Thursday, May 27, 2004

Relaxation is a Relative Term

When Sean and I haven't been busy watching people engage ska bands in fisticuffs this week, we've been getting ready for the camping trip we have on this Memorial Day Weekend's agenda. The camping trip was my idea. I sent Sean a bubbly email, saying "I have a great idea! Why don't we go camping next weekend? I already have all the gear! It will be fun! We can go hiking, go geocaching, even go by Mass MoCA!"

Notorious city-boy Sean surprised me a bit by agreeing right off. So it must be a good idea! Camping is such a cheap way to go! Sheesh, that state park only charges 10 bucks a night!

I haven't been camping in about six years. Maybe more like seven. It seems like much less, but I say this so you'll understand the later catastrophes a bit better.

Anywho. Sean had his big Rescue Diver Certification Test last weekend, so he was either playing aquaman or exhausted from a long day of playing aquaman all weekend. (But he passed with flying colors. Yay Rescue Diver Honey! If you had your own blog you could talk more about it! But you don't so that's all the acknowledgement you get!) We did get a chance to venture down to the basement and bring my camping gear back upstairs.

The excitement that I'm certain will ensue tomorrow began at that very point, when my 6'4" boyfriend screamed like a woman and lept 20 feet in the air at the husk of a dead bug that lay, dried out and flat, in the bottom of one of the crates holding the gear. This was likely an Important Sign that should have been heeded at all costs.

I was happy to find that a good deal of the stuff I was certain had disappeared was waiting patiently for me. Not only that, but I had forgotten that my parents had given me a camping grill and an air mattress as gifts last year. So two less things I'd have to think about buying!

The mess kit was one of the casualties. The ancient metal (we're talking my parents bought this mess kit before I was born, people. And I was in high school in the days of turtlenecks with college sweatshirts and necklaces pulled out the top of the turtlenecks to dangle there precariously and for no good reason) had finally given up and started to corrode. So, I had to buy a mess kit.

Now, the Berkshires (that's where we're going, did I mention that?) may have been downgraded to "hills", but rest assured that they are as rocky and pockmarked as William H. Macy on a bad, hungover day. Sean's K-mart special "hiking boots" probably weren't going to cut it. So he'd have to find time to pick up some of those, too.

So, fine. We can deal with that. We can deal with having to buy a new air mattress inflator because I can't find my old one anywhere, even though I know very well that I carried it and my rollerblades for miles and miles and miles from the junkyard where my stolen-and-wrecked-by-the-asshat-who-stole-it care was waiting to be crushed up back to the nearest bus station, and then eventually back to my apartment. These are just glitches.

Then I went to pull out the tent and the fucking stakes were gone.

Fine, I can buy more stakes.

Till I realized the fucking poles were gone, too. Now, where in the fucketist fuck of all fucks could my tent poles possibly have gone? I mean, it's not like you're going to take them out and play javelin with them. They're not too handy for balancing while walking a tightrope. Really, they're not good for much more than HOLDING UP A FUCKING TENT.


At this point, we have bought new hiking boots for Sean, a new mess kit, food, and whatever accessories we deemed were necessary during a trip to R.E.I. We have assembled the grill and cleaned up the camp stove. We have bought a new inflator and subsequently located the old inflator, right in the closet next to the Linux machine where it makes perfect sense for a camping accessory to be. So we're not about to cancel at this point.

R.E.I. saved the day by offering tent rental services. Yay for R.E.I.!

Now, the car is mostly packed with more worldly possessions than any human being could possibly need for 2 nights of camping fun. I packed at least 27 different combinations of outfit so I won't freeze/boil/drown. I am flopped on a kitchen chair, typing out a blog on Sean's Mac, Knife. (Get it?)

I am freaking beat. Beat. And I have yet to even see a freaking mountain.

Don't Fuck With the Ska Band

Ska bands are not to be fucked with. Let this be a lesson to you and yours.

The always-affable Sean and I set out last night to see a friend/co-worker of his' band play at the Middle East. That's the thing with Sean's job, about 90% of his co-workers are in a band. Some are in more than one band. This is not an exaggeration. So when you start going to co-workers' gigs, you have to go to more and more co-worker's gigs to avoid hurt feelings. Plus, y'know, Sean and I are rock stars like that and we love to party on school nights. At least, that's what we say to each other blithely over the music as we stand there nursing our rum and diet cokes with our foam earplugs firmly ensconced against our eardrums. Then we agree to do it more often, and in six months the whole cycle starts over again.

But that's another story.

The Tint was good, a power alterno-pop kinda band that reminded me all at once of Green Day, Tonic, Counting Crows, and The Smithereens. If they all were on speed. (That was Sean's addition.) The lead singer had those creepy eyes that follow you no matter where in the room you are, like one of those haunted mansion paintings; and his delivery was very Green Day's Billie. Sean's actual co-worker may have been the most enthusiastic bass player I have ever encountered. What a funky white boy!

So, yeah, Tint good. But they were the only alterno-pop band on the lineup, apparently. The rest were ska bands, which was a happy surprise because Sean likes ska more than any other once-mulleted metalhead I know. That Sean is also no stranger to the funk himself. We happily bobbed our heads and sucked on our rum and diet cokes.

Then, it happened. A scuffle broke out! Complete with bitch-ass'ing and fuck-you'ing and fisticuffs! Someone was not only heckling, but baiting a member of the ska band that had just left the stage.

That is never a good choice. You don't fuck with a ska band. Here, in no particular order, is a list of reasons not to fuck with the ska band.

1.) First of all, ska bands have an average of 17 members, at least. Unless you came to the bar with 17 of your closest friends who happen to not only share your views on music and life but also are willing to bust a head or two open on your account, you should not fuck with the ska band.

2.) Secondly, do not be fooled by the appearance of the members of the ska band. Sure, they look like a bunch of jolly guys in their suits, grinning while playing their instruments. They can't fight, right? Ha. Keep in mind that these guys were the members of your high school's marching band. They have been picked on for years and years because of their talent with the trumpet, or saxaphone, or bass. As soon as high school was over, they quickly joined a gym and beefed up; and they are now ready to take out all their anger over having their retainer stolen from them and shoved down the toilet in 7th grade out on any schmuck who heckles and/or baits them.

3.) Thirdly, do not forget that the instruments the ska band is using can be converted to weapons with a quickness and ease that would make your head spin. Do you really want to find out if a French Horn will leave a permanent imprint on your skull? Those babies may be their "pride and joy", but they're not more than their pride. And a bass is a very, very large instrument. It weighs more than you do. I'm sure of it.

4.) Fourthly, it is just plain mean to fuck with a ska band. The ska band is out playing music on a school night when they probably have to get up and put their suits on the next morning and go to work. See how clean-cut they are? That probably means that they have real jobs and do not just make pizza at Dominoes because it is the only job where you do not have to wake up before 2:00 pm. Also, it is important to note that the clean-cutness of the ska band denotes an utter lack of facial piercings, which can be seized and yanked in the event of a fisticuffs.

I repeat, do not fuck with a ska band. It is a very bad idea.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

To Most People, I Just Worked Some Voodoo Magic

Our main application at work just switched over from a plain old app to a New Improved Web-based App. This is a very big deal and has resulted in a profound increase in clicking. What took 3 clicks before now takes 10. But everything is well-documented now!

Fuck you, Well-Documented! Me no likey the clickey.

As I believe I have stated before, I am a Super-User for this app. No cape has been issued to me for this dubious honor. In fact, I mostly find myself telling people that they did not record an outcome while they insist for a half hour that they did too record an outcome. Then they realize that they forgot to record an outcome and quickly record an outcome and say something along the lines of "Wow, it just went away!"

Because it is a New Improved Web-based App., it is launched through MS Internet Explorer. Which has a toolbar. Which has a "Back" button.

People cannot stop clicking on the "Back" button. Cannot. And when this occurs, all the information the click-happy-back-button-clicker has just typed in is lost. And the web app crashes.

So, today a Very Important Computer Man came along to do some Very Important Work to our computers and to the New Improved Web-based App. You see, it was crucial that they "disable" the evil back button. In turn, we each had to stand up and leave our cubicles as the Very Important Computer Man did his Very Important Work. And when we came back to our cubicles, the evil back button was gone, once and for all!

I was not pleased with this option. I happen to use my back button as I am surfing the 'net, doing important Work work like searching for the newest technology in carotid enarterectomies or checking my email. So I decided I would hack into the system however I could and reclaim my precious back button. I would call Sean the WonderTechie if I had to.

I didn't have to.

Let me share the steps I took to make the elusive back button reappear:

1. Right-click on "Tools".
2. Click on and check "Standard Buttons".

Sigh. Now I know why I got stuck being the Super-User.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Panera Bacon Turkey Bravo

I should have asked them to hold the turkey. And substitute extra bacon.

A BLT on foccacia with gouda. Oh yeah, baby.

Where you still get those 45-degree days in late May.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Some Days

There are days when rolling over to hit the 'snooze' button seems like a chore. When the coffee turns your stomach, when the oatmeal seems too hard to chew. Days when you cry the entire time you're in the shower, tears mixing with the water and running down you in soap-salty rivulets. Days when you have to force yourself to stop so you can put the contacts in.

There are days when it barely seems to matter that your shoes look silly or that your capris are tighter than you'd like them to be. And then all at once it matters far more than it should.

There are days when you drive in a stupor, gas and brake and gas and brake and shift and shift and shift and shift until finally, you pull into a place you don't really feel like being at in the first place. And the effort of turning the key to 'off', getting out of the car and walking into work; seems almost overwhelming.

There are days when the office is eerily quiet and you feel even more alone and the pictures on your desk of happy places and happy times just serve to make you feel more out of place. And your boss is showing around pictures of her daughters going to prom and you wonder if you'll ever have a happy family and beautiful daughters going to prom or if you were ever that young, if you ever laughed as effortlessly as her daughters do in the pictures.

And it's been all day, and it's still only 10 am, and getting in your car and driving back to your apartment isn't so great, anyway.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

The Gift of Life

Otherwise known as The Gift of Redpanda's Blood

We had an at-work blood drive today. Being a health-related kind of company, we are offered the benefit of a half-day off (paid) every time we donate blood. Up to four times a year. So, drawn in by the promise of time off and the pleasure of doing something "good", I signed up.

I've tried to donate blood before several times. Usually, I've had a piercing too recently to do so. Either that or they draw a bit of my blood, find extra plasma where the erythrocytes should be marching along, and send me on my way. So I've never actually gotten to the sucky-bloody-machiney (that's the technical term) before.

I have to say, I was a bit worried. It wasn't the idea of the pain so much as the idea of me Making An Ass of Myself. This occurs with such regularity that I was quite certain that taking a pint of blood out of me would bring it on almost immediately. I would pass out on the floor, knocking coolers full of blood bags over and squashing them as I fell. I would have to projectile vomit, and I'd spew forth something awful onto all who were waiting near me. Or maybe I'd just be struck with Temporary Tourette's Syndrome and I'd yell out "Ball Hair! Ball HAIR!!!" as they drained my vein.

I was given a questionnaire to fill out. Now, I had assumed that it would contain the usual questions. Do you have sex for money? Nope. Do you have HIV? Nope. Are you currently taking antibiotics? Nope. Have you ever in your life had sex with anyone who lives or has lived in Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Niger, Namibibia...since 1977? Er...say what?

I had to think about that one for a minute.

I decided that I probably hadn't had sex with a Nigerian.

Eventually it was my turn to get "on the bed". The bed was actually more of a table, and not a particularly comfortable one. But it would do for the purpose of bloodletting, I suppose. The nurse tightened the tourniquet around my arm and warned me that I would "feel a pinch".

It didn't hurt, it didn't feel bad, it mostly just made my hand numb.

All was fine. Except I still feel a bit drunk. And people keep feeding me.

Monday, May 17, 2004

A Day for Celebration!

Today, for once, I am thrilled to live in the state of Massachusetts. Despite the biting cold winters, the god-awful traffic, the neverending construction of the Big Dig, the barely-livable cost of living, the uppity people, and the ridiculous rates of taxation (where was I, again?); today I am thrilled to be a "Massachute".

This morning, at 12:01 am, the city of Cambridge became the first city in the United States to grant legal marriage licenses to samesex couples. With waivers being given out to avoid the usual 3-day waiting period; some marriages will take place as early as this afternoon.

When the alarm went off this morning and WBZ began blaring loudly and angrily in my ear, it was with joyful sounds of cheering. It was with jubilant couples, some having been together 20 or more years, who are at last receiving legal recognition of their union. I was so happy that I cried. (I'm tearing up as we speak...) Sean laughed at this, as usual. I looked at the mass of morning-messy curls wildly framing his face, his dimples deepening with mirth, his eyes sparkling at me with adoration. What would life be like if laws cruelly stood in the way of our love for each other?

Go home and kiss the person you love. And know that, in some places, the law now embraces your right to have a future together.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Porch Envy

I remember when I first saw the porch. It was when we were first looking over our now-apartment with our then-prospective landlords, gingerly climbing up the stairs to the third floor. The stairs circled around to a room in which light pooled on the floor, let in by two giant windows and a door that a porch. A simply lovely porch. Big and covered and under the shade of a giant conifer. High enough to avoid the prying eyes of street passers-by, low enough to watch them without their knowledge.

"Oh!", I exclaimed, "a porch! Do we share it?" (I assumed we did, since the door leading to it was in the hallway, and not in the second floor's apartment.)

"No," prospective landlord replied, "It belongs to the second floor. But you could use the first floor one if you wanted, I suppose."

At the time, this seemed a nonissue. After all, the porch was nice, but the apartment was so pretty with its shiny wood floors, its soaring 11-foot ceilings, and its "architecturally interesting" dormered corners (That's a quote from the Craigslist ad, people! Poetry!) that I was sure it would never bother me.

It bothers me.

It wouldn't be so bad if I ever actually saw any of our second-floor neighbors out on said porch. If I often gave a friendly wave to one of the three chaps and/or one of his significant others on my way up or down the stairs, or if I pulled up in front of the house and looked up to see a gathering of content, beer-drinking people out on the porch. That would ease the pain some.

But the porch sits vacant, you see. The plastic chairs are strewn about carelessly, some of them upside-down. They are arranged in no particular order. And I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I have actually seen a human being out there.


If it were my porch, I would have flowers in windowboxes adorning the sides. An herb garden, or maybe strawberries or tomatoes, would flourish in a big pot in the corner. A colorful flag would hang out front. I would drink my coffee out there in the morning, sit and sip margaritas out there at night.

I would love my porch.

But alas, it's not my porch to love.


Monday, May 10, 2004


Saturday was the day. Sean's ponytail was efficiently clipped and bundled up for the journey to Locks of Love. He caused quite a sensation at the salon--I'm not sure he's ever had quite that many women crowded around him to oooh and ahhh. All said and done, the ponytail measured about 11 1/2"--and every inch of it super-thick super-soft chocolatey brown curly goodness. Hell, I'd wear a wig made of it.
Sean is now the essence of hip. Carson would be proud. But I do a double-take every now and again at the short(er!) haired guy who sits where my boyfriend ususally does.

Friday, May 07, 2004


I drink WAAAY too much coffee. Like, 6 cups (two of my BIG cups) in the morning, and another 20 oz (or so) at work. And that's if I don't run over to Dunk's and get a latte in the afternoon.

I once owned the majority of V.C. Andrews' books.

I sometimes sing along to Averil Lavigne. Except for that new "Didja think that I was gonna give it up to you" song. That just makes me laugh.

I accidentally killed my beloved pet parakeet when I was eleven. I will still cry if I delve too deeply into the situation.

I love shopping. LOVE it. I hate that I love it. But I do.

I also love clothing. And accessories. And shoes. Way more than someone who claims to be nonmaterialistic should.

I sometimes accidentally kick the cat in my sleep. And sometimes I kick the cat on purpose, but only when she bites my feet.

If Sean and I are in a store, say Target, and I don't know where he is, I will call his cell from my cell and say "Where are you? I'm next to the cat food!"

I sometimes yell obscenities at WBZ radio in the shower. Sean usually comes running, worried that I have been assaulted somehow and am fighting off intruders.

I'm faking it.

I don't remember my natural haircolor any more.

Sometimes, like every couple months or so, I go to McDonalds. I get the two cheeseburger value meal with a Diet Coke.

I always meant to get a tattoo.

I have gotten people fired because they pissed me off.

I don't clean my apartment nearly enough.

I don't answer my cell phone half the time. Half of the remaining time, it's not even on.

I don't love my job.

I laugh at retarded person jokes. And dead baby jokes. And racially questionable jokes.

I laugh at other people. A lot. I often point at them while doing so.

I don't keep in touch very well.

I have hurt people without remorse.

I have hurt people and cried for days.

The collar and cuffs match. But only when I'm a redhead.

I would rather be somewhere else.

Sometimes, I'd rather be someONE else.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Open Letter to Annoying Radio Guy

According to WBZ, my faithful early-a.m. news source, quite a few unions are planning to protest during the Democratic National Convention over the loss of state contracts. I personally recommend not doing so, since the DNC is already pretty much the biggest cluster in history and adding to the fray can't exactly help matters. But still, I commend their efforts, and support union contracts.

Except for one thing. The sound bite they used included an interview with this guy, presumably a Boston-area union worker, who said: "Yeah, I make $30,000 a year. I have four kids. I gotta keep a roof over their heads, and I can't do it on that..."

Er...ahem? What? I'm sorry, I didn't get that last part. Surely, what you meant to say was that your skill set, level of expertise, and education justify a higher pay rate? Because correct me if I'm mistaken, but I fail to see how it is my, the state of Massachusetts', or anyone else's problem that you have far too many children. Let's review this. You have a job, for which you are paid a salary. In your spare time, you engage in the complete opposite of family planning by having more children than you can afford (and I feel I can safely say that he has more children than he can afford, simply taking into account that my household income pretty well dwarfs 30k and I cannot imagine affording ONE child, much less FOUR), and then you have the audacity to complain that, based simply on the number of mewling mouths in your house, you are underpaid?

May I suggest that, in your spare time, you take some coursework at your local community college? This would likely make you more marketable, increase your skill set, and potentially lead to an increase in salary. Your current spare time activity of repeatedly inserting your penis into your wife's vagina, thrusting over and over, and spurting gobs of baby batter forth is doing little to bring home more cash. Or perhaps you were unaware that this is the reason that your wife keeps having babies? If that is the case, let me be the first to suggest that you visit your local library and borrow a VHS copy of "The Miracle of Life" and study it until you are familiar with the procedure.

Then, go home, read over your resume, and decide if you, you, merit a pay raise. If so, fight for it tooth and nail.

But for the love of GOD, stop having kids.