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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Starbucks #798, 7:35 p.m. – My new computer, let me show you it


Praise Allah. Praise Kali. Praise Buddha. Praise Shiva. Praise Cthulu. Braise a howler monkey and pass the barbecue sauce. I GOT MY NEW MACBOOK TODAY!

Now that I've got that out of my system … I'm about 35 miles north of my normal haunts hanging out at a brand new Starbucks. This is the first Starbucks I've ever seen that is laid out in a near-perfect square. The dining room is a rectangle. The barista bar is another skinny rectangle – and the drive-thru is a third skinny rectangle on the back of that.

It's very, very strange – because the design is open – and it means that every single bit of noise that comes from the espresso bar is amplified and echoes out into the customer area.

This is another one of those - "no-merchandise" Starbucks - so there's lots of seating and hangout space. It is just noisy as hell. No one in their right mind would want to make this their "third space." Counting me, there are only three customers here. I can't hear myself think over the noise of dishes, the sink and the blender. If this place were full of customers, I'd run screaming for the hills trailing coffee beans behind me like a shitty baby with a diaper full of poo toddling down the aisle of a Wal-Mart!

One of the baristas was just making a frappuccino – and I swear to Kali it sounded like she was blending a concrete block inside a cement mixer. It doesn't help that they've turned up the Juanes in this joint to a level 11 and beyond. I'm down with Juanes. Just not a level that will vibrate the hairs right off Frida Kahlo's upper lip.

The baristas are a triple set of teenage tramplets that belong in a Pussycat Dolls video. Or in the Pussycat Dolls. Whichever comes first.


Blarf. There were a couple of foreign tourists in front of me at the register.


Anyway. These tourists. They couldn't figure out what they wanted. They finally managed to get two coffees.


Foreign tourists. Two coffees and two coffee cakes. Then they ask the girl at the register for sugar and cream – because they're obviously from some Third World slumhole country that has not yet been cursed blessed with the beneficent majesty of the Green Apron goodness. Anyway.


Anyway. Register monkey is helping me and asks another girl to direct the tourists to the cream and sugar on the condiment bar. The other girl – who has ratty hair that looks like a beaver made a nest, died, willed the nest to another beaver, then that beaver made and nest and raised a family of six and then died – she leans over the espresso machine and yells at the top of her lungs ITS OVER THERE! And she points at the condiment bar.

Because she obviously knows how to give the legendary green apron customer service.

Ok. The noise here is just too much. I feel a migraine. Either that or I am way, way, constipated and need to take a serious dump.

I love you all.

But I love my new computer more.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Park, 7:38 p.m. - Old people love their heavy metal objects

OK. My friends and I decided to broaden our horizons and head out to a community park in the county north of here tonight. We saw a thing in the paper for a horseshoe thing and thought, "Hey, nice. That could be fun." So, we rolled out of work, fought traffic and landed at the park amidst a bunch of old people who haven't worked a day since Reagan was president.

I know I'm REAL down on the old people all the time, but everyone we met was absolutely wonderful. There was this old guy named Bob who adopted us liked we were his long lost children.

He cleaned off a horseshoe pitch for us, found some horseshoes, gave us a quick lesson, and told us to start throwing. And you know what, I LOVE TO THROW THINGS. Horseshoes are good. Plates are are better. Ex-boyfriends out of the car at a gas station are GREAT!

Anyway. This perfectly wonderful old lady named Barb or Ann or Sue or Deb or something else with three letters and as old as dirt was sitting behind a Welcome table. We got name tags and welcome packets and everything. Deb has on a blue jumper and those old lady blue jeans with the elastic in the waistband. She's got steel-gray hair and might be seventy but she doesn't act like a day over 40.

There's a lot of old ladies here - who are clearly just supporting their menfolks. One old bird is sitting at a picnic table behind me. She's the best-dressed person here - in Ann Taylor Loft separates and a really nice red blazer. She's got the knitting out and it looks like she's making a baby booty in pale blue. I bet she's got a new grandson. The clank and the thunk of the horseshoes doesn't bother her in the least.

The action on the pitch has died down, but there are a couple of die-hards. Three old dudes - one of them wearing a knee brace - and one skinny woman wearing black jeans and a red gingham shirt are still throwing two-pound metal U's back and forth with deadly seriousness.

My mentor, Bob, was explaining the rules of the game to me and how he goes to competitions all the time. Bob is a serious player. He's a good player too. He's got a tournament tomorrow - and he told us that he can hit a ringer in 40 out of every 100 pitches.

Wow. This is a dangerous game. One guy is cleaning the horseshoes in a bucket. The three other guys are pitching from the other end. One old guy threw a horseshoe, smacked the concrete and bounced it right into the bucket the old dude was cleaning horseshoes in. And then DID IT AGAIN!

This one old lady is WILDLY curious about what I'm writing. I think she thinks that I'm a reporter. Well, I am "reporting" the action. But not how she thinks. Real reporters would identify themselves and ask for people's proper names. Not just sit and write.

Anyway. The bugs are going something fierce out here. And I'm hungry. All that exercise helped me work up an appetite.

And I think I might have pulled a muscle in my arm!

Much love.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Starbucks #1, 9:09 p.m. - I'll have a tall latte and a quick blowjob

The alternate title was "Alas, pour your drink, I knew him Fellatio."

Yeah, I know. I'm predictable. I like comfort food though, and I really do buy into that whole 'third place' bullshit that Starbucks pumps out. Plus, there are cute boys.

Like the one that just walked through the door. Uhhhhhh. Strike that. He has an asthmatic cough. He has on an orange Texas Longhorns T-shirt and red and black athletic shorts. He's got on sandals and crusty toes. He has big ears too. His haircut is not doing him any favors, but he is nicely formed. The register girl is flirting fit to beat the band.

He apparently has a $5 Starbucks gift card and wants to use it. His bill comes out to $4.22 and he's crushed that he can't spend it all at once. So he decides to flirt with the barista some more. She simpers. He smiles. I gag. "Is it possible that I can use 78 cents the next time?" No mother-f*****. Because that is not your money. She simpers. He smiles. I gag. "Of course," the barista answers, "that's your money." That's right dumb-ass. Seriously. Maybe he really DID go to a Big 12 school.

Anyway. He gets his coffee and leaves. She sighs. He stalks. I gag.

Where were we? Oh. Yeah. Cute boys. Diamond Studs, the ghetto-fied white-boy high-schooler is working tonight. He has a big hickey high up on his neck. Too high for a turtleneck to cover up - even if it made any sense at all to wear a turtleneck in Florida.

I'm sitting outside now. They cranked the radio up in there while they're cleaning and I just can't concentrate. The traffic noise is loud but oddly calming. Whoosh. Zoom. Whoosh. Zoom. Thank you Mr. Motorcycle.

Apparently, and I'm getting this second-hand from a chatty barista, I just missed a rather long philosophical debate about the best way to perform fellatio on a male. The three female baristas were tormenting poor Diamond Studs with this as he's trying to clean the espresso machine.

Are we interested in the techniques that were being espoused? I know that I'm always down for a good discusson on the techniques of fellatio. I'm not sure how experienced a couple of these girls were - one looks like an old pro - but two of them look like they're still in high school. Looks can be deceiving - and who knows - maybe they're earning tuition in the back seat of the bus on the way home each afternoon.

Anyway. The blonde girl was apparently asking questions about the whole "Pop Rocks" theory - which is how the debate got started. Seriously. That's how blonde jokes got started.

The brunette said that you've got to use plenty of hand - and juggle the jewels while you're at it. The old hand - the manageress, just smiled and nodded wisely and said that if you manage to finger the culo, that's even better.

Methinks she's given a few in her lifetime. Anyway. Poor Diamond Studs just blushed red, made my drink and clocked out. He shoved his green apron in his back pocket and stomped out the door just a minute later.

After he left, one of the baristas confided in me that "his girlfriend won't do it for him. And she cheated on him over Christmas." Well, hell. Poor Diamond Studs. I guess I need to tip him good tomorrow. Maybe a five with my phone number written on it in Sharpie.

The SBUX is dead tonight. I guess everyone is indoors watching the LSU-OSU game. Whatever. Who would have thought that OSU would score first? I saw that much before I left the office. Even the traffic is dead here.

Oh. Man. I don't know what the hell I ate, but it is killing me in the digestion department. Maybe it was that IHOP last night. I dunno.

OK. Drivers are stupid. This white Toyota 4Runner just turned out in front of a Mustang. So the Mustang slams on the horn. The 4Runner blows the horn back, then guns it. I can hear the Mustang gun it too. All this not five blocks from downtown and another stoplight and tons of police. Effing brilliant.

Huh. I just caught three stop lights in different stages. Yellow. Red. Green.

I love the different colors of light. Wow. I'm back on light. I can see blue, white and yellow from here too. Ohhhhhh. Pretty.

Traffic noise. I can haz it. It's funny, but when the light goes green or yellow, I'll hear a sudden deeper THRUMMMMMM of the engines as the drivers either accelerate or try to make the light.

OK. I'm done. I need to do my laundry.

Peace. Love. Thank Mr. Corvette. You really had to peel out there. Understanding.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Starbucks #1, 7:10 p.m. - My breast tattoo, let me show you it

Damn. I need that triple venti raspberry white chocolate mocha. I have been caffeine deprived all day because I refuse to buy soda for my apartment. I think soda is bad for the body - but I can't break my caffeine addiction. I try to fight this by not buying soda - or buying it only in the 16 oz. bottles. Therefore, I always have a limited supply on hand and getting more requires me to actually lever myself up off the couch, go downstairs and make my way to the 7-Eleven.

OK. Mega strangeness. An old dude decked out in runner duds just came in, did an about-face, then went right back out, crossed four lanes of traffic and disappeared into the distance. He crossed the opposite corner too. I can see him walking through the parking lot of the Mobil station across the corner.

Ha. I bet he thought the coffee prices were too expensive. DUDE. It is a fricking Starbucks. You are paying for a decade of marketing and the mythical "third place" experience. Also, he's in for a helluva shock when he goes into that Mobil station. It's one of the Mobil "On the Run" cafe stations. They serve gourmet coffee and at one point actually had a small cafe in the back - like a Subway with a person making fresh sandwiches for you.

There is an extremely tall woman wearing a Marimekko-esque print shirt and Ugly Betty style glasses that is accompanying an old dude with a goatee and one of those tragea piercings in his right ear. Well, he's not THAT old, but he's got a good fifteen years on her. She looks like she ought to be vamping it up on Nikki Beach or something - not hanging around coffee shops with grizzled old wannabe-hot-stuff Cuban dudes who are trying to work the Picard look. OH MY GOD. He just told her to go fetch their drinks. Servile much? Girlfriend, you need to dump this dude. No amount of clothes and jewelry is worth your self respect.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Midwestern tourists in tha hiz-ouse. She's wearing white pants with cute little tassels on the bottom cuffs and a gigantic black fisherman's sweater. He's got on the latest from the Tommy Bahama line - ugly yellow and tropical flower print shirt, khakis, hat and boat shoes. Her cankles threaten to overwhelm the one and a half-inch black jeweled heels she's trying to work like a rock star. Sister-girl, please, listen to mama. That day has passed.

OH MY GOD. I just got a frontal of the Cuban girl in the Marimekko outfit. She has a huge tattoo of hearts and flowers and scrollwork splashed across her collarbones and extending down to a point right above her breasts. Very eye-catching. And they just got into their huge black Ford Excursion, drove over the curb and through a red light. Nice. Really nice.

Wow. This is just the best cup of coffee that I have had in like two weeks. This is the one barista that I discreetly "complained" about too. I guess they went back and re-trained her, because her work has been spot-on here lately. I mean, this is an EXCELLENT cup of coffee.

I love the city at night. From where I'm sitting, I can see one of the really big intersections in town and the ebb and flow of traffic and traffic lights. It has a very peaceful and at the same time frenetic beauty. The movement of the light is so hypnotic.

It brings to mind one of my favorite old "Northern Exposure" episodes. Anyone else love that show? Anyway. The episode was called "Aurora Borealis, or Fairy Tales for Big People." I think that was what it was called anyway. The episode ended with the John Corbett character unveiling this huge light sculpture in the town square and the Enya song "Ebudae" playing over the end credits. It was fantastically wonderful and beautiful and soulful and spiritually powerful. Dunno. Maybe I just loved "Northern Exposure."

Anyway. There's a yuppie here who either has an internal modem or who doesn't mind paying the exorbitant price for Starbucks Internet access. He's been surfing on this laptop the whole time I've come in, snagged THA BEST COFFEE EVAR, decided that I wanted a meal, eaten some tuna salad, chatted with one of the baristas about the unfortunate demise of my MacBook and why she should avoid the Mac Mini and just get a laptop, and then write this post. Whoops. He's leaving now.

Wait. My time is up. So am I. They're grinding coffee beans now. The noise is terrific. The smell is intoxicating, but the constant whirr-whirr-whirr is going to give me a headache in short order.

Peace. Love. Understanding.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

My cubicle, 11:04 p.m. - Let me share with you it

So, the evil monkey butt nuggets at Comcast saw fit to destroy the tubes that power the InterWebz and throttle the pipes that bring forth the life-giving manna of the high-speed Internet.

The busted laptop I'm forced to carry around until I get a replacement has a janky power cord - and a battery that apparently has the staying power of a fifteen-year-old boy in the presence of Pamela Anderson - so I'm have been forced to come in to work to satisfy my desperate email craving. I feel like such a techno-junkie.

If this horrible situation goes on much longer, people are going to find me outside the Verizon store a few blocks from my apartment panhandling for wireless cards or something. "Hey brother, can you spare a text? What about a prepaid cell phone? Please mister? HAVE MERCY ON ME! I KNOW YOU HAVE TECHNOLOGY ON YOU!"

Anyway. I went to the Sonic and got a burrito. Word up - the steak, bacon & egg burrito is back, ya'll. That mess is so good. It keeps real good too. I like to get two and then I have a spare for breakfast. Then, seeing as how I wasn't doing much else on a Saturday night, I came to my domicile of drudgery.

There's only so much email and Google Reader you can do. At some point, you actually do reach the end of the Internet. Especially since my preferred method of passing time on the Internet - shopping - has been curtailed as of late, because, you know, I'm as poor in funds as Britney is in good sense. Anyway.

I get so much more work done when I'm not actually supposed to be at work. I think it has to do with the fact that I'm so much of a night owl anyway - and the whole eight-to-five schedule just does not agree with me. There's no one here, I turn the iTunes up and blast that stuff out at full volume. What do I listen to? The best of the pop tunes from the 80s & 90s, with a good dash of Mama Cass and the hits of the 60s thrown in.

My favorite song? Hard to pin down. A definite contender is Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time." I bought a cassingle of that at a garage sale way, way, way back in the day and played it every single day for a year until the tape broke. My friends hated me. And hated Cher.

Lately I've been discovering more melodic music. I love piano music - and I wish I had the time to learn to play. Here's my theory on that. If I can type 80 words a minute, I can learn to play the piano - but I have short and fat fingers - and I can't hear music worth a damn. I bought a keyboard and three "Learn to Play Piano for Dummies" books and couldn't make heads or tails of any of them.

Maybe my brain just doesn't work the way musician brains work. I'm very process-oriented - in that I want stuff to make sense and operate in a logical fashion again and again and again. Still, I love piano music.

I saw that episode of "Dexter" with the Chopin references and loved that music. Unfortunately, it appears that everyone else did too - because there was apparently a run on Chopin at the public library. *grumble* Everyone else has the same idea of getting music for free .....

Anyway. What else do I listen to? Soundtracks to Broadway musicals. Current favorite? The soundtrack to the musical "Closer to Heaven." Music was from The Pet Shop Boys and the book was by acclaimed playwright Jonathan Harvey - who wrote "Beautiful Thing." I paid a small fortune to have it imported from the UK - and it may be out of print now - but I highly recommend it. The songs are beautiful, sexy, exotic and heartbreaking - especially the title track.

Anyway. Peace. Love. Understanding.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Outside Gamestop, 9:13 p.m. - This truck needs to turn off its lights

Seriously. I despise "outside malls." I applaud developers for thinking that people love the whole "town square" concept - and I love that the Panera Bread is coughing up some free WiFi - but this mother-f****** pickup truck needs to dim its f****** lights up in this bitch.

On the other hand, I can see to type like it is broad daylight up in here. KALI HELP ME. This dood is honking the horn to tell his wife that YES HONEY I AM RIGHT HERE. She is near bout tripping over herself to high-tail it out to the truck with a couple of lattes. Whatever.

The people-watching here is fascinating. There is a table full of Hispanic women over to my right who are carrying on an animated conversation in Spanish and quite possibly Dutch and French. Somebody found a new pair of shoes and everybody else wants to know where she got them. And some other girl is having man issues. The troubles are all the same....

It is kind of chilly in my part of Florida here tonight - but people are everywhere - inside and out. The outside crew has bundled up in fashionable winter wraps that they probably don't get the chance to pull out of storage that often and are totally working the hot Minnesota Mommy ski vixen look. Although the one fat girl at the table is sucking down a frappuccino like a newborn knocking back a fresh bottle.

There's a skinny white boy wearing a white windbreaker and carrying an iPhone walking by. He's on the prowl. I know he's not calling his girlfriend.

More skinny white girls walking by. One of them has on a "Blackwater" sweatshirt. The name had a big bear paw underneath it - maybe a high school. Maybe the disgraced Iraqi contractor is now sponsoring high schools? I wonder if Blackwater shirts would be worth anything on eBay?

Hrmmmm. It's kind of cold out here. I should have put on a vest or tossed a sweatshirt or something. I'm waiting on my friend and we're going to see "Juno."

I totally want to go get a coffee to warm up - but I had a smoothie earlier and I feel bloated - bloated like a water-retaining lesbian.

God. There are tons of teenagers out tonight. There's a kid with a mohawk coming by right now - a good-sized one too. I applaud anyone who dares to thumb their nose at convention - and at the same time, I mock them because you are so clearly not counter-culture if you're wearing an Abercrombie sweatshirt and a pair of Vans. The Mohawk is there solely for attention. That, or you lost a bet with your little stupid friends.

Some car just rolled by blasting music. And now a loud bunch of Latinas are rolling by calling each other "puta" and screaming out "YOU KNOW YOU JUST LITTERED BITCH. WHY YOU GOTTA YELL AT ME? I DID NOT LITTER BITCH." Damn. Somebody need to teach these heifers some manners.

I'm sandwiched between the Starbucks and the Panera Bread, staring right at a GameStop store - and one might think that this would be a good location for the GameStop store - but I've been here 20 minutes and not seen a single customer come in or out of the GameStop. I guess everyone got their video games for Christmas and have already exchanged them or they're just not in a buying mood.

Shit. I totally missed the Hair Cuttery store. I could use a new 'do. I've been thinking of getting my hair bleached. The only problem with that is that my hair gets so fried afterward. And it takes months and months to come back to normal.

Two girls are play hugging outside the Starbucks. This old man at the condiment bar inside the Starbucks is casting such a gimlet eye on them. THEY ARE NOT LESBIANS DUDE THEY'RE JUST HUGGING!

It's cold out here. I can't feel my pinky fingers on either hand. My friend needs to hurry the fuck up so I can send them into the Starbucks for me some coffee. Damn. How long does it take to go buy some movie tickets?

Three completely juvie brats walking by right now. The GameStop appears to be closed - SO THEY DECIDE TO TRY TO SCOPE OUT THE SEATS RIGHT BY ME. I hit one of them with "the look" - so they decide to "lets go sit over at the bench." That's right bitches. Do not invade my personal space. DO NOT GET UP IN MY PERSONAL SPACE. I BE TRYING TO CREATE UP IN HERE!

Two minutes to go. Damn. Now I need a pee too. The chatty Catalina party is breaking up. They had enough coffee cups on that table to serve a a family of 8 for a year. They must have made three trips to the garbage each.

No. Wait. It's not over. They're just moving the table - and six chairs - around to the other side of the restaurant out of the wind. Nicely done ladies. Nicely done. I wish I'd had the sense to do that. But no, I thought I'd sit out where I would be able to see my brilliant friends that are apparently waiting in the longest ticket line known to man.

OK. I gotta go pee and find the movie theater.

Love ya'll lots!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Apple Store, 4:23 p.m. - There is a shaved poodle in the Apple store!

Well, I have been driven to become peripatetic. I have been driven to worship at the altar of our lord Jobs. Yes. I'm typing at the Apple Store. Just call me David Duchovny and call this an episode of "Californication."

Mon dieu, it is hella crowded up in here. I do say that I love these new flat Apple keyboards though. I had to squeeze in on one of the big-screen iMacs because all the laptops were taken up by students doing Kali knows what with PhotoBooth and MySpace.

There are more retail slaves here than in a regular Wal-Mart. Most regular retail places could learn a thing or two from Apple. There is an annoying twenty-something in a pale blue T-shirt running around with a clipboard and a Palm-Pilot sized device that is just bugging the mess out of everyone.

You know, I realize that these are displays, not general use computers, but Apple could at least provide some stools. That, or raise the height of the counters to make it easier for people to type. I've tried about eight positions so far and not found one that is comfortable for me to type at for a long period of time.

Rich people have WAAAAAY too much money to waste on the last of the world's technological resources. Two girls over here are trying to convince these two old white people in expensive leather coats and $400 shoes to buy a laptop. She's working the whole iLife suite thing. "Look at iPhoto here. You can share your photos instantly." They're not buying it. I bet they'll go buy some piece-of-crap gPC at the Wal-Mart or something.

I LOVE THIS KEYBOARD. If I didn't have a laptop, I would totally buy myself one. Yeah, that and the fact that this keyboard costs $80.

There is an old woman wearing a turquoise green pants suit and dark, dark, dark sunglasses right up in the store here. Wait. She's got on a lime green Gore-tex vest OVER the pants suit and she has on a black crocodile bag. That's really an interesting combination of flavors there lady. AND SHE IS WALKING A SHAVED POODLE RIGHT INTO THE STORE. SO HELP ME GOD A SHAVED POODLE. I don't know who she is, or what she is, but this poor pooch deserves to be put out of its misery.

OK. Me craning my neck to get a better look at the dog just earned me a visit from one of the Apple geeks. "Do you need help sir?" No. I'm just trying to get a better look at the dog. "What dog?" That dog. And the dog picks that moment to howl.

Apple does not age discriminate. Some ancient fossil who looks like a skinny John McCain is trying to convince these two even older fossils to shell out on an iMac is touting the benefits of the widescreen display. And he is trying to play down the fact that it costs $1800. Now he's trying to figure out what kind of computer they have.

"Are you using Microsoft Outlook?" Really? I don't understand that question. It's so noisy in here that I really cant eavesdrop very well. He's selling the hell out the photo-sharing.

Now the old people want him to come to the house and install it. He's like "We don't do that. Macs are easy." These old people seriously want someone to come set the computer up for them. Damn. They need to go up to a Best Buy and get pocketbook-raped then!

This dude is having to sell the return policy because these old people are stupid. "We're going to take it out to the car for you. If you don't like it, you put it back in the box. We'll go out to the car and get it for you. Y0u don't have to do any thing else. You just tell us you don't want it."

Uh. OK. Just make sure you keep your receipt. Seriously. Old people are the worst shoppers in existence.

OMG. I'm laughing on the inside. I see one of the Apple geeks trying to get comfortable down the bar at one of the MacBooks. I KNEW THE PRODUCT BAR WAS TOO LOW!

You know, if this were a better working environment, I'd come here more often - like that woman who wrote an entire book at that Apple store. I think it was in the New York Times this past weekend.

Oddly enough, there are a lot - and I mean A HELLA LOT - of middle-aged and old people up in here. There really aren't that many young people. And the woman with the poodle walked by again. SHE IS NOT BLIND. I DO NOT WANT POODLE HAIR IN MY PRODUCT.

I really should fall down on the floor and act like I'm going into anaphylactic shock because I'm allergic to dogs. That shit would be so funny. I wonder if they'd give me a free MacBook because of it? Hell, I'd settle for one of the baby MacBooks - as long as it was a black one!

OK. My time is up. And my shoulders hurt from typing in this awkward position. Thanks to today's sponor - the Apple store!

PS: There are some cute Apple geeks up in here!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Starbucks #1, 4:21 p.m. - Crazy art woman and even crazier return lady

Obviously, this is from yesterday. My backup computer has now died. The power cord is faulty and I had to wait and seize the opportunity to steal another one from a spare computer at work today. SOMEONE HATES ME.

It is crazy insane busy in here. You would think it is New York up in here, at the height of tourist season, at midnight on New Year's Eve the way people are stacked up like cordwood and the line is humongous.

To top everything else off, there is a crazy artist woman replacing the art on the walls here right above my head. Why she picked right now - at the height of the afternoon rush - to be doing this - is beyond all reason and beyond me. Right now, she's trying to unscrew the box that held her business cards under her $800 photographs. She kept sighing and pouting and then I noticed that she was actually screwing the box INTO the wall.

I looked up and said "You're doing it wrong. Lefty loosey, righty tighty." She was like "Oh. I'm doing it wrong." One would think she might have noticed that after 20 minutes of screwing and not being able to get the box off the wall. Le sigh. Artistic types. Her photographs were really nice, but not for the outrageous price she was charging.

I told her to just leave it for the next artist. She told me "I paid good money for that. I'm not going to leave it. It's mine." Okay then. Go right on with your bad penny-pinching self. She took the photos, the hooks that they were hung on the shelves with and the box her business cards were in. It looks like a denuded apartment up in here.

Ladies. Let me offer some random fashion advice. If you have a size 24 behind, that's all cool. The Goddess loves everyone - all shapes, sizes, colors, etc. HOWEVER. You really, really, need to think about the possible ramifications of going out in public with roses hand-stitched over your back pockets. I realize that you might be wanting to serve as a walking billboard for Sophie's Sewing Shoppe, but all you're really doing is making a rose look like a red cabbage. And it looks like you enjoy getting your buttocks spanked in some odd sort of flower fetish foreplay. Please do not be wearing gigantic embroidery if you have loins the size of water buffaloes. Kthnxbai.

Snakeskin appears to be back in this year. There's a woman with a fire-engine-red snakeskin coat prancing impatiently waiting for her drink. And yes, I did hear her order a peppermint hot chocolate with soy. Ewwwwwwwwwwww.

There's a scary WOACA in line now. She's got on light gray slacks and a regular white tunic. The kicker? She's got on silver snakeskin shoes. All this is accessorized with a Tiffany-ish powder blue handbag. I'm not sure of what kind of looks she's going for. OH MY GOD. I think ... I think. Actually, I'm sure (ewww, she's getting a soy caramel macchiatto) that she's got a pack of cigarettes jammed up under her shirt. No. It can't be. It has to be a nicotine patch. Although I don't know why she would have that floating around down near her muffin top.

Hello. Old dude. Christmas sweaters are officially out of style on Dec. 27. You MIGHT be able to get away with it on Boxing Day, but not on January 2. Please exit the building and get thee to a Macy's, pronto.

The baristas are arguing about the schedule.

And there is some RETURN DRAMA. There's a woman with OH MY GOD - a STACK of Starbucks receipts. She's got a Christmas gift bag and she's pulling out pounds of coffee, coffee grinders, some mugs -- all sorts of shit and she's holding up the line tremendously. Worse, she's dressed in an odd black and green jogging suit combination. She's old and white - but she has one leg of the jogging suit pulled up over her knee in ghetto style while the other one is down near her ankle. She's hollering at the assistant manager on duty about return a pound of ground coffee that she apparently bought back in early December but she claims tasted bad. Uh. Uh. Uh. I see a potential scam here.

Buy the $16 a pound coffee, fill the bag with Folgers and return. Wash rinse repeat.

They're still arguing. The girl at the register is holding up one finger to the customers getting increasingly impatient behind her - "One moment. One moment." And she points at the black sweatsuit woman. If this woman keeps this up - denying these poor people their triple mocha latte fix, there might me a venti-sized riot up in here.

Finally, she'd done. THEY ARE GIVING HER MONEY BACK FOR ALL THOSE POUNDS OF COFFEE. Damn. I need to get up on this.

Ok. We're going to depart with one bit of fashion advice that we should all take to heart. Ladies - and gentlemen - when you bleach your hair in order to go fashionably blonde - YOU NEED TO PUT SOME CONDITIONER UP IN THAT MESS. Otherwise, it do be looking like straw up on your head. And I will clown you ferociously.