Friday, March 14, 2008

Inspiration: Fingernails & burritos

Granted, the post title could be a messy combination, but it is/was completely innocent.

I was driving to work Friday morning - how I loathe the commute - and took the opportunity to engage in some clandestine people watching.

Staring at people from the inside of a car is an art. You're sitting in your metal box with wheels - and they're sitting inside theirs. When you're stopped at one of the traffic lights that litter this part of suburbia like politician's lies in the run-up to Election Day, the last thing you really want to do is have someone actually NOTICE you staring at them.

The art of a good traffic stop stare is to watch the action, but also to watch for subtle moment when they "know" they're being watched, and just at that moment shift your gaze to look "past" the person. You need to be able to wordlessly communicate the fact that you weren't staring at them, you were calmly listening to music, staring off into space, dreaming behind the wheel.

Of course, they probably know that you've just been staring at them, but they've got no proof - and unless they're packing, there is precious little they can do about it, short of getting out of the car and making a scene the likes of which Russell Crowe would enjoying throwing phones in.

One word of advice: Never give a good stare at someone likely to be packing. This includes vehicles displaying NRA bumper stickers, Confederate flags bumper stickers and anything with a W '04 sticker left over from Bush vs. Kerry. People who vote Republican are crazy.

What's the point of all this? Sometimes you capture more beautiful slice-of-life action in the ten seconds you're stopped at a traffic light than you do all week on CBS. Particularly if you're watching "Two and a Half Men."

I was gridlocked at the intersection of two major cross streets this morning, when a beat-up sable Acura Vigor careened from four lanes over into the left turn lane trying to catch the arrow and get onto the road headed for downtown.

In the car were three Hispanic women, obviously lively for this time of the morning when I wished I could crawl back into bed. They were eating what I can only believe to be takeout breakfast burritos from a really odd Mexican/Chinese storefront takeout in the shopping plaza they just pulled out from.

I don't know who they were, or where they were going, but it was just a perfect scene of three friends laughing, eating and enjoying their free time in the moments before they headed off to some hopefully not too soul-deadening job.

I didn't get too good a look at the driver, but the car was stopped in traffic long enough for me to get a good read on the woman in the passenger seat and in the back seat.

Passenger seat had that fiery red-black hair that looks so beautiful on some women. It was done up in big curls and had a lively bounce. She was half turned in the seat to talk to the woman in the back, and chomping on a burrito and swigging from a bottle of Dasani. Her nails were this ruby shade of enamel polish, and she had a set of talons on her. She's probably a hell of a lover, a fighter and wears her emotions on her sleeve.

Back seat looked like she was rushing to finish her burrito, taking big bites and holding her hand over her mouth not to laugh too hard and spew food everywhere. She would laugh and her ebony curls would bounce all over the place. She had nails too, but she had green - almost the color of emeralds - polish on.

No one in the car knew I was staring, and I doubt they would have cared. It was a beautiful scene - and over all too quickly.

Traffic kept moving, the driver handed the woman in the passenger seat the water bottle back and the car shot forward like the women were late for an appointment with God - or a timeclock.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Today's findings: Ham, egg & feta burrito

Not dead, but the flu has left me decidedly weaker and with a persistent cough.

I have been driven from my apartment by the idiots at Comcast. As soon as "John Adams" is finished on HBO, I am going to cancel my HBO & Showtime. Maybe I'll start back up my NetFlix and just get stuff thataway.

But I have discovered a new coffee house, a local place that opened up not too far from my apartment. The coffee isn't much to write home about, but there is free WiFi. And a colorful cast of local characters hanging around. Think "Coffee of Doom" from the Questionable Content webcomic.

So I found inspiration - a ham, egg, roasted red pepper and feta cheese breakfast burrito. Overpriced at $6.95, especially as I didn't eat the unpreposessing slab of watermelon which accompanied it, nor the "salsa" that looked like ketchup, but the burrito was excellent. The feta cheese really gave the whole ham and egg thing a lift. I had a raspberry white chocolate scone for dessert. It was yummy.

The cast of characters here is really something. This little cafe is probably what the prototype for "neighborhood coffee shop" should be - except that I've been the only paying customer for the past 45 minutes. Well, there is this crazy homeless man in the corner, who seems to keep getting food without visibly paying for it. He has knocked back two cookies, a scone and four cups of coffee. I wonder what his story is - I know he has one. And who is paying his bills? I mean, if they like old, crazy and scruffy, I need to be in on that action!

Now he is singing along to whatever is on the radio. Pat Benatar should ONLY be sung by Pat Benatar. He'll talk to anyone - and thus far I have managed to avoid his efforts at conversation. I'm not minded by his presence, but he needs to stay on his side of the personal comfort zone. Crazy homeless people rarely seem to understand that not everyone wants to talk to them.

Hmm. Let me think about that for a second. I guess society has failed this old buzzard - and we should all be more forgiving. I wonder if he's mentally ill or just one of those people that have slipped through the cracks and is just wandering around without a home or family or anything to hang on to - and he thinks of the coffee shop as home. I wonder where he sleeps.

I just caught a glimpse of coin-slot as one of the "baristas" bent over to pick up something she dropped on the floor. Lovely way to start the lunch hour. The Coin Slot Cafe - $4 for the lattes, the baristas are a quarter out back!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Please help me survive the day

I think I'm going to die. I have the flu - or at least the symptoms thereof and am currently feverish and sweating like a drag queen in line at an Army recruiting office. Bitch know she gonna get found out and won't get to see the pretty marines take their clothes off.

And I tried a new deli for lunch - girls, avoid turkey, cranberry and dressing sandwiches made by Cubans. If it don't come from your grandma, leave it at home! Lord. My head hurts, my stomach is doing a Flying Wallenda number and my eyes are crossing. I think I'm going to die. Ohhhhh. I have bad gas too.

These thin-blooded heifers keep the temperature in the office so hot. One turned it up to 78 degrees the other day. What is this? Egypt? Bring a sweater.

OK. Enough kvetching. I need to make a run to the bathroom before I throw up at the desk.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I process at a keyboard

If there is a hell, it must be populated with the souls of Comcast executives and strung with thousands of miles of low-grade digital wires from which Satan's demons drop bricked modems upon the heads of the unfortunate.

If I am ever – EVER – in my life – EVER – in a position to destroy Comcast, I will. I will buy the company and personally force every single executive to live for a month in a neighborhood with shitty cable service. And then be forced to spend TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES on hold before even talking to a human being. No golden parachutes. I won't fire them. I will put them to work in the janitorial department.

As for the phone monkeys, I will go through my records and find every single one of you who EVER handled one of my calls. I know your little digital fingerprints are there. I will make your lives hell – wherever you are. Your incompetence is staggeringly profound. I DO NOT WANT AN EFFING SEFRVICE CALL. DON'T YOU THINK THAT AFTER I'VE CALLED YOU FIFTEEN TIMES IN SIX MONTHS THAT IT IS NOT SOMETHING A "SERVICE CALL" CAN FIX?

Stupid. Jaw-droppingly stupid. Wal-Mart hires people with more intelligence. And we all know what I think about Wal-Mart.

Moving on ….

I hesitate to write about being depressed, because I don't want this to turn into an emo-livejournal-thing, but man, I felt shitty driving home last night. And no, this isn't a cry for help, I'm just trying to work out how I feel. I process at a keyboard.

I don't know what's wrong with me lately, but I feel so "damaged," almost as if my life were an Etch-a-Sketch, and someone keeps shaking the drawing every three minutes. I don't know where to turn to, I don't even know which way is up or down or sideways anymore.

I just feel trapped in this loop where every day feels like it is over before I start doing anything – and every week is over before I get anything done. I bought my grandparents a card for their 59th anniversary, put it by the door to take to the post office, and just looked at it yesterday morning. Their anniversary was two weeks ago.

I don't know who I am – and worse, I don't know who I want to be. When I was in college, I suffered from the arrogance of youth – and I was so "sure" of who I was. I was a horrible person on the inside then – but youth is about learning. And I did learn – and I'm still learning – but damn – there has to be something more to life than this.

There's nothing around me that makes my heart race, my pulse pound, my ears ring. I feel like I walk through life a zombie sometimes, going from home to work and pressing buttons to make words appear on a screen.

There are all these thoughts in my head – things that I know with the certainty of a thousand oaths sworn upon the sacred texts of all the religions of the planet – that no one at my real job will listen to. It is so discouraging to be hired and asked to innovate – and then sit and watch people absolutely refuse to take the advice they're paying you for.

All too frequently now I feel like the only intelligent person in a room full of people with blinders over their eyes and their hands clamped firmly over their ears all screaming "LALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALALA" at the top of their lungs as fast and as loud as they can, stopping only to cash a six-figure paycheck or tip the valet. And they only reason they're acting like that is because they don't want to hear what anyone else has to say. So damn discouraging.

This is how Fox Mulder felt – except that I don't have a Scully, or even the Lone Gunmen. I don't even have any fish. However, if this turns into that shitty "Jose Chung's 'From Outer Space" episode, I'm gonna kill a bitch. That mess was rank.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

CrumbCast - round one thousand

Before I start, THANK YOU for all your wonderful words of support. I had a really crappy couple days Tuesday & Wednesday, topped off by a meltdown in traffic while I was already a half-hour late to something I really didn't need to be late to. I missed a turn in the dark and drove three miles in the wrong direction looking for a turn lane or a median cut or anything – damn "NO U-TURN SIGNS." I went to work yesterday, basically because I had to – but locked myself in a conference room and didn't come out until 2 p.m. I told everyone I had bad vibes. They just think I'm unsociable. Whatever. Anyway. My GMAIL notifier kept going boing-boing and I'd read another comment and I just finally had to smile. Thanks. I mean that. I might be a shitty writer, but you're all fabulous, wonderful individuals.

On that note …

CrumbCast just sucks huge and major dick. I don't even call and complain anymore – it does no good. There is probably a note on my account "customer suck – ignore and promise service call – listen to strangled screams of rage."

If it rains, the line goes out. If the wind blows, the line goes out. If it gets cool, the line goes out. If a bird takes a crap, the line goes out. If a leaf falls the wrong way, the line goes out. It is a complete joke that a First World country has such poor infrastructure.

This is what monopoly has wrought upon the American people. I think I'm going to cancel my HBO & Showtime as soon as this season of "The Wire" is over – and possibly cancel my cable altogether and see about getting an aircard.

When I call to cancel, I am going to tell them – "You cannot provide me with Internet service, you do not deserve my dollars." Sadly, CrumbCast or Embarq (that motley collection of dog feces) are the only games in town. I long ago gave up on Embarq – back when they were Sprint and gave me a 10-day install time just to turn on the phone service in my apartment.

I downloaded the Scissor Sisters mashup album "Da-Tah" from arjanwrites – and I'm sort of liking it. I'm not a huge Scissor Sisters fan, but I love how the Internet and cheap/free software have inspired all sorts of new creative expression built upon the bones of established art.

Apropos of nothing, I had a late dinner with a friend last night. Word of advice to anyone considering Jack Daniels bourbon sauce for the hot wings – "avoid." Gastric distress – I CAN HAZ IT. I was driving home and had to make an emergency stop by the office park where I work and visit the necessary.

Of course, when you're in a "hurry," the parking lot seems ten miles long and the security measures just seem to slow you down. Badge. Elevator. Badge again, because we only get specific floors of the building, and maintenance is in the bathroom. I went anyway. I told the 700-year-old Eastern European man that does our maintenance "I have to go." He stayed for a second scrubbing the sink but left when I went into the stall. How nice of him. I have no shame dropping a deuce with people around though. I had to GO.

Going to every sleazy dance club and gay bar in three southern states teaches you real quick not to be particular about the facilities. If they have toilet paper and it flushes, count your blessings. If there's a sink with running water and some paper towels, you need to go buy lottery tickets and hire an investment attorney. And the signs on the door in these types of places are essentially just "suggestions," – and the more people that get comfortable going to the loo together the better. That just means you get back to the dance floor sooner.

Lord, the things I did back in the college days. There was this one club in Mississippi, called "Club City Lights," that was in a, shall we say, "not so good" area of town. (they always are). To get through the door, you had to go through a metal detector. Then, there was the pat-down from a six-foot-plus bouncer that could have started at linebacker on any NFL team.

It was a fun night though – it was just insane. The club had table service, there was great dance music and underground club cuts I'd never heard before and I think they had some live jazz around 4 a.m. – which was just amazing. The place was open all night – right up till 5 a.m.; we ate breakfast on one of the floating casinos on the Mississippi River sometime around 7 a.m. and watched the sun rise. I remember thinking that even at that hour on a Monday morning, there were some hardcore gamblers up in the joint pumping money into the slot machines or looking grim over the blackjack tables.

I miss the circle of friends I had then; we fought like dogs sometimes, but we did love each other. I work too hard now, and don’t play enough – and there's no one around me that has that same sense of carefree whimsy that we seemed elevate from character trait to lifestyle.

Being an adult sucks.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I'm lost and I don't have a map

Yeah. I know. Bad blogger. Whatever. Get over it. Most people hate what I put out anyway. And you all are certainly not shy about sending emails. Jesus. One little "Chinese dog buffet joke" and people go apeshit insane. It is OK. Seriously. The doctors say the scars from the razors will heal in a few months. I was lucky that my friends found me though. For the record, O positive.

Joke. Totally a joke. I'd take pills. Just like that scene in "Nip/Tuck" with Julie Warner, where she takes the pills and then says "I think I'm going to put the plastic bag over my head now." That's totally me. And I'm dead serious about that. See what I did there. Using the word "dead." Another joke. A sense of the macabre brings out the best in me.

Anyway. I haven't been around much. I wish I had a good reason. I don't really, other than the fact that I have not been inspired.

Look. I know my writing sucks like Tri-Delta at a Kappa Sig party, but I don't really know anything else to do but keep trying until something clicks. It took more than eight months until "Behind the Counter" really sort of got into a groove and I just haven't found that yet.

On a side note, it still hurts me to type "Behind the Counter." There are days I wish I'd never quit Wal-Mart, never ended that blog. I severely misjudged how much of myself I'd invested in that – and how much it hurt to give it up. I feel like I abandoned a child sometimes. And no, I'd never go back now – but I still miss writing "Behind the Counter." It was something I loved, something I cherished and even though it was probably destroying me to work there, the part of my soul that was fed by the writing is going hungry now.

You think I don't know my new stuff sucks? Knowing it sucks makes it worse. Knowing I put the suckiness out there doubles the sucky factor on top of that.

Honestly, I've been holding back – because people I might want to write about read this. It is not a trust thing – it is more that I can't write around the voids that leaving those things out would cause.

Anyway. I don't know if I care anymore. I'm tired of hurting myself for the sake of something I don't even know if I believe in. I'm tired of waiting. I'm tired of looking at the shadows of the fire on the wall and thinking those are all that is and ever will be.

I'm going to write until I find myself again.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I owed Laura Bush a solid for the pretzel incident

Lord have mercy. It's has been another crazy-ass day up in here. I just got back from Rome this morning – after having a throw-down with an Alitalia stewardess about bringing a pound of fresh-ground espresso on board the first-class cabin.

Damn. I wanted to bring the coffee back as a present. And so help me god if someone can use coffee to bring down a modern jetliner. Well, according to Google (pretty soon, we will all worship at the altar of the High Lord Brin & the Most High Holy Page) – you can make a smoke bomb and a bath bomb – but not a real bomb using coffee. What the hell is a bath bomb anyway? It don't sound good.

What was I doing in Rome? If I told you I'd have to kill you. No. I was actually in Greece, on the island of Santorini, taking a wine vacation and doing a little relaxing – if you consider taking out five ninja assassins, three IRA zealots and Condoleeza Rice to be "relaxing."

Condi wasn't officially on the menu – but she swung by the island on her way to Istanbul (Turkish democracy or Turkish delight – which would you vote for?) and I figured I'd make the world a better place. Plus, I figured I owed Laura Bush a solid for when she tried to take out W. with that pretzel back on '02. The man is like Fidel – preternaturally lucky. We were SO close.

Anyway. I'm slinging my tuna around the island – trying to catch a man – a rich old man (where the hell is MY Aristotle Onassis?) when I stop in at this café. The first thing I see – "proudly serving Starbucks Coffee." Le sigh. It's everywhere. Everywhere. Seven thousand stores and growing. I mean, I guess that's what I get for coming to a tourist trap.

I get a cold-brewed iced coffee – and let me tell you – if you don't already subscribe to the wonders of cold-brewed, you really, really ought to. That stuff is far, far better than regular iced coffee.

But back to me. I'm thinking about the crap I left behind at the office. Yes, even world-class assassins have "offices."

Some new beyotch moved in a few weeks ago. She's an "individual." Bless. And curse. And she apparently loves plants. Can't go anywhere without her "air-purifiers." IT IS A CLIMATE CONTROLLED BUILDING. PLUS, THE HEFFA BROUGHT IN TWO GIANT TREES. AND AN ORCHID. PRETTY - BUT WITH ANTS. ANTS. I HATE ANTS.

Her cubicle looks like something out of "Ferngully" now. There is a "shrine" to some nature deity – with stalks of wheat and tiny animals and posters. There are plants. There are enough origami figures to populate most of post-war Japan and make a good start on mainland China. It's not a cubicle, it is a second bedroom.

All this would be find if the woman was there all the time – but she isn't. She "works from home" a lot. Apparently, the cubicle decorations are some sort of bizarre cat-spraying, territory-marking ritual that only she understands. The territory, I marketh it. Touch. Die. Who the hell knows.

Where the hell is that café waiter? I need another bottle of wine. Actually, can I get the waiter on the menu? As a rule, I try not to sleep with the help, but I'm leaving tomorrow – and this one is kind of cute – in that skinny, dark-haired, Macedonian Serbian-ish Novak Djokovic way. CHECK PLEASE!

--filed by Charanda deKristeax from the Potamis Pita Plonk and Euboean Express Espresso Bar.

How to Love Lasagna Without Really Trying

Pooooooooooooooodles. What on earth are ya'll up to? It seems like fa-evah since we done been able to sit down and have good yakkety-yak. I know, right? We is all so busy, what with the global assassination business being what it is these days.

I mean, just last week I was in Buenos Aires, running around the halls of the Casa Rosada in a pair of Manolos and a gold glitterthong, fishing a pair of poisoned darts out of my underwire and trying to get a clear line of sight on two narco-terrorists who were there to get the drop on the Madame President of Argentina. I mean, us girls have got to stick together, right.

Plus, I loaned the bitch my white Banana Republic button-down that I snagged from that frog Sarkozy and she totally got lipstick stains all over it when she spent the night with that old raggedy would-be sugar-daddy Fidel in Havana. Damn girl. You owe me a shirt the next time we go out bodega hopping. PS: Fidel is NOT going to give up the keys to the island any time soon. You know the brother has that shit locked up.

Anyway. I left the daggers, the guns, the ninja stars, the bastinados, the mace, the cyanide-filled teeth and the derringers at home tonight and went to this perfectly charming neighborhood bistro with my normal-people friends. I must be cursed or something – because the place was lousy with old people. Full of Q-tipped old things. Like fleas on a mangy cur. Or lies in a Republican administration.

But we got seats in the bar and ordered drinks. And then the adventure really got started.

Our server was named Rosa or Maria or Noriega or Salsa or something like that – from somewhere like Honduras or Nicaragua or Costa Rica – somewhere they speak Spanish and do a lot of the kneel-pray, kneel-pray thing with La Virgen.

Perfectly lovely girl. The waitress, not the Virgin Mary. La Virgen, she's lovely to, btw. Does lovely work with dishcloths. Fantastic folk art. Sells well in Europe. But the server – forgetful. We get menus and drinks. And we wait. And we wait. Which is fine, because there is live jazz and we have time to talk. But no bread. And then the drinks are dry.

She comes back. We're ready. We get one entrée and one appetizer ordered and she suddenly scurries away. What the hell? Do she got the runs? Because I totally understand. I had a bad burrito this morning and had to take my laptop to "el bano" for more than a few minutes. Kali bless the WiFi and the ability to work-at-home.

No. She forgot her damn order pad. Okaaaaaaaay. Repeat the order. She repeats it back and it is still not exactly right. Sweetie. Darling. Maybe, just maybe, this isn't going to be the career for you. Very sweet and attentive. Just not fully on this plane of existence.

The food was fantastic though. The best lasagna I have had in ages – exactly like what you think an old lumpy Italian grandmother would make – and piled with meat sauce – probably half a pound of good beef in that sauce. I can feel my colon groaning right now under the weight of the sauce. And the bread was good. Fresh and hot and plenty of good olive oil.

On the subject of bread – Clara or Clarisa or Mandisa or Marilinda or whatever the hell her name was kept trying to take my damn bread dipping dish. NO YOU CAN'T HAVE IT – I'M NOT DONE WITH IT – LEAVE IT ALONE OR I WILL STAB YOU WITH MY FORK.

Por lo mano de Christo. Just bring another bottle of wine, set it in the chiller and back away slowly. For the record, we tipped 20 percent, in cash. I worked the service industry, I know. Unless you give absolutely horrible service, I will tip you – and tip you well. Even then, I'd rather speak to a manager than stiff you.

Anyway. That was pretty much our night – except for when I tried to pick up the wine menu and nearly slung a butter knife across the room because they sat four people at a two-top in the bar. Like I said – the place was absolutely lousy with old people. Don't they know old people don't tip – and young people will spend money and bring in more attractive, sexy young people?

Admittedly, the thought of a butter knife sliding through the skull of some of those old codgers IS kind of funny. Because at that age the flesh slides off the bone like a well-cooked chicken. (Now where is that from? Anyone? Bueller?)

Anyway. Next week I got to run down to Tijuana and pick up some pharmaceuticals. How do you think my skin stays so supple? Monkey hormones!

--filed by Charanda deKristeaux from the Ristorante de Lasagna Especial

Monday, February 11, 2008

Rhino Miyake and case of the fake Chanel

All right NOW! Charanda up in tha hiz-zouse! Fine and feisty to-night ladeez and gentle-thangz. Why? Why! Why! WHY!

Because I have just seen the most tragic fashion disaster ever to walk the earth. Blind retarded dwarves with no limbs and seriously bad cases of eczema couldn't do this badly. Hell, LiLo could roll down the street in a garbage bag, hot pants and fishnets and beat this. It was baaaaad. Both for what it was, what it TRIED to be and what it was never going to be.

So, I am husband hunting people watching downtown, slurping on a latte and generally enjoying a rare free afternoon.

It walks by. I think to myself "That shit did not just happen. There is no way in hell she is out in public looking like that."

I slung my laptop into my bag and set off after her. That shit was crazy and I could not let it go. One of these days someone is going to call me on being nosy and I am going to die.

Think of a hippopotamus - wearing a beyond skin-tight micro-mini in a black & white Issey Miyake-ish print. Now top that off with a Moe from the Three Stooges wig -- sitting kind of crooked because she's either forgot to put some Woolite on it and it won't lie down or she just don't know how to wear a wig.

It was just a damn shame. That was a nice wig too. I think she was going for Julia Roberts thing - when Julia was trying that short bob look - but this girl really, really needs to learn to take better care of her fake hair.

And don't get me started on the clothes. OH MY GOD. OH. MY. GOD. She'd take about twelve steps and look in a shop window, then try to hike the skirt down over her lady bits and her thighs. It poked out in the front (gut), the back (enormous trunk), sides (hips) and arms (saddlebags). She'd take twelve more steps and it would ride back up again. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

Most of the fifteen-block downtown area could have been her gynechiatrist. Or her fishmonger. Whatever you prefer. If they could have found it.

For a while, I really thought it might be a man. We have plenty of trannies around - one used to roll up in the Wal-Mart around 11:30 p.m. each Sunday and buy ciggies and a couple bottles of wine. Very nice person - needed to shave before going out in drag - or apply a heavy foundation.

But Rhino Miyake here was a woman - just one with an extremely distorted self image. AND DON'T YELL AT ME. I'm all for big girls celebrating they self. All them anorexic heffas need go on - won't kill ya'll to eat a little. Women NEED some meat on them. But whatever size you are - you need to have the wisdom to dress APPROPRIATELY!

Damn. Look at Mo'Nique. Sister got all kind of stuff going on. Front. Back. Wherever. But she don't go out in public looking like a rhino stuffed inside a antelope now do she? She might wear some funky shit (her prison special - wtf sister?) - but it is gonna be in size to fit her. JUST WEAR SOME DAMN CLOTHES THAT FIT. Tight is good. Toothpaste tube is BAD. VERY VERY BAD!

If you got to keep pulling it down over your thang 27 times an hour - the skirt is too short. Unless you're a "working girl" and that skirt ain't the only thing gonna be riding your thighs tonight ......

I was gonna give Rhino Miyake a pass on the clothes - although she needed a talking-to on the wig - until she turned around and I got a real good look at her shoes.

Oh. Hell. No. She tried to make a fake Chanel logo on her sandals with a gold glitter pen. I swear to Shiva. Strike me down now as I live, breathe and blog. I rolled my eyes.

At least she keeping busy and not snacking. Damn girl. Fake Chanel sandals - in gold glitter pen. I have seen it all. I have seen it all.

--filed by Charanda deChristeax from the Rhinos & Winos Wig Store and Designer Knockout Boo-ti-kwee

Sunday, February 10, 2008

One mice, two mice, red mice, blue mice

Ok. Aside from the fact that I keep trying to spell "mice" as "mise" - I FINALLY HAVE A NEW MOUSE. Praise Jesus, Kali, Shiva, Budda, Cthulu, Thoth, Amon-Rah, Imhotep, Dracula, Cruela, whoever.

The FIRST time I went to the House of Wals (because I DETEST Office Despot), I was nearly kneecapped by a sweet old lady who wanted to give me her cart. She just wasn't looking and didn't mean me any harm. Or so I thought.

Then I noticed she had her car plastered with Mitt Romney bumper stickers - at least six of them. GET THEE BEHIND ME - OH BRIDE OF SATAN!

I'm trying to fight my way back to Electronics - and I come upon a rear end clear. Some suburban hausfrau in a lime-green track suit has parked her buggy in the middle of the aisle and is STUDYING the 2-for-1 on the potato chips. THEY ALL GONNA MAKE YOU FAT HEFFA. MOVE!

I get a mouse. Get it home. I'm a complete cow. It's not a simple USB mouse. NO. Oh no. It has the receiver you have to have on the desk somewhere. Not exactly useful for mobile computing.

Won't go back to the House of Wals - they didn't have anything else I wanted.

Decided to put on my mascara and heels and work it like a rock star in the Office Despot.

Can someone please - for the love of small animals - tell me why Computer Peripherals are stocked next to Office Furniture? Not next to the printers - but near the wooden things? Is it so you can beat the shit out of a dumbass worker with a faux cherry-wood table leg?

Anyway. They have mise mice you can pick up and play with. Ohhhh. Look out, here comes Richard Gere, back for round 2!

I snagged one EXACTLY like what I have - because I was happy with it, it generally doesn't eat batteries and is sturdy - and let me tell you, I'm tough on my toys!

I was there 20 minutes and not one person acknowledged me or offered to help. I didn't see one stocker or sales associate other than two people on register and one person in the "business center" or "copy center" or whatever the hell it was. And I couldn't even find a damn bathroom - because that Chinese food I ate for lunch was about to make my O-ring blow!

Anyway. That's my mouse.

-- File by Charanda deKristeaux from the Office Despot Thunderdome

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

My flu, let me give it to you

So I have the flu, and I have to literally strap on my high heels and drag myself into the doctor today.

Thank you, Miss Ukraine 2005 Receptionist Heifer. You are not our dear Masha – Maria Sharapova for those in the know. You are not glamorous, famous or desirous. You have the bedside personality of a toad. An ugly toad. "Fill this out and sit over there," is not exactly helpful or welcoming, especially as I can't HEAR YOU VERY WELL.

My ear hurt, my throat hurts, my head hurts and you're mumbling away while you're not even looking at me. I know that my $15 co-pay doesn't count for much – but I'm sure that UnitedHealthcare sends a gigantor check the size of Rhode Island to your office every month. I said "please," "thank you" and I managed to greet you with a weak smile. The least you can do is look at me bitch.

The number of old people who do nothing but go from doctor to doctor to doctor all day is astounding. One old lady had a Macy's bag full of pills. I heard them rattle. Maybe that was her death rattle. I don't know.

She went into the bathroom to give a "sample" and I swear to god I heard her. If I hadn't already hurled at home I would have in the fake potted plant next to me. What I didn't hear was the damn sink. Old ladies creep me out.

All that and I didn't even see a doctor. I got a nurse who looked at my throat, my nose and my ears and said "you've got something." She brought back a prescription for a pack of pills. I left and the waiting room was now completely jammed. Amputees even. I need to get off this HMO and onto a real medical plan.

I decide that I can't deal with the horror of CVS today. I might commit murder on some old people stupidity and stumble into the pharmacy in the bottom floor of the medical clinic building.

Three old leathery things have to "consult" over my prescription while a cute clerk wearing silver rings and a bracelet wants to flirt with me. "Hi." My name is Charanda. Want to get the flu the fun way? OK. Meet me behind the building in five minutes.

Eighty dollars later … I'm drinking orange juice and swilling pill candy. Please Kali don't let me die. I'm so young. There are so many men I haven't slept with yet.

--file by Charanda deKristeax from the HMO holding pens

Crazy Thai ladies that pinch my nethers

All right now crazy Thai ladies, I know that ya'll get real happy when my crew rolls up into ya'lls establishment. God knows that nobody else shows up there to eat. I don't know why. Ya'll got the best Thai food for 40 miles.

Although really – if one of you bitches pinches me on the ass again no amount of free chicken pad thai is gonna save you. Green curry – not green card. Don't want none of that. Ya'll need to get a work visa or something.

Anyway. Ya'll got good stuff and you will have the chef make just about anything we want – she comes out and talks to us and asks if we like it or if we'd like to try the new broth or whatever. I love your place and I hope you never close.

However. And this is a big however. Your food is great but the service is iffy at best. Ya'll need to hire a waitress or three and not try to run the place with just a cook and a sushi chef.

We sat and waited for water for five minutes. We started waving menus because there was NO ONE in the dining room. NO ONE. Five tables of people and NOT ONE SERVER.

The woman sitting three tables away laughed and said she'd been waiting on napkins. I picked some up off a stack sitting at the table next to us and gave them to her – I REALLY DON'T KNOW WHY THE DUMB HEFFA COULDN'T GET HER OWN DAMN ASS UP AND GET THE DAMN NAPKINS HERSELF.

But back to me. Ya'll need to come take our damn order. We hungry. It is a reason people don't come up in here even though everyone I know recommends it – people don't want they lunch hour to stretch to 2 p.m. Damn.

That new Thai chain that opened up five blocks south is gonna put you heffas out of business. Seriously. And ya'll need to learn how to pace a meal. Don't bring the soup and then three minutes later bring the entrees. I'm not complaining though – we was hungry. And then we all feel obligated to tip well because we know you and we want to keep coming back. What are we going to say? We love you but we don't want you wait on us? Really? That'll go over like La Migra at a day labor camp in Tiajauna.

And it gets worse. We're TRYING to get back to our office park and traffic is backed up like a Woodstock '99 toilet. My friend cuts through a parking lot with some thrift stores in it and I will be damned if three WOACAs don't start holding a conversation right in front of her car.

I'm screaming at her "HIT'EM VIDA, HIT'EM. I WILL PAY THE DAMAGES."

One bitch with nothing better to do with her time than shop all day was dressed in black and white print culottes, a white blouse and fugly turquoise sandals. Damn bitch. Are you colorblind? And you really did NOT need those big plastic swingy turquoise earrings. It was like an ugly cherry on top of an ugly cake. And I got a full on view too because your fat ass would not move – because you had to wait for your friends to get out of the car and trip-trap across the parking lot into the Garden of Slightly-Used Delights.

YA'LL BITCHES NEED TO MOVE. If I had been behind the wheel the parking lot would have noticeably fewer holes. You are not that special. You are not an employee of public works. Your hair does not glow and your skin does not produce an aura that repels automobiles. Bitch. MOVE!

If you are waiting for your party, get out of the flow of traffic. Especially if you're dressed like a piece of Navaho art threw up and then got tossed into a blender. You never know when Chief Eagle-Craps-on-Head will show up and want his turquoise back.

7-Eleven bitch – I was not making a face at you. I have damn headache and a fever and I wanted an ice cream and a coke. Screw you and your bad bleach job. Get your roots done and wash your face more often. With soap. Unless your boyfriend likes that Papa John's look.

--filed by Charanda deKristeaux from the Curry Shack

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Chinese buffet, let me tso you it

See what I did there? Laugh uproariously, because I love LOLcats. PS: Ya'll need to get up on That mess is fun-nee.

Anyway. I rolled into the local dog meat palace Chinese buffet yesterday because I was hungry but didn't feel like fast food. Their chicken in peanut sauce is to die for. I'd stab a heffa and rip out her weave and knit a basket to carry some home in – it is that good.

So I trip-trap into the buffet, looking fine in my Apple Bottom jeans and my sling-back mules. I grab a takeout box and promenade down the aisle to the buffet, ever on the lookout for a hot Latin man with tattoos and piercings to treat me like rough trade and scream "Mami, mami, maaaaaamiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii" in the shadows of the night.

Sadly, today is not the day. Ain't nothing up in here but ghetto white trash shoveling crawfish into their maw with a trowel and some old people that look about three centimeters from the grave.

Word to the wise, never go to the buffet at 4 p.m. That shit is gonna be picked over like an alley full of hookers at 3 a.m. Everything fresh is gone and you ain't got nothing left but some stanky trannies working the corner of Beverly and Highland and trying to stay warm in a pair of fishnets and gloves with the fingers cut out.

Thankfully, there's some decent peanut chicken. It's really the only reason I got to this buffet. In the process of trying to find decent food that doesn't look like roadkill or that has identifiable parts that came from something that white people consider edible, I nearly get blasted by a pair of howler monkeys toting plates.


These little walking genetic time-bombs loaded up a plates with three chicken nuggets, some French fries and a slice of pizza, proceeded to LIFT THE PLATES ABOVE THEIR HEADS, and try to prance back to their table. It is chicken. Not a damn prize.

And they both spilled fries everywhere. Ethiopian children everywhere weep in shame at their American brethren, wasting the fruit of the potato in such shameful fashion.

If your brat wants some damn chicken nuggets and fries, take the thing to McDonalds. Do not drag it up into the buffet where it will act a fool and disrupt the meal of everyone around it. Better yet, keep it the car and hit the drive-thru. No one deserves to be exposed to your deoxyribonucleic disaster.

I weave, I bob, I dodge. I roll my eyes like a lumberjack at a log competition. I consider "slipping" on this French fry and suing the hell out of the mother and the Chinese joint – but figure that the potential payout isn't worth it.

I go pay and TRY to leave. Another damn howler monkey.

I try to be nice. "You gonna let me leave?" NO. Not just now, but a resounding hell no. Mother ……

Where are the parents? It ain't Chinese, so that ain't its momma sitting back there shelling peas or its daddy that just rang me out. That's not Uncle Tsing-tao putting sodas into the cooler. Damn. People need to tie they howler monkeys's tails to the chair or something.

Where are your damn parents little howler? Why the hell are you playing in the door of a Chinese buffet about five feet from the busy parking lot in a shopping plaza? Does your mama WANT you to get kidnapped? Well, maybe. Shit, if I had one, I'd give it away. But it must be a good 30 feet to the nearest table – and that's two old, toothless white ladies gumming the hell out of some sugar biscuits. I don't think you're their little taquito.

Whatever. You're not my problem. Maybe some organ harvesters will snap you up and keep you on a secret island in the Pacific. Your mama need to wipe your damn nose too. Who knows what germs your spreading wiping your filthy hands around on the door.

I hate howler monkeys.

-- filed by Charanda deKristeaux from the Palais de Beijing

Monday, February 4, 2008

My sabbatical, let me share with you it

Frankly, I just needed a break. Work is work – if fills the day in the way that meatloaf and mashed potatoes will get you full, but imagine eating the same meal every day for nine years. Sometimes you try some carrots, sometimes you try some peas. Maybe the tomato sauce gravy, maybe the flour gravy. Ohhhhh. Did they use crackers instead of breadcrumbs this time? Was that a jalapeno? But it is still meatloaf.

And you're still sitting there, watching incompetent idiots be promoted around you, despite the fact that you've played the office politics game correctly, stroked the right egos, worked the crappy shifts, done the special projects and worked 18 days in a row during Christmas and New Year's for a crappy bonus that wouldn't even make your car payment. Meatloaf. And mashed potatoes. Is that a garlic roll? Woohoo!

I spend at least an hour and a half driving back and forth from work now – time that I can't be doing anything productive as far as writing or creating goes. The only plus side is that I'm becoming an aficionado of NPR & classical music, but that's not a major entry on the credit side of the ledger.

The commuting gives me time to think and to reflect. As much as I still like the concept of "Twenty-One Minutes," I don't think that it is workable as a long-term project in the way that "Behind the Counter" was.

Quite a few people – QUITE A FEW PEOPLE – let me know that they thought it was boring, repetitive and lifeless. For the most part, I actually tend to agree with the "lifeless" part of the statement. What made "Behind the Counter" so compelling to so many people was the point of view I afforded, coupled with the common experience of shopping inside the world's largest garbage heap.

Unfortunately, if I remove myself from the action, a certain quality gets lost. No matter how snappily I write – I can't truly bring a scene to life if I'm just describing it, am not part of it and have no control over it. The last ten days or so that I did update, I did try to make "Twenty-One Minutes" more personal, with more of a point of view.

I am not comfortable moving forward on this particular road. While I personally have no qualms opening my life up for you, I have zero desire to be "Dooced," as it were. What I do is a big part of my life – and I simply cannot and will not risk my professional future on a project I am now increasingly ambivalent on.

So where does this leave us?

Well, last Sunday it left us at a crossroads. I was depressed, moody, mopey, hungry and alone – all this on my birthday too. I was going to update "Twenty-One Minutes" with a "My sucky birthday" post and then just decided to go to bed.

I had a crappy week, filled with copious hours of unpaid overtime – because that's what "salaried employee" actually means – and was gone from my apartment for more than 14 hours each day. There are only so many variations on "My cubicle, let me describe you it" that I can do. When I was home – the bastards at CrumbCast saw fit to again throttle the tubes of my Internet. When I attain power of any sort, I will literally render ComCast into its component atoms. Piece by stupid piece.

Problem #1, I deduced, is time. Commuting sucks up a good chunk of the free time that I used to have to essentially sit around in coffee shops and smoothie bars and write. I need to create something that I can either write at work, thus taking advantage of the company's high-speed Internet, or write a bunch of posts at once, like I used to do with "Behind the Counter."

Problem #2 is that it needs to have a point of view, but it can't be about me. So you're all going to have to settle on a slightly fictionalized version of me. Good chunks of "Behind the Counter" were my internal monologue anyway, so maybe the tough critics will like this new series of insightful, ground-breaking and thought-provoking essays better. If you didn't get it, that was a joke.

Here's the deal. We're still going to call it "Twenty-One Minutes," at least for now. I still like the structure it provides for the whole "slice in time" post. However, I'm going to take the things that happen to me in my daily life and put my peculiar spin on them – saying all the things I wish I could say – while still spraying fashion commentary like a bulldog with its leg raised.

So, without further ado, I would like to introduce the new author of "Twenty-One Minutes," Miss Charanda deKristeaux.

Old people who shop at CVS deserve to die

What up ya'll. We need to talk about old people today. Old people are a gigantic pain in my ass. Well, that might just be the hemorrhoids talking, but old people are right up there with screaming babies, shitty babies, evil waitresses, Republicans, John Kerry, Dick Cheney (not a Republican, alias of Satan) and stupid people on my list of PEOPLE WHO SHOULD NOT BE ALLOWED OUTSIDE!

So, my nerve pills was running low. You know what I'm like when I run out of my nerve pills. It is not a pretty sight – like a marathon runner's foot at mile 25. Or my breath right when I wake up. I will claw your mama's eyes out for a pill. I got to have my nerve pills. Are you holding?

Anyway. Seeing as how I'm stupid and completely unable to plan farther ahead than last week, I run out of pills on a Saturday. Hello, Mr. Last Pill. You look so lonely. Where are your friends? What DO YOU MEAN they already left the party? Its like a Second Life party up in here. Gone. Gone. Gone.

OK. Get on the phone. Call the CVS. Arrange for prescription refill. Go to CVS. Stand in line at pharmacy, get pills, pay for pills. Realize I'm as dumb as all those people that pay for Hannah Montana tickets and need a soda to take the pills. Also realize there is a crazy person now arguing with the pharmacist. So I try to check out at the front.


No one needs to come to the CVS and fill up an entire shopping cart – plus the space under the cart – with your shopping. WHO BUYS GROCERIES AT CVS? YOU NEED TO GO TO A GROCERY STORE FOR THAT MESS. You are buying soda and chips and cans of chili.

I swear to go I saw the cashier look at them and roll her eyes. AND THE STUPID OLD WOMAN JUST PROCEEDED TO MAKE IT WORSE.

The bitch had four coupons and I will be damned if she did not stand there and make the girl scan item by item by item until she got to a certain dollar amount so she could split this transaction up in to four parts so she could use four coupons.

Before you ask, I don't know why.
I think CVS has some whack-ass coupon system like "$3 off $15 purchase," but all I buy is pills and soda. I DON'T MAKE MAJOR PURCHASES THERE. It is not like they have layaway. It is a drug store. The most expensive thing they sell is pills!

I gave the woman a death glare that should have melted the polar ice cap and made a swimming pool of Miami. She responds by sticking her credit card into the reader the wrong way. This bitch is the reason that people are starting to use the Internet to order shit like toilet paper.

There is now a line of people and the old woman is still stacking crap on the counter. "How much is it now?" "How much is it now?" IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO LEAVE! I'm sighing. The woman behind me is sighing louder. There is a man with a baby screaming and throwing candy. Did I mention that I hate howler monkey brats too? If your baby is screaming, take it outside. Maybe a bird will take a dump in its mouth and give it something to REALLY howl about.

All I want is a Vanilla Coke and the universe take a gigantic dump on me. Did I run over a kitten this week or something?

I sighed, loudly. She didn't break a stride. Look old lady, you need to go to the damn Publix for this kind of crap. They have BIG counters and bags and stockboys and lots of cashiers.

I don't care if you have a coupon for free Depends or a Buy-1-Get-1 Polident up in that granny-purse, I'm about to rip it off your arm, wrap it around your turkey gobbler neck and strangle you with it. And you know what grandma? The four people behind me in line would cheer and happily walk right over your prone crone body to check their stuff out.

I bet she's gonna try to return that mess later too. Old people pull that kind of stuff because nobody calls them on it. Old and fluffy my ass. Old people are like vipers – 70 years of poison and vituperation coiled inside a shrinking wrinkled shell – just waiting to strike at the young, the fresh and the fanciful.

It is not my fault that life has passed you buy. Get some Botox, get a dog, get a cat – it will appreciate you and eat you after you're gone. DO NOT act a fool in public. Would you want someone to pull that stack and count shit on you? Hell no. All right then. Take your cane, ram it where the sun don't shine and push that buggy right on out of here.

If you're wondering, I don’t plan to get old. I figure I'll go out in a haze of tattered glory in a few years, surrounded by twisted sheets, a few pill bottles and a plastic bag.

Anyway, the manager finally jumped on a register and started checking people out. He checked six people out while this old cow was still stacking and haggling. I hope the wheel falls of her car.

--filed from the CVS by Charanda deKristeaux

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Minor league hockey arena, 7:30 p.m. – My icy adventure, let me share with you it

While not strictly twenty-one minutes, because I'm not going to lug my laptop around for two hours and try to keep up with it, these are the highlights of my first (and quite likely last) venture into the world of minor-league hockey.

There is a woman with a sequined alligator crawling up her back and onto her head. It is masquerading as a hat – but really looks more like a tumor – sort of like that thing that Star created during the "express yourself" challenge back in the early days of "Project Runway."

Everywhere I turn people are wearing team shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, jerseys, etc. OH MY GOD THIS MAN HAS ON A GREEN WIG. All this for a team that is in fourth place – in the division. Not the league, the division. Still, they managed to pull in 6,000 people on a Saturday night. I remain amazed.

I can never see a Zamboni and not think of the episode of "Cheers" where Carla's husband met his untimely end. There is also apparently a special "Zamboni song," to which the intoxicated (yes, they sell beer – a LOT of beer) fans in the arena dance along to. It is scary. They followed the Zamboni song with The Village People and "YMCA," – and trust me – if you've never seen a 300-pound fat man in a football jersey working it to the tunes of "young man, there's no need to feel down," you've not lived!

The level of merchandising in minor league sports is astonishing. I'm frankly shocked that the patrons weren't plastered with ads when they walked in.

The backs of the tickets had ads. Both Zamboni machines had ads. There were special promotions at the intermissions. There was the "Taco Bell Power Play" and the "Wendy's Penalty Kill." Ronald McDonald must be kicking himself all the way back to his PlayPlace – because they must have mentioned Taco Bell about a million times over the course of the night. I'm wondering who exactly wants a "Taco Bell Power Play" though – might depend on the size of the burrito! Maybe the "Taco Bell Power Play" comes later, at home? And involves toilet paper?

There was a "Saturn Puck Toss" and a children's charity doo-hicky and at least six things involving special things with the program – including a free gallon of wiper fluid if the team scored during the third period. Most of which were an excuse to sell badly printed programs I am sure.

The scoreboard had so many ads on it I had trouble finding the damn score! All this on top of a $22 ticket and paying $5 for the "privilege" to park in the median because the arena would sell their own mothers for cash but won't build a parking garage. Someone is raking it in.

There was a creepy man. THERE IS ALWAYS A CREEPY MAN. We had seats behind the visitor's box – which wasn't that bad. There was a man who was right down on the first row and in the nook RIGHT beside the visitor's box. He sat there the entire time wearing blue denim shorts and a navy T-shirt, drinking an extra-large soda from the concession stands and didn't say a word. No cheering, no yelling at the refs, nothing. He did give a family of four a nasty look when they sat down next to him, but that was all. Maybe he just really loves hockey and these were the best "on the ice" seats available. Dunno. But he was strange.

My impression of the hockey is that it wasn't that good. The fights looked about as real as a wrestling match – very staged IMHO, but what the hell do I know? The players are obviously athletic, but the hockey looked sloppy.

I was sort of under the impression that hockey was a good deal like basketball on ice – just a great deal more physical. You treated the ice like a basketball court and moved the puck around like a basketball. You can run "plays" just like you run an offense on a basketball court – pass, defense, etc. I have to say that I became roundly disabused of that notion in short order. Hockey is just organized aggression with sticks and helmets. The scoring is optional and the whole "someone wins" thing is sort of just an added bonus.

Also, watching hockey players spit on the ice is just disgusting. Maybe this isn't Centre Court at Wimbledon, but act like you have a little bit of class.

Anyway. That was my night. It was only slightly cold, but my toes suffered because I was stupid and wore sandals because I was running very late (had to wash my hair in case I met a cute boy) and didn't think about the fact that I was, you know, GOING TO BE SITTING INSIDE A GIANT REFRIDGERATOR FOR THREE HOURS.

Anyway. Much love. Hockey pucks to you all.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Starbucks #infinity, 12:42 p.m. - My terrible coffee, let me show you it

Well, giving a brand-new Starbucks an (espresso) shot is always a gamble. This time I lost. When it takes them forever to make the drink – and they can't even get the lid on the coffee without managing to spill foam and mess up the whipped cream.

The first sip is a disaster. THIS IS QUITE POSSIBLY THE WORST CUP OF COFFEE I HAVE EVER TASTED – and I've had Starbucks coffee at airports, bookstores, kiosks and everything in between. The shot is weak – I can't even tell that there is any coffee in there in fact. It tastes like I'm drinking milk flavored with white mocha and a raspberry shot.

Anyway. It's my birthday weekend and I'm on the road. I'm way north of my usual hangouts and decided to check to see if this new Starbucks was open. It was – much to my chagrin.

My friends shocked me at work today – they came in to my office – the office that I hate – and decorated it overnight. When I came in to work I had balloons, streamers, banners, GLITTER and all sorts of decorations. And a Starbucks gift card. I love my friends. It was the best thing that's happened to me in a long time and I was so happy.

There's a Quiznos right next to the Starbucks – and there's a gas station 40 yards down with a Subway inside. Somebody in the sandwich game is going down. All we need is a Blimpie up in here and it would be a sub brawl!

It's cold today. I'm sitting outside because it is sunny and I love the weather and the breeze – but the wind has a bite to it. Still, I'm glad that I'm not in some godforsaken place like Wisconsin or Minnesota – with minus two degrees and snowdrifts and icy sidewalks and all that mess. I would just die – either in an accident or of the cold. Plus, the cold weather plays hell with delicate skin.

Speaking of near death experiences, I had one in the Interstate on-ramp coming here. I was sitting in the turn lane, listening to Chopin (because all of you hate Cher so much) and about to pull forward. This black SUV darts forward across a lane of traffic and cuts in front of me – literally INCHES from my front right bumper.

I slam the brake so hard that I can hear the tires squeal. I know I laid more rubber than a room full of porn stars. I was praying that there was no one behind me about to slam into the back bumper and put my car into the shop for unable-to-be-paid-for repairs.

I look up and the couple in the black SUV have pulled forward and are not even apologetic. I give them the universal one-finger salute. They return it.

I mutter a few lines of a Zen koan and try to regain my composure. And not 90 seconds later – the black SUV – which ZOMG – HAD TO EFFING GET INTO THE TURN LANE TO GET ONTO THE INTERSTATE – peels back out in front of traffic and tears back of down the access road.

Tourists. Virginia tourists. I hope they all die in a fire.

OK. Peace, love, understanding.

Thank you so much to the nice old lady who stopped to chat just as I was shutting down. You totally made my day by commenting on what a nice afternoon it was, how nice the weather was and how much you looked forward to an afternoon at the flea market.

I know that I rag on old people all the time, but you were just sweet and happy and genuine - and you made my day.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Sonic, 9:34 a.m. – My grumpy face, let me show you it

Well, it was supposed to go online this morning. If I didn't fall asleep as soon as I got back to my apartment. Bless me readers, for I have sinned!

Ya'll gonna get a rare treat today – an early morning update of "21 Minutes." It's not that I'm not usually up by this time – it is that I’m usually hip deep in crazy people that should have been put in a burlap sack and dropped into the nearest river the day after they were born. MANDATORY INTELLIGENCE TESTING. I swear to Cthulu that it would improve the efficiency of the American workforce by the power of three in short order. There is just no excuse for the complete effing illiteracy, stupidity and ignorance that the general population seems to revel in.

Anyway. Back to me. Away from the screed. I worked all night on something I can't share with you or else you'd all know way too much about me. This was after I stayed up until 3 a.m. Wednesday morning in order to have something turned in by the time people got to work at 9 a.m. Wednesday. Yeah. My shitty week – let me show you it.

Anyway. Back to me. I stayed up all night – broken up only by the marvelous interlude with Big Tony in Little Italy at the pizza joint one strip mall down from my office park. By the way, my penne with sausage, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes was excellent – even if it did cost $16.

I guess Big Tony was included in that. For the record, he did indeed lurk the entire time I was eating – although he was an equal opportunity lurker – lurking as he did upon the entire dining room. Most people took him in stride – although I did notice that none of the waitresses or busgirls got anywhere near him. And when I left, he had parked his considerable girth in one of the patio chairs outside and was chomping on a cigar like it was manna from heaven. Imagine Sly Stallone with blonde hair and a bowl cut and some ugly tats on both arms chewing in a stogie. That's Big Tony in a nutshell.

Anyway. Back to me. I stayed up all night working on things. I sort of lost the period from 3 a.m. – 7 a.m.; when the morning people started coming in at 5 a.m. I freaked out and then promptly forgot about them – although there was one man that must have walked by my workspace 15 times and kept wanting to TALK. Seriously. I've been here for 13 hours. What about ME makes it seem as if I want to TALK TO YOU instead of FINISH the project that has KEPT me here for 13 hours. Birth control in the water. It's the only way.

Anyway. Back to me. The thing that needs to get done gets done. People throw computers in bags and leave. There's a whole mountain of Diet Coke cans. I've got two one-liter bottles of Coke that I don't remember drinking – although I remember being chastised roundly for burping. Right now, it's all sort of a haze.

Anyway. Back to me. I drive home – in the rain – and spend 20 minutes rushing to get my apartment neat enough so that my cleaning service can do their work. Yes. I have a cleaning service. I hate to clean – absolutely, positively despise it. Picking up doesn't bother me, but that whole scrubby thing is so not me. Turns out you can pay people for that – and so I have a service that comes twice a month and does everything but the windows.

But I'm anally retentive about them – I don't want to be there while they're there – because they rush – and I don't want them to "pick up" – I want them to clean. Thus, I have to "pre-clean" and deconstruct my usual "pile stuff on the table, counter, TV tray, other end of the couch, on the stove, beside the couch, on top of the commode, in the bathroom sink, etc." habits and clear out surfaces for them to spray, mop, sponge, etc.

It's actually very good for me – because it forces me to get organized twice a week. I usually spend Wednesday nights or Thursday mornings sorting bills from the past two weeks, making decisions about old magazines, taking out the recycling and in general just being neat. Not so today. It was like I had been possessed by a Tasmanian devil on crack rock – frantic to get stuff off the floor, off the counter, not lose my tax statements, hide the porn, put all the DVDS back up, etc. I beat them out by two minutes – I was getting in the car when they pulled in.

So here I am at the Sonic – watching old women pour into the Bealls across the parking lot and marveling at people who have the urge (and the time & money) to just go out and shop for home goods at 9:30 a.m. on a rainy Thursday. I mean, I got here at a quarter after 9 and there were already 30+ cars in the parking lot – and I know where the employee parking is marked. These weren't employees.

Anyway. The cleaning service should be out by the time I get back. I need a good long sleep today. I might take Friday off too. I think I deserve it.

Peace out. Pass the tater tots.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Pizza joint, 8:24 p.m. – My Italian bouncer, let me show you him

So, I'm burning the late-night oil for this massive project at work and decide to give this hole in the wall pizza joint near the office park where my cubicle has been relegate to a try.

This place shares a plaza with a rug store, a tiny Thai takeout, a dance studio and some other things. It's not much really. But honestly, I'm hungry and I just want some food and don’t feel like punishing my stomach with yet another greasy bag of fast food.

There's nothing from the outside to advertise that this is a "bistro," – although the CROWD CONTROL LINE (wtf?) and man with a tie waiting inside the door give me pause. There's also a sign on the door in at least 36-point type about how "we can't guarantee you seating in a particular dining room."

I'm staring at a deli counter and the man in the tie is trying to give me a menu and there's a scary "thing" that looks like Stephen Baldwin with an extra 40 pounds of muscle and more tattoos and hair that got cut with an egg-beater glowering menacingly and I swear to Kali I expected the next three words to be "How You Doin?"

It was all too much. If I wasn't sick of work and desperately hungry I might have fled, menu pages fluttering before me like pedestrians before the SUV wheels of Lizzie Grubman.

I breath deeply and allow myself to be led to a table. We may begin. It is a little upscale this joint – and it looks like it was carved out of two units in a strip mall – because the one I'm in has a front door as well. There's basically just a hole cut in the wall between the two units – that's where large Tony is leaning now – scanning the dining rooms like he's looking for contraband. Or illegal aliens. Or miscreant Mafia wives. Or maybe Adriana La Cerva. I dunno. What I do know is that he is officially giving me the major creeps.

The group next to me is getting mini cannolis for dessert – they look lovely. I'm torn between a marghuerita pizza and pasta. Let's go for penne with sausage, artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes. Ohhhh, free bread and garlic knots. The garlic knots are a little doughy, but the bread is perfect – better even than the bistro I ate at last weekend.

The big group over to my left has finished the cannolis and is getting coffee. Here comes Large Tony with a dessert menu. The waitress is telling him "THEY JUST HAD DESSERT." The diners are telling him, "WE JUST HAD DESSERT." He'd going "Would you like a dessert menu?" Obviously, he's the muscle here - not the brains. What the hell kind of odd protection racket is going on here?

If Large Tony is one of the "Two Brothers" for whom the place is named, I'm wondering where the other brother is. Did Large Tony get rid of him? I hope they're not serving him with marinara and breadsticks. Wait, that must be him – in the apron – doing the cooking.

Dude, seriously. Your brother is NOT DOING YOU ANY FAVORS BY STANDING OUT HERE FREAKING OUT THE CUSTOMERS. He looks like a felon, interrupts their dinner, tries to upsell them on things they already bought and lurks like a sex predator. Get him to go wash some dishes or something because he gives me the creeps.

OK. My soup is here. I hate to blog and run, but I'm hungry. Peace out.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Doctor's office – 3:02 p.m. My stogie-chomping friend, let me describe you him


There is an old decrepit man in a motorized wheelchair sitting not six feet from me. He only has one leg and he is chomping on a stogie like there is no tomorrow.

His wheelchair is a "Jazzy 1103 Ultra" and let me tell you, it is loaded to the max. This is a cute rotund old man – if you saw him on the street – and maybe if he had both legs - you'd go "Aww" and maybe let your kids take candy from him.

He's got a cute little sailor hat and shorts and a gray sweatshirt on – but MY GOD he is chomping on that cigar like it is his very lifeblood and giving his poor daughter the what-for about Rudy Giuliani.

WOW. A drug company rep just walked in and she is dressed to the elevens. She's got a HUMONGOUS bag filled with samples – nothing good I bet – I can't even read it because of the way she's holding it at the window.

She's working a black pencil skirt and a red blazer and a fierce blow-out on her coal-black hair. She's got to be pushing 40 but she's totally working the porcelain complexion. The only thing that doesn't quite go is her odd burgundy slippers – WHICH ARE NOT THE SAME SHADE AS THE FIRE ENGINE RED TOP LADY!

OK. She's selling Carinex. Whatever that is. And now she's taking her feet out of her inch-high heels and twirling her toe around in a seductive manner even though there's no one to see it – you know how you do when you're wearing flip-flops and you're standing at a counter and you know that no one can see you let your toes out to breathe. Except that I totally just busted her. Her burgundy shoes are totally bothering me though. Such an obviously dapper dresser should NOT be mismatching her reds in this way.

The old man is still giving the daughter the what-for about politics. She's got her hand firmly planted across her jaw in that "dutiful daughter" pose – and the old man has take the foot-long cigar out of his mouth long enough for me to see the chewed-up, slobbered-on end of it. I think I'm going to hurl.

The drug company rep has been denied and is forced out the door without being able to peddle her wares upon more unsuspecting doctors and hook more people on drugs they don't need.

Oh lordy. Turns out it was a two-fer! Wheelchair man has a WIFE! She's dressed in black from with gold sequins around the top – and the doctor is giving them both sheets and sheets of prescriptions and lecturing the daughter "make them finish up what they have before they take more." OH LORD. I can hear her very audible sigh. Her mother looks like she's on lithium – that or a very strange natural high.

The old woman's hair also looks like she shaved part of her forehead – or else she just has old-lady baldness. There's also enough hairspray there to wipe out an Amazon rainforest and still supply two seasons of "Project Runway" and an episode of "Top Model."

OK. I have to go. I do like maybe have some work to do today. Peace and cupcakes. I LOVE CUPCAKES! BECAUSE I HAVE TWENTY SEVEN PERSONALITIES!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dunkin Donuts, 5:44 p.m. – My Thiago, let me show you him

OK. I'm parked inside the cleanest Dunkin Donuts I've ever been in and just gotten a vanilla frosted from a twentysomething – I kid you not – named "Thiago." In the dictionary of interesting names, that one is right up there.

And bless me father, for I have sinned and heretofore art cometh my reward for doing good. There is a vision of loveliness walking my way.

There's a hot-ass boy walking in the door now. He's got on blue jeans and a light blue polo short. It fits tightly around his arms because he's got muscles to burn. Oh. I'm weak at my knees. He's got a nice crop of stubble on his chin and an armband tattoo. I need a man so bad I'm about to jump up and club him and drag him back to my car. He's got his cell phone glued to his ear the whole time he's at the register. le sigh Bad register manners. Strike one.

Strike two – these weird white plastic flip-flops that aren't even pretending to be fashion thongs. They're like what you wear while you're having treatments done at a day spa or something. OK. My final verdict? This is the guy you take back to your hotel room but not back to your hometown!

There's a blasting dance mix of "Don't Leave Me This Way" coming out of the speakers in here. I wonder if they crank it up like this during the mornings when all the old people are out in full effect?

I have to say that I like the atmosphere in here. The tables are double wide – they're not typical square but more like rectangles – long rectangles – perfect for two people with laptops or two people with plates or something. I'll have to try this on my way to work one morning – BUT IT IS STILL ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE DAMN ROAD.

Mr. Blue Shirt is still loitering at the pickup counter. His tattoo is peeking out from under his shirt. He is distracting me to an extreme degree. I can't think for the Abercrombie factor. OK. That is what I hereby dub the "cute boy" effect – the Abercrombie factor. And Blue Shirt has left – he gets into a slate gray PT cruiser and leaves. My day is so much less bright now.

OK. Back to me. Stop thinking about Blue Shirt and his bulging biceps and his peek-a-boo tattoo.

Who out there knew that Dunkin Donuts had a loyalty card? Seriously? There's a DD-Perks card – and you get three percent cash back. I need to get up on that. Apparently this is the best place I'm going to find to replace the Starbucks – especially if I can arrange to run into Blue Shirt more.

There are power points all over the place – no WiFi as far as I can tell – but it is sort of close to my office – and there are donuts and sodas and coffee. There's also about five giant signs staring me in the face everywhere I turn for this kind of plastic-looking Sausage Supreme Omelet sandwich. I dunno about that. I like bagels – but I find them kind of chewy. I especially dunno about having prefab eggs and sausage and cheese on a bagel. Maybe if I'm feeling adventurous or generous.

OK. I'm wrapping this one up. I'm sort of tired today and I need to do laundry. Much love – and thank you all for your comments and emails of support. :) I needed that.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Italian bistro & sushi bar, 9:08 p.m. - My leopard spots, let me show you them

This was supposed to be Saturday's entry – except that the flesh-eating, dung-encrusted maggots at Crumbcast have seen fit to throttle the pipes that power the tubes of my IntarWebz and I have been shut out of offering my brilliance. There is a conspiracy afoot, I tell you.

OK. I'm perched in a high stool at a white linen tablecloth kind of café-bistro-sushi-bar type place.

Why do people think that pasta and sushi go together? Just because the whole damn planet thinks that raw fish and vinegared rice is nice doesn't mean that I want to stare at someone pfaffing around with chopsticks while I'm trying to enjoy a nice glass of wine and eat some pasta. Italian does not go with sushi.

And I'm not talking "Asian Fusion" cooking here. I'm perfectly aware of what fusion is. This is a bistro that serves pasta and has a sushi bar. It's like a shotgun marriage and you're not sure if they're going to manage to do either one of them well. I don't like sushi. I was raised to cook food before you eat it. My eggs are scrambled hard, my burgers well done. I don't eat food raw because that's how you wind up with diseases of 57 syllables and become a case study that shows up on an episode of "House."

Why am I here? Because I had to go to work on a Saturday and I just couldn't take the place any more. I'd love to be slugging back a bottle of champagne (the whole bottle, thank you very much) or a bottle of white wine, but I can't afford either and I have to drive home anyway. God. I really, really, really need to get hammered soon and let go of some of this anger and frustration.

Anyway. I'm sitting outside because it's cool and fresh and brisk and I don't want to be around the "see and be seen scene" inside. Plus, it's loud up in there and I can't take any more loud right now. I might haul off and clock a bitch with my computer. Plus, there's the bonus of sights.

This bistro-sushi-bar thing is about two doors down from a movie theater in a strip mall, so I get to see all sorts of things. I've never seen people actually take a giant tub of popcorn home before – like in those NetFlix commercials (or was it for some widescreen TV) – but this fat man and his Q-tip-haired wife are sure as hell doing it. I mean, really, did you NEED that much popped corn flavored with butter-flavored grease in the first place? And now you're TAKING IT HOME? Is there a round two on the sofa?

The bread here is fantastic by the way. This charming Hispanic man keeps bringing baskets and baskets of homemade garlic knots and this fresh, crusty loaf stuff. I wish they had some sort of butter other than those rock-hard square bricks, but I'll survive. The bread is wonderful – one of the first nice things to happen to me all week.

I think it's gonna rain. It's gonna rain. It's raining. Oh lord it's raining.

Somehow, you would think that the population here is composed of either sugar or else is all first cousins to Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West from the way they carry on over the potential to get splattered with a few drops of water.

One old woman sends her man out to get the car – he gets the car and promptly drives a good ten feet past he pickup point – forcing her to RUN THROUGH THE RAIN to get into the door. Nice one old man, nice one.

The showers also provide a nice "stop and look" point for me to observe the fashion. There's a matched pair of mother-daughter wannabe models – both overly bleached and cosmeticized. The daughter is nothing but legs and is working every inch of her leather jeans – and baby – those legs GO ALL THE WAY UP. She's got extensions in – I can tell because her hair just doesn't hang quite right. Her mother – although it might just be an older friend – is trying valiantly but failing to pull off the blonde in a leather skirt look. It's nice people watching though.

And leopard seems to be the fabric d'jour this year. If one old matchstick had on leopard, I must have seen it on twenty. Tunics, jackets, trims – it was like an African savannah out there – all shades too. That reminds me – I need some leopard curtains for my cubicle.

OK. My pesto chicken alfredo is here. Ciao.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Cubicle farm, 4:49 p.m. - My noisy new office, let me show you it

So last Friday word came down from on high that it was official, I have to move from my cushy decorated digs to another cubicle farm 17 miles northward in another office. I had hoped to avoid this - and voiced my opinion many, many, many times that I did not want to take part in the move.

That 17 miles translates into about 45 minutes if traffic is good – over an hour if traffic is bad. I got stuck in construction on Monday and spent 20 minutes staring at the back end of a delivery truck loaded with canisters of CO2 and praying that no one decide to recreate a scene from a Bruckheimer movie.

It is horrible. I hate traffic. I hate being in traffic. There's not a convenient Starbucks. This current office park is bland – pretty and heavily landscaped with flowers and fountains and palm trees – but with zero personality. Plus I have to take my life into my own hands and turn across three lanes of highway traffic without a stop light every night when I want to go home.

There are three Starbucks within three miles – but they're all on the wrong side of the road if I'm coming here – and none of them have traffic signals or turn lanes – all require U-turns or complicated mall parking lots. Getting back to Starbucks after getting TO the office requires the aforementioned deathtrap turn across three lanes of oncoming cars – without a suicide lane in the middle. I could kill the idiot that designed this office park.

I don't know how much longer I'm going to last at this job. I feel under-appreciated and very much under-challenged. There's just not much else out there right now that I feel like I want to do – unless someone wants to pay me to bum around the world writing travel guide articles while staying at four-star hotels and flying first class.

This is the crux of my problem – I like creature comforts too much to learn to do without them. I like digital cable and air conditioning and takeout food and bottled water and clean sheets and automatic transmissions and health insurance and regular prescriptions and "Project Runway" and TiVo and private bathrooms and toilet paper and triple venti raspberry white chocolate mochas with whole milk and sprinkles. I LIKE ALL THAT OK.

That does not make me a bad person. It just makes me ill-suited for becoming a digital Bedouin who could travel the globe, living off the local economy for a few weeks at a time before decamping for a new place.

Maybe I need to radically re-adjust my thinking. I'm got to break out of this rut that I'm in or I'm just going to wake up in 20 years and think "What the hell happened to my life?" Shit. I might just wake up tomorrow and decide to take a handful of pills and stick my head in a plastic bag. I think I've forgotten how to feel anything anymore.

I need new thought patterns. I need a boyfriend. I need some new music. I need a haircut. I need new clothes. I need new shoes. So help me Buddha, I need a whole new life.

Blarf. I'm a depressed as the stock market during a Bush presidency. Anyway. My week has been absolutely craptastic. I haven't been able to find the time or a place to write all week – and the one night I tried to land at Starbucks #2 – they gave me a free frappuccino but said they were closing early and kicked me out. I gave up and went home and went to bed because I couldn't take it any more.

Thank you for caring. Or not. Internet trolls clean public toilets with their tongues anyway.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sonic – 10:58 p.m. – The Sonic is understaffed and the customers are getting rowdy

There is some kind of high drama going on here at the Sonic – and I wonder if me and these four old people who just wanted some sundaes are gonna get caught up in some crossfire or something.

Destiny's Child is banging out on the radio. Every 30 seconds the manager or the carhop looks out the door like they expect a gangland thug to come roaring by in a little black Buick and start pumping out hot lead.

There's a truck that has torn through the parking lot a few times – and I saw the carhop stick her head outside the door and scream at someone leaving the drive-thru. She was also yelling exasperatedly at the order screen – but that could just be equipment issues. Retail. It's the modern soap opera.

Here comes the manager again. In. Then out. They are watching for SOMETHING – although I don't know what. There's a Ford Excursion on one side of me and a Dodge conversion van on the other. I can't see anything but straight ahead – and I'll be damned if I back out and get into the middle of the great Tater Tot War of January 2008.

Now the carhop girl is out – prowling around. The old people want more napkins. They might be wanting bandages and splints in a minute. Oh. My. Shiva. Typical old people. They sent back a completely consumed chocolate sundae because – and I swear upon my dead plant's grave that I might have heard this – the hot fudge melted the ice cream too fast.

Yes. Carhop just brought out a brand new sundae. It's just like the Wal-mart. Eat it. Return it. Get a new one for free. Boy, the old people are cackling like mad hens on acid now. They're driving a brand-new Escalade and scamming ice cream sundae's out of minimum wage girls at the Sonic.

What a life to look forward to when I start collecting Social Security. At least my own grandparents garden. My granny might chew out the checkout girl at the Piggly Wiggly for crushing her bread – but she'd never scam. The woman saves the lids to baby food jars to make Christmas ornaments.

Where was I? Oh. The Sonic manager just came back inside. The old people are laughing. I guess any potential threat has gone the way of the dodo bird. And my burrito. Gone, gone, gone!

Sonic has a new Double Berry Smoothie – the double berry part comes from raspberries and strawberries. It's good – but the seeds of the strawberries are a real pain. Plus, it doesn't suction well out of the cup. You know how sometimes when you get an ICEE and you suck all the Coke or strawberry flavor out of it and all you're left with is ice? That's what seems to happen with this – although if it really is "low-fat yogurt" in this I'm dying to know what exactly causes this effect.

My. Lord. Vishnu. I have the window on the car cracked for fresh air (I didn’t feel like getting out because it was clammy) and I can hear these old people kicking up a storm. I need to order me one of them there sundaes and see what all the fuss is about. And then eat it and return it.

The old people are departing. Two old ladies in the back of the Escalade, two old men in the front of the Escalade. That's the way the retirement fund goes!

OK. My time is up. My smoothie is done. I need to go home and do some laundry.

Peace, love and tater tots!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Another Apple Store, 7:57 p.m. - The Apple geeks are ugly

Seriously, I don't know if it is something in the water or what, but the Apple geeks up in here look like .... well, there's no way to sugarcoat this, real geeks. It is frightening in its truthfulness. I think I've stumbled into some sort of fanboy convention or something - because some of these dudes look like they still live in somebody's basement.

The one at the genius bar is wearing a pair of ratty tennis shoes and shorts and looks sort of schlubby. There's one at the far end greeting customers that is wearing a pair of aquamarine - yes, I kid you not - AQUAMARINE (not just a Britney movie!) - shorts and the navy blue Apple T-shirts. It is one of most clashy trashy combos I think I've ever seen. Maybe he's trying to match the shirts of the girls in the store - who all seem to be wearing that shade of blue. Oh no honey. IT AIN'T WORKING!

The geeks here are not friendly either. There are four of them clumped up in a big group over on the right side of the store - like wallflowers at a school dance. Then again - if they all started out as geeks, they're probably used to being wallflowers at a dance.

Awwwwwwww. I just got an Apple geek all frothy with the prospect of me buying one of those super-sleek keyboards. I want one so bad it hurts right down to my toes - but I have absolutely no use for it if I have a laptop. I mean really, I don't like external monitors and don't want to use one - it does tend to cut down on the whole "portability" thing - but oh. my. god. I love those little keyboards.

The music up in here is whizack tonight. It's some sort of rappy-thuggy-clash crap that I can't even begin to identify. I don't even know if it has an identifiable melodic stream.

The vibe here is really strange. I get the feeling that this is a low-traffic store - it certainly seems so - because it is Saturday night and there are nearly as many staff as customers - and there are only about 12 customers in here. The staff aren't doing much - although that is totally Apple's laissez-faire way of doing things - touch, feel, play - then ask for help. But really, there is an odd vibe. I can't pin my finger on it, but there's just no "excitement."

You know, I'm about to call them on this too. I can't save for **** on this here iMac. The Safari browser seems whacked.

OH. MY. KALI. There is a howler monkey acting all kind of a fool up in the Apple "discover" station. It is going around pressing all the buttons on all the computers just to hear the different Dr. Seuss sounds. I'm all for "the wonder of discovery," but you better sit your little spoiled and pampered behind down and discover, not keep running around and howling. I'm about to turn around and smack it. It's parents do not deserve the wonder of a Mac. Thou shalt be thrown out of the church of our Lord Jobs.

There is a bald man on the iMac next to me. He is staring very, very quizzically at something in the iLife suite. Hurr. He is bald at a young age too. Bald by style or bald by choice? You never know. It doesn't look good on him either.

Oh Lord. Here comes his weird-looking wife. She apparently tried to jam a memory card into an iBook and "somehow" wiped the memory card? Can you even do that? Don't you have to have a card reader? I really don't understand people sometimes.

They're yammering at the guy at the Genius Bar and I swear to Shiva I saw him roll his eyes. The woman is pouting and squinchy and going "I don't know, but it was new when I bought it." Really, Most things ARE new when you buy them.

And this is not going well. They don't like what they hear from the Genius Bar - because the computer is telling him a different story. I must have gotten only half that conversation. Oh. They just got quoted $300 to fix whatever problem they have. I swear it was just some kind of memory card. Oh. No. It's a power cord for an iPod. They broke the power cord for an iPod - and now the husband is talking loud enough for me to hear. It was the kid who yanked the cord out and actually damaged the slot on the iPod.

Reason number 8,997,235 not to mix howler monkeys and expensive electronics. One will always damage the other.

Peace out. Much love.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Outside the Pita Barn, 11:34 p.m. - Because everyone loves shirtless boys

OK. We're working the college thing tonight. I roaming around in a brand new part of the planet and get a hankering for something to eat. I land beside the local college – and find this tiny storefront shop that sells pitas – and it is open until midnight.

I'm perched on a bench outside the store because the music inside is so loud that it would wake the dead, pierce their eardrums with an icepick and then serve the brains in nice compote for dessert. With toothpicks through the eyeballs. Maybe some chocolate sprinkles.

Still, the pitas are good and the college boys were very pretty. There were even two shirtless ones lounging around as I placed my order. Very hard not to stare. Impossible in fact.

No. It's not that kind of place. They were painted green from the waist up – because allegedly the college had a basketball game tonight. That, or there is some odd sort of William Wallace festival going on nearby that I obviously need to get myself too in a damn big hurry. Oh …. I miss college and the random happenstance of shirtless boys just lying around like tossed-aside soda cans in Third World countries.

I love the staff T-shirts here. One dude had on a shirt that said "Getting freaky with tzatziki" and there's another "Getting groovy with tabouli." I'm waiting to see what rhymes with "hummus." Yeah. Rhyme that one bitch.

OK. I really, really miss college. It is about a quarter till midnight now – and the place is jumping. It's nothing like the barren wasteland of cultural suburbia where I live. There are all kinds of young people up in this joint.

They're all bored college kids trying to find food on a Friday night – and one coked out sorority whore with cutoff blue jean shorts halfway up the crack of her Great Rift Valley and a V-neck that really looks more like a swan dive. Seriously honey – you need to get thee to a nunnery – that or some rehab. PS: That Chanel bag you're swinging around is a fake. The stitching looks like it was done by a blind Chinaman with an eggbeater using a vine as thread and the metal decorations are wrong. I can tell that from here. Much love.

The music is pumping out over the speakers outside too. "Sad Songs" from Elton. Wow. I don't really know how this is modern college music, but I'm loving it. I know Elton is like some kind of eternal flame (get it) that's good for every decade, but really? College? Anyway. It's really nice out tonight too. I wish there were actually tables and chairs, but I'm making this bench work.

On that subject – I'd like to deliver a great big "Screw You" to the Calistoga Bakery Cafe next door. Not only do they close early, but they literally lock up all the tables and chairs so that you can't use them. Ugh. My foot is going to sleep.

Now we're on to Three Doors Down and "When I'm Gone." Uh. This was big right around the time I was in college. Or graduate school. It gets blurry that far back.

One thing I severely DO NOT miss about college – stupid kids racing up and down the road acting a fool just because their rich daddy bought them a new pick-up truck. I really don't want to listen to your engine. Hell, I probably don't want to listen to you. The traffic noise here is nothing to write home about.

Well, I just saw a girl riding a motorbike in a pair of short-shorts. That … takes courage in a whole new way. Maybe she just needs a bikini wax and is just too cheap to go to the salon. Gives a whole new meaning to "burning it off."


"Summer breeze. Makes me feel fine. Blowing through the jasmine of my mind." Oh. I love this song. I've always loved this song. My foot is totally and completely asleep. Damn.

OK. I'm tired. I've had a tough week – which accounts for no post on Thursday. I shall endeavor to do better in the future.

Much love. Wait. Stop. Just remembered this.

I'm going to deliver some much-needed fashion advice from earlier in the day.

Ladies, it is NEVER, EVER, EVER acceptable to wear Mardi Gras beads as everyday jewelry - especially if you are currently more than a thousand miles from the wonderful, fabulous and glorious city of New Orleans.

EVER. Are we clear on that? Crystal clear?

Even if you are 110 and have the Alzheimer's and think you might be related to Catherine the Great. Even if you think you ARE Catherine the Great. Hell, if you think you ARE Catherine the Great, you need to be wearing a live horse, a Bjork swan or vest made out of Russian bears or something. Not some damn Mardi Gras beads.

NEVER. In the unlikely event you rig the vote and become a Mardi Gras queen, you will be provided with appropriate gemstones.

DO NOT, and I repeat, DO NOT wear Mardi Gras beads with brown slacks and a yellow sweater. I will laugh at you and clown your wide behind on my blog.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blogging.