Thursday, December 28, 2006

Confusing Ad

So I’m flipping through my magazine tonight, catching up on all the exciting things that happened in 2006, and I see an ad. I am confused by it. It’s got a picture of a river, with a city built on either side and then on the bottom of the ad it says “More than 65,000 drivers have accidents every year while leaving parking spaces.” And I’m looking at the river and trying to figure out what the hell it has to do with parking spaces. And then I look up and see that there is a car flying out of a parking garage, headed toward the river I spoke of earlier.

Here is the ad:

I am confused by this.

Is the guy throwing himself into the water because he ran into someone’s car while leaving his parking space? Is he leaving his parking space and took a wrong turn that lead him to his current location? Is he just deciding to end it all because he is apparently driving a car circa Dukes of Hazzard?

These are all questions that I felt needed answers. So it says at the bottom of the ad, “See how this accident happened at Allstate.com/crash." So I go there. Because apparently I’m a complete loser with nothing to do but follow up on confusing magazine ads. (This is something that might be treatable by the many drugs being advertised in the magazine. I’ll read their 5 pages of fine print and see if there is anything in there about curing my dorkiness.)

When I get to the Allstate website I see a commercial that has some sort of car chase (involving 1970's cars for some reason) that ends in one of the cars going off of this huge parking garage. And then That Guy That Played The President On 24 says, “Now would be a good time to have accident forgiveness. Are you in good hands?”

HUUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHH??????

Who is Allstate offering to forgive exactly? And do you really think that the dude who is being chased by the other dude (and apparently has done something bad enough to get the other dude to chase him) is really thinking, “Man I sure hope my insurance premiums don’t go up as a result of this high-speed chase that I’m involved in right now and that is going to cause my car to plummet 20 stories into a river in just a moment.”

Uh, no.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holiday Recap

Well y’all, it’s officially over. We have all survived the holidays. Some of us are a little heavier than when we began this great season, but that is what Jesus would want. He always enjoyed chocolate, I’ve heard.

I had a lovely holiday weekend with my family. On Christmas Eve I made my parents dinner to celebrate the season, it was the best food ever. And, yes, by “made” I mean “we went to a restaurant and someone else made it”. But really that is the close as I come to preparing a meal, and I think we all know it is better that way. These are the holidays people, there is no need to risk food poisoning on Jesus’ birthday.

Then on Christmas we ate some more and proceeded to play about 18 hours straight of Family Cranium. By “family” they mean “kinda remedial” because it is meant to be easy enough for kids to play. There was only one kid playing with us. By the end of the evening all the adults said, “Lord, don’t get the adult version, we’d never get anything right.” The kid and I were on a team against my mom and her sister. My mom and her sister are what you would call the analytical type. Me and the kid are a little more on the creative side. My mom and her sister spent roughly 30 minutes trying to find a “Creative Cat” card that they could successfully complete. They did not appreciate the fact that me and the kid only took about 2 seconds to complete one. These grown women resorted to name-calling and physical violence many times. Which makes the whole thing just like most holiday celebrations.

Now I must tell you about the greatest holiday celebration of all. Everyone gather ‘round as I tell the tale.

Every year my mom’s side of the family gets together before Christmas for a holiday gathering. This year my aunt said, “Hey, you know there is a great buffet down at the Indian casino...we could just go there instead of cooking a huge meal, then we could come back to the house for presents.” We put it to a family vote (at which I proclaimed “Hell Yeah!”) and it was unanimously decided that eating-all-we-can was a great way for us to celebrate the Christ’s birth.

So we went to a casino for Christmas.



Awesome.

Even more awesome was that fact that I had three quarters in my pocket and I put them into a slot machine and won $30 while I was waiting for the family celebration to begin. God bless us everyone.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Guest Blog

Someone posted this as a comment on my blog yesterday and I thought it was pretty funny. And I don't have anything nearly as clever to say myself, so here ya go:

-------------

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR! -- From us ('the wishor') to you (hereinafter 'the wishee'),

Please accept no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, politically correct, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all…and a materialistically successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2007, but with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures or sects whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "AMERICA" in the western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting you are bound by these terms that: this greeting is subject to further clarification or withdrawal; This greeting is freely transferable provided that no alteration shall be made to the original greeting and that the proprietary rights of the wishor are acknowledged; This implies no promise by the wishor to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others; This greeting may not be enforceable in certain jurisdictions and/or the restrictions herein may not be binding upon certain wishees in certain jurisdictions and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wishor; This greeting is warranted to perform as reasonably may be expected within the usual application of good tidings, for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first; The wishor warrants this greeting only for the limited replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wishor; Any references in this greeting to 'the Lord', 'Father Christmas', 'Our Saviour', or any other festive figures, whether actual or fictitious, dead or alive, shall not imply any endorsement by or from them in respect of this greeting, and all proprietary rights in any referenced third party names and images are hereby acknowledged. Any and all disputes arising out of this holiday greeting shall be resolved by arbitration, under the auspices of the Holiday Dispute Resolution Panel. The Holiday Dispute Resolution Panel is a not-for-profit, non-denominational, non-secular, non-sectarian, nonjudgmental, disinterested, asexual, non-sequitur body of independent, unaffiliated persons and non-persons.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Tis the Season

I changed the layout of my blog. Damn Blogger has been all up on me for months to change over to the new blogger. So I finally did. I am hesitant to change over to newer versions of things because a lot of times they have bugs. And I do not have the patience to deal with bugs. I want things to work the way I want them to work, I do not want them to freeze up and die because some computer dork somewhere decided something needed to be “upgraded”. And by “upgrade” he meant “add more bugs”.

So then. I updated to the new version of blogger. So far it’s only frozen 4 times. Not bad.

And then I changed the template of the blog, cause I’m wacky like that. I do not want to admit how long I just spent changing the template. As if this change really had some sort of impact on my life. I tried out several and settled on this one. I almost went with one that said it was “rose” colored, but in too many parts it was actually “pink” colored. And I don’t think I’m quite ready for a pink blog. I’ve just recently made my way out of my all black/all the time phase, so we may be years away from the embracing of pink. I’ll keep you updated.

Other than that there is very little news to report. I’ve still made pretty much no headway on my Christmas shopping. That’s okay, right? I actually had to kill some time while a friend and I waited for a movie last night and we made the grave mistake of wandering into Walmart. Wow. That is sure an interesting place to wander a week before Christmas. At one point my friend looked at me (while I was pushing a button on a dancing, singing hamster/maybe squirrel thing and dancing along with it) and he said, “Do you realize you are the only person smiling in this whole store? No one is happy here.” “Well, that’s because these hamster/maybe squirrel things are not out in a more obvious place where people can play with them. I mean, it’s singing Macho Macho Man. And he has chest hair!”

I dunno people. I want to be holly and jolly, I do, but it’s all so manufactured. I LOVE buying presents for people and giving people gifts, it is so much fun. But this time of year is the only time of year where you can hand someone a gift and actually make them feel bad, because they didn’t get you one, or they didn’t get you as good a one, or whatever. There is something wrong about that.

But there is something right about giving people a singing hamster/maybe squirrel, so everyone on my list is getting one of those. That will gaurantee that no one feels bad when I hand them a gift this season.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Dollar Store

The making of the ChrisKwanziKah Cap was quite an undertaking. It involved a trip to the dollar store. And we all know what an undertaking that is. So much good stuff! Only a dollar! We wandered the store, looking for a the perfect combination of all our holidays, something that would bring the spirit to every man, woman and child. And can I just tell you that the Christmas spirit is a much easier spirit to find than the other holidays? Seriously, how do people get to be in their 30's or 40's and have never heard of the word “menorah”? I don’t get it. I get that they aren’t Jewish, and that is fine, but how are they so far removed from the world that they don’t even know what a damn menorah is? I’m amazed by this every holiday season, when I go out in search of a menorah with which to mock religious holidays. Geez, people are so insensitive to other traditions.

We looked for things that could represent all the holidays and be combined into one glorious product. Needless to say I was throwing a lot of stuff into the cart. These were three of my favorites that we didn’t end up using, ribbons for every holiday:

Christmas:



Kwanzaa:



Hanukkah:

I will leave all interpretations up to you.

Oh, and another deal we found at the dollar store?

10 WHOLE LIGHTS FOR ONLY A DOLLAR!! Wow. You only have to buy like 4000 of these to cover your tree. What a deal.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

ChrisKwanziKah Time Again!!

It's time for a new ChrisKwanziKah video.

Are you ready?

First, here is a recap of ChrisKwanziKah Past:

The song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7bWqtx8Cwk


The outtakes:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlS_aUyWxC0


And now.

I present to you...ChrisKwanziKah!! 2006!!

Operators are standing by.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSHHwgfHoUw



Behind the Scenes (actually funnier than the informercial):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoJxMwaCw7c


Merry Happy ChrisKwanziKah to you all, and to all a good night (with candles on your head).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Doubt

I don’t really have anything to blog about today. Let me see what I can ramble on about, shall we? We shall.

It is now officially the middle of December. I haven’t really gotten much closer to accepting that it actually is December. But I have accepted that it is the month to get together with people and eat food. That much I’m on board with. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before, I don’t really have to even get together with people to eat the food. I’m that holly and jolly, I just eat the holiday food whenever, wherever.

Christmas is in like a week. Maybe I should like wrap a present or something. Or buy a present. That might be a good first step. All I’ve really done is unwrap the gift bags of chocolate I made. This is not a step in the right direction.

I saw a play the other day. It was called “Doubt”. It was in San Francisco. It ran on Broadway for quite awhile and the lead actress, Cherry Jones, who won a Tony on Broadway for her role, came out here to be in the SF production. I really enjoyed the play. It was simple in staging, only four actors, minimal sets. But it was far from simple in story. As a writer I tend to relish the words of things, whether they are lyrics to a song or dialogue in a movie or play. I thought the words of this play were amazing.

So I looked up the playwright’s information in the playbill. In his bio John Patrick Shanley was sarcastic about his background and seemed to not take himself too seriously. He also included an e-mail address, which seemed random. So I thought, what the hell. I e-mailed him and said that I enjoyed his play, that it made me want to write drama, that someday I would do something amazing and he should know that at one point he inspired me to want to be a better writer. I also said that it was a good possibility that I was sending an e-mail to a made-up address, and I hope he got a kick out of the fact that I apparently have quite a bit of time on my hands.

And he wrote me back. This man, who won has won a Tony, the Pulitzer and an Academy Award (not to mention he directed Joe Versus the Volcano(he’d probably rather I not mention it)), wrote me back to say thanks for the comments and that he looked forward to seeing my name in lights someday. How cool is John Patrick Shanley? Very cool. And how sad is it that a Tony/Pulitzer/Academy award winner can safely put his e-mail in a playbill because no one probably even bothers to look at his info?

It’s an interesting thing.

Someday, when my name is in those lights, I’ll do the same. And I too will write back to the one random wannabe who relished my words and realized the actors didn’t just make them up right there on the stage.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chocolate

I have way too much chocolate in my house right now. It is not a good thing.

Remember that weight I lost in Guatemala? 10 pounds? Yeah, I’ve put it all back on. In fact, I think I might have even gained back more than 10 pounds. I do not think that the chocolate in my house is helping matters at all.

Yesterday I went to See’s Candy to buy some more chocolate to complete some gift bag things I’m putting together for clients. (Let’s just say that my intention was for the gift bag things to only include the turtle things I ordered from New Orleans. And then let’s just say there will not be enough of them left to make anything resembling a decent gift bag. And then I don’t really think we have to say that I am a weak sad person who cannot be trusted with turtles.) My parents went with me too, to pick up some chocolate for another family member’s business clients. Basically we bought a lot of chocolate. 300 bucks worth actually. That is a lot of money to spend on chocolate.

And we were far from the only people dropping hundreds of dollars on chocolate either. It was packed in that place. In the middle of a workday. The people who work there were literally just opening new boxes full of inventory and handing it to customers, not even putting it on the shelf. People are crazy during the holidays, really.

I took this picture in the parking lot of See’s Candy. That is the wrapper of one of the 2 pound boxes of chocolate. Someone had no interest in giving said box as a present. They were much more interested in busting open the box right there in the parking lot. Littering laws be damned! There is chocolate to be eaten!

I understand this person’s plight. I am, at this very moment, sitting a mere ten feet from several bags full of arguably the best chocolate in California and New Orleans. I must be strong. I should be strong. But we all know I will not be strong.

I might have to plan a trip to Guatemala in January to get rid of this holiday weight...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Balleting with Scissors

I think I might not be fully understanding live productions lately. You remember my difficulty with trying to figure out what was so Siberian or Orchesta-ian about the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. This weekend I saw another live performance that baffled me so. It was “Edward Scissorhands - The Musical”. At least I thought it was going to be a musical. Silly me and my assumptions of what theater is going to be.

When we got into the lobby of the theater I went to get the hearing devices that I always get when I go to the theater. (Sidenote to people handing out the hearing devices: Yes, I understand that I am young and I understand that statistically my age group doesn’t come up to you for hearing devices very often. But please. I’m not playing a joke on you. I’m not getting the device for someone else who should probably be picking it up themselves so that they can be told how the device works. I’m just me. And I can’t hear. Also sidenote to my sidenote: Old people, stop cutting in the Return the Hearing Device line. I know you don’t believe that I’m actually in the line, but if someone is standing at what appears to be a line, then on the whole they are usually standing in said line, even if said line is made up primarily of 83 year old people. Thank you all.)

So I go to the Hearing Device Hander-Outer Girl and she says, “The show doesn’t have any speaking or singing, so you probably don’t need the hearing device.” I was confused.

“What else is there besides speaking or singing?”

“It’s a ballet.”

“Edward Scissorhands, the ballet?”

“Yes. There is music too.”

“Huh.”

And then I really didn’t stop being confused for the whole rest of the show. First of all, why on earth would theater producers decide to turn Edward friggin’ Scissorhands into a Broadway show? Then, if I’m going with you on the creative possibilities that could be found in adapting the movie for the stage, then why why why why why would you think it a good idea to do the entire thing as a ballet? Who is smoking what and can I have some of it?

As I was watching the ballet I actually started to get annoyed, because I could, in the time I was sitting there, come up with several really great ways to turn that story into a cool musical. And I could even think up big musical numbers about a boy who feels out of place in the world and who just wants to belong, but dammit he has scissors for hands. There is even a love story between him and a beautiful girl who can’t get passed the whole scissor for hands thing. Oh, the possibilities! But noooooo. We have to watch people twirl around for two hours. And they don’t even twirl that well.

I confused.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Alarm

It's Friday. That is a good thing.

I have mucho work to do. That is a bad thing.

I have nothing to blog about today (aka: I didn't go into any public bathrooms today and take pictures - I know, I've let you down)

So I give you a video of how Americans announce themselves in Guatemala:

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sushi Place Randomness

I went to sushi tonight with a friend and we went to this trendy place in town. I like the sushi there, but I’m not a huge fan of how cool everyone thinks they are just because they are eating sushi there. I refuse to go there Thursday thru Saturday, because everyone is even more annoying on those days.

One sign of the pretentiousness of this place? They have ads in their menu. This is ridiculous. I took pictures. My friend died a small death when I whipped out the camera and took flash photography of the menu, but she’s known me long enough to be used to being at least sorta embarrassed every time we hang out. It’s kinda a tradition.
Really. Do we need to have Real Estate ads next to the children’s menu? I think no.

This is one of my favorites. It’s got a bunch of smiling people who owe their fabulous smiles to this one dentist guy, “God, everyone in this restaurant has better teeth than I do, I wish there was something I could do about that- oh look! Here’s a guy who can help me! Right next to my sushi rolls!”

And then.

I went into the bathroom.

I might have issues with taking photos in the bathroom. It’s something I might want to deal with at some point. This time I’ve actually graduated to taking video in the bathroom - I need help.

I was going to just take a picture, but I wanted you to fully appreciate what I was trying to show you. But then I was so paranoid about someone walking in I took the fastest video ever and you can’t even really tell what you are looking at. So I’ll explain it.

There is a bathroom. It has two stalls and a couple of sinks. It is a very tiny bathroom. And yet. It still has a huge exit sign by the door. What? Were there people just going into the bathroom and never coming out because they couldn’t figure out how to maneuver their way out of this very tricky bathroom? “Uh, there are three doors in here. But I think only one leads back to the restaurant. I’ll try this one first- Oh damnit! It’s a toilet. How about this one- Geez! Foiled again! If only they would post some sort of SIGN, preferably with LIGHTS, that would save me so much time in here.”

My favorite part of this video is the part where I hear a noise and quickly try to hide the camera from whoever might be entering the bathroom. See, I’m not completely crazy, I know enough to hide the camera if I’m taking videos in the bathroom...

My New Favorite Thing

People. I need to tell you something. And I need you to listen. I do not get excited about many things. It is simply not in my nature. You might have noticed. Maybe the whole “I hate December” might have given you a clue.

But I am excited.

Today at work I turned to a girl who was on my Guatemalan trip and said, “Oh my God, do you know what is going to be waiting for me when I get home?!”

And she said, “Those turtle things from New Orleans?”

And then I said, “Did I tell you I ordered them?”

And she said, “No, I could just tell by the sound of your voice.”

See. I found this candy store in New Orleans, or it found me really. It is called Southern Candymakers and it very well may be the key to happiness here on earth. It may also be the key to a fat ass, but if happiness comes with a fat ass, so be it.

We were wandering the streets of New Orleans, on our first night in town, and we wandered past a candy store. It had a window facing the street, and in that window the candymakers were making candy, candy of the caramel persuasion. This literally stopped me in my tracks, I turned around and went into the store. This will go down in my history as one of my smarter moves. To describe what I found inside is really beyond my feeble abilities as a writer. It smelled like I know in my heart heaven will smell. Sugar and chocolate and just general wonder and goodness.

It was on that first night that I had my first Tortue, as they call it. I call them Turtles. And I’m not sure where the hell either name came from, but all I know for sure is they are friggin amazing. Oh my good lord. They have walnuts or pecans, or some other nut that is really insignificant in the scheme of things, then they have THE BEST CARAMEL I have ever had. And let’s just say that I’ve had some caramel. Then they have milk chocolate on top. And some are then completely dipped in milk chocolate in addition to that. I went back every day to that candy store and got two more Turtle/Tortue things. And they made me so happy.

What made me even happier was when I asked, “Do you guys deliver?” and they said, “Here is our color catalogue, we deliver everywhere.”

Yes, Timmy, there is a Santa Clause.

And he came to my house today.

As soon as I got home from traveling I went online and ordered several pounds of these Turtles to give in little gift baskets I’m making for my clients to say thank you for paying me money and perhaps maybe encourage them to pay me more money next year too...look chocolate! I ordered 5 pounds and then in an e-mail conversation with the store I asked how many come in a pound. They said about 12 come in a pound. I did the math and figured out that, based on the number of turtles I was planning on using in each gift basket, I was going to have just the right amount. So I ordered two more pounds. Cause, really, what are the odds I’m going to make it through making gift baskets and not actually eating any? Please. I already ate two.

Really, these things are amazing. I need you people to know this. I wish I could send one to all of you. Well, I wish I could send a whole pound to all of you, because honestly sending just one would be kinda mean.

Here is a picture of me expressing my love for the turtles:

Please note at the beginning of this blog that I mentioned a conversation that I had with a girl who joined me in Guatemala. She wasn’t in New Orleans. But she still knew the special tone of my voice that I use when describing the turtles. I might have talked about them in a teensy bit of detail while in Guatemala. Guatemala cuisine might have left me longing for the wonder that was only to be found in Southern Candymakers.

Here you see that the turtles have really brought some much needed spirit to the Christmas decorations:

This is the kind of thing that can make even me holly and jolly.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Trans-Confusion Orchestra

Okay. So I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra the other night. And I’m confused.

First of all, I’m pretty sure they aren’t from Siberia, and they aren’t an orchestra. This is really the most confusing part to me. I had heard of Tran-Siberian Orchestra, and you probably have too, they play that one big instrumental song that you hear every Christmas, it’s sounds like a huge orchestra playing a familiar Christmas song and it’s loud and powerful and awesome. So when a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra play I said sure, because I really liked that one song and I’m a sucker for big orchestras full of instruments.

Then we got to the arena and there was a 98 Rock van outside, broadcasting live from the parking lot. Hmmm. 98 Rock is not exactly the radio station I would expect to be broadcasting from a orchestra show, it’s the hard rock station in the area. I’m thinking an orchestra might be a better fit for the light rock stations.

Then we get inside and the show starts and instead of an orchestra the band onstage is like 10 violin players, a drummer, two keyboard players and three electric guitar players. That combination does not a orchestra make. Hello, where are the trumpets? And maybe a flute or two?

And then this one dude starts telling us a story. In rhyme. It’s a poem really. But a really long one. And it’s all about peace and love and other holiday crap. And then he takes breaks in his poem/story thing and they play huge rock-style versions of Christmas songs. With lots of rock-style showmanship and loudness.

I am now beginning to understand the 98 Rock van outside.

And then the leaders of the band talk to us about who knows what and not one of them sounds even remotely Siberian. They sound like they are from Jersey or something.

I’m confused. There is smoke and lights and rocker guys with long hair and fiddler girls wearing short skirts and they are all head banging sorta. And they are all very impressed with their rock and roll-ness.

I don’t really get it. I think I would be okay with it if the name wasn’t so confusing. I don’t think of light shows when I think of Siberia.

And then there is this lady sitting next to me. She’s gotta be in her mid-50's if not older. And she cannot sit still, cannot just watch the show. She is looking all over the place, checking everyone out instead of watching the show. Eating popcorn, passing popcorn around, drinking her beer, talking to her friends. THEN this 50-something year old woman starts text messaging on what looks like a T-mobile Sidekick. And she doesn’t stop text messaging for like an hour. Because apparently this 55 year old woman needs to tell her BFF all about the Trans-Jersey Band. And then, after she gets bored with that, she decides to take a nap. I swear to god this woman just fell asleep for like two hours through the loudest music I’ve ever heard (and I actually heard it, I took my hearing aides out because the music was making them nearly explode).

I really was very confused by the entire evening. It was the longest concert ever and it ended with the LEAD SINGER OF THE BEST BAND EVER - YES!!! I put this in all caps because apparently this is very exciting to the thousands of people at the concert. Me? Not so much. I don’t think I was even alive when Yes was a big band.

But I bet the lady next to me was. Imagine the exciting text she could have sent her BFF. If only she had woken up for the finale.

Here are some videos of the Trans-American Group of Pretentious Rockers:





Monday, December 04, 2006

Again, With the Target

“Uh, do you wanna go by Target real quick? I need to pick up some shampoo.”

“Sure.”

This is a very bad exchange between a friend and I. $150 out of my bank account and she had her shampoo. Have I mentioned that Target is evil?

First of all, who goes to Target for shampoo? That should have been my first clue, and I should have just said, “Let’s go to the grocery store instead.” Because there is only food at the grocery store, and a lot of it has to be cooked and stuff, so we all know there isn’t a real big threat of me overspending there. But noooooo. I said yes to going to Target. Bad idea.

Worse idea to pick up a basket and really think that I was going to make it out of Target with so few and so small of items that a hand held basket would be sufficient. When will I learn? Not anytime soon, I imagine. I should have known we were in trouble when we walked in and my friend didn’t even pretend to head in the direction of the shampoo. We were officially wandering in Target and that is officially the worst way for me to spend my time.

By the end of the trip my friend found me in the frame aisle, “The last thing I heard was you saying, ‘I feel like I should go to the frame aisle, I feel like I should get a cart.’ Then I looked up and you were gone. I think you have problems.”

“Well, yes, have I told you about my $150 Halloween costume I got here?”

But! I didn’t just spend money in a haphazard fashion. Oh no. It’s the holidays! People need presents! And apparently I need some damn cheer. So I bought some of both (presents and cheer).

Here is the cheer:


This is so my kind of tree. Isn’t it awesome? Feathers. I love it. And nothing says holidays like the Shit Bitch Bear.



I bought the tree and although that was very cheerful I felt like I needed even more. So these two Kleenex boxes in festive colors rounded out the decorations for the house. Martha Stewart has nothing on me.



And then I took this picture because I think it is hilarious, “Um I have to go to Target to pick up a DVD player and some tampons. Oh look! They are conveniently in the same aisle. Perfect. Oh, and while I’m here I’ll also pick up some of these festive Kleenex boxes and perhaps do some family planning. This is really a hell of an aisle.”

Friday, December 01, 2006

December?

I am having real trouble accepting that it is December. It’s not sitting well with me in the least. Where the hell did the year go? Someone asked me the other day what I was doing for New Years and I just kinda shrugged in a way that indicates they were morons for asking me so far in advance. But it’s not far in advance. It’s like a month away. What the?

Seriously, where did the year go? And what was I doing that I missed it?

Remember how slow years used to go when you were a kid? My god, they would just crawl by. The four years of high school seemed like a never-ending prison. Now? Four years flip by on fast forward. And I don’t even get to wear a nice little cap and gown afterwards. It’s not fair at all, really.

It doesn’t help that I live in California. Our temperatures here aren’t exactly a good indication of seasons. It’s gotten pretty cold the past couple of days, but still, it doesn’t feel overly December-y or anything. And then I spent the better part of November traveling so that kinda threw everything off. I come home and it’s the end of the year. When I left we still had a little bit of time.

I guess it’s good that I spent the last three weeks traveling. When I travel, especially those kinds of trips, time seems to move at a much slower pace. You feel like you’ve been gone two months when it’s only been 4 days. So I guess that is a good thing, November felt incredibly long, which extended the year for me a little. But still. How the hell is it already December? I am not prepared for this. I don’t want to shop. I don’t have any money, I just took a month off work, this is not a good time to be spending. Maybe everyone would like a nice picture of Guatemala? Or a maybe! A package of peanuts I stole on the plane? Feliz Navidad?

I dunno. Maybe I’ll get a little tree for my condo, if my place looks Christmas-y maybe I’ll start to come to terms with it being December. Because so far it’s not going well at all. This is the first year in awhile that I haven’t had a roommate, and therefore this is the first year in awhile I haven’t decorated the house. The last roommate was ridiculously festive and insisted on getting and decorating a tree the day after Thanksgiving. She also insisted on eggnog and christmas carols. She was festive. And so was our house. I didn’t mind it, it was kinda fun, but lets be honest, on my own? I’m not a tremendously festive person. But I am a person who needs to accept that it is December. So maybe I’ll buy a menorah or something and accept the holidays into my life.

Fa la la friggin’ la.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

It’s Quiet

I am trying ever so hard to come up with something worth blogging about. But you see, my life has gone from travel to tivo and now I just don’t have that many stories to share with you. I mean I can tell you all the exciting things that are happening in the lives of my tv characters. But I think you probably already know those things, as they happened weeks ago. I could also tell you about the amount of food that I’ve eaten since I’ve been back, but then, I could probably just tell you that the ten pounds I lost is pretty much back. Anorexia is a great weight loss tool. It just doesn’t quite work once you start eating again. Who woulda thunk it.

I went to sushi last night and was pleased to once again have raw fish in my diet. It’s not natural for me to go three weeks without sushi. Maybe that’s why I got sick, cause my body was rejecting all food but raw fish and french fries. It has been carefully trained to live on those two food sources alone.

It’s quiet this week. It’s funny how quiet it is in my house and in my life after my little trips. During the trips I’m surrounded by people 24 hours a day. That is very different from my normal life of independence. I am very good at being in the quiet, it’s always been quiet in my life. I was an only child, so I got used to being alone as a kid and I also got used to quiet, as there is considerably less children screaming/arguing/playing sounds when there is just one kid. It’s always a bit of an adjustment to get used to the noise of traveling with 5 to 17 other people. And then somehow it just becomes that norm. And then it becomes very quiet when I return home. Not bad quiet, but quiet nonetheless.

See, I’m actually blogging about it being quiet. This may be the most boring blog ever. Tomorrow I will try to do something exciting and entertaining and totally blog-worthy. If I don’t I will just make something up.

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Story Told Through Video

Look. I went to work today. And didn't do much else. (Besides catch a cold, it seems) So I don't really have anything to blog about. But last week? I was doing things worth blogging about but I was too busy actually doing them to actually blog about them.

Today I'm tired and cold-y so I'm going to half ass the blog by just posting videos. Writing is overrated.

Basically there was this school in Guatemala. It was at the top of a very big mountain. There were six grades of kids there and only one teacher. They were all really poor kids and our leader asked us if we wanted to have a party with the kids. I said that would be okay as long as some other non-Guatemalans were there as well, so there wouldn't be 200 kids staring at only us.

We decided that instead of toys we would buy the kids shoes, as most of the kids we'd come across on our trek up and down the mountain weren't wearing shoes. We decided to call the party "La Fiesta de los Zapatos" (The party of shoes)

This seemed like a grand idea. Until we actually had to go buy 70 pairs of shoes. In the market. My lord, it was like the most boring version of Amazing Race ever. The Not Even That Entertaining Race is what we were participating in.



Booooring. And that was only like a minute of the HOURS we spent wandering this maze of a market looking for shoes. We had gone to one place initially and they had given us a good price on the shoes. Then, in an effort to increase our buying power, we went back and begged for money from some of the other students at the Spanish school where we were studying. Then we returned to the market with the actual belief that we would be able to find that one shoe seller guy again. We were not correct in this belief. The main problem was that we went into the maze of sellers a different way, then we tried to wind our way through in the direction of where we thought the shoe guy had been. Along the way we found other shoe guys and bought about 10 or 20 shoes at a time at each place.

We left one shoe seller and headed off looking for our original low price shoe seller. We wound through the maze for like 10 minutes, we went outside, came back in, wound around some more and then, miracle of miracles, we found the original place. As we were getting the shoes from the original place we looked over to see a nice woman waving at us. At the place literally right next to where we were standing. She was waving at us because we had just bought shoes from her. Right before we went off on a 10 minute quest for our original shoe guy. Instead of walking 10 minutes we probably could have walked just two steps.

We are not smart.



Finally we got the shoes and made it to the fiesta. When we got there the leader guy asked a couple of the groups if they could sing a song in their language for the kids. We put our heads together and came up with some very inappropriate rap songs. Then we decided maybe the hokey pokey might be a better bet. The group from Canada sang some song in French. And the Koreans said, "I'm sorry, we did not know that there would be a song. We did not have time to prepare, we can't possibly perform."

These Koreans weren't really spontaneous people, on the whole. I sincerely hope they didn't think we had been given advanced notice and still all we came up with was this:




What is it about the butt? It somehow transcends all language and makes everyone laugh. Except the Koreans. They didn't know that there would be laughter, so they didn't have time to prepare for it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

I Heart America

Well, I am back in the USandA and I am very much happy about this fact. I really missed the Estados Unidos, let me tell you. And I missed my DVR. I’ve spent the past few days trying to alleviate the weight my DVR has been carrying for me these past weeks. Some people would be intimidated by 80 hours of TV to watch. Me, I was literally dreaming about it while in Guatemala.

The other big project for the weekend has included reintroducing my poor stomach to American food. It has been slow-going. I weighed myself when I got back and I lost about 10 pounds from the weight I was when I left. This is not even counting the weight I simply had to have put on while eating my way through New Orleans. Again, I must commend the diet plan in Guatemala. Screw Weight Watchers, book a trip to Guatemala, you’ll be wearing you skinny jeans in no time. Although, I don’t know how long you will continue to wear the skinny jeans after you return to the USandA and start eating again. But a week in the skinny jeans is better than no week at all.

Tomorrow I will return to work and I’m actually looking forward to it. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. I’m lucky because I actually enjoy my job, and doing it well makes me feel good. And doing it well means I get to be creative on a regular basis. It’s weird how off I feel when I’m not being creative. It’s hard to put a finger on, but eventually I realize that I really need to design something, or write something, or I don’t know, paint on a wall or something. I did figure out creative ways to keep myself from dying even though I wasn’t really eating for two weeks, so I guess I wasn’t totally void of any creativity...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

God Bless America

I am on American soil. I love American soil. American soil has ice that I can drink and toilets that flush and Mountain Dew. God Bless Mountain Dew.

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this holiday. Most of all I am thankful for the amount of food I will be able to identify and then eat tomorrow. I am most thankful for the fact that my family agreed to put off Thanksgiving for a day so that I can partake in the mass eating that needs to be done in order to assert my love of my country. And my love of all its food.

We made some videos so far along our trek. My good lord do we look good. We were much cuter in Guatemala, where things take on a slightly less groomed appearance...






Monday, November 20, 2006

Guatemalan Diet Plan

If you are looking to lose weight I say travel internationally. You might want to skip traveling to New Orleans first, because then you might only be losing the weight that you put on during your tour of all the New Orleans restaurants. But as far as diet plans go I don´t think any beat the puking fest/dehydration day that I had last week. My dear lord. Who knew a person could puke so much? I did not. Nor did I really ever feel like making such a discovery. But discover I did. For travel is nothing if not a time of discovery.

Oy.

I am feeling much better now. And my tongue is no longer black. I think that is a good thing. I´m not entirely sure what a black tongue means but I don´t think it is a sign of good health.

We went on a trip this weekend to some waterfall/pool thing. It was beautiful. We swam in the clearest water I´ve ever seen. I´m sure we all have malaria now as a result, but it was totally worth it.

In four more days I will be home. And I will be very happy to see my bed, and my couch and me TV and my shower and my washer and dryer. And sushi. I think I miss sushi the most.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

On Top of the World

Today we road in a bus up the side of a very big mountain. We got very near the top. I looked around and thought it was foggy, but it turns out we were in the clouds. Our bus couldn´t make it the whole way up so we stopped and walked the rest of the way, finally arriving at a small school on the side of the mountain. We worked there for a few hours, painting the small school for the children that will return in a month or so.

Then on the way back down we got stopped again and had to wait for a half hour or so before we could continue out of the clouds. So I wrote a poem:

Time stands still
In this place in the sky
Our journey on pause
And we don´t ask why

We can see the world
Tumbling around below
As we breathe the clouds
And speed down to slow

Peace is found
Where you never look
Between the race
And the things you took

It´s here and there
Moments in time
When things of scatter
Begin to rhyme

It´s these clouds we touch
The face of youth
It´s in giving of us
Where we find some truth

You can see the world
From thise place in the sky
And we can see ourselves
If we really try.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Traveling is fun

We get up at 3 a.m.

Because some idiot decided it was a good idea to book a 6 a.m. flight.

I am that idiot.

We get to the airport, check in, and start to undress to go through security.

I remember that I usually take my laptop out to go through security.

I do not have my laptop with me now.

It appears that the same idiot left her laptop at the house instead of bringing it to the airport.

shit.

shit.

shit.

We get in a cab.

It is 5 a.m.

We have one hour.

Cab Man drives very very fast.

We nearly give sleeping friends a heart attack when we storm back into the house to get the laptop.

We get back in the cab, continue with the fast fast driving.

We get to the aiport.

It is 5:52.

We go through security.

As we are redressing we hear our names called over the intercom, alerting us to the fact that our plane is planning on leaving whether or not we are on it.

We run.

We run.

We run.

We don´t have our shoes tied.

Things are flying off us.

We run.

We are not really in that great of shape.

Our departure gate is not really that close.

We run.

They announce again that we should probably be on the plane. ç

We run.

People point and laugh.

We get to the plane.

It is still there.

We get on.

People stare.

We give each other high five.

We are now in Guatemala, realizing that learning a new language is not easy.

And also learning that holding babies is the definition of peace.

Adios.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Miss Paula

We went to Miss Paula's house yesterday. Our group of 18 worked on her house last summer and yesterday we got to see it done. It is beautiful. And completely fitting of Miss Paula. Here are some pics for the other 14 who couldn't make our return trip. Miss Paula says thank you to you all and wants you to know you've always got a place to stay in Louisiana.











Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Heart New Orleans

I am officially in love with New Orleans. This place is amazing. The food alone could be the subject of a 300 page novel. My dear lord do they know how to cook food in this town. Every meal I’ve had has been a culinary treat. And it’s not just the taste, but the presentation as well. These people love food, and it is very clear in their cooking of it. I, as it turns out, love food as well. And it is very clear in my eating of it this week.

When I came here in the summer I wasn’t a huge fan of New Orleans, because we were staying on Bourbon Street. And Bourbon Street, as you might have heard, is a bit of a drunken frat boy. Not really my type of street. The funny thing about Bourbon is that everyone on it instantly becomes a drunken frat boy, whether or not they are actually a frat boy, or if they are actually a 85 year old woman with a cane. Everyone is drunk and stupid. Is really is a beautiful representation of our fine country.

But this time we are staying in a cute little neighborhood outside of the French Quarter. It’s where real people live, instead of the people who come here to be drunken frat boys. A few blocks down there is a street called Frenchman’s where you can find the locals hanging out. And you can hear some of the best music you’ve ever heard. Because it is music the way it is supposed to be. Musicians who just love playing and people who just love music. It’s awesome. Here is a video I took last night in a bar called The Spotted Cat. The Spotted Cat still has fake spider webs in the window from Halloween (maybe from Halloween in 1960) as well as Christmas lights. I knew right away that I was going to enjoy this cat.



Look at the people dancing in this place, I felt like I was in a speakeasy. I think the thing that is so awesome is that you will never find any bar in the world where you see the eclectic mix of people that I saw in this place. There were young kids all the way up to a random 50 year old woman in a long sequins-ed dress. And they all just moved to the music and drank their beer.

At one point a tall black woman in a red dress stepped up on stage and just started belting out a song. No microphone, just her voice, rising above the jazz and the dancers and the smoke. It all felt like art in motion.

I really like New Orleans.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Fun with Videos

Today I put siding on a house. It was fun and a little scary that I can just put siding on a house with no real supervision. I guess it’s not brain surgery, but still. I shouldn’t be allowed to just put siding on the side of someone’s house. I’m a graphic designer for god’s sakes.

I took some more videos. I’m sorry that they aren’t very good, but I’m taking them with my photo camera and they are about as good as they are going to get with that little thing.

Here is a video of our condo where we are staying. I am enjoying the spa, to say the least.


The work this time does not seem as bad, because it is not 12453 degrees outside like it was in June and I’m mixing cement by hand like I was in Honduras. Comparatively speaking siding a house is pretty easy.


Not much more to write, I have to go eat some more food. I do enjoy the food in New Orleans, my waistline is not enjoying it very much however. Oh well. Totally worth it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Traveling is Fun

I really wish someone would get on that whole transporter thing. In which we just get into a tube of some sort and think or something and then end up where we want to be. No planes, no TSA, no layovers, no crying babies. And you can take your luggage in the tube with you, so it doesn’t get left in Texas. I would enjoy a transporter/teleporter thing, for sure.



We have made it safely to Louisiana and can I just say that it is a lot cooler in November in Louisiana than in June. Who woulda thunk it? Shocking really. It’s as if there are seasons that can be predicted or something.

Our volunteer housing this time is actually a condo that we are renting and it has a pool and spa. We are enjoying this volunteering housing slightly more than the cots we are usually sleeping on while volunteering. We are staying in about the cutest neighborhood ever, right outside of the French Quarter. There are actual cafes on the corners of our block, little places that you can’t even see in, they just have tiny signs that say café or restaurant. Then you go in and there dining areas and patio areas and bar areas. And everyone knows each other. Adorable. And delicious. New Orleans knows how to make food y’all. My good lord their food is good. I’m a little worried about the consequences of eating all the good food this time and not sweating out 4 gallons every three minutes. I think the sweat was the only thing that kept me under 200 pounds last time. Ruh ro.



When we got off the plane in New Orleans (and while we were waiting to fill out our lost luggage report) I was surprised to see so many people coming off the planes in groups. They were groups of volunteers, still coming to the city. Most of them are church organizations, most older adults, maybe retired. It’s nice to see that people still care and are still coming here. And it’s nice to see how much life there still is here. And more importantly - how much good food.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I Should Be Packing

I don’t really know how to pack for three weeks. Last time I went to Central America for like 7 days and I packed so much stuff they nearly kicked me off the plane. How do you pack for 20 days exactly? I don’t even know where to start. Underwear. I guess I should start there. That’s a good place to start.

You know, I think I’ll just pack for a week and then hope to find laundry facilities somewhere along the way. I’ll bring extra underwear, just in case.

I found out that I’m going to have to do some work while I’m gone. I tried to get it all done, but two of my clients just can’t get the info to me by tomorrow. So I’ll be designing after saving the world in New Orleans. These are the things you have to do when you have freelance clients and a mortgage. “You know, Dawn, it’s not a big deal, we can just find someone else to finish up this project, so you don’t have to worry about it.” “No, no, working on vacation is totally fine. As is not being foreclosed on.”

I still haven’t figured out my heater, but I have figured out that I hate, hate, hate help lines. Look, I’m all about everyone coming to this country and living the American dream and all that. I think that anyone who wants to come here and be an American should be entitled, as we are all immigrants technically, if you go back to our roots. But. If you come to this country, and you do not speak the language coherently you DO NOT get to work at HELP LINES. For the love of all things holy and pure. You can do WHATEVER the hell else you want. Own a store, become a doctor, sell real estate, I don’t give a crap. But if you CANNOT SPEAK MY LANGUAGE you don’t get to be the person I have to TALK to when I need help. This is all I ask for in this life. Please, it is not much.

And speaking of me not being able to hear, I went to go get new hearing aides the other day. One of my friends married a guy who sells hearing aides. Which I think is sweet of her. Another friend of mine is going to marry a guy who does printing stuff and needs graphic designers, which is nice of her too. Between the two of them lately I’m able to hear and make money, not bad husbands if you ask me.

So I go into the hearing aide place to pick out which ones I want. Basically I need a back up pair because I live with this fear that something is going to happen to my pair of hearing aides and then I’ll be deaf for two weeks until the new pair comes in. This will not be a good thing in February when I’m supposed to be going out and selling my book to the masses. Hearing seems like it would be a very important part of a PR campaign. Dontcha think? Yes.

So I went in to get some new ears and some peace of mind. Hearing aides, like all technology have dropped in price since I bought mine 7 years ago. My old hearing aides cost me a total of 5 grand and these new ones will only cost a total of $2500. Half off baby. It still seems a bit ridiculous that I have to pay for hearing aides and that they are not covered by insurance. How are poor people supposed to go on PR campaigns?

When I was at the hearing aide place I saw this poster:

First of all, I told the Hearing Aide Husband that he might want to consider updating his posters on a slightly more frequent basis than every 30 years, because half of the people on the poster are dead. But he said that most of the people who come in for hearing aides are so old that they really like the old poster. Ouch. Not a lot of 28 year olds coming in for hearing aides, as it turns out. Whatever.

But look! Look at the poster! Look at all the people who are hearing impaired! Now I don’t think that hearing impairment was the cause of death for the half that are no longer with us, lets just mention that. But who knew Sally Field wore hearing aides? I did not. This gives us something to talk about next time I see her. And Mama Brady? And that guy that played the Hulk? And John Boy? Oh my goodness I too can have a career in the 70's! It’s very exciting indeed.

I’m off to pretend to pack, and instead eat leftover Halloween candy and try my best to empty my DVR before I leave it to take on November sweeps.

My blogs will be sporatic the next few weeks, please try to be strong as I abandon you to focus on the world-saving (and some design work too) I’ll update as I come into contact with internet, and hopefully I’ll be able to check in on the rest of the blog world now and then throughout my time away. Stay strong in my absence, I will return to the internets full-time in a mere three weeks. Cry if you have to, it’s okay, we’re all friends here...

Until we speak again...peace, love and English-speaking helpline people.

d

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Frostbite

I do not have good luck with heaters. More specifically, heaters that are meant to heat houses. Big heaters. Of the house variety. My last house had an overall aversion to being warm. It didn’t enjoy being warm. Well, it didn’t enjoy being warm in anywhere other than one single room in the house. This made for an interesting living situation in which one roommate was sweating while the other roommate nearly froze to death. It was quite pleasant.

Now it seems my heating issues have followed me. My heater in my house has very little interest in pumping out warm air. Cool air? It’s all over that. But the warm air it’s not quite feeling ready for just yet. Good lord.

Here is a video I made to illustrate my struggle. I want no comments from you people who choose to live places where ice falls from the sky, I am a Californian and I do not do well in coldness, it is not in my nature.



That was yesterday. I still haven’t figured it out. It is becoming a bit of an issue, as I really feel like I’m a relatively intelligent human being and I should be able to turn on the damn thermostat without assistance. I’ve never had trouble turning on a thermostat before in my life, but this thermostat has chosen to be difficult, and I’m not enjoying our time together thus far. Good lord.

Thank god my dad bought be a Presto HeatDish last year during my Winter of Discontent at my old house. I have pulled it out of the garage where I put it and we all proclaimed, "It will be so nice to not have to use this anymore!" We hugged and cheered and sang songs about warmness coming from the ceiling instead of a disc.

And now. The disc is back. Last night I curled up in my bed to watch tv. I had four layers of clothes on, under my covers, with the disc next to me to provide warmth. And boy does that thing provide some warmth. I woke up this morning nearly naked and the disc was turned off. Who the hell knows what happened to me or the disc during the night, but neither one of us seems to have fared well.


I have to leave for my trip in two days.

I think tomorrow might be time for the trip to Walmart to see what wonder (and cheesy $5 shirts) await me on this adventure. It is really an exciting time. Add in the frostbite and it’s nonstop fun here.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Hyperhidrosis

Okay.

The other day my palms were abnormally sweaty. I did not know why and I found it a bit concerning because maybe sweaty palms are the sign of a heart attack or something. So I looked up sweaty palms online and oh my dear lord. It turns out I am not alone in my sweaty palms plight:

www.sweaty-palms.com - This one features a very dapper Dr. Reisfeld (and his very dapper headshot) He is “a world leader and pioneer in the field of hyperhidrosis (the sweaty palms thing)”. This is impressive. Until you realize that it is probably not too difficult to be the world-leader in a field that no self-respecting medical professional would specialize in. “I spent 12 years in college and now I’m a doctor.” “Wow, what area do you specialize in?” “Sweaty hands.” “Wow, you are really doing god’s work.”

www.curesweatypalms.com - Featuring the friggin’ “Center for the cure of sweaty palms” - THERE IS A CENTER.

www.sweatypalmsinfo.com - Do you avoid shaking hands with others because of excessive sweating or sweaty palms? Are you embarrassed to meet new people because of excessive sweating? Do you sweat during your sleep, when you are alone, or even when you are not upset?

www.sweatypalms.org - “Persons with palmar hyperhidrosis often seek treatment because the condition almost always causes great distress, which may impair their quality of life causing numerous psychological, educational, and occupational problems.” – Honestly, we live very very very blessed lives when this is causing people psychological problems.

www.handsdry.com - With, I swear to god, the tagline “You’re not afraid to hug, thanks to Dr. Jim Garza.” And then it shows attractive people touching hands. Because if you visit Dr. Garza you will not only get dry hands, but you and the people you date will become attractive. Sign me up!

............

Oh, and another thing happened today. A song got stuck in my head for no real reason. I haven’t heard the song in probably 10 years or so, but for some reason it made its way into my brain and it was all downhill from there. Especially considering the song was a song called “Rump Shaker”. And it actually features the lyrics, “I like the way you comb your hair UGH! I like the stylish clothes you wear UGH! I like the little things you do UGH! That make me want to get with you UGH!”

It made me think. When I’m 50 and I turn on an oldies station am I going to hear the real songs from my youth? “All I wanna do is zoom zoom zoom and a boom boom, just shake your rump!” (at least I think that’s what they say, the zoom zoom, boom boom part is unclear.) This makes me a little excited to listen to the oldies stations when I’m older, but it is also a little sad, because the oldies stations now are so innocent and even when they are referring to bad things they are referring to them in completely metaphorical, hidden ways that only the high people can understand. There just isn’t much mystery in “Let me see you shake your rump like a rump shaker.”

I found the music video on YouTube, I heart YouTube and it’s randomness. Anyone under the age of thirty and over the age of like 22 (and who isn't offended by shaking rumps) might enjoy it, anyone else should probably skip it. Oh, and be prepared to have the song stuck in your head for 3 days…it’s really a classic piece of American music.



Sunday, October 29, 2006

Target is Evil

It is 8 pm. I have a Halloween party to go to in like an hour. I do not have a Halloween costume. I go to Target. I do not get a cart when I enter. Because carts = money spent in Target. I am there to get a Halloween costume and that is all. Pay no attention to the other aisles, there is nothing to see there, keep moving.

Why do the damn Halloween costumes have to be all the way in the BACK of the store? Meaning I have to pass by SO MANY AISLES OF GOOD STUFF on my way to the costumes. But I am strong and avoid veering off track on my way in. I grab a costume (this year I went dressed as “The Last Costume at Target” (Well, it was really one of two last costumes, but the other costume was one of the guys from Dukes of Hazzard, which was basically just a flannel and a cowboy hat. While this looked comfortable, I doubted anyone would understand that I was supposed to be a character from a TV show from 30 years ago.))

I head back up to the register. I will be strong, I will not veer off track, I am just here to buy this-oooo, candy corns. Candy corns are tasty and festive. I’ll buy just a bag of these and be on my way to the register where I will check out and just buy these two things and-oooo shelves. The kind that appear to magically hang on the wall all by themselves, I love those shelve. I need shelves, I’ve been saying how I need shelves, so this isn’t an impulse buy, I really need them, and so I should buy them. I should buy like five of them. I will stack them on top of each other and then put the costume on top of that and then the candy corns on top of that and I will go to the register and be done with this store and be-ooooo the frame aisle...

I get up to the register and I am balancing what has now become a teetering pyramid of merchandise. I am walking slowly and concentrating hard on not losing control of the pyramid, because it feels like it can go at any second. I see a Register Lady waving me down, letting me know that her register is open. She looks at me carefully as I balance three aisles of stuff and she says, “Uh, are we out of carts?”
“No, your store is evil.”
“Okay.”
“I can’t come in here and spend less than $200. I didn’t get a cart so I wouldn’t buy anything.”
“That plan didn’t go very well.”
“It did not.”
After she finishes scanning my tower of purchases she smiles and says triumphantly, “Only $142, that’s under $200.”
“That’s not bad for a Halloween costume.”
“No, imagine how much you would have spent if you had a cart. Speaking of which, let me go get you a cart so you can get all of this stuff to your car.”
“No, I got it, I should carry it, so I fully appreciate what I just did.”
Then my phone rings, it’s my friend, I answer, “I hate Target.”
“Me too! I just left the one by my house. $113.”
“I spent $142.”
“It’s a bad bad place.”
“But you know I saw a big sign on the wall that says they give $2 million to charity every week, so we really were just donating to a good cause.”
“Exactly. And with my Target card I get to pick a school that I want money to be donated to and I picked our old high school.”
“It’s all about the kids.”
“They are who I shop for.”
“We are amazing people.”
“Honestly, we should win awards or something.”

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tums

This picture falls under the WHYYYYYYYYY? Category here on the blog. How many times have you eaten a Tums and as you were crunching down on what tasted like a mix of wall and dirt you thought to yourself, “Geez, if there was only some way to make this into a liquid, that would be awesome. I’d drink it all the time. Because if there’s one thing I’ve always wanted to do was draw out the process of taking a Tums, and maybe make a whole snack/coffee break out of it.”

Tums are bad. We’ve accepted this and moved on, because heartburn is badder. Please Tumspeople, it is time for you too to accept that you make a horrible tasting, yet functional product. There is nothing to be ashamed of in that. There is something to be ashamed of if you continually try to make said horrible tasting product taste like Random Flavored Horrible Tasting product. I had a Tums the other night. And you know what? Very rarely have the real blueberries I’ve eaten in my life tasted anything like a wall, so please, STOP with the flavoring. And liquifying.

Thank you.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chef

This is what happens when I cook.

I can’t even cook bacon in the microwave.

It is a sad, sad thing.

It is a thing on fire, too.

Bacon on fire does not leave the most pleasant smell, FYI.

And it doesn’t really allow you to keep the plate either.

Yet another casualty of my cooking.

Me not cooking is not just me being lazy.

It’s me taking the necessary precautions to not hurt myself or others.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Wonders of the World

I am very busy. I have very much work to do. I am counting down the days until I am no longer in this state and am instead traveling the world in an effort to save it. And an effort to learn Spanish.

It is in times like these, times when I really can’t remember the last day I didn’t work for at least 12-16 hours, that I find joy in the little things. They are the things that make me smile before diving back into whatever it is that I'm supposed to be doing on the computer.

Here are some of the little things that make me happy, and I do hope they make you happy too.

............

My Old Roommate and I have a favorite sushi place in town. They know us there. There is a waiter there named Sun. We laugh every time we go in because his name is Sun, my name is Dawn and the Old Roommate’s name is Sommer. We are a bright bunch the three of us. It really never gets old, the whole playing on the name thing.

Anyways, Sun is about the happiest, most friendly guy ever and I just love him to pieces. Last night I ordered a thing called mochi, which is an ice cream-like thing that you can get at sushi places. It is awesome. I asked Sun if I could get it to go because I’d like to eat it while I’m up until all hours of the night making things pretty. You can work up quite an appetite making things pretty.

Sun looks at me with worry, “How far are you going?” “Not far, like 10 minutes away.” “Oh, well, they melt very fast, I don’t want them to melt on you. I’ll figure something out.”



Then he comes out with this to-go box. It’s hard to see what it is, but it is my mochi ice cream on ice to keep it frozen. How cute is Sun? I felt like I was transporting an organ for transplant. And to be honest, the pick me up those damn ice cream things gave me at 3 a.m. was similar to an organ transplant. (And please no comments on them actually looking like organs)

............

This my dear, dear readers is the best thing I’ve come across in a long time and I need to share it with you because I believe the answer to world peace is to be found in this picture. The reason why I got my mochi to go? Because we decided to try a new dessert in the restaurant: Tempura Ice Cream. Holy crap this is good. I have no idea what is on the outside of it exactly, but I think it’s some sort of batter. The batter tastes like a blueberry muffin. A deep fried blueberry muffin. With strawberry ice cream in the middle. And whip cream on top. Holy crap this is good. As Sommer said, “I was not fully prepared for it to be this good.”

............


This is like the Clapper (clap on, clap off, the clapper) for a bit classier bunch. I can turn my light on and off with A REMOTE. The world is full of wonder people.

............


I don’t know that anymore needs to be said about this. Other than it is probably the best part of my condo.


Happy Friday everyone, may your weekends be filled with fried ice cream and easy toilet paper rolls.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And Speaking of MRI’s

Who the hell invented this MRI machine? And what kind a sadist was this person exactly? Have you ever been in one of these things? My lord. I imagine they can be quite unpleasant for people. For me, not so much, but as I was laying there for a half hour I had some time on my hands and I began thinking about how many ways this could suck for someone else.

1. It’s really loud. Really really loud. I’m deaf, so it didn’t really bother me much, but I’m thinking hearing people might be slightly annoyed by the loud banging noise the machine makes for the extended period of time that you are in it. I actually found the noise to be somewhat hypnotic and a bit like techno or trance music. It got its beat and didn’t let it go for a half hour of banging. I’m thinking this could severely annoy some people. Me? I started making up songs to the beat. Rap songs, because the beat was so fast. But really, is all that noise absolutely necessary? There is no way to get a picture of my knee without making a noise similar to a nuclear bomb being dropped every millisecond?

2. It’s really tiny. Really really tiny. This is bad for two reasons:

a. People are claustrophobic. I have been known to actually climb in cupboards and close the doors in order to take a nap, so I am not really claustrophobic. But I’m thinking that most people do not enjoy being put into a tube the size of a small coffin and being made to stay there for a half hour at a time. Just a hunch on that one.

b. People are big. Look I’m not exactly Mary Kate Olsen, but on the scale of human beings I’m hovering around the smaller side of the scale. And I was barely fitting on the MRI tray that is meant for people to lay on. I’m laying there looking at how close everything is to me and all I can think about is how the hell a huge football player guy fits on one these things. Hell, how does an average 200 guy fit on one of these things? Doesn’t is seem like the inventor of a machine should take into consideration who is actually going to use the machine? Luckily the night I went there was just me and the Small Asian Woman getting MRI’s. But I imagine some nights they might have to use Crisco to get people out of those things.

Or maybe they just figure the coffin feeling and insanity-causing trance blaring would be enough to get anyone out of the machine, even if they were 350 pounds.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

MRI

So I went to get an MRI on my knee the other night. I go to the big medical building and I ask the nice nurse where the MRI’s are done. He points downstairs. So I go downstairs. It is late, 6:30 in the evening, and everything is closed at the medical building because normal people go to doctor’s appointments during the day. This is not the first time it’s been made clear that I’m not normal.

I go to the office with the MRI #1 sign outside. But it is locked up, all the MRI’s had gone home for the weekend. As I’m looking in the window, trying to see if maybe there is someone inside, waiting to scan my kneecap, I hear shuffling behind me. I turn around and I see a Small Asian Woman shuffling towards me. She is having difficulty walking. And she too is looking for the MRI.

So the two of us start wandering this huge medical building, looking for an MRI. We go back to the nice nurse and he very nicely escorts us out of the building and points us in the direction of an MRI trailer that is outside. I leave the Small Shuffling Asian Woman and jog to the trailer to see if it’s open. It is not. The Small Shuffling Asian Woman is still shuffling when I return and tell her that that MRI is not open either. We try to go back into the building we were escorted out of, but we were escorted out of a door that only allows you to leave, it doesn’t allow you to go back in. So me with my bad knee and the Small Shuffling Asian Woman with her bad something on her right leg begin to hobble around the perimeter of the damn building back to the front doors.

At this time I remember there being a #1 next the MRI sign downstairs. This means that maybe there is a #2 down there too. We hobble back down the stairs and look around for #2. Instead we find a sign that reads “A new and improved MRI office is being built and is coming soon.” I point at the sign, “It’s coming soon.” The Small Shuffling Asian Woman says, “Do you think it will be here by 7? That’s when I have my appointment.”

We then see a man who looks MRI-ish coming out of a door that says something about MRI’s. We ask him if there is a machine on the other side of that door that we are supposed to be in. He says no. He says to go up to radiology, they will be able to look up our names in the computer and see where we are supposed to go.

We’d already passed radiology like 4 times.

We go up to radiology and hobble in. There is a Woman Doctor Lady sitting in the waiting room watching the TV, obviously waiting for something or someone. I go to the Receptionist Lady and say that we are looking for the MRI office. The Receptionist Lady asks me when my appointment is, I say 6:30. It is now 6:50. This upsets the Woman Doctor Lady and she begins to throw a small tantrum because I’m so late. “Oh, God! Geez! Man!”

“Uh, is this where I’m supposed to be?”
“Oh God! Geez, you’re so late, man!”
“Uh, well, I might have been a little more prompt if I hadn’t wasted so much time going to all the places in the building that say MRI and instead just come directly here, a place that doesn’t say MRI at all.”
“Exhale of breath in a dramatic fashion.”
“Seriously, put up a sign or something, we were hobbling all over this damn building.”
“Whatever. (Exhale of breath)”

Then the Receptionist Lady asked me what the Small Shuffling Asian Woman’s name was.

“I don’t have any idea.”
“You two aren’t friends?”
“Well we bonded over both being lost and in need of an MRI, but I’m probably not going to send her a Christmas card.”
“Exhale of breath from Doctor Lady”

I turn to Doctor Lady and feel slightly sorry for her, because she is trying to out-bitch me. And that is not really something that’s doable. It’s actually kind of fun for me, because not many people have the argument capabilities as me nor do they have the inclination to pick fights with strangers. This limits my verbal sparring with really just my father. And quite frankly after 28 years I’m bored with his game.

So me and the Doctor Lady had to walk back outside, away from the building, down to another trailer. And the whole time we were arguing. I could tell she wasn’t very good at having people argue back with her, she’s used to just being a bitch and having people cower. Me? Not so much on the cowering. So we are walking out to the MRI machine, doctor and patient, walking past hospital personnel and other patients, and we are having quite a loud exchange of words. We got some interesting looks.

Eventually I got on/in the MRI and I remembered that she said something about taking off all metal and I panicked, “Oh wait, here, my hearing aides, they are metal.” I pulled them out of my ears and handed them to my nemesis in fear that the giant metal contraption I was being put into my suck the hearing aides right out of my ears.

Weirdest thing ever?

As soon as I handed my hearing aides to the Mean Doctor Lady she instantly became Friendly, Warm, Caring Doctor Lady.

Why?

Cause I’m handicapped? Because my loss of hearing suddenly means that she is not allowed to be bitchy with me anymore?

Or...Because she knew she could now say anything she wanted to/about me and I couldn’t hear?

Bitch.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Working is fun

Holy crap I've got a lot of work to do.

This would seem very bad if I didn't know that I will be work-free and travel-heavy in November. November is my light at the end of the tunnel.

My god have I made a lot of things pretty these past few weeks. Pretty is in high demand apparently.

I have nothing to write about and no brain power to try to come up with something.

Here is a link to my book's website though:
www.nonrunnersmarathontraining.com

Tell everyone you know. Or not. Whatever. I'm going to bed. So that I can get up and repeat the pretty-making.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Life

Here is a galley of the book. It seems as though we are inching towards an actual book. All very exciting.

Tonight there were more board games played with the child. The game this evening was good old Life. You can’t go wrong with Life really. It’s fun. You know what’s even more fun? When you read the directions and realize that you are supposed to collect your payday every time you pass over the Payday box, not just when you land right on it. This was good thing to know, because we didn’t know and both of us were hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt before we even got halfway through our life. Although that might be a little more accurate to actual life.

I think that someone needs to come up with a realistic version of the game of Life. I can’t imagine no one has thought of this before. Because the game could be a hell of a lot more entertaining if you ask me. And more realistic.

First of all you HAVE to stop and get married. I HAVE to? Where is the divorce space on the board? Or the “Your spouse is found humping his secretary collect $50,000 in alimony” space?

I picked Artist as my profession. I made 40 grand a year in the game of Life being an artist. Not to mention I got 10 grand every time the kid spun a 1 (she was buying my artwork (she’s a big fan of it apparently, she bought it like 4 times)). I’m thinking that 60 grand a year for being an artist might be a bit misleading to the kids. And then I got to buy a beach house for $110,000? Where the hell is this beach exactly? Iraq?

So basically in this game I was an artist who made 60 grand a year and only had to spend $110 grand on a beach house, which I shared with peg husband who I was forced to marry and my twin children who insisted on driving in my car until I retired. What little mooches.

Honestly, if someone hasn’t come up with a realistic version of Life I think that is a million dollar idea. Where else are kids going to learn about real life? Certainly not from Candy Land.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pictures for Your Health

Today I have some pictures for you. You know how I love a random picture.

I took this picture in the hallway of the huge Kaiser medical building I go to for doctor’s appointments. Hello. This is not making me feel healthy. And this is not the only door with this on it either. They are all over the damn building. I guess if you are going to catch asbestos a hospital is the best place to do it. I know I felt safer. And much more healthy.


And speaking of poor health, here is a picture I took in the drive-thru at Del Taco. Really. How do people not just keel over after eating this? Who is sitting around thinking, “You know what would be great and pretty much the best idea ever? If we combined french fries with sour cream. And chili!” You know what? I think that the diet industry probably helps fund fast food places. Because if people would perhaps just stop eating approximately 5000 calories at a time then maybe there wouldn’t be quite as big a need for the billion dollar diet industry.

Of course I would be making all of these grand statements while taking pictures in the drive thru. And lets just say I wasn’t in the drive thru strictly for the photography opportunities.

I think this is the best picture ever. I think that all food should look like a scientific photo of what your arteries will look like after you eat the food. That is a brilliant idea. Not to mention quite educational. And quite tasty when dipped in syrup.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Best Role Model Ever

I got the kid some new board games the other day. Because we have been playing the same damn board games for like 7 years and I’m quite bored with them. Pun totally intended. If I Herded my Horses one more time I was going to start slaughtering the horses, and then you kinda lose the innocent fun intended in a board game.

So then. We went to Toys R Us and bought a few games. Can I just tell you that board games aren’t cheap? Three games cost me like 60 bucks. Geez. If we were buying them more than every 7 years I might think that $60 was too much. But then again, I would pay just about anything to stop Herding the Horses.

We bought a couple good games, a card thing and the gold standard “Life”. But then we also saw this game:


Mall Madness. How much fun does this look? And I don’t even like to shop. My favorite part is the white-haired chick who is saying “Chaaaaaarge!” Seriously is this not the best thing ever for a child? I really think that it’s never too early to teach the kids how to stimulate the economy, even when you don’t have any money in the bank. “Chaaaaaaarge!” indeed. Love it.

Then we set up the game. We barely had time to actually play the game after we set it up for a good hour. Look at this thing:


Can you tell that it is 3D? It is. There are two floors to this mall and it even has escalators in the middle. And right by the escalator is a little slot labeled ATM. Where you can go and swipe your card and it tells you how much money you get from the ATM. You have to use up your turn to get to the ATM, but it is a little unrealistic because you can go back as many times as you want and get more money. This is not exactly how real ATMs work. Believe me, I’ve tried.

Another great thing about this game? No dice. Who has time for all that silly rolling and adding up of the dice? Not me. I’m too busy yelling “Chaaaaaaaarge!”. So you just push that button in the middle and it tells you how many spaces to move.

Seriously, this is the best, most positive game ever. Thinking and stimulating kids’ brains is really quite overrated. That’s what PBS is for. This is game playing time, we don’t have time for adding or anything remotely enriching!

Anyone need a babysitter? I’m available. I’ll bring over the new Casino Craziness board game I bought, it will be a great time.