Purple Christmas

My husband surprised me with an early Christmas gift. A trip to...
...a place that has this:

and this...

and views like this:

But that's not all! On Saturday night, we got to see the only person who would perform on a stage that looked like this:

He's awesome! (Oh, and so was Prince.)


It could have been worse.

My husband and I carpool together. Well, one evening traffic was atrocious, so we took an alternate route. The issue is getting our daughter before the daycare closes. Once it closes it's a dollar a minute (CHA-CHING)! We took a back route that involved a ferry. It's a wee ferry, and old-timey and quaint when you're not racing the clock. I rustled up some cash. We zipped through town to the ferry dock and then...there was a line. A long line. A line that involved an hour of waiting for our turn on the ferry. At that point we had to wait it out.
So we waited.

And waited:

And then we were on:

We were so late. I even had a breakdown in the ferry line which required a counseling session from my husband. It was frustration for being helpless in that situation. In the end, we were 90 minutes late. That's $90, folks. CHA-CHING! And ouch. And sigh.

When I read this today, I knew the meaning of "And just when you think it couldn't get worse..."


Fa la la la la!

Some people like doing gift exchanges. I can see how it would be fun. You can search for something for someone, wrap it up and send it off. Then, not only does that person receive your well thought out surprise, but you received your own little box full of treasures.

I don't do this. It is nothing against anyone, it's just that me, getting a gift together, packaging it, and sending it is too much. I didn't even get it together for my best friend. Her birthday gift was sent a month late. I know it's terrible, and it seems to get worse each year. This is why I opt out of gift exchanges. It really is me and not you.

There was a secret santa thing at one of my old jobs. I gave truffles and cookies from Trader Joe's and in the confusion, the gifts got split up. They were not very popular anyway, but this was not the worst gift. I received some kind of glass oil lamp/pipe-bong looking thing, and lots of laughter when I opened it in front of the entire division. It "accidentally" got left behind in the ladies room.

On one of the message boards I visit, they used to do these every year. One year I didn't get a gift. One year I was unemployed and really should have skipped it because I was scrambling. One year someone started a "What do you want," and it turned into someone's rant on what they didn't want. She went by a name of a pretty big basketball player. One that did a forgotten genie movie? One that hates Kobe Bryant? Anyway, after one person got the idea to maybe do videos (do you see how these things start small and turn into a project?) this person went on and on about how she didn't want to see a video of you, your kids or your pets because she wasn't interested and had no need for that and so on. How jolly.

Then, a few years ago, someone mentioned the holiday exchange. And I was one of the first to suggest skipping it, and from there it seemed like everyone was relieved to not go through it. From then on, we lived grinchily ever after.


She-Ra love

Once in awhile I’ll find a gem on Netflix. This past Sunday it was “She-Ra” princess of power. Do you know about this? Just telling the backstory took five episodes. Five! That’s a lot of “To Be Continued…”’s going on. Don’t you hate that? You watch the clock, see that time’s running out and there is no possible way “the rest of the story” (said in my Paul Harvey voice) can be told. Then those dreaded words fill the screen (always with the ellipsis following). You think, Aw man, I have to wait. At least these shows ran daily and you could knock out the story in a week.

I watched this with my daughter. I got to explain that she was a princess and a superhero. She asked why Hordak snorted when he talked. She got a good laugh out of watching him.

My husband will say these shows were lame. He’s more of a Transformers and Thundercats kind of dude. I accept that the animation wasn’t the best, but here is what I liked about the Masters of the Universe. First, I know it was a marketing ploy to sell dolls action figures. But the they didn’t shy away from female characters (evil and good). If you were a girl, you didn’t have to look to the token girl character who added NOTHING (Cheetara, I’m looking at YOU). Men and women played equal roles (which is marketing brilliance, since you get twice as many viewers and twice as many suckers parents buying the toys). Sometimes there was flirting and jealousy (and oval shaped, sparkly magic portals to other planets!). It wasn’t all about boys.


Quoth the metro train operator:

The guy operating tonight's train home occasionally said the following before shutting the doors and pulling away from the station:

"Step lively, doors closing."

STEP LIVELY! Almost makes you think he would purposely open and shut the train doors to make people on the platform do a desperate dance to get to the train in time. I know they have a schedule to keep, but how effective is hazing people who are paying a lotta money to ride the train? Then the perverse side of me wondered how Jame Gumb might say it.

It walks faster or else it gets the doors again?

I know, I have problems.

In other news, I don't usually take the train anymore. I have been riding shotgun with El Hubbo to work. He drops me off at work and picks me up on the way home. I know--spoiled. But days when he's not driving, I take the train. There's another car like mine in the parking garage, and we sometimes park together.

Exhibit A (one day):

Exhibit B (the next day):

We happen to arrive pretty close to each other in the morning, and so, we park together. This morning I actually felt bad when I took the spot between two already parked cars and he drove up and had to park in the open space on other side of one of the cars. Can you believe that? I felt guilty! I'm giving myself a complex over absolutely nothing. IT MAKES NO SENSE ATALL!

The driver of the darker blue one is a slim little old man who wears a cabby cap. We have seen each other a few times and once I asked how his car was holding up that winter. He responded, but with a "Why the hell are you talking to me, lady?" look on his face. Do you know that look? I hate that look. Anyway, aside from that failed exchange, we don't talk. We park next to each other, but don't talk, or acknowledge that we park beside each other. It's like Fight Club or something.

And then, sometimes, if the stars cars align just so...you get a jackpot.


Wish list

For once my daughter had specific things on her Christmas wish list (instead of her usual request for "presents"). Well, ha, so do I! The wishin' and hopin' doesn't end once you become an adult.

Without further ado, I present my wish list:
1) The Badonkadonk tank. Is it street legal? Does it matter?
2)Off road Segway (for when the path gets too narrow for the "Donk.")
3)Uranium ore
4) In the "because I never had one" category: Lite brite

So that's it--4 things. I think that's reasonable.


Flush your mouth

I'm realizing the title of this blog might be a turn off to people who don't know what it means. You see the word "poop" and your mind goes in the gutter (or the toilet). It was never supposed to be crude, but maybe it's time for a change.

I don't even know if I ever properly explained the title. The Sunday Night Poop was something plebes (at one time this was me) memorize at West Point. It is recited on Sunday nights, when you're in formation, about to face another fun packed week. I hate Sundays and have for as long as I can remember. It's not that work is so awful, it's that your time to yourself to do what you want is ending until Friday night.

Shouted out it goes like this:
Six bells and all is well.
Another week shot to hell.
Another week in my little gray cell.
Another week in which to excel.
Oh, hell.

See? I told you it wasn't crude.

I even changed the title for a moment, but it didn't look right.

It's coming

Time for my annual Holiday message. It gets preachy so consider yourself warned! Mmmm, preachy.

Black Friday is coming. And I'm telling you I'm not going.

Let's take a look at last year's madness. I might get up (because the traffic outside woke me up) and toddle up to the loft to take photos of the madness and point and laugh, but I'm not participating. That's right, I live across the street from a shopping center with all the fixin's and I'm not going. Don't make me post the Dreamgirls song again to emphasize my point.

How does it even come to this? I think the Type A's of the country got together with the retailers and made a deal. Let's make a blood sport out of the day after Thanksgiving with the prize being $3 appliances. Because that's what the holiday season is really about. I love a bargain too, but I'll pass.


Brown-eyed blues

It’s a known fact that we celebrate blue eyes. It makes sense. 10,000 years ago blue eyed people didn’t even exist. Because most people on this planet have brown eyes not many people are awed by them.

I read a book by a black author with a myriad of blue-eyed characters. You got to hear about steel blue eyes, royal blue eyes, navy blue eyes and so on. I am guess she had a high ratio of blue eyes because she didn’t have them and it came through in blue eye worship. Who wants to hear about root beer eyes, or chocolate eyes, or what have you? It's just not literary.

There is one song that isn’t about blue eyes. And it’s (wait for it) Brown Eyed Girl. Thanks, Van Morrison, for writing a song for the rest of us! Finally some love for the brown eyed peeps. So imagine how I felt when, my freshman year, my roommate co-opted that song and changed the words to (wait for it) “Blue eyed girl.”

Um, what now? Are you kidding me with this?

I know, I know. Lighten up. It’s not a big deal. Just words, right? But right then I wished I had said something along the lines of “No, you do not. No you don’t take a song that applies to me and change it to suit you when there are countless other songs out there that probably celebrate you more than they do me. I said no. Damn it.”

But did I say anything? Noooo. Maybe it was better to keep the peace (AKA: “the wimp’s defense”) but years later I am still kicking myself for not saying something.

Petty? Why yes, yes I am.

Disclaimer ahead: I’m not againt blue eyed people. My best friend has blue eyes!*

*so does my cat, my brother-in-law, and um...I know lots of blue eyed people, okay?


Winnebago man!

Where have I been? You have to love a man who makes up his own language. Or drops F bombs with reckless abandon.
And here is an interview with him.


That tiny rehearsal...

My best friend's dad fancied himself a writer. He was a stay at home dad (I won't get into the stories, they're not mine to tell) who wrote poems, one which was about "sleep,that tiny rehearsal of death." Wow, way to turn a totally relaxing and rejuvenating activity into something inescapable and permanent. His poems were dark, with mysterious things cloaked in darky darkness. To this day we joke about saying good night to each other and then "Okay, I'm gonna go rehearse for death now!" We like our humor black, no sugar, no cream.

So imagine how I felt when I had a dream that I DIED. Rehearsal indeed! It went like this: I was very sick (I don't know if it was a "long illness" or a "short illness" but apparently it was a fatal illness). I lived in a brownstone in what I assume is New York (I went out on an urban note, I guess). One moment I was sick and dying my little heart out in the bed and the next, roaming that apartment as a ghost. Some people saw me. Some communicated with me. This went on for a few days* until I started to get bored. What fun is the world if you aren't really relevant anymore? I saw a car accident outside of the window, heard lots of city noises (sirens, shouting, and whatnot) and decided I had enough and I was ready to leave the earth. Thinking about what comes next terrifies me in real life, but in the dream it was not a big deal. Just "Eh, I'm tired of this. Buh-bye." I was at peace and accepting of what was happening, and at the time it felt real.

And then I woke up.

*Not really, but you know time works a little differently in dreams--didn't you see Inception?


The truth!

Nothing tells the truth like the mirrored wall at the step class* I went to tonight. Good grief! Embarrassing. That and the fact that I am rhythmically challenged, especially when the instructor decides to throw in grapevines and twists and so on. Let's not start on the left-right stepping and how no matter what I always seem to wind up going in the exact opposite direction of everyone else. As long as I'm moving it's okay, right? Right?

There was one bigger girl that came into class. She had on chuck taylors, which I loved. Then I looked in the mirror and realized she wasn't that much bigger than me. I think I suffer from body dysmorphia--but the kind where the sufferer thinks she is smaller than she actually is. Which explains the thoughts: "Oh, but I thought these were size 8 jeans? But, hm, they don't fit. The manufacturer must have made a mistake. And everything in my closet is shrinking too. Stupid dry cleaners."

But the mirror tells the truth. I need to stop assessing others (AKA "being an asshole") and concentrate on my own step.. I also need to re-think the mid leg sweats because it's not a good look when you have well endowed calves. Also, when my lower legs are exposed it might be a good idea to shave and lotion up because, well...ashy and hairy wasn't quite the look I was going for.

What! It was after work! I was in a rush. I'm sure no one was looking that closely anyway. Except the mirror.

*Yes step aerobics classes still exist, I didn't have to go back to 1992 to find it. If I did go back to 1992, I wouldn't be talking about the giant mirrored wall because I would have been a lot more...wait, I mean a lot "less" back then.


It could only happen to me

Some people get notified that they won the lottery. Some are contacted to recieve an inheritance from someone who died in a plane crash and left no relatives. Some are tasked by a dying widow to donate her nest egg to charity. Some are asked to help deposed Nigerian royalty in exchange for a hefty cash reward. Me? I get this:


how are you doing today? i m Pastor Joe from the state Unfortunately I am moving out of the country and cannot take my beautiful(and expensive) male and female Africa Gray parrot with me.they are also a trained Africa Gray parrot. they can really talk well and call people by their Name,Africa Gray parrot they are 100% healthy It breaks my heart, but i must give them away. ONLY TO A GOOD HOME I've already started tarn them perfect Africa Gray parrot-friendly, loving and an overall joy.

Please help me find a good home for them. Thanks,

You are Bless.
Pastor Joe

Parrot spam! Honestly!


Love in black and white

The last two times at Target I spotted them, there, on the racks outside of the checkout aisle, where tempting things are purposely placed: Black and white striped tights.

The packaging indicates that these aren't just any tights--they're Halloween tights, which means get 'em while they're hot! Little does anyone know (okay, some people know) that black and white tights used to be my uniform. I had capri leggings. I had footless tights. And then there were my favorites: the footed tights. My tights/leggings trifecta all had black and white stripes. When I saw these new incarnations, I was looking for a reason...a reason to buy them. And wear them. In public.

They're $5. I could escort my daughter for Halloween and go as...hmmm...errr...

I thought for a moment. Well, I have those Doc Martens I found at DSW for $20 (80% off people!). Uh, I have the Cure t-shirt from their last concert. Um. I could wear my jean capris over the tights and roll them up...throw on a flannel shirt and...

You see where this is going, don't you? I'm trying to sell this costume as a "time traveling teen from the '90's" when it's really just a thinly disguised excuse for me to wear those clothes ONE MORE TIME. It's not okay. It's not reasonable. The tights were cute in high school but I don't have those 14-17 year old legs anymore, and horizontal stripes just don't look good on my girthier grown woman legs. This train of thought is what gets people targeted for "What not to wear."

I still might.


Coming soon (but not yet)

I started another blog specifically about writing (ooo, writing about writing, fascinating) but when I came up with a few entries, it sounded too negative. Basically I sounded like a bitter old hag.

I don't want to start on a bad note. This blog is different because there isn't the pressure of writing. I can post something and move on without too much revising and editing and if it's boring, I can post something else another day and move on. You see? I repeated "move on" in the same sentence--I'm going to leave it there as proof of how unwriterly (or un-edited-ly) this blog is.

I think it's the pressure. If you plan to make any kind of money off of writing, you have to do a lot of build up. You have to promote yourself. Join Facebook and join twitter (notice how Myspace has pretty much vanished from the picture? R.I.P. Myspace, your busy and sometimes noisy pages won't be missed). Ahem. Anyway. You should also have a website, blog regularly and often and oh, yeah, BE LIKABLE so people, you know, want to read what you have to say. The bitter old hag bit only works for Maxine.


Helpful IT tips

Once in awhile at work, the IT department will send out what it thinks are helpful tips. Today's tip highlighted the difference between "Reply" and "Reply All."

Oh fer feck's sake. I'm going to channel Samuel L. Jackson's character from a Time to Kill and say people who don't know the difference deserve to die learn and I hope they rot in hell figure it out before they even think of sending out another email.

There was a one page attachment that explained that "Reply" sends a response to the sender, and "Reply All" sends a response to everyone who got the message AND the sender. It went on to explain distribution lists and choosing wisely when you select "Reply All." I would say everyone should know this already, but then again, if this is being sent out as a "helpful IT tip," I might be wrong.

It's happened before.

7 things you don't know about me (and probably didn't need or want to know, or you didn't care and so on)

I am tagging myself because the blogger that posted this admitted that she will not tag people. Plus I am in a bit of a blog slump, so, shamelessly, I go forth.

1) You know how Meatloaf says he would do anything for love "But I won't do that"?
My that is this: watch Transformers 2. I tried and failed, and was thankful I stopped wasting those minutes of my life the moment I rose from the sofa.
My husband's that is this: Go to a Morrissey concert

2) Morrissey: Love him, even though he is the arch rival of my other love, Robert Smith of the Cure.

3) Am kind of Martha Stewart-ish on some things. Towels have to be folded a certain way before going into the linen closet. Clothes in the basket the floor on my side of the room? Ehhh, I'll get to it. But first, the towels.

4) I like reading memoirs. I didn't realize this until pretty recently. Some people are interesting. Some people just seem interesting. Then you read the memoir and find yourself disappointed.

5) I always believe the odds are against me, but the up side is: when things work out, I am pleasantly surprised.

6) I am a walking collection of nervous habits.

7) I check PostSecret on Sunday mornings to see the fresh new crop of Secrets.


"...I can feel it"

I know it's random. I watched this clip the other day and the lyrics to "Daisy Bell" are in my head.

Also, I love the line: "I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."



While I was at West Point, cadets were isolated from the world. We depended on the New York Times for news. I didn’t know about Christopher Reeves’s accident, or Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie, or O.J’s wild ride until weeks or months later.

It’s so different now. Cadets have internet, and cell phones (!) and Facebook (I’m glad it wasn’t around back then). We were at the beginning of that when I was a cadet. My first email account was through West Point, and even then I wasn’t completely sure how to get anything sent to me from anyone outside of our school network. You could talk to the outside world through MUDs. It was a little tricky, but you could navigate through a few different menus, establish a username and password, and boom, you were in. I figured this out and had conversations with people. During my second summer, I became friends with some guy all the way in Manchester, England. It was a way to talk to people you would never run across in a normal day. Depending on the hour you logged in, you would find different people in different time zones all over the world.

And sometimes you found people that were behind the same walls, doing the same exact thing you were.

Once I asked a guy where he was, and he replied: “I go to a little school north of the Hudson.”

Oh, ha-ha, I thought. This guy thinks he’s clever.

“Oh really?” I typed, “I’m in New York too.”

I strung him along until we got into specifics.

“Where do you go to college?” He wrote.

Heh. I thought. Heh-heh.

I typed: “A little school north of the Hudson.”

He could do one of two things with this bit of information: laugh it off or take his ball and go home.

“Fuck you.” came the reply.

A message telling me I had been blocked followed right after that.

When you were hiding behind a computer screen and a keyboard, you could be mean without anyone calling you on it. Log off and poof, you’re back in the real world where no one could connect you to the things you typed. I gave this guy his comeuppance because (in my mind) he clearly believed he was impressing some civilian chick, not someone living in the same setting, wearing the same uniform, and doing the same things he was (and therefore not impressed). I thought this guy deserved to be played, but I also can’t blame him for being pissed.

Another time I ran into a cadet online, it wasn’t so hostile. We got along. We joked. He didn’t seem cocky about his status, or dismayed that I was another cadet. In fact, he was glad. This meant we didn’t have to explain every dumb detail of our lives to each other, we could move past that. He was a year behind me, in the pipes and drums club. They wear kilts—with dress gray tops! Bagpipes! Tartan! Knee high socks! What’s not to love?

It wasn’t anything like the conversation with the other guy but I guarded my identity. I told him what class year I was in and left it at that. I was one in a hundred that way. If I gave him my company, he could easily narrow it down to one of three people. He could find my room, knock on the door and figure me out with just a few questions. And then we would have to talk! In person! Oh no!

When pressed by someone who wanted to know me better, I chose to stay disconnected. Maybe I wouldn’t look like the person he pictured on the other end of the Ethernet cable (because there was just one black guy in that club and this wasn't that guy). Maybe I wouldn’t have anything to say. I wanted to reveal myself, but I was afraid of being rejected. I know. Lame.

I made a lot of friends at West Point, but I’m sorry I didn’t make room for one more.

More thoughts

1) I watched Ricochet with my husband on HBO. It starred Denzel Washington, John Lithgow, Kevin Pollak and Ice T. Kevin Pollak had a dying scene where he was shot about seven times, yet managed to share some key plot points in his last words. We also got to see Denzel in a pink fluffy robe. Denzel in red lipstick. Denzel getting the news that he has the clap. Denzel’s sex scandal tape that led to him catching the clap. Denzel taking big bites of scenery playing the man on the edge. Lithgow was the bad guy (but this villain can’t top the Dad from Footloose). As if we couldn’t figure out he was the bad guy, he had a cataract. Because, you know, cloudy eye=Eeeee-VIL! It was hilarious, and if you’ve never heard of it, there's a reason.

2) Anyone who claims we’re a paperless society has not participated in burn bag day. Picture lines of people with carts filled with brown paper bags that are filled with paper in line to load them into a box truck. If the truck gets filled up before your turn, better luck next week, pal. If it sounds tedious, you’d be right.

3) My daughter accidentally split my lip. I was leaning over her, telling her to get up and use the bathroom. In normal full speed ahead little kid form, she sat straight up and I didn’t get out of the way quickly enough. She bonked her hard head on my chin and my tooth went through my lip. I look like the victim of a collagen injection gone wrong.


Important conversation

I found my daughter watching Access Hollywood (the horrah!") and I turned it off. She saw some footage of actresses from an award show and informed me:
"Mommy, all of them look pretty."
"Yes, but is it important to be pretty?"
"No, it's important to be yourself.
*Me, thinking: Wow, good answer*
And then:
"Mommy, what does important mean?"


Perfect 10

I just packed up a dress I bought from a company that makes clothes where sometimes I'm an 8 and other times I'm a 10. Don't you hate this? Of course I ordered it online and of course I ordered an 8 when I would have been better off with a 10. It fits if I suck it in (because I have made a full--and I mean full--recovery from the food poisoning), but it's still snug at the hips, and the hip bones just can't be sucked in. Returning stuff is a pain, but I decided to get the 10 and send back the 8. Better to have something that fits and can be worn without constantly contorting myself than something that sits in the closet taunting me. (and no, I don't want to hear about that sausage casing shaper thingy known as Ardyss)

Oh, 90210

I have learned that today is "90210" day (the zip code that lives in infamy, thanks to the late Aaron Spelling). I'm not going to say I watched this dreck, or that it may or may not have been my guilty pleasure. The first season was awesome because the twins just moved to California and hey, so did I! Never mind that they were in Beverly Hills and I was in Half Moon Bay, or that it was a TV show and not real life (or anything remotely close to my suck-ass 8th grade life), but to my deluded mind it was close enough.


Miss me?

No? Okay.

Some things:

1) Nothing flattens the stomach like a bout of food poisoning (which likes to hit a) on vacation and b) right around 2 a.m.). I don't want to get into details (and you probably don't want me to), but it pains me that the culprit was probably ice cream. Given that we are in the midst of Bad-Egg-apalooza 2010, I blame the hens. The irony was that my throat killed (we'll leave it at that) and what soothes the throat? Something cool and creamy? Right.

2) This summer kind of sucks for movies. Maybe that's good since it costs $10.50 a ticket (add $7 more for motion-sickness inducing 3D).

3) I went to the gym on Friday after a long bout of laziness hiatus. I felt annoyed when I was pulling out of the parking lot and one woman was clearly struggling to squeeze her behemoth vehicle into a spot--there were a bunch of open spaces far from the gym, but who wants to park and do all that walking when you're about to work out?


I write like...a gimmick

According to this website I write like:
David Foster Wallace
Margaret Atwood
Stephen King
Kurt Vonnegut

All I did was sample from different entries in this very blog.

(After you receive your results, there's also a little step-right-up sales pitch about how you--yes you--can be published and a hyperlink that says "Learn how to secure a book publishing contract!" That's the way to butter 'em up and sucker 'em in! I also find it especially funny that nary a hack writer is in the rotation of authors us common folk write like. I know, I know, Stephen King isn't exactly a literary great but I still think he's good.)


Opportunity knocks

A few weeks ago, I received this:

We are unique Executive Search firm that was established in 1977 and is owned and operated by Service Academy Graduates. One of our Chemical / Mining clients is looking for a JMO(Junior Military Officer) or former JMO Woman to be their Human Resource Manager in a small Wyoming town (pop. 11,000). No experience is required. They will train. Must be STRONG LEADER with excellent OERs (Officer Evaluation Report, AKA a report card, annual review, and so on). This is a non-union company. Base pay range to $110K.

Our client is phone interviewing candidates next week and we are looking for candidates.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know that may have an interest.

My initial thought was, “Hey, if I were single, I would totally (totes?) consider it.” Could you imagine? $110K in Wyoming? Sweeping plains and big sky (Okay, I know that’s Montana, but close enough). Cowboy boots and a simple life! Mountain views and a farm house planted on acres of land! Pioneer living with modern conveniences! Adventure!

I know, I know, I’m an idiot.

Let’s read that message again, shallll we?

We are unique Executive Search firm that was established in 1977 and is owned and operated by Service Academy Graduates. One of our Chemical / Mining clients is looking for a JMO or former JMO Woman …

(Why a woman? Either a quota is at play or there are issues with female employees? It’s suspect)

…to be their Human Resource Manager in a small Wyoming town (pop. 11,000)

(Yay, no people, but I’m guessing there is probably no Target as well).

No experience is required. They will train.

(Also suspect. They really couldn’t find anyone already trained and qualified in this area? Or is this the field of Dreams, “If you train them, they will come” philosophy?)


Translation: We need someone who gets shit done...

…with excellent OERs.

Translation: ...who won't piss off her superiors while getting that shit done.

This is a non-union company

Translation: Fend for yourselves, bitches. Don’t cry for me Argentina Wyoming when the hours are ridiculous.

Base pay range to $110K

Translation: We will pay you an assload of money because if you haven’t figured it out by now, this job is a giant pain in the ass. CHA-CHING!

Our client is phone interviewing candidates next week and we are looking for candidates.

Translation: We can not fill this job, and believe you me, we’ve been trying.

Please feel free to forward this email to anyone you know that may have an interest.

Translation: Pass this on to any and everyone in your contact list.

Maybe I just need a vacation.

happenings of late

I have been taking the train to work here and there. Most days I am lucky enough to have curbside service, courtesy of my husband, but when he’s off or our hours or locations don’t line up, I take the train.

One week I ventured onto the commuter train service. Unlike metro, there is free parking and you can buy a ticket at a discount for a week, or a month. I tried that for a week. It was comfortable enough. Because the trains come at scheduled times, the riders know each other, and they also know the crews operating the trains. In some ways the experience more genteel than metro and other times you can just say, “People are the same all over.” You get to see a different side of the land when you take a commuter train because it’s not always parallel to the streets. You go through the woods, and through the centers of towns and cities, or you see the back sides of buildings with dumpsters and graffiti. It was a longer commute this way, because not only did I take the commuter train, but I still had to connect to metro to make it all the way to work, and that involved two different lines and a 10 minute walk to the office. And then, at the end of the day, I had to do this in reverse. When I got home, I was exhausted, and by the end of the week I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed.

This week I took metro. The fares have been hiked again, and somehow I still don’t think that will solve the whole money shortage issue. There are still confusing things happening. Once I waited for the long leg of my trip, which I take to the end of the line. You would think at least half of the trains would take the passengers all the way to the end of the line, and out of those, the number of cars would be greatest, to carry the most people the furthest but while I waited, the sign displayed five trains, four of which stopped before the end of the line and two of those had eight cars, the largest number allowed. The one train out of those five scheduled to go all the way to the end of the line, of course that was a six car train. Heeey, are you following this? Come on, it's interesting. Now, then, if a train leaves union station traveling north at 45 miles per hour...
Oh, I kid, I kid.

Yesterday on metro I spotted someone reading a book titled “THONG ON FIRE.” I couldn’t believe my eyes, so of course I looked it up, and Amazon doesn’t lie. There really is a book out there titled “THONG ON FIRE,” categorized as “urban erotica.” If there is a less subtle book title out there, I have not found it. It sounds like it involves STDs. I guess you could read this while listening to “Ghetto soul.” Yes, this is another genre I didn’t know existed until very recently.

Back at work, I discovered “they” installed green toilet flush handles. Flush up for “liquid” waste, flush down for “solid.” Did these get installed so people can feel better about themselves? I won’t go into detail (yes, I realize the Blog title involves the word "poop," however it's a poop of a different kind) but it appears that both the “up” flush and “down” flush use the same pressure and amount of water. It would seem easier to install flush instruction signs and green handles (yes, they’re actually green in color and from the label, apparently made of “germ resistant material” to discourage foot flushing) than it is to install something that does what it claims.

I received my first full paycheck last week. My “desired” start date was mid June, but at the same time, I would have been breaking my daughter’s piggy bank by then. I also wanted time off to think, but when I was home, I felt awful. I wasn’t doing all of the projects I had planned to accomplish and I was staying inside and wallowing. I lament that I don’t have enough time, but when I did have time, I didn’t do very much (maybe I lamented that I didn’t have money?)

The new job is okay. The people are nice and my boss has told me that she’s going easy on me until I feel comfortable with what I’m doing. It’s a change from other jobs and I appreciate that. I also went to meet up with my old boss (after a mandatory class that I took four years ago, the first time I worked here. The class was taught by what looked like a Britney Spears knock off in low rise jeans—hello, 2004 called). We sat and talked for an hour. He left our old company not long after I checked out last fall. He was the buffer between his team members and our boss and after awhile he checked out and the whole thing fell apart. I don’t begrudge anyone (much) for how it happened. I made some friends and we got to do some fun things at work. I have stayed in touch with a few people and from what I’ve heard it sounds like what’s left of the whole operation isn’t much anyway.

I watched “The Invention of Lying” (finally). I love Ricky Gervaise and this was because I loved his character in “The Office.” I wanted to see this movie and for a number of reasons it took forever to finally arrive through Netflix. When we finally sat down to watch it—in the description of my best friend: Disappointion. I think it had a good premise but after awhile it got tedious. It was funny at times but it also didn’t quite work.

Today I received an email telling me that Wal Mart is actively recruiting women to be store managers and I could reply with my resume if I was interested. No, really:

Walmart is looking to recruit, hire and retain women veterans for retail management positions. This partnership embodies the commitment of Walmart to support women veterans, their families and military spouses. It also highlights our vision to create successful workplaces for women, families and employers and Walmart as an employer of choice for women and veterans.
Walmart invites you to apply for these select positions (see attachments) with Walmart or to share this invitation with an interested colleague. This hiring initiative targets women veterans who possess leadership skills and qualities that would make them excellent candidates for senior retail management. Prior retail experience is not required. We are looking to identify 15-20 candidates to interview for these select positions.

Welcome to Wal Mart, eh? I guess they never read my blog.


Yeah, no

I know there have been a bunch of complaints regarding Facebook and its security issues. People are complaining that nothing is private and the Facebook is invasive. It's sort of obvious that it is, though isn't it? They are running a business. You can advertise better to your clientele if you raid their personal info a bit and customize the ads. I'm sorry I wasn't savvy or quick enough to come up with such a scam business.

I'm not ready to break up with it yet, but I've removed a lot of stuff that I like or am a fan of because it just felt like too much information for not much pay off. People that know me personally will probably know what I like.

The latest thing I've seen is "People who like ___ usually like ____." This is another version of "everybody's doing it" style of peer pressure. It used to be (product) and "4 friends like this," but I guess that wasn't an effective enough hook. If you were just friends on Facebook only with those people, then why would you be inclined to like what they like?
Let me illustrate my point:

This here suggestion was made on my page (I guess I got lazy and didn't "un" like Target). Fine. I *like* (insert thumbs up icon here) Target. But I am not a fan of Wal Mart, and I will not click the suggestive thumbs up icon to appease them. I will also say that most people that I know who like Target are quick to follow up and add that they HATE Wal Mart. I live across the street from a Big Box shopping mecca. Yeah, I know, nice view, but jeez has this catered to my lazy side. If I need something, I just cross the street, and la-ti-da. The down side is that Target is right there, just across the street, taunting me on pay day. Come onnnn, G, ya know you need some new flip flops! Come on over, we're having a sale on raspberry lemonade this week. Hey, don't you need something new for your work wardrobe? I got what you need, baby! The house is as close to Wal Mart as it is to Target. Guess when I step into Wal Mart? When a) Target is closed, b) Target is closed not open yet or c) Target does not have what I'm looking for and I'm desperate.


Life is too short for bad books

The last post probably made little sense, since I didn't include the link to the literary "agent"'s website to further illustrate my points. I appreciate when people do things and think they're trying to help. The friend has followed up with my husband to see if I called the guy. How do you say "Look, I don't feel comfortable with some proud (and I have a feeling it's to the point of being obnoxious about it) confederate representing me." Or, "I don't feel comfortable with a person who lists multiple advanced degrees with vague proof of said degrees turning around and not using spell check or knowing that "pundent" is not a word." "I don't feel comfortable working with someone who has photos of sushi on his home page?" (okay, that one's a stretch) The alternative is saying nothing, but there is this need for me to share how incredulous I am that someone pushed this guy as a serious agent. It just blows me away. I want to say "This is a joke, right? You didn't really mean this guy, did you? This guy? No, no, really?" (in my best Simon Cowell voice) "You caaaan't be serious."

So I'm petty but I had to share the link. I am the type of person who has to verify with the world that she is not the one on crazy pills.

I know the ills of the publishing industry. I understand why people self-publish. I don't like that anyone and everyone can pass something off as literature (or claim to be literary agents) when there is no filtering process involved. If it looks like a book and feels like a book, and you can find it on Amazon, that's good enough. The problem is that I'm not trying to publish a "good enough" book.


It's never that easy

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I am working on a book. I feel like every other person is doing the same thing or they feel they have at least one good story waiting to be told, so I am not too vocal about it.

After years and years, I'm almost done. My husband has been gently shoving me towards the next move: finding an agent. This is the tricky part. Find someone who thinks your story is as good as you say it is. Find someone willing to slog through the pre-edited mess and see the potential, but in order to find that person, you have to advertise what you're selling with a teaser--a query letter. This will inevitably bring countless rejections, and I will inevitably have to tell myself exactly what I've been saying to myself throughout my job search: It only takes one. Then those interested will request a manuscript and those who like that enough to peddle it to the publishers will do the hustling on my behalf. This doesn't faze some people, but for some reason I find it very daunting.

In the back of my mind I hear that what I have isn't good, people won't pay to read it, the voices of the characters are totally off. I know I need to ignore that and press on. I've read so many so-called best selling books that aren't all that great, but they had a great marketing machine, and somehow people were convinced that these stories were better than they actually were. While I still want to write a good book, I know that I need effective marketing.

My husband talked to a friend who is also working on a book. A few years ago I connected with another writer who was writing a story on West Point. He emailed a bunch of graduates to get them to read what he already had and make corrections. I'm not lying when I tell you that it stunk. It was awful, and yet I admired the guy for trying and for believing that he had something worth publishing. I helped him with many things so I figured when he got somewhere, he would put in a good word for me. He claimed to know an author and then as soon as I asked for the guy's contact information, I got the back pedal. "Oh no, you don't want to talk to that guy." I wrote a scathing email message in response and promptly added him to my block list.

The most recent offer to connect was through a friend of my husband's, who apparently has his own book in the works. "He's going to send his agent's contact info," my husband said, which elicited a shrug from me. My instincts told me something was off.

Today I received a link to the agent's website. In my mind, I was thinking "Oh, it's probably some hack." I was hoping something would prove me wrong, but no, I was right, it really was some hack. In addition to being a veteran, the guy has a string of advanced degrees listed after his name, which might as well have been red flags. In addition to that, he's got information about himself, probably in an effort to seem "real, but when you write:
Remember - I don't take life too seriously, soooo don't expect this over-educated academic pundent to continously prove his literary skills, because I've been there and done that and I just won't anymore.

I mean is it considered arrogant to write "pundit" instead of that non-existent word listed? I'm also going to admit that the confederate pride and the wearing of a cap with a confederate flag on it didn't win points. I get it. Some people are proud of that, but is your professional website really the appropriate venue to show your rebel pride? If I wasn't turned off before (I was), this was the thing to push me over.

So this just confirms that I probably need to take the hard road, hustle and hope that someone out there believes what I have is good enough to sell.


And then--

After you find the song, you OD on listening to it.


"Who buys CD's?" (AKA iTunes doesn't have everything)

The title of this entry is a question posed by my husband. I understand what he's getting at (he also thinks books and DVDs that can be converted to something stores on a hard drive or streamed from a server, will eventually become obsolete)

My reasoning behind purchasing a CD is this: because iTunes doesn't have everything.

As much as I scoff at Hummers, I love the song used in this commercial. It really stuck with me to the point that I felt compelled to hunt it down to the ends of the earth. It turns out it's a song from some obscure scandinavian techno compilation. I could not find this song for anything. It turns out that it just required some patience. I did find the CD online but the website was foreign and the price was in Euros (possibly. I just know it wasn't a dollar sign). I considered illegal downloads, not because I'm cheap but because I could NOT find it anywhere. I would go to YouTube and play the commercial. I'd hum it to myself. My husband suggested I recreate it in Garage Band (and maybe if I didn't have a life that would be fun, but I don't have the time or patience)

Well, friends, today my CD arrived. Yes, Amazon came through and I'm one of those people still buying CDs. In fact, it's used but in "like new" condition. I had a high school history teacher whose 8 track collection was his pride and joy and I fully realize that I might be turning into that guy.

I played it on my laptop for my husband and said "Remember this?" He listened for a moment, admitted he liked the beat but did not remember the song. Ah! Don't you remember? I tried finding it forever! "iTunes?" he said. This is always the answer from him, and my response is always "iTunes does not have everything!"

This is the same guy who was haunted by this song and I'm happy to admit that I did a little sleuthing on late '90's Euro techno and I delivered, but to his credit it wasn't all that hard. I found it on iTunes.


Thoughts (deep and not)

I signed my offer letter and returned it yesterday. Oddly enough, I did this using the fax machine provided by the job search assistance people, which was a service paid for by my last company. I guess that's something. Of course now that I have an end to my free time, it feels like the walls are closing in. I don't hate working, especially if it means I am getting paid. I just hate starting at a new place, even if I know some of the people there. I hate new situations and feeling like I have to learn everything all over again. I've done it so many times you'd think being new would be old to me, but I just can't get used to it. I think once I am settled into my routine, it will be better.

Just before I accepted the offer, someone from another company spoke with me. He basically asked that I speak to him before I accept the offer. We had a great conversation over the phone. It turns out he works very closely with the people I will be working with. He laughed and said "Hm, I've never done an interview quite like this." He pretty much acknowledged that I would be accepting my offer. Could you imagine if I listened to the whole pitch and got an offer with this guy? I would be stepping into an office and sitting around the corner from the people I rejected. How bad would that be? He threw in "If things change and you're looking again, please consider us..." which is great. It's always a compliment when someone asks you to contact them if you need a job. It's a lifeline.

Yesterday I had to pick up some packages from the post office. Evidently, the postal person could not deliver them to the house. Never mind that I have been here for most of the day for the past month. I don't think the guy wanted to walk down to the house and ring the doorbell. i don't believe he even tried. I can't prove it, of course. So I went to get my packages from the post office. I had two messages from Amazon telling me to go, which meant there were two packages.

I walked up to the counter, and because I didn't have the slip, I just turned over my driver's license. The post-lady returned with one box and I said "Oh, I have two, actually." Why did she try to tell me this was the only one she saw (No, what happened was, she stopped when she found one box with my name because she didn't think there were more.) I said "Well, I got two messages..." (unsaid: and I'll be damned if I have to come back in a separate trip because you only found one)

"Give me that again," she said before disappearing to the back. What do you know, she found the other box. From her annoyed look, it appears she is well on her way to a lifelong career of postal disgruntled-ness.

I know that's a stereotype. I have found some happy postal people, but some are really miserable. It seems as if there is no in between. Either they are jovial or cranky. I don't get it.

In one of the boxes was a toy accordion for my daughter. She loves music and I want to expose her to some instruments. Even if she's not inclined to play anything, at least it's there and it can be fun. I know, it's a toy accordion and I'm probably going to regret buying that, but at least it's not a drum set. I tried my hand at it yesterday, and it seemed like fun.

So as my time comes to a close, I have all sorts of thoughts on ways to not be dependent on "the man" for pay. I could live off of the land in a yurt, farming what I need and being a vagabond in the colder months. It sounds sort of appealing, and some people have done this. Then one word comes to mind: Outhouse. Or, in my friend Mick's words, "Outhouse... If you're lucky, otherwise (four words): Hole-in-the-ground."

I like indoor plumbing. I like a lot of things that require some amount of money. I don't like roughing it. We had porta-potties at my work site in Korea (Army days) and there were many times I held it because I couldn't deal with the lack of flushing. How in the world would I do with a hole in the ground? So it's a trade off--I go to work and in return, I get toilets.


Favorite TV shows of the '80s and early '90s

I recently came up with a list of shows that I enjoyed while growing up. I can even remember the theme songs to most of them.
Mr. Roger's Neighborhood (corny, I know, but I loved it, especially Trolley and the world of Make Believe)
Sesame Street (Not the Elmo show racket that's going on now. Who doesn't remember this?)
Inspector Gadget
The Real Ghostbusters (I had a crush on Peter Venkman)
He-Man (I had a crush on He-Man)
Galaxy High (*ahem*, bought the DVD set of this one)
Mr. Belvedere (Mashed potatoes slopped into Bob Uecker's lap in the intro=comic gold)
Benson (who can't love a show where the wise-cracking butler makes it to lieutenant governor?)
The Muppet Show (a show that I loved, which also spurred what I call "M.A.M.M.A. phobia")
Diff'rent Strokes
Perfect Strangers
The Golden Girls
The Facts of Life
Gimme a Break (I sure deserve it!)
Webster (Yes, a total "diff'rent strokes" knock off with a height challenged black kid and adoptive white parents, but we still watched it)
Amazing Stories
Wonderworks specials on PBS (Very favorite episode is "All of summer in a day)
Double Dare
Moonlighting (The Taming of the Shrew episode was classic)
Dynasty (or, as my sister and I called it, "Die nasty)
The Cosby Show
A Different World
Friday Night Videos (we didn't have cable so this was our MTV)
What's Happening
Monty Python's Flying Circus
Quantum Leap
Murphy Brown
The Wonder Years (My favorite line is probably "In your sleep, pal." threat uttered by older brother Wayne.)
Doogie Howser, M.D. (Wasn't the computer journal he kept so high tech at the time? It was like a predecessor to blogging)
Family Ties (We wanted a pushover of a dad like Michael Keaton)
Growing Pains
MacGyver (Richard Dean Anderson+sandy blond mullet+ability to weasel out of impending doom=hot)

Some of these can be watched instantly on Netflix. I attempted a Quantum Leap episode, except I didn't make it past the opening theme song. Sometimes you watch these things and realize they were better in the era that they were first viewed. Some things just don't stand the test of time. If I watched many of these shows now, the list would be a whole lot shorter.


I did a double take

We were shopping for food to cook for Mother's day when I happened upon this:

I had to look at it twice, to make sure I was reading the label correctly. It's chocolate wine. Who comes up with this? It looks like Yoo Hoo for grown ups.


Now for something shallow

I know, I know, shut up, shuuut uuup, already!

I bought these (yes, I know, jobless, but...)

I know they're not quite as hot as past shoe choices(full post here) but man, they are so comfortable and kind of cute, if I say so myself.


I actually had something on the schedule today (and I managed to fit it in between my blog posting-I am prolific today). It was an appointment for my job placement service. My company paid for 3 months of this service, which is really pretty generous, considering I was only with them for 6 months. The HR director wanted me to go and let her know how it went, "especially the resume class." The office isn't too far from my house, so it works out pretty well.

Today's meeting was an orientation. There was only one other person besides the instructor (facilitator? leader?). We had to fill out forms about ourselves, to include salary amount (which was noted to remain confidential). But then we're all sitting out in the open, so how in the heck is that "confidential?" (Yes, I peeked at the other person's amount, even though it has zero relevancy since she had a different job, in a different industry, in a different job market, and so on. What can I say? I'm nosy, petty, and *ahem* competitive).

We went through the slide briefing. We paused for questions. It was almost like a real business meeting, except a whole lot shorter. I got laid off and then it felt like I needed some time to decompress and process everything. Then I felt like I needed to jump into getting a job, so I worked on that. Now that I am getting interviews and possibly an offer, I might not get to use the three months I'm allotted because my time is short (so I spend it blogging, go figure).

We discussed other classes available. We discussed negotiation techniques. The other person got on my nerves a little, but i guess I just feel like I'm the type who says as little as necessary. Sometimes that's good and sometimes you come off cold, but I try to keep personal things personal. This woman was an open book. I knew she had an iPad, her husband was an apple geek, she was with two different companies for 8 years, they had moved from Pennsylvania, she's been jobhunting for 2 months and so on. I mean it went on and on, and some things were mentioned several times, as if we had missed the first pass, but it wasn't just that. Some of it seemed like bragging. As in, the instructor (Facilitator? leader?) saying, "We have a website which we'll log in to later on..." and her throwing in, "Oh, I should have brought my iPad™! I could be logging in right now!" (insert eyeroll from me)

Or, when we did log in, and she had problems, she piped in with, "Oh! Well, it's a Dell. I'm used to Apples." The instructor-facilitator-leader replied, "Really? Is that what you used at work, then?"

"Well, no, but..."

(insert eyeroll with a side of Schadenfreude from me)

"...my husband's an Apple geek and we have an iPad, iPhones, a MacBook..."

(insert twirling index finger from me)

I didn't say, "Oh yeah? Huh. So do we, but somehow I don't feel compelled to mention it every five minutes. Or at all, really. Huh." I did, however, brag that my last company provided me with a MacBook. Ha! I win. Well, not really because (as evidenced by my presence at the job placement assistance meeting) I don't work there anymore. It's not like they let me keep it as a parting gift.

I know, I know, I'm being mean. Maybe she felt comfortable. I just didn't feel like I was there to share and commiserate. I was asked about my class ring. I know it is kind of ostentatious (and the men's version is even more so). So I had to admit it was a West Point ring (and I even threw in the bit that we were the first school to start the ring tradition). The instructor-facilitator-leader just gushed on and on. "What a great school! Where did you serve?" "Korea," I said, "Oh, thank you." He replied, in a completely solemn tone. But wait, I wanted to say, the Korea where I served is a whole lot different than the one that was in place fifty years ago. We had our own rooms and cable TV. It wasn't like we were camped out on some mountain in the cold. It's embarrassing when people thank you for your service when you have only served in peacetime. It was a minor hardship in some areas but overall it was a great deal. When there is a war you're not in, you appreciate that even more. What I did then doesn't even compare to what my serving classmates and other servicemembers are dealing with now.

The service was helpful. I wish I had a little more time or I had started the process sooner, but I will try to make the most out of it.

The thing about books

I love reading. I usually like a book better than the movie version because there is so much more depth and you're not limited to a two hour run time to develop characters and play out the entire plot. You can picture things the way your mind wants to, instead of having someone else's vision unfold on the screen. This being said, there are certain things about movies that I prefer. If it's a bad movie, it means I've only lost 90 minutes to three hours of my life, tops. It's still time, but not nearly as much that gets wasted when I read a book. I've started giving up on books, but I try to give them a chance. If it's marginally good, I might hold on till the end, in hopes that it will get better. I'm a tough critic, I know. Sometimes the plot picks up and it's enjoyable. Sometimes, I'm wrong and the book sucks.

I picked up Sistah Souljah's "The Coldest Winter Ever" from the library. Well there's a start--it is free so at least there's no money invested. The cover is kind of icky looking but don't judge a book, right? The first page threw me. Specifically, the line "I came busting out of my momma's big coochie on..."

I mean do I need to continue? Give up or press on? Does any real human being actually talk like that when describing her own birthday? Between this and my commentary on certain movies, maybe I'm not as open minded as I'd like to think I am.

Out of over a thousand reviews, there are none in the one and two star categories on Amazon. I have friends that liked the book. I want to give it a chance, but I don't know if I can stick it out for the three hundred plus pages I have left to read.


Today is the anniversary of Gen. Douglas MacArthur's farewell speech at West Point. We had to memorize parts of this speech and during Beast, we were all herded into Ike Hall to listen to it. I am embarrassed to admit that I was so exhausted from heat, stress and P.T. that as soon as the lights dimmed and I heard the words, "Duty, Honor, Country," I fell asleep.

Anyway, here's the speech.

The Truth Shall Set You Free

I'm a younger sister. In fact, since there are only two of us, I am the youngest sister. Anyone with siblings will tell you there are advantages and disadvantages to being the oldest or youngest. As the youngest, I always felt like I was the lowest ranking family member--I was the one listed last on the Christmas cards, I was the youngest household member if you didn't count the pets. I was the one who had been around for the shortest amount of time. This usually means you don't make any of the rules and you're at the mercy of everyone else. This can also mean that your older sibling is the boss of you. This is a story of how I figured out how to turn that around.

We were visiting my mother's cousin in Italy. I was 9 years old and I had to pee. As luck would have it, so did my sister. We both took a trip to the bathroom. My sister pulled rank and took the toilet. My consolation prize was the bidet, which she kindly filled with water. I wasn't too keen on new things and no one really explained that it was sort of like a sink for other body parts. It was just so foreign, and I wanted nothing to do with it at all. I thought I could hold on until my sister was done, but I couldn't. Looking back, I should have just gone there, pulled the drain, rinsed the thing and been done. I don't know why I didn't. Who can explain the workings of a nine year old brain? Anyway, I peed myself.

As it was happening, I could still remember the look of "Oh, shit, she really did have to go!" on my sister's face. I know she had to have felt guilty. She very wisely wet the rest of my shorts and helped me clean up so it wouldn't be obvious to the adults what happened. I remembered going outside and resting on a chaise in the sun so my shorts could dry quickly. We were in the clear. You'd think we could then put the entire episode behind us when no one caught on, right?

Wrong. This is where things got a little twisted. Every moment after this incident, when she asked me to do something for her, and I refused, I was reminded of it and then threatened with "I'll tell!" This meant she had a servant for weeks and weeks. I was old enough to fear the mortification of my parents learning that I peed my pants at nine years old. At that age there's really no excuse. I didn't think it through far enough to realize they might actually understand if they got the whole story or that pants peeing wasn't really punishable. I just wanted to spare myself from the embarrassment.

This went on for months. "I'll tell, I'll tell" loomed over my head anytime I stepped out of line. It was awful. If only I could have that kind of problem now. I didn't know how easy I had it, but back then it seemed like a colossal dilemma. Serve the older sibling or face certain shame. It was a miserable time.

I can't tell you how long it went on, but at one point I decided to call her bluff. It wasn't because I didn't think she would tell them, it was because I got tired of the burden I carried. I got tired of the threats. "I'll tell!" I heard and I responded with, "Okay. Tell them." And you know what? That was it. There was no more bartering, no more currency to the story because it just didn't matter to me anymore. It was better for my parents to know then to have to drag this secret around in fear. And in the end, she never told.


Road Bird

The year was 1985. The show was "Street Hawk." The viewers were me and my sister. This is probably why it lasted one season.

Let me explain--the star was Rex Smith. The only reason we knew about this guy was because of my mom's repeated viewings of a VHS copy of the Pirates of Penzance. I might have been a kid, but even then, I appreciated Rexy-poo's fineness.

So imagine how I felt when I saw that this was on DVD. Of all the obscure, short lived series to air in the '80s, this one gets burned to DVD for the ages?

Don't get me wrong, we were thrilled about it in 1985. It meant watching Rex in a new role that didn't involve singing, dancing, prop swords and other broadway musical-converted-to-film hokeyness. We did watch a few episodes and in my sister summarized it to be "Knight Rider. Except with a bike."

This makes Rex Smith like the Hoff, except a little less well known (but judging from his website, he's pretty derned cringeworthy).

Here's where I draw the line.

There are some movies I just won't see--Transformers 2 was one of those (I didn't like the first one so why bother?) Then there are movies that are far, far into the No Zone. Movies like "The Human Centipede"--um, who greenlighted this? I am all for art and expressing yourself, but who actually paid money and said "Yeah, let's do this!" It's a horror movie, so you know that can get gory but for those who don't know, the following image gives you a pretty good idea of the plot:


Embrace the kooky side

I am waiting for a phone interview for a job I may or may not take. I have all but accepted a verbal offer from another company. I am just waiting for the official letter at this point. I also filled out an application for the other company. Maybe this is just insurance--a back up plan in case things fall through. I always feel like once I get too comfortable with something, the floors going to fall out from under me. It's pretty much what happened at my last job and the one before that. The moment I feel settled into the routine is the moment things start to shift.

This phone interview is for the job that could be ending in six months. This was presented to me as if it was some kind of advantage--like knowing how long you've got to live. I think I'd rather not know so I don't spend the weeks before the date of doom wringing my hands and stressing out. The position is going to switch to federal and move to San Antonio...and from what I gathered, this means that they want to hire for these jobs in San Antonio, which is understandable. It's a lot cheaper to hire people who are already there than pay for someone and his or her family to pack up and get settled. The person conducting the interview was upbeat--"well, if you do good work, the company will try to keep you." Do you know how often I've heard this? Do you know how often I've been the employee trying to be kept? It's like flying on standby. You might get a seat, or you might have to camp out at the airport and look for another airline with a flight where you need to go.

On top of that, something is preventing me from being able to email the employment application to the company's HR representative. She sends things to me successfully, and I have emailed a few things to her successfully, but for some reason, when I attach and send my completed application, it doesn't go through. MAILER-DAEMON has already sent a couple of friendly messages telling me that the one email with the application attached didn't quite make it, even though MAILER-DAEMON's repeated valiant efforts to send it out. And before anyone asks, the attachment is well within the limits of the email service that I use.

Upon seeing that the application can't be sent, the kooky new agey type might say "Ooo, see? There's a sign! It's just not meant to be!" I'll admit, part of me is thinking this too. It makes things easier because it removes me from having to make a decision. If you can throw up your hands and claim fate is at play, then you don't have to make a choice.

I did speak to the HR person today and I asked if she received anything from me. She said no and told me to send it through the mail instead, which I did. If that one doesn't make it, then I'm really going to wonder.


Not free to a good home

Last weekend we helped my mom run a garage sale. It was a new experience that I don't ever wish to repeat. You have a seller who is reluctant to give up her nice things to people who "want something for nothing" and then you have buyers who want something for almost nothing. You can probably already tell this was a formula for disaster.

I sold some things that I didn't need, to include a toaster oven for $3 and a small-ish crock pot for $1. This wasn't bargain basement, this was more like "Earth's mantle" pricing. I tried to think of it this way--at least I didn't have to waste cabinet space on these things anymore. They had already been replaced but they still worked. The common sense thing would have been to donate them but I was hanging onto them "just in case." I know that's not a good enough reason. I have a Target AND a Wal Mart directly across the street in case I need anything, and they even carry toasters and crock pots.

My mom was incredulous that I let the things go for what people asked. I didn't even attempt to haggle. I hate haggling, on both sides. It's not fun for me. We don't haggle in stores, so why do we do it at car dealerships and garage sales? It's just silly, especially when it gets down to the last 50 cents. At that point it's just pure egotistic competition.

It was interesting. It was an unusually hot day and my feet swelled up to 8 months pregnant proportions. The Amish people came through with horses and buggies, or on foot, or on their scooters that look like bicycles. Some people did drive bys, browsing from the windows of their vehicles as they slowly passed. People will look at anything you have out there, even the table with markers, plastic bags, newspaper, a calculator and a tin full of quarters. They'll look around at those things as if these are somehow not the tools you're using to help sell and wrap the items. Some people can't help themselves and they may even openly brag about how much stuff they have already as they browse and purchase. Then you wonder if you'll catch them on a Hoarders episode.

Unpaid labor

On my lay off letter, it's mentioned that I was supposed to get severance through the 3rd of May. Well, I checked my account on the 3rd of May and there was nothing extra in there. It was the same low balance I've been gliding on for the past few days. I let it go. Then I had a dream that I did get my severance and it was roughly half of what it should have been. Don't you hate when this happens? It's like you don't want to worry but then the subconscious interferes and you can't help but worry. I emailed my former HR person who got back with me right away to say it will be direct deposited on Friday. Duh. Friday was when I would have been paid if I still worked there. I don't know why I expected the money to be there on Monday. It's not as if they are going to adjust their payroll timing just for me. I replied thanking her and neglecting to admit that I was being impatient and ruled by a bad dream.

The time off from work is flying by. I am getting small things done. I am working through a basket of work clothes that either need to be hand washed or mended. They have been sitting in that basket for months. I have been effectively ignoring them because I didn't have the time to bother with them and my last job didn't require "work" clothes. I could wear jeans. So I would glance at the basket and think, I'll get to it...eventually. Well eventually is now.

Things discovered while mending clothes:
-I have no idea where I put my big spool of black thread. I've improvised with navy thread.
-A Q-tip dipped in diluted bleach is the poor/cheap/lazy person's bleach pen.
-I have a lot of little buttons in little plastic bags and I should probably sort them. I'll bet half of these are extra buttons for clothes I don't own anymore.

Things discovered while applying caulk:
-If you're caulking a tub, make sure you have waterproof caulk before you snip the end of the tube (oops)
-They sell caulk that doesn't need a gun and it's my new friend
-Even if the caulk looks right when you're done, it shrinks when it dries and you get little holes.
-This stuff is nice in concept but it doesn't work

I have also been filling out employment applications. I filed for unemployment too. Because I worked in Virginia, I had to file on Virginia's website. I'm sorry to admit that their site looked a lot better than Maryland's site.


Creepiest movie poster ever?

I'm talking about this. I remember seeing a few commercials on this before it ran in the theaters. It had a voice cast full of famous people (Freddie Prinze, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Anne Bancroft, Chris Kattan, Val Kilmer, Malcolm McDowell, Louis Gossett, Michael Clarke Duncan, Eric Idle, Kelly Ripa, Burt Reynolds). It was a CGI film someone put together with a *message*. like the Birdemic guy, he got it done and got it to the theaters. It was also a complete flop.

Today I noticed it was available on Netflix Instant watch so I attempted to sit through it. Well, I didn't last long. It was basically unwatchable. It was sad because the animation wasn't so great but obviously someone tried to do something with it. The plot was based on the same old Romeo/Juliet theme of lovers from warring groups and the characters just looked funky (go on and look at that movie poster again if you doubt me).

Shock and Terror

I saw a feature on this over the weekend. While I have described my enjoyment of bad movies before, I think this one would test my limits. The writer/director/producer was featured and it appeared that he really, truly felt that he had something worth stretching into a full length feature. He got it done on a $10,000 budget too. I have to admit that I admire him for believing in himself and finishing his "vision." Aside from that, I'm not sure what else to say (because if you can't say anything nice, well, you know the rest).



Hello 2010?

Where are you going? Why is it May already? I feel like I'm just getting to know you and you're already headed for the door.

I have 2 interviews this week. One is a real interview and the other is not an interview, but lunch with a former manager. The former manager called me on Friday. I said my week was free and what day did he choose to meet up? Tuesday. The one day that actually was scheduled for an interview. Oops. I had to weasel out of that one. "Well, actually, can we do Wednesday? That would work better for me."

The Tuesday interview is for the position at the agency relocating to San Antonio. I actually had another interview set up for a different company in the same agency. The woman who called me was up front that the job was only good for about six months. I pretended to be excited about it, promised I could do everything in the description of duties and then when I said I would not be available until next (this) week, she scheduled a phone interview. I knew from the toll free number and access code that this would be a teleconference. Teleconferences are unbearable enough, but a phone interview teleconference? I was supposed to talk to three guys and before that, study up on an army regulation she named. She also flat out asked my salary requirements and in her words I was "pushing it out of the ballpark." So in other words, I was supposed to study up for a six month gig (I don't know about you, but this is usually how long it takes for me to even get up to speed at a new job), be prepared to brief generals, impress these three guys over the phone but I was asking for too much money. Needless to say, I canceled that interview.

I know I should look into every opportunity, but I also think gut feeling should weigh in. The guy at the same agency at least mentioned that there would be the option to convert to the federal position and move to Texas. He was okay with waiting until next (this) week for me to do an interview in person. I had a better feeling about this.

Then on Wednesday is my non-interview. I honestly don't know what to expect. He did throw out a potential start date and I mentioned right away that I had time off planned the following week. If you listened in on the conversation, you'd think I was in for sure. I'm hoping it's not too awful. I am pretty much eating crow going back to this manager and this group, but I think that happens pretty often in defense contracting.

I'm not working and all I'm writing about is work. Boo!


Cat calls and dog poop

Today I experienced a new first: while out walking the dog a car drove by and someone shouted out, "Hey Sexy!"

It was early evening. I was the only one walking around in the area. I have little doubt that this was meant for anyone but me (not being conceited unless these people saw an imaginary person or they have a thing for stocky Corgis). This is where it gets funny--I was bent over and rising from picking up dog poop. Oh yeah, baby, that's hot right there. Steaming pile o' poo hot.

What I was doing was obvious (I thought). The dog was there, I had the tell tale knotted little baggies weighted with their doggie doo-doo contents. I wasn't even bent so all they saw was rump, which would have eclipsed my activities. I was facing them (sort of). And when it happened, I carried on as if I hadn't heard a thing (first rule is to not make eye contact or reward the crazy with any kind of acknowledgement).

Welcome to my life.