That’s everything I’ve eaten today. I don’t normally eat this much garbage at once, but I had a doctor’s appointment this morning, and I need to get all my crap eating in now before my blood test results come back and my doctor drives over to my house, holds me down, and force feeds me Lipitor. For the past year, I’ve been telling her that I’m perfectly capable of getting my genetically high cholesterol down without medication, but every time she checks it, it’s still horrific. Then we have a conversation about whether I’m exercising (yes) enough to get my heart rate up (mmmmaybe) and doing resistance training (ha ha ha what?). I think she’s decided that I’m a complete simpleton because she keeps dumbing down this conversation. Today she spent a good three minutes explaining that if I go for a walk, I can make it a better workout by walking faster. Ordinarily I would object to having to sit there and nod my head as if these were fascinating and novel concepts, but seeing as how six months ago I swore up and down to her that I was going to completely revamp my eating and exercise habits and today I am ten pounds heavier than I was then, I can see why she’s started to slow-talk me. If we have to have this conversation one more time, I expect her to pull out the diagrams.
Why can’t I just have heart disease like everyone else? I ask for so little. Let me have this.
(Just kidding, Universe. Please don’t give me heart disease.)
Man, I’m hungry.
As long as we’re on the topic of foods I’m not giving up: Barilla pasta. This was a couple of weeks back, but evidently, the president of Barilla said in an interview that he would not be using gay couples in their commercials because — and this is where things get a little fuzzy, but it was something like, pasta = family, family = welcoming, by the principle of transitivity, pasta = welcoming; therefore, the gays should just get the hell out of here. He wasn’t that harsh, but what he said did have a certain Michael Scott quality to it. His basic point was that he felt that he would lose more customers than he’d gain, and therefore he wasn’t going to do it. He didn’t say he personally had any animosity towards gay people or that he himself was opposed to gay marriage; he was just saying, “hey, here’s a business decision I’m making. It’s kind of backwards, but whatever.” And possibly he does hate gay people; I have no idea.
(Eating other half of Ding Dong now. It is time.)
(I think they’re making these smaller now. What the hell, Hostess?)
Here’s the thing. If President Barilla (I don’t think that’s his name, but I don’t have the energy to look it up because did you see the part above where all I’ve eaten today is a bunch of sugar?) were donating profits from his company or his own personal money earned from his company to anti-gay groups (or any other group that I fundamentally disagree with on a philosophical, political, or ethical level), then absolutely I wouldn’t buy Barilla pasta. But if I start basing my purchasing decisions solely on whether or not the CEO thinks bigoted thoughts, then I’m not going to be able to buy much of anything ever. I mean really, when was the last time you heard someone say, “I wish everyone could be as progressive and broad-minded as the executives of large corporations!” Moreover, if I’m going to take a stand on Barilla pasta, then in order not to be a huge hypocrite, I would need to find out how all the other pasta company CEOs feel about things. Maybe President Ronzoni is anti-choice. Perhaps the Duke of De Cecco favors a return to anti-miscegenation laws. Possibly Sir Golden Grain voted for Romney. I don’t want to conduct a congressional confirmation hearing; I just want to eat spaghetti and meatballs. The fatty beef kind of meatballs, not that ground turkey nonsense.
In Which I Tell You Everything That Happened But Not What It Means Because I Do Not Know Or, In Other Words, SPOILER ALERT
I finally went to Grocery Outlet last week, and it was just as depressing as I had hoped. I don’t like to leave a sad store without buying anything because that only makes them more sad, but I also didn’t want to buy any of their heirloom vegetables because by “heirloom,” they clearly meant that the lettuce had been purchased by the original produce manager who passed it down through several successive generations. Instead of leaving in tears, I walked around for a bit and looked at everything, especially the hand sanitizer.
What I purchased:
- 1 box of Morton’s iodized salt, 69¢
- 3-pack of Palmolive bar soap, 99¢
- 1 Lindt dark chocolate bar, $1.99
What I wish I hadn’t purchased:
- The Lindt chocolate bar because do they not put sugar in those?
- There is no second thing.
What I didn’t purchase:
- Mrs Smith’s Frozen Apple Pie with a Sell By Date of May 2013. 99¢
- Spam, manufactured in Minnesota, but with a label in Japanese that translated as, “delicious meat can.” $2.19
- Fake Spaghetti-Os, called Spaghetti Rings, pictured on the label as being served in a disturbing brown sauce. $1.49. $1.49! That’s 49¢ more than real Spaghetti Os!
- The American on DVD. $4.99
$4.99 is a good price for a DVD, but I saw The American on April 7, 2011 and I know this because I started to write a post about it the following day, never finished it, and never deleted the post from my drafts folder. I’ve decided to publish it now, exactly as I wrote it that day, so that it may serve as both an historical artifact and as concrete evidence that I am a weak finisher. Also, I haven’t written anything in three weeks and I can feel how depressed you are from watching the speech from Brian’s Song over and over so I need to put something else on the top of the page.
Anyway. Here. Enjoy or something.
Last night I saw The American starring George Clooney and some other people who are not as attractive. I didn’t know what this movie was about before I saw it, and now that I’ve seen it, I still don’t know. There are several reasons for this.
1. There’s not that much dialogue.
2. Not all of the dialogue is in English.
3. There are subtitles for the non-English dialogue, but the subtitles are only about 1/4 the size of normal subtitles.
4. Also, the subtitles are white, which is an excellent choice considering all the scenes with snow and white stucco buildings.
5. So basically, I only tried to read the subtitles about half the time.
6. Even aside from the subtitles, I wasn’t paying that much attention.
7. I’m not all that bright.
So! The movie opens with a long shot of a small cabin in some very snowy woods. The subtitle reads, “Sweden.” Inside the cabin, Clooney is staring into the fireplace with a glum look on his face next to a woman who looks pretty happy probably because they’re only partially clothed and one of them is George Clooney. Next they are fully clothed and walking outside in the snow where the woman points out some tracks which she identifies as “illegible.” So I stopped the movie, and went upstairs to get a different pair of eyeglasses since the ones I normally wear around the house are old and at least three prescriptions out of date. In general, I find slightly fuzzy vision to be more relaxing because the world is an ugly place.
Back on the couch — my couch I mean, and Clooney and the woman are still walking around in the snow, and the woman says something about how there should be two sets of tracks. I still don’t know what kind of tracks these are. Maybe they’re lobster tracks. Lobsters usually travel in pairs. Clooney then takes note of the single set of lobster tracks, grabs the woman and runs toward a tree or a hill or a buttress or something as someone begins firing shots at them. Clooney pulls a gun out of his pocket and fires back. The woman says, “why do you have a gun!?!?” And Clooney replies, “in light of the fact that someone is shooting at us, I think the more pertinent question is, ‘why don’t you have a gun?’” Okay, not really, but that’s what he should have said. Instead, he stands there quietly and the guy shooting at him is all, “huh. That’s weird. I wonder where he went,” and steps into view, at which point Clooney shoots him dead. Clooney walks over to check the body, while the woman stands there freaking out. He orders her to go back to the cabin and call the police. She begins to run back to the cabin and Clooney shoots her in the back of the head. Suddenly, he’s seeming less attractive to me. There was also another guy who was with the first guy, and Clooney shot him as well, but I can’t remember the details.
Now, Clooney steps off train and makes a call at a pay phone. I stop the movie to check the DVD case to see what year this movie was made. Oh, 2010. Well, that’s weird then. A man named Pavel answers the phone and when Clooney says, “it’s Jack. I’m in Rome,” Pavel lets out the world’s longest sigh. “Heeeehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.” Oh, well pardon Jack for living, then. Pavel tells Clooney to go to a town called Abruzzo and something something something (I wasn’t paying attention).
Clooney drives to Abruzzo, and stops on a street where a woman is outside with a broom. Clooney gets out of the car and stares at the woman with the broom. The woman with the broom stares back. Clooney gets back in his car and drives away. That certainly seems germane to the narrative.
Sometime later, Clooney walks out of his house in Abruzzo headed somewhere or other. A priest stands on a street above him and watches.
Clooney sits in a nearly deserted restaurant, drinking coffee. There are 90 more minutes in this movie and at least 40 of those minutes will consist of Clooney sitting in a nearly deserted restaurant, drinking coffee.
Then a bunch of stuff happens, involving a vending machine, a prostitute, two lambs, the priest, and a whorehouse. None of it means much of anything.
Clooney buys cheese. Really. There’s a whole thing with him buying cheese. He spots a woman he seems to recognize and follows her to a nearly deserted restaurant where they sit at separate tables but right next to each other because that always fools everyone. He agrees to provide her with an automatic weapon that has the range of a rifle and a sound-dampener that will disguise from which direction the shots were fired. I still have no idea who any of these people are.
Clooney has dinner at the priest’s house. The priest is cooking stew, but it looks like dog food if you ask me. On the mantle, there’s a picture of the priest with a young man. Clooney and the priest sit down to eat their Alpo and the priest says, “oh hey, you should go see this guy Paulo or Fredo or Frodo (I wasn’t paying attention). He’s an auto mechanic.” Wait, what? Why does he need to see an auto mechanic? Oh, let’s just keep going.
Clooney is driving down a country road, stops, gets out of the car, and kicks the bumper loose. I think that’s a rental car, so I hope he got the insurance. He drives to the mechanic where he meets Frodo, who is the young man in the photo with the priest. They’re standing outside next to the car but go into the garage to talk and stare awkwardly at each other. After a few minutes of this, Frodo says, “So! I’ll just go outside, you know where we were before we walked inside for no apparent reason, and look at your car!” While he’s outside, Clooney walks around the garage picking up various metal things and has his hands full of Frodo’s property when Frodo returns inside. “Uh. Someone said I could have this stuff.” Frodo is, like, oh okay, cool!
Back to the prostitute. Her name is Clara and she lets Clooney kiss her on the mouth so this is how you know they’re in love.
The next day, Clooney is sitting in a nearly deserted restaurant drinking coffee. Clara sees him through the window and she and another woman enter the restaurant. She introduces the woman, but I didn’t catch her name. According to the credits, that woman is either “Anna” or “Hooker #3.” Clara informs Clooney, “Anna/Hooker #3 and I are going to go see an American movie. Anna/Hooker #3 is learning to speak English,” at which point Anna/Hooker #3 says, “I WOULD LIKE TO GO TO AMERICA SOME TIME!” See, this is very convincing. People who teach English always talk loud and slow. It’s all REPEAT AFTER ME: WHERE IS THE BUS STOP? I WILL HAVE THE HAMBURGER AND FRENCH FRIES. HOW DO YOU DO? all the time. And if a person’s English is not that great, English speakers also talk to them like they’re deaf. SHOW ME YOUR PAPERS? DO YOU HAVE PAPERS? WAIT HERE WHILE I CALL HOMELAND SECURITY. No wonder non-English speakers think this is how we all talk. Anyway, Clara asks Clooney out on a regular date, but he doesn’t catch on right away because he’s like, “oh, at the whorehouse?” and Clara says, “er, no. At a restaurant.” Later, at the restaurant, Clara gets all pissy with the waiter because he asks her if she wants sparkling water when duh! obviously she wants still water! So
That’s where I stopped. I got one word into the next sentence, realized I was only about halfway through both the movie and my entirely pointless post, and said, “aw, screw it” apparently. That was two years ago, so I can’t remember now what happened after Clooney and Clara had dinner in the restaurant, but just guessing, I would say that there were a few more scenes of Clooney drinking coffee alone in a nearly deserted restaurant and then a shootout and then someone dies. I don’t know.
I apologize for this post. Let me make it up to you by showing you this picture of George Clooney as a tween.
Today was the first day of school for kids in Seattle. I know this because the teachers threaten to go on strike every year, so for a week before the start date, there are breathless news stories about why your kids can’t read and won’t be learning how anytime soon. I guess the teachers decided not to strike because this morning at 8:00 AM, Cameltoe and Humpy’s son was standing on the sidewalk outside their house wearing a 40 pound backpack on his tiny little 7-year-old body. Unfortunately, Cameltoe and Humpy were also there, screaming at each other. Evidently, Humpy thinks Cameltoe is “TOO EMOTIONAL” and “DOESN’T LISTEN,” and Cameltoe thinks “WHATEVER!” Humpy feels they need to “TALK ABOUT THIS” whereas Cameltoe feels that Humpy should “SHUT UP AND GO BACK IN THE HOUSE.” Meanwhile, the poor kid is standing there staring at his shoes, which wasn’t easy considering that his backpack was holding him more or less in a fixed upright position. He looked so defeated and sad that I wanted to go out there and give him a hug and a Pop-Tart, but I don’t have any Pop-Tarts and also I am afraid of Cameltoe and Humpy. After a while, a car pulls up and Cameltoe and her poor kid get in the car, Humpy opens the car door and continues to yell at Cameltoe, Cameltoe continues to yell at Humpy, the driver (Cameltoe’s mother, I think) starts yelling, and then my furnace guy arrives for the yearly tune-up, which is why I was looking out the window in the first place, so I don’t know what happened after that.
Breeze, the abandoned orphaned foal, and his best friend Buttons, the stuffed bear.
I don’t know if you have Grocery Outlet stores where you are, but we have them here, and I’ve never been inside one, but I suspect it’s a good place to go if you’re not feeling sad enough. It’s probably one of those stores that sells slightly off-brand merchandise, like “Frenchie’s Mustard” or “Gif Peanut Butter” (and if you don’t pronounce it with a soft G, the manufacturer gets all pissy about how you’re saying it wrong). They even have their own off-brand muppets. I got a flyer from them and they’re currently selling a two-pound jar of grape jelly for 99¢. If this doesn’t make you want to cry, you have no feelings.
One time I went to Winchell’s Donuts and they only had one donut left. It was a maple bar.
When I was in law school, the building I lived in was owned by the school and everyone who lived there was a student. The apartments weren’t the nicest — they looked like the apartment Robert Blake lived in on Baretta — but this was San Francisco, and I was paying $600 a month for a place that would have gone for $1500 on the open market, so the two-burner stove, spongy carpeting, and steam heat radiator were a fair trade. One day in my third year, I was in the lobby waiting for the elevator and my classmate Rudy came in with several bags of groceries on a moving cart. This wasn’t unusual; we were in the middle of the city and usually had to park at least a couple of blocks away so people were always hauling stuff in and out on those carts. Rudy and I were friendly, though not what I’d call friends. We lived in the same building, worked on Law Review together, and took a few of the same classes. We would often make small talk about things of mutual interest, like the Restatement of Employment Law or Celebrity Deathmatch. On this day, I happened to notice that one of his bags contained five loaves of bread. Ordinarily, I would not comment on what food a person is buying or eating because I think that’s rude, but Rudy lived alone and I guess I was surprised by how much bread he was buying so I blurted it out before thinking.
“That’s a lot of bread.” I said.
Rudy’s face immediately went dark and he said nothing. I better fix this, I thought.
“Hey! Do you ever go to the farmer’s market on Wednesday?” The farmer’s market was held across the street from our building.
“Yes.” He still looked mad.
“There’s a baker there who sells bread.” Oh my god, shut up about the bread already. “I haven’t tried it, but it looks really good.”
He didn’t say anything, the elevator arrived, and we rode up in silence. After that, he was never friendly towards me again.
You never know what’s going to offend a person, is my point.
The mayor and city council have stated that the crime rate in Seattle is down, which is patently untrue. They make these claims with an asterisk.
“Good Citizens! Crime is down 100%!* Reelect us!”
(* “at the one house we’re talking about. Last year, it was burglarized. This year it was not. 100% reduction in crime! Reelect Mayor McGinn! He shares your views! Whatever they are! He will change his views to your views! To all of your opposing views! He agrees with all of you!”)
The overall crime rate in Seattle has remained steady over the last five years, and violent crime downtown and in neighborhoods south of downtown is up about 7% from last year. Confronted with these pesky fact-like facts, the official response was, “That’s only if you count assaults. If you don’t count assaults, it’s only up 4%. Because why would you count assaults? Let’s just eliminate assaults as a topic of conversation.”
Last week in downtown Seattle, a guy boarded a Metro bus and didn’t pay. The driver said, “hey, you have to pay,” and the passenger said, “naaaaah.” So the driver said, “no, really. You have to pay.” So the passenger shot him in the face.
Then there was this guy:
He was fun.
A few days before that, there was a report of some dude just walking around downtown punching random people in the face.
These are just the incidents I’ve heard about in the last three weeks or so. According to The Seattle Times, which used to be a newspaper I think, there were 119 reported incidents downtown over the past month, meaning about four per day. This is why I do my shopping at the mall.
You are probably wondering what the police department is doing about this. I am so glad I pretended you asked! I actually don’t know. But I’m going to guess … nothing? Yeah, let’s go with nothing. Not that they’re not busy, mind you. Yesterday, they ran “Operation Orange Fingers,” in which they gave out bags of Doritos at Hempfest, the annual festival for the mush-mouthed, slow-witted segment of our citizenry that favors smoking it up over things like non-inertia or speaking in coherent sentences. You might think I’m making this up, but you would be incorrect.
Supposedly, this was meant to educate the Hempfest attendees on what is and isn’t allowed since Initiative 502, legalizing recreational marijuana use in Washington, passed last fall. It was an excellent plan, really, because as I recall from high school, it was the stoners who were always the most interested in education. The SPD enriched the minds of Hempfest attendees via a sticker on each bag of Doritos and a sense of humor the likes of which you haven’t seen since, well, since high school, when your “cool” teacher would talk like a Conehead.
Photo: Graham Johnson, KIRO7
They say no tax dollars were used, but really that’s the least of the problems there. The apostrophes alone are an affront to society.
To add another layer of stupidity to the whole thing, there was this:
Please ignore maliciously false reports that we're giving out Bugles at @seattlehempfest .We would never, ever do that.
— Seattle Police Dept. (@SeattlePD) August 14, 2013
All righty then.
Despite rampant public smoking, selling, giving, and dear lord, shotgunning at Hempfest, no arrests were made. Hempfest has been held every year since 1991, and the police stopped making arrests or issuing citations there about ten years ago. So the lessons are these: first, if you want to break a specific law, create a festival celebrating it as the Revised Code of Washington apparently does not apply to festivals. And second, you should probably not go to the Public Urination Expo. It’s just a bunch of guys peeing.
If you are someone who thinks about me all the time — which I assume you are, as why wouldn’t you? — right about now you are probably wondering what thing in my house is newly in need of repair this week. I AM SO GLAD YOU ASKED!
The new non-working thing is the air gap from my dishwasher, which is this thing:
(Photo ganked from the internet-at-large. I would have photographed my own air gap, but my camera isn’t working either.)
Question and Answer Time
Q: Is it supposed to be spewing water like that?
Q: What are you going to do about it?
A: STOP PRESSURING ME.
In fact, I have already done several things.
- I said, “Oh, fuck me, the plumber was just here last week. The plumber was here twice last week. Fuck. Fuck. … … … Fuck.”
- I also said, “God damn it” a few times.
- I Googled “dishwasher overflow thing” to see what it’s really called.
- I Googled “dishwasher air gap leaking.”
- I watched a YouTube video entitled, “The Diswasher Air gap – how to clean it and why it’s important.”
- I wondered if this was the film that all the fifth grade boys were watching while all of the fifth grade girls were watching, “The Story of Menstruation – how to clean it and why it’s important.”
- I did the first of three things that Internet Plumber suggested.
- And now I have to become Catholic and go to confession.
If you watch the video (and if you’ve landed on this page because you Googled something to the effect of, “why does that martian-looking thing leak water when my dishwasher drains,” then see my update below where I conclude that the video may be performance art*), which I am guessing you won’t because in terms of cinematic entertainment value it’s not exactly Ghostbusters, but if you do, you will see that the first of three things Internet Plumber suggested was to remove the cap from the air gap, place a paper towel roll over the gap, put your mouth over the other end of the tube, and blow.
Oh, so it’s like that, is it, Internet Plumber?
The theory is that it will dislodge any stray corn kernels or coffee beans that have lodged in the smaller tube in the air gap, but since I scrape and rinse all my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher (as should you because you know who says it’s not necessary? People who sell dishwashers, that’s who), I was pretty sure this wasn’t the problem. And it wasn’t, but boy was that ever fun. I can’t remember the last time I got to climb up on my counter, put a paper towel roll that I fished out of the recycle bin on one end of an open drain pipe and then put my mouth on the other end. And because I was worried that I couldn’t get enough air pressure built up in the long tube, I also repeated the procedure using a toilet paper roll, which was even more fun because your face is closer to the drain pipe and also you have your mouth on a toilet paper roll. Oh, what’s that Kate? You just gave birth to the future King of England and now your husband and nation adore you even more than before? Well, I have a corn-free air gap!
So that didn’t work, which means I have to go on to This is a Disgusting Task Part II: The Sliming. I need to go buy a bottle brush and cram it down the air gap, and when that inevitably does nothing but defile my new bottle brush, I will have to actually go under the sink to remove the drain pipe that goes from the dishwasher to the P-trap and clean that out by, I don’t know, putting my mouth on it or something. Incidentally, thanks to last week’s fuckwittery, I now know what a P-trap is; can the Duchess of Cambridge say that? Oh, she can’t? Well, then let me just laugh in a superior way until I break down into sobs of bitter envy. (I don’t actually want to be a princess; I just want to stop looking inside of drain pipes.)
So. Tomorrow is another day. I cannot tell you how excited I am by that fact. I really cannot tell you.
*SUPER EXCITING UPDATE: Well, it’s fixed, and without calling in Real Plumber and His Pleasant But Dense Trainee. But if you’re here because you are looking for instructions on how to clear your air gap, first, may God have mercy on your poor desperate soul. Second, welcome! Third, ignore the video I linked to above. I mean, you can do the paper towel thing, and it might work if you have good lung capacity and your problem is a small bit of food jamming up the works, but if that doesn’t do the trick, don’t shove a brush down the gap. Unless you have a very narrow, 3 foot long brush, it probably won’t work and you might damage the drain hose. It’s much easier and more effective to simply disconnect the drain hose at the bottom end and clear it out with a plumbing snake. If you don’t have a snake, a long stick wrapped in a rag would probably work too. It’s still gross, but it’s effective and relatively safe. After reconnecting the hose and before running your dishwasher again, pour water down the air gap to make sure that the hose doesn’t leak where you reconnected it. You can do it! I believe in you! (But just in case, do it on a weekday morning so that if things go south, you won’t have to pay a plumber overtime. My belief in you has its limits.)
More Things I’m Thinking About While Waiting For the Plumber Again (Alternate Title: Jesus H. Christ)
I said this in the comments yesterday, but when the plumbers put the sink back on the wall, they put it about 1/4″ to the right of where it was originally and now the bathroom door won’t close. I didn’t discover it until about 7:00 last night when I tried to shut the door and it hit the side of the sink and I said, “Oh really?” to no one in particular right there in the doorway, then I went into the living room and laid down on the floor until the physical pain subsided.
So now I’m waiting for them to return so they can move the sink back to where it was and I can stop spontaneously cramping.
Which reminds me, I’m commenting on my own posts now, in part to see if anyone is paying attention. I’m seeing more and more people complain that no one leaves comments on their blogs anymore, so I’m hoping they’ll all adopt the self-commenting thing and also maybe relax. I mean, yes, commenting is down, as is blog readership in general. I probably get only half as many page views and comments as I did a year ago — and that was only maybe 75% of what I was getting the year before that, as I stopped updating this thing on a regular basis quite a while ago — but I can’t say it affects my life in any way. Don’t get me wrong, I like it when people read and comment, but if relatively few people do, I don’t start cutting my own hair in front of the mirror and screaming, “You’re ugly! UGLY!” at my reflection.
Things have dropped off even more since Google Reader died and its users have decided that instead of finding a replacement, they will go outside and get some fresh air. I’m going to start publicizing on twitter when I have a new post, but since as many people find that annoying as they find it helpful, I may end up driving off the few, apparently super bored people who continue to come here. Bright side: as soon as it’s just me reading this blog, I’m going to host a giveaway for a Kindle Fire.
Oh, and as long as we’re somewhat on the topic of comments, I recently (well, six months ago, maybe) discovered that if your browser is two or more versions out of date, you won’t be able to comment, as in, you won’t even be able to type anything in the comment box. The comment box is just a rectangle at the bottom of the page to you. So if you want to comment but haven’t been able to, it might be your browser. And if you don’t want to comment, that’s okay too because I have a boyfriend but you can’t meet him because he lives in Canada.
Also, while I am thinking of it, some of you need to clear your cache and cookies. I just know, okay?
As disgusting as the Justin Bieber story is, the headline in which I learned of this most recent bit of grossness was hilariously efficient: “WTF: Justin Bieber Urinates Into Mop Bucket While Yelling ‘F*ck Bill Clinton’ For Some Reason” People were wondering if the restaurant employees knew that he’d peed in the mop bucket (and whether they’d later mopped the floor with the pee water, which depends in part I suppose on whether this was an IHOP, in which case it hardly matters because have you smelled an IHOP ever?) but based on the conversation, it sounds as if some of his idiotic entourage were trying to frame the event to some lingering busboys or cooks or whoever as A Moment To Remember, which I suppose it is in a horrifying kind of way. My favorite part of the video (go ahead, it’s distasteful but only 45 seconds long), is when one of the idiots yells out, “we’re the fucking Wild Kidz!” I mean, really. How afraid am I supposed to be of people who give themselves an ersatz gang name that ends in a “z”? They’re not exactly United Blood Nation is my thinking on the matter. “Wild Kidz” sounds more like the kind of gang Peter Brady would join. His would be called the Groovy Stepkidz, and they would terrorize their suburb by riding around on Schwinn Bikez until after dark and knocking on doorz to demand pork chopz and applesauze.
The plumbers have come and gone, my sink has been moved to its rightful place in the world, and my stomach no longer hurts.
I’m waiting for the plumber.
Where is the plumber?
It is 2:35.
The plumber was supposed to be here between 2:00 and 3:00.
Which, as everyone knows, means “no later than 2:30.”
Yes, it does.
YES IT DOES.
Okay, it doesn’t.
But still, where is the plumber?
PLUMBER, WHERE ARE YOU?
So, as you may have heard, I am waiting for the plumber. It’s part of the continuing saga, All My Shit is Broken, Who Broke All My Shit? Today, the broken item is a clogged bathroom sink drain. It was running a little slow and the eco-friendly baking soda/white vinegar option did nothing, so I broke down and used drain cleaner yesterday, after which it was fine and continued to be fine until about 7:00 this morning, when it stopped draining completely. I read somewhere that drain cleaner sometimes mixes with soap to form a cement-like block in the pipe, so I’m thinking (a) that’s what happened and (b) it’s something of a product flaw.
2:45 and still no plumber.
I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I want to move, which would necessitate selling my house. Over the last several months, I’ve been systematically, by which I of course mean haphazardly, decluttering and painting and repairing, but mainly despairing. I feel like I’ll never get this house ready to sell. Every time I complete one project, something new breaks or falls off or fills up with water. Here’s a thing that’s not supposed to have water in it: the space between the panes of double-paned windows. So why is there water in the space between the panes of my double-paned windows? Because that is the story of my life.
3:03 and still no plumber.
As part of the decluttering process, I’ve sold a couple of hundred books, for which I made the princely sum of 2 buttons and some string. I also found a pair of boots in the back of the closet that I purchased in 2006 and never wore. They were still in the box with the receipt and I got them from Nordstrom, which …
PLUMBER’S HERE! BRB.
There are two plumbers, which is two more people than I ever want to have in my house. Also, I think one of them might be a trainee, which does not fill me with joy. However, seeing as how I don’t want to brush my teeth in the bathtub, I’ll allow it. They’re going to be cutting into the drain pipe in the basement, which I anticipate will make a lovely grinding noise. Today is really shaping up to be something!
Anyway, the boots. They were from Nordstrom, which has such a liberal return policy that there is an unconfirmed, or at least only occasionally confirmed, story about how someone once successfully returned a car tire to them. I don’t know about that, but I do know that it’s generally pretty easy to return things there. Even so, I bought these boots seven years ago. On the other hand, $230. Enough debate! Let’s go to the store.
Me: I don’t know if you’re going to go for this, but …
Sales Associate [fearful look]: …
Me: I’d like to return these boots that I bought when you were in middle school. Here is my receipt!
Sales Associate [scanning barcodes and punching buttons]: How do you want your money back?
Me: Er … cash?
Sales Associate [handing me cash]: Here you go!
Next time, I’m taking them a tire.
Ordinarily, the 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays because it, along with Memorial Day and Labor Day, is one of the potato salad holidays. It is actually my least favorite of the potato salad holidays, owing secondarily to the firework noise and primarily to the glut of Lost Pet posters that spring up in the wake of the firework noise, but in the words of one of our founding fathers,
When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to choose between potato salad and no potato salad, the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God compel one to choose potato salad. We hold these truths to be self-evident. Nom nom nom.
– John Hancock
I’m fairly certain that Hancock was the kind of guy who, at holiday gatherings, ate more than his share of potato salad, although the historical record is silent on this point.
Anyway. I usually enjoy the 4th, is my point. This year my plans were as follows:
- Spend the afternoon of the 3rd making potato salad
- On the afternoon of the 4th, take potato salad to friend’s house
- John Hancock the potato salad at friend’s house
- Leave friend’s house early; come home and eat potato salad
Because this is America, that’s why.
However, it became apparent early on in the run-up to the third greatest potato salad holiday of 2013 that things would not go as planned.
July 3, 12:30 PM
I began making the potato salad (YAY) and got as far as chilling the potatoes when the phone rang (BOO). I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. I ignored the phone. The phone rang again. FINE. I answered the phone and spent the next hour and a half talking to one of my East Coast cousins who I only talk to about once a year and who every year slips further and further into mental illness.
July 3, 2:00 PM
I finish making the potato salad and try not to think about the person my cousin used to be, and who she is now, and who she will be next year or in five years or in ten years if she lives that long. I also did that thing where you hold your eyes open really wide and don’t blink for like, an hour, because if you do, you will cry in the potato salad and have to throw it out and go to the store to buy more potatoes.
July 4, shortly after midnight
I was walking through a parking lot alone. I saw two women I hadn’t seen in 15 years and they said, “don’t let him see you.” Just then I saw a car that looked like this:
except it was pink, had tinted windows, was filled with smoke, and was being driven by Satan. Oh. I was having a nightmare. I guess I should have mentioned that. Satan gets out, and it turns out Satan is the lawyer I worked for in my first job out of law school. He says, “MWAH HAH HAH!” and I start to run, but because I am barefoot and he is wearing Ferragamo shoes on his cloven hooves (he’s evil, but dresses really well), I know he’s going to catch me. I woke up before he caught up to me, and I decided to stay awake just in case dreams are real and I really did work for Satan 15 years ago and now he was back to claim my soul and take it with him to back to hell (or San Bruno, which is similar in many ways), and you would too if you’d ever worked for this guy. OH HELL NO. I just looked him up on the State Bar website and he’s a judge now. That is so very wrong, I can’t even tell you how much.
July 4, 11:00 AM
I went out to the alley to bring in the trash can and compost bin after the collection trucks went through. Hey, things are looking up. Not only did they not delay trash collection because of the holiday, they actually got here early for once. It’s a Potato Salad Nation’s Birthday Miracle!
When I looked inside the compost bin I saw … maggots. There were maggots in the compost bin. Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Some combination of food waste and the recent heat wave and me evidently shutting a fly in the bin at some point created this most disgusting turn of events.
So I spent the next, I don’t know, two hours maybe, spraying insecticide in the bin, waiting for the maggots to die, drowning their little maggoty corpses, dumping out the water in the alley behind my neighbor’s house (WHAT? He flicks cigarette butts into my yard! I owe him nothing!), filling up the bin with soapy water, dumping out the soapy water, staring fearfully into the bottom of the bin, lather, rinse, repeat. I’m sure I appeared quite insane, but I don’t care because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Then I threw away my gloves, came inside, showered, washed my hair, washed the clothes I’d been wearing, and ran a bleach and hot water cycle through the washing machine because gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Thus, I am not feeling very festive. I’ve decided to stay home, and in fact I might not even eat any potato salad today, so I think you see how serious this is oh who am I kidding, I will eat that potato salad until I have a chive and mayonnaise headache and we all know it. Potato salad makes everything better. Or, as another of our founding fathers stated,
Where potato salad dwells, there is my country.
– Benjamin Franklin
I’m checking to see how long it takes The Old Reader and CommaFeed to retrieve feed updates. I’m going to delete this post as soon as I get my answer, so if you’ve ever wanted to leave a comment calling me a ho or anything, THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.
I went to Target the other day and bought approximately one million things, distributed among seven separate store-provided Target bags. After carefully examining my receipt for errors, because I am your grandma now, I attempted to take the things to my car. As I wheeled the cart through the theft detectors, they started dinging and I instinctively backed up into the store. I know that when you know you’re innocent you’re supposed to just sail through the door on the theory that store employees will respect that, but I am a person of many anxieties and I know that there is no tyranny like the tyranny of a person wearing khakis and a name badge.
Before I finish this fascinating story, I need to back up and tell you that when I was in high school I worked at Sears, Where America Shops, or at least Where America Used To Shop Before There Were Target Stores. For the first few months that I worked there, I would often look up from whatever I was doing (typically, what I was doing was standing around pretending not to notice customers) to see that one of the three security guards was staring at me with narrowed eyes. Sometimes, two of the three security guards would be staring at me with narrowed eyes and talking to each other out of the corners of their mouths so as not to take their narrowed eyes off me. After I’d been there maybe four or five months, I was transferred to the Boys Wear department, where I stayed for the next year and a half, selling many many pairs of Toughskin jeans, Superman Underoos, and t-shirts that said either, “Who Shot J.R.?” or “Hey HEY Hey, What’s Happening!”
As an aside, before I worked in Boys Wear, I was a floater, working in whichever department needed an extra person. However, Sears did not call us floaters; instead they called us The Flying Squad. The Flying Squad. Because going home smelling like a corn dog isn’t humiliating enough, I guess.
At any rate, after I began working in Boys Wear, the three security guards stopped staring at me with deep suspicion. In fact, because they had to walk through Boys Wear when going to and from the security office, which was located in the back of our department, they often would stop and chat with me, all friendly-like. Come to think of it, they did that pretty much every day! Friendship! One day, after having one of my three daily friendly conversations with them, I noticed there was a $20 bill folded up on the floor near the register. Being alone in the department, I called Mary in Personnel and told her I wasn’t sure if a customer dropped it or if I had dropped it out of the till when making change.
“Could it be … your money?” Mary asked.
“Nope! Not mine.”
“Are you sure?”
“Because if it’s yours, you should just keep it.”
“Okay, well, it isn’t mine.”
Mary sighed mightily and said, “all right. Give it to the auditor when you cash out your register tonight and they’ll check to see if it came from the till.” Hmmm. Mary seems disappointed in me. Maybe she thinks I should be more careful. That’s probably it.
The next day, I stopped in at Personnel to find out if the mistake was mine and I had dropped the $20 on the floor. Mary, still grievously disappointed, wouldn’t look me in the eye.
“No,” she informed me rather tersely. “It didn’t come from the cash register.”
“Oh, good!” I was pleased not to be at fault. “Oh, but that means a customer dropped it.”
“So what happens now?”
Again with the mighty sighing. I think Mary needs a chest x-ray. “We’ll hold it here for 30 days in case someone claims it.”
“What happens if no one claims it?”
“WELL THEN YOU CAN HAVE IT!”
Thirty days later, I was $20 richer. Two years later, after I no longer worked there, I ran into Marcus from Personnel (formerly Marcus from Housewares and formerly formerly Marcus from The Flying Squad) who told me that everyone in Personnel knew the $20 story and the crazy surprise ending where I didn’t pocket the $20 that security dropped on the floor to prove that I was a thief.
I am a person who, historically, has inspired suspicion in others, is my point.
Back in the present day, I am in Target, setting off alarms. I look over at the cashiers and the people staffing the customer service counter but they’re ignoring me so I think that perhaps the dinging is unrelated to my trying to leave the store with a cart containing seven bags of things, a giant purse, and a coat slung over my arm. I again go through the theft detectors, again they start dinging, and again I back up into the store, assuming that certainly this time, someone will yell out, “SWARM! SWARM!” and I will be tackled to the ground and placed in those plastic zip-tie handcuffs should I make any attempt to take the things I’d just paid for off the premises.
Huh. Again, no one associated with the Target Corporation is paying me any mind. Clearly, I am being set-up. It’s the twenty dollar bill all over again. I go to the nearest cashier and say, “the alarm keeps going off when I try to leave.” She asks if I have my receipt, and I hand it over saying, “but I didn’t buy anything that would set off the alarms, I don’t think.” She barely glances at the receipt, hands it back and says, “probably your keys triggered it. My keys always do that. You can go ahead.”
For the third time, I leave the store, beeping all the way, and after I clear the exit doors, I hear the alarm go off again. I turn back and see two Target employees running toward the door and demanding that the black woman who exited the store behind me carrying one bag of merchandise hand over her receipt. As I loaded up my trunk, I watch as they meticulously compare the three items in her bag with her receipt before narrowing their eyes and telling her she can go.
You disappoint me, Target. You really do.
That was years ago. Keep up, people.
I’m just going to type whatever comes into my head. I’m sure it will be fascinating.
Until recently, I would type two spaces after a period, which is a holdover from the days of typewriters and Courier font. Even though I’ve been using a computer for almost 30 years, I’ve continued to uselessly type two spaces after a period until about three weeks ago when I said to myself, “hey, you can probably stop that now.” It saddens me to think of all those wasted spaces.
I was trying to find a picture of the first computer I used, but it’s so ancient that even the internet does not acknowledge its existence. It was called a IV-Phase and it was just a green-screen monitor and a keyboard, the actual memory part of it being located in a different room overseen by a guy named Al. It sounds primitive, but I believe the III-Phase was comprised of a stick and a rock, so we were quite lucky to live in the times we did. Al was our computer expert because his desk happened to be closest to the room where the vacuum tubes or reel-to-reel tapes or whatever it was we were using for data storage were kept. Al used to ask me every Friday afternoon if I had a hot date that weekend or if I had a cold date that I could warm up. And then he’d laugh a laugh that sounded like, “heh. Heh heh heh.” I don’t miss Al at all.
Part of the reason I haven’t been posting, aside from having nothing better to talk about than that idiot Al, is that I have found the internet to be exhausting lately. People seem especially angry these days. I’ll go online in the morning, intending to write a post, but after reading through a few blogs/tweets/forum posts, I find myself saying,
After that, I look at some cat photos and go about my day. There should be more cat photos on the internet is my point. More cats and fewer pissed people spouting off about things they don’t understand.
Incidentally, while I’m thinking of it, those of you who refer to your pets as “jerks” or “assholes” because they behave like animals, which, spoiler alert, they are? I don’t like you.
Since we last spoke, I was almost killed by prescription medication for the second time in less than a year. Excellent work, pharmaceutical industry! I could talk more about this, but it all falls under the heading of what my friend Marius terms, “I am old, please come and throw garbage on me,” so let’s just move on.
In addition to my decrepit humanity, my house and everything in it is falling apart as well. Last fall, I had to have the chimney rebuilt, which was okay because although it meant dealing with strangers, they were outside the house on the roof rather than inside the house trying on my shoes and underwear when I wasn’t looking. A couple of months ago, my refrigerator gave up the ghost and I had to get rid of it, as well as a few thousand unfrozen cavemen shrimp. Oh and the milk! My god, the milk. That was a day I won’t soon forget. Soon after the new fridge with its inadequate crisper drawers was installed, my dishwasher started making a strange noise but not all the time. So for now, I’m just staring at it while it runs, thinking, “please don’t be broken please don’t be broken pleeeeease.” Because that seems better than doing nothing. After that, the battery on my lawn mower went into semi-retirement. Being unable to decide whether I want to buy a new battery for $200 or a new mower for $400, I have in the meantime been mowing 3/4 of the lawn with the power mower until the battery is drained, finishing the lawn with the push mower, then collapsing in a heap because push mowers are ridiculous. I mean, I love the earth as much as the next person (assuming the next person isn’t Rand Paul or Marco Rubio), but I love not dying of a heart attack in my backyard more. Finally, I decided to tackle removing the oddity that is the wall paneling covering one wall of the spare bedroom, which a previous owner installed in roughly the year 7 BC, a year in which glue or nails evidently did not exist, so instead he used black tar. That was a fun surprise! I have no idea how I’m going to fix it, but I’m guessing it will involve hiring a professional contractor to come over, overcharge me, use my bathroom several times a day, and not finish the job even close to the day promised because instead of working, he was hanging out in my bedroom trying on my shoes and underwear.
I was trying to think of a happy way to end this post when there was a knock at the door. I think you know how I feel about that. I approached with trepidation only to see the retreating form of the UPS man. IT’S A PACKAGE FROM AMAZON! YAY! HAPPY TIMES! YAY! IT’S … oh, it the hose nozzle I ordered last week. Even so. It’s something.