Wednesday, November 29, 2006

What I Keep in my File Cabinet at Work Instead of Actual Files, OR, Testing the Limits of How Inane a Blog Can Be

1. Flask (inscription "Good Ol' Boys, Badass Toys" with a picture of a Mac truck). Picked this baby up at the 99 cent store and brought it to work during one particularly boring stretch of drone work, to share with a coworker on the roof like rebellious teens gettinh schnockered on schnapps. It seemed like it would be exciting and dangerous, but as with most events of my teenage years, was not. Turns out spreadsheets look the same with Jack as without, which is probably not an ad campaign the Jack Daniels Corporation will be snatching up anytime soon.

2. Emery boards. I take a secret pleasure in talking to someone over the phone while filing my nails like a classic bored 1980s secretary (think Janine in "Ghostbusters"). Sometimes I'll also chew gum and pretend to be extra-detached. This would be filed under "Whatever Gets You Through the Day".

3. Socks. Amongst the many injustices and dignity-strippers I face on a daily basis, I sit both below the air conditioning duct and next to a Russian, and I often have to toss these on to keep the extremities working in such a frigid climate. The thermostat control guy seems to think I'm joking when I ask him to "pee on my hands for warmth". I wish I were.

4. Frizz Ease Dream Curls Curl Perfecter. Because every working girl should look her best. I purchased this because it had an awful lot of superlative sounding promises in the name, although I want to know whose subconscious is so barren that they dream of curls. It's aight, but a bit of a letdown considering the name. Caveat Emptor, I guess.

5. Bubble Bobble Revolution for Nintendo DS. I bought this to play on my travels around Germany. I left it in my file cabinet. Maybe that's not a sob story for most people, but I near wept when I realized what had happened. There's probably a German word for "remorse for leaving your videogame at home when travelling a foriegn country". They have words for everything.

6. Aleve. For hangovers. Get off work, drink to forget work, wake up, go to work, take Aleve to forget drinking to forget work, repeat. Round and round like a circle game.

7. Approx. seven hundred pieces of Banana Laffy Taffy. The day after Halloween is a very good day to be the only person on the planet who likes banana flavored taffy. One night, I'm going to have a dinner composed entirely of taffy, to make my 9-year-old self proud.

8. Eye drops. For hangovers/crud in my eye. I swear to God, for someone who sits at a desk all day, you'd think I was some sort of camel for all the crap that gets in my eyes.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Things that Suck Harder, or That I Imagine Would Suck Harder, Than My Day

1. Anal Cancer
2. My fantasy football team
3. Your Mom*
4. That whole Holocaust thing
5. Jumping off the Empire State Building and landing on a bicycle with no seat**
6. Industrial Air Cast Iron Pump Compressor - 4.5 HP, 60 Gallon, Model# ILA8046065
7. This post

*Only applicable for John Dabiri of Pasadena, CA.
**Cross-reference with "Grosser than Gross".

Friday, November 17, 2006

Plymouth Rock City

Unfortunately, I've planned it so that I'll be eating and drinking my way around Bavaria mere hours before encountering my mother in her latest incantation, that of a newly svelte 48-year old, gastric bypassed woman. Figuring I'll be jetlagged as hell and fighting bantam instead of feather for a week, I've decided to resign myself to the holiday beatdown by placing my soul in small jar and just handing it over to her when she picks me up at the train station, saving myself the resistance energy and allowing her to devote more time to trying to win that damn "fiddle of gold/best that's ever been" bet she's always on about.

The expression on her face didn't tip you off that you might be getting a raw deal?

Still, there's a definite amount of interest amongst friends as to what exactly my mother looks like, having not seen her since about 50 pounds ago. Having gone through gastric bypass surgery followed by a DJ Tanneresque workout routine, she's almost halved her weight, and despite my inquiries towards whether or not she's covered in wrinkly old lady skin, she refuses to say or send pictures, as she's worried that I'll place them on the internet (and yet, I'm entrusted with her living will). My grandmother was allowed to see some hard copy photos of my mom in her underwear (I assume she used the camera's timer option and most definitely did not ask my dad to snap them, for self-preservation reasons), and confirms that my mother does indeed look "kinda creepy", and my uncle informs me that she's definitely lost her rather formidable boobs (I assume he asked someone else to judge, and most definitely did not look at his own sister's chest, again, for self-preservation reasons), but I won't really be able to see for myself until Wednesday night.

The other issue is the excessive preachiness that accompanies such an incredible weight loss. While I'm happy that she's healthier and able to nag more actively, the woman's definitely listing towards the "rub it in" side of the Good Ship Educate Others. Between myself and my grandmother--who each year brandishes a knife in order to proclaim ownership of the giblets and neck, despite the fact that in my 27 years of existence, no one has ever once even gagged in their general direction-- neither of us are looking forward to the disapproving looks and admonishments that will accompany each bite of food that surpasses the half a cup mark. Our only real hope is to find some small chink in her armor, some fatal flaw that wasn't there before surgery, and when reaching for seconds, exploit, exploit, exploit.

No thanks, I'm stuffed from lunch at the rendering plant.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

S(k)ins of the flesh

In planning* our upcoming trip to Germany this weekend, my friend Jess and I have laid down a challenge to partake of a different kind of sausage every day leading up until Thanksgiving (when I'll help myself to the grandmother's Thanksgiving kielbasa. Not a euphemism). No stranger to German meats, having had a longstanding love affair with Landjäger, we look forward to truly celebrating being at the top of the food chain, and probably just a few drunken Hitler jokes.

*This challenge was, in fact, the only thing I planned. Shout outs to Jess and Lee for an anticipated four days of pointing my ass in the right direction and answering the question "Is this where they make the Hummels?" on a semidaily basis.

Don't judge a sausage by its casing.

Anyway, in anticipation of the broadening of our carnivorous horizons, I figured it's best to take stock of all of the animals and meats I've eaten thus far, so I know exactly how dominant I can feel.

Steak/beef- Tartare, rare, raw, Charred Beyond Recognition, stripped, hamburgered, filetted, fajitaed, Porterhoused, you name it. My hope is that some day the cow will actually be able to walk up to me and ask me which part I'd like to eat, Restaurant at the End of the Universe-style.

Buffalo- Tastes like beef. Also, weird to be eating your football team's mascot.

Elk- What a majestic animal. For me to digest.

Frog's Legs- Once you get past the Epcot-like novelty of eating something so French, I'm actually a big fan of these. What were we doing with our dead frogs anyway, barring a sudden plague? A practical use of a somewhat creepy animal.

Venison- In Northern NY, it's a rite of passage to hit a deer. Hell, I hit a baby deer, my dad hit a buck, and my mom a doe. Isn't that cute? Anyway, if you did manage to kill it and the car was still driveable, my friend Natalie's dad would take it to his garage and carve it up for you for $20 and 10 pounds of meat, so if you had insurance, it could turn out to be a sweet little deal. Little known fact: Venison makes a terrific jerky.

Chicken- Boorrrring, doesn't count. However, points for being highly deep-fryable.

Duck- It's like someone sat down and said "Hmm, I need something that tastes like chicken, only less plentiful and more expensive. Also, I'd like for it to continue to secrete after its death and contain so much gristle that I gag after every third mouthful."

Pupperoni- I'm not gonna pull the latchkey kid excuse here, unfortunately this had nothing to do with too much time on my hands, and everything to do with the fact that these dog treats both look and smell delicious. If you can get past the fact that they're most likely entirely composed of livestock offal, they don't taste half bad either.

Pork/bacon/ham/sausage- Gimmes. Though I once ate 50 of those Morningstar sausages in 4 days, which ranks only slightly below "getting my bachelor's" in terms of sources of self-pride.

Horse- Not straight up, but judging from the number of questionably processed foods I've eaten (hello, Slim Jims!), I'm going to guess there's been a hoof or two in there.

Lamb- Eh. Not a fan, but I don't begrudge anyone else the affection, unless it manifests itself in a more romantic display. And even then, sometimes these things just have to be done.

Tripe- Eating stomach was just a little too meta for me. Also, I took a bite of my napkin afterwards just to get the feeling of chewing this out of my mouth.

Haggis- There's something about packaging an animal in its own intestines that just appeals to me. I know the sheep didn't really have a say in it, but it seems thoughtful, nonetheless.

Shark- I know this is technically seafood, but since it eats red meat itself, I'm tossing it in here. The Mother was never much of a cook, in that the oven was seen as more of storage device than a functional unit, but on those blue moon nights that she actually put hand to anything but takeout menus...well, still not much of a cook. However, I do have a memory of her excitedly sitting my father and I down at the kitchen table one Sunday night, putting dinner in front of us, and having us "guess what it is" throughout the meal. I'm always up for these sorts of games, but as we quickly ran through the list of acceptable fleshes and were met only with mischievous headshakes, I started to worry that my mother had indeed cooked us human flesh. Eventually the truth came out, and Dad and I breathed a sense of relief, but I think the fear of committing a mortal sin might have tainted my memories of the actual taste.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Skills I Possess that I Thought Would Come in Handier Than They Have

1. Knowing all of the lyrics to Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire", REM's "It's the End of the World as we Know It", and the McDonald's "Big Mac, McBLT, a quarter pounder with some cheese" jingle. I need to reiterate that I was a rural latchkey kid and had a lot of time on my hands. I don't know why I painstakingly worked these lyrics out (pre-Internet lyrics search), or what expectations I had; when karaoke came around, I thought I'd finally see some validation, but "ITEoftheWAWKI*" is perhaps the most boring performance piece known to man. The only way to inspire less applause is to sing it in binary.
* What to do with the 3 seconds of time I saved by using an acronym here, what to do.

2. Ability to open champagne bottles without whimpering like a girl. Sure, there've been momentary triumphs here and there, but on the whole, this hasn't taken me as far in life as I'd like. I wait for the day when some rich older woman desperately needs some champers popped and no one's man enough to do it. I swoop in, pop the top, and she's so grateful she gives me a sweet job designing storefront windows for the large, ritzy department store she happens to own. Like you've never seen Mannequin either.

You look awfully proud for a guy fucking an inanimate object.

3. CPR. Why there's a certification for this, and why I had to get it, I don't understand. If my heart stops beating, I'm not going to ask to see credentials. At that point, if you can vaguely approximate my torso, you're tops in my book. Also, TV led me to believe that people dropping dead in public spaces was a far more routine occurrence than it actually is. I feel almost wistful about that.

4. The times table for 11. I don't know the universal forces behind it, but I have never once had to multiply something by 11. I know this portends that I'm going to die on November 11 when crushed by a giant 11 or something along those lines, but I'm just saying, 15 would have been more useful.

5. Balloon animal making**. My dad, an amateur magician, decided to learn to make them for some of his younger patients, and again, without a driver's license, I was a prisoner in my own home, so I took up the art to help pass the time. It just seemed like it would come in handy. Everyone loves balloon animals. Who doesn't have a quaint story about that time, with the balloon animal, and that guy and a girl, that mom and crying kid, that cobblestone park? Maybe it's not your story, maybe it's a friend's, or a friend of a friend's, or maybe you're thinking of a movie in which there was a quaint story about a balloon animal, and a guy and a girl, a mom and crying kid, a cobblestone park. The point is, it seemed as though at some moment, a well-timed balloon animal would just make the fucking story. It has yet to.
**We're not talking that dog and sword crap. I do a such a good monkey you half expect it to throw its own shit.

6. The Radio Alphabet (alpha bravo charlie). Don't remember how I picked this up (I'm gonna guess it was that time I was stranded on a submarine for six months), but as my name is ridiculously common and easily heard, I have yet to whisper the sweet nothings of "Juliet Echo November" into anyone's ear. Barring any sort of sudden career switch to midshipmen, I'm saddened by the 80s song lyrics that will be lost in retaining this knowledge. Also, random thought, it would suck to actually be named "Alpha Bravo Charlie". Every conversation you'd have with customer service would play like an Abbott and Costello routine.

Golf Alpha Yankee