31 December 2009

Happy Fucking New Year

If I haven't said this before, let me say this: I do not like New Year's Eve/Day. I've had some crummy New Year's experiences, so I decided a long time back not to bother with any sort of enforced merriment. I'm perfectly OK with chilling at home, maybe having a drink, and forgetting what day it is. Last year, I got so wrapped up in my book that midnight passed me right by - and good riddance. And it would seem that this year is no exception.


I woke up this morning and looked out the window. It had snowed some, but it didn't look too bad. I figured it would be slow going, but nothing I couldn't handle. As I crept out of my parking lot, I noticed the roads were a little slicker than I first thought, but still not too bad. I made the right onto Red Lion and immediately noticed an accident on the other side of the road. Then, as I crested the hill, the car slightly ahead and to the right of me skidded, pulled a 270 degree spin, and ended up sideways across his lane. Bummer.

Things weren't so bad until I crossed over Pine and headed down towards the train tracks and Philmont. The cops had blocked off the road and all traffic was being routed into a neighborhood. Unfortunately, I had no idea if there was a way through back to Pine, or if I was going to have to turn around and backtrack. A shit-ton of people had already entered the neighborhood and it was a bit of a mess. The road went down a hill and I had the thought: I sure don't want to go down that hill just to find out that it dead-ends and I have to turn around and try to back UP the hill. Yeah, I should have listened to the little voice and turned. the fuck. around.


I made my slow way down the hill and the road comes up on the train tracks. At this point, I figure that the road dead-ends and decide to turn around - along with half a dozen other people. As luck would have it, there is a jam of crooked cars and a Pepsi truck blocking the way out. It would seem that I was well and truly fucked. Then I have the brilliant idea to check the GPS and see if turning around (again) would help at all. Indeed it would. So with the Pepsi truck creeping up on me, I turn BACK around and coast down the hill and around the curve. Then, as if this hadn't been a big enough pain in my ass, the road promptly went uphill again. Still, I was doing all right...until a lady at the top of the hill got stuck and I had to stop. Not a happy development. I tried to bang it out, but it got slippery and I started to skid. I ended up slanted across the road. Not quite blocking it, but definitely not pointed in the right direction. So fuck it. I took the car out of gear, set the parking brake, took off my seatbelt. I sent a text message to a coworker to give an update on my situation. Then I notice that the oil delivery truck that had been parked across the street was attempting to leave. I had high hopes for him, but almost immediately his wheels started spinning. I kept my eyes on him, hoping that he wasn't going to slide across the road and blow up me and my little Rabbit. He stopped before that happened (obvs).

I decide it's time for a cigarette. I get out of the car, and lo! the salt truck was coming through! He made a pass and I figured I'd give it a few minutes and then try to extricate myself. I step around to the passenger side of my car, which I had managed to at least straighten out, and notice a GIANT FUCKING DENT behind the passenger side door. What the bloody fuck? When had that happened? I sure hadn't hit anything. I think back and maybe remember hearing a bang last night, but memory is a fickle thing and who actually knows what may have happened. 'Sides, I don't investigate every random noise I hear outside my apartment. Might have to change that policy. Now I have calls to the insurance company to make, a body shop to find, blahblahblah. The damage isn't awful, but I'm still mega pissed.

I finished my cigarette and got back into the (wounded) car. A cop comes over to me and asked if I could make it out. Dunno officer, but I'm sure as shit going to try. Not only am I angry about my poor car, but I had to pee. I put the car into gear, slip the clutch and my wheels spin. I tried again while the cop yelled helpful things like: Cut left! LEFT! You got it! LEFT! I did have it and I crawled out of that fucking neighborhood. If the universe has a twisted sense of humor, and I believe it does, I'm going to end up living there one day.

Things were measurably better out on the main roads and I made it to work, no problem. The parking lot was a bit shit, but I was expecting that. I think the name of the company they use to clear the snow is "Half-assed Plowing". Or, "You Give Us Money, We Do Nothing". I smoked another cigarette and then go inside to find out that my project coordinator has been telling people all kinds of wrong stuff about what happened to my car and where I got stuck. My coworker and I decided to run with it and started telling people that I also gave birth to twins while stuck and had to leave them in a dumpster. Just to see how far we could take it.

Anyway, that's my day so far. One bit of good news: I get to leave at 4 and JR said she would come over to cheer me up and we can play really old Trivial Pursuit. That's my idea of a new year's celebration.

28 December 2009

Thoughts as the Holidays Draw to a Close

This post doesn't really have anything specifically to do with the holidays, but I figured I had enough posts that are titled "Something Randomness". Just trying to mix it up a bit.

Let's get the holiday bit out of the way. I noticed a bunch of people/articles in the paper about how the true meaning of Christmas has been lost. In my opinion, this is only an issue if you believe in the whole sweet baby Jesus thing. Otherwise, it can really be about whatever you want it to be. If getting massively expensive presents is important to you, then that's what Christmas is about. If the food is the thing, the Happy Gorging. There is never going to be an event/holiday that means the same thing to all people. In gift-getting news, my dad got me a Kindle 2. Talk about shoving the needle in. Now I can get a book whenever, where ever - as long as I get a wireless signal. And have some $$ in the bank. Thinking about it too long makes me all fluttery.

Huh, when I started writing this, I could have sworn that I had more to talk about. Hate when that happens.

15 December 2009

Balance?

I didn't get the position I tried for. Some bullshit about not seeming as if I felt like I was the right person for the job. Dudes, I thought I was the only person for the job. It would seem that my cocky is another person's nervous or uncertain. I'm gonna have to go into my next interview with a sign over my head flashing "She's the shit! Hire her!" and a one-man band following behind. Throw some baton twirlers into the mix and I just can't lose. Maybe then I will ooze confidence.

Anyway, you already know this. What I wanted to say is: I think, occasionally there is, not fairness, but balance. For the past couple of days, voicemail retrieval has been way less annoying than usual. The volume is down, the messages are mostly to the point - these are all good things. I don't have the nearly uncontrollable urges to smash my keyboard against my desk and kick trash cans. Perhaps this is the universe's way of making it up to me. Because the universe is super concerned about little ole me. Really.

10 December 2009

Boooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

The streak is over. I am sick for the first time in about 3 years. I tried to convince myself I was just a little runny because I forgot my allergy meds. Sadly, my repeated denials cannot change reality. I have a cold. And it's all LaLa's fault for coming over when he was sick and boogering near me.

I've been getting progressively loopier as the day goes on, but I'm trying to tough it out. Not because I don't have sick time (that was already factored into tomorrow's paycheck so it would be unpaid). Not because I have any real sense of responsibility to my program. I stopped caring about coverage when they (mgmt) stopped caring about it. No, I want to stick it out because I am hoping that I will be getting some good news about the position I interviewed for last Friday. Getting that news today would make up, very slightly, for having to cancel plans to see my friend tonight.

I'll see how long I can make it. If I get the news soon, I'm going to leave after. Otherwise I'm going to have to hope that I sweat it out tonight so I can still make it into work tomorrow. Blergh.

09 December 2009

Letter

To the Goody hair people:

I think having a rubberized headband is a great idea. Adding "33%" more hold? Also a fine idea...in theory. More hold is only a good thing if the stinking headband actually makes contact with my head. In order for the headband to effectively restrain my mane, I have to clip it and resize it. And trust me, I do not have an abnormally small head. Maybe your next marketing gimmick could be "33% smaller"?

Thanks!

04 December 2009

Still Pretty Happy, but Holy Shit...

So, ah, yeah...I managed to blow through $600 right quick. I'm sort of appalled, but at the same time, I don't really care because I didn't blow it on frivolity (entirely) and I love to buy people presents, so I can't feel bad about that. I was somewhat responsible and paid bills too, but things are still going to be the same kind of tight they would have been if I hadn't gotten the extra dough and didn't pay bills. Oh well.

In different kind of "holy shit" news; things are not going well in a friends' household. Her dirtbag husband needs to be dragged behind a semi for a couple miles. I hope his dick rots off.

03 December 2009

It's The Little (and slightly bigger) Things

December is normally a pretty good month for me. I've always been a sucker for Christmas (minus all the crappy Christmas music), it's my birthday, it's finally getting that chill in the air (I like the first frost but that's about it)...all good stuff. This December is shaping up pretty darn good so far.

1) I got that gov't stimulus check that I was supposed to get last year. $600 in my pocket! Presents for everyone! Which leads me to...

2) I came up with (after some help from jr) some pretty good gift ideas this year.

3) Money again. I get my leftover sick time paid out next paycheck. As I have 4 sick days, that's a reasonable
chunk o' change.

4) Sephora send me a $20 gift card so I finally got the vanilla grapefruit perfume I have been salivating over for the last year. Plus I get samples and a birthday gift. I chose their Vanilla Cupcake shower gel - it smell scrumptious. Try it.

5) This is only potentially good; but I applied for a new position at work. If I get it, I will be in a different department and no longer under Stoneface's thumb. There's a (probably) small pay increase, but I'm so desperate to be off the call floor that I'd probably take the job without more money.

6) I have a yummy dinner tonight with my dad and one of my friends. Then after, I get another kind of treat from a different friend.

7) Might not seem like a big deal to most, but I finally made an ob/gyn appointment. It's a good thing.

8) Sent out my holiday card to a random soldier stuck in Afghanistan. Maybe a new penpal!

Anyway, that is the stuff that's making me happy right now. It may not last, but I'm going to enjoy it while I have it.

23 November 2009

Vocab Quiz

Jeff was born on a moonless night in 1996. Thirteen years later, he learned that he would need to go on a long and difficult journey to save all of mankind from a horrible future of enslavement by aliens. On this journey he encountered his newly discovered arch-nemesis and they fought. Jeff was bruised and bloody but never broken. His arch-nemesis tried many crafty tactics to bring about Jeff's downfall, but Jeff always prevailed. There were times when Jeff wanted to give up. He met a girl; she died. He made a friend; the friend betrayed Jeff. Jeff met another girl; she became his stalwart companion. Jeff thwarted the aliens bent on enslavement and was elevated to godhood status by the grateful masses. He didn't want to rule, and so retired to a quiet life in the country with his wife.

That, my friends, is a quick and dirty example of bildungsroman (or try here). I am fed up to my eyebrows with that word. Far too many of the reviewers in the NY Times Book Review are in love with bildungsroman. I didn't realize that "coming-of-age" was so passé. Instead, let's resurrect an obscure German word that most people don't know. I do appreciate that the reviewers aren't talking (writing?) down to me, but don't use a word just because it makes you seem erudite. Heh, see what I did there?

What I really want to know is: why now? How is it that bildungsroman became the word du jour? Was there a meeting of the book review community? Did they say "OK folks, we're becoming too mainstream. Let's reach into our collective asses and find a word we can abuse. Bonus points if 50% of our readers have to look the word up."

17 November 2009

Remember, the Water is Free

Another entry for the "Why it's easier to eat crap" list.

The vending machine at work recently added cans of V-8, for 20 cents more than a soda. If you want to encourage people to eat/drink healthy, wouldn't it make more sense to...zzzzzzzzzzzzz. Sorry, I just bored myself with all the obvious-stating.

12 November 2009

Unwanted Gifts

Some people have a knack for finding the perfect gift. Others have a seemingly innate ability to always find a twofer deal on Triscuits. Then there are the people who can go to a city and find a fantastic restaurant. All of those skills? gifts? talents? would be wonderful to have. Unfortunately for me, I do not possess anything of the sort. No, my knack is far less useful, and far more disgusting. It would seem that I have the disturbing ability to choose the one of the two ladies' rooms which someone is shitting in.

You heard me. I've been to the bathroom twice this morning, once in each bathroom, and both times someone was taking a righteous (stinky) poo. I know that twice isn't a trend, but it happened to me at least 3 times yesterday out of the half-a-dozen (or so) trips I made to the ladies' room.

On a slightly related note, I also noticed that I manage to talk about poop pretty much everyday. I don't have a baby, or an old person, to take care of. There really is no excuse for it.

10 November 2009

Wooooooooo!

I'm fucking psychic.

I was making dinner last night and getting ready to watch House. (Spoilers ahead) I had a random thought: What if they brought back the private detective guy from the beginning of last season? Wouldn't that be something?

And BANG! There he was, in Cuddy's hotel room, just when House was attempting to be a good guy and offering to babysit.

So either I'm psychic, or I should be writing for TV.

05 November 2009

Question

Am I the only person who makes an effort to make lots of noise when I'm in the bathroom and I KNOW there is someone in there trying to take a dump? Because we all know that no one wants to hear us farting and grunting, regardless of the fact that every -body -thing, poops. And there's nothing so uncomfortable as trying to pinch it off when someone enters the restroom. By making lots of noise, I feel that I am giving the pooper extra cover to go about her business.

03 November 2009

Mellowing Out

It is true what they (of ubiquity) say - hate is difficult to sustain. It takes an enormous amount of energy to maintain a consistent level of bile and most people, myself included, aren't up for the effort.

The reason I bring this up is because I realized that over the past couple of weeks, I don't get the same instantaneous, acidy, lip-curling reaction I used to get when having to deal with either Stoneface or the Princess. I'm sure it has something to do with the magical powers of my hair. I got the double-take from Stoneface the day I left it flowing free, and the Princess also commented on my unfettered locks. This isn't to say I'm easy. Don't think that all you have to do to win me over is compliment my tresses. It may help, but it won't do it all. Woo me.

It also helps that I don't have to deal directly with either one on a regular basis. Stoneface and I are merely passers-by and the Princess only drops mail off. It is easy to tolerate people with whom you have limited interaction.

Killing Me With Corniness

My friends and I enjoy watching crappy movies. One example: Christmas Evil. Another example: Killing Me Softly, a fantastically awful movie starring Heather Graham and Joseph Fiennes (the one who ISN'T Voldemort). I'm not going to deliver an in-depth plot synopsis here, but I did want to address a user comment/review I read on IMDB. There are a surprising amount, but the one I wanted to comment on said (I paraphrase) women will love this film because of the total commitment Fiennes's character gives to Graham's, and that men fear this. I would like to respectfully disagree; mostly about the women loving it part.

Fiennes's Adam is a closed book. His intensity of feeling for the blandly blonde Alice is perplexing, but I blame that on Graham's acting. She was in a safe and boring relationship with a safe and boring guy and was swept away after an encounter at a street corner with the dark and brooding Adam. He dominates her sexually, which is a matter of preference and not part of my complaint; lays the smack down on a mugger who dares to attack his beloved; doesn't share any of the gory details of his life; etc etc ad nauseum.

I understand crazy sexual attraction. I'm sure there's been a point for many of us where we are swept away by a hormonal tsunami. Or, for the ladies, "dickmatized". People do fucked-up things in the pursuit of poonani, but if you watched a man, your man, beat a mugger half to death, wouldn't you be the slightest bit concerned that his volatile temper could come out on your ass? Would you forgive it if it was part of some sexual role-playing game? Most people (I hope) would not agree to marry him while he still had blood on his hands.

Any guy who watches this movie for relationship tips has deep-seated issues. Yes, some people like BDSM, but it usually doesn't extend past the bedroom (metaphorically speaking). Just because I let you tie me up at home, doesn't mean I want to walk around the streets of Philadelphia in a dog collar.

This movie is based on a book by Nicci French. I couldn't help but wonder if it was a crappy movie based on a crappy book, or if the book fell victim (as so many do) to a terrible screenplay and poor acting. According to many Amazon reviews, the book is pretty good. Many 4 and 5 star reviews. I know this doesn't mean I'd like it, but I'm willing to believe that the author is talented and got screwed by Hollywood. The movie barely has camp value. The only reason to watch this movie is to see Heather Graham's tits, and you can get that from Boogie Nights. At least, I seem to remember that you seem them. It's been a couple of years since I watched that movie so I could be wrong.

29 October 2009

Another Short Story Because I'm Not Coherent Enough to Write Something New

I just deleted a dumb post about pooping at work. I swear it seemed clever (for a poop post anyway), but after banging out two paragraphs, I realized that it was NOT clever. It would seem that I lost the point between conceiving of it in the bathroom (I wasn't the one pooping) and getting back to my desk and opening up Blogger. Instead, I'll post another one of my short stories. This one has a more obvious fantasy bent than the last one.

Rechette looked at the piece of chalk in her hand, then down at the floor, and realized that she didn't have the first clue what she was doing. She was so screwed.

"Well? Get on with it!" The woman's voice was impatient.

Rechette tore her eyes from the mess of chalked markings on the floor and reluctantly met the gaze of the speaker.

"This isn't like a controlled lab experiment. I don't put chemical A into flask B and bubble through gas C to get a predictable result. This is partly about feeling and intuition and intent." Rechette was lying through her teeth. What she was attempting to do went so far beyond the boundaries of her knowledge, that they weren't even sharing a time zone.

The woman stepped in close, her gray eyes a dirty frozen pond. "I intend to hurt you in wonderfully inventive ways if you don't feel like this is working." Her ivory skin stretched tight over her cheekbones as she bared her small sharp teeth in a vicious smile. "Is that enough incentive for you?"

Rechette swallowed audibly and made a valiant attempt not to vomit. While the terrible gray-eyed woman would enjoy the fear she inspired in Rechette, she would no doubt be extraordinarily pissed off if Rechette puked on the woman's Manolos. "OK, I get it. One summoning, no waiting."

"Good." The woman stepped back and folded her arms across her chest. Rechette pushed a handful of brown hair out of her eyes and took a deep breath. She squatted next to the squiggles and hash marks on the floor and made a few seemingly random marks amid the mess already there. "That, ah, that should do it."

"Demon spawn, come forth to do the bidding of-" Rechette broke off the incantation and looked at the woman. "What's your name? Your true name; a false one won't work." Sure, that sounds good, she thought.

The woman flushed slightly. "It's Sissy."

Rechette smothered her wild urge to laugh and began speaking again. She was pleased that her voice barely shook at all. "Demon, come forth to do the bidding of Sissy. I bind your powers to her. You will be subject to her will, you will be eager to carry out her orders." She paused. "And you won't smell too much like brimstone or anything. Demon, I summon you!"

Rechette and the woman both looked into the haphazard circle. Where nothing at all was happening.

"Why isn't it working?" The woman stared daggers at Rechette. "You said you could work great magic!" She took a slow step towards Rechette, moving across the circle. "Make it work or I will make you suffer."

"Let's not be hasty. Maybe the casting takes a while to work its way through the different levels of Hell. Your custom-ordered demon could be winging its way to you as we speak." The woman took another step and moved fully into the circle. Which began to emit a sullen red glow between the chalk marks. Wavy lines like heat haze shimmered over Rechette's fake demonic summoning symbols. Rechette took a large step back. Two, in fact. With no more fanfare, a demon popped into existence behind the gray-eyed woman.

"WHO SUMMONS ME?" The demon's voice shook dust from the rafters. The woman whirled around, her initial look of shock morphing into satisfaction. She drew herself up. "I summon you, demon. You are here to do my bidding."

The demon, seven feet of impossible topped with a thicket of horns, cocked its head. Its eyes were a surprisingly pretty human blue, its nose was a gnarled lump. Some sort of acidic drool leaked from the corner of its fang-filled mouth and sizzled on the floor. Its eyes flicked over to Rechette and then returned to the woman it shared the circle with. "You summoned me?" The demon's voice was much quieter this time.

"Yes."

"Hmmmm," the demon looked thoughtful. It reached out a hand and drew a pointy yellow fingernail down the woman's cheek. "You are very bold."

Rechette gnawed nervously on her thumbnail. She wondered if now would be a great time to escape. Considering she wasn't expecting to be able to summon a fart, much less a demon, she didn't see what other purpose she could serve. Besides as a post-summoning snack for the demon. She took another step back and felt the wall behind her. She edged slowly towards the door to her right, eyes glued to the pair in the circle.

The woman twitched back from the touch and turned gray. The demon smiled widely, its pebbled skin darkening from pale red to black. It leaned in closer to the woman and inhaled deeply. So deeply, in fact, the the woman was pulled even closer. She moaned and pushed at the demon's chest. "Humans," it purred in a bass rumble, "so small and tender." It looked over at Rechette and she quickly lowered her gaze to the floor. "So ignorant as to what really hides in the dark." Its blue eyes focused back on its prey. "So arrogant to think that they can control what they summon." It snorted a small greenish flame. "Better magicians than you have tried, Sissy."

How the hell did I summon that thing? Rechette was frantic. Her only hope at this point was that the demon was contained within the circle and would vanish once it was finished tormenting Sissy. She took a deep breath and prepared to make like a rabbit. Too bad she felt more like a deer-in-headlights.

"Rechette." Her name was gravel in the demon's mouth. She tried to maintain her gaze on Sissy's fancy shoes.

"Um, yes? O denizen of Hell?" To Rechette's immense surprise, the demon threw back its head and laughed. It was disturbing how normal it sounded. Against her better judgement, story of her life, she looked the demon in the eyes.

"Oh Rechette, I wish I could take you to Hell. I think you would be very entertaining." The demon now had Sissy in a one-handed grip by the neck. The woman had fainted and hung limply from the twisted, many-jointed fingers. "Unfortunately, I can only take the one who intended to control me. You," it pointed at Rechette, "are safe." It licked Sissy's cheek while never looking away from Rechette. Even in the depths of her swoon, Sissy whimpered at the contact.

"Ah, demon, sir? Am I like, safe safe? Or safe until you're done with Sissy safe?"

The demon chuckled. "Oh, the innocence of this one! You are safe as long as you stay out of trouble. I have no control over what other nonsense you may get yourself into. And I smell bad choices all over you, Rechette. Perhaps you and I will see each other again." With that final pronouncement, the demon disappeared, taking Sissy and her Manolos with it. Rechette promptly collapsed on the floor. She drew her legs up to her chest and stared at the smeary chalky mess on the concrete. Hints of the sullen red still peeked through but even those faded within half a minute. After five minutes, the chalk marks were scoured away by an invisible hand. Rechette decided to start making smart choices, pushed herself to her feet and ran like hell.

28 October 2009

A Little Change of Pace

Because I have enough ego to believe that people want to read my stuff, I'm going to be posting some of my short, short fiction. This first piece, which I know many of my 3 readers have already read, is one I submitted to a contest on NPR. I didn't win. Or place. That doesn't mean it wasn't good though.

The nurse left work at five o’clock. As he was walking out the ER doors, a tall man rushed inside, almost knocking the poor tired nurse off his clogs.

“Sorry, sorry!” The man shouted over his shoulder. “I have an emergency! Please, help me!”

The nurse hesitated at the door, about to turn around and lend a hand, when another nurse hurried up to the tall man. “Sir, please calm down. Take a breath and tell me what’s wrong.”

The nurse sighed in relief and continued out the doors. He wasn’t cold-hearted, but it had been a long day and he needed a beer and a shower, possibly at the same time.

Back in the ER, the other nurse, a female, was attempting to calm the extremely agitated tall man. “Sir!” The nurse’s patience was strained. She too, had put in a long day and wanted nothing more than a beer and a shower, possibly at the same time. She shot a filthy look at the back of her rapidly retreating coworker. Then her attention was wrenched back to her panicky patient.

“Nurse, you have to help me!” The tall man, who had very dark brown hair and wild wide eyes, was tugging urgently at the sleeve of her scrubs top. The nurse desperately wished she could skip triage and pawn the tall man off on a doctor, but there was procedure to follow. Anyway, the only doctor she saw was walking rapidly away from her. Figures, she thought, it’s like how there is never a cop around when you need one.

The doctor pushed through the doors of the ER and entered the hospital proper. He knew that he’d be getting a page shortly about the tall, dark-haired man, but he’d be of no use to anyone if he didn’t get some coffee in his system. He fed a dollar into the coffee machine and took the paper cup full of liquid that claimed to be coffee. The doctor suspected that the grounds were cut with compost and antifreeze to keep costs down. He looked into the dark, oily depths, took a deep breath and chugged down the cup in several long swallows. A shudder traveled down his body. “Bleah!” He threw the empty cup in the trash and walked back to the ER just as his pager began to chirp at him.

He was about to push back through the doors when they burst open and the tall, dark-haired man ran out with the nurse in hot pursuit. The doctor attempted to dodge the tall man, but was run down. The air was crushed out of him as the tall man, followed closely by the nurse, landed heavily on his chest. The doctor lay on the floor, struggling for breath. He shoved at the people on top of him.

The tall dark-haired man raised his head and looked the doctor in the eyes. There was a second of confusion and then the tall man was pushing frantically away from the doctor. The nurse, who had managed to regain her feet, was knocked back down as the tall man recoiled from the doctor.

“NONONONONO!” The tall man was screaming, his dark hair standing out in all directions. The doctor made a mental note: get a psych consult. Before anyone could react, the tall man shot off back to the ER and out the door into the evening light.

The doctor and nurse looked at each other and shrugged. The nurse reached down a hand and helped the doctor up. He squeezed her hand gently. “Buy you a coffee?”

27 October 2009

*sigh

It can't be a good sign when you get all excited about a program you use adding a "save & exit" option. And by you, I mean me. This seems wrong somehow. It is much more convenient, though.

26 October 2009

The Rest of the Trip

I already covered the Ferris wheel, so here's a summary of the other non-food related things we did in Chicago.

Learned (sorta) to take the El. It doesn't work the same way as MTA. It's actually much simpler, but we still managed to take the wrong train a couple of times. My dad had some minor hissy fits, but it all worked out fine.

Went to Shedd Aquarium and saw a super corny show with a sea lion, belugas, dolphins, penguins, and (weirdly) some hawks. One of the hawks went AWOL and ended up sulking atop one of the trees surrounding the giant pool. Managed to be snarky to the dude talking about Alaskan otters. Those things are beyond adorable, BTW. Like fat, snub-nosed ferrets. Also saw a balance-impaired sea turtle named Nickle. Unfortunately, we went late in the day and didn't have time to cover the whole place. Oh, I almost forgot about the 4-D movie experience we had. It was mostly irritating as they squirted water in your face and poked you in the back. Good for the kiddies, I suppose.

Did a fair amount of browsing along the Magnificent Mile, walked the Navy Pier and along Lake Shore Drive. Took an architectural boat tour, in the rain, and learned that there are no private use buildings along Chicago's waterfront. Oh, and Mies van der Rohe was very fond of linear buildings. We wanted to do the Segway tour, but the weather was against us. Saturday night we went to the observation deck of the Hancock bldg and did the audio tour. And, it a brilliant bit of accidental awesomeness, we were up there when they did the fireworks at Navy Pier. It was a nice way to cap the trip off.

Chicago is a nice city. More friendly than Philly and cleaner than NYC. The streets smell like chocolate and the subway smelled like oranges - really. Very fond of revolving doors there. There's a fair amount of it that's "underground". You could be walking down the street when it would abruptly end, and you would have to seek out a stairwell and go subterranean. I definitely suggest you bring a raincoat and a hat because they aren't kidding about that Windy City thing. Also, there's no smoking within 15 feet of public buildings. Just an FYI.

Oh, and I was entirely wrong about the flight time - it's about an hour and a half. I got an aisle seat both ways, and got ass rubbed all over my arm and shoulder. People have very little sense of space. I also got whapped in the noggin by a dude waiting to deplane. He apologized, I let it go.

Heh, this has nothing to do with Chicago, but the driver who got us at the Philly airport looked a bit like a shorter Tahmoh Penikett and had a Russian accent. I wanted to bite him.

One Last Chicago Food Post

I'm sure everyone is rather bored with foodie talk, so I'm going to wrap it up.

Friday dinner was at a vegetarian place called the Green Zebra. I was sad that the decor did not reflect the name at all. Mostly bamboo and cream colored walls. Nice subdued lighting and a not intolerable noise level. Started off with a cocktail called "tea blossom". Tea-infused vodka, lemony junk - very tasty. The deal at the Zebra is you order several small plates. My dad went with the chef's tasting menu, 4 plates plus dessert. My mom and I went ala carte with 4 plates each. My dad asked our server, Ichabod (not really, but he had that look), for wine recommendations, and Ichabod said he could do a wine tasting with each course. We went for that option.

I'm not going to do a plate-by-plate breakdown, but here are the highlights. Parsnip and leek soup - divine. Smooth, creamy, awesome. My dad's housemade fusilli managed to suggest italian sausage without a speck of meat. My mom and I had a apple and onion tart with camembert that could have used more cheese (duh), but was still veryvery good. Dessert was a cheese plate with a 12-year old cheddar that made me all swoony...and more wine. I was not quite sodden when we left, but I was extraordinarily glad we weren't walking back to the hotel.

And lest you think I forgot, we did experience the Chicago hot dog. We went to Portillo's Saturday night, and I know there are people out there who would sneer at our choice, but it was a) convenient and b) fairly well recommended. The set-up is a wee bit confusing but the place wasn't crowded so we could do the clueless toursit bit without getting shit on. After reading about Chicago dog for weeks, I was more than ready for the experience. While I noticed a lack of celery salt, it was overall pretty damn good. Nice meaty hotdog and somehow all the toppings work together. It is a bit difficult to eat a hot dog with tomato, relish, a pickle spear, onions, sport peppers, and mustard on it, but I acquitted myself, if I do say so. Which I do. Obviously.

Chicago is a good eatin' town. I'm glad we walked a lot, or I would have needed and extra seat for the flight home. Which I could have used anyway, but that's the next post. Damn, I could eat another dog right now.

23 October 2009

The Blackbird Experience

If you are looking for an unbearably hip, "we want to be west coast", allow me to chop up your endive salad type of place - go to Blackbird.

The place was packed. The space is narrow and austere; nothing at all on the walls besides paint. There is a banquette along one wall with far too many tables lined up along it. And they were full. There is a short bar directly to your right when you come in with about 15 people behind it. Blackbird doesn't lack in the server/foodrunner/random people all over the place department.

The kitchen is partially visible. Our table was right next to it, and I got a view of the chefs - mostly from the chin up. My dad remarked that there must be some sort of requirement that the chefs have beards and wear glasses. And, as I said, the place was packed, but I didn't witness any meltdowns. So even if they were in the weeds, they weren't advertising it.

The drinks and wine menu wasn't especially extensive. My dad had a whisky souresque drink that was NOT pink. My mom and I drank sauvignon blanc. More about my mom and her wine in a moment. First, about the chopping of the endive salad.

My dad and I both started with the endive salad: endive, pancetta, dijon, poached egg, potato basket. It came out with the lettuces and everything arranged in a wicker-looking potato ring. The server then hacks it to pieces in front of you. I don't know why they feel that the servers are less likely to fling bits of egg and vegetation all over, because my guy managed to get potato in my lap and endive went squirting off the plate. It wasn't a huge mess, but it definitely wasn't any neater than I could have done. My mom declined an appetizer and had a second glass of wine.

There was quite a lag between appetizers and entrees, about 25 minutes. Presentation was a bit precious. My dad's mushroom schnitzel was clustered to one side of the large round plate with the veg. The rest of the plate was artfully swirled with some creamy honey sauce. My mom got a whopping 2 diver scallops with snow peas and sunchoke. Sunchoke has been on lots of menus here in Chicago. Must be the trendy ingredient du jour. I got rack of lamb with tomatoes and melrose peppers. It was beautifully cooked and the veg was super tasty. My mom gave my dad at least 3/4 of a scallop, which left her with 1 1/4. Mind you, she was on glass 3. That's right kids, Mom was tipsy. Very little protein, about 4 bites of bread, and some veg were not equal to the challenge of absorbing 3 glasses of wine. She wasn't embarrassing or anything, but she was a bit unsteady on her feet.

We all passed on dessert and stuck with coffee and tea. I had an omg delicious rooibos tea. I only wish I could have drank all of it, but by the time I got through a cup, it had brewed too long and wasn't as good. Plus we still had to take 2 different trains to get back to the hotel.

I'm not sorry we went to Blackbird, but I wouldn't go back. Too many people for that size space, menu was a bit too, and for the number of service people flitting around, I didn't feel especially well cared for. Don't get me wrong, they were nice, and aside from the potato in the lap, perfectly competent. I'm sure they get great whacks of cash at the end of the night and I can only hope the place stays trendy so they can pay their rent.

22 October 2009

Eating in Chicago

That dark picture over there is Sepia, the restaurant we ate at last night. Despite being about 8 minutes late for our reservation, we still had to wait a bit for the table. We went to the small lounge/bar area. My mom ordered some drink with ginger beer in it, and my dad got a pink concoction with gin in it somewhere. I stuck with a glass of Syrah.

After about 10 mi
n, our table was ready and we got seated in a nice cozy little corner. we were eating fairly late (8:30) but the noise level was still pretty high. Sepia is obviously a fairly "hip" place. The cuisine is, well, I guess gourmet Bavarian about covers it. For starters, we had salad (me), housemade sausage with lentils (Dad), and white bean soup with pork (Mom). The lentils were cooked with bacon and the soup had a pile of shaved marrow on it. Verrrrry rich. The bread was multi-grain rolls that had an unfortunate resemblance to poos. Tasted fine.

For the main course, we had short ribs with red cabbage and spatzle (me), flat iron steak with bone marrow beignets (Dad), and a beautiful pork chop with arugula and peaches (Mom). After sharing tastes, we agreed that I had made the best choice, but that bone marrow beignets are awesome. My mom was unable to finish off her chop (it was massive).

Aside from the noise level, which did drop as it got later, my biggest complaint would be the saltiness of the food. Yes, I know I'm Ms Anti-salt, but both my parents agreed. Otherwise, the service was super friendly and efficient and I would recommend Sepia to anyone with a slightly adventurous palate.

Lunch today was Topolobampo, one of Rick Bayless's restaurants. It shares a (noisy) bar with Frontera Grill, Bayless's other restaurant. The cuisine is Mexican/South American.

Starters: Tortilla soup with chicken, housemade sour cream and cheese for me and mom, the half-size Grand plate for my dad. The Grand plate came with half-a-dozen oysters and 2 different ceviches. One was tuna and apricot, the other was Hawaiian sunfish. Both were delicious. The soup was perfect as the nice weather of Wednesday abandoned us and it was rainy and gray and windy. Y'know, Chicago.

That dish over to the left is the seafood and black rice dish my mom ordered for her entree. I didn't have any, but she ate every last scrap, so I would assume it was full of yum. My dad got a potato dish with three different types of taters; yukon, fingerling, and purple. The was smoked and mashed, crunchy chips, and tiny purple potatoes scattered around. It was served with a nice roasted tomato sauce and a creamy cheesy sauce. I had Chichurron de Queso, which is basically a giant fried cheese wafer that was served with a mixed greens salad (tasty lime-serrano dressing) and chicken, avocado, and some bit that I'm fairly certain were peppers.
Here a picture of my meal, with my dad's potatoes in the background:

I also had agua de jamaica, which was a beautiful magenta color and was sweetly fruity with a good tea taste to it. My dad had another pink concoction, this time with hibiscus. The server said it was rust-colored. I would have tipped extra just for that.

Tonight is dinner at Blackbird, so I'm gonna go get dressed. If I'm not stuffed into stuperousness, I'll write about it tonight.

Pictures from the Ferris Wheel

My mom managed to coerce my dad, who has a dislike of heights, into taking a ride on the Ferris wheel at the Navy Pier. It was a cloudy-ish afternoon, so the pictures aren't fantastic, but I think I did OK. Especially considering I took them with my phone.

16 October 2009

"What's the matter with you guys? The sight of blonde hair knocks you three rungs down on the evolutionary ladder."

A funny and mildly disgusting thing happened at work today. For some reason, I decided to leave my hair down for a while. Don't quite know why. I wasn't even thinking about turning it into one of my little social experiments, a la the make-up experiment. Regardless of my reasons, I of course got some reactions since I leave my hair down about as often as, well, I just don't.

There I was, sitting at my desk, chatting with some coworkers, hair just right out there, when Stoneface walked by. And I got one hell of a double-take. Which made me cackle. The mildly disgusting part comes courtesy of jr who said that I should seduce him. My response? Blergh! His apparent appreciation of, or utter shock at, my unleashed tresses does not make him remotely attractive to me. But I guess it's nice to know that some people really are that simple.

Completely unrelated: Phaedra is still alive and well. She lost one of her leaves, but I think it was dead before I got her home.

14 October 2009

Workplace Etiquette

We all know that I'm not the most business-like person on the planet. I don't wear suits and heels, my language isn't always on point, but for the most part I comport myself as a reasonable facsimile of a responsible, level-headed adult. Not so for some of my coworkers.

Last night, I was sitting quietly at my desk, reading my Iain M. Banks, when I heard agitated squawking coming from the row behind me. I have no idea what she was angry about, but it made her loud. Yes, it was late in the day and the office was mostly empty, but A) you are not supposed to talk on your cell while on the call floor (a rule I abide by), and B) don't be yelling on your cell when other people are on the phone doing work related things, and C) really? I don't need to know about your personal life. I don't need to know that your friend, boyf, sister, mom, au pair, won't let you finish a sentence. And while I agree that it isn't very nice to call someone an asshole, you certainly were acting like one. Then, just to cap it off, she proceeded to log out of her (work) phone and storm off outside without consulting the supervisor. Which brings me to...

...the Sleazy Supervisor. He's one of the newer supervisors and is a completely unsubtle checker-outer. I've not experienced any sleaze first hand, but have spoken with people who have. I think part of it comes from the fact that he'll wear a polo and has his chest hair sprouting out of the collar. But that has nothing to do with this. I bring him up because he was manning the desk last night and did NOTHING about my irate cowoker. Didn't say "Get off the phone" or "Take it outside" or even "Keep it down". Nada. It is your job! Do something! You're sleazy Mr. Bossman now - you can't overlook shit like this all the time. You don't get to be the friend. At most, you can be the cool supervisor, but I don't think that's going to happen.

Please don't think that I am personally offended by my coworker's behaviour. She's still young and is inclined to be a bit hot-headed. I mostly wanted to shake my head sadly at her and remark that she'll never get respect at work if she continues to act like a child. Not that she may want respect, but still. Something to think about. It's a cliché, but you have to grow up sometime.

05 October 2009

A New Addition

I have a new feeling of terror. It blossomed on Saturday night when my dad approached me, hand held out. He shook my hand and proclaimed, "You are the proud owner of an orchid."

Well shit.

This is my orchid, Phaedra. Isn't she lovely? I won her at the silent auction portion of the Blue Moon auction (benefits Planned Parenthood). I was so taken by her bold pink blooms and broad green leaves; I couldn't NOT bid on her.

I know, I know. Those of you who are aware of my tendencies towards herbicide are wondering just what the fuck I'm doing with a delicate tropical plant. Especially after my psuedo-litho, Rocky, hurled himself to his death rather then live on my windowsill. Here is my theory: I'm practically incapable of sustaining a plant (cacti, bamboo) that requires relatively little intervention. Though, in my defense, I think the bamboo was destroyed by the introduction of cat pee into its environment (read: my, or possibly my former roommate's cat, pissed on it). I thought that maybe a plant that needs more attentive care (and cost $60) would force me to learn about plant care.

In any event, I spent a good fraction of last night learning about orchids. I'm fairly certain that Phaedra is a phalaenopsis, but this is based solely on comparing her to pictures I found online. I learned that the leaves aren't supposed to be wet. I promptly went over to her and blotted the droplets of water off her leaves. They like strong, indirect sunlight. This was a slightly more complicated issue to resolve, but I think I found a home for her on the end table. Unfortunately, my apartment has no south-facing window, which is supposed to be the ideal location. I hope she'll be happy sharing a table with my modem.

And yes, I named my orchid. I also talk to her. I want her to be happy and to thrive, or at least to survive. I will stroke her leaves. I will diligently check her moisture levels. I will obtain a fluorescent light (if I must) to supplement the natural light that may or may not be sufficient for her. I have no plans to make a showing at the Flower Show or anything; I just don't want her to die because I refuse to believe that I am capable of tending to a plant. And I really hope my cats don't eat her.

29 September 2009

The World Is My Laboratory

I wore a skirt to work yesterday. Nothing fancy; just a plain black skirt that hit me an inch or so below the knee. From the reactions of some of my coworkers, you would have thought that I was wearing a shiny leather micro mini with hooker heels. Anyway, in the spirit of my sociological forefathers and mothers, I decided to run a little experiment today. Depending on my observations, I could string this out all week.

Today, I put on mascara. Yep, I put on make-up in the name of science. See, if wearing a shortish skirt is an infrequent occurrence, the application of make-up is practically unheard of. While it's not quite going undercover as a Hell's Angel, it's definitely a deviation from my normal routine, and I'm curious to see if anyone make a comment.

Now, I'm not doing this to see how well people pay attention to me, in particular, it's just easier to do this solo. I'm thinking that if no one notices the mascara today, I may add eyeliner tomorrow. And if no one notices that, lip gloss the following day. I guess that point is to see how far outside my norm I have to go before it's commented upon. As of 1:30ish, no one has said anything. Updates to follow.

It is now after 5 pm and nothing. It would seem that mascara is a bit too subtle. Personally, I think it's a fairly obvious difference, but I did, after all, apply the stinkin' stuff.

25 September 2009

Pssssssssss

I was watching Wicked Attraction with a friend last night when I happen to look over at my cat. He was still very still in front of my hallway closet.

"Are you peeing?"

He glances at me and looks away. He doesn't move.

"Are you fucking peeing?!"

He doesn't move.

I go charging over to him and he flees away across the living room. I crouch down.

"Did he pee?" asks my friend.

I extend a trembling finger to a suspicious-looking dark spot on my apartment grade carpet. Wet. "Yes," I spit out, "he peed." I go wash my hands and grab the paper towels. I mop up his mess and spray carpet cleaner.

As annoying as this incident was, after the scares I had with him regarding the urinary blockages, I was glad that he was peeing. I only wish he had done it in the litter box. I can't help but wonder if that's just his spot to pee and that was the first time I caught him in the act.


22 September 2009

Mea Culpa

I'm sorry, company that provides me with employment. I never should have said that you don't care about your employees. You have proved to me that you have a conscience and I am ever so sorry to have doubted you.

Behold, my friends: The company-branded mug, with company mandated lid! (pic to follow) It doesn't slice, it doesn't dice, but it will insure that there will be a line of people waiting impatiently at the kitchen sink to wash out their official mug. With lid.

I have to wonder, in all seriousness, how much this is really going to offset anything. I understand that we go through a fair amount of disposable cups and lids, but is the extra use of hot water going to negate our trash-reduction? I don't know the numbers so I'm not making any claims.

In other my-company-really-cares news, we are now getting company paid basic life insurance and long-term disability. Everyone I tell says "That's good," but I'd much rather have had a raise. I wasn't paying for either of those before, mostly because I don't have any dependents. Well, the cats, but I'd assume that my parents would take (temporary) custody and my investments would provide plenty of kibble.

14 September 2009

No Good Deed...

I try to be a good person - Stop laughing! Seriously, stop! OK fine, I'll wait until you're done...

Better? Good.

Anyway, I was at the light at Red Lion and Philmont this morning and there was a car in the left-hand turn lane. I notice the passenger crane his head around and, dammit, I should have been looking in the other direction. The passenger makes the universal sign for "I'm a dickhead and got into the wrong lane. Will you be a sucker and allow me to cut in front of you when the light changes?" I gave the "Fine, but I'm not going to smile about it" head jerk. Mistake.

First of all, if someone is nice enough to let you in, you do it with alacrity, right? Don't get all wishy-washy and dither about. This person was NOT efficient. Then they went slowly and loopily down the road. I had hopes that they would go left at 232, but no. They made a, yep, slow and loopy right-hand turn onto 232 and failed to accelerate. I thought for sure they were going to come to a stop and I was going to have to curse loudly. They did not stop, but neither did they exceed 25 mph. Mind you, the speed limit on that road is never lower than 35, except in the one school zone and it was well past that time. So we go putt-putting past Bryn Aythn and Cairnwood and then, blessings upon us all, their left turn signal comes on just before Byberry. Yes, my punishment is ended! Alas, no, it was not quite over.

Instead of making a left-hand turn and relieving me of my ill-conceived good karma gesture, they stop. that's right. Dead. Stop. There was no oncoming traffic. There was no fluffy little bunny in the middle of the road. I can only surmise that there was a vortex in the space-time continuum that only awful drivers could see and they were searching for the best way to avoid getting sucked into a parallel dimension. Luckily for me, I am not a terrible driver (and yes, I know everyone thinks they are a good driver. Just roll with me on this one.) and I was far enough behind them that I could swerve around them on the shoulder. I checked my mirror a couple yards past them, and they were still sitting cluelessly in the middle of the road.

Before you decide that I'm completely uncharitable; I do understand that people get lost and drive around aimlessly like stupid-faced sheep. There is no shame in being lost, just do it with authority please. You don't lose points if you have to circle the block, or double-back. Some of us are familiar with the area and are on our way to work and do not want to get all pissed off (mostly at themselves) for letting some dope cut in front of them at a red light. This is why people are mostly out for themselves.

08 September 2009

Back From Holiday

(Did you read the title in a British accent? No? Go back and try that. Pretty cool, huh? Hey, leave me alone. I'm coming off of a really long weekend.)

Exciting news on the cheap gas and made-to-order sandwich front. There is now a gas-station Wawa around the corner from me on Bustleton. Which is fantastic because my car loooooves Wawa gas. And it can be right on my way to work. Until this Wawa opened, I had to go to either Grant (not convenient), or up to Trevose (only occasionally convenient). I made a stop this morning and promptly drove over the short median in the entrance/exit. Luckily for my ego, I saw someone else do exactly the same thing. I may be a doofus, but I'm not the only doofus.

On a side note, I saw a Pepto-colored Neon this morning. Isn't that a sign of the Apocalypse? Lo, the cars shall become colors not naturally found in the world and the Almighty shall look down and be displeased. I mean really, who thinks that anything (other than Pepto) should be Pepto-colored? I wonder if it's the same person who told Dave & Buster's that Pepto pink would be a fantastic choice for the ladies' room?

I realize that it has been an unusually long time since my last post. Part of the reason is because I'm trying my hand at short story writing. I even entered a contest! I haven't heard anything about being named a finalist or anything, but at least I tried, right? Of course, I'm now completely paranoid that I forgot to include my email, or typed it incorrectly when submitting my entry and the judges actually LOVE my story but can't get a hold of me. I even had a dream that they read my story on the air (NPR bitches!) and said "If you wrote this story, please call in and claim your prize." Then, after I woke up, I wondered just how I would prove that I did indeed write the story. It's not like I could supply a DNA sample or anything. And it's such a random little story. I don't think you could even compare it to other stuff I've written. Especially not the water torture story. That is NOT a sweet little slice of life. Oh, and before anyone gets all "Woohoo! A writer!" I haven't submitted anything to any sort of publication, or written more than an handful of stories.

20 August 2009

o. m. g.

You had to call the drug company to find out how many teaspoons are in two tablespoons? Have you heard of the internet?

Also, I weep for the future. I was in the bathroom last night at the movie theater and there were two teenage girls who could not figure out how to operate the towel dispenser. Dispensers that say to turn the wheel if no paper is hanging out. Can you read? Please don't breed.

14 August 2009

Reading Material

Not that I would EVER use company resources to do so, but I have been reading these two webcomics. Both are very good and you should read them too.

Sin Titulo
Templar, AZ

13 August 2009

Thursday Afternoon Randomness

For the record, Dave and Buster's has some of the foulest smelling bathrooms ever. And why, for the love of gender neutrality, is the womens' potty painted the color of Pepto? I think I have permanent retinal damage. I also learned that squatting/hovering when you pee can lead to bladder problems later on in life; something called Old Lady Bladder (or similar). It would seem that your bladder doesn't empty completely when peeing in that position. Moral of the story? If there are seat covers, use 'em and plop your ass down.

I have been a cat owner for many years and I still cannot figure out how a cat can manage to puke hairy green nasty right where I'm gonna step. Nothing like cold bile-infused hairball to really start the morning off right. The splatter factor was amazing, too.

A bit of info for the men out there; feel free to use omeprazole if you have prostate issues, or use Viagra. Because what's the point of having a northward pointing peen if you're all reflux-y?

I thought I had another bit of randomness, but it would seem I was mistaken.

12 August 2009

Omegle, Oh My

Ever want to talk to a perfect stranger? And you don't even have the safety of shared interests to fall back on? Omegle allows you to chat with random strangers all over the planet. Shockingly enough, there is a fairly high percentage of pervs and losers. I have one convo start off with "Omegle is required by law to tell you that you are chatting with a registered sex offender" or something very similar. That conversation ended when I said I was legal. Pervert #2 threatened to rape me if I didn't say I was 15.

It wasn't all bad, though. Had a nice chat with a dude in Boston who owns a Jack Russell and is involved in MMA. Then I had an interesting convo with a young dude in Australia. He tried to fuck with me so I condescended to him. Things went much better after that. It's amazing how fast people straighten out when you call them 12 year olds. Anyway, if you ever read this, random 23 year old Australian stranger, thanks for the distraction and I'll be sure to check out Top Gear next time it is on.

Although I had not head of Omegle until yesterday, it's been around since March of this year. Tumblr has pages and pages of Omegle conversations where people fuck with each other, or sometimes have these funny and brilliant chats about zombies. Or sometimes it all just comes together.

I don't know that I'll spend a lot of time at Omegle, but it was an entertaining 45 minutes.

11 August 2009

Brief Work Rant then GI Joe Review

This is another shout out to my cost-cutting place of employment. Thanks to their penny-pinching, I got coffee on my enrollment forms, my notepad, all over my desk, and I possibly left a trail of coffee droplets from the lunch room to my desk.

If knowledge is power, then know this: GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra is not a good movie. I didn't even think it was bad enough to be cheesetastic. To spice things up, I suggest smuggling in your alcoholic beverage of choice and taking a slug everytime they refer to their unit/people as "Joes". You'll be unconscious halfway through the movie.

The CGI during the accelerator suit scenes was Spiderman rubbery. The acting should have been so flexible. Dennis Quid was about as poseable as a GI Joe action figure. In Sienna Miller's defense, I could tell she was having a blast playing the bad guy, and she looked pretty hot in her skin-tight black outfit, but (nothing to do with anything) her calves are way too skinny. I did dig on her cool specs though. Channing Tatum isn't hot enough to get away with lousy acting and seeing Marlon Waynes shirtless wasn't anything I had been waiting breathlessly for. I thought Christopher Eccleston was fine, but I'm also enamored of his jug handle ears, so I'm willing to forgive a lot. Anyone psyched by the fact that Dr. Mindbender is in the movie? Yeah, it's a blink and you'll miss it scene. There's a part with the Baroness at the end that everyone I talked to thought was laaaame.

Some of the best scenes were with young Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. Those kids whaled on each other. There is the obligatory training montage for Duke and Ripcord with Rip being cocky and Duke being stubborn. The Scarlett/Rip quasi-romantic subplot (barely deserves the word) wasn't squicky or anything, but you weren't really pulling for those crazy kids. If you want my opinion, and you obviously do since you're reading this, wait for the DVD. If you can't wait, see a matinee.

04 August 2009

People Really Ask This

All right, I know this post isn't going to do much good, but I have to say something and the people at work are bored with my ranting (go figure).

Acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, and ibuprofen do NOT contain aspirin. Aspirin contains aspirin.

Thank you.

30 July 2009

Fucking Science

You've probably seen some items in the news about how divorced or widowed people are more likely to have chronic health and/or mental health issues. And that remarriage doesn't mitigate all the effects this. I had so far avoided reading about this because I get all salty when studies are done about divorced women and they (the results of the study) invariably make it sound like divorced, or never-married, women are sad, pathetic, ill, and depressed. I finally decided to read some of the articles. I got salty.

Here are some highlights from the WebMD article:

Compared to married people who had never been divorced or widowed, people who had lost a spouse to death or divorce but were not remarried at the time they were surveyed were 22% more likely to have chronic health conditions and 27% more likely to have mobility issues.

“People who did not remarry had significantly worse health than people who did, so remarriage helps,” Waite says. “But it does not erase the effects of being widowed or divorced.”

Well, isn't that a happy "fuck you" to us divorced women. As I couldn't find the actual article from the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, I don't have any information about how long people were married before the death or divorce happened, the age of the person during said event, or how long they were alone and sad before a remarriage. I can feel my sense of mental and physical well-being slowly eroding beneath the onslaught of social science.

Yes, I know that statistics are easily manipulated, and that extrapolating from a sample to a larger population can skew data. And that I'm not necessarily part of that 27% that will have mobility issues. I wasn't going to break out the walker, but if I don't get remarried soon, I may need to get me a Jazzy Chair. Yee-hah!

29 July 2009

Embarrassing Confession Time

Why not? Confession is good for the soul, right?

I think I'm attracted to this kid at work because he kinda looks like Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter. Oy. Probably of an age, too. I'm gross.

28 July 2009

Random Piece of Advice

Please do not store Rolos in the same container as Dubble Bubble gum. It is an inharmonious mingling of flavors. Blech.



An Odd Confluence of Events

During my lunch breaks I have been reading The Brain That Changes Itself. It's about neuroplasticity and it is seriously interesting. And it makes me want to learn how to knit, or foxtrot, or become a neurologist. OK, maybe I'm not going to do the last one, but learning about the brain and how it works and changes is pretty fucking cool.

Sunday afternoon I took a trip to Barnes & Noble. Yes, I voluntarily sought out the source of my addiction. I wasn't sure what I wanted to read, but I had been itching (almost literally) for something new. After doing a reread of a couple of books; I was ready to move on. Unfortunately, and irritatingly, the OV B&N is doing a remodel and the Sci-Fi/Fantasy section was moved, down-sized, and in considerable disarray. Really, did they have to make more room for calendars and board games? Stop hatin' on the nerds! I digress.

After some grumpy browsing and a quick consultation of the book-finding computer (BTW, the Sci/Tech section was not where the computer said it was), I managed to find 4 books. Three of them were books I had deliberately searched for, and the 4th was a random selection by an author I had read once before and enjoyed; James Rollins. The book was The Last Oracle. (Sorry B, I know I said it was Omega somethingorother, but Omega does factor into the story. Again, I digress.)

The point? Oh yeah. My point is that I was reading the Rollins book last night and the concept of neuroplasticity came into play. One of the characters said something about Hebb's Law and I knew what they were talking about before the explanation was offered! No, I'm not going to tell you what it is. Go look it up; learning is good for you. They were talking about neurons, and brain maps, and synapses and I knew all about it. Well, as much as a person who is reading a popsci book can know anything about anything.

I just thought it was neat that I was reading about neuroplasticity and BAM, there it is in a novel I'm also reading. You may now return to whatever more interesting thing you were doing.

09 July 2009

Harry Potter and Whiny French

I went to see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince last night. I wasn't so excited about the movie that I had gotten tickets in advance; a friend* had an extra and asked if I wanted to go. Sure, why not?

The theater was crowded, as expected. We got there early enough that we found seats together - I even got the aisle (my preferred seating if the theater is packed). Not that any of this is important. There wasn't anything especially interesting trailer-wise. I'm still not sure how I feel about this Sherlock Holmes movie coming out around Christmas. It seems a bit too splosiony.

On to the movie. Visually, the movie was stunning. The colors were amazing and dreamy. There is definitely a thicker thread of darkness woven through this story, anyone who has read the books knows this. Unfortunately, the movie felt choppy and disjointed. The Lavender-Ron ickiness was pretty funny, though I personally think Rupert Grint is a bit too goofy-looking to inspire such maniacal devotion.** But what do I know? The first half to two-thirds of the movie leaned on the comedy, probably to make up for the death and unhappiness in the last part. Jim Broadbent was excellent as Prof. Slughorn and Alan Rickman did his usual creepy awesomeness as Snape. Though the subject material doesn't leave much room for the actors to stretch, Daniel Radcliffe did manage to add some dimension to Harry. Still young and uncertain, but trying very hard to grow up and face his destiny. I may be biased because I had the squirmy urge throughout the film to bite on Radcliffe's stubborn little chin (What? He's 19).

Dumbledore's death didn't really have much emotional impact for me. I'll admit that I flinched a bit when Snape Avada Kedavra'd Dumbledore, but I wasn't even close to tears during the weird "wands-aloft" scene. It's been a while since I've read the book, but I think that Dumbledore's funeral, as written, would have had more emotional impact. Not to mention, it's also where Ron and Hermione grow closer and Harry has his conversation with Ginny about searching for the remaining Horcruxes. The scene in the tower was just awkward.

It probably seems like I hated the movie, but I didn't. Knowing the story ahead of time, not to mention knowing how the whole shebang ends, makes the movie-going experience a little less...something.

This isn't all about Harry, though. I read an article yesterday about France and Sunday shopping. Apparently there has been a law on the books for around 100 years that makes Sunday a mandatory day of rest in France. Had no idea. Anyway, it looks like there are going to be more stores open on Sundays and some Frenchies are pissed. They say that having shopping (or trading) available on Sundays makes materialism more important than family values. I say, don't bloody well go shopping then. Just because the stores are open doesn't mean your government is going to march you out and make you buy shoes. Stay home, chill with your family, have a nice lunch. If you do that, then you can look down your aquiline French sniffer at the base consumers who decide that wandering around the shops on Sunday is a nice way to spend an afternoon.

But get this: workers can refuse Sunday hours. And in certain cities (Paris, for one) will get double OT for working Sundays. So, optional Sunday hours and double OT to boot. That actually sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Work a couple of weeks of Sundays and you could have enough money to take a trip to America where we are open 24-hrs a day, 7 days a week. Suck on that.

*The friend I went to see the movie with made comments during the film in something approaching her normal speaking volume. Very annoying and exceptionally noticeable as the theater was remarkably quiet for being 95% full. I did shush her at one point, but it didn't take. **Also, Rupert Grint is far more attractive in the EW photo spread I just looked through. They must do something to goofify him for the movies. Poor ginger dude.

06 July 2009

[insert expletive here]

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Fuckfuckfuckfuck! FUCK!!! I fucking hate this place! I hate the people who whine when they don't get their way and I hate the people who think I don't already have work to do and I hate that I hate it and that it makes me angry! Fucking Princess and fucking Stoneface. I wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. I wouldn't warn you if a bus were bearing down. Don't even think you'd be getting a kidney from me. If I believed in hell, I'd hope you rot in it. I hope that you get exactly what you deserve. You are badbadbad people.

02 July 2009

A Thursday That's a Friday Randomness

It is a sad, sad day when the thing that generates the most excitement is a fire drill. The biggest differences between a drill at work and the ones I remember from school are that A) I can smoke while we are outside, and B) it doesn't matter who I stand with once I've checked in with my fire marshal.

There is definitely a pre-holiday vibe happening today. Management generously (ha) allowed us to treat today as a Friday, minus the usual Friday bagels (which is a point of contention). So it's jeans and sneaks. Or, in the case of my one coworker, a tube dress and flip flops.

I'm sure some of you were hoping for a Transformers movie review, but the whole thing smeared together and has all but faded from my mind. There was robot-on-robot action, robot-on-Shia action, robots embodying stupid racial stereotypes, evil human-hating robots, military dudes dropping corny one-liners, John Turturro in a thong (really), crashbangboomLinkinParkloopyShiahotMeganFoxlalalalalalalalalacrashwhacktheend. It made me want to drive home very fast and punch things.

That's really all I've got for now. I should go back to my DE and hope that 5 o'clock comes quickly.

26 June 2009

Huh

The company I work for put a freeze on raises and bonuses for this years because of the economy. However, they are perfectly willing to shell out the cash for alcohol and sanitizing wipes, and for that hand sanitizer gel. They will gladly weaken our immune systems because there is a pandemic, but won't put up the cash for a cost of living raise. I don't even feel like I'm benefiting at all because I won't use that crap.

22 June 2009

Subway Story

I was putting off posting this story because I felt that it was the kind of thing that came off better in person. However, I'm not going to deny the rest of the world by restricting my stories to people I see on a semi-regular basis.

We were on the subway heading uptown to the Guggenheim. My dad and I were sitting next to each other and my mom was across from us. The train was moderately crowded, so there were some people standing. One of those people was, well, I call him the Australian Urban Cowboy. He was a tallish, rangy fella. He was wearing what I've been calling a drover's hat but may be some other kind of hat entirely, worn carpenter jeans, a black shirt with a work vest (think Carhartt). There were earplugs in his ears, a chain on his wallet, and a lanyard around his neck. Attached to the back of the lanyard was one of those little blinky lights that runners and bikers use to increase their visibility. On his feet were what I thought were engineer boots. But after a closer look, I realized he was wearing black wellies with spurs strapped on. I know, I know. It's New York and the odd is commonplace and even if something is especially weird, I'm supposed to be all jaded and blase and not make any sort of fuss. Sure, the dude could have been a construction worker or something, but he wasn't dirty, or carrying a hardhat. His clothing looked more like he bought it secondhand. Y'know, old but not super crappy.

Well, I didn't make a fuss. I stared at the floor like a native and I'm so glad I did because if I hadn't, I would have missed what came next.
I'm gazing absently at this dude's spurs and I notice a sandaled foot edging closer to the AUC's boot. I nudged my dad. "She's not gonna...?" "Naw, no way!" We both watched, rapt, as the woman sitting next to my mom reached out with her silver-painted toes and ever-so-gently zzzzzing! spun the rowel of the AUC's spur. My dad and I stuffed fists in our mouths to stifle the gales of laughter that were threatening to break out. I snuck a glance at the woman and she had a smile on her face like sunshine breaking through the clouds. After the rowel stopped its spinning, the foot reached out again. This time, however, the AUC happened to glance down and the woman hurriedly pulled back her foot. Shortly after that, the AUC strode to the other end of the car and I saw the woman looking after him longingly. I don't think it was because she found him attractive or anything, but because she was so entranced by the spurs. Maybe she had never seen spurs before. Or maybe she had a torrid affair with a cowboy many years ago and the spurs made her remember those days fondly. Just one more thing I will never know the answer to.

16 June 2009

My Trip to Lower Manhattan

I spent some time in NY this weekend. We stayed at the Millennium Hilton across the street from Ground Zero. Call me callous or lacking in national pride, but I didn't really have any feelings of loss or sorrow. I was amazed at the scope of the construction that is currently going on, but I didn't hear the screams of the dying as I looked down on the site. Plus the place was surrounded by people with pamphlets purporting to tell the "truth" about 9/11.

Moving right along. Across Dey from the hotel is Century 21. While it once may have been New York's best kept secret; it's now a madhouse of bargain hunters. The building it is housed in used to be a bank. Now it's several floors of massive consumerism as designed by MC Escher. I went down several secret staircases to find the shoes but somehow ended up at street level. If I ever return to Century 21, it will not be on a Saturday and I will plan to devote (at least) the morning. Then maybe come back after a fortifying lunch at the Stage Door Deli. But I do get shopping burnout rather quickly so who knows.

I got a nice tour of the MTA. For the most part, we managed to figure out what trains we needed to take, but there were a few mishaps. For example, we needed to take the 2 or 3 over to Chelsea and I accidentally (and with the utmost confidence) led everyone down to the "L" trains. Oops. Luckily we managed to find our way to the correct platform with only a minimum of crotchety bitching from my dad.

We got to be among the first thousand people or so to walk along the newly opened High Line on Saturday. While there were several ways to exit the High Line (12, 14, 16, 18 and 20th), you could only go up at 12th. Apparently they are assessing the traffic before opening it fully. It was kind of nice to meander along what used to be an elevated rail line. Nature took back hers and now it's a skinny designer concrete path zigzagging between the remains of the rails and sprouts of greenery. After our wander, we ate lunch at a cute little Mexican place called Los Dados. Decent guac, yummy shrimp enchiladas, cute gayboy waiter, terrible sinks in the bathroom. Seriously. They were tiny and the faucet was on the side and you could barely get your hands in there. If you eat there, use the handicapped bathroom (y'know, if no handicapped people need it) because that sink is much, much better.

Friday night, we opted to do the tourist thing and headed down to the South Street Seaport. Had drinks (a Blue Moon) and apps (watermelon, feta, and red onion salad) at a place called Sequoia (I think) and then headed over to a brewery-slash-bbq joint for the main event. My dad and I had a pretty decent wheat something or other while my mom went for the IPA. Then I ate a shit-ton of ribs and had some cheese grits (tasted like cream of wheat with Velveeta mixed in). Then I exploded. It's a damn good thing we had walked about 22k steps that day.

Friday was a visit to the Guggenheim to see the Frank Lloyd Wright exhibit. It was really cool to see models of the stuff that didn't get built like the crazy car park/planetarium and the rich person playground built into the hills of southern California. The Guggenheim is an awesome museum but walking uphill the whole way wears on ya. They were doing a promo and we got the audio tour for free but I managed to miss around 95% of it. The numbers you punch in to hear the info were not readily apparent so I gave up after a bit. As we were resting near the top of the spiral, my dad and I had a discussion about the best way to rollerskate down - you know, without killing yourself or getting arrested.

It was nice of the weather to cooperate. We got into Manhattan right after some rain and headed out Saturday afternoon just as more was coming in. Of course, it was raining pretty hard when we got into Hamilton, but as we were most of the way home, no big deal.

We also hit Battery Park and the Hudson River Park. I don't have much to say about that. Oh, and next time you're in NY, make sure to look for the little metal dudes in the subway.