29 July 2008

You know I'd take you with me if I could

So, here's the thing. I'll be traveling this week and I'm uncertain as to how much connectivity I'll have. I'll be in touch if I can but, you know, sometimes there's no choice.

You see, I'll be in some pretty remote locations.

It's not like I don't want to hang out with you.

You know how important you are to me.

Why do you always bring that up?? It meant NOTHING to me. NOTHING.

Don't be like that.

C'mon... You know how I miss you when I'm traveling.


You're adorable when you pout.

I promise, you're the only one.

Is that moo behind those Foster Grants?

I am not a clothes horse or a sunglasses cow.

I am not a celebrity* so where's the need to go incognito?** If you ask me if I am indeed L.A. of lacochran's bloggery, I will probably admit it.

Unless you are someone I work with.

Or a relative.

Or you don't like the name Millard... 'cause that's just crazy, right?! Hey, if we ever meet, let's make a pact to call each other Millard. Nope, just Millard. Like Cher, but way sexier. Deal?

So, anyway, sunglasses... I have a visor in my car to combat severe glare during driving so no need for sunglasses there. Beyond that, I squint.***

Where most people believe that they are protecting their eyes by wearing sunglasses and perhaps even preventing the development of cataracts, I, *waves hands dramatically* with no medical training whatsoever, believe that I am damaging my eyes if I wear sunglasses. Because that which does not make me stronger, makes me weaker. Or kills me. Or something.

It just stands to reason, that if I develop a dependency on sunglasses I will eventually become one of those mole people that can't bear the light of day and winds up living in an abandoned subway tunnel, pulling a shiv on Donald Rumsfeld to get him to fork over bits of trashcan Cinnabon****. Yeah, do all the crazy eyes you want--it's MINE! Where's your secret service now, Rummy?! Where?? And can anyone recommend a good cookbook with low fat, grilled rat recipes?***** Dibs on the tail! Mmmm.

I guess it wouldn't be so bad living in the subway. With the white noise of the nearby trains it's probably pretty restful.

* Except perhaps on Celebrity Cruises where apparently everyone gets to act like a horse's ass.

** Why do celebrities who are avoiding the public/paparazzi wear sunglasses that are three times normal size, thereby drawing more attention to themselves?

*** This is really helping my Clint Eastwood impression. And my Popeye impression... well, half-way. Ack-ack-ack.

**** Cinnabon is the CinnaBOMB!

***** I hear it tastes like chicken. Really ratty chicken.

28 July 2008

With a chaser of hot fudge

This is not a picture of the late Andre the Giant holding a container of ice cream.

Now, ice cream comes in single serving portions. So you need not worry about overindulging in your favorite treat. Now, you can enjoy a jigger full of ice cream. Mmmm.

27 July 2008

Superland, in more ways than one

Friday we meet friends we haven't been able to see for many months. We enjoy their company, dinner and cards. The gathering breaks around 10 pm and it is a gorgeous evening: warm with a light breeze. We do not want to go home so as we are driving through Arlington we turn in on 23rd street. We are shocked. There must be at least 30% turnover of establishments on the two block stretch over the last year.

"Wait, didn't that used to be a Thai restaurant?"
"Yeah! Wasn't that that Middle Eastern place we ate at with X & Y?"

I feel a little sad realizing that these places, where we had good times, are gone. There are just as many restaurants and bars but now there are many unfamiliar names. We decide to check out the Tortoise & Hare, which also very recently was something else, because it looks to be hopping without being mobbed. I like their tag line: "Hop in, Crawl Out".

The bar is smoky (the joys of Virginia) and the atmosphere is pleasant although nothing exciting but the band playing is Superland. Imagine: a nine piece funk band including four brass players producing a lot of good music and no cover charge! Their keyboardist is absent but they still manage to produce amazing sound. Superland plays Stevie Wonder; Michael Jackson; Pink Floyd; L.T.D., The Ides of March; and more with uneven success but a lot of heart and, surprisingly, it's their originals that are consistently toe-tapping. According to one of their drummers, they're out of College Park and play the 8X10 Club in Baltimore.

When we leave at 1:30, they are still kickin' it and the crowd is loving it and I am once again left with tremendous appreciation for the area we live in and all that it offers.

24 July 2008

"And it seems such a waste of time, if that's what it's all about"--Billy Joel

Lacochran's Business Rule #3: After making sure your boss is happy and realizing work isn't really about you, the most important skill to master is being able to sit in a room of painfully boring people for hours on end and not look bored. This means you do not do any of the following behaviors, each of which I swear to you, lovely reader, I've seen:

  • Snort derisively*
  • Drum your fingers incessantly, especially to tunes like Wipe Out
  • Play video games on your phone/PC
  • LOL at the IM/email you just received
  • Photoshop your personal photos on your PC
  • Do glut, or any other muscle clenching, sets
  • Pick your teeth, your ears, or your nose (with great concentration, no less!)
  • "Adjust" yourself repeatedly
  • Pass non-business notes
  • Yawn loudly
  • Sleep/Snore**
  • Lay your head on the conference table (unless you have the special haircut featured in the photo above)
  • Lay your head on your neighbor's shoulder
  • Lean back in your chair so far that the chair tips
  • Focus on the ceiling
  • Focus out the window
  • Focus on the chest/crotchal area of the person across from or next to you
  • Roll your eyes***
or otherwise let anyone know you are bored to tears. What you can do:
  • Look at each person that speaks as if they are the most interesting person on the flippin' planet
  • Repeat SILENTLY to yourself, "They're paying me buckets of money for this" and smile serenely.

* Snort appreciatively, all you want.

** The manager asked at the end of the meeting "You think we should wake him up or just leave?"

*** This is particularly challenging for me as this is an almost constant expression. I don't even realize I'm doing it. Honest. It's not you, it's me. Call me?

"I feel the need. The need for speed." -- Maverick

Over time, I've noticed that in men and in cars, I've come to require the same list of non-negotiable things (in no particular order):

  • Not girly.
  • Not all flash.
  • Designed with intelligence.
  • Tight turning radius.
  • Solid.
  • Agile and responsive.
  • Able to go from 0 to 60 (or 70 or 80) or 60 to 0 in the blink of an eye.
  • Doesn't get all shaky and fall apart if I push the envelope.
  • Thrilling.
  • Dependably consistent.
  • Not jerky.
Notice how I didn't mention cup holders? I'm all kinds of classy like that.

Not too much to ask, now is it? It took me a long time to get clear on that but I am.

So, yeah, non-negotiable. You say I'm spoiled. I say I'm clear on objectives. Tomato, tomahto.

Wait, did somebody just call me a tomato? I hate it when I get objectified like that.

23 July 2008


This dog feels strongly about bananas.

As solid Americans, we love the humble yet exotic banana. ...It's blatantly suggestive form ...It's pratfall inducing peel. It hearkens us back to childhood and yummy banana splits. It beckons us with its flossyflossy Bananas Foster.* Frozen and dipped in chocolate, it is delicious. Whipped up with berries and rum it is an exquisite tropical delight.

But bananas infuriate us, too. *shakes fist at bananas*

We go to the store and we buy them like this:

And they are hard and green and bitter. They stay like that from the time we buy them on Sunday afternoon until Thursday at 1:46 a.m. Then, as we slumber and dream about Kanye West and Steven Colbert sharing a Hot Pocket**, they turn to a lovely, sunny yellow and their flavor and texture is almost unendurably fantastic, for approximately 7 minutes.

Then, at 1:53 a.m. they turn into this:

That's right. Not only do they turn black and slimy and putridly sweet but they somehow multiply and change direction.


So... Has anyone tried the green bags that claim to keep bananas blissfully un-putrid for weeks on end? Is this a good use of my emergency banana fund? Please advise.

* Make Bananas Foster for yourself if you want or have someone else make it for you but I do not recommend going to the restaurant that made it famous. When I was in N'awlins, I went to Brennan's for (what else) the Bananas Foster. It was brunch time and they wouldn't let you just order dessert so I ordered an omelet. They brought me the largest omelet I've ever seen. It was something like 30 bucks for a veggie/cheese omelet that I didn't really want to begin with and I couldn't finish because it was made with 72 eggs. Maybe more. Chickens were weeping and holding vigils for this omelet. Sadly, after that, I could no longer consider dessert of any kind. Nor could I look chickens in the eye. But they're short so no big whoop. But none of this is the fault of the banana...

*blink* *blink* What?

22 July 2008

It's the End of the World As We Know It--R.E.M.

Dear Insider,
In a few days The Cheesecake Factory will announce a very special offer in honor of our 30th anniversary. However, as is customary at the Insider's Table, we wanted to share the news with you first!
What's all the excitement about?
On Wednesday, July 30, Cheesecake Factory restaurants nationwide will offer every delicious slice of our more than 30 varieties of cheesecake for $1.50 per slice - just like we did when we opened our first restaurant back in 1978!
It's no coincidence that Wednesday, July 30, also happens to be National Cheesecake Day. After all, what better time to enjoy the cheesecake you absolutely love! As you know, sharing is part of the fun at The Cheesecake Factory so feel free to share the news about this special offer with your friends.
So, come celebrate with us on National Cheesecake Day! And, stay tuned for more news about our 30th Anniversary Celebration!
Your friends at The Insider's Table

Oh. My. God.

The above message was forwarded to me by a friend. Dammit! I have a dress to fit into. This is TERRIBLE timing.

Go. Eat cheesecake next week. Do it because I can't. Plunk down your buck fifty and have a slice of my favorite dessert, chocolate cheesecake. Then come back and tell me about it.


Don't skip any parts.


Scarf Toners Anonymous

Sleeveless evening dress + 46 year old = Time to start toning the arms*

Nobody wants to see batwing arms:

So I work out with Margaret Richards, who is a vixen at the tender age of 115 and whips my butt every time I work out with her. And I work out with Leisa*** Hart but I feel a bit goofy waving a scarf around, as part of her DVD encourages. Scarves are pretty. They're good for holding down hair if it is 1950 and you are in a convertible on the Riviera. But for toning arms? I'm not so sure.

Which brings me to today's burning question: Do they still have that dance-with-a-ribbon competition in the Olympics? And, if so, why? How is this a sport? This seems almost as goofy as curling. Am I right here? Anybody?

* Yet another reason why I needs two months prep time.

** Who wants to bet Capitol Hill 20210 has and rocks this outfit, bat aficionado that she is?

*** Yes, she spells her name that way. No, I don't know why. I've never understood the need for goofy spellings. ...

Hi, what's your name?
Bob. It's spelled B-o-w-b-b.
Um, sure.

21 July 2008

Simply Divine, Darling

It is 100 degrees Saturday. In other words, it is the perfect day to crowd into poorly ventilated fitting rooms and try on layers of satin and taffeta and whatnot. So I do.

The material clings to me in all sorts of unflattering ways but I insist on showing each one, even the ones I can't zip up, to my husband who is a master of minimalist facial expressions that get the point across ("Dear god, no!") , no matter how many times the saleslady coos "Oh, that looks fabulous on you!" Over the years, hubby has learned not to say, "The material isn't supposed to bunch like that around your ass, is it? Because if that's intentional, it's not a good look."

We wind up going to three different bridal shops in search of the perfect evening dress for a formal affair in September. Yes, I need to start two months in advance because the dress will, at a minimum, have to be hemmed, and then there's the shoes and the bag and the make-up and the foundational garments and the jewelry and who needs grocery and gas money, right?

I don't know why my relatives are so into black tie affairs but it seems they know no other way. And because it is the same crowd that I've seen for several black tie affairs last year, I can't possibly wear any of those perfectly serviceable, ridiculously expensive, impossibly constructed gowns. Heavens, no.

I wind up with this dress:Unfortunately, it does not come with the 18-year-old model with the 18" waist to wear it. There's just me. But I sincerely hope to find a room strewn with flowers and plaster lawn accoutrement in which to pose for pictures.

I take my charge card out to pay for the gown. I am surprised, with all the expenses we've had this year, that the card doesn't simply burst into flames when the saleslady scans it.

Saleslady: This is a final sale. It's non-returnable.

Hubby: Why is it a final sale? Is it reduced or something?

Saleslady: No. All our "special occasion" dresses are final sale.

Hubby, looking around at the room full of bridal gowns and evening dresses: This is a bridal shop. Aren't all of your dresses "special occasion"?

Saleslady, sheepishly: Yes.

I guess they're tired of people tucking the tags, wearing the gowns and then trying to bring them back. I say there ought to be special occasion dress swap meets. Wouldn't that be fun?

I know people sell gowns on E-bay but I'd hate to buy something just to get it delivered, try it on, and hear my husband ask "Were you going for Linda Tripp-y on the bottom and Li'l Kim-y on the top?"

19 July 2008

Gratitude/Home from Hospital

[The Sisters of Mercy take a break from ministering to the sick to enjoy a light refreshment at a neighborhood bistro.]

My cousin is happily at home again after about two weeks in the hospital.* Yes, this is the same cousin who told me the squirrel/ice cream story. And I am delighted to know that she is well enough to be discharged but also I believe that a hospital is one of the worst places to be ill.

I have nothing against her particular hospital or the no-doubt overworked nurses, techs, doctors, social workers, candy stripers**, etc. And this is not even a rant against the administrators. I'm sure they're all doing the best dang job they can. I just don't think hospitals are conducive to getting well.

They're absolutely a great place to go if you're having a baby or you've taken a baseball bat to the knee or your arm is suddenly bending in a direction in which it really ought not be bending.*** Short-term events. Anything more, though, and I can't help but think of the quote my late father's cardiologist told me:

"The longer you're in the hospital, the longer you're in the hospital."

Hospitals are not restful. On top of your being sick and anxious about being sick, there are machines beeping and lights flashing and people prodding you at odd hours.

As Allan Sherman sang so well:

"And if you're sleeping in the hospital because you're ill
Betcha the nurse will wake you up to take a sleeping pill"

And most experts (be they Eastern or Western) agree that sleep is healing for everything but concussions**** but you don't get much sleep in hospitals.

So the longer you're in the hospital, the longer you're in the hospital.

And that sucks.

So I'm thankful to the universe that she's home. That's it. Just thanks.

* That's "in hospital" for you Brits. I'm nothing if not international.

** Sucky job #311: I was a candy striper as a teen. Did you know there's no actual candy involved?! I was misled.

*** I have experienced one of these events. I'm not telling you which. I have to keep some mystery.

**** And polypeptides, if you are Fred Flinstone.

18 July 2008

ZOWIEEEE? Not so much.

Speaking of Batman... Have you noticed the commercials for Domino's Pizza that have the Dark Knight tie-in? And the Pizza Hut commercials with the Incredible Hulk tie-in? Or maybe it's vice versa. My point: They're the weakest product tie-ins I've ever seen.

Remember when a product tie-in was a big deal?

If Burger King was doing a Star Wars tie-in, they'd have plastic wrapped Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia action figures included and they'd print bags depicting various scenes from the movie and there would be television and radio ads with light saber whooshing sounds and R2D2 bleeps and references to "the force".

But these latest commercials are so phoning it in. Tie-in? Try just plunked in.

Now for a limited time...

*shows image of standard pepperoni pizza*

Introducing the new Domino's Batman Pizza. It's a pizza. With a topping. Only $8.99. Um, Batman.


My sister, after completing one of his bestsellers, said about Grisham: He's a TERrible writer. Even you could have written that.

To paraphrase my sister: Even I could have written that ad campaign.

16 July 2008

Googly Goo

A while back, I set up my Google Reader and loaded it up with lots of lovely blogs to read. I enjoyed reading these blogs and knowing when someone had posted some critical update about the crazy guy at the 7-11 who insists on paying with all pennies or the blogger that shares that their latest poo was shaped like a dinosaur. Important stuff! You people can be all kinds of entertaining.

Then things got crazy busy at work. My boss went off on one of his bi-weekly vacations (La! La!).*

He left me in charge and last week was something of a perfect storm of meetings and presentations and action items (oh, my!) and I was pulling reports in my off-hours and expanding the curse words in my vocabulary and auto-posting my modest inventory of material to my blog because I had no time to come up with anything new and yet I'd made an unofficial commitment to myself to try to post something at least six days a week.***

And in the midst of all this insanity (Stop the Insanity!****), I realized I was falling further and further behind in my all important blog reading.

You wouldn't think that this would be the guilt-inducing state that it is but that Google Reader would tell me that there were 19 updates... 26 updates... 42 updates... well, you get the idea. I shouldn't have been checking it, I know, as there was no way I was getting to any of those updates while insanity ensued but... I might be... just a little... addicted.

So, happily the boss is back and I can start to catch up a bit on my Reader-ing before I'm completely overwhelmed and just hit the Mark All as Read button for all of you Blogosphere lovelies.

So if it seems I've suddenly stopped commenting and expressing my joy at the wonder that is your blog, chances are it's just a work thingy.

Yeah, go with that.

* He is my work hero. He disappears on short notice more than Batman. I can learn much from this genius.**

** Unless he really is Batman. This is not a job I want. I do not have the body to carry off large belt buckles.

*** Sure, some people would call that a sloppy, run-on sentence. I prefer to think of it as a James Joycian stream-of-consciousness homage.

**** 5 extra special bonus points to the person who knows who made that quote famous!

"Squirrelly Lovin' Happened So Fast"--Grease, the squirrel edition

Judith Heartsong says "The squirrels are fat and sassy this summer..."

Sassy. That's one word for it.

It seems every time I look out the window there are squirrels buying each other Cosmos. They're teaching each other how to shoot a combo. There's a lot of squirrel activity. A lot. If you get my drift.

Too subtle?

I'm not talking about all the nest building and all the tiny Ikea bookshelves they're hauling up to those nests. Although, of course, that's happening, too.

All I can think is that due to the increased rain there is increased food for them and they are able to kick back and enjoy all of life's pleasures a bit more.

Either that, or they are starting the squirrel revolution and building their armies! Oh, sure, they look cute...

Which reminds me: My cousin says she knew someone in college that trained a squirrel to ask for ice cream by doing a particular gesture. I say the squirrel trained the person in college to give him ice cream. Brains the size of walnuts stupid. Unless you are in college.

Then, again, why the heck would they want to take over our world? They have everything they could ever want. Plus an Ikea Allen wrench or two to drop on our heads. Weeeee!

15 July 2008

String Theory

I know this is not new but, still, I've been wondering...

When did we decide we wanted cheese to be stringy?

Is it too vexing to have a wheel, block or slice of cheese? Wasn't cheese in a can offensive enough?

Do we really need cheese in string form? Are we planning to weave it into necklaces and decorative planters? Anyone using it, like Indiana Jones uses his whip, to get out of tight spots? I'm all for convenience but in this case perhaps we have tilted too far.

Next thing they'll be trying to put strudel in a toaster.


I can't help but think this drive toward convenience is robbing us of some basic food wonderfulness. We want things freeze-dried, condensed, preserved, fat free, sugar free, and in a portable plastic pouch but somehow the same as the original. Perhaps my Luddite qualities are showing. I'm all for refrigeration and canned goods and such... but I don't want my cheese stringy. Am I alone here?

14 July 2008

Stupid Conversations We Have Over and Over

Funny you should ask! Here's one:

A Blue Oyster Cult song will play on the radio.

Me: Seen 'em!

Hubby: Me, too!

Me, smugly: I saw 'em at Madison Square Garden.

Hubby, more smugly: You were in the nose bleeds. I was on the floor when I saw 'em.

Me, smugalicous: Madison. Square. Garden. Best venue EVER!

Hubby: Big, fat, hairy deal. At the distance you saw them they'd look the same anywhere. I had 4th row center seats! And you saw them when they were on that lame tour.

Me, singing: Oh, no, there goes Tokyo, Godzilla! They were great then!

Hubby: They were totally lame by the time you saw them.

Me, getting misty: Huge, glowing-eyed Godzilla on stage and everything.

Hubby: That you saw through your binoculars!

Me: You don't know.

Hubby: You don't know.

We've been together for a lot of years. This conversation happens every time Blue Oyster Cult is on the radio. Fortunately, that's not as often as it used to be. We're completely moronic about stuff like this. Unlike BOC, I can always see a reason to put up a fight...

I'm living for giving the devil his due... And I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you...

Did I mention I've seen 'em?

12 July 2008

[Your Name Here] Memorial Post

We met a friend in the city today and checked out Hillwood. It is a former home of Marjorie Merriweather Post and features her various collections of fabulousness. In fact Hillwood's slogan is "Where fabulous lives" and the web-site doesn't really scratch the surface when it reads:

Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens has one of the most comprehensive collections of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Russian Imperial art outside of Russia, as well as an extensive collection of eighteenth-century French decorative arts. Highlights include a diamond crown worn by Empress Alexandra at her marriage to Nicholas II; Beauvais tapestries designed by François Boucher; two Imperial Easter eggs by Carl Fabergé; La Nuit by William-Adolphe Bouguereau; and a collection of costumes and accessories worn by Mrs. Post or her family.

We enjoyed the tour and the cafe and, even more so, the 13 acres of formal gardens and the greenhouse with all kinds of orchids and ferns and such.

Seeing all that opulence in the mansion got us thinking about collections. We all agreed that if we had that kind of unfathomable wealth, we would likely not collect the things she collected... Do you want a jewel encrusted chalice? She did.

Although, having your name on a concert venue as nice as Merriweather Post Pavilion (in Maryland) would be a good thing, indeed!

So, I guess it begs the question... you can't take it with you... what do you invest in that you'll be pleased to know bears your name after you're gone? Making your home and gardens into a museum beats having a highway named for you (people would curse your name every day) or a sewage treatment plant (they'd hold their nose when they passed your legacy). What would you want your name on?

10 July 2008

The "Does Wegmans Rule" Experiment Results

Now that the “Does Wegmans Rule” experiment is complete, we (Sean’s Ramblings and I) thought it would be nice to share the results. For those of you new to this challenge, we asked for volunteers to take a checklist to their local grocery store and price the following items:

- 1 dozen large eggs
- 1/2 gallon Bryers vanilla
- 1 pound of bananas
- 1 head of romaine lettuce
- 1 box of San Georgio Spaghetti
- 1 1000 sheet roll of Scott toilet tissue
- 1 cup of Dannon Light ‘N Fit yogurt
- 1 12oz. can of Spam luncheon meat

We figured that this would give a wide variety of products that are commonly used. Well, except for Spam because Spam is funny and makes us think of Monty Python.

Our gracious volunteers visited these stores:

Wegmans in Fairfax, VA

Harris Teeter – Herndon, VA

Shopper’s – Alexandria, VA

Greenbelt Co-op – Greenbelt, MD

Giant – Alexandria, VA

Giant – Reston, VA

Safeway – Fairfax, VA

Kroger – Atlanta, GA

Publix – Atlanta, GA

On to the results. We prepared an elaborate spreadsheet and a 20-page PowerPoint presentation to share, but we couldn’t quite figure out how to post it here. Maybe we’ll publish it as part of our dissertation: Sean Learns the Difference Between Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce. Back to the premise of our experiment, does Wegmans rule? The answer is yes. We took the total of the eight items of the items at the DC area stores, and with a total of $12.93, Wegmans had the cheapest prices. Shopper’s finished in second at $13.25 and the Greenbelt Co-op earned the bronze with $13.34. Safeway was the most expensive at $18.09, although we think that the toilet paper priced was possibly a 4-pack and not an individual roll. (If one roll is really $3.35, we’re never going there again.) Even adjusting the price of toilet paper to $1, the total of $15.60 was about $1.35 more than the next most expensive store (Harris Teeter - $14.16, note: they did not sell individual rolls of Scott toilet tissue at Harris Teeter so we plugged in an assumption of $1 for comparison purposes).

What about Atlanta you ask? We say it is a city in Georgia. Oh, you’re wondering about the prices. Both Krogers and Publix do not carry 1000 sheet rolls of Scott toilet tissue or boxes of San Georgio spaghetti; however, if we add average price of each to the total, Kroger would actually be the cheapest at $12.29, largely due to Breyers ice cream being on sale (only $2.27). Kroger does have the most expensive eggs at $2.29 but Spam is apparently cheaper in the South ($2.29 – Kroger; $2.09 – Publix; between $2.49 [Wegmans] and $3.35 [Safeway] in the DC area).

In case you were wondering, the prices at Giant in Reston and Alexandria were exactly the same.

We were hoping people would document hilarious anecdotes about their secret shopper expeditions but by in large... not so much. Apparently, this is pretty serious stuff. So, we release you from your official obligations as secret shoppers and invite you to create a clean up on aisle 3 incident of your choosing.

So that’s about it. Thanks again to everyone who participated, to DC Blogs for linking to us and to Swapping Tales (aka The Abbot) who created the incredibly cool badge.

"I want you to hold it between your knees." --Robert Dupea

We dined with friends at Bistrot du Coin. Generally speaking it was a very positive experience. Except for this weird little sequence...

The appetizers are delivered by someone other than our waitress. Since hubby and I are sharing an appetizer, I ask this server if he can please bring plates.

He says: One moment.

We never see him again.

Hubby and I look at the tasty-looking appetizer. We look at each other. We look at the appetizer. We look around the restaurant.

Moments pass.

Then, the woman who brought us water and bread--also not our waitress--appears next to me.

She asks: Is everything alright?

I say: Yes, it looks wonderful. We just need plates, please.

Hubby says: We asked the fellow that brought this but... we're still waiting.

She says: Plates, yes.

We never see her again.

We look at the appetizer. We look at each other. We consider recreating the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp but decide against it. We look around the restaurant.

Moments pass.

Our waitress comes by.

She smiles and asks: Is everything alright?

Me: Yes, but we need some plates.

Indignantly, she responds: Did you ask??

Un-flippin-believable. But true. Yeah, that's the response I was looking for. Did I ask! Did I ask!! Cheez. I shouldn't have to ask for something like plates in a restaurant (it's not Greencanary's place, after all) but given that the plates didn't materialize AND we've made two requests before this, she's adding insult to injury by giving us 'tude.

She did bring us plates and the food was quite good and reasonably priced. They have a whole section of the menu devoted to mussels that you can get in half or whole portions!

Aside from this glitch, we liked the place. Exotica bonus: they have a Foosball table upstairs by the restrooms!

09 July 2008

(The crowd goes wild:) Die-ben-korn! Die-ben-korn! Die-ben-korn!

We met dear friends at the Phillips Collection to see the Diebenkorn (I'm told it's pronounced DEE-BEN-CORN) exhibit and then had a tasty, if somewhat slack serviced, dinner at Bistrot du Coin.

I was not overwhelmed by the Diebenkorn exhibit. I wasn't even whelmed by the Diebenkorn exhibit. Some of the other exhibits were good (Jacob Lawrence's migration series, Brett Weston's dramatic photos) but the Diebenkorns left me cold.

The thing is, if you look up Diebenkorn's work on the interwebs, you find some interesting stuff. Not so much the case for what the Phillips showed of Diebenkorn. I began to wonder if Diebenkorn's people had a falling out with the Phillips people.

Diebenkorn's People #1: What? Not those annoying Phillips people again. They have some nerve asking for art to exhibit. They never returned that gravy ladle they borrowed for Thanksgiving, 1992. The hell with them. We're Diebenkorn, dammit.

Diebenkorn's People #2: But they're on the phone! What should I say? "No"? "You can't have any Diebenkorn"?

Diebenkorn's People #1: *gleam in eye* Oh, we'll give 'em some Diebenkorn. Yeah, we'll give 'em Diebenkorn. In fact, tell 'em we're providing a rare collection of Diebenkorn especially for them. They'll love that.

Diebenkorn's People #2: Okaaaaaaaaaayyyy...

Diebenkorn's People #1: Then give 'em what's in storage room #8.

Diebenkorn's People #2: #8?? You mean #7. #8 is the burn room.

Diebenkorn's People #1: I know what I mean.

Diebenkorn's People #2: But boss...

Diebenkorn's People #1: Just do it!

So, if the exhibit was so lack luster, why am I writing about Diebenkorn? I'll tell you why: Because it's a great name! I love it.


How great is that?!

I love it so much, I've worked it into this post as much as I thought you'd let me get away with.

It's fun! Try it: Die-ben-korn. See?!

Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn. Diebenkorn.

*stands quietly for a moment*

*runs a block away and swings back with a Marty Feldman grin* DIEBENKORN!

08 July 2008

J.P. Morgan, The Unknown Comic, & Gene Gene the Dancing Machine

"Comedy Central" has announced that it is bringing back that paragon of entertainment, The Gong Show. The new version will be hosted by Dave Atell.

I know we, as Americans, have done a lot of wrong in this world, but this is truly cruel and unusual punishment. For those too young to remember this debacle in television history, I am including a mildly painful clip. For the masochists in the crowd, head over to YouTube and watch the hardcore stuff.

07 July 2008

Kickin' It Martha Style--or Not

I own one Martha Stewart cookbook. It's called "Entertaining" and the copyright reads 1982.*

It is divided into different entertaining events: "Midnight Omelette Supper for Thirty", "A Chinese Banquet for Ten to Twelve", "Afternoon Cocktail Reception for Fifty", "Sit Down Country Luncheon for One Hundred Seventy-Five", and so on. If you have ever looked at a Martha Steward cookbook, you know I am not making these titles up.

I am not known for my fabulous cooking. I have no ambitions to cater large events. But I have made a few of the simpler recipes from this cookbook.

For example, I have made "Snow Peas with St. André".** The ingredients list reads: snow peas, cheese (she suggests St. André or Boursin or Boursault) and fresh mint (optional). That's right. Three ingredients and one of them is optional. That's the level of cooking I can get behind.

It wasn't entirely without a curve ball: I have never heard of St. André or Boursault outside of this cookbook and I like cheese. A lot. They may really exist. (It's possible.) But Boursin! Boursin, I know. It is a garlic/herbed cheese spread you can get at the regular old grocery store (and eat with crackers if you don't have the snow peas and/or mint (optional)). So, yeah, I had to read beyond the title. It was challenging but I did it. I made this recipe and people liked it. They did!

Here's a recipe I will not be making: Coulibiac of Bass. It's on page 148. This may be an awesome dish. I couldn't tell you. I've never actually read the recipe because I can't get past the first sentence of the introduction that Martha provides. It reads: "This is a complicated recipe but if you allow 2 days for preparation you will feel less rushed."

I can barely parse that so let's break it down:

Complicated. It's complicated for Martha, mistress of the ridiculously complex.

2 days.
It requires 2 days in Martha time. Can you imagine?

Less rushed. Martha starts 2 days ahead and she feels less rushed.

I get nauseous just reading that sentence.

* Please refrain from adding a comment which reads "1982? I wasn't even born then!" I know I'm old and decrepit and Martha is even more so. We don't need you rubbing it in.

** Sounds fancy, no?

05 July 2008

Blogging & Geocaching Parallels

I've been thinking about open (unmoderated, unlimited) blogging and geocaching and how they're similar.

To me, blogging is virtual geocaching. Sure, with geocaching, you get to explore an actual place and take in the fresh air and scenery (good stuff!) but, other than that, there's a lot of parallels.

Check it...

In both:

  • you decide to create something for the public that you hope is unique
  • you put it in a public spot
  • you try to put cool/interesting things in it, some with particular meaning to you
  • you leave clues to where it is
  • you may explicitly tell some people that it exists but not others
  • people who know you may suspect you've set it up and go looking for it
  • people who do or don't know you may accidentally stumble upon it
  • different people take different things from it
  • different people leave different things in it
  • not everybody identifies themselves so you don't always know who's stopped by
  • different ones appeal to different people
  • you can go back to it and look at how it's evolved
  • you don't control who visits or what they take or leave*
  • you need to have just a smidgen of tech savvy
  • you can meet really interesting people doing it
  • it's pretty cool to know you're part of a universe that some people know about and others don't
* Okay, you can delete what people leave in comments but most of the time they're upping the "treasure" content.

03 July 2008

Lifecycle of a Hit Song

First week: Is that a new song? Huh.

Second week: That's kinda catchy. Who does that song? Is that Rhianna?

Third week: I like that song. *sings chorus*

Fourth week: Wonder if I can find that new song I like. Is any station playing it? *scans until finding it*

Fifth week: That song is GREAT! *sings most of song and researches lyrics on the Internet*

Sixth week: I LOVE that song! What a great beat! *sings song*

Seventh week: Wow, every station is playing that song. *sings harmony part of song*

Eighth week: Man, they're playing that song to death! *taps rhythm*

Ninth week: What is this? Don't they have anything else to play?

Tenth week: Ugh! I am so SICK of that song!

Eleventh week: No, not that. I HATE that song!

Twelfth week: Huh, there's now a [country/rock/R&B] cover of that song. Now I can hate it in multiple genres.

Thirteenth week: Jeez, look at that. There's a commercial using that stupid song.

Fourteenth week: Oh, great. Now people on the metro have that horrible song for their ring tones.

Fifteenth week: Man, that awards show is featuring a performance of that #%@ing song.

Sixteenth week: If I hear that song one more time, I'm gonna scream!

Seventeenth week: I'm NOT listening to that! *switches station* Hey, is that a new song?

Ode to My Sister (aka How Stupid a Kid Was I?)

I realize I may come across as a wee bit critical at times. Okay, most of the time. I could take personal responsibility, go into therapy, spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and maybe achieve real and lasting change. But what are the odds of that happening? Especially, when it's so easy, and so gosh darn American, to blame someone else for my evil ways. Sooooo...

There's a long list I could draw from, but here's a few things my older sister talked me into when I was a very young, gullible kid. These are the ones I can mention without activating the tic:

  • She had me hold an orange segment on my closed eye for five minutes so I could be in her (non-existent) club.*
  • She'd let me stay up with her to watch The Twilight Zone and other scary shows when she babysat and then imitate the freaky characters to scare the hell out of me at bed-time.
  • She tossed a cast iron bank down a flight of stairs to me and told me to catch it. (Yeah, stitches. And speaking of stairs...)
  • She convinced me to roll down the stairs "like in the circus!"**
Is it any wonder I'm the trusting, happy-go-lucky, lovable scamp that I am?

* She claimed her club was called the Charter Club. Then when we'd be in the car and see a bus with the word "Charter" on it, she'd claim it was full of club members. Clever, no?

* * I know, I know. No stairs in your average circus. But you don't know. She can be very convincing.

[P.S. on the Wegman's Experiment: Thanks to all those folks who played our game! We have not forgotten about you. Sean and I are burning the midnight oil, collating and tabulating the results. (Okay, pretty much Sean is. Thanks, Sean!) We'll then consult with Anderson Cooper to tell us what it means, earnestly and compassionately, as only Anderson Cooper can. Hopefully, we'll have the results to you some time next week. Or a splitting headache. Or both.]

02 July 2008

Maybe They'll Get The Message If I Put on a Mask?*

There must be something in the employee handbook that says "If the employee feels s/he is getting sick, s/he must report immediately to lacochran's office."

Monday, a relatively new co-worker drops by. We'll call him Millard.**

Me: Hi, Millard! How ya' doin'?***

Millard, so germ infested he appears hazy: Not so good. Really, *Mill pauses here for dramatic effect* I feel lousy.

Me: You should go home and get some rest.

The Millster: No, I'll stay.

Me: ...

The Millinator: God, I feel like crap.

Me, wishing I had a can of Lysol to spray at and around him: If you feel so bad, why are you staying?

Millerino: I don't want to take leave. I'll be okay.

You?! What about me, Germy McGermster?? I don't mean to be unsympathetic but GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!

I'm not the kind to walk around with hand sanitizer or anything. I just don't want people wheezing death on me. Is that too much to ask?

Millard came back into my office later in the day just to give me an update!

MillMania,catchit!: Is it getting warmer? I feel warmer. I may be getting a fever.

Me: You probably don't want to kid around with something like that. Knock off early. The boss will understand.

MilliVanilli, our own viral Johnny Appleseed: Nah, but I do feel kinda lightheaded. Well, have a good day!

Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your no doubt highly infectious disease with me.

Amazingly, Millard's behavior is not unusual. My office seems to emit a high pitched frequency that can only be heard by sick people (and whiners). It draws them in every time. It was only a few months back that I had another coworker, let's call her Zelda, stop by and the following conversation ensued:

Zelda, teeters and crumples against my door frame.

Me: Zelda! Are you okay?

Zelda: Yeah. Doctor says I have some sort of flu... and now I've got pink eye, too.

Zelda proceeds to come into my office and sag into a chair, plopping her belongings onto my table.

Me: Maybe you should be home resting.

Zelda: Too much w--*Zelda ducks* Man, did you see that?! What was that?!

Me: What was what?

Zelda: What?

Me: You just...

Zelda: ...

Me: Look, you're obviously very ill. Go home. Get some rest.

Zelda, now taking my stapler in her germy hands and snorting the snot up into her head between every few words: Too much work to do. I'm gonna borrow your stapler to put these presentations together, okay?

Me: Didn't you just say you have pink eye?

Zelda: Yeah.

Me: Isn't that highly contagious?

Zelda: Yeah.

Me: Then why are you in my office holding my stapler?!

Zelda: Oh...

Me: Take the stapler. Keep it. Go back to your office. Better yet, go home!

Zelda: You're so sweet to worry about me.


People, sick leave isn't about you. It's about protecting me from the disgusting diseases you manage to embrace. No one is going to heap praise upon you because you worked when you should have been home in bed ridding yourself of the Beelzebub that has inhabited you. You are not going to get a gold star. No one's life depends on you getting your stupid little Powerpoint presentation together or whatever it is you think the organization desperately needs you to do. So stop being a martyr and stop spreading your nastiness and go home!

* Speaking of masks, my neighbor wears a pollen mask and huge, 1970- style noise cancellation earphones when he mows his grass. He looks ridiculous!

** How come nobody is named Millard anymore? It's a pretty sexy name. I'll bet Millards get all the chicks they want.

I'm always upbeat with new employees. They're always enthusiastic about their fresh new ideas that everyone who has ever worked for the organization has had in their first weeks and now knows won't fly. It's entertaining. ****

**** Okay, okay. Enough with the footnotes.

01 July 2008

Breaking News? More Like Broken News.

Am I missing something?

These days it has become vogue for television and radio news people to announce dramatically, "Analysts predict that gas prices may top [insert current gas price rounded up to next dollar level here] by [insert next federal holiday here]."

So let me get this straight... there's an analyst somewhere getting paid to study the situation who believes that gas prices are going to continue to ...rise? Wow. Brilliant analysis. Whodathunkit? Glad we have these special analysts on the job.

When did news stop being news and start being pronouncements of the freakin' obvious? Of course gas prices are going to continue to rise. Somebody (besides these analysts) is getting filthy, stinkin' rich on this and it ain't us.

Here's my analysis for free and, yeah, you may quote me: We'll be lucky if prices only rise at the rate the analysts are predicting.