Overheard in the produce aisle of the Safeway, where a dad was shopping with his 4-year-old son, who was sitting in the basket of the grocery cart and crying his eyes out.
Boy (wailing loudly): I’M NOT HAPPY!
Dad (cheerfully): You’re not happy? You’re shopping with your papa! What’s better than shopping with Papa?
A couple of weeks ago, I received a very nice email from Marius that said, “Dear flurrious, Is ya’ dead or what? If dead, no need to reply.” Those weren’t his exact words, but I was a lit major, so I know all about subtext. Shortly after that, following a long absence from his own blog, he started posting again, so if you’re looking for something to read (and the fact that you are here tells me you really are out of everything else), pop over and say hello.
Additionally, one of my neighbors (the younger of the two spinster sisters who live across the alley) recently knocked on my door to check on my alive status, although I think that was just an excuse. Now, first of all, I consider any unexpected knock on my door to be a huge nuisance. Because I know that two times out of two, it will be someone wanting help with something that I do not wish to help them with.
Example Number One: Several months ago, a young woman knocked on my door, said she had a flat tire and asked if there was anyone who could help her put the spare on. This clearly wasn’t going to be me because the one time I had a flat tire and no AAA, I couldn’t even figure out how to get the jack out of the car. However, even though I have AAA now and throw away their magazine every month to prove it, I also carry a can of Fix-a-Flat in my car, which is a can of goo that you spray into a flat tire to reinflate it, but then you must immediately drive to a tire place to get them to get the goo out or your tire turns into cement or something. Well, probably not, but in any case the stuff works, as I discovered one Halloween when juvenile delinquents let the air out of all the tires of the cars on my block. Anyway, I went outside with the woman and gave her the Fix-a-Flat. After much back and forth of her wanting to give me two dollars for it and me not wanting her to give me two dollars for it because I am trying to do a good deed here, dumbass, she finally took the can and said, “now what?” Sigh. Well, now, I guess I fix your stupid tire for you. As I’m fixing her stupid tire, I notice that it is completely bald. Not “worn down,” or “a little old.” BALD. No tread whatsoever. I said, “you need new tires,” and she replied, “I know. This one goes flat every month and I have to put the spare on and then take this one to get it fixed.” I’m sorry; Idiot say what? Her tire goes flat every single month and she doesn’t replace it? That’s her prerogative, but why involve me? I finish up with her stupid tire, wish her luck and head back toward the house. She runs to catch up with me and says, “what’s your name?” I tell her, and she thanks me. Then she says, “could I use your bathroom?” What? NO. She seems to understand that I’m about to figure out how to get the jack out my car so I can hit her with it and leaves.
Example Number Two: A few weeks ago, I hear KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK. Jeez. All right, already. I go to the door and a (different) young woman is running down my front steps. She joins her friend at the bottom of the steps; her friend is holding a bag of food from McDonald’s and drinking out of a large cup and, for some reason, jumping up and down in place. They both then take off running, down the block and around the corner. They seem a tad old for the “knock and run” gambit, so I figure something else is going on. A few seconds later, the first woman runs back to a parked car and tries to start it several times with no success. Then she runs back up to my front door and starts pounding on it. I assume that in addition to a non-running car, she also has a non-charged phone, so I open the door. Mistake.
Woman: My car just died and I need to use your bathroom!
Let us pause here for a moment, so I may state to the young women of the world that the bathroom in my house is not for everyone and express my appreciation for their willingness in the future to hold it. Pro tip: limit your caffeine intake.
Me: I don’t know you, so I can’t let you in.
Woman: BUT I’M GOING TO HAVE AN ACCIDENT!
Me: I’m sorry. I can’t let you in.
I closed the door and she went back to her car. I noted she didn’t knock on anyone else’s door, so at this point I’m thinking she doesn’t have to go to the bathroom and perhaps she’s just an inept burglar? Her friend reappears and gets in the car, then gets out of the car and goes and pounds on my next-door neighbor’s house. Then the first woman gets out of the car, yells something at her friend, and runs into the bushes in front of the house across the street. A few seconds later, her head pops up and she yells something else. Her friend then roots around in the back seat of the car and emerges with a roll of toilet paper. I am now completely at a loss as to what the hell is going on. Is there always toilet paper in her car or did they just come from Target? Eventually, and by “eventually,” I mean, “long enough that I suspect subtitling this portion of my post ‘Example Number Two’ is horrifyingly appropriate,” she finishes her business in the bushes and she and her friend take a garbage bag out of the car and walk in the general direction of the bus stop, leaving the car there but returning to get it in the middle of the night and I can only hope that they used the bathroom at their own house before making the return trip.
The point being: NEVER ANSWER THE DOOR.
Oh, but okay, spinster neighbor, who I’ll call M, is knocking at the door. She’s the healthier of the two sisters, so I’m worried that something is wrong with the other sister and they need help. At this point, I’m actually hoping that she’s there because she has to use my bathroom. As it turned out, she was just checking to see if I still live there. She mentioned that she hadn’t seen me working in the garden or hanging out any clothes to dry in a while and was worried. I refrained from saying, “well, you know, winter,” and instead said something else, I can’t recall exactly what. We talked for quite a while and it became evident that it was really her sister, S, who made her come over and check. Sadly, it sounds like S, who is in her late 80s, is slipping into dementia, and M, in her early 80s, is her caretaker but only because she’s doing better, at least for the time being. I gathered that S became convinced that something had happened to me and made M come over to find out what. M never said that straight out, but again: subtext. She talked about how S’s personality has completely changed and how while before she was the sweetest person alive, now she’s mean and bossy and says that one of them will have to move out. She also said I was precious to the both of them, which made me so sad because I’m not really anyone to them except the person who lives across the alley and chases down their garbage can lid when the wind blows it halfway down the alley.
As a result of this, I decided to give my mom, in her mid-80s, an at-home dementia examination. I asked her to tell me all of the U.S. Presidents, in order, since she came to this country in the 50s. Below is an exact transcript.
Mom: Eisenhower, but he was no good; all he did was play golf. Then the good-looking one … Kennedy. Then the tall one. I can’t remember his name.
Me: Johnson. Was he tall?
Mom: He seemed tall.
Me: Everyone seems tall compared to you.
Mom: Never mind! Then Nixon. Then … Carter?
Me: There was one in between.
Mom: Yes. The short one.
Me: I don’t think he was that short. He was kind of clumsy though.
Mom: His wife was an alcoholic.
Me: Yes! I mean, yes.
Mom: What was her name?
Mom: Oh, Ford. Ford was after Nixon. Then the peanut farmer. Carter.
Me: Keep going.
Mom: Reagan. Bush Senior. Clinton. George Stupid Bush. Obama.
So as you can see, the test was more extensive than required. I could have just asked who was president before Obama in order to determine that her mind is completely intact.
Last night as I was about to make dinner, the power went out. It didn’t go out in the normal way, the normal way being one minute power, the next minute no power. Instead, the power went out, came back on for a second, went out, came back on for a second, went out, and stayed out. I’m guessing this is what it’s like when someone gets the chair. I looked out my window to see if everyone’s power was out or if it was just my house, but it was early enough in the evening that the streetlights weren’t on and people weren’t necessarily home from work yet or possibly they had just arrived home and still felt too beaten down to turn on a lamp. So although the houses I could see were dark, that didn’t necessarily mean anything. I put on my shoes and coat so I could go out and look down the block. I saw various neighbors coming out onto their front porches and looking around, like meerkats only exponentially less adorable, which settled the matter for me. Before I could turn to go inside, my newest neighbor, whom some of you may remember as Cameltoe, came out on her porch and yelled across the street to me in an overly loud and panicked fashion.
“IS YOUR POWER OUT!?!”
“Yes, it’s out all over. I’m going to call City Light now.”
Then her husband came out to join her and she yelled in his face, “EVERYONE’S POWER IS OUT!”
“Okay,” said the husband, who I’ve decided to call “Humpy,” for lack of a better name.
“I’M FREEZING!” said Cameltoe.
“Well, come inside then.”
Check out Humpy! Being all reasonable and shit.
I went in and called City Light and after about ten minutes of listening to recordings telling me that the food in my refrigerator would stay cold and the water in my hot water tank would stay hot if I stopped living my life, a person came on the line and informed me that they were aware of the outage and that the estimated repair time was six hours. No use arguing about it, so I thanked her and hung up.
I made a salami sandwich by flashlight and sat in my cold dark kitchen eating it and enjoying the pathos of the situation. I periodically would say, “oh, woe,” in a quiet voice in order to make it sadder. Then I made plans for the rest of the evening:
1. Put mustard-soiled knife in dishwasher.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Wash face.
4. Go to bed.
Suddenly the power came back on, five and half hours earlier than estimated. I had a bowl of hot soup and then revised my plans for the evening:
1. Put knife, pot, spoon, and bowl in dishwasher. Push start button.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Wash face.
4. Watch TV.
5. Go to bed.
So as you can see, an evening with electrical power is extremely different from an evening without it. Also, I am reminded once again that I would be a terrible pioneer, though I believe Cameltoe would probably be worse. The first little sign of Scarlet Fever and she’d be all, “I’M HOT! I’M BLIND!” Sharing a wagon with her would be annoying, I can tell.
I ganked this from someone’s blog. I don’t remember whose, which I suppose means that I found their answers tedious. It’s probably a Facebook thing and everyone but me has already done it because I have no interest in Facebook, unless we’re talking about how Mark Zuckerberg’s sister is all upset because she thought she was posting a private photo but her brother’s philosophy on privacy is, “there is none, dumb fucks,” and instead of blaming the policies of a company that gave her a career and immense wealth, she’s mad at the people who saw the photo and is going around saying, “but … but … what about HUMAN DECENCY?!?” to which the internet has responded, “LOL and something about petards.”
Age: 49. Next year, I will be 50. 50! My god. I’m going to stop blogging before then, I think. Being a 50-year-old with a blog is like being a 30-year-old with a roommate.
Bed Size: Non-standard. My bedroom has a queen-size mattress, which used to be of the perfect level of firmness until I started edging closer to 50. 50! My god. And now I have the back of an old person, an old person who’s lived an evil life and is now deserving of no comfort. So instead of using the bed, I sleep on a stack of quilts on the floor and sing songs from Les Mis until I fall asleep.
Chore that you hate: Small talk with neighbors. Just wave to me and go in your house, already.
Dogs: I like dogs a lot, but I’m a cat person. Though if I had a farm, in addition to all the cats, I would probably have a couple of dogs, a donkey, a goat, a bunch of chickens, and a miniature cow named “Buttermilk.”
Essential start to your day: Coffee and internet. And because it’s Christmas week, a piece of pumpkin pie. I don’t care if it’s 6:00 AM, I’m eating pie.
Favorite Color: The “what’s your favorite whatever” questions are some of the most boring questions ever. Let’s all agree not to ask these anymore.
Greatest achievement: Earlier this year, I removed a splinter from my pinkie finger.
Height: It varies. It’s somewhere between 5’4″ and 5’5″, the exact measurement dependent upon how put-upon I feel at any particular moment.
Instruments that you play: I know how to play D and A7 on the guitar, so please contact me for all your “Michael Row the Boat Ashore” accompaniment needs.
Justin Bieber: I don’t mind him. The first time I saw him was when he sang the opening lines on the We Are The World 25 video, and I recall thinking, “who is this pimple?” but I guess I’ve gotten used to him. Having just rewatched that video, I have to say, he’s not even the main problem. What’s going on with Wyclef Jean? Is his Ear, Nose, and Throat guy out of town, or what? Then there’s Brian Wilson, who makes me sad. I feel like we should do a USA for Brian Wilson video. Also, in the group scene, who is the old white dude next to Jennifer Hudson? Is that Faison from General Hospital? I think it’s Faison. My favorite thing about it is that Jeff Bridges is there, playing the part of Dan Aykroyd. You know what? Just watch the original. It’s a million times better, and I’m not just saying that because I know who all of those people are. I’m also saying it because it’s a million times better. And because I think everything from the past was better because I am an old person. I’m almost 50, you know. 50! My god.
Kids: As in baby goats? YES.
Live: I’m not sure I understand this question. I live, yes. Well, sort of. I mean, I sleep on the floor and ate pie before it got light out, but still. It’s something.
Mother’s Name: Shall I also give you my date of birth and Social Security Number? Nice try, internet.
Nicknames: I AM OPPOSED.
Obama or McCain: Oh. This is an old meme.
Pet peeves: Vehicular? Tailgating. Everything else? Everything else.
Get the toilet brush caddy!
Or, no. How about:
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
– Plato, maybe. Maybe not.
Subway or Quiznos: Am I being punished for something?
Twitter: @flurrious. Unusual choice, I know. I tweet with about the same frequency that I update my blog.
Underwear: The sad thing is that I know I have talked about underwear here before. I have talked about my underwear on the internet. I am duly ashamed.
Vegetable(s) you hate: None, in particular. I find artichokes not worth the effort, but I don’t hate them.
What makes you run late: In general, I’m a punctual person. Not that I’m never late, but I always try to be on time, and I usually am. I find chronically late people rude because by being late they’re saying that their time is more important than your time, the subtext being that they are more important than you. This could go under the pet peeves question. Also, the age question because I am old and only have so much time left. I’m almost 50, you know. 50! You know the rest.
X-rays you’ve had: Mostly dental. Part of me believes that dental x-rays are a scam. I mean, a chest x-ray, okay, because your lungs are on the inside. But my teeth are right there. Just look at them!
Yummy food that you make: Potstickers. I use Ming Tsai’s mom’s recipe, but I don’t make my own wrappers because I’m not a fanatic. Buying a package of won ton wrappers is the reasonable thing to do here.
Zoo animal: Again, I’m at a loss as to what the question is. So instead I will pretend the question was Zappos and say that I do not buy shoes online, and I do not understand people who do.
I was at the mall earlier this week, which is always such a joy, but I was especially pleased by one of the food court employees. While my friend D was at Johnny Rockets getting me a lemon coke, I was ordering our food at Sarku Japan. Sarku is a teriyaki restaurant, but it’s not that fake sweet teriyaki that you get in most Japanese restaurants so even though it’s fast food, I find it slightly more authentic then a lot of places. Also, all of their employees are Mexican so I assume Sarku is taking its cue from Benihana, which actually does have reasonably good food, even though it’s an annoying place to eat.
Anyway Maria is taking my order, and I say that I’ll have “one chicken and one beef, no mushrooms.” So right off the bat, they’re not going to like me. If you order chicken, you get a ton of chicken. If you order beef, they give you a little beef and a ton of mushrooms, but if you say, “no mushrooms,” then they give you a ton of beef but they also hate you. I assume management imposes some kind of punishment whenever they serve a beef dish that’s not 78% mushrooms. Maria relays to Edgardo, the grill guy, that I want a pollo and a carne sin setas or whatever, and he starts cooking it, and then she tells me how much it is and while I’m paying her, Lorenzo comes out from the back and stands next to Maria.
“WHAT CAN I GET YOU?” asks Lorenzo. Maria seems to think this is normal and ignores him.
“Uh … I’ve been helped?” I say, as Maria hands me my change.
“OH, WHAT ARE YOU HAVING?” Jeez, does this guy even work here? I point three feet to his right where Edgardo is cooking the chicken and beef.
“Yes. And beef.” I briefly consider telling him I had oatmeal for breakfast, but I decide against it.
“DO YOU WANT DOUBLE MEAT?” I can’t figure out if (a) “double meat” is a Sarku menu option, much like the Double Whopper at Burger King, and Lorenzo still hasn’t figured out that the ordering food portion of my Sarku experience has been concluded, (b) he thinks I’m eating alone and seeing that Edgardo is cooking two orders of meat wants to know if I just really like meat, or (c) something dirty.
I look at Maria and she is staring at me with a completely blank expression. Clearly, when it comes to Lorenzo, her philosophy is “better you than me, sister.” I decide to adopt her strategy of pretending Lorenzo doesn’t exist, when D walks up with our drinks.
“WHAT CAN I GET YOU?” asks Lorenzo.
“I’m with her,” D informs him.
“OHHHH! ARE YOU THE CHICKEN OR THE BEEF?” While D was contemplating exactly what was wrong with Lorenzo, Edgardo was plating up our food.
“Get your food,” I hissed. “Go go go.”
The end. Yes, I know, but I never said it was an interesting story.
WELL, NOW I AM DEPRESSED.
(In unhappier news, WordPress’s new photo uploader sucks. Congratulations on your continued slide toward total unusability, WordPress!)
The winner was chosen at random and thus it is purely a coincidence that I won something from Mary shortly after I linked to her and told you all to go read her blog, but just in case other forces are at work here, have I ever mentioned that Toyota and the Washington State Lottery have really good websites? I’m not just saying that.
At any rate, this is a great book and I’ve already picked out a few recipes that I’m going to use to make Christmas cookies for friends and neighbors, which is something I haven’t done since … let’s see now, never. I’ve never made Christmas cookies for friends and neighbors. (And by “neighbors,” I mean “old man who lives across the alley.” If the rest of the people on my block want cookies, then maybe next year, they’ll rake their leaves out of the storm drain once in a while instead of watching me do it twice a week every week all fall not that I’m annoyed about that or anything.)
In preparation for the Festival of Holiday Baking 2012, I purchased these cookie cutters so I can make ninjabread men:
because it’s not Christmas until someone gets a beat down.
So I have the cookbook, I have the cookie cutters, and yesterday I discovered that I have cream of tartar. Why? No one knows. What I don’t have is butter. I was in the store yesterday and meant to buy a ridiculous amount of butter because (a) cookie-baking and (b) butter was on sale and God knows I love a good sale. But then I got flustered and forgot.
As you may or may not recall, I have contentious relationships with butchers all over this city, with the exception of the butcher at my neighborhood grocery store, whom I refer to as the Billy Idol butcher because of his spiky unnaturally blond hair. You may also recall that I have a little crush on the Billy Idol butcher for reasons having to do with unseasoned ground turkey. It’s a boring story so I won’t tell it again; besides, if you really cared about me, you would remember everything I’ve ever said, even the stuff about my boring dentist. I haven’t seen the Billy Idol butcher for months, so I assumed he’d moved on to a job cattle ranching or at the slaughterhouse or possibly even something non-meat related. And honestly, I was relieved because when I’m around guys I have a little crush on I tend to get extra dull and rude. No, I’ve never married, why do you ask? So, yesterday, I’m in the meat department looking for a package of chicken thighs that contains fewer than 25 chicken thighs because I’m not a wolverine for God’s sake, when I spot the biggest turkey drumstick I’ve ever seen. It was a single drumstick weighing two and a half pounds.
Me: Jeez, look at this turkey drumstick!
Elderly Chinese Man [giving me the side eye]: …
Me: It’s huge!
Elderly Chinese Man [staring at me with open hostility]: …
Me: This is the biggest drumstick I’ve ever seen!
Elderly Chinese Man [walking away]: …
Disembodied Voice: Yep, 30 pound turkey.
Me [continuing to gape at turkey leg]: It looks like a sheep’s leg.
Disembodied Voice: Pterodactyl leg!
Me: GODZILLA L… [turning toward Disembodied Voice, discovering who it belongs to]
OMG THE BILLY IDOL BUTCHER [smiling, quizzical expression on face]: … ?
Me: It’s big. [quickly wheels cart away]
After that, I was too out-of-sorts to remember to buy butter. Oh, damn, I just realized I also forgot to buy chicken.
I tried to do the very first NaBloPoMo in November 2006, but I quit after nine days, shortly after posting a photo of my toilet brush caddy. A couple of years ago, I posted every day in the month of June, but I was obviously kidding myself. If it’s not November, it doesn’t count. Since I’m clearly too late to do it this month, I’m going to answer all the daily writing prompts in one sitting. I hope one of them isn’t “post a photo of your toilet brush caddy.” That’s been done to death.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Tell us your favorite quotation and why.
“Hello, I’m Jeffrey, and I’ll be your server this evening,” because it means I can eat without cooking first.
On a somewhat related note, I recently stopped following a blog because the blogger quoted himself in an asinine way. It was one of those allegedly inspirational “simplify your life” blogs so I was probably going to quit reading it anyway as sooner or later those people invariably suggest that the answer to all of life’s problems is color-coded storage bins, but he helped move things along by being a jackass. For the purposes of this story, let’s say the guy’s name is John Smith. Basically what John did was to advise his readers to remember some words to live by, then he set off a stupid unoriginal homily in a quote box, and attributed it to … John Smith! What was he thinking, “Oh that me! I’m so wise!” It would be like me saying to you that when life gets difficult, you should never forget the following:
Get the toilet brush caddy!
Friday, November 2, 2012
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Sometimes I think I would like to live in 1964, but more for the clothes and the furniture and less for the oppression and smaller portion sizes.
Monday, November 5, 2012
What are your thoughts about tomorrow’s election in the United States?
Get the toilet brush caddy!
Being a socialist, free stuff wanting, member of the 47%, I am of course happy and relieved about the outcome, but this election cycle was the worst. I didn’t think anything could get nastier than the 2008 season, but this one was exponentially more heinous. On the bright side, Trump, Palin, and Coulter made huge strides toward their ultimate state of complete ineffectuality and (one hopes) obscurity, and if that doesn’t prove that America is on the right track, nothing will.
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
If you were President of the United States, what would be your first act in office?
Self-impeachment. Seriously, people, should this country ever devolve to the point where I am President of the United States, my advice to you is this: emigrate.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Talk about the last compliment you received.
Someone told me I was the best! Right before that, that same person described another person’s shiny wide belt as the best! I have also heard her say that barbecue corn nuts are the best! So I didn’t get too excited about the compliment, as it was pretty much “I love lamp.”
Thursday, November 8, 2012
If you could have any job (and instantly have the training and qualifications to do it), which job would you want?
Even the mere idea of doing something new makes me tired. I’ve been working for 33 years. I just want to sit on my couch and read a magazine, is that too much to ask?
Friday, November 9, 2012
If you could change one thing about your life right now, what would it be?
I would have worn different socks this morning. My feet are super cold right now.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Where is your favorite place to blog?
Because you guys care about that, right?
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
I did do something brave once, but there’s no way to talk about it without being a self-aggrandizing asshole. It would be like saying that when life gets hard, you should remember this:
My feet are super cold right now.
So let’s just say that I haven’t been entirely worthless every day of my life, but on most of them, yes.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tell us about the best meal you ever cooked.
I have no idea. But since it’s almost Thanksgiving, I will tell you about Carol, my former work-friend who I hated, who told me the best meal she ever cooked was a vegetarian Thanksgiving. She invited her non-vegetarian parents and told them there would be no gross animal flesh involved (I’m pretty sure she used those words too, since she was often looking at my tuna salad sandwiches and declaring them to be “gross meat things” because that’s not rude at all) and they said that would be fine. Her parents came, they ate, they said it was all very good, and they didn’t complain that it was ratatouille instead of turkey. The next day she and her husband dropped by her parents’ house unannounced and her parents were eating a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner, at which point Carol started screaming at them because, well, because psycho, I guess. She also never celebrated another holiday with them again because: psycho. But now I can’t think of either Thanksgiving or ratatouille without hearing Carol say, “and that food was the best food I’ve ever eaten in my life and they had to ruin it!” by having different food on a different day in a different house. Or in other words: psycho.
Thursday, November 15, 2012
Tell us about your favorite pet.
Aside from a couple of hamsters, a few goldfish, and a tankful of tropical fish that all succumbed to ichthyophthirius because I was an 11-year-old and giving a tankful of tropical fish to an 11-year-old is not good thinking, I’ve only had two cats as pets. Their lives did not overlap, and thus I can say with complete truthfulness that they were each the best cat in the world. I lost one in 1980 and the other in 2011 and I’ll never not miss both of their sweet little faces.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Would you buy your dream house if the price was right BUT you also were told it was inhabited by ghosts?
Not to belabor the obvious, but if it’s inhabited by ghosts, then by definition it’s not my dream house. It’s not like I sit around in my current house wishing that I had a bigger kitchen, more closet space, and the shadowy forms of the restless souls of the dead flicking the lights on and off. On the other hand, if it’s a friendly ghost, like Casper or that sea captain in The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, then I would probably be okay with it, assuming there’s also an eat-in kitchen with a center island.
Monday, November 19, 2012
If you had to get locked in some place (book store, amusement park, etc) overnight alone, where would you choose to be locked in?
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Talk about the opening of your favorite book.
I’ve said this before, but I don’t have a single favorite book because different books are important to me for different reasons. But if I did have one, it would be the dictionary, and the first word in the dictionary is the word “a,” which is defined in part as the first letter of the English alphabet. This would seem like quite the coincidence, until you realize that the dictionary goes in alphabetical order.
Oh, wait, I’ve got something (not really). I once mentioned to a coworker that I liked the book All Creatures Great and Small. I told him it was about a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales and he expressed interest in reading it, so I brought in my copy the next day to lend to him. When I gave it to him, he was all, “saaaaay, I happen to have tickets to [some play whose name I can't remember] and since you’re interested in all things English, perhaps you’d like to see it with me.” Okay, (a) just because I lent him a book that takes place in England doesn’t mean I’m interested in “all things English,” and (b) CRAP, I don’t want to go out with this dude. But my tendency to avoid conflict goes way back, so I said, “um … okay, I guess,” and went to see a truly horrible play with him. After the play, we went to a jazz club, where he repeatedly and awkwardly would go, “woo!” at the end of a set and then look over at me like, “yeah, I’m hip.” I thought the night would never end. For the next three weeks or so, I fended off repeated invitations to go out and finally I said, “are you done with that book yet? I’d really like to have it back.” He said, “I’m stuck on the part where he’s delivering the calf and has his arm in the cow up to his shoulder.” I refrained from pointing out that scene occurs on page 1. Eventually I got the book back, but I had to keep it away from my other books until it recovered from being in the same house as a bottle of Drakkar Noir.
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Where is your favorite place to read?
This is quite possibly the least interesting question on the internet.
Thursday, November 22, 2012
When was the last time that you cried? Why?
I cry all the time so you can’t go by me, but the other morning I was watching a news segment where a group of people were getting sworn in as American citizens by Janet Napolitano and that made me all teary-eyed. It also made me laugh because when they got to the part of the oath where they had to agree to bear arms on behalf of the United States, the camera cut to a little old lady from Thailand whose face bore the expression, “jigga what?”
Friday, November 23, 2012
What is the hardest word for you to say?
I had a few qualms just now with “jigga,” but eventually I decided it was probably okay.
Monday, November 26, 2012
Do you speak more than one language? How did you learn the additional languages?
English (as you know, I am interested in all things English), enough Japanese to ask a question but not enough to understand the answer, and I know how to say that I have a broken leg in French.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
If you could instantly know any language in the world, which one would it be?
FORTRAN. Wait, is FORTRAN still a thing?
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Tell us about the worst trip you ever took.
Thursday, November 29, 2012
Tell us about three new blogs you found this year.
chew the fat. Mary’s writing is part food blog and part memoir. She focuses on baking, which I don’t do all that often unless it involves hitting a can on the edge of the counter and having biscuits pop out, but her blog is a favorite of mine because she’s such a good storyteller. She also does an occasional food personality quiz, in which she determines who you are by what kind of cereal or Halloween candy you prefer. I found the peanut butter quiz in particular to be frighteningly accurate.
Between Rome and Paradise. I’ve been reading two of Abby’s three blogs for a few years now (and I would have been reading the third, had I known that it might include photos of pole-dancing squirrels), but recently she merged her personal, knitting, and gardening blogs into one, which I appreciate because I can only click on so many things a day. I do have to work sometime you know. At any rate, Abby’s got a brand new blog! Go say hello.
Tofugu. Tofugu is a quirky blog about … well, I hate to say about “all things Japanese” because it reminds me of a colleague who tried to turn “all things English” into a mating ritual, but Tofugu really is about all things Japanese. It’s about the culture, food, and language; it’s sometimes serious and sometimes just nutty. There are too many notable posts to link to, but a few recent post titles are, “It’s Hibagon! The Smaller, Cuter, Japanese Version of Bigfoot,” “Conquer Your Fears By Eating Them With Halloween Bento Boxes,” and “The Japanese Are Giving Everyone Incurable Gonorrhea.” I am also in love with the “How To Be A Baka Gaijin” series, apropos of which I would like to belatedly apologize to the people who were on the same train with me from Narita about all my oversized luggage.
Friday, November 30, 2012
What has been the hardest part about blogging daily?
It’s been going pretty smoothly, actually.
Just to complete the epic saga of my health woes, I had the CT scan and I neither have cancer nor the other thing I might have had that would have required surgery. And because the symptoms that sent me to the doctor in the first place have begun to subside of their own accord, it’s not looking as if we’re going to find out exactly what caused them. However, in the course of trying to figure it out, my third, unfired (YAY!) doctor ran a test that indicated that one of my internal organs is tired of working at 100% so it’s not going to anymore. I’m not in dire condition or anything, but at some point I will need to go on medication and stay on it for the rest of my life. My current insurance plan doesn’t cover it, so it’s likely I’ll also have to change insurance plans, assuming that will be an option.
The reason I don’t now and might not later have the option of changing plans is because I now have a pre-existing condition. See how that works? Even if you have insurance, you shouldn’t use it because if you use it, your doctor might find something, and if your doctor finds something, then you could become uninsurable. If Obama is reelected, the Affordable Care Act will take full effect in 15 months and once it does, all opposition to it will vanish because even people who hate Obama will find they actually like not going bankrupt due to medical bills and then dying anyway. So in that event, I’ll probably be okay, at least in terms of being able to maintain insurance coverage or obtain different coverage. If Romney is elected, then it gets more complicated. He says he’s going to repeal the ACA on day one of his presidency, but he also says he’s going to sit down with a bipartisan group of senators and house members and solve all our nation’s problems on day one. I am pretty sure he’s also going to spend a good portion of day one walking around the West Wing shouting, “I AM KING! ALL BOW TO THE KING!” so, you know. Busy day.
A couple of things: Romney can’t repeal the ACA by himself. I think he’s confused about the limits of executive power. It’s a little like 2008 when Sarah Palin said as Vice-President, she’d be in charge of the Senate and if she wanted to, she could “get in there and make a lot of good policy changes.” And then all the third-graders of the world replied, “uh, no you can’t.” What Romney can and will likely do is issue waivers to each state saying that they can ignore the ACA, and then chip away at the law over a period of time, leaving in place the portions of it that are good for insurance companies but bad for all the regular people who have a weird mole that needs to be looked at.
But hey, congratulations to Mitt on winning the first debate! Also, condolences to Mitt on losing his pants in a fire.
My fellow Democrats have been spinning for a couple of days as to why Obama did poorly in the debate. Some people say he wasn’t prepared for how blatantly Romney lied from start to finish. Others say he was playing Rope-a-Dope and forcing Romney to commit to claims that either contradicted earlier claims or that he would undoubtedly contradict later (all of which has happened, but it’s not as if this is new; this has been going on for months). A couple of morons even said he was feeling down and distracted because he had to spend his 20th anniversary looking at Mitt’s orange face. Comforting theories, I’m sure, but come on. Barack lost the debate. You can say it. It’s okay. He’s still a good person.
Immediately after the debate, I was depressed. Mainly because Obama tanked it, but also because I was promised zingers and the ensuing awkwardness thereof but they were few and far-between, not to mention lame. I think Romney saying that Obama believes in “trickle-down government” was supposed to be a zinger, but as a concept it doesn’t even make any sense. It’s like Michael Scott’s vision of doing improv with Robin Williams and responding to “nanu nanu” with “blibity bloo blah.” Likewise, “you’re entitled to your own house and your own plane, but not your own facts,” was dumb and forced, but worse, Obama let him off the hook by not saying, “well, how about food and health care, am I entitled to those? Or would that make me a victim?” Though I did enjoy when Mitt basically said his five sons were all liars. I like to think that later on the campaign plane, his sons were screaming at him, “from you, dad! We learned it from watching you!”
Anyway, I feel better now. Partly because I realized that while a majority of people who watched the debate believe Romney won, that doesn’t mean a lot in terms of the election itself. After all, I think Romney won the debate, but it’s not as if I’d ever vote for him. But mainly I feel better because in the ensuing days, Romney’s been popping the buttons on his shirt with pride, which cracks me up. You won the debate, Mitt. You still suck. You know who else won the first debate against an incumbent? John Kerry. Also? Walter Mondale. And yet I do not predict that their pictures will ever be on money.
Despite all his money and privilege, it can’t be easy being so awkward and out-of-touch and socially inept. I would probably feel sorry for him if he weren’t such a pandering obnoxious creep. Perhaps Tom Hanks can better illustrate the vagaries of being Mitt.
Mitt before the first debate:
Mitt after the first debate:
Mitt after the September jobs report showing unemployment has dropped below 8% was released:
When we last met, I was formulating a plan to trick my mom’s unsuspecting yet highly professional and competent doctor to accept me as a new patient. I spent two days practicing the request:
So… The website says that you’re not accepting new patients, but I don’t know if it’s up to you … If it’s up to you … I was hoping that … I was wondering if … I wanted to know if you could would take me as a patient because I need a new primary care physician. I’ve seen two other doctors here recently and I hated them and they were awful did they go to medical school online or what? they weren’t a good fit for me.”
How the conversation actually went:
Me: The website says that you’re not accepting new patients, but …
Doctor: I’m not accepting new patients in general, but I do take referrals from current patients or friends or family. Do you need a new doctor?
Me [weeping]: YES!
Doctor: I would love to be your doctor!
Me: ZOMG I WOULD LOVE FOR YOU TO BE MY DOCTOR!!!
I told her briefly what was going on with me ill-health-wise, and she ordered lab tests right then and there and had her nurse make an appointment for me. So that’s the good news. The bad news is that after my lab results came back, her nurse called and said I need to have a CT scan. It still could turn out to be nothing, but I’m not going to assume that it’s nothing because when you do that the Fates go, “oh? Confident are we?” and then consult WebMD (because everyone does) to find the rarest, most painful, least curable ailment to give you. So instead I have spent the weekend freaking out about my upcoming obviously positive (by which I mean negative) scan results and trying to get rid of all the embarrassing items I have in my house so that in six months, my family won’t be in my house in their funeral clothes wondering why I have Nancy Drew video games.
“CT scans used to be called CAT scans, and I like cats, so how could it turn out badly?”
– A thought I actually had this weekend.
Seeing as how the end is no doubt near, I was thinking I should have a bucket list, even though “bucket list” is a stupid term. Also, there aren’t that many things I want to do. There’s a lot of traveling I’d like to do, but I sense that if I were on my last legs, getting felt up by a TSA agent would lose a lot of its charm. Besides, I have a vague idea that Cher in the movie Mask got it right when she was removing pushpins from the world map belonging to her recently deceased son Rocky and saying, “now you can go anywhere you want, baby.” On the other hand, I don’t know that I particularly want to spend even a portion of eternity staying in youth hostels and listening to Bob Seger with a giant-headed Eric Stoltz.
Then I thought that instead I should make a list of things I’d never do again if I knew I were going to die. But all I could come up with were things like “check my tire pressure” and “clean the gutters” and since I almost never do those things anyway, there’s really no point in writing them down. I guess some people would say they’d never floss their teeth or do laundry again, but that’s gross. Even if you’re terminal, you still have to have standards.
But still, I feel like I should make some kind of list. Therefore:
Things I Won’t Miss When I’m, You Know, Dead
1. That Cottonelle commercial where Mom, Dad, and teenage daughter give various tasteless names to the process by which a person uses toilet paper and then follows up with an adult version of a baby wipe. In the first place, some of that process is unnecessary, and in the second place, I really don’t want to hear about how someone is “crackalackin’ clean” or whatever.
2. Pigeons. I feel bad about this one because I try to love all (non-human) creatures, but honestly, I won’t miss pigeons.
3. Making lists.
5. People who use the euphemism, “shut the front door!” Or “fricken.” “Farging” is okay, but other than “farging,” you should just fucking say it.
My pinkie finger hurts. I got a sliver in it yesterday and may or may not have been successful in getting the whole thing out. Now I am just waiting for the infection to set in because I don’t have a doctor and this is how things go for people who don’t have doctors. I had a new doctor in June but I fired her because she was awful. Then I had a new doctor in August, but I fired him because he was incompetent. So now I have a hurt finger but no doctor. I also have another thing going on that might be serious or it might be unremarkable but since my second fired doctor is — let’s say, intellectually incurious — there’s no way of knowing until I find another doctor.
See, the problem is that there are a lot of doctors who are accepting new patients, but they are mostly terrible (see above paragraph). If you want to see someone who’s not, you know, an unprofessional moron, you have to (a) happen to call their office on one of the two days each year when they will actually accept a new patient and then (b) wait two to four months for an available appointment by which time whatever is wrong with you has either gone away on its own or you are deceased.
Lest you think I’m overdramatizing, which I tend to do when one of my fingers is critically injured, allow me to tell you what my second fired doctor said to me after I had an allergic reaction to medication, which caused my blood pressure to drop to 12 over -7 and made breathing sort of iffy: “Wellllll … I’ll put it in your record that you’re allergic to this, but I’m reluctant to do that because it closes off a treatment avenue.” Yes, well it also closes off a death avenue, so please stop talking and start updating my chart? Additionally, he then decided my symptoms weren’t that bad and suggested some home remedies, which had already been suggested three weeks earlier by Dr. Google, the only difference being that Dr. Google didn’t charge me $515 and didn’t prescribe medication that reminded me I need to update my will.
I’m taking my mom to see her doctor (whom we love) next week and I’m going to ask her if she’ll take me as a patient even though she hasn’t been accepting new patients for a couple of years and she only works two and half days a week and I’m sure she’ll say no but refer me to one of her colleagues who is available only because he or she is no good and who will probably turn out to be my third fired doctor in less than four months. But the main thing is that I have a plan.
Hey, did you hear that America has the best health care in the world? So did I!
You are probably wondering how I got a splinter in my finger. Some of you have no doubt already jumped ahead to the comments section to ask so I’ll just tell you. I was sanding my front door in preparation for painting it. It’s just a normal-size and -shaped door but because I have to get all the old oil-based lacquer off of it before I can paint, I’ve already spent two days prepping it. Today I put on a coat of primer and then I can paint it this weekend. I’m spending five days on a 2′ x 8′ portion of my house. I really need to start drinking more liquor.
I also discovered that Home Depot, unlike Sears, doesn’t have pre-mixed cans of paint just sitting out on the shelves so that you can get in and out without interacting with anyone more than strictly necessary. So I had the following conversation with an Orange Apron Guy, in which I play the part of a cretin.
Me [looking at all the paint cans, wondering why they have no colors listed like they do at Sears]: La la la la la la la la.
Orange Apron: Are you finding everything you need?
Me: Yes. Well, no. I need some semi-gloss latex paint for an exterior door.
Orange Apron: Did you pick out a color yet?
Me: Uh. … Brown?
Orange Apron [warily, in case this is an episode of Punk'd, then patiently, the way you'd talk to a three-year-old]: Okay, first you have to come over here [indicates rack with a million different color cards] and choose a color. And then [checks to make sure I'm still understanding] you go over there [points to counter] and give them the card with the color you want [peers at me to see if my eyes are still tracking] and they’ll make your paint for you! [drops mic, walks away]
Me: Okay, thank you! I’M SORRY! Really … I’m sorry. My finger hurts.
Why do I have to get all of the splinter out anyway? People get shot and doctors leave the bullet in. Okay, maybe only one of my doctors would do that. I’m going to go rest my finger on a little pillow now.
I got robbed the other day. I was walking home and a guy came up behind me, grabbed the bag off my shoulder breaking the strap, turned and ran. He was with another guy, and I think they were probably teenagers, but I never got a really good look at them. I called the police when I got home and an officer came out to the house to take my report.
“What was in the bag?”
“Just a cheap phone and some peanuts that I feed to the squirrels in the park.” Oh, and the last vestiges of my sense of security, although that went without saying. He wrote it down and I said, “when they open that bag, they are going to be pissed.” That made the cop laugh.
“Do you remember what you paid for the bag?”
“Oh, nothing. I think my eye doctor gave it to me.” He laughed at that too, although now that I remember saying it, I don’t know why he didn’t just side-eye me. It’s sort of a strange fact, unless you know that the eye doctor was giving me a whole bunch of eyedrops and put them in a fanny pack provided by Bausch & Lomb or whoever. The cop didn’t ask for further details, so I didn’t elaborate.
“Do you need a copy of the report for insurance purposes?” This is where I would have laughed, except I was still a little subdued. Why yes, Officer; I have comprehensive coverage on all my nuts and legumes.
“No, I just thought I should … report it.”
“Okay, we’ll do an area patrol and see if we see some knuckleheads to have a talk with.”
And that was basically that.
One of the unfortunate aspects of it is that I only started carrying my phone with me on walks a couple of months ago after I saw a middle-aged weirdo riding a bicycle with a basket carrying a radio and a suspicious looking item in a garbage bag, playing Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” while miming chambering rounds in an invisible shotgun. Thus, I thought I should have some way of calling 911, should a peaceful afternoon go awry. When I saw the two knuckleheads running away with my bag, I realized that my plan had a slight flaw in it.
Weird thing #1: While walking the rest of the way home afterward, Monty Python’s “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” was the song in my head.
Weird thing #2: I’ve felt not one bit of anger over it. Mostly, my feelings are hurt. I’m not sure why that is.
Here is where blogging protocol requires me to write some meditative bullshit about how I still believe all people are basically good, but since I don’t believe that, I’m not going to say it. I believe some people are basically good and I believe some people are basically bad, and the key to a successful life is to structure things so you deal with as few of the latter as possible. You can’t account for everything though. Thus, the moral of the story is this: occasionally something bad will happen to you and you can’t do a damn thing to stop it, but if you’re lucky it will be one of those “it could have been worse” situations, though if someone says to you that it could have been worse, you will be somewhat disgusted by that person’s insipidness because that’s not at all a helpful sentiment, even if it’s accurate. Okay, so it’s not exactly the wisdom of Aesop, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
You know, in a perfect world all thefts would be as enjoyable and adorable as this:
Dog Steals Cabbage by crackrockcandy