Saturday, December 27, 2003

F-ing Terrific

So, there was some kind of big safety issue with a plane that left Logan headed for Chicago today. They had to make an emergency landing and jump out of the exit row doors (and that woman probably got Big Air just like in the picture the airlines provide...).

We fly out of Logan tomorrow, a.m. Eeeeee. And, being freakishly tall, we always sit in the exit row if possible. Double eeeeeee.

Now, if there is some sort of emergency, I would like to note that my method of "helping" others (others other than my traveling companion, the illustrious Sean) is to yell out "Follow me!!!" in the most encouraging of tones before leaping from the plane like a mad lemming.

Planes belong in the sky. I'm just sayin'. Hope ya'lls will all stay there, too.

Now, I have to get some sleep. If I can stop with the "Eeeeeee" for that long.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003


It's Christmas Eve.

Sean is in the office, frantically wrapping gifts.


Merry merry, everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2003

Making Cookies With Sean

Redpanda: Hmm. The icing hurts my hands. Maybe you should decorate.

Sean: (eagerly) Ok!

Time passes.

Redpanda: Err...what happened to this bell with the black dots and the green ringer?

Sean: (Holding cookie up to face) It's not a bell. It's a nose! And it has hairs, blackheads, and a booger.

Redpanda: Err...oh. What about that black tree with no top?

Sean: There was a horrible fire---

Redpanda: What happened to these snowmen? Their arms and legs are broken off...

Sean: We have some heroic veterans in our midsts. Landmines are a tragic thing...

Redpanda: What about this snowman?

Sean: I tried to make a mouth for him, but it got all messed up. So now he looks like a zombie. So he is an undead zombie snowman. Those are his guts coming out.

Redpanda: (Trying to look over Sean's shoulder) What is that one you're working on now?

Sean: No!!! This one is a surprise!!! You can't see it till I'm done!!!

And so, the saga continues....
The Cost of Pride

"Have I got news for you!", my recruiter exclaimed. "You're getting a 38% raise in salary!!!"

"Er...", I faltered, frantically plugging numbers into my desktop calculator, "that wasn't what we discussed before..."

It was all she could do, she insisted, so I darted across the street to her office to play hardball, far too nonthreatening in my tan cordoroy skirt, my soft ivory sweater, my chunky suede boots. Deep breaths. I assured myself over and over: you are worth more than that....

There was no hardball to be played. We went round and round for just this side short of an hour. "My hands are tied", she explained gently. "Company policy just doesn't allow for promotions of that magnitude. We had to hold a special meeting just to make you this offer at all. The executive vice-president had to sign off on it."

I blinked back the disappointment, composed myself. "But surely, they can make an exception? With a case such as mine, where I was so overqualified for my previous position, and so underpaid for my qualifications..."

She shook her head sympathetically. There were other very qualified candidates, she went on; there were still.

I interrupted gently, tossed my hair gamely. "They don't want those candidates. They want me. They wanted me from halfway through the interview. It's a great fit..."

"I know that," she countered. "That's why we went to so much trouble to make you the offer at all. But the fact is, there's nothing else I can do. The company just isn't going to change their policy."

"But," I began, "What sense does it make to penalize me for already being an employee?"

"Why did you take a position you were so overqualified for?"

"It was waiting tables to me. I was doing it until I found something I liked."

"And now you have. And it's a fabulous opportunity. You are going to help build a twelve million dollar program from the ground up. This is a pilot program. The entire country will be watching what you do with it. You have a chance to stand out, to be recognized. Are you going to give that up for a few thousand dollars? For 40 bucks a week, a little over a dollar an hour?"

In my head, I was staring at the floor, fidgeting, biting my lip, kicking my feet against the table, muttering "Not fair!!!". Outwardly, I was cool and composed, the graduated-degreed recruit who hasn't been snatched up by a headhunter only because nothing she likes has materialized yet.

She was right, of course. It wasn't a huge difference, dollar-wise. But it was enough to make me, in my mind at least, go from Valuable Potential Candidate to Bargain-basement Closeout. It was enough to change my mood from elated to deflated. It was more than enough to singe the hell out of my pride.

I'll sign the offer letter, of course. It's still a decent offer, still great fodder for my resume, still a job I can rock at.

But now, I just have one more reason to resent all those months spent doing the mindless data entry. Because they fucked me over. Somehow, because of corporate red tape, they managed to fuck me over, even on my way out the door.

Thursday, December 18, 2003


I got a job!!!

Not a crappy data entry job, but a Real Grown-Up Job where me soon-to-be supervisor talked behavior change theory with me during the interview! Yay!!!

The hours are slightly less than desirable, owing to the fact that my job basically entails outreach to working people, who don't really want to hear from me at work. And unfortunately, it's with the same company and in the same godforsaken South Shore city of Quincy.

But, it's a brand-new department, a brand new program that I'll be helping to design and build. And the best part, if I may be so bold and materialistic, is the 50% hike in salary. (Which perhaps could have been more, if I hadn't blurted out what I thought was a too-large number and received an eager affirmative reply...Dammit!)

So, again, yaaay!!! I knew it was going to be a good day when the shuttle from the T to my office was waiting for me and the driver handed me chocolate.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Long Time No Blog

I haven't had much to say, lately.

I'm not sure why. I mean, things have been happening in my life, just as things always happen in my life. I've been keeping up with everyone else's blogs. I've just been pointedly neglecting my own.

You'd think I'd have some sort of triumphant return, a bunch of profound profundities strung together for your reading pleasure.

Nah. Just lots of miscellaneous drivel.

So with that, let's be on with it.

I'm terribly worried about the fate of Bravo's Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It's the only TV show I watch. And now, it's been purchased by the evil gods of Network TV. I fear it will meet with the same untimely demise as MTV's The State, or worse, it will be aired all cleaned up for family viewing without a double entendre to be found.

Saddam has been captured. I do not care. Really. I don't think I could possibly give less of a shit. If anything, it has left me deeply disturbed for reasons I can't quite put my fingers on.
One of my big "issues" with the capture and resulting media dog and pony show is that I despise how the media has made him a scapegoat for so many of the problems in the Middle East. C'mon, people, Saddam's rise to power came about because of that region's economic and cultural conditions. He's not a demigod. And there will be a new Saddam as soon as all is said and done, unless some semblance of stability can be attained. (Which isn't going to happen. Peace in the Middle East? Is that anything like the Loch Ness Monster???) Geeze peeze, have all these people learned nothing from Heathers??

Not to steal Sean's thunder, (but then he IS the one who stopped blogging, isn't he???) but we have a new addition to our little family--a brand-spankin' new Volkswagen Passat! Unfortunately, because Massachusetts is a state of profound fucked-uppedness, we do not have the actual car in our possession yet. It's still residing at the dealer, waiting patiently for our tags to be procured. But I'm sure he/she will be very happy and enjoy many, many happy years in our company. I'll let you know what his/her name is as soon as I get to know him/her well enough to bestow a name upon him/her.

I actually had a good interview the other day. Not that anything will come of it, or that it will pan out in any way, but it was nice to have a good experience for a change. I spend so many hours in the drudgery of my crap job that I tend to forget that I actually do have intelligent things to say, that I actually am amazingly qualified for certain positions, and that companies would be damn lucky to woo me enough to snag me on their payroll. So there.

I'm still gearing up for the holi-daze. I've got a few more gifts to buy, but I think I'm in pretty good shape. My parents were good enough to mail me all, or at least the greater part, of the ornaments I've been collecting since early childhood. They're just great--so many memories! Some of 'em are more than a little shabby, and most are definitely not something I'd choose now (there's an abundance of rocking-horse and teddy bear-themed ornaments...), but I can't bear to part with them! So the tree is now completely decked out and blinking festively.

I've got a million plans in the upcoming weeks. There's picking up the car, the Return of the King on Weds., picking some Yankee Swap gifts, the Nutcracker, the art exhibit I wanted to see, meeting up with Fady when he comes to town, a bunch of miscellaneous parties and gatherings, and then we're off to sunny (with any luck!) Florida for a visit with Sean's dad.

If the world ever stops spinning, maybe I'll get a chance to blog again.

Sunday, November 23, 2003

I'm Thankful...

(Ok, I know it's a bit early. But still--)

That history doesn't always repeat itself.

That life isn't a spinning merry-go-round.

That the bitter helps you to taste the sweet.

That sometimes, in the midst of the bitter, you can still get slammed with the sweet.

That's all for now. I'm off to below the Mason-Dixon tomorrow night. If I'm not back before then, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving! And if you're good, I'll provide recipes for the Southern Maryland delicacy, Watergate Salad.

Oh, who am I kidding? Here's the recipe right here:

Watergate Salad:

1 package pistachio instant pudding
1 can crushed pineapple
1 tup whipped cream
1 bag marshmallows


Seriously. ;)

Gotta love the hometown.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Mystery Solved

According to the Q-tip on 'roids the doctor gave me a sound tonsil-swabbing with earlier (and not the kind of tonsil swabbing one likes, either...) I've got myself a nasty case of streptococcal infection, better known as strep throat.


That was a serious 'yay'. I've already taken the first dose of antibiotics, so I know (from my tons of experience with the infamous Mr. Streptococcus) that I'll start to feel better in a few hours. And I'll probably get more than 4 hours of sleep tonight. And there will likely be no more gentle moaning from a blanket pile on the couch.

I know Sean will be relieved. As much amusement as he got out of my pathetic, half-delirious ramblings, I'm sure he prefers me as my usual fully delirious self.


Thursday, November 20, 2003

(Sick) Day 2

So here I am, ridin' the couch yet again. It's rather apropos. I'm going home to the sprawling metropolis (ha!) that is Southern Maryland for Thanksgiving next week; and I always seem to get sick when I go home.

I am feeling better than I was yesterday, though. I'm sitting upright, and I have shoes on. This is a vast improvement from yesterday's gentle moaning while sprawled on the couch under 3 blankets.

One of the things that sucks about sick days is that there's no one to play with. If Sean were here, I could play cribbage and other fun fun games. Plus I'd have someone to fetch me snackies and drinkies. Now, I'm stuck getting my own refreshments and feeling sorry for myself instead of happily sucking up someone else's sympathy.

I did get some Pecan Sandies at Target, though!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Sick Day

The thing about sick days is that they're so great in theory. If you're anything like me, you imagine a long, idyllic day filled with things like comfy couches piled high with pillows, wonderful movies on cable, and neverending supplies of vegetable beef soup and Pecan Sandies.

When I was a kid, whenever I stayed home from school sick I would watch Disney's The Incredible Journey. And eat lots of Pecan Sandies. And drink lots of the usually-forbidden colas my parents kept for just such occasions. There'd be The Price is Right at 11, and shelves and shelves of books to flip through. It was a veritable paradise of Catholic School Avoidanceism. (Is that a word?)

Taking a sick day as a grown-up is a lot less fun. You know, the night before, that you're not feeling up to par. You envision calling in sick to work the next day, and all you'll do in its stead. You can clean the entire apartment! Go pick up your pictures at Target! Shop for some Christmas decorations at Pier 1! Get lots of nifty holiday stuff for the apartment! Send out resumes! Get 25 pay-per-view flicks and watch them all! Enjoy the neverending soup and Sandies!

Well, as luck would have it, none of that was to come to fruition in my case. I'm just a pathetic creature, huddled on the couch, sipping tea and diet coke and making pitiful snuffling huffing sounds with my nose. No activity for me. Although, I DID watch Open Your Eyes and some show about how Nevada prostitutes keep their marriages going. And I emit the occasional canned-diet-coke burp, which is always fun if you're into burp rating. And Sean did bring me both a pumpkin spice donut AND a raspberry white chocolate scone this morning. So I may live.

But I think I'd prefer to be NOT sick...then I could make some chicken gumbo...and shop for Christmas decorations...and...

Monday, November 17, 2003


Redpanda: "C'mon. It'll make you feel better."

Sean: *whines* "No..."

Redpanda: "C'MON. Put your head between my boobs and go 'Bbb--bbb--brrr'."

Sean: "I....*sniff*"

"C'mon! *jiggles*"



Redpanda: "There. Now don't you feel better?"

Sean: *muffled and grudgingly* "Yes."

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Snippets n' Blurbs

Moglia posted yesterday. Hurry and read it or you might not be caught up for his next post in 2006.

We went to Sean's mom's for dinner last night. Quite delicious. But I tell you, the woman is incapable of cooking for a mere 3 people. The menu (for her, Sean, and myself) included:

Shrimp cocktail
Pork loin roast
Garlic mashed potatoes
Roasted mixed vegetables (2 kinds of pepper, summer squash, zucchini, mushrooms...)
Fried Haddock
Tomato salad w/fresh basil
Fresh marinated mozzerella
Crusty bread and butter
Berry pie
Carrot cake

We won't even talk about the quantity of leftovers that's made it's way to our fridge...

Email me if you'd like the links to Halloween pics!

Not much else I have to say, or CAN say; at this particular juncture. Gimme a few days, and perhaps I'll have some words to string together for ya. Till then...

Friday, October 31, 2003

S'Been Awhile

Yeah, I'm too lazy to blog. Or too busy. Or something.

I've got different stuff to do at work. It sucks pretty much equally with what I was doing before, but causes less stress on the wrists. So they feel almost normal. Or, I can open cans and doorknobs again. Not always without wincing, but it can at least be accomplished.

There are about 27 parties this weekend that I'd like to go to. Obviously, I cannot be in all these places at once. So some people are going to be disappointed with me. That sucks.

It is absolutely gorgeous out. I love Fridays, my day off. It's really the only day I see the inside of my apartment during the daylight. I like it--the sunlight filtering through the windows, the orange and yellow treetops far below, the fluffy white clouds in the crystal blue sky...

It occurs to me that I just said I loved my apartment and described instead what's outside of it. Hmm. Methinks I should get out more.

Got a big week and weekend coming up. Ooh, how I love bigness. Really I do. And I mean that in as nondirty a way as possible.

I'm thinking that I should wear my St. Pauli Girl/Renaissance Beer Wench costume, complete with lace-up corset, every day. Sitting down would be nearly impossible, but isn't it worth it for gravity-defying cleavage? Really, isn't it?!?

I will be wearing said get-up again for my boys in Just Another Victim, who'll be headlining a big Halloween fest at the Kirkland Cafe tonight. They sound better and better every time I hear them. Or maybe it's just that I've learned the words to their songs and can sing along now.

Ooh, I've been gone so long that now my good friend and fellow redhead RW has a site! Check out the Netho link. It rocks, much like Kip Winger.

And that's it, for today...

Monday, October 20, 2003

Krispy Kreme - 1 Redpanda - 0

The marketing gurus at Krispy Kreme are evil geniuses, I tell you. Evil! Geniuses!

Friday afternoon, after a particularly annoying job interview experience, I decided that I needed the comfort of a warm, melt-in-your mouth sweet and gooey KK donut. Seeing as how I'd parked right near one, it was no trouble at all to swing by and grab one. Mmmm.

The place was nearly deserted, and I'm against drive-thrus on general principle, so I parked and sauntered in in my pinstiped suit, high heels clicking against the shiny linoleum. I clicked right up to the display case and gazed thoughtfully up at the menu. This was my mistake. Really, there was no need to look at the menu. I already knew I wanted a single glazed donut. The menu-looking was just for show, so no one knew that I had a Donut Plan. It was my pride; my hubris, really; that sank me.

You see, during that short time of menu gazing, a Krispy Kreme employee walked up to me and shoved a warm gooey donut wrapped in a napkin into my hand. "Sample, miss?" she asked with a too-big smile.

Well, now that I had the thing I had come in for; what was I to do? Say "thank you!" and saunter back out? Walk back to the counter with my mouth full of donut and order a single donut? How humiliating! Clearly, the only thing that could be done at this point was to order a dozen. Anything else would make me appear ungrateful for the donut offering bestowed upon me.

So that's exactly what I ordered. Let's review, shall we?

Donuts Desired by Redpanda: 1
Donuts Consumed by Redpanda While Waiting to Order Single Donut: 1
Donuts Subsequently Ordered by Redpanda out of Guilt and a Feeling of Obligation Brought on by Free Donut: 12

Staggering numbers, no?

Bastards. I ended up banging on my neighbors' doors and pleading with them to take some donuts off my hands before I singlehandedly consumed the entire dozen.

Bastards. Evil bastards.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

They're Dropping Like Flies

Chriz's Fingers is no more.

With that news, I wonder how I'll know that Chriz is actually still alive. Because really, aside from Mike saying he's seen him in the hallway; or Sean saying he got an IM, I have no evidence of that fact.

Which is, when you think about it, more than a little sad.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

A Sweet Life

The previous residents of my first Boston apartment were a sweet hippie/yuppie couple. They had 2 small, clean dogs that they'd walk together in the evenings. They had moved out of the apartment to buy a condo down the street. He had a gentle European accent, and rode a bicycle to work to help save the environment. She had flame red hair and was never seen without a hat and sunglasses. "What a nice life they must have.", my then-roommate said wistfully about them one day. I'm certain that they did have one, the very best kind of life. At the time, I was more than a little envious.

Now, somehow, I have a similarly nice life.

I'm still not exactly sure how it happened. I suppose it's been a kind of gradual thing. But thinking about it, it certainly did.

I'm sitting here thinking about tonight. "We" have a standing date on Thursday nights. We usually end up in Davis Square, eating huge yummy cheap burritos at Anna's Taqueria. Afterwards, we'll head over to the Somerville Theater to catch an indie flick. Or grab a latte at the counter-culture hip coffeehouse/pool hall Diesel. We walk hand in hand down the cobblestoney brick streets, chatting away.

And that's just tonight.

At home, there' s the new futon to finish assembling. We bought it last weekend for the guest room/office. We still have to finish hanging art on the walls. And choose a wine rack.

On weekends, I wake up first and start coffee. Sometimes, I make oven apple pancakes. We sip and talk about the world and our place in it, the latest Palahniuk novel, our careers.

If we sleep too late, the cat comes in and stands on us insistently, little paws digging into full bladders.

Weekday evenings, I usually throw together something for dinner. Sean is always endlessly appreciative. While I stir, he makes salad, opens wine, washes dishes, sets up the coffeemaker for me. I experiment a lot. Sometimes it's good (last nights' gooey banana-caramel cake), sometimes it's not (microwaved green beans). He usually thanks me anyway.

We bicker endlessly about politics.

He makes me laugh so hard my cheeks hurt. So loud that I snort. So much that I can barely stand it.

Most of my friends who live far away are planning visits. Making plans, booking flights. They email me all the time. We talk on the phone. We miss each other.

I've pretty much convinced Fady to move out here.

We pile into the car for excursions to Maine to get lobster, and end up at Seafood Festivals in Gloucester instead. On the way there, we talk about what kind of dog we want to get, one day when we get a dog. On the way back, we stop to catch a movie.

I hate my job. But the guy I share an address with says You'll do better...It's just temporary...Go back to school if you want to...It will be Ok... Hell, he says that on the days I can't muster any more optimism.

I'm going home for Thanksgiving. My family will hug and fawn and laugh and talk so loud it will all become a giant jumble. My mom will somehow have the biggest wine glass, just like every previous year. And they've already said they'll miss Sean. Hell, I'll miss Sean!

My friend who's planning a trip out here in November just e-mailed me to ask if we could go to my favorite sushi place while she's out here. It's Shino Express, on Newbury St. My favorite cafe/bookstore, Trident, isn't too far from there.

My favorite place to people-watch: Harvard Square.
My favorite bookstore: Brookline Booksmith.
My favorite Mexican joint/place for margaritas: Border Cafe.
My favorite place to shop for clothes: Downtown Crossing - H& M, etc...
My favorite place for Asian food: Fusion Cafe
My favorite place to find my center again: Forest Hills Cemetary
My favorite bar: Charlie's Kitchen
My favorite place to take out-of-towners: The Freedom Trail
My favorite Clam Chowdah: Purple Shamrock

I have a thousand "favorites", a thousand things I love and can have, and can do. A thousand things that make up a small life. A small, sweet life. And somehow, the contentment is gradually falling over me. Wrapping around and draping like a toga, spilling onto the floor in excess.

How did it happen? When?

Who knows? I'm just happy that it did.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


As I may have mentioned to some of your, it's "Customer Service Appreciation Week" around here. Ironic in and of itself, since we are instructed to refer to our customers as "members". Kind of like they call you "Associates" when you work at Wal-mart, so you'll gain a sense of ownership in the company. (Actually, come to think of it, we have a lot in common with Wal-mart...) This is to distract our "members" so they won't notice that, in reality, we are a money-grubbing HMO that cares more about lining its pockets than about getting them adequate health care.

But, I digress.

It's "Customer Service Appreciaton Week" here. So we get to take part in all sorts of fun activities! Friday is Crazy Hat Day. Yesterday was Dessert Day. Today is Chinese Food Day. I can't make this shit up.

Every day, there's a little game for us to participate in. The winner of each game will get a prize! Probably a company logo'ed beach towel, umbrella, or tote bag. Yay! The games all explicitly state that they are "for associates (See! Ownership! Just like Wal-mart!) to enjoy during our breaks, lunch period, or at home". This is a direct quote. Which I, of course, pointedly ignore.

The funny thing about these "games" is that they were clearly designed by someone who has no clue about the world-famous interweb and what it can do to help you accomplish speedy research. Yesterday, I had Googled myself to a completed set of trivia questions in 4 minutes flat. Today, it took me half that to all the definitions for the seemingly-obscure vocab words we had been provided with.

The sad part, or should I say the saddest part, is that while I do this; I can hear the people around me calling friends to help. This makes me want to weep into my company-logo'ed beach towel.

But dammit, I'm going to get me an umbrella.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

The Monkey Wrench

As anyone who has had the pleasure of reading a few posts on my blog knows, I am engaged in a perpetual job search. I've been trying fruitlessly to ditch my cubicle monkey gig and work in my actual field for some time now. I send out resume after resume, cover letter after cover letter. Or, more appropriately, I scour the internet for leads that would allow me to send out resume after resume, cover letter after cover letter. Usually, my search leaves me more or less empty-handed. But still, I perservere.

Well, now that's all coming to a screeching halt. Or, more appropriately, I'm contemplating throwing in the towel. For now.

First, there's the self-debate I'm engaged in about whether or not I should go back to school for another 3 years or so. This idea fills me with silmutaneous dread and elation. I love school. But it's always been so easy. And the field I'm contemplating would be HARD with a capital "HAR".
But anyway. A new job would make it a helluva lot harder to quit when it's necessary to do so. So that in and of itself has caused me to debate staying here for the time being...

But that's not even the "real" reason. Not anymore.

Damn carpal tunnel. It's worsening. At first, it was this minor annoyance. Then, after I had been diagnosed, I kind of wore it as my badge of martyrdom. See what this horrid job has done to me? Then it kept getting worse. Now I'm scared. After awhile, you forget that you used to be able to open your own jars, to turn the key in the door without wincing, to have nice handwriting. Then you suddenly remember one day and say to yourself: fuck. Fuck.

All the physical therapy, the occupational therapy; it helps to a point. But at the end of the day, it's more than a little frustrating to be told to "watch your salt", and "avoid carrying plastic bags" and "don't use spray bottles". Yeah. Because that's how I got here. It wasn't the 8+ hours a day of keyboarding and mousing that I'm still doing every damn day.

So, long story short, now I'm going for EMG's and they're talking about cortsone shots. And half-time work schedules.
That's a damn fine idea, if you ask me. But it makes it difficult to envision seeking gainful employ elsewhere. "Sure, I'd love to accept this wonderful position! By the way, did I mention that I'm only supposed to work 4 hours a day? Because of my last job? That's not a problem, is it?"


So now, the job that bogs me down, that's reshaped me into someone bitter and loathesome (some days, anyway...) has sucked me in a shade deeper.

I'm beginning to feel as if the Man is winning.

Monday, October 06, 2003


It's cold out. Nippy. Nipply. Chilly. Downright cold. And it's too damn early for that, if you ask me.

I moved to Cleveland just a hair over 5 years ago. People said it would be "cold". I flipped my hair at them and replied: "I like cold weather!"

I have never lived that down. Especially when I moved from Cleveland to anything-but-balmy Boston.

You see, I have realized something since then. I do like cold weather. Maryland cold weather. In Maryland, save for a scant few REALLY cold days, "cold weather" = around 36 degrees. It usually gets to be that way in December, and is that way off and on through February. Brr! So cold! So nice to bundle up in your heavy coats!

Well, it's only the beginning of October. And when I wake up in the morning, it's 37 degrees. And I wear my light fall coats. So maybe I'm slowly becoming hardier.

But please, don't ask me not to complain incessantly all winter long. That's a New England pasttime I instantly adopted when I moved here 2 years ago.

And, for the love of God, don't remind me that "I like cold weather". It's a good way to get something pinched.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Product Placement, Anyone?

I don't know if any of you have caught Bravo's reality show "The Restaurant", but since it's flanked on either side by "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy", chances are you may have. And it's just crap-tacular. Actually, Sean doesn't like to watch it with me, because it makes me just irate. Guess it brings back too many memories of my days waiting tables...

But, I digress. First of all, let's just ignore the fact that, by virtue of being what it is (a reality show about a guy opening a restaurant in New York City); it really is nothing more than a giant commerical for said restaurant in and of itself. Hell, we don't even need to talk about what an obviously shitty, clusterfuck of a restaurant it is. Let's just talk about product placement.

In the intro to the show alone, you can count about 6 different product placements. And it doesn't exactly improve during the program itself. And it's NOT, I mean NOT subtle. I mean, unless you really believe that an upscale NYC restaurant sells assloads of Coors Light and needs a free American Express "OPEN" sign for its door. Yeah. Subtle as a dump truck. Then the "actual" commercials are more infomercial in nature. ("You too can fry fish and beans at the same time!!!" That's an actual quote.) This is because, after the amount of product placement in the show, there are no regular advertisers left in the world.

Last night's episode was the coup de gras. While sitting in front of a computer monitor and frowning at a sheet of figures, the owner of Rocco's (let's just call him "Rocco") stated into the phone: "I'm bleeding money. Just hemorrhaging it. What am I going to do? I'll get a loan from American Express Open to bridge the gap."

You would think it was a comedy show, the way Sean and I cackled.

My beef is this: if that much is staged, are we really to believe anything in this joke of a show is not? C'mon, one of the "waiters" was clearly the same guy that had just been remade in the preceding episode of "Queer Eye". C'mon, people!

This is why I hate reality television. And television. And people on television. And fuzzy puppies. And...

Tuesday, September 30, 2003


The sprawling behemoth Ballys that's not too far from Sean and I's humble abode has been bought out. There's a new gym in town, it appears. "Work Out World" has papered the community ticker-tape parade style with leaflets advertising their bargain starter dues for the first 200, 500, 1000 new enrollees.

Now, if you live in the Boston area, you're well aware that a "bargain" gym charges a bare minimum of $60 a month, and that's for the one with a single Popeye-style dumbbell and a neglected 1984 Exercycle. So, this new place advertising memberships for a mere fraction of that and touting rows and rows of brand-spankin' new equipment caught our eye. We decided to check it out last night, and set out with full intention of joining the gym.

After missing what seemed to be the turn for the parking lot, we made the next turn and parked on the roof of an office building. We could just take the stairwell down to the gym, right?
"Hel-LO!!!" an impossibly peppy male voice greeted us. "Are you guys looking for Work Out World?!?"

He was clad in a purple golf shirt and shorts and was speeding toward us as though his life depended on it., one hand extended in a plea for a handshake. After being assured that yes, we were indeed in search of Work Out World, he led us inside. Not inside the gym, but inside a little office trailer--the kind you'd find at a junkyard or tow lot. Inside, other peppy purple people roamed about, waving paperwork amidst flashing gleams of white teeth. A TV played a neverending stream of public access cable-style commercials for other Work Out World centers.

Derek (Was that his name, hon? Derek?) rolled some cheap chairs over, invited us to have a seat, and began his spiel. I could not help but notice that Derek had clearly missed his calling as a game show host from the year 1985 (the year after the aforementioned Exercycle was produced, no less). He had this sharp, ratlike presence and oversprayed Joe Isuzu hair. I kept envisioning him furtively nibbling on a square of cheese and was unable to stop giggling.

Derek used his little rat hands to gesture at pictures on the wall of the equipment we would be able to see, and use, in the future. When they actually moved into the gym. "See--we have over 80 of 'X' model butt-buster!" he exclaimed proudly.

"Wow." Sean replied dutifully, feigning interest in the pictures of equipment.

At this, Derek let out a whoop. A genuine whoop. "Now you've earned a t-shirt!!!" he congratulated, tossing a Fruit of the Loom with a very pretty turquoise and purple "WOW" logo at Sean. "When we 'wow' YOU" (he looked pointedly at me), "YOU'LL get a t-shirt, too!!!"

At this point, I made it my mission to NOT say "wow". Ever. Under any circumstance. God, Jesus, Buddha, and Jimi Hendrix could have walked into the place together and I would have remained sternly nonplussed.

Derek went on. And on. And on. Giving us the hard sell. I wanted desperately to interrupt him and blurt out "We want to join the gym!", like Chandler in that episode of 'Friends'. Except he was trying to quit the gym. And we wanted to join. But I digress. My point is that he was wasting his cute little jokes on people who already wanted to be sold. There was no need to mention how they limited their "dumbbells" to 90 pounds, to "Keep out the other dumbbells!" (snort!) Please. Please. For the love of god, stop writing your fancy figures on the paper and telling us how much we're saving. We want to join the gym. Just give us your bottom line.

Sean finally asked, upon receiving the "bottom line", if the price was good for tomorrow, too; to give us a chance to think it over. Of course, complicated questions like this require the input of the sales manager, who was called in for his opinion.
"Yeah, I'm sure it'll be good tomorrow. I doubt we'll have that many people join between now and then...but..."
At this, Greasy Sales Manager Guy produced an application from his high-tech manila file. "This couple changed their minds for some reason. He's leaving or something. If you want, you can take their place and get the $89 initiation fee instead."

So, finally, the damn bottom bottom line. Of course. We'll take it. I'm sure the "other couple" will be very happy wherever they are "moving" to. We signed up, although the actual gym won't exist till November.

Greasy Sales Manager Guy even insisted that I get a t-shirt. Lucky me.

Wednesday, September 24, 2003

Happy Birthday!

To Forrest! Hip, hip, hooray!!! Hip, hip, hooray!!!

Send him some birthday porn if you get a chance! I hear he enjoys the naked folk.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

True Story

The situations I put myself in at times are amusing, to say the least.

Now, I've never been accused of being a stodgy, stonefaced professional at work. But I'd like to think I keep up a certain decorum between the hours of 7 and 5. But last week, my friend Dan was playing his radio and, since I could hear it from my cubicle, I couldn't resist sending him a line from the song (which also happened to be its title).

No big deal, right?

Except the song was Prodigy's Smack my Bitch Up. And except I accidentally gave his last name an "O'" instead of a "Mac". And it went through. Oops.

Can you even imagine? You open up your inbox and find an email reading: "Smack my bitch up!". Along with my professional contact info tagline, of course.

I can be such an ass. But it's really funny when I am. In retrospect, at least.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Well, I Still Have the Shirt...

The phone jangled insistently Sunday afternoon, just daring me to ignore it. I picked it up on the last ring before it clicked over to the machine.

"Hi!" Brandy, the BFSB (that's "Best Friend Since Birth) greeted. "What are you up to?"

"Well," I began, "I'm fixing dinner and Sean's watching football. Pork chops. With tomatillo and lime marinade. And rice pilaf."

Brandy laughed her hearty, infectious laugh. "Do you realize how much you've changed!?! I used to call you and ask that, and you'd say 'Oh, I was just putting on my mesh shirt and getting ready to go to this new bar...'; and now you're making dinner while your boyfriend watches football!!!"

Hmm. She's right. And although that's not necessarily a bad thing, I must say that I'm contemplating wearing the mesh shirt more.

At least, while I'm cooking dinner...

Friday, September 12, 2003

Sean's Meat is More Than I Can Handle

I would like to point out, before I begin writing the actual content of this blog, that I have achieved Best Girlfriend Ever status simply by titling it thus.
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog reading.

There is a reason that my mother rarely sent my father to the grocery store to pick up a few things she needed. Or my aunt sent my uncle. Or my grandmother sent my grandfather. Or Lucy sent Desi. Or countless other couples, for generations and generations back as far as the eye can see. This reason became apparent to me the other night.

I had given Sean a quick list of things to pick up at the nearest Shaw's grocer before heading home for the night. A simple list, really. Salad, a tomato or two, salad dressing, some boneless pork chops that I thought would be good with honey, lime, and cilantro.

When I got home, I was inwardly happy with his efforts. See, I thought to myself, he did a great job! He even got the on-the-vine tomatoes that I like! There even appeared to be some sort of pork roast in the fridge. I didn't really pay too much attention, though, because Sean was coming in to help make dinner.

"Honey!" he exclaimed excitedly. "Did you see what I got?"

He began pulling the pork roast out of the fridge. And continued doing so for a good 6 minutes. This may be the biggest pork roast ever known in the history of domesticated pigs. What I had glimpsed had been, much like the tip of an iceberg, only the beginning.

The ordeal of refridgerator removal behind him, Sean stood beaming, plastic-encased pork flopped over both sides of his arms, dwarfing his 6-foot-4 frame. Holding it up like some kind of overabundant sacraficial offering, he eagerly awaited my praise. "It was on SALE!" he added.

And so it was. Down from $40.03 to $20.03. Ten pounds of pork roast. Now, I realize that this doesn't sound like too terribly much. We've all seen ten pound turkeys, and they're not so big.

That ten pounds includes bones, skin, and giblets.

This pork roast? Ten pounds of hard-core meat. It's large enough to disturb my old vegetarian sensibilities, too big to fit lengthwise in the refridgerator.

"We can have sandwiches!"

God help me. Save me from the pork.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

RedPanda's Guide to Grad School

It seems like almost everyone I know who is already bachelor'ed is half-pondering going to grad school. I hear things like "Yeah, I need to go to grad school..", "Yeah, I'm thinking about grad school..." everywhere I turn, it seems. So, for the benefit of the Grad School Uncertain, I guide to grad school! Chock full of unsolicited advice! Guaranteed to evoke eye rolls and feelings of exasperation! But, if you follow it, you'll thank me later. Or at least, I'd like to think you will.

1. Wait a couple years after finishing college before embarking on a "grad school career"
Put yourself "out there" first. Even if you have to work at a crappy dead-end job, get some real-life "professional experience" before you make the transition. It will, at the very least, give you an appreciation for student life again.

2. Be DAMN SURE about what you want before you start applying to grad schools
I can't emphasize this enough. Really, I can't. Grad school is NOT like undergrad, where you can take a course and say "Oh, I didn't like that so much. I think I'll switch majors." There is no switching of majors. Grad school is like a speeding freight train, and once you're on, you're on. By the time you realize you got on the wrong train, you're halfway through your program and it's just as easy to go ahead as it is to quit. Furthermore, grad school classes are very, very specialized. A class for a particular degree will not translate into anything for a different one.
So, for the love of God, don't embark on a program you kind of like. Be damn sure that it is what you love; what you really want to do; and that you can do it for the rest of your life.

3. THOROUGHLY investigate the job/career prospects of your chosen program. Call up companies if necessary, check out the want ads. Make sure there will be a job for you when you get out. (HINT: the market is saturated with lawyers, writers, IT professionals; many of whom are un- or under-employed. Many of these people have years of experience and are desperate for a job, any job. Who do you think you're kidding if you're pursuing one of these fields? Don't waste your time. You are not special and will be unemployed and in debt when you're finished with school.)

4. THOROUGHLY investigate the schools you are considering. Leave no stone unturned. Talk to current students, professors, alumni. Don't be afraid of looking like a jerk by asking probing questions. And don't just go by the students the school provides you with to talk to---they're only going to give you the contact info. of the most content individuals. Remember, grad schools are cash cows--they just want you to apply and enroll and typically care very little about your individual needs (you can disregard that last sentence to an extent if you're in an understudied field and do scads of new research...). You mean CASH to them, and they can be very unscrupulous in recruiting you.

5. Don't just choose the school that throws the most money at you. Just because they're willing to pay you, or let you come for free, or pay a good chunk of your tuition (depending on your field); does NOT mean that this is the best school, or program, for you. Choose the one that is best, the one that you would choose if they were all free. You'll find a way to pay for it later.

6. When you choose your program, put everything you've got into it. Unless you are already working in your chosen field and grad school is just a vehicle to propel you upwards at a faster rate, do NOT work while attending grad school. Take out thousands of dollars in loans instead. It'll pay off later, trust me. The exception, of course, is the low-paying or not-paying jobs and internships in your "chosen field". Snatch those up like candy--they'll lead to better jobs later. No complaining that you "need to work...". You don't. You can take out loans. If you simply must work, put off grad school. Working is a mistake. Trust me.

7. Network. Be everyone's best friend. Help your professors out. Kiss ass like crazy. When you have speakers in class, be ready to go up, introduce yourself, and ask intelligent questions when they're finished. Follow up with e-mails. They'll remember you. And you'll have scads of contacts.

8. Don't be discouraged when you get out. One of my undergrad professors who taught a grad school prep class I took over Christmas break said something damn memorable: "What sucks about grad school is that, when you get out, all your friends who didn't go to grad school are making a lot more money than you.". It's true. Don't be discouraged. You'll catch up.

Ok, that's all I got for now. A lot of those items could go for undergrad, too. What I can't stress enough: It's going to be hard. It's going to be expensive. You are not special or different from everyone else (as in, you won't be "the one" who defeats the odds and gets a job in a struggling industry...). But it's worth it.

At least, I freaking hope it is.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to my monotonous data entry job.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

Bon Anniversaire

Hey--Happy birthday to Well-Red! I've been blogging for an entire year! Can you even believe it? Go me, go me! Of course, if you go back to that first entry, you'll see I was jabbering about class-related stuff more than my own life. What was I thinking?!? I'm far more interesting than any Web Publishing class!

So many anniversaries. One of them is mine and Boston's--I've lived here 2 years now. Wow. Sometimes I feel like I just got here, like I have no idea how to get around, where to go, what to do. But then, every now and again, a tourist asks for directions that I can give quite easily--making me feel like a local. I guess I'm a quasi-local now--I'm no longer in school, and I've got all the trappings of Boston permanence. (i.e. job w/bennies, serious relationship, black wool winter coat, favorite places, general routines...) I can even say most of the cities' and towns' names correctly. (For example, "Billerica" = "Bill-Ricka", not "Bill-air-i-cah", as one would assume.)

So, woohoo for me. Can I get a whoop-whoop?

Monday, September 08, 2003

Half-Asleep Monday

God, how I loathe Mondays. And, unlike most Mondays, this one is just craaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawling along. Yuck.

I finally, with some gentle prodding and suggestions on Brandy's part, wrote up a kick-ass cover letter this past weekend. The first one is always the hardest. Writing them after this will be a snap! Hear that? A snap! My god, I'll be fighting off wonderful employers! I'll be making them beg for the pleasure of my service! They'll all be trying to outbid each other, and I'll end up making bank!

Or, ya know, maybe I'll get another job that doesn't make me want to bang my head against the desk until I get a concussion and have to leave work quite as much.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Life in the Suburbs

Sean and I set out on our nightly walk last evening, happy to be able to enjoy a bit of the brisk pre-autumn air. In order to get out there before daylight had completely escaped, we had put dinner off a bit and were contentedly munching fruit to stave off starvation.

It was the perfect temperature out--cool but not too cool. I love those nights--the ones where you can still wear shorts but need long sleeves. I couldn't find one of my own long-sleeved shirts, though; so I had happily grabbed one of Sean's and thrown it on over my tee.

We were about a block away from the house when I looked at Sean and stopped short. "Oh. My. God."

Sean shot me a look of confusion. "What? What's up?"

"Look at us. Just look at us," I gestured at our respective outfits.

Sean did, realization slowly dawning on him. "Oh, GOD," he snorted.

You see, we had somehow managed to each put on the same outfit, more or less. Navy blue meshy shorts with stripes down the side. White ankle socks. New Balance shoes. Pinky-purply-reddish shirts. And as if that weren't enough, we were both eating the fruit, too. Gah. It was terrible, really. Much too J. Crew for words.

Shrugging his shoulders, Sean resumed walking. "Welcome to the suburbs, honey," he laughed.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

Where Am I, Again?

Morning is always an exercise in futility of sorts. No matter how many times you hit the "snooze" button, time does not magically go backwards till it's 2 am and you're allowed 3 more hours of sleep. At least, it hasn't yet that I know of.
I tend to bond with the snooze button for a good 20 minutes or more before I finally give up and trudge off toward the shower, my feet heavy with sleep, my face glowering at the indignity of being forced to see itself at that ungodly hour.

This morning, though; I had the unusal experience of completely forgetting what was going on. I stood there, damp hair flung between my knees so I could towel-dry it, and tried to remember what I was supposed to do next. Blame it on Faith No More's "Epic". It was playing on WBCN, on the shower radio. I was suddenly overcome with the feeling that I was still a senior in high school and had to rush off to live that life. For a few fleeting moments, I was completely convinced of this.

Gak--how horrifying! I leaned against the sink for support, and looked around the bathroom for clues that I was making that part up. Hmm. Lots of high-priced hair products. I can't really afford them now, so I probably definitely couldn't afford them if I was still in high school, right? The cat's litter box is in there. I didn't have a cat in high school, did I?

I wasn't really sure about any of it, till I finally made my way back to the bedroom and prodded at the lump that was a sleeping Sean. He stretched and rolled over, reclaiming the covers I always manage to steal, and gave me a tired half-smile before going back to sleep.

For a moment, I thought of waking him up all the way and begging him for reassurance that I wasn't a senior in high school, that I hadn't imagined all the hills and valleys of our life together, that it wasn't going to disappear when I "woke up". But then, I figured I didn't have to.

There was no way in HELL my mom would have let a boy stay over. Especially on a school night.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Requiem for a Blog

Sean took down his blog.

You probably already knew that. Hell, if you're like me, you use his site as a conveniant jumping-off point and click on all your daily reads from there. (You can still do that, BTW--very considerate of him to leave in that functionality...)

It's been long in coming, I suppose. He's been threatening this for weeks, but (partly due to my protests?)still left it up with his occasional, albeit sparse, posts.

I didn't even know about it till after the fact. "I took down my blog today,", he said matter-of-factly as I crunched carrots, "it was time."

Was it time?

I don't know. I do know that I miss it already. The explanations for its demise all check out. I understand them. I still don't like them. And knowing that I'll be passing him the toothpaste later on doesn't change the fact that I feel a little stab of loneliness when I see the stark emptiness that is "Disserto".

So, goodbye, honey. I'll miss you.

But then, I'll see you tonight...

Friday, August 29, 2003

Thank you!

To Sean, my codemonkey in shining armour, for fixing my comments!

*Sigh*. If only it could have been before the poop blog...

Thursday, August 28, 2003

On Being Nickel & Dimed

I recently finished Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel And Dimed: On not getting by in America. I had been excited to read this book ever since a professor I had 2 years ago recommended it as an excellent commentary on the social mores and culture of status in America.

I was bitterly disappointed.

The premise of the book, for those who do not know, is fairly simple. Ehrenreich, a journalist, sets out to see if one can "get by" on the meager salaries provided by low-wage jobs such as retail, cleaning, and waiting tables. She travels to several cities in various places around the country, procuring low-rent housing (the cheapest she can find) and low-paying jobs, writing all the while about her experiences.

To some, I'm sure that reading about this could be a very enlightening experience. Actually going through it certainly was to her. But her surprise at the maltreatment of her amused me at the very least, and made me roll my eyes scornfully at worst. For the love of God, had she never worked a crap job before? Are people really that out of touch with what it's like to work a crap job?

I guess they are. But for me, I've been through much worse than anything she described. I had to laugh at her shock when management at a restaurant informed the staff that their "break room" was a "privilege, not a right" and could be "taken away at any time". Ha! Break room? At a restaurant?!? Every place I ever waited tables, we were not allowed breaks. We were usually not allowed to eat while we were "on the clock" (usually a 7 + hour shift)--except rolls we could quickly snatch and inhale. Bathroom breaks evoked nasty looks from the management. In fact, I usually didn't take one. I once worked a 13-hour shift and didn't take a bathroom break. I just didn't have the time.

And sheesh, I could go on and on! That's not the worst of it!
I had a customer at a retail establishment grab me by my smock and threaten to kill me; while the manager watched placidly, then forced me to return the customers' money for his (opened) CD.
A manager of a restaurant once tried to rip my clothes right off me--pinning me against the wall by my chin and grabbing at me with his other hand.
A cook threw an ashtray at me when I suggested that he make my customer's steak medium-rare, as they had ordered, instead of well done. Then I was reprimanded for talking to him "disrespectfully".

God, there are countless stories like that. It's not about the huge incidents, but more the day-to-day small humiliations that management in these types of establishment feels compelled to inflict upon their underlings. I've always said that I never had problems with customers in these types of postions, per se; but more the Napoleon-complexed managers who were trapped in crappy jobs.

It's sad to think that enough people haven't experienced the reality of a low-wage job and lifestyle that a book like this is met as such a groundbreaker. Don't get me wrong--she (Ehrenreich) did a great job. I just find it sad that this common-sense information isn't so common-sense.

There are a few things I have taken from the book, though; such as her observations of herself as a Wal-mart employee. She observes that, after having worked there for a reasonable stint, that she has changed as a person. "Barbara" is her Dr. Jekyll side; kind, caring, and reasonable. But at work she becomes "Barb"; a mean, nasty, spiteful, unhappy person. She wonders who she would be if she had worked there indefinitely, if "Barb" would have taken over and reshaped her as a person.
She also observes that, when every day's tasks are exactly like those of the day before's, time blends together seamlessly. It flies by, leaving her wondering what month it is and what happened to all the months previous.

I find some parallels to my own situation there. Since I've been in this godawful repetitive joke of a job, I find that I'm in a constant state of annoyed impatience. I used to be this starry-eyed world-saver, now I have fantasies about kicking people who get in my way on the T. And time? God, where HAS it gone? The weeks do blend together, marked only by the occasional weekend event.

Another thing that touched me deeply, and actually reminded me of the reasons I once went vegetarian, was a comment she made near the book's closing. I don't have the exact quote with me, unfortunately; but the jist was this: When you hire cheap cleaners, when you pay very little for a meal at a fast-food restaurant, when you buy merchandise at a discount store; you are perpetuating this miserable existence. The money the company is saving by lowering their prices so you can put the extra cash towards your Lexus comes out of the pay and benefits of their low-paid and mistreated employees. People are paying for your convenience with their blood, sweat, and tears.

Think of that, as you live your life of spoiled privilege. There are people who still suffer so that you can have it. And I don't just mean your mommy and daddy...

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Bathroom Etiquette

Gaw, I haven't posted in ages. So I guess I should make it worth everyone's while...

I walk into the ladies' room at work this morning, only to find one of the stalls occupied. Not just occupied, but silently occupied. This is the worst kind of occupied. You see, a silent occupation of a stall in the ladies' room indicates that not only is someone pooping, but someone is attempting to poop without letting on that they are pooping. So you will be obliged to do your business in as quick a manner possible, speedily wash your hands, and get out so the Secret Pooper can resume pooping. Otherwise, you're just being rude--trying to listen in on the pooping or just plain embarass the pooper.

Sometimes I'm tempted to wait till the Secret Pooper comes out, point at them and yell "POOPER! POOPER!!!" This is probably their greatest fear--being found out.
*GASP* Everyone will know I poop...

On the other side of the spectrum are the Joyous Poopers. Joyous Poopers revel in every splash, every echoing splat that emits forth from their bowels. Now, this is a rare oddity among women. But I did have the good fortune to encounter one once, here at work, awhile back.
It was a co-worker--an African-American woman of considerable girth. Ungodly, cinematic sound effects came from her stall. And following each one, she would utter some comment. *SPLAT* "Oh, my lord!" *SQUISH* "Oh, sweet Jesus!" *FART* "Oh, my word!"
It was all I could do to not erupt into laughter before I ran out of the room.

Now, your Secret Poopers are not nearly as annoying as the rampant flossers. Now, I understand that brushing one's teeth after meals is "good oral hygiene". Flossing? Great! But in the public restroom? Ewww. You walk in and someone's there at the sink, brushing and flossing away. How rude do you feel peeing while this goes on.? "Oh, excuse me, I'm going to spew forth waste products from my body while you play with your mouth. Hope it doesn't bug you!"
When I encounter a Rampant Flosser, I usually seek out another restroom. Or wait. It just bugs me too much.

Personally, I like to envision a meeting of a Rampant Flosser, a Secret Pooper, and a Joyous Pooper. That would be something to behold! Would the Secret Pooper be inspired by the Joyous Pooper and let go? Would the Rampant Flosser be disgusted enough to leave and complete her flossing elsewhere? One can only speculate...

Another common occurrence is a stand-off between Secret Poopers. Sometimes you'll walk into the bathroom and there will be not one, but two silent stalls. Both occupents are waiting for the other to leave first so she can commence pooping. These stand-offs are known to last days, even weeks; with the participants unrolling endless lengths of toilet paper and shuffling their feet countless times in an effort to conceal the fact that they wish they were pooping. If you encounter a Secret Pooper Stand-Off, it's best to hurry in, complete your business as quickly as possible, and hurry out. This way, the Secret Poopers will not be distracted by your presence and can concentrate on the task at hand.

Talkers have reached epidemic proportions here. There are two kinds of Talkers. Stall Talkers insist on talking to you while they or you or both are actually in the stalls. Eww. Hangout Talkers are trying to avoid being seen talking on the "floor", so are chatting away in the bathroom despite no longer having any business to complete there. Hangout Talkers are the mortal enemy of Secret Poopers, and can set them back entire minutes in their quest for a private poop. And they ick me out almost as much as Rampant Flossers. I mean, what are they doing in there? Smelling the air freshener? Listening to my tinkly pee-jingle? Get a life, people! Back to your cubicles!!!

All this ranting has made me have to pee. I'll catch ya'll later.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

When Geeks Dream

Our apartment, 6:15 am.

Sean: "Wow. You woke me up from a bad dream."

Me: "Awww, honey! What was your bad dream?"

Sean: (sheepish) "You'll laugh at me."

Me: "Er...probably. What did you dream?"

Sean: (grudging and sheepish) "Well...we were asleep in our bedroom. And there were rows and rows of washers and dryers in the bedroom, like they have at the laundromat. And you woke me up and said: 'Honey! Wake up! That penguin we hang out with? I left the dryer on and I think he's stuck inside!'. So I got up and checked and sure enough, there was a penguin going around and around in the dryer. I let him out and he kind of ran off, all dazed. Then I look more closely and say: 'Oh my God! There's a seagull in there, too!' So, I let him out, but he's really angry and starts biting me. I'm trying to pry his beak off my fingers when he just attacks me--pecking and biting. So I hid under the covers and pulled them over my head. That's when it got really weird."

Me: "Er...that's when it got 'really weird'?"

Sean: "Yeah. The next thing I know, a whole flock of seagulls is attacking me--"

Me: (laughing) "A 'Flock of Seagulls'? Did they have the hair--"

Sean: (emphatically) "No. So they're all pecking at me, and I'm saying: 'Hey, stop, just one of you was hurt! And I tried to help!'. But they wouldn't listen. They started dropping .pdf files on me!"

Me: ".pdf files?!?"

Sean: ".pdf files. There was code everywhere. I couldn't figure out what to do to stop it. So you were trying to reconfigure my web server to make it refuse .pdf files and beaks."

Me: ".pdf files and beaks?"

Sean: "Yes. I was shouting instructions to you, and you said you were trying to make it refuse .pdf files and beaks; and I was like 'There's no 'beak' file...' I didn't know what to do. That's when you woke me up."

Me: (not trying very hard to stifle laughter) "I think you're working too hard, honey..."

Now, we'll never know what happened with the seagulls who dropped .pdf files. Did I successfully reconfigure the browser to refuse beaks? Maybe Sean fell back asleep this morning and can let us know in a subsequent blog.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

The Bad News That Wasn't

The phone jangled insistently, startling me out of my data entry reverie. My parents' home number flashed on the console screen, a world away in Maryland.

My grandmother died, I thought; I'm sure of it. It's an "anytime" thing, you see. My mother tries to dissuade me from coming to see her, saying "She wouldn't know me, anyway". I think she's just trying to protect me from what she feels when her own mother looks at her with that bewildered, painful expression of knowing you should know who someone is, but knowing you just plain don't.
She didn't know me at Thanksgiving or Christmas--she actually asked me in a sad, desperate tone of voice where I was. She missed me so very much, and I was right there. But that's how it is, I suppose; with her and those who love her. We miss her, and she's right there.

I sat with my hand on the handset, not ready to answer the phone; savoring the last few moments when I wouldn't yet "know". I've seen enough death to recognize those strange minutes for what they are--odd and surreal in retrospect, the instant before everything changes. It all flashed before me--me as a little girl, my tiny hand folded into her soft wrinkled one; hopping barefoot on the soft grass of her front yard. Her puttering in the garden, a floppy summer hat on her head, a smile on her face. Summer days with watermelon and strawberries. Winter days with roast beef dinners. I thought of seeing all the cousins I rarely see; crying and laughing, remembering and letting go.

And then, taking a deep breath, I answered the phone.

"Hi, honey!", my mother chirped brightly. "How are you doing?"

And so, she hasn't died after all. It was a false alarm. But in those few seconds when I for some reason assumed that she had, I had already buried her. And it's strange to think that I'll have to do it again.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Thoughts for Today

1. Why do black people call each other "Boo-Boo"? They got me lookin' all over for a pic-a-nic basket.

2. I'm beginning to wonder if the apartment will EVER be unpacked. Or should we just leave some boxes to make things easier for the "next move"?

3. Mmmm....pickles.

4. We're going to visit Brandy and Robb in Baltimore next weekend! Yay!!!

5. Sean finally made me baked stuffed shrimp. I brought leftovers for lunch today. But no pickles. :(

6. I'm thinking of taking glass blowing, but the cost of a class is a bit prohibitive...

How are ya'll today?

Thursday, July 31, 2003

This Job Stinks

On top of the whole insect infestation thing we're experiencing here at "work", one of my co-workers(Mildly retarded? Tourette's syndrome? Autistic? Just plain freaking crazy? The jury's out on exactly what her damage is--all I know is that she sits with her hands folded staring at her screen saver all day, then tries to lie about how much work she's gotten done...) just ripped this horrid fart. I mean a fart.

Yes, I know this seems funny. But it was this loud, whoopie-cushion-style fart; and it reeked. I mean reeked. As in, people walking past fell into fits of coughing and my friend 4 cubicles over's eyes began to water. As in, the supervisor moved Farty McFart's seat for the day.

Because this is a constant thing, you see. The farting, I mean.

Just thought I'd give you all an update.
This Job Bites

Something is biting us. They've called Building Services. But something is biting us. We itch. We have inflamed bug nibbles swelling up on our thighs, our chests, our arms.


Wednesday, July 30, 2003

The Demise of Dyke Ice Cream

With all that's been going on lately, I almost forgot to blog about one of the great sorrows that the summer of 2003 will be remembered for.

There is no more Dyke Ice Cream.

I know, I know, it's almost too shocking to be true. But the weekend before last, Sean and I set out to get some of the YUMMIEST ice cream you'll ever taste at Davis Square's beloved Dyke Ice Cream joint (or, "Denise's", for the more politcally-correct set...), only to find out that it had been bought by J.P. Licks. Now, I recognize that J.P. Licks is a small local chain, and not a big corporate conglomerate like Baskin-Robbins or something, but I was still nothing if not livid. Especially when I saw that all of my very favorite flavors had been erased from the board (No more White Gold--white chocolate ice cream with cinnamon butterscotch and caramel swirl and white chocolate chunks!!! No more pumpkin! No more coconut almond chocolate chunk!!!)

Worst of all were the employees. Gone were the diesel dykes clad in wife-beaters and baggy shorts who scooped ice cream while listening to Indigo Girls. They had been replaced by a scattering of impossibly perky, uniform-wearing girly-girls with pink lipstick.

And the ice cream isn't nearly as good. A huge disappointment.

So, from now on, when Sean and I go in search of homemade ice cream treats, it'll be Toscanini's we seek. There's a couple in Cambridge, and both Diesel and Someday Cafe in Davis Square sell their stuff. And it's as good, if not better, than old-school Denise's. Burnt caramel, cake batter, german chocolate. Good stuff, folks.

But I'll miss my surly dykes.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

The Horror of Domesticity and Other Hazards of Love

The years rack up and I've started having to check a different box on the "Age" section of surveys. I don't look like a "kid" anymore. I have the beginnings of creases in my forehead, prewrinkles that have formed from the eternal unintentional scowl that I wear when I have no opinion and no emotion. I'll probably have frown lines before laugh lines, which is the last thing you'd expect from an eternal giggler like me.

It wasn't that long ago that I was still a Party Girl. The first year I lived in Boston, when I was just going to school and living off the student loans, I was out 4 nights a week (if not more!). Before that, when I was waiting tables in Cleveland before moving for grad school, I went out pretty much every night. I wanted to live in the city, to be and do everything as "cutting edge" as possible. I can't imagine how much cash I spent on liquor and hoochie clothes (although, it must be stated, a true Party Girl very rarely has to buy her own drinks...especially when wearing said hoochie clothes....).

And oh yeah, I hate kids.

Yep. Hate 'em.

Ok, it's not the kids themselves so much, per se. It's kind of all that they represent. Women are "supposed" to all be itching to get married, settle down, and begin dutifully popping out puppies. Well, fuck that. I value myself as more than a broodmare, a vessel for the creation of more hungry mouths in a world that can't support all its inhabitants as is. I'm smarter than that. I'm a career girl (Without the career! Hooo-ahh!).

I hate that this revelation demands an explanation. What, so it's completely accepted to do something as self-serving as breed rampantly, but my desire to be more prudent and not needs explaining? Gimme a break!

But, as always, I digress.

I can see having a kid under certain circumstances. I told Sean once that I thought kids should be freezer storable. Like: "Hey, honey, I feel like having the baby tonight! Get her out of the freezer!" But then, when you want to go to Europe for 3 weeks? Freeze away!

Unfortunately, it doesn't work exactly that way. And the thing is, I don't hate them nearly as much as I used to. I smile at the cute (quiet!!!) ones now. This scares the hell out of me.

I like the apartment in the residential neighborhood. I don't shop at thrift stores nearly as much. I haven't worn my studded or my beer-bottle cap belts in ages. I wish we had a yard so we could plant a garden.

I seem to be embracing all things domestic. And I'm feeling the slooooow slide down into complete domesticity. When I might do things like be a Soccer Mom (horrors!!!) and try to curb my endlessly f-bombing sailor mouth. And I'm only 28. I wasn't expecting this till I was at least, what, 33?

Again, horrors.

I'm stuck in the quicksand of domesticity!!! And I'm apparently making no move to save myself.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Happy Birthday!!!

Today the Snap and Crackle to my Pop turns 28. Ya'll, join me in wishing Brandy a happy birthday! But be sure to remind her not to poke Lincoln Logs in her nose, and that if she attacks my house I will surely cut her butt off.

AND today is Hump Day. How befitting.

The Joy of Shacking Up and Other Snippets of My Life

I sent around an email to some friends and family letting them know that my address had changed (as had Sean's). This was very nice of me. My mother took it upon herself to forward it around to family I had "missed". This was very nice of her. One very religious aunt sent a reply. I clicked on it with quite a bit of trepidation, half-expecting a lecture. I mean, this is the woman who has pro-life checks. (She sent me one as a graduation present, but I refuse to cash it. I mean, come ON...) But no lecture--instead, she congratulated me and said that Allison (her daughter, my cousin) had had the same joy. Joy?

It's a freaking monsoon outside today. Lightning, thunder, the works. It woke me up at 4 am, then stopped long enough for me to get to work, and has now resumed. Rain is coming down in sheets. Sean left me a cryptic voice mail: "I hope you have an umbrella, honey. Oh, boy..." I'm sitting in my cubicle clapping my hands and imploring "Power OUTAGE! Power OUTAGE!!!" So far, no dice. Damn.

Because of the dissonance I have between disliking my "field" yet feeling like I should do something in it, with the master's degree and all; I have decided to look on my graduate education and resulting student loan debt in a new light. Instead of thinking it as $40,000 (that being just the graduate portion) for a degree in a field I'm no longer enamoured with, I've decided to think of it as the purchasing price of Sean. I mean, if I hadn't chosen thatgraduate program, I never would have moved to Boston. If I hadn't moved to Boston, I never would have met Sean. Thus, meeting Sean cost me $40,000. I find this much more palatable. He's a bargain at that price.

Someone told me that "Darkness Falls" was really scary, so we On Demand-ed it last night. Someone is a raging retard.

I've found that if you have fresh blueberries in your oatmeal, you should smash them halfway through the cooking cycle. Yummy.

My friend Sarah's mom is back in the hospital, fighting cancer and liver disease. If you're one of those people who prays or has prayers answered, I'd appreciate you keeping her family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The Grind

Heading off to work is bad enough, but on a dreary morning like this, the ickiness of the situation is magnified tenfold.

There was no one on the Charles this morning. It was eeriely still--no crew straining their muscles to propel a lithe little boat through the water, no sailboat shooting through the water almost as an afterthought. Nothing at all.

I swear the Metro left more ink on my fingers than usual.

North Quincy is a bleak place at best, and working there seems counterintuitive. You exit the T station, see the Applebee's and Panera Bread across from it, and think to yourself Say, this place might not be half-bad! Then you walk up the street a bit and the civilization as you knew it disappears, leaving an asphalt obstacle course littered with discarded Dunkin Donuts containers and used condoms in its wake. On the short walk from the T station to "work", I pass a junkyard, a skeevy no-tell motel, and a series of railroad tracks. It's like this forgotten industrial borough; and then you crest a small hill and you see it--my place of "work"--rising off of a sea of asphalt and white lines. An attempt to be big and corporate that ended up stark, tall, ugly, and hopelessly out of place; like a girl who runs away to Hollywood to become a movie star and ends up turning tricks on Hollywood Boulevard instead.

You walk inside, and people are already lined up for the 7 am opening of the in-house eatery, poised to order their reheated bacon on stale bagels, to fill their styrofoam cups with stale lukewarm coffee. A white board proclaims the "Lunch Special of the Day", usually something like American Chop Suey, whatever that is. You can also get a "salad" with iceberg lettuce, 2 tomato wedges, and 2 slices of cucumber. Mmmm good.

Up on my floor, the carpet tiles are a mishmash of blue, grey, and beige. The ceiling tiles are square, white flecked with grey like cheap marble. The flourescent lights stretch across the room like highway lines, 23 across. The elevators are across from my row of cubicles, emitting a soft "bong-bong" when someone arrives on the floor, signaling the end of someone else's happiness and freedom for the day.

If you push aside the vertical blinds and look out the window, you can see Boston. It's far, far away, like a dreamy crystalline city of hope and prosperity. But by the time you get to work, you've forgotten you ever passed it on the way.

I don't think there's a meeting scheduled for today. I had one a few weeks ago that revolved around the need to tie a string on a pen and attach it to the black binder that I and the other non-phone-drones use to "sign in and out". It was decided by my supervisor that a pen would be tied there. It has not yet happened.

There are 2 main systems that most of the people in my department use to get their work done. One is mainframe-based. (No, that wasn't a typo...) The other, our CMS, freezes up and goes down on a daily basis. At any given time, I'd wager that 40% of my department cannot use their CMS and is on the phone to the Help Desk. The other 60% is probably stuck in a typical 10-minute waiting time for what they've just input to save.

We just received another email reminding us of the company dress code. T-shirts and sweatshirts are only allowed on Fridays, and halter tops and cutoff shorts are a no-no.

In the lunchroom, there are instructions on how to use the microwave.

At about 4:55, I'll make a mad dash for the doors, hoping to avoid being noticed by my boss, who'll comment on my "leaving early", even though I was here at 6:50.

And then, tomorrow at 5 am, my alarm goes off and the cycle starts all over again.

And people wonder why I'm in a constant state of annoyance.

Thursday, July 17, 2003


"Another goodbye. Life is nothing but one long, endless stream of goodbyes," I said tearfully, watching the shapes of my waving friends slowly grow smaller in the rearview mirror. Goodbye again, for God knows how long.

"Yes," he replied, placing a comforting hand on my thigh, "but it could also be said that life is a series of hellos, too."

And so it is. But the goodbyes are the ones that stay with you, like a blister on your foot that just won't heal.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Thank You!!!

A great, big, huge, behemoth THANKS to all the strong, burly menfolk who gave up a beautiful summer Saturday to engage in couch-capades with me and the SB. (Well, mostly others; I think I was pretty useless...) I don't think mere words could express my gratitude; so I'll have to break out the blenders (yay! We've got 2 between us!) and experiment with some margarita-makin'. Watch your inboxes for details... :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

The Air Conditioner, The Car, and the Cactus

It was an ass-hot weekend.

On ass-hot weekends, especially when you're already moving into a new place and spending money hand-over-fist, the thing to do is buy yourself a couple-few of those handy-dandy newfangled "window unit air conditioners". They'll cool you right down.

Of course, leave it to Sean and me to do this after the ass-hottest day of the weekend.

The sale flyer from Home Depot advertised a great sale on AC's. So we swung by to pick some up.
"Excuse me," Sean asked with Sean-style excruciating politeness, "where are your air conditioners?"

"On a truck. On the way here." replied the orange-clad Home Depot employee with a guffaw. Apparently, they've been sold out of the things since pretty much day one of the sale. And they don't want to tell us when "the truck" might arrive with said air conditioners, because the last time they did that, 400 people were lined up outside to buy a scant 100 AC units. Like the mid-eighties Cabbage Patch craze all over again. Except the AC units are much harder to lift and swipe from other people.

So, the Home Depites suggested that we try BJ's Wholesale. They were running an Open House weekend, and we could ask for a pass and "try out" membership.

We checked it out and found, to our delight, that air conditioners were stacked sky-high in BJ's. Yay! We made plans to come back the next day, when they wouldn't be making impatient announcements that "the store is closing in 10, 5, 3 minutes...."

So. The next day, we had a plan. We had been moving stuff all day, and were ready for a well-deserved break. Our plan was a quick sting-operation trip to BJ's to get the AC units, followed by dinner and a movie--both in chilly, dimly-lit locales.

"Hmm", Sean pondered, "Should we take my mom's Jeep instead of the car?"

The Jeep has no AC. I was hot. Mea culpa.

"No," I replied "They should fit in your car just fine."

(Well, everyone knows where the story's going now; thanks to my clever use of "foreshadowing". But I'll pretend that you don't, and continue with my story.)

After selecting and loading the AC units into our industrial-sized shopping cart, we decided we should take a quick look around and make sure there wasn't anything else we needed. I was back past the pet supplies, next to the meat department, when I spied it. An immense, tall cactus. Southwestern perfection. Spires of green reaching feet and feet into the sky. And only $15.99! The things cost at least 40 bucks at Home Depot. Ignoring the constant burning pain in my wrists, I seized the cactus pot and made for the front of the store with it resting safely against my hip, jutting out of my side like some kind of terrible phallus.

Back at the front of the store, Sean just smiled at me, amused by my big-cactus obsession. We perched it on top of the AC's and eventually traded credit card numbers for goods. I had to turn the cactus sideways to get it out of the store.

Yay! It was time to load the car and head to the local Macaroni Grill!


Neither AC unit would fit in the trunk.


My bad.

We ended up with the smaller AC unit in the backseat. The big one wouldn't fit in the backseat, so it had to go in the front passenger side, with the seat laying all the way back. This meant that I'd have to ride in the backseat, contorted around the giant boxes like a ghetto Cirque du Soleil wannabe.

But no big deal, right? It would work.

Wait--the cactus.

Sean handed it to me through the sunroof, and I set it down on top of the air conditioner and wrapped a spare arm around it. It stuck out of the sunroof a good 2 feet. This meant the sunroof had to stay open.

But no big deal, right? It all fit!

We started moving, and a few pieces of dirt and fertilizer began to fly around the car. Just a few. Then we got on the highway. Instantly, the car's (ahem...leather...) interior was caught in what appeared to be the worst dirt tornado ever to hit eastern Massachusetts. And it was still hot out.

By the time we got back to Sean's current place, we were sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And Sean had to haul both AC's upstairs. Again, sticky with sweat and gritty with the soil of past generations. And there was about an inch of sand in his car.

To his credit, Sean is still speaking to me. The cactus is still intact. And I was only reminded once that "HE wanted to bring the jeep!"

Monday, July 07, 2003

Thoughts on a Monday

My job sucks. This is not something that is up for discussion.

Yes, I am grateful to have a job. I recognize that others are not so fortunate as I, and have to stand in unemployment lines and sell their homes and clip endless coupons. I have vacation time, sick time, and other killer benefits. And, as I've stated many times; every Thursday that direct deposit magically appears in my bank account, making it "all worth it". Right? Right?

I was absolutely desperate for a job last summer. My grad school loans were gone, I had about a million resumes out there, I had gone on scads of interviews. But people don't like to hire people with masters degrees (or, then, half-a-masters-degree...) for clerical crap jobs. They're wise enough to know you'll quit the second you have the chance. So I got broker and broker, and more and more desperate. Ridiculously desperate. I mean, I ate rice and pudding I learned to make from cornstarch and milk (when I had money for the milk). I would go to the neighborhood whole foods store with change and buy as much oatmeal or cornstarch or rice as I could to eat. I had to stop running every day because it burned too many calories and made me too hungry. When I recount these tales to Sean, he gapes at me incredulously and says "But why didn't you tell me?!?" Hell, he was already feeding me on weekends.

So, I fell into a temp gig that became a permanent gig that now seems a far more permanent gig than it was intended to be. Where are the jobs? Where, I ask you?

I'm stuck with this one for now, lines and lines of data entry in a huge warehouse of cubicles filled to the brim with people who are beaten down with the futility of working in this department. Negativity festers here like athlete's foot in the boys locker room. And I type and type and type and try to ignore my ever-worsening RSI, so bad now that I've been here only an hour and change and I've already got the shooting pains in my arms going on. And my fingers are going numb. And I haven't even started with the 'serious' mousing project yet. I'm still just entering a few addresses.

But I've got some money. Not much, but some. I can pay for dinners out and my share of large appliances and concert tickets.

The thing is, I think I was happier when I was broke.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

The Incredible Shrinking Apartment

How is it that, between the time you sign the lease and the time you move in, apartments tend to shrink about 400 square feet?

No, they do, I swear. It's not just me! Sean looked at me the other day, cocked his head to the side like a curious Jack Russell terrier, and asked: "Wasn't this place bigger before?"

It was! I swear it! It has mysteriously decreased in size! And gotten further from the bus stop!

Apparently it's a widespread phenomenon. Others have reported it, as well.

But, it's still a nice, big place. I think the bathroom may actually have increased in size. The ceilings are high enough to necessitate the purchase of a ladder just to change lightbulbs. (And before you make a smartass comment about Sean and I's Sasquatch-like dimensions, bear in mind that the ceilings are 11 feet high!) The floors still sparkle pretty, and the kitchen is still chock-full of almost-new appliances. Including, thanks to the purchasing power of a Home Depot card that's almost maxed out before it arrives, a brand-spankin'-new washer and dryer. (My new definition of "serious relationship"--co-owning a large appliance or two!!!)

So, I'm psyched about the place. (If we could fast-forward ahead to after everything's moved and unpacked, I'd be even happier...)

The best part of the "new" apartment, though, was the impossibly huge grin on Sean's face as he looked at me and said: "It's our apartment, honey!"

*insert "AWWWW!" track here*

Monday, June 30, 2003

Hectic Weekend

I think I need a break from my weekend! Kind of like coming back from Cleveland last week, and saying I needed a vacation to recover from my trip...

It started out Friday, when I had to work to make up for taking off Monday to spend the day in the car with the irrepressible Sean and my favorite Egyptian, Fady. Yeah, I know what a spoiled brat I am, but usually I don't work Fridays--I do a 4 10-hour days thing and skip the Friday commute. The unfortunate thing is that I usually don't use my day off wisely--I tend to go to Target or something lame like that and then whine that the weekend is too short.

But, I digress.

After a hard day of data entry and endless mousing, Sean and I headed to the FleetBoston Pavillion to see Iggy Pop and friends perform. (Well, I doubt they're actually his friends...) We spent a couple hours wandering the cheesy booths and drinking $8 beers before anyone actually started to play the "rock and roll music". This, incidentally, was just enough time for us to realize that we're not the target audience for these types of events any more. I just don't feel the need to dye my hair purple with Punky Color or drink an Amp or buy hemp-and-shell jewelery. *sigh*

So, let's review what we learned from this concert experience, shall we?
1. We are getting old.
2. There are still people FAR older than us who want to
attend an Iggy Pop show.
3. Hot Hot Heat is under-rated.
4. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are over-rated. And their lead
singer needs to consider an occasional workout.
Strutting back and forth across the street should
not make one gasp while saying "Hello, Boston".
5. Jellyfish are cool.
6. $8 Beers do not taste better than $3 ones.
7. Fischerspooner is one helluva prima donna
attitudy-ass queen. This made me laugh. Sean was not
8. Iggy Pop is too old for such hijinx as flipping the
audience "the bird". This is just plain silly.
9. Sometimes, the most fun part of anything is just hanging
out with someone you love.

So, that was Friday. Saturday, the alarm blared angrily at us at the ungodly rude hour of 7 am. We rolled out of bed and made for Saugus, where Sean's mom was determined to clear out a good deal of clutter through a yard sale and rented dumpster (for the unsold!). I "helped" with setting up a few things before I was shooed off by Sean and forced to make the big drive from Saugus to Brookline all by my lonesome for the first time. I did. So now I'm a Big Boston Driver Girl! Yay for me!

Again, I digress.

So I headed for my apartment, which I packed up. That's a pretty short sentence for a long-ass day of wrapping plates in t-shirts, throwing clothes in trash bags, and begging banana crates from Trader Joe's. But, long story short, I packed up the apartment. So now we just have to get all the stuff in it from Brookline to Medford. Luckily, I have very little furniture, just lots of "stuff".

Sean and I eventually reunited at his current apartment for a late-night of noshing on Redbones takeout and watching some Iron Chef.

Sunday I was awakened in the wee hours by the sound of my cat being an asshole. If you are unsure how exactly this occurs, let me explain. A cat being an asshole ususally consists of running back and forth across the bed and apartment at top speed, digging nails into sleeping bodies on the bed, and meowing at the top of one's lungs. See? Asshole. I implored Tivy to "stop being an asshole", and realizing the error of his ways, he settled down and went back to sleep.

I finally awoke at 9 am and decided to make surprise muffins for the sleeping Sean. Mmmm...lowfat blueberry/raspberry muffins! I had to use my vanilla soymilk because we were out of milk, but other than that everything was pretty standard. Sean gave a very unmanly squeal of excitement when I announced the existence of the muffins, and practically bounded out of bed to get some. Unfortunately, they tasted either like ass or something dead. I'm not entirely sure which. My muffins were a complete failure. I mean, the only job of a muffin is to taste good. Mine couldn't even accomplish that. Failures!

After a less-than-nourishing breakfast, we headed out to do some new-apartment-related shopping. At our first stop, the local Home Depot, we met with a great deal of success! I'm happy to announce that Sean and I are now the proud owners of our first large appliance--a brand-new Maytag washing machine!!! Goodbye, coin-ops and laundromats!! Woohoo! It arrives next Friday. I'll be saving my laundry till then!

We looked at air conditioners and rugs, but didn't buy anything. But hey, looking's a start, right?

Later that evening, we set out to meet a bunch of my friends from school at the Barking Crab for some seafood treats. It was a great time--we got to sit out on the patio under the twinkle lights and feed our faces with scads of shellfish. Mmmm. Unfortunately, I'm sorry to report that Sean's skill with the snow crab legs left a lot to be desired. I think it's save to say he's going to receive a sound schooling when we set off for Baltimore to visit the great Brandy and Robb in August--blue crab pickin' is SOOO much more involved than snow crab legs.

After a dinner that helped us work up an appetite, we walked across the street and plopped ourselves down in front of the harbor to watch the fireworks. They ended up being pretty spectacular, and Sean snapped some pretty good shots. Maybe he'll even change the picture on his site?

So, yeah, it's been a whirlwind weekend. And I've got a gabazillion things to do, still. Do you think it'd be possible to request an extra summer this year?

Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Why I Live in Boston

This past weekend, Sean and I made a road trip/excursion out to Cleveland to
see all my old buds/surrogate family. My friend Jumar even came up from
South Carolina, where he's busy training with the Navy's Nuclear Submarine
program (with my baby brother! Small world!) The hyjinx of the weekend are
probably fodder for another blog, but long story short; I found myself
grumbling quite loudly about the difference in cost-of-living between the
two cities.

Case in point: my friend Sarah, a fresh-faced new grad; is looking to buy a
house. A 3 bedroom, 2 bath house with a nice yard in the hip barely-a-'burb
'burb of Lakewood goes for around $120,000. A townhouse in the same type of
neighborhood? Around $85,000.

Sean and I dabble our fingers in the idea of buying a house, and we'd be
hard-pressed to find one of similar description for less than $450,000.
And that would be in a much crappier neighborhood.

Now, before you start to blather on and on about salary differences and how
they're SOO much lower in Cleveland, let me say this: They're not. I mean,
Ok, if you make $75,000 in Boston, you might make $60,000 in Cleveland. But
bear in mind you'd be chopping your living expenses by two-thirds.

So, I've been more than a bit depressed about the seeming impossibility of
living the life I'd like to live while residing in Boston Proper.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not about to pack my bags and move back to
Cleveland (great town, but I'm kind of a coastal kind of girl...). But I've
been incredibly frustrated by the cost of living HERE. I know you locals
are used to it, but I'm just NOT. As I've said about a million times, an
above-average-income yuppie couple like Sean and I shouldn't have trouble
finding an apartment (not even a HOUSE!) we can afford. Suck!!!

Cut to last night. We met up at Scullers jazz club with my girls from
school and their respective boys to take in a Big Bad Voodoo Daddy show.
Bemoaning that the show conflicted with the free Guster concert in City Hall
Plaza, we filed in to the small, intimate club with floor-to-ceiling windows
overlooking the river and settled in for an absolutely GREAT concert. We
sat 3 people back from the stage, and we were in the back of the
club. When they left, they walked right past us for high-fives and
handshakes. And it was a ridiculous amount of fun. I think my throat is
still sore from "Hidi hidi hidi ho"-ing and "Go Daddy-O"-ing.

Cut to this Friday. We're giving up the free Blondie concert (again, at
City Hall Plaza) in favor of seeing Iggy Pop with Fischerspooner and the
Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Yay! And all summer, there'll be Free Friday Flicks and
the Boston Pops at the Hatch Shell. The weekends will be stuffed full of
Art Festivals and Music Festivals. We'll go hiking in the Berkshires, we'll
go down the Cape, to the Vineyard, maybe to Nantucket. We'll drive up to
Maine and eat lobster at a roadside stand. There's about a bazillion cool
things to do. All. The. Time.

And that kind of justifes the ungodly expense and makes me feel a little
better about living here. Well, for now, anyway.