found in these “Harlem Shake” videos, which is just kind of people wilding out in front of a camera. …

… In short, every time someone throws up a video featuring Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” the owners of the song, Mad Decent, can remove that video, or if they want, monetize it. So, they have a monetary stake in these videos they are encouraging people to produce. Not that it matters too much, because only the illusion of an “organic” campaign matters here (and it’s all about gaming the system, anyway), but this is a very 2013 cash-out version of going viral. …

… The gentrification of the song is important, even if it just seems like more “SMH white people” craziness. … the web success of Baauer’s “Harlem Shake” does illustrate how having the right resources can Google-bomb something else out of existence. Try searching “Harlem Shake,” even with a telling, early 2000s-related second term and the result will be overwhelmingly skewed towards Baauer. Even “original Harlem Shake” yields videos from the early days of this campaign.

Duuuuude. The internet is about to break itself. Count it. We’re going to discuss this later.

For the Fellas: V-Day

This post comes from guest blogger Dan Cleveland, who is a senior at the University of Dayton studying journalism and Spanish. He serves as Assistant Opinions Editor for the school’s student-run newspaper, Flyer News, and also blogs for live local music resource He’s a fan of fast cars and rock ‘n’ roll (especially Ty Segall).


It’s Valentine’s Day, and fellas all over the world are rolling their eyes in disgust.

To the average man, this day represents the occasion for a woman to force him into an earlier and stronger romantic commitment than he might like, while his pocketbook simultaneously suffers the consequences. So even for a total gentleman, it’s not uncommon to feel a deep, pit-of-your-stomach kind of hatred for this day, which in turn makes men look like selfish jerks.

So what’s the cure for this maudlin mouse trap?

Well, the answer to that question depends pretty heavily on your situation, but there are ways to work the system in your favor:

If you’re sweet on some sweetie …

… but aren’t ready for the real-deal relationship, help ease the pressure of V-day by setting the tone of your time together. If you want to take her out on a low-key date, make clear your intentions to keep the plans casual. Be playful, not immature, and don’t let your valentine think your motivation is laziness or dullness. Put little to no thought into a kiddy Valentine’s Day card, but follow it up with a bouquet of flowers. Let her know you are enjoying the chance to spend time with her, but don’t get all emotional. If you’re successful, she won’t be waiting for you to profess your deepest feelings to her because she’s too distracted by the fact that you’re showing her a great time.

If you’re the type who’s in a committed relationship with your hunny bunny

The answer is simple: Be spontaneous! Surprise her, do something you’ve never done before, drive out of your hometown and give her fake clues about where you’re going. Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money – just shake things up. Pick a location at random, go about your night without having any specific plans and try not to make it seem like you had to try to be impulsive. If you keep the mood adventurous enough, you might totally surprise her and show her a side of you she may not have known before.

As for you single, no-prospects-on-the-horizon-havin’ fellas

You are the ones who get to have the real fun, because you have the opportunity to totally make some girl’s day without any annoying strings attached. Here’s the trick: Go about your normal daily routine and make sure you’re nice and spiffed-up – shave the scruff, change the shirt, wash the hair. Bonus points if you throw on a suit. Buy a couple of roses or a box of candy hearts and write something simple, like, “Be my valentine?” on the card. If there’s a particularly charming or attractive woman you encounter in your daily routine, or if you just happen to bump into a cutie, you’ve got your target. Be prepared to deliver your valentine at a moment’s notice, since you might find a target anywhere, and take extra precaution to ensure you don’t accidently provoke anger from a boyfriend or husband. When performed properly, you’ll be that mysterious macho man that all girls secretly dream about, and you’ll have effectively cured the Valentine’s Day Blues for at least two people. Sure, you could sit at home and mope on your couch, but why not have a little fun?

Valentine’s Day is kind of a silly holiday in the first place, but if we gents try to keep it breezy, we can make the day more tolerable for everyone.

(image via The Chive)

Eat as much as you want of whatever you want and work out a lot

That’s been my diet/fitness mantra for the last couple years, and things are going swimmingly.

But the foods I want to consume in mass quantities tend to be almonds, dried fruit, cereal and the like. I’ve been known to go on whole grain toast binges. Slap some peanut butter on a sliced apple after a lift session and I’ll be there like Tupperware. Healthy little Seetha, five small meals a day, Pilates and squats and planks and OH MY GOD I LOVE COOKIES. I need them in my life, I simply require a box at home at all times, Marie tea biscuits at the very least. I will never feel guilty about scarfing down five baked confections in a matter of minutes. They make my insides sing.

As such, my heart basically stopped when I first saw a photo of an Oreo baked inside a chocolate chip cookie (this is why I consciously limit the time I spend on Pinterest). Seriously, game-changer. Game over. I can’t even.

I tracked down Picky Palate’s original recipe and it yielded exactly what I expected – gigantic, flavorgasmic wads of sweetness:


Making a few modifications to tone down the supreme sugariness created rich cookies that didn’t feel too sinful. If you’d like to follow suit, use half the listed amount of granulated sugar, swap plain chocolate chips for mint chocolate chips, and go for the reduced fat Oreos instead of Double Stuf. Four friends gave these chunkers rave reviews after receiving them in the mail last week.

I also tried these soft-baked white chocolate chip cranberry cookies from Sally’s Baking Addiction:


They were yumtastic as well, although I’d suggest going against Sally’s advice and giving them an extra minute or two in the oven. The cranberry/white chocolate combo is a classic, but they turned out a leeeetle too soft for my taste. If you’re into eating straight up cookie dough, however, stick to the script.

And, just because I’ve been slow on the posts since starting a new job (!!!) in January, here’s an update on my life through muploadz:

My dog being obscene and precious at 7 a.m.
I stopped by Cafe Delhi in Carnegie hoping to meet the owner, but only this guy was there
And then there was this license plate
And then Liz visited for the weekend! We had a slammin’ four-course meal at Bonefish Grill yesterday starting with red wine and fresh bread with pesto, followed by ahi tuna sashimi, crab cakes, the signature Bang Bang Shrimp, a salmon salad and I honestly can’t even remember what for dessert. All I know is that it was all excellent – quite possibly the best chain restaurant I’ve ever been to. Of course, the company made it even better.
I scored this reversible faux fur vest at MoZaic Boutique and the skirt and leggings from newly-open Coco 66. Shoutout to Nancy and Miranda for ultra-fab selections and wonderful shopping experiences! You bet I’ll be back (with more friends from out of town).

This post is strange and disorganized but life has been quite the opposite lately. I have a couple stories brewing in my cranium and can’t wait to carve out some time this week to write them out! Things are exciting in 2013.