Friday, September 30, 2005

Into the Blue, Out of Their Clothes

If you don’t like movie spoilers, don’t look at the poster for ‘Into the Blue’ because it will give away several key plot points. The poster shows the movie’s half-naked, well-toned stars (Paul Walker and Jessica Alba) staring off to the horizon, looking very torn over whatever well-toned people are torn about. And if you know that Paul Walker and Jessica Alba look great in bathing suits then you already know the main point of this film. But wait, there are other points too. A few of their co-stars look great in bathing suits as well.

I like to review movies based on what they are trying to be, because let’s face it, not every movie is trying to be The English Patient. (Thank the lord in heaven, because it can’t be safe for me to nap in movie theaters on a regular basis.) So when you see a movie poster with two hot young actors showing off their hot young bodies, you have to assume that this movie is probably trying to be an hour and a half of light and fun entertainment. (As well as an ad for the benefit of stomach crunches.) And in that regard ‘Into the Blue’ is a smashing success.

Director John Stockwell, a veteran of throwing attractive people in the water (Blue Crush), assembles a good-looking crew of mediocre actors and hands them a mediocre script and somehow comes out with a pretty fun movie. Walker and Alba play young lovers in the Bahamas who are living on love, and very little else. Walker’s character, Jared, longs to be a treasure hunter, yet lacks the money and boat of his former, very successful boss, played by Josh Brolin. Instead of selling his soul and working for Brolin, Jared decides he’s ready to treasure hunt on his own. Jared’s dreams are helped along a bit by the arrival of his old buddy Bryce (Scott Caan) and Bryce’s latest fling Amanda (Ashley Scott). Bryce (despite any evidence of intelligence, morality or even actual working) is a successful lawyer and is in the Bahamas to take advantage of his clients’ very large house. And a boat too. Of course.

The two couples venture out onto the open water, and begin to explore the ocean floor for possible treasures or maybe that big ship from The Goonies. Needless to say they find many an interesting thing underwater and the movie takes off as a result. I’m not a big fan of giving away movie details, especially in movies like this, where there are so very few to really give away. But I will say that I nearly passed out watching Paul Walker hold his breath for the better part of an hour in some of these scenes. I don’t know about you, but every time I swim down the floor of the ocean, I’m ALWAYS thinking, “Why bother with scuba gear, that will just weigh me down.” Look, we get that you’re all sexy and frowny but that does not give you super-human lung capacity.

Despite the fact that Paul should be dead, the underwater scenes are pretty cool any fan of the ocean will appreciate the cinematography of Peter Zuccarini’s underwater cameras. I don’t necessarily think that the extended footage of the actors frolicking with nature’s beauty has anything to do with the movie, but I still enjoyed the random Discovery Channel-like footage thrown into my action movie. It was very Zen. Zen involves people in bikinis, right? Well if it doesn’t, it really should.

Also, to keep up the Zen theme, I highly recommend sneaking a large bottle of alcohol into this film and taking a shot every time Scott Caan calls Paul Walker “Jared”. And then e-mail me and I’ll tell you how the movie ends, cause you’ll be passed out well before the final act. Why is it that people in movies are always calling each other by name? Like CONSTANTLY. I’m pretty sure that unless a friend is about to get hit by a car or possibly looking lost while across a crowded room I could probably go entire years without uttering my friends’ names. (Of course, I’m so bad with names that it’s a good probability that I could go years without even knowing my friends’ names.) And yet, in movies and TV, the characters can fit in three name references in the course of one tiny monologue. What is that all about? Are they just showing off because they can actually remember their friends’ names?

Anyways, ‘Into the Blue’ is a fun film that combines action, pirates, good-looking people, and underwater sea creatures. Sure, it’s not going to win any awards or be praised for its influence on American Film. But it does prove that it is possible to convince an actress to go without pants for an entire movie shoot. And if that ain’t a positive influence on cinema, I just don’t know what is.

Thursday, September 29, 2005


People entertain me so much sometimes it’s ridiculous.

Have you heard about the guy in Puerto Rico who is building a landing strip for the aliens? Ahhh. I LOVE this guy.

His name is Reynaldo Rios and he is convinced that he has not only seen UFO’s in his life but that it is very important to provide them with a nice landing strip so that they have someplace to park when they come over for Sunday dinner. With the anal probe.

The greatest part of this is that the Puerto Rican government is supportive of Rey’s efforts. They think that it will increase tourism to the area, and thereby increase local revenues. Cause you just know that EVERYONE is going to want a commemorative anal probe. Like hot cakes they will sell!

Rios has found a local farmer who has agreed to allow the use of his land for the landing Extraterrestrials. The landing strip will be about 80 feet long and cost about $100,000 to construct. One might wonder why it would take $100,000 to make a flat piece of land flatter, but then one wouldn’t be factoring pyramids into the equation. And that would be an oversight on one’s part.

According to Rios the landing strip will have two pyramids as control towers, because the aliens are attracted to pyramids. Everyone knows that. Which is why Madonna ditched her pointy bra back in the 80’s. Even Madonna has her limits when it comes to probing.

Turns out Rios has been the recipient of some positive probing. He says that when he was 13 aliens came into his room and into his body and cured a back injury he had. Because that’s all aliens have to do with their time. Cure random Puerto Rican back injuries. “Hey, man we just landed on this cool planet with water and nuclear bombs and pyramids for boobs. What should we do first?” “Well, I think we should definitely take care of that kid’s back sprain. Then we’ll figure out other ways to help the earthlings. Because they are such un-self-centered people that I’m really glad we traveled 93 light years to be able to come help them with various muscle aches.”

If you’d like to learn more about these aliens, the ones that Reynaldo is seeking out, you can join his group, “UFO International (Really just in one nation, Puerto Rico)”. Rey and his team of UFO admirers “hold nighttime vigils to search for signs of alien life.” Because why would you want to find aliens in the light of day, really? Then you might be able to actually IDENTIFY something on the videotapes you take of them/random light/maybe a firefly on the lens of your video camera.

Not that there’s anything wrong with Reynaldo’s beliefs. I gotta go finish duck taping my funnel to my head so that the aliens can come into my body tonight and cure my carpel tunnel. Who needs health insurance, really?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

2 for 1

There needs to be some rule or law that prohibits me from going within 30 feet of a grocery store when I am hungry. Maybe I could get a little ankle bracelet that zaps me when it senses that I’m about the spend $120 on Pop Tarts and Potato Chips.

There also needs to be another law that prohibits stores from having “2 for 1” sales on anything that lists “corn syrup” as one of its primary ingredients. Guess what? I don’t even need one of those, let alone two. And yet, when I walk into the grocery store, thinking that I’m only there to pick up toilet paper and bagels, I am FORCED to walk right past big displays that read “2 for 1”. And I think, “Well, geez, how can I pass that up? That’s like a FREE thing.” And then there’s another display and another and another. Until I finally make my way to the check out counter and then to my car only to realize I didn’t get the toilet paper OR the bagels. But should I all of a sudden decide to become a pothead, I’m all set. Bring on the munchies! It’s 2 for 1 day!

The only way I’ve found to have even a hope of avoiding a cart full of totally unneeded, yet totally tasty treats is to start eating the first treat I put in my cart. I have been blessed with a stomach the size of a small marble and so even when I’m starving it only takes, well, a marble to fill me up. So if I HAVE to put the two bags of Mother’s Circus Cookies in my cart (why are those so good?) then I might as well open one up and start eating. Then hopefully I will fill up and have a small chance of being able to pass up the 2 for 1 Tostito Nacho Cheese Dips (salsa con queso, or as I like to call it: cheese dip con pretty much anything es bueno).

Another thing I should not be allowed to do: Go buy a meal at a take-out place a mere 4 minutes after I have just gone food shopping. I swear I have some mental block against actually eating food from the grocery store until it’s been in my house for 24 hours. Why else would someone spend an hour shopping for all of their food needs (aka: bagels, bags o’ salad and 2 bags of Mother’s Circus Cookies) and then literally drive out of the grocery store parking lot and into the Chinese food parking lot to pick up dinner? I do this almost every time I go grocery shopping. Well not every time. Sometimes I get Del Taco instead of Chinese Food.

Right now I am hiding upstairs, trying to avoid the lure of the cookies, chips and Chinese food in my kitchen. When I do give into the lure I make myself feel better by running very quickly back up the stairs. You know, to burn off the calories. I have a lot of stairs. So I’m sure everything is balancing out quite nicely.

TV Time

Holy hell did I watch a lot of TV this weekend. I sat on my ass for so many consecutive hours that I had to change locations a few times because I was actually in physical pain. (Sign #243 that you are getting old: It hurts to sit for more than an hour.)

I will now give you a breakdown of some of the more notable shows on TV.

Kitchen Confidential: It’s got that cute guy that made out with Christine Lahti on ‘Jack and Bobby’ last year. I guarantee that Christine Lahti is bummed that that show got cancelled. Cause this guy is adorable. On this new show he is still adorable, and his co-star speaks with an accent, which is always a selling point for me. Oh, and the show is pretty funny too.

Prison Break: This show has been on a few weeks and it’s already starting to get on my nerves a little bit. The main guy is very serious and a little scary. If I’m not mistaken I think I’ve actually seen him play the devil on something. And I think he was pretty convincing. He’s all squinty and tortured and way uptight about the whole “breaking out of prison” thing. And the girl on the show who plays the lawyer has a lazy eye. And it’s starting to distract me. It’s so lazy that it’s like halfway down her face, just resting there. Looking into her eyes makes me dizzy. Maybe after she’s done saving the life of a man wrongly accused of murder she could investigate some various pulley devices to lift her eye up.

My Name is Earl: Friggin’ Funny. Again, with the accents. Only this time it’s southern accents. Which I enjoy as well. If only because they are more likely to say things like, “You can’t get away from me, I know where your mama parks your house!”

How I Met Your Mother: Doogie Friggin’ Howser is on this show. It’s not really that funny. And it’s got a laugh track, which always annoys my independent spirit (don’t tell me when I should laugh. I am perfectly capable of forming a laugh all on my own.) But it’s got Doogie!

Everybody Hates Chris: This is a show based on the childhood of Chris Rock. Didja watch it? Better yet, did you listen to it? You didn’t really have to watch it, as 90% of the show was Chris Rock doing voice-over while the actors reenacted what he was saying. It might work out to be a bad thing that the most famous person on the show is the guy doing the voice-overs. I wonder when the actors are going to start noticing that they don’t actually have any lines.

LOST: Wait. There’s a dude living under ground on the island? With a blender? And a record player? This guy kicks the crap out of the lame Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

Invasion: I have no idea what this show is about. I mean I’m assuming it’s about an “Invasion” of course. But other than that I can’t really tell where they are going. BUT, wherever they are going I’m willing to tag along for a bit. I’ve had a huge crush on the main actor for quite some time now. The guy has dimples you could swim in. Can he act? Not really. But he can take his shirt off quite well.

I’m sure there were other shows I taped, but they are all sort of a blur together by this point. All I can tell you for sure is that for some reason William Shatner keeps winning Emmys, Oprah Winfrey has been on the air for 20 years, but still managed to find roughly 32 guests for her show this week, and finally…doing absolutely nothing for extended periods of time can actually lead to muscle aches so great that they require the aide of several Advil. Such an educational weekend. Really.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

I Heart Cake

Yet another wedding this weekend. One more left this year and then I’ll be done and ready to gear up for Wedding Watch 2006. There are only three on the docket so far for next year…but the holidays have a way of causing spontaneous engagements, so I’m sure there will be more. Good thing too. If it weren’t for weddings I could very well go entire years without hearing AC/DC’s “Shook Me All Night Long”. And that would be just tragic, wouldn’t it?

Without weddings I would also have to go without wedding cake. And that would be heart-breaking as well.

This weekend’s wedding included my favorite wedding cake so far. Why? Because I got my OWN little cake! How exciting is that? So exciting. Only a select few got their own little wedding cake, which looked kinda like two stacked hockey pucks covered in frosting (and lets be honest, I would be just as happy with two stacked hockey pucks, as long as there was frosting. It’s all about the frosting.)

I was one of the select few to get my own cake, because I was amongst company who identify me as “Dawn, the girl that hearts cake”. I guess I could be identified as a lot worse. And I guarantee at other weddings I have been identified as a lot worse. But this is a family friendly blog so…

I shall explain just the cake identification.

I used to work with the girl who got married this weekend. The company where we both worked had a monthly party to celebrate all the birthdays that fell within that month. This was an effort to curb the constant parties in every department for every individual birthday. This of course did not curb any individual parties, but instead just gave us one more party. We ate a lot at this company.

So every month a different department was in charge of organizing the monthly birthday celebration. They would send out a company-wide e-mail telling us when the party was and whose birthdays we were celebrating. One month my friend in a different department sent out the party announcement and I wrote her back something friendly and nice and probably not at all smart ass-y. At the end of my response I wrote, “Will there be cake there? I heart cake.” And then I pushed send. And a second later the e-mail popped up in my inbox. Yeah.

Which means that in addition to responding to my friend I also had responded to the entire company. All of which now knew my feelings towards cake. Slowly people started responding, “Thanks for sharing.” “You’re a dumbass.” “What does ‘heart’ mean?” “Nice.” “Thank God that was the first personal e-mail you’ve ever written without a curse word.”

So then I became known as the “Girl Who Hearts Cake”. If ever there was a cake present in the company in any department I was made aware of it. When I left the company my boss baked me a heart shaped cake and wrote “We Heart Dawn” on it. After I left the company I’d still get e-mails telling me when there would be cake on the premises, should I happen to be in the neighborhood and want to stop by.

I’ve recently begun working as an independent contractor with my old company, doing some freelance work in a few departments. Before I started I had to sign an independent contractor agreement, basically saying that I was not a real employee, so I was not entitled to benefits and PTO and all that fun stuff.

When I received the agreement I hesitated to sign it. I wrote back, “In order to sign this agreement I need to know that although I will not be considered an employee I will still be eligible for cake, should it be made available to the staff.”

I received an e-mail back, “Oh, but of course. We will include a cake clause in the contract. We wouldn’t expect you to work under any other condition.”

It’s important in negotiations to stand firm on what is important.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Another Job

I know, I know. You all were starting to think I’m lazy. So I took on another job. But this could be the world’s best job, so I had to take it on. I’m writing movie reviews for an online site. The writing of the movie reviews isn’t the fun part. The watching of all the free movies before they are released is definitely the fun part. If only they paid for my popcorn and Sour Patch Kids. Then it would definitely be the world’s best job. That’s the kind of benefit package I look for.

So far I’ve been averaging about two movies a week. I am also averaging two Cokes, a popcorn and 1 nachos per week as well.

I’ve enjoyed most of the movies I’ve seen, but I’m starting to realize that my reviews might be a bit tainted. See, as a rule, I tend to enjoy free things. And I think the fact that they are free makes good things even better. So it is a good possibility that I’m giving great reviews to mediocre movies, just because I’m still on a “free stuff” high. (And who knows what effect mass quantities of buttered popcorn has on a person’s ability to judge in an unbiased fashion)

So this week I saw Flightplan. And I enjoyed it. Because I had M&M’s and a slurpee. But by the time I got to my car I realized that Jodie Foster needs to do a nice little romantic comedy. Maybe she could do one that has gone unproduced because Meg Ryan has decided she’s tired of being cute and cuddly. I fear Jodie may have some sort of anxiety-related aneurysm if she doesn’t start taking on some less stressful roles soon. No wonder she only makes one movie every couple of years. It’s probably on her doctor’s orders.

Jodie spends a majority of Flightplan in panic mode (not to be confused with Panic Room, her previous Fightin’ Foster portrayal of a mom protecting her kid). You can tell she’s in panic mode because she firmly affixes her “panic/grieved/scared/a little confused” look that seems to be a common expression amongst all her characters. Her eyebrows scrunch up to the top of her forehead, her eyes grow big, and small pools of tears form perfectly; glistening in her eye, but waiting to fall until they are cued.

As far as my review for Flightplan? It’s definitely a popcorn movie, not exactly going to be bringing home the third Oscar statue for Jodie. And the plane in the movie could fit through some of the plot holes in the script. But it's a fun couple of hours and a good movie.

If you can get in for free it’s a great movie. And it goes well with a slurpee.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Work is Very Much Fun


It’s Wednesday. Well, technically it’s Thursday. But I’m still in the Wednesday workday, so I’ll count it as Wednesday. If it’s Thursday then I have two projects due to clients, three to the printer and four meetings. I don’t want it to be Thursday yet.

I just did the math and I’ve already worked 50 hours this week. I don’t like that math.

That math means that I already have three TV show tapes stacked here waiting to be watched. Falling behind at the beginning of the TV season can be crippling to a professional television-watcher like me. Fortunately the same skills that allow me to spend hours movie-hopping also allow me the drive and focus to watch a good 20 hours of TV tapes in one sitting. Try not to be jealous. It’s really not that amazing. I fast forward past the commercials, so I’m really only watching about 48 minutes of actual programming.

That math also means that any hope of a life outside of work has all but exited the building for the time being. In fact, I think I just saw it get in its car and drive away. My adorable little cousin, who I make a point to see every week because I am positive role model and she still thinks I’m cool? I picked her up tonight on the way to a photo shoot. We needed pictures of people eating for a piece we’re working on. So I told her we were going out to dinner, then I plopped her down with the other eaters and she became part of the photo shoot. That’s quality time, right? I bought her an ice cream afterwards, so she definitely seemed enriched.

And finally the most tragic consequence of my work schedule: very little sleep happening. Things are starting to move a little slower in my brain, as well as the rest of my body. I sat at the toaster oven for about 5 minutes this morning before I realized that although my bagel was inside, I hadn’t actually turned the thing on. And the day was kinda downhill from there.

I once worked in a job where I was done every day at 4:30. Sure it was boring and pointless and made my brain melt out of my ears from lack of stimulation. But now clients call me up at 8 pm (for the 5th time that day) and say things like, “You know that inch of green space between the words and the pictures on the back? I know we’ve gone back and forth on this about ten times, but I think if those words lined up and then moved down about a quarter of an inch, and then maybe you could rearrange the columns and the pictures so that when all the columns are lined up they look like a smile on top? I think that might work.”

It turns out my brain can melt out of my ears from too much stimulation as well.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Saving the World

So I’m going to save the world in November. Well, not for the whole month, just two weeks. Cause I’m sure the world can be saved in two weeks, right? That’s like 14 whole days.

I’ve been looking for a way to save the world all year, and I finally settled on Habitat for Humanity, because, well, that Jimmy Carter is just so adorable. And who doesn’t like Humanity? Or Habitat for that matter.

The problem with saving the word is that it’s not cheap. You’d think that if you were offering to volunteer for 14 days you wouldn’t have trouble finding someone who wanted to take you up on your offer. You’d be right. But you’d also be out a couple grand. Cause the world needs saving people, and it is not in a financial situation to give you anything for free.

So once I realized that it was going to cost me to volunteer I started looking for the organization that I wanted to pay for the privilege of volunteering my time. I found a few programs where you go play with orphans or help the sick. But honestly those would not be good for me. I’d want to take all the orphans home and I’d offer the sick people all my viable organs to try to save them. And then I’d return home the mother of 10 with no kidneys. And that would be bad.

Habitat for Humanity has always been my kind of volunteering because I get to build stuff and get dirty and there are no sick children around for me to try to smuggle across any border. Granted, I’ve only built locally, so there aren’t really any borders involved, but there are some tricky fences.

Why does it cost a couple grand to volunteer? Cause I’m not volunteering in this country. I really wanted to get out of this country for a little while, and I also wanted to save the world. And I only had a couple weeks to do both. So I decided to save the world out of the country. See how time efficient that is?

I found a trip I wanted to go on this summer. They were going to be building houses in Bolivia. It would be a positive, soul-enriching, cultural experience. I was all set to sign up and then I got an offer to work on a horror movie. And we all know how positive, soul-enriching and cultural horror movies are. So the world had to wait a little while to be saved. It’s already gone to hell in a handbasket, what was a few more months going to do?

Now that the movie is over and I’ve contributed to a piece of cinema that involves Pretty People being chopped up by an axe I am once again ready to embrace the world and build it a house. So I’m going to Honduras in November. I am currently working 374 jobs and sitting in front of various computers for a good 15 hours a day. My phone is constantly ringing and my e-mail is constantly, uh, getting e-mail from people who want me to sit in front of my computer even more.

Is it bad that building houses for two weeks is actually going to be a nice break? I might just move into one of the houses I build and stay in Honduras forever. Do you think those houses get cable?

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Kind of Gambling

I went to Tahoe this weekend for yet another Bachalorette party. If you are reading this blog and are looking to meet your mate and are having trouble you might want to consider becoming my friend. The odds are very good that you will become engaged and throw many a wedding-related party very soon after becoming my friend. Is all I’m saying.

In fact, my Roommate actually came into my room tonight and said, “You really need to put a stop to all those friggin’ “Save the Date” cards you are getting in the mail. Every time I open the fridge I am bombarded with wedding bliss. And it’s starting to make me nauseous.”

Being as though I have already been to 432 Bachalorette parties in Tahoe and I wasn’t drinking my body weight in liquor I decided to take a moment away from the festivities to make a contribution to the “Tahoe Casino Fund”. Screw the hurricane victims, Harrah’s REALLY needs my money.

I wandered around and found my new favorite way of losing my money. It’s roulette. But not normal roulette. It’s Lazy Man Roulette. There is circle of touch-screen monitors and in the middle of the circle there is a roulette wheel. You sit down at one of the monitors, give the nice Gambling Ladies your money, and then you get credits on your screen. You will also find a roulette board on your screen. And little denominations of money. So you pick what denomination you want, then you put your money on whatever numbers you want and then you wait for one of the Gambling Ladies to tell you what the number is. And then your money slowly disappears from your screen until you have no more and are forced to put your penis paraphernalia back on and join the drunk bride-to-be on the dance floor.

This is all very exciting to me. I enjoy the roulette. It is usually my casino donation method of choice. But the sucky thing about the roulette is all the standing up, sitting down, standing up, sitting down, having to talk to people to have them help you put your chip on a number that is out of your reach, then standing up and sitting down some more. Who has the leg muscles for all that? Not me.

So when I saw this Completely Sitting Roulette I was quite excited. So excited in fact, I sorta forgot to make an effort to fully comprehend all of the rules before playing. I was hitting numbers left and right and wondering why my money wasn’t going up. Finally one of the Gambling People came over and pointed out that there were minimum bets needed on both the inside AND the outside of the board, not the whole board. So every time I’d won my bet had been voided because I hadn’t bet enough. The funniest part of this is that it took me quite awhile to figure this out. I figured I must be winning, because my credits weren’t going down. Turns out my credits weren’t going down because I wasn’t actually betting anything. I was sitting, I was drinking my free coke, I was talking to the girl next to me, I was talking to the Gambling Lady and I was even showing my friends how cool this game was. What I wasn’t doing however, was actually playing the game. Turns out your money lasts a lot longer that way.

Here is a picture of the Beer Goggles on yet another drunk friend with very little concern over the ridiculousness of the things put on her head.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Two Pictures, Two Stories

First Picture:
First Story:

Mom has changed the outfit of the ceramic dog on her porch. But I don’t think it’s the right outfit. It’s not winter yet, is it? Wasn’t it just summer? Shouldn’t there be a fall ensemble? She claims that there is no fall ensemble and that this is the only outfit that makes any sense.

“Because the poor dog has been in a bathing suit for too many months. He’s probably cold by now.”

“But it seems very winter-y, isn’t there anything fall-y?”

“Believe me, I’ve looked.”

“This seems more like a December outfit.”

“He’s Santa then.”


“He’s wearing his New Years outfit.”

“February is Cupid?”

“And in March we get into Easter stuff.”

“So I guess this is the only one for September.”

“I know. And he looks so hot.”

I don’t know what to make of the fact that my mother and I actually spent a good five minutes of our lives discussing how the ceramic dog on the porch should be dressed. It’s kinda sad. But not as sad as the fact that the ceramic dog has more outfits than I do.

Second Picture:
Second Story:
Okay, this picture is pretty blurry, but I was taking it in a grocery store, and have you ever tried to take a picture in a grocery store? They practically call Homeland Security on your ass. I don’t really understand why you can’t take pictures in a grocery store. But since I can’t take them, I’m always quite tempted to try. I’m crazy like that.

I give you this picture as proof of my bad Line Karma I mentioned a few weeks ago. I decided to go to the store tonight at 11 o’clock. (And by “decided” I mean “was forced to when I found myself locked out of my house and needing to kill some time until Roommate got home”. We’ll discuss my bad Key Karma some other time.) You’d think that a grocery store would be relatively quite at 11 pm. But you’d be very, very wrong.

Turns out everyone else in the neighborhood was locked out of their house as well. Because half the friggin population of my town was at the store this evening. And the other half was working in the store. Yeah. Cause the store has decided to do a bit of a remodel. In the middle of the night. Construction guys EVERYWHERE. Stocker people EVERYWHERE. Because along with the remodel they also decided to move EVERYTHING in the store to a new location.

What are these people trying to do to me? I mean really. I do not deal well with change. Why on earth do they need to change the location of my Mountain Dews? Whyyyyy??? Was there some recent study that found that Mountain Dews sell better in aisle 3 than in aisle 7? And, AND, someone decided that greeting cards should be in the same aisle as the auto supplies. Huh? They used to be in the aisle with the magazines and school supplies. Which made sense, all sorts of paper-related things, all in one easy to find aisle. But no. Tonight my greeting cards had been moved. And now they are across the aisle from car wax. Cause nothing makes me feel like buying a card quite like a bottle of motor oil.

So here I am trying to navigate this completely rearranged store, just trying to find my Mountain Dews and Bags of Salad and one little card. But it’s next to impossible to find anything, and even when I find it, it’s next to impossible to get my cart around the construction guys who are ripping up the floor in front of my caffeine. It was all kinda like a combination of Supermarket Sweep and Extreme Makeover Home Edition.

After 30 minutes of trying to push my cart over the many various power cords strewn throughout the store I finally made it up to the checkout stand. And found the before-mentioned line had formed. I got in the line and it immediately came to a grinding halt. Cause that’s what lines do when I get near them. I grabbed a copy of US Weekly and began to flip through the pages. (Bad Line Karma allows me to never have to purchase an US Weekly. I can always manage to finish the whole thing by the time I get up the front of the line. (Not like that’s saying much, US Weekly is not exactly known for its information-heavy publication))

After a while I looked up from pregnant Britney Spears to see that the cashier had actually stopped checking people out as was now just leaning against her register. Another cashier stood by another register, but said she couldn’t help anyone until someone found her some receipt tape. Then another cashier went and grabbed two boxes of cookies and started handing them out to the people who had risked death by electric screw driver to get their two items and now were being forced to stand in what was turning out to be more of a buffet than a checkout line.

I grabbed a couple cookies and continued to read about how the stars are “Just Like US”. Do you think Britney stands in the Quick Checkout Line for 30 minutes? Probably not. But by the looks of her some has definitely been feeding her some cookies.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Heart the Internet

Tragedy struck my world yesterday.

My VCR didn’t tape the right show. !!! Piece of crap.

Well, I guess if you were to actually investigate a little you would find that the REASON the VCR didn’t tape the right show was because I set it to tape the wrong show. So it’s probably not all the VCR’s fault.

The beginning of the TV season is always a little touch and go for me. As I look at the New Fall TV Guide and try to coordinate my three VCR’s to tape everything I need. There is always the chance that I’ll set the time wrong, or the station wrong or the language wrong…

Last night I got home played my much anticipated Gilmore Girls premiere only to find that instead I’d taped two random Hispanic women spewing Spanish all over the place. Now, either Gilmore Girls is now Chicas de Gilmore or I set the station one digit off.

My favorite part of the tape was the closed captioning. I have closed captioning on all the time, you know, to increase my reading skills. (or because I can’t hear) So I turn on this tape expecting my sweet Gilmore Girls and I am bombarded with the Spanish language in both spoken and written form. It was all a bit much to process.

I had waited all summer to find out the resolution of last year’s cliffhanger and now all I knew for sure was that one senorita was VERY upset with either the other senorita or perhaps the phone. My Spanish reading isn’t so good.

So I went online and typed in “Gilmore Girls Download” and after the 453 just “girls download”s I found a site that had my sweet Gilmore Girls available for download. (and also several other girls, coincidently) It would cost me like $10 for a month of downloads and I thought this might be a good investment seeing as though this was only the second premiere I’d tried to tape and apparently I couldn’t be bothered with remembering such details as the correct channel. Details, details.

So if anyone else misses any important premieres (or movies, or porn, or anime) let me know and I’ll burn you a copy. However, I can make no guarantees that I’ll actually burn you the right copy.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Moving and Mornings

I went back to my old place of employment today. For more employment. It was just like old times. Except different.

I’m working in a different department. I’m working on a different floor. I’m working different hours. And most importantly, I’m working without a parking pass. Yeah. That means I have to WALK to work. Yeah. Uphill both ways and stuff.

Now, GRANTED, my old place of employment is only like 8 blocks away from my house. But STILL. Walking. That can’t be healthy. I have a bad knee, you know.

And yes. Before you ask, yes. I used to have a parking pass to this job. Cause I don’t enjoy moving that much. Especially in the a.m. hours. Which is when half of the moving would have to happen, in order to get to work on time. And the greatest part about my parking pass? I paid for it. Yep. I paid like $30 a month for it I think. I don’t remember. It came out of my check. Kinda like Social Security. Only I actually got to reap the benefits of the parking pass, which makes it different than the money coming out for Social Security.

My coworkers constantly ridiculed my unwillingness to walk my 8 blocks. They thought they were somehow better than me because their commute was longer than 3.2 minutes (that was including the minute spent driving up the parking garage). But I did not let their taunts get to me, for what is a woman if she doesn’t stand firm on her beliefs? (or in my case, probably sit comfortably in a recliner on her beliefs)

I have a basic life philosophy. I’ll sum it up because a) I just got home from work and it’s 3 a.m. and I don’t have the brain power to go into great detail and b) there isn’t any detail to go into. My philosophy is this: Do the things that make you happy. Try to avoid the things that don’t make you happy. It seems simple but you’d be surprised how many people do not follow this basic philosophy. Luckily for me very few things make me really unhappy, so I’m not usually faced with trying to avoid many things. (If the world were rid of traffic and possums I’d be one happy girl.) BUT two of the very few things that make me unhappy are 1) Mornings and 2) Moving.

And if you had any comprehension of how much I truly despise both of those things you would know that $30 was a small price to pay to avoid combining them into what was sure to be an unpleasant experience for everyone. (most notably the other walkers/homeless people and the unlucky co-workers that would have to deal with me after Moving and Mornings had been combined for 8 blocks)

So then, speaking of things that DO make me happy, my old place of employment was famous for it’s random food that could be found in various departments at any given time. New employees often gained the freshmen 15 when coming to work there. Cake! Doughnuts! Bagels! Muffins! More Cake! Sandwiches! And maybe an apple or an orange! But those are just for show!

Because I had burned all those calories WALKING to work this morning I had no worries about eating half of the Plate ‘o Carbs that was on the receptionist’s desk. We movers have to keep our energy up, you know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


I have officially realized that I have a problem. I cannot say no to work. And therefore I have way too much of it. My friggin arm has all but fallen off my body as a result of work, and yet when I get a call from someone needing something made pretty (as that is what I do – I prettify things (and holy crap, “prettify” is actually a word.)) I can’t say no. I was born with the inability to say no. (Except when offered vegetables. In those instances I’m able to find my long silenced voice and utter the words, “No, but I’ll have whatever carbs you’re offering.”)

About 6 months ago a woman in my old office asked me if I would be available to work a few weeks in September in their publishing department. Because it was only going to be part-time work and because she was talking about oh, six friggin’ months away, I said “Sure!”

It is now September. And I’m not so “Sure!” anymore. I’m more like “sure?”

In my haste and inability to say no I did not take two very important points into consideration when agreeing to work in September.

Point #1 - One of my main jobs (lets not talk about how many jobs I have, that’s a whole nother blog) is doing that boring political mail that you get out of your mailbox and immediately throw into your trashcan. My job is to make you look at it for at least 2.67 seconds before you throw it away. It really is quite rewarding work, knowing that my art is annoying people throughout the county.

So yeah. Guess what month is coming up? November. Now I try not to follow politics, cause it’s all a bunch of poo. But I’ve heard that sometimes there are elections in November. Yeah. And what is an election if it doesn’t add 30 tons of glossy cardstocked mail to our landfills? And what kind of graphic designer am I if I don’t contribute at least 15 tons of that trash? I’m a failure, is what I am.

So my boss came to me today with a detailed calendar of the various mail pieces we have to have out. And he said, “The next four weeks are going to be hell. What’s your availability like?” And I said, “Well, other than the part-time job I took on, as well as my regular freelance work and not to mention the weddings and corresponding bachelorette parties and rehearsal dinners, my schedule is just wide open.” Blah.

Point #2 - This is a much more important point that I failed to note when agreeing to September work: The New Fall Season Is Starting!!! AND So Is Football!!! Lord in heaven, this is an exciting time of year. But it does present a bit of a time management issue for me. The beginning of the Fall Season holds so much hope and my VCR’s hold so many hours of recorded entertainment. When I was asked to work in September I should have looked at my calendar, seen that that is when the TV and Football seasons start and said, “Uh, no, I’m sorry. I have a standing date with my red couch for the duration of September. Call me in October, most of the shows will be cancelled by then, so I’ll have more free time.”

But no, I didn’t think of either of these points and as a result I am now going to be faced with either sleeping or watching TV throughout the month of September. Because lord knows I’m not going to have time to do both. And anyone who knows me at all knows that this month could be the basis of Sophie’s Choice Part 2 – An Even Sadder Tale of Loss.

Monday, September 12, 2005


I used to work in a cubicle. Cubicles are not fun places to work. They’re all confined and grey and cube-y. In order to make my cubicle less cube-y and more me-y I started adorning the walls and my work area with various random items.

The more random the better.

The items on my desk ranged from a ferret calendar (do I like ferrets? No. But every month offered a new ridiculous picture of a ferret dressed up in some even more ridiculous outfit. This entertained me more than most of my coworkers could really comprehend.) to a jar of gherkins. (because one day one of my coworkers said the word “gherkin” and I’d never heard it before in my life. I thought it was an awesome word and sat in my cubicle repeating it using different inflections for the better part of the work day. The co-worker bought me a jar at the store, to show me what they were, and I kept the jar on top of my computer, just because I loved that damn word.)

As time went by just about every inch of my desk and wall space was covered in completely random items. Much to my amusement. And much to the confusion of people visiting the office. I could always tell if I was going to be friends with someone by whether or not they laughed at the random crap on my desk. Some people would look at my area and quickly advert their eyes, not wanting to engage the employee that was clearly mentally unwell. Some people would inquire about some of the items and then merely frown in confusion when I explained how they each amused me. And then there were the ones who would make a point to come by and play with the various items on my desk or perhaps even bring items to add to the collection. These were my people.

David was one of those people.

He worked in the IS department (aka: The Computer Dorks) and I worked in the Accounting department (aka: The Math Dorks). David and I both actively sought out things to entertain us while passing the time at our extremely boring jobs. Much of David’s entertainment was found in seeing how annoying he could be to me.

Despite the fact that my cubicle basically looked like a flea market I knew exactly where everything went. If someone were to come by my desk and move anything even the slightest bit, I noticed and moved it back. And was quite annoyed in the process.

Once David found this out there was very rarely I time that I returned to my desk and didn’t find something out of place or just generally messed with – courtesy of David. He’d do little things, like move the gherkins to another part of the desk, or hide paperclips in various places. Or he’d do more elaborate things, like turn my rubberband ball into an abstract piece of art that could have probably sold on ebay for a good sum of money.

One of his constant changes was to a picture on my wall. A woman in my department had printed out a cute picture of two puppy dogs and pinned it up on my wall. Sure it wasn’t as much fun as the ferrets, but who doesn’t love puppy dogs, really? One day I looked up to my wall and noticed that something was different. After some time I realized that the two puppy dogs had turned into two horses. From that day on David would come by my desk before I got to work and put up a new picture of two animals. It became a running joke and also quite a challenge for him. (There really aren’t THAT many animals in the world, or THAT many pictures of just two of them.)

In addition to rearranging my desk David also helped contribute to it. On the orders of his boss he was forced to clear some of the useless stuff off his desk. And instead of throwing it all away he sent quite a bit of it to me. It seemed like every time I checked the mail there was another interoffice envelope with some completely pointless item from David’s desk – parts to computers, instruction manuals from the 1970’s and my favorite, a Bill Gates paper doll book.

When I left the company where we both worked I received many cards and presents from people wishing me a fond farewell. When David came to say goodbye he brought his final, heartfelt gift. A dead tree that had been sitting in his department for who knows how long. He even put a bow on it. Thanks buddy.

David’s funeral is today and I wonder if anyone will talk about how funny he was, or tell any stories involving a rubberband ball. Probably not. Funerals are such downers. I understand that someone has died, that it’s a time to mourn, and all that. But to me life is about so much more than someone’s death. And funerals should be too.

When I go to say goodbye to David today I won’t bring a dead tree, even though I think he would have liked that. When I remember him, I’ll remember his laughter and his playfulness. I’ll remember that he had a great heart and a great spirit and an abundance of useless crap on his desk. And I’ll remember how he went out of his way to use that useless crap to make me laugh every day. Thanks buddy.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Guest Blog

I seriously have no time to blog this week. Next week will be better. Unless it isn’t.
But in place of our regular scheduled blog I give you an e-mail I received from one of my (5 million) friends who is getting married soon. Turns out I’m a bit too busy to return RSVP cards to weddings as well…



First of all, you need to hook a sista up…..yes you do. I’m specifically talking about those cool ass glasses you refer to as “beer goggles.” With the bachelorette party only days away, a future drunk bacherlorette could use something of this kind. They’d be perfect for my many trips to the fridge for another beer, and even more perfect during drinking games where I claim myself to be President of the game A##hole. You could be my beer wench, since you won’t be drinking and we’ll need someone sober to get us all the beer we need. Wouldn’t that be great? I’m totally serious here. I want my own pair of these bad boys. They’d look great on and would totally be the talk of the town as I try to remain calm while betting all my money away on the blackjack tables at the casino. I think I do better when I’m drunk. It’d be great! Totally….tell me where you bought those suckers, because I’m bound and determined to start wearing them, like now.

Secondly….between your many hours of assisting with the Red Cross, working on who knows how many projects, for how many companies, could you take a few moments from your overly busy schedule and fill out the damn RSVP card for the wedding? Dude….my deadline date is like tomorrow and you’re one of the five slacker friends and family members who have yet to reply. You know what this means? Well, nothing really, but get it in the mail….even if you’re putting it out at 4am, you can do that and the USPS will pick it up…..wait, better yet….maybe you should walk it to a blue drop off box at the corner of the block so we don’t have any transients in your neighborhood ripping it off, because then I’ll be really pissed. Know why….because you’ve managed to actually take time from you day to complete it and send it (no stamp necessary because I’ve already included it) you’ll put it on your step awaiting USPS for pick-up, then some transient in the neighborhood will pick it up and do god knows what with it, and then I’ll end up without your damn RSVP. I’ll fly off the handle and question you a billion times about why I never received it, you’ll claim you sent it, I’ll claim it’s still somewhere piled on your desk amongst the many other random items from days, months and years passed, and we’ll go rounds about it. This can all be solved really easily….with beer goggles. Hook me up!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Father-Daughter Morning Bonding

Sorry I did not write a post last night. Things were a bit askew in Dawnworld and I couldn’t fit blogging into the chaos that engulfed my life. What was the chaos you ask? (If you were a real person and not really just my computer I’m typing into.) The chaos occurred when I made a commitment to be somewhere by 9 a.m. Yeah. Like as in the 9 a.m. that comes before noon. That one.

That means I had to try to go to sleep last night at a decent time. And that was when the chaos ensued. Leaving me no time to blog. Only time to lay in my bed and think, “Man I wonder if I’m ever going to fall asleep?”

You see. I have a bit of a weird schedule. It’s a schedule that comes as a result of me being allowed to set my own schedule. And it’s a schedule that very rarely sees the light a.m. hours. It sees plenty of the dark a.m. hours though.

For quite some time I have been staying up late and getting up late. I actually work more than the average person, but I just do a majority of my work at night, when the average person is sleeping. It is not unusual at all for my roommate to get up to go to work before I go to bed. But even if you are going to bed at 5 or 6 in the morning you still feel like a very large loser when you get out of bed at noon. It’s just not what productive people do. It’s what drug addicts and the unemployed and extremely well-rested people do. But it is not what functioning members of society do.

So then, I’ve been feeling like a slacker. What with the maintaining the waking patterns of drug addicts and all. So I’ve been trying to make a point to schedule things before noon, so that I have to get out of bed. But I haven’t been crazy about it or anything. I’ve been scheduling things for like 10 or 11. You know, baby steps.

But then a friend forwarded me an e-mail from the local Red Cross saying they needed some help in their accounting department, dealing with all the checks that have come pouring in for the Katrina victims. And I’m like, fine I GUESS a national emergency is enough to get me out of bed. So I tell them I’ll be in at 9 a.m.

But I know that the victims of natural disasters really have nothing on the comfort of my bed in the morning, so I thought I should probably enlist another factor which would guarantee my rising to greet the morning sun.

I called my dad. And convinced his retired butt to get out of the house and meet me at the office at 9 a.m. If I flaked on the Katrina victims I would only have my guilt to deal with, but if I flaked on my dad I would probably be better off just packing up and moving to the Astrodome.

So my dad and I arrived and were assigned our task, and it was quite a difficult one. You know it was difficult because it was a “two man job”. I will explain the two man job to you in great detail now. You take a check out of an already opened envelope (opening the envelope was another person's “one man job”), you make a copy of the check, then you put the copy and the check in two separate piles. After you have about 25 checks copied you run a calculator tape on the checks and the copies and make sure they match, then you give them to some other person, whose “one man job” involves making up deposit slips.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it or not, but I used to work in accounting. Where I was in charge of Accounts Receivables – aka, the receiving and depositing of money. I could do this “two man job” twice as fast as it takes two people to do it. I can copy the hell out of some checks. But for “security” reasons two people have to be on this job. Don’t mind that there is only one person assigned to the job of counting the cash. Cause if I’m a criminal I’m definitely looking to rip off the checks, not the piles of cash. And if I’m a criminal I think even I know that it is a good possibility that I may be instantly swallowed up by the gates of hell if I tried to steal from the friggin’ Red Cross.

But anyways. Dad and I set up a nice little efficient system for our two person job. (One that hit a slight snag when, after copying two checks, he went and asked the woman in charge when he was allowed to take a break. Seriously. Sarcasm may be hereditary. And apparently it does not run in the family of the woman in charge, cause she just stared blankly at him, “Uh, we have bagels.”)

Once Dad settled into the idea of being back in an office after a year of retirement, things went relatively smooth. Sure the copier copied at a speed reminiscent of old dot matrix printers. And Dad went into panic mode every time there was more than one check in an envelope. But overall I think we did okay. So good, in fact, that we rewarded ourselves with a huge meal afterwards. Copying really takes a lot out of a person.

If you are looking for someway to help out and want to do more than just write a check call up your local Red Cross and volunteer to help out around the office. It may not seem like a lot, but your time is a very valuable donation. Plus with all the horrifying images we’ve all seen lately the piles and piles of donations at The Red Cross are a nice little positive image to store away.

In the 3 hours we were there Dad and I added up over $50,000 worth of donations. Not bad for less than half a day’s work. Dad asked the woman in charge if we could have a cut. “Uh, we have bagels.”

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Return From the Wild

I’ve been away from my computer for like three days. Distance has definitely made the heart grow fonder. Technology is an amazing thing that should be valued highly. Hell, electricity is an amazing thing that should be valued highest of all. Oh, oh, and insulation. That should be valued too.

Nothing like spending some time in the woods to make you realize why people who live there end up writing manifestos. Cause there’s nothing else to do in the woods really. Poor Ted Kazynski. If only he would have just found himself a nice Motel 6 with basic cable, he could have saved himself 20 years of having to blow people up.

Being as though I’ve been gone for too many days I don’t have time to write a full blog today. (I’m too busy watching basic cable (for the good of everyone really)) But I would like to share with you an outstanding purchase I made this weekend. You know those little displays of useless crap they have up by the cashier in mini-marts? Yeah, I am soooo the type of person those things are made for. (How can I NOT buy Bob Seger’s Greatist Hits Album? On tape.)

So how could I pass these up?

Beer Goggles! Are you kidding me? Seriously. Best purchase I’ve ever made.

And I don’t even drink.

My favorite part:

They have UV protection. Cause that’s your main concern when buying these glasses, right? Whether or not you are going to be protected from UV rays. You are nothing if not a person concerned with your own health if you are wearing these glasses. (Most likely after consuming just enough alcohol to convince yourself that you will really be able to pull off oversized yellow glasses that completely cover your forehead.)

Here are the glasses in their intended habitat. On a drinking man with no real standards for the things he puts on his face. (Please see the light on his head for additional proof.)

I think in the troubled times we’re experiencing right now these glasses are gonna be a hit. I think looking at the world through beer-colored glasses is a lot easier to do right now than trying to wear those stupid rose-colored ones.

Friday, September 02, 2005

I Heart Computers

Uh, it’s 6 a.m.

I haven’t gone to bed yet.

Cause I’m leaving for the entire weekend.

To go sit in nature.

And nature doesn’t have electrical outlets or DSL.

So I have to get a buttload of work done before I go.

But for that to happen my *&#$%@! computer needs to start cooperating with me. Stat.

My computer and I have been going through a rough patch the past couple days.

I think it is best that we are going to have a few days apart from one another.

Is it possible that Bill Gates has installed some sort of perception device in all computers?

And when it perceives that you really really need to get stuff done the computer takes that as its cue to blow the hell up?

Or just begin randomly throwing up error messages that no one without a phd in computer engineering could ever understand.

Or, my favorite, start moving at the speed of a processor from the 1970’s.

Cause all I have is time to sit here while the computer reevaluates its need to be of any use whatsoever.

Oh, I do so hope that I get to see at least 10 more of those progress bars come across my screen, mocking me with, “Yes, as a matter of fact I CAN go even slower.”

It’s a good possibility I may never come back from the nature.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


My friends and I are going camping this weekend. I’m looking forward to the beach. I’m looking forward to spending time with my friends. I’m looking forward to getting away from work for more than a 20 minute block of time.

I’m not so much looking forward to the actual camping part of the trip.

Can someone please explain the allure of camping? Anyone. Explain to me why I would ever want to leave my home and go sleep outside on the ground for two days. Some people call that “poverty”. We call it a “vacation”. Hmmm.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all about nature’s beauty and all that crap. But why can’t I be all about the beauty and then go back to my hotel room? Is my question. What is so beautiful about nature at night? And I’m not sure, but I seriously doubt any of that beauty can be found by sleeping on dirt. Or maybe I’m too busy cracking my back and pulling rocks out of my ribcage to fully appreciate all the wonder.

Last year this camping trip was a little less nature and a little more highway. We got a Kabin at KOA Kampgrounds. We called it “Camping with a ‘K’”. I’m not sure if that’s cause that’s the slogan of the campground, or because we needed to make a very clear distinction between camping and what we were doing at KOA.

Is KOA a nationwide thing? Is the need to camp 5 feet from the freeway a nationwide thing? Or is that strictly a Californian thing? I don’t know. Californians spend about 90% of our time on the freeway, so maybe that is why we figure we might as well vacation there as well. What I know for sure is that if you are ever trying to find a KOA Kampground and you can’t see it from the freeway, then keep going, cause you aren’t there yet.

These campgrounds baffle me even more than camping itself. If you’re going to go camping, going to voluntarily leave your shelter and brave the outdoors, why not go ahead and go to the REAL wilderness, not just the closest thing with the word “kampground” on it.

When we pulled up to the kampground we noticed quite a few features that you don’t find at most campgrounds. First, the general store. Isn’t camping all about roughing it? Is it really roughing it if you can go get a slurpee at any given time? (Coincidently my version of “roughing it” tends to kick in exactly when slurpees become unavailable.) Second, laundry facilities. At a campground. Third, a swimming pool. Aren’t you supposed to swim in lakes and streams and waterfalls while camping? Literally immersing yourself in nature’s beauty? Not a lot a beauty to be found in an uncleaned public pool. Forth, little cabins. Oh, sorry, Kabins. To me camping really has to involve a tent to be considered camping. If there’s no tent then you are no longer “camping”, you are “on a getaway”.

Not that there is anything wrong with getaways. We had a fine time in our little Kabin. It even had a swing on the front porch. Where we sat all weekend and took in all the beauty of nature. We had to sit there all weekend to finally be able to notice the beauty of nature beyond the kids splashing in the pool, the cars speeding by on the freeway and the wash machine on a violent spin cycle.

Aaaaaahhhhh. Nature.