31 August 2009

"It's not so hard" --Sparklehorse

Why is everything way harder than it has to be? I go into the Subway and before I get in line I decide to make use of the facilities. As I approach the restroom, a lady is coming out. I see the door close behind her. I reach for the handle and tug. It's locked.

Bathroom lady (BL): Did it lock?
Me: Yes.
BL: It locked?
Me, trying handle again: Yes.
BL: Maybe they have a key.
Me: Probably.

BL and I approach the counter and speak directly to an employee.

BL: I just left the bathroom and it locked behind me.
Subway Guy (SG): It locked?
Extra-Helpful Woman in Line (EHWiL): I think she said it locked behind her.
SG: Did you lock the key inside?
BL: I didn't see a key.
EHWiL: I think she said it locked behind her.
BL, pointing to me: She can't get in.
SG to BL: You didn't see a key?
EHWiL: She said it locked behind her.
Me: I just need access to the restroom. Can you let me in?
SG: Yeah.
EHWiL pointing to BL: That woman said it locked behind her.

Rest easy, he found the key and I used the facilities.

I say all this to say, what kind of person is the EHWiL? I didn't even need BL to speak on my behalf but I sure as heck didn't need EHWiL volunteering her expert witness perspective. Who does this? BL was speaking directly to SG and she wasn't mumbling or hard to understand. Why are some people self-appointed interpreters? And is it okay to smack them? Because I really wanted to smack her.

26 August 2009

"'Cause I don't believe you" --Crack the Sky

I get conference advertisements in my work e-mail a lot, which is kind of strange because I don't go to a lot of conferences--maybe one conference a year.*

One of the most popular topics for these conferences--and I just got another email for one today--is "Doing more with less." This idea, that if we were just a little more efficient... if we worked just a little smarter... if we re-engineered our processes and looked for ways to cut down on overhead... we'd all be freakin' MacGyver.

Can we just stop that lie right here and now? Because every time I hear it, a delicate little part of me gets screwed up a little more tightly. See, there's this belief inherent in the "do more with less" philosophy that we're all idiots and if we just woke up to the fact that we're being idiots, we could solve any problem. Offensive, no?

But "doing more with less" is bad on a whole different level; it is no less than downright un-American at this time. "Doing more with less" is the cornerstone of the lousy economy that we're mired in right now. You heard me. So stop that belt tightening.**

There are companies out there that used to employ 100 people but now get by with 75 because they think they can "do more with less." So 25 people wind up out of work.

(And 75 people get high blood pressure and rocky relationships. They're the winners? Not so sure.)

So what do the 25 unemployed people do? They "do more with less", by golly. They "stretch" meal dollars by not going out to restaurants and not buying high-end groceries. So, the restaurants can't afford to stay open and the grocery stores jack up their prices and cut back on staff, meaning: more people get laid off. And you know where that goes. Thaaaaaaat's right: more reality television with Flava Flav. And nobody wants that.

Hm? Oh, and cataclysmic, world-wide spiraling economic failure. Which, let's face it, isn't much better.

"Do more with less"? How about "do more with more"? Or even "do less with more"? Because that's a slogan I can get behind. How about "do a teeny, tiny bit that you might have done anyway with so much stuff that it might as well be the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark"? Can that be our new rally cry?

Come on, people. If we all do the absolute minimum, while consuming the maximum, we can stimulate this economy into a golden era of prosperity. Really, it's the least we can do!

*cue America the Beautiful with image of flag waving in the wind*

* And, even then, I have yet to be in a water balloon fight or wear a fez. It's disheartening.

** It makes your muffin top that much more muffiny.

24 August 2009

"Nothing compares to you" --Sinead O'Connor

Bobby: Mom, can I eat something else?

Mom: You begged me for the cornflakes with the tiger on it, remember?

Bobby: Yeah, but these taste funny.

Mom: I can't be throwing food out all the time, Bobby.

Bobby: *pouting*

Mom: Well, luckily these were on sale. Fine. Pour that out. I got you the kind with the toucan on it, too...

20 August 2009

"Down in the dungeon I'm having a hard time" --Billy Squier

The question du jour: Would you willingly blindfold yourself in a public place and put your welfare in the hands of strangers?*

From the Travel Channel's list of Extreme Restaurants...

Dark Dining San Francisco, California
At the Dark Dining Dinner party, diners will stimulate their senses -- by eliminating one. Don a blindfold and put your trust in the chef at this intimate rotating dinner party that seats 20 bold diners. Andre Crump brought the concept of dark dining to the San Francisco area in 2007, and since then he's been bringing the party to a different restaurant every four months. The party begins with cocktails before guests slip on their blindfolds -- after which only the wait staff, fitted with military-grade night-vision goggles, can see. The experience can be both scary and sensual and gives a whole new meaning to the term blind date.

The visual aspect of the meal--the colors, the arrangement, not to mention the anticipation--is such a big piece of it that I have trouble imagining I'd enjoy this style of dining.

Plus, having dined with a blind man on multiple occasions, I know it is no simple thing to eat a meal without the benefit of sight. Some of the things we take for granted: we don't have to remember that the potatoes are at 4:00, we don't have to wonder if the water glass is filled to the brim, we know when the peas have slipped off our fork, etc.

* And if you would, what are you doing Saturday night?

19 August 2009

"There's so much that we need to share..." --Supertramp

One of the nice things about where I work is that they do food collections for the area food bank. What's a food bank? It's a place that gives away food. You're hungry and can't afford food? They feed you. Oh, sure, you may have to fill out a 17 page form, but, still... Cool, right?

I think I've been pretty consistent on my pro-food stance. Check my record. I have never been anti-food. No waffling here! Wait, waffles are good, too. I'm more of a pancake gal, but live and let live.

Here's the collection box for the food bank:

Looks like people have been generous. Let's take a closer look...

Lots of soup in a cup style meals. Well, that's easy, I suppose. Plus, no going stale here.

Hm... is that...?

And that...?
And that...?

Nutrisystem? Somebody ordered Nutrisystem food and is now giving it away to needy people?

Maybe we'll cease to be the only country in the world with overweight poor people.

18 August 2009

"You oughta know..." -Alanis Morissette

On a completely unrelated topic, is anyone else disturbed by the news that they will bury Michael Jackson on August 29th when he died on June 25th? Ew.

Note: You might want to get some Pecan Twirls to fortify you: this is going to be a long one.

Saturday, I wander into a new place to inquire about getting a haircut. I encounter two women behind the counter.

Woman behind counter #1 (WBC1): Hi! Welcome to _____!

Me: Thank you. I'm interested in getting my hair cut. What are your prices?

WBC1: It varies.

Me: Can you give me a ballpark figure?

WBC1: Not really. It depends on a lot of things.

Me, wondering what the problem is: Okay... What is the range?

WBC1: $55 and up.

Me: Okay. Can someone see me today? ... Now?

WBC1: Yes!

WBC2, in a stage whisper, pointing: No! See on the computer...

WBC1: Oh, ... well... the earliest someone could see you is 12:30.

Me: Okay, and what would that person charge?

WBC1: $50.

Me: *blink*

WBC1: Well, it's a range. I gave you an estimate.

(I know my math skills are weak but since when is $50 in the range of $55 and up?)

Me, backing out: Okay. I'll think on it.

WBC1: Here, take our brochure!

When I get home I look in the mirror at the dead marmot my hair has come to resemble, suck it up and call them back.

WBC1: _____, can I help you?

Me: Yeah, I was in earlier inquiring about a haircut. I have lunch plans but could I get an appointment later in the day?

WBC1: How about 3:00?

Me: Yeah, okay.

WBC1, takes details: Okay, we'll see you at 3:00 for a haircut with Janice.

Me: How much is that going to run me?

WBC1: I can't say. It depends on the stylist and your hair and what's involved.

Me, slowly: We know who the stylist is, right?

WBC1: Janice is doing your haircut. She's the woman who was standing next to me when you came in.

Me: And how much does Janice charge?

WBC1: I couldn't tell you exactly.

Me: *pause* You can't tell me? What's her range?

WBC1: It depends.

Me: Can you tell me the maximum?

WBC1: Well, it won't be more than $75.

Me: I'm not ready to spend $75 for a haircut.

WBC1: It's probably not going to be that much.

Me: But you can't get any closer to what it will be...

WBC1: No.

Me, beyond exasperated: Can Janice tell me when I come in?

WBC1: Yeah, Janice should be able to tell you.

Me: Okay.

So, question # 1 for you, Gentle Reader:
Is it unreasonable to expect the receptionist to provide you with a price once you've locked in on an appointment with a particular stylist?

I come in at 3:00 and Janice and I chat about the possibilities. I basically give her carte blanche. Really. She could have gone Susan Powter on me and I would have been okay with it. She proposes something she thinks will look good and I inquire about the price. She eyeballs me and says "$60". She tells me that since I'm new there, I'll get a one time, 20% discount. I tell her to do it.

All this and I still wind up looking like Carol Brady, but with much less style.

She can tell I'm not happy. Maybe it's the dead look in my eyes. Maybe it's the way I'm talking slowly with long pauses. Maybe it's my saying "Am I supposed to look like Carol Brady?"

She tells me she doesn't want to cut into it more right now. She suggests I go home and see if I can get used to it, maybe style it differently. She assures me that if I'm not happy after a few days, I can come back and she'll cut it more.

It's now been a couple days. I've yet to get it to look good. I'm not inclined to go back and give her another chance to mess with my hair when she didn't do a good job the first time. Question #2 for you, G.R.: Would you?

14 August 2009

"Feed me!" --Little Shop of Horrors

[Do I really need to explain this?]

When I was a child, food was important in my family. Food was love. And, so, when the food was ready, we ate. Because why would we want to reject Mom?

So, fine, we ate. And we ate well. My mother made some great food and we enjoyed it. As soon as it was ready.

I have never broken this habit. In present day, Hubby tends to want to eat all of the prepared foods together. I've heard that some people call this a meal. And that's great if it's all ready at the same time. But you know what? If the garlic bread is ready and the fish isn't? I'm eating the garlic bread. I AM! You don't want to eat yours, that's fine. I'm eating mine. Because cold garlic bread = FAIL.

Hubby has learned not to come between me and food. It's dangerous. You know, like when you feed the tiger: you don't put the chicken carcass down and then stand between the tiger and the carcass to ask how the tiger is enjoying his summer. You fling the chicken at the tiger and run for your life.

This works for us.

But, see, technically, I'm an adult. And sometimes I get invited to dinner or other social functions that involve food. And you know what? Some people put food out--in plain sight!--and then wait to eat it. I swear. It happens. (I was surprised, too.)

And this sucks. Because even though, yeah, I look like an adult, there's this kid inside of me screaming "FOOD! It's ready! It looks good! It smells good! I WANT FOOD!"

You want to know the worst form of this torture? Baby showers. There are always baby showers at work and, if you know the person, there is pressure to attend.

Here's how it goes down. We all gather in the conference room 15 minutes before the official time. We sit in chairs around a huge conference table that is groaning with food. And we wait. And we wait. And, meanwhile, we chat, animatedly, with people we have no choice but to see every day, as if they are long lost friends.

And then there's the inevitable "SURPRISE!!!" moment, usually 15 minutes after the appointed time. And then there's the "Did you know you were getting a party? Did you have any idea?" "Nooooo! How did you all keep it a secret?!"

And then there's the seating of the mother-to-be in the special chair. You know it is special because it has one balloon tied to it.

And sometimes the father-to-be has shown up, too, or the mother-to-be's mother, and so he/she has to be introduced to everyone in the room, individually.

And then there's the gifts. And the oooing and aaaahhhing over the gifts. And the "Isn't that darling!" And the "I had those and they came in so handy!" And the "What was that one? I missed that one." And the holding up of the gifts for the camera. And the passing around of the gifts.

And then there's the stupid party game. Is it the hat made of the bows on a paper plate? Is it the read what the recipient said after each gift was opened with "in bed" after it? Is it both?

And then there's more pictures.

And, because I'm such a sensitive, nurturing, people person, all this time, I'm thinking "FOOD! Get to the #$@&ing FOOD!"

13 August 2009

"I like them big and stupid" --Julie Brown

[Editor's Note: Yes, word verification is back on. I took word verification off my blog about a week ago. I've been spammed on three separate occasions since doing this. Giant crapweasels. Enough. ]

[Love Pink.]

I once had a friend--let's call him Fred--who wasn't popular with the ladies. Fred was a nice, intelligent guy but not what most people would call handsome. Add in some awkward, plus a sizable helping of shy, and he was the perfect recipe for spending a lot of time alone and lonely.

I watched this go on for years. I even set him up with another lonely but pleasant friend but they were spark free. Then, he met and started dating a perfectly wonderful woman. I was happy for him. He broke up with her.

Me: You broke up with her?!
Fred: Yeah. It wasn't going to work.
Me: Why?
Fred: She works at a think tank!
Me: Impressive!
Fred: Try: intimidating!
Me: Oh, come on. You're incredibly bright.
Fred: Not *that* kind of bright. I don't want to date someone who's that much brighter than me.

I was astounded. He really was a very bright guy. He was well read. He was highly respected in his field. Still, he'd rather be lonely than feel intimidated/inferior/take a chance on looking stupid. At least there was a happy outcome. Fred eventually met and married someone he thought was more on par intellectually.

Which brings us to the question(s) du jour: Would you date someone you knew was dramatically smarter than you? Would you date someone you knew was dramatically dumber than you?

11 August 2009

A quickie

Giant Foods comes up with a new answer to the age old question: what do you do when life hands you lemons...

[Click to enlarge.]

10 August 2009

"You got me goin'... you're oh so charmin'..." --Britney Spears

Come closer... I don't want other people to hear this... There. That's so much better. *deep inhale, smile* Mmm, you smell nice.

Can we talk about flirting for a bit?

Can we just admit that sometimes we flirt? And there's a lot of reasons that we flirt?

Sometimes it's because we're attracted to people. Sometimes we just want the thrill of being a bit naughty. Sometimes we're feeling playful. Sometimes we're pushing boundaries. Sometimes we're bored. Sometimes we're curious. Sometimes we want to be perceived as charming or clever. Sometimes we want other people to feel attractive. Sometimes we are merely giving as good as we get.

And on the interwebs it is so easy to flirt. To take an idea or turn of a phrase and bend it to our liking. To provide innuendo that maybe was there all along or maybe wasn't but it's sure out there now. Because how much responsibility do you need to take if someone gives you an opening (ahem) and you merely take it?

Blogland is often a place to share secrets; an invitation to intimacy; a daring bit of exposure we might not otherwise offer up. Isn't that kind of what flirting is all about?

The interwebs is a fun place but it's not real life. Maybe it's a fun place because it's not real life.

True story from the land beyond the interwebs:

Years ago, Hubby and I were sitting at a cafe. There was a young, attractive woman sitting alone at a nearby table who was staring at Hubby. We both realized it. Curious, he looked at her. With her eyes locked on his, she took that moment to lick the circumference of her hot chocolate mug.

I kid you not.

Flirting? Yes. Tacky? Oh, yes. Effective? Hard to say as we don't know what her motivation was.

He opted not to pursue it. I opted to let him live.


09 August 2009

"I gotta be me!" --Sammy Davis, Jr., Part II

[Proving once again that sexy is all in the attitude.]

In a different form of limiting the real you...

I know someone who refused to let her boyfriend see her without make-up for a VERY long time. (Hi, Honey. :)) They were sleeping together and she would go to sleep in her make-up. Then she'd get up before him and rush to the bathroom to re-do her makeup.

Now, I have some understanding about wanting to hide bad skin. I keep my concealer close at hand.

It was still interesting to me that she had no problem with him seeing her naked from the neck down but not from the neck up. And, of course, this couldn't have been good for her skin.

We all have things about us (physical or otherwise) we are hesitant to share. (Well, except LiLu. Hugs!) We don't want to scare away someone we're falling for. We don't want to see that "God, you're amazing" look in their eyes flicker and fail. We don't want to lose all sense of mystery ...or do we?

So... the second half of the "what percent are you" question: What percentage of you are you on a first date? When, if ever, in a relationship, do you hit 100%? Is 100% desirable? How about from them?

05 August 2009

"I gotta be me!" --Sammy Davis, Jr.

I'm probably about 70% me at work. When I started working so many years ago, it was probably more like 30%. Maybe by my last six weeks I'll top 90%. Maybe not.

Part of it is that I'm somewhat private at work. These people are my coworkers, not my friends. There's a difference in what I share.

Plus, I'm definitely squashing the fun side at work. I know this. Because work is... WORK! And if you are having fun can you really be working? There are times when people are having fun at work and I have a little struggle in my head... they're doing it, maybe I should do it, too. Especially if the boss is part of the fun. Don't want to be a stick in the mud, after all.*

I'm not sure where these messages came from but they are definitely lodged firmly in my brain.

So...the question du jour: What percentage of you are you at work? Is it right/reasonable to expect to bring 100% of you to work?

* Is a stick in the mud really not fun? What if you wiggle it or draw goofy faces with it?

04 August 2009

"Everybody's lookin' somewhere for their fair share of wonder" --Steve Gillette & Charles John Quarto

Saturday night we try an Arlington restaurant that has a promising menu. You'll note I'm not mentioning the restaurant's name or opening with a rave because even though the food was okay to good it was overshadowed by a number of strange moments. Yeah, I'm overly critical. Check this out anyway and tell me if this is the kind of dining experience you look for...

Strange moment #1: The table or Do we not clean up well?

We arrive promptly for a 7:00 reservation and are shown to a table in the half-full restaurant. They show us to the table closest to the bathroom. And, before you ask, we were dressed appropriately and acting appropriately. We weren't even doing the potty dance. We asked if we might be seated somewhere that wasn't right next to the bathroom. The hostess said "Sure!" and pointed us to the next table over.

Strange moment #2: The order or I didn't mean to confuse you.

The waitress is taking our order. It goes something like this...

Me: I'd like the Grilled Mushrooms... and the Fisherman's Pasta, please.
Waitress: You want... what?
Me: *pointing at each item on the menu* The Grilled Mushrooms for my appetizer and the Fisherman's Pasta for the entree. Please.
Waitress: Grilled Mushrooms?
Me: *pointing to menu where it says Grilled Mushrooms* Yes, and the Fisherman's Pasta.
Waitress: That's so weird. It used to say Stuffed Mushrooms. They must have changed it.
Me: Stuffed? Often, stuffed mushrooms are fried. Are these fried or grilled?
Waitress: Well, even when the menu said stuffed, they weren't really stuffed. No, they weren't fried. They were grilled, I think.
Me: Okay, I'll have that.
Waitress: I didn't know they changed the menu.
Waitress: *writing* Okay, the Mushrooms and the Fisherman's Pasta.

Now, call me quirky, but I expect the waitstaff to know what's on the menu. And, if they don't, I don't think they should be dwelling on this fact.

Strange moment #3: The Bread or The waitress giveth and the waitress taketh away.

The waitress comes by to check on us as we are starting into the complimentary (yay!), warm (yay!) bread. It's kind of funky--a cheese bread. I'm not complaining but she sees my expression. She asks if I don't like the bread. I say it's okay. She says she can bring me something else. (Nice, right?) I say if it's no trouble that would be lovely, and she brings a basket with different bread in it. This time a multigrain.*

Picture it: we are two people sitting on the inside seats of a four top. This means that half of the table is empty. Space is not an issue--for us. In order to put the second basket down in front of us (why in front of us when there's half an empty table?), she pushes Hubby's water out of the way and nearly dumps it in his lap. As she puts the basket down she says "You probably want to combine those so you don't have two baskets." (Again, why?) While she is off at another table we meekly comply and she whisks away the empty basket when she swings by.

Once we have received and enjoyed our appetizers, she decides we've had enough bread, even though the basket is still half full. She picks up my bread plate and stacks it with the dirty appetizer plates. She starts to reach for my husband's bread plate...

Hubby: I think I'm going to have more bread.
Waitress: *pause* Oh.
She then turns to me and says: Would you like your plate back?
Me, looking at the stacked dirty dishes: No, that's okay.

Strange moment #4: The bill or You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

In lieu of dessert we opt for after-dinner drinks. We are maybe a quarter of the way through them when she deposits the check in its billfold on our table. Um, huh? It's not like we are at the Waffle House and it's not like we have been dallying for hours and it's not like every table is taken and, most importantly, its not like we asked for the check!

* Bonus curiosity: If you managed a restaurant and had two types of bread, wouldn't you just put both types out for the table? Is there some reason you'd serve one type of bread at a time? What am I missing here? Help a blogger out.

02 August 2009

Assorted Flotsom

[It's like pocket lint--if I don't put it somewhere it builds up.]

Does Wendy Williams seem like a female impersonator to anyone but me? Even with the double Ds. Maybe especially with the double Ds.

The Vagisil commercials say if you have vaginal itching or burning, then you should get Vagisil. I think, if you have vaginal itching or burning, there is something way wrong and what you should get is an appointment with a doctor, fergawdssake.

Saw the following bumper sticker, liked it: Wag more, bark less.

If all the food we eat is in a state of decay, would we be healthier being parasites? Just chomp down on the apple while it's still on the tree? Note: This is not an invitation to send me video of people eating live fish/animals/Ozzy biting the head off a bat. Mike, I'm looking at you.

Speaking of attacking living things, aren't we just being cruel to bonsai trees by stunting them every time they try to grow?

LA's first rule of painting: Painting a room will seem like a brilliant idea until we are 5 minutes into it. LA's second rule of painting: During any painting session, I will put my foot on top of the upturned paint lid or into the rolling pan of paint at least once.

And finally...

How many coupons can Bed, Bath and Beyond send me in a week? 2,103 apparently.