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