Monday, December 29, 2008

Why I'm Not Getting a Degree In Journalism

Our local paper is the Black Hills Pioneer. I don't expect much from it, because it sucks. But when I looked it up today for information on the recent murder that took place at a local motel (the mayor's stepson was the killer) I was even more disgusted than usual. The whole article is pretty badly written, but this part really stood out:

Bell was arrested at 8:15 a.m. Sunday only blocks away from the motel. He had been on the run for almost nine hours in bitterly cold weather and his feet were bandaged in court Monday.

You'd think they'd have taken care of that earlier - and in a more sterile environment.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Sad State of Affairs

Some lady dropped off a bunch of books yesterday, saying she'd come back later for her store credit. I said that sounded like a fine idea, and off she went. People do this all the time and I'm totally cool with it, but in this instance especially so, because I'm not sure I'd have been able to disguise the look of horror that took up residence on my face as I perused her offerings. (That sounds...weird. I mean, "perused her offerings"? If Edith Wharton wrote erotica, maybe.)

First I pulled out a couple books on how to build a happy marriage. Aww, I thought. Mawwiage. Then I came across something called "Not Just Friends: Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity." That was significantly less cheering. Then there were some books on parenting in the stern, unattractive face of divorce. And finally:

As a friend of mine said, the truly tragic part about this is that "none of the books worked." It's a valid point, no?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You Suck. Also, Why I Never Blog.

Okay, so I'm at the library, and I just went to print something off, and what did I see? Another queued document awaiting printing. Well, okay, I saw a bunch of documents awaiting printing, but this one stuck out, as it was titled "suck ass." Naturally I checked the name of the student to whom this sucky bit of writing belonged, and when I saw the name I smiled. That kid really is an ass.

Then when I sat back down, I noticed that the laptop I had checked out had the words "THIS LAPTOP SUCKS" scratched into the lid. (Do they call that thing a lid? Probably not. But then what do they call it? I'm sure it's totally obvious, but I have no idea.)

So, um, yeah. I'm not really sure what my point was. I guess that life just kind of sucks right now. And also, I really need to finish this paper.

Thomas's stories force his listeners to view their present situation in the context of their past, blah blah blah blah blah...

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Don't Blame Me, She's the One Who Sucks

A certain blogger of questionable quality has deemed me her mortal enemy, and is apparently planning to exact revenge. However, this blogger would like to state, for the record, that she considers her status as the blogger-lacking-in-quality's enemy a compliment. Also, she plans to exact her revenge first, with an unprecedented level of vengeyness.

And while it is true that I am utterly lacking in fighting experience, I will make up for it in passion. Ranting Non-Pacifist is the six-fingered man to my Inigo Montoya, and she should prepare to die - in a figurative sense, that is. I mean, I don't really want her to die. I like feeling superior, and she's good for that.

So. Yeah. We're enemies now, and shit is going to go down.

Also, happy thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

All I Want Is a Lunch Break

Creepily perky but incoherent blond wearing a heart-patterned hoodie: [mumble] DMV?
Me: Sorry?
Creepy Blond: [mumble mumble mumble] the DMV?
Me: I'm sorry, still didn't catch tha -
Creepy Blond: [mumble] DMV. [mumble] IV pictures here?
Me: IV?
Creepy Blond: ...IV pictures.
Me: I, um - no. No, we don't. We just...we don't, yeah.
Creepy Blond: Oh! Well! Thanks...anyway...
Me: Okay. Yeah. You're welcome. Bye now.

Five Minutes Later:

This Guy: Didja get my Star Wars book?
Me: I did, yeah. Here it is.
Guy: Wowee! Ya really got it! Well how about that!
Me: Yep.
Guy: I just have the best luck with you!
Me (trying to be perky!): Well. Thank you!
Guy: Ya always get everything on time.
Me: Thanks - I try!
Guy (pointing to book): Isn't that Darth Vader cute?
Me: ...Yes?
Guy: Wouldn't ya just like to kiss him more than any guy you've ever met?
Me: Absolutely?
Guy: I thought so. Now whaddo I owe ya?
Me: It's -
Guy: That's too much!
Me: Um...
Guy: I'm just kiddin'. Whaddo I owe ya?
Me: $11.65?
Guy: Well, that Vader's pretty cute. I guess I'll get it.
Me: ...Alright then.

Monday, November 24, 2008

If I Only Had Knowledge of 19th Century Poetry I Could Totally Come Up With a Clever Post Title

So I got a paper back today. I got an A-. I'm not complaining - it wasn't an A paper. Plus I forgot to title it and, um, I did embarrass myself a bit with a tragic lack of attention to detail...

My sentence:

It is therefore determined that Earl should report the incident to Greggy Longfellow, the local sheriff, before the three take any further action.

My professor's comment:

Longwell. Longfellow also pompous but a 19th century poet & not a member of the police force.

My reaction:

It's nice she has a sense of humor about it, because I'm a little mortified.

I called him Longfellow throughout the entire paper, too. Damn it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Those Who Do the Lord's Work Are Rewarded In...Whores?

Pretentious Regular, Reading Back Cover of Son of a Witch: "Saint Glinda? God. Those goddamn Christians are gettin into everything.
Pretentious Regular's mother: It's those goddamn missionaries.
Regular: That's exactly right. The missionaries. God damn missionaries.

Me, thinking: I love it when people trash religion while invoking the Lord's name simultaneously. The fact that Son of a Witch is about, like, a witch, makes this so much funnier.

Regular's mother: You know, most of the apostles had whores.
Regular, turning to me: St. Francis had a whore.
Me: Which one?
Regular: What do you mean?
Me: I mean, which Francis - Xavier or Assisi?
Regular, after a long, uncomfortable pause: Both, I think.
Me: That's interesting. Which of the apostles?
Regular: Francis.
Me: But they weren't apostles, were they?
Regular's mother: They sure were!
Me, annoyed: I don't think so. I went to Catholic school, we had to study this.
Regular: Well, whatever.
Me: ...Right.

And then they scampered away like the whore-deficient non-saints they are.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I need to stop writing in the passive voice so much. By which I mean, it is advisable that I cease writing in the passive voice. This stupid paper (you know, the one due tomorrow) read likes a freaking Sarah Palin monologue.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

As If I Needed Confirmation

Sarah Palin, when asked about possible plans to run for president in 2012:

"Right now I cannot even imagine running for national office in 2012. When I say that, of course, coming on the heels of an outcome that I did not anticipate and had not hoped for. But this being a chapter now that is closed and realizing that it is a time to unite and all Americans need to get together and help with this new administration being ushered in."

I'm not exactly sure what this means. I think it's code for "there's a reason it took me five colleges and six years to get a bachelor's," but who knows?

Then, in response to the awesomely blunt suggestion that she might have cost McCain the election, Sarah says:

"I don't think anybody should give Sarah Palin that much credit, that I would trump an economic time in this nation that occurred about two months ago, that my presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis that America found itself in a couple of months ago and attribute John McCain's loss to me."

I love that she starts talking in the third person, then shifts to first. She's of two minds, this one.

And I know I should be gracious - McCain managed to be, so why can't I? - but...yeah. No. Hey, look! - a slideshow of Sarah Palin's Election Night Tears.

Alarmingly incoherent quotes courtesy of CNN.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Regarding the Election:

I thought I'd be relieved. I didn't think I'd cry.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

In Which I Get Obnoxiously Political

And now, for the most wonderful thing I've done all week - or possibly month:

When I recieved a particularly heinous and poorly punctuated piece of propaganda from the so-called "pro-life" movement, I decided, at the encouragement of a girl who usually dispenses wretched advice, to make corrections in red ink, grade it an F, and mail it back to the pit of stupidity from whence it came. And beneath that enormous blocky F I wrote:

Formerly pro-embryo; however, in light of your barely rudimentary grasp of the English language, I have switched teams, and am now batting enthusiastically for the rabid anti-American baby-killers. Also, a suggestion: if you truly wish to end the "97% of abortions which are used as birth control," perhaps you should encourage the immoral people who seek them to Go Gay. This could be both pleasurable and highly effective, in my view, and while I realize that my plan has the potential to make Jesus cry, at least the six-month-olds in overalls pictured on this charming flier would be safe from harm.


A Lesbian

P.S. - Why is the smallest photo on this flier also the only ethnic baby pictured? Is black ink just less cost-effective?

And, okay, maybe that was mean, but Christ. I like this state alright, but the local Crazies are unusally motivated. Most Crazies just fire off grammatically puzzling letters to their senators, but the people in South Dakota are actually trying to overturn laws. I mean, just shut up, Leslie Unruh.

I would like to add here that I do understand that abortion is a difficult issue, and not all who oppose it are moronic assmonkeys; that said, the self-righteousness of some of these people occasionally makes me want to punch walls. Also, this "exception for rape and incest victims" crap is utter BS, since it would mean that in order to get an abortion, a woman - or girl - would have to prove not only that she was a victim in the first place, but that the pregnancy resulted from that assault. Well, good luck with that, sweetie. Even if you did manage to prove it, the chances of you doing it in time are slim to none.

And what does "abortion as birth control" even mean? When I graded the flier I wrote "PLEASE CLARIFY" every time they used that phrase, because clarification is sorely needed. What woman says to herself, "hmm. I could get on the pill, pay about thirty bucks a month...or I could just mess around and get abortions when necessary. Yeah. That sounds like a wise and cost-effective plan." Uh-huh. Their hypothetical woman sounds like a financially illiterate dumbass.

So the point is, I'm kinda proud of myself. Even if I don't change a single opinion, at least I got to exhibit some impressively curmudgeonly behavior.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

But On the Bright Side, I No Longer Read Elizabeth Wurtzel

So my dad said that writing an entire blog entry about the word "obfuscate" was a tad pretentious. Which, okay, maybe he's got a point. (I really want that entry to become a huge controversy so I can refer to it as "Obfugate." Please, someone?)

The thing is, though, I know I've had my pretentious moments, and I do my best to own them. When I was fifteen, for example, I would lock myself in my room listening to Fiona Apple and pretending to read Kierkegaard. That was pretty pretentious, yeah? By the time I was eighteen and had my head too far up my ass to walk in a straight line, I had moved on to Leonard Cohen and Elizabeth Wurtzel, which...ugh. (God, I still can't believe Wurtzel wrote an entire book about herself, then had the audacity to name it Prozac Nation. Could her narcissism be any more apparent?) Also, I read a lot of Nietzsche. Until, that is, I broke up with a guy who happened to be borrowing my Nietzsche, and who never returned it because he is a great big asspanda. Ahem.

So I don't excuse myself from criticism. I criticize myself all the time. It burns calories. And I am definitely no stranger to pretension, as anyone who has spoken to me for longer than ten minutes can attest. I mean, let's face it: I'm an English major. Semi-colons are my dearest friends, and I love verbs. My personal library is pretentious, too - though not quite as pretentious as claiming to have a "personal library" - as is my pseudo-poetic love of black coffee. (It's black like my soul, y'see.)

I take great pride in accepting my pretentiousness. I like to think that it absolves it, somewhat. I mean, it probably doesn't, but it sure is pretty to think so. (Yes, the Hemingway reference was a deliberately pretentious move on my part.) was my point again?

Oh, right. Obfuscate. Look, I will grant that, as a word, it is irreplacable. There is no other word which could do the job that obfuscate does. However, it sounds ugly, and in that sense it is the sports bra of my vocabulary. That is to say, it is effective, but horrendously unattractive. And I still prefer "elegiac."

Saturday, October 25, 2008


There's a small child in the store named Grammer. I'm sure of the spelling, because his backpack is monogrammed. He's a cute kid, and quite well-behaved; however:

Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick. That may be the worst name I've ever heard.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Because I'm Feeling Random

A few nights ago I listened to someone sing the praises of the word "obfuscate," and found myself thinking that as far as word-loving goes, claiming an attachment to "obfuscate" seems kind of pretentious. I stand by that point - or would, if I'd made the point in the first place, instead of just nodding and then mentioning that "exacerbate" is a kick-ass word - because really, listening to people ramble on about obfuscation annoys me. And yes, I have heard enough obfuscation-centered rambles in my day to know whether or not it annoys me. Sad but true.

And honestly, I don't even like "obfuscate" that well. It sounds congested and muddy. It's like that sound people make when they're talking too fast and stumbling over words, when their voices get all fuzzy and saliva builds, and the syllables are spit out all wet and cloudy - when the mumbling fogs up the glass of the sentence so you can't see a damn thing and just drive blindly through the conversation. And then, sometimes? You crash. Into a semi-truck of confusion.

Wow. I don't think it's possible to stretch that metaphor any further. The poor thing is just begging for mercy.

Anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that the sound of "obfuscate" is perfectly matched to its meaning; and while I usually find this quality endearing, in this case it kind of annoys me.

It just sounds like an SAT word - which it probably is. But I took the ACT, so who knows. (I've often wondered what my SAT score would have been. Everyone says the SAT is harder, so although I kicked half of the ACT's ass - its linguistic buttcheek, if you will - I've always suspected that the SAT would have kicked mine. Both cheeks. And left bruises.)

So yeah. Obfuscate. It looks icky typed. If spellings were foods, o-b-f-u-s-c-a-t-e would be fried coke. (People say it's delicious, but come on. That's gross.) And although obfuscate has its uses, I generally feel that the people who like it are constantly trying to show me up. Maybe it's the way they enunciate it. They have this tendency to stomp on each syllable, kicking them into my brain until they become permanently embedded in its coils.



You know what word I like? Elegiac. It's such a clear, precise word. It's like glass. If I tapped on it, I think it would ping.

But obfuscate? I don't think you could tap on it. You could only poke it, and if it made any sound at all, it would be a squelch - the squelch of an obese person walking barefoot through a swamp.


The sad thing about this entry is that it is a frighteningly accurate look into my mind. I once went on a date with a guy who told me that I always looked deep in thought, and that he found it intimidating. "I feel like you're analyzing everything. It freaks me out."

"Well," I said, "it shouldn't. I'm not thinking anything very interesting. My brain doesn't sleep, but that doesn't mean it's all that active, either. It's just lying awake, wishing it hadn't had all that coffee."

He really didn't get my wit. That, coupled with his bigotry ("I don't care about any country that ends in -stan"), kind of made it impossible for me to enjoy myself. Although dinner was good. (On a side note, if you want to get a guy to leave you alone, just tell him you identify with Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. It's instant man repellent.)

So, in closing: loving "obfuscate" makes you a pretentious asshat, my brain is a congealed lump of pointless musings, and countries that end in -stan are good.

(I just corrected the best typo ever: "obfuscare." As in, scared, but in a vague, blurry way. I'm so going to use that in conversation.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Well. That Was Weird.

So there I was, walkin' along, in search of a delicious yet nutritious lunch, when I got catcalled by this really pretty girl. A really pretty girl who, in addition to making that ridiculous "ow!" call which is apparently meant to suggest that the object of said call is painfully hot, yelled out "hey sexy!" as she leaned out the passenger's window of a black SUV.

I was far too perplexed to be offended.

I mean, do I look gay? Not that there's anything wrong with that. (God, that joke has officially become a cliche. Sadness.)

Anyway. Chicks dig me, and that's all. The End.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Like Lists

Five Things That Are Making Me Want to Punch the World In the Face:

1. The doors to the library squeal when opened. They do - they squeal. The squeal is long and protracted, the sound of a colicky baby preparing for an epic scream. If it was only a little more high-pitched it would be audible only to dogs, but as luck would have it, it's just low enough that every time the door opens my brain feels like it's being stabbed. Which kinda hurts.

2. I don't understand how to factor quadrinomials and I don't give a shit. I really don't. Those goddamned quadrinomials can factor themselves, for all I care. They can find their own parentheses and distribute their own exponents and scrounge up their own negative signs, because I'm done. I am. Screw you, quadrinomials.

3. I have to write about integrity, and all I can think of is that Seinfeld episode where George won't let NBC make Jerry a show about something because he doesn't want to compromise his artistic integrity, prompting Jerry to point out that "you're not an artist, and you have no integrity!" But something tells me that won't work for this particular writing.

4. I forgot to eat before coming to the library, and now I am hungry. The library should serve strawberry whipped cream waffles and cranberry juice, but does it? Oh no. And why? Because it sucks. God, I love waffles. You know what else sounds good? Vanilla ice cream with maple syrup and nuts. That would be freaking delicious right about now.

5. I started reorganizing my apartment this morning and haven't finished yet, meaning that when I do get home - poor, downtrodden, with equations I don't quite understand swimming in my beleaguered brain - the first thing I see will be my dresser. In the middle of the floor. And then I will probably step on my jewelry box. At which point I will likely cry, or do something equally immature - like stomp my foot, pull on my hair, and scream, "it's not fair!"

The sad thing about the ridiculously cranky mood I'm in is that I can't blame it on a hangover. It's just me being a pain in the ass and reinforcing negative female stereotypes. Bad at math, hyper-sensitive to noise, addicted to sugar, obsessed with interior decorating to a disturbing degree: I am everything that is wrong with women. Also, I will grow up to be a cat lady.

And there's no turning back now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yes, I Am Unabashedly Honest, Often to My Detriment. Your Point?

5 Stupid Things I've Done Since Wednesday, Which Kind of Sum Me Up:

1. Worn my v-neck shirt backwards until two in the afternoon, when I looked in the mirror, observed the unusually high neckline, then twisted around to see a triangle of spine cleavage.

2. Walked into a drinking fountain, then stared in shock as a jet of water sprayed my stomach. Considered how to "get the stain out," pondered simply using soap and water, and then thought...oh. Right. Duh.

3. Washed my hair with bubble bath. Was surprised at the foaminess.

4. Watched the presidential debates sober; listened to smug rich republican kid blabber on about economic policy, protesting only when he attempted to single out my energy drink as a symbol of the merits of consumerism.

5. Admitted these things.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


I just ordered a Star Wars book for someone who was holding a coffee cup full of booze with a curly straw sticking out.

Just thought I'd share that.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recipe for Temporary Depression

1. Bake one lone potato.
2. Unwrap the tinfoil, slide sad wrinkled potato onto plate, smother in cheese to conceal the blank white space of pure, unadulterated starch.
3. Eat.
4. In front of computer.
5. As you write a paper on the topic of what it's like to grow up the child of a bipolar alcoholic in war-torn Rhodesia.
6. Remind yourself that your childhood was significantly happier; feel sincere yet fleeting gratitude.
7. Stab morosely at potato with fork.
8. Drink some cider.
9. Spit out the dregs.
10. Stare blankly at your bulbous, cheese-smothered potato.
11. Consider potato's potential as metaphor.
12. Hate yourself for being so cheesy.
13. Ha! Cheesy! Like my potato!
14. Drink tap water.
15. Realize that you are wearing pajama bottoms with pictures of moose and black bears, while eating a solitary potato and writing about someone else's mother.
16. Bake at 350 for one hour.
17. Eat with potato.
18. Blog.

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Rant

I am so sick of people trying to argue that the book is always better than the movie. Sometimes it isn't. Sometimes the book sucks, and the movie manages to extract the good parts, add interest, make the characters more believable, use a freaking awesome soundtrack, and just generally improve a hopelessly sub-par book.

And sometimes the movie does suck - it smacks the characters with terrible dialogue until they become 2-d, paper-thin with generically attractive faces; or it turns the story into an incoherent mess of garbled words and unclear motivations. But sometimes the book was garbled and vague to begin with - sometimes the movie is just being faithful to the story, the characters, the dialogue; sometimes the movie's suckitude is just mirroring the book's, and I don't understand why people are so surprised.

And can we please get over this bullshit notion that film is somehow an inferior medium? Because it isn't. Don't blame Micheal Bay on the art form he's chosen to eviscerate. Micheal Bay is a terrible director with a barely rudimentary understanding of dialogue, and that's all he is. He doesn't stand for anything but his own gaping plot holes, yeah?

Oh, and also? I don't get Hugh Grant. I thinks he's a competent actor, but far from exceptional, and I find him incredibly unattractive. While some people have posited that I only hate Hugh Grant because "he never called me in the morning," I call BS. Hugh Grant is icky, and his accent makes him sound so snobbish I've often wondered if it's fake - maybe he's just a pampered kid from Jersey who went to Syracuse and smokes clove cigarettes, who listens obsessively to the New Pornographers, not because their music is catchy but because it's oh-my-god-indie.

In fact, I was talking to someone the other day who claimed to do a fantastically fake British accent, and when I finally convinced him to prove it, I immediately said, wow, dude. You sound like Hugh Grant. Because he did. Hugh Grant is a walking satire, and his apparent ignorance of the fact is something I find highly amusing.

Plus he cheated on Elizabeth Hurley with a prostitute. I don't care one way or another about Elizabeth Hurley - I'm not even sure what she does, exactly, which probably means she's a model - but damn. That's low.

So, in sum: people should stop constantly whining about movie adaptations ruining the books they are based on, Micheal Bay is a talentless asshat, Hugh Grant is an oblivious walking satire whose appeal I will never understand, it must really suck to have your husband cheat on you with a prostitute, and I could use a good night's sleep.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Knitted Limbs Are Creepy

So the new Knitty is out, right? And it's got some cute stuff. Like really cute armwarmers, and this quite interesting shell with armwarmers, and, well, lots of stuff to protect my arms. This issue is just chock full of armor. (Good Lord, am I witty.)

Unfortunately, it also features actual knitted arms. With hands attached, no less.


Because, in addition to "Hug" featuring some truly hideous knitting - what size needles did she use, anyway? - it kind of looks like it's about to drag that adorable creature into a cave littered with bones. And that just isn't right. The kid knows it, too. He's doing everything he can not to touch those arms. And his face is just crying out for help.

This hideous piece of crap totally reminds me of the "Therapy Buddy" from American Inventor - you know, the creepy blue doll with arms that wrapped around your shoulders (or wherever) and said "everything is going to be all right." Remember that?

No? Well then, I envy you.

But seriously. I bet that all over Manhatten, pampered upper-class moms are firing their nannies and knitting "Hug" as a replacement. Which is really pretty sad, is it not?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Free Disease?

I just got a long boring e-mail from the student health center reminding me of all the wonderful services they have to offer, and I read it, for reasons unclear. Then I got to this bit:

The health services also have some vaccinations available. If you are 18 years old and younger, we have HPV, hepatitis B, and meningitis available for free. (Bold mine.)

And I thought, damn. I'm barely old enough to drink, but too old for free hepatitis.

On a different note, every time I write the word "damn," I have this brief moment where I want to berate myself for pronouncing it wrong. "Duh, Sam, it's dammen."

And that is all I have to say. For now, at least.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Team Angelina

Whenever I'm standing in line at a coffee shop, waiting to order my 20 oz. breve with an extra shot, there's always a brief moment when I consider just getting coffee. A plain coffee, with a bit of cream and nothing else. It's a solid, reliable, and sufficiently caffeinated beverage, is it not? There's nothing wrong with just a coffee.

That said, there's nothing all that exciting about it, either. Its main attraction is its affordability. Well, that and the fact that it's convenient. Whereas espresso is fresh, and exciting. It's dark. It's mysterious. It packs more energy into less liquid. It is, in essence, the Angelina to coffee's Jen.

Anyway, I was standing in line today, thinking about these things, and I said to myself, you know...maybe I should give Jen a chance. She seems like a nice girl, and she's probably better for me. Angelina is all shades of awesome, but kind of intimidating. Let's get a Jen.

My decision made, I started reading the sign with descriptions of each coffee flavor, but ultimately found myself horrified by the way they were written. That isn't to say the writing was poor, exactly, but that the descriptions read like personal ads. The bodies of each coffee were either "good," "very good," or, delicately, "full." Some were "very bright," while others had "a tinge of fruitiness." Some flavors were "powerful," while others were "light" and "gentle." At which point I realized: why jeopardize my meaningful relationship with espresso by taking up with some drip coffee floozy?

So I ordered a breve. And then I spilled it, and the foam dried in my hair. But whoever said that love was easy?

P.S. - Don't let foam dry in your hair. It's gross. Also, it reminded me of that scene in There's Something About Mary. "What is that? Is it hair gel? Oh good, I needed some."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Serious Fangirl Moment Comin' RIGHT UP

I saw the Wallflowers. They were awesome. Jakob Dylan, what with his chiseled jaw, intense gaze, and prominent cheekbones, is hands-down the most beautiful specimen I have ever had the good fortune to set eyes on. He is gorgeous. He does not look forty. He was a dry, understated sense of humor that catches you off-guard, and a knack for skillfully layering blazers over checkered flannel shirts. He looks good in a cowboy hat, and I'm pretty sure he could read my mind if he felt so inclined. (If only.) His eyes are piercing, his voice is perfect, and I'm pretty sure I love him.

Oh, and he's also a good musician. So yeah.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Do you have bibles, or reasonable facsimiles?"

Yeah, who doesn't want a fake bible? A reasonable one, that is. An outlandish fake bible is simply not acceptable.

Seriously though, what was she talking about? And do I really want to know?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Something I Noticed While Checking the Weather

The top searches on MSN today are Victoria Beckham, 23,000 Big Macs, and Child Brides.

That's wonderful. Or would be, were it not for the fact that I will probably have some weird dream tonight involving all three.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Scraper of the Flies

One of the many occupational hazards of working in a used bookstore is the possibility of touching books which are utterly disgusting. Books that are molding; books that are speckled with mud; books that shower your shoes with dirt when you shake them. I have seen books stained with blood, both dried and fresh, and I'm pretty sure I once smelled cat pee while flipping through the suspiciously yellow pages of a Danielle Steel novel.

All these things are pretty repulsive. The fresh blood in particular. It got on my shirt - a shirt I no longer own - and on my hands, which I must have washed fifty times that day. For a week I agonized: What if I get hepatitis? Did I have any open cuts where it touched me? Did I put my hands near my mouth? Am I going to die?

Eventually, yes, I learned to live again. But it was a long, hard battle - one I wouldn't wish on anyone. (Except that one chick. God, she sucks.)

So anyway. Today I got a box of books, right? They were old and dusty, but that's par for the course 'round these parts. The woman who brought them in apologized for the dust ("sorry, they've just been sitting in my garage so long"), and I assured her it was no problem to clean them. I started going through the box, wiping each book down with a paper towel soaked in Windex as I went - but then, as I neared the bottom, there appeared a colony of flies.

They were repulsive, these flies. Some had been crushed beneath the weight of the books and become two-dimensional, while others had fallen in the gaps between the books and had actually expanded, their puffy bodies rolling back and forth like marbles over the dirty cardboard.

I turned the book I was holding over in my hand, and found about five or six flies stuck to the back cover. They were so flat they were starting to become one with the jacket: their wings were tissue-thin, and their heads looked like ink blotches.

"Um." I paused, unsure of how to proceed. "Huh. It appears that these ones are a bit...damaged."

"Well, but you can just wipe that stuff off, right?" she asked.

Oh, of course. Of course I can "wipe that off." I mean, how are mashed-up flies any different from a bit of water? You just grab a towel, and...well, no. When they're all mashed up like that, you usually have to scrape them. So you grab a chisel - you know, that chisel you keep on your person at all times - and you...oh, wait. THAT'S REALLY GROSS.

But I didn't know how to say that in a professional manner, and anyway I didn't feel like arguing with her, so I shrugged, grabbed a Kleenex, and used it to pick off one of the flies. I managed to rip the body loose, but the wings remained; they glowed green and pink, like the wall of a bubble caught in the sunlight. I stood there for a moment, pressing my thumb and forefinger against the lump embedded in the Kleenex, and then I took a deep breath, looked at her, and said:

"Of course."

Thereby cementing my status as the patron saint of retail.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Something I Noticed Last Night

I have a pair of wire cutters, but no screwdriver. Also, I have orange juice but no vodka, meaning I couldn't even make a screwdriver. I guess I'm screwed in both departments.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I'm Hungover, Okay? This Is As Deep As It Gets.

Sometimes I sit and try to imagine what I'll be like when I'm old. I look at my hands and picture them thin and wrinkled, with bulging blue veins, or envision the future lines on my face - brackets at the corners of my mouth, crow's feet clawing their way to my ears. I wonder whether I'll be thin and delicate, with severe osteoporosis, or cheerfully dumpy, with heart disease. Will I wear polyester pantsuits, or live in skirts? Will I embroider cushions, or will I scrapbook? (Embroider, probably. I don't have many pictures.)

The image I usually end up with is one of a tiny, hunched-over woman with crinkly skin and a hair net. She wears "sensible shoes" and carries a parasol, occasionally using the curved handle to poke bratty youngsters in the shin. She calls it trespassing when people step on her lawn, and has three cats who all hate each other.

She attempts to cook, and is constantly baking bread for people, but although the bread is terrible, no one has the heart to tell her so. They thank her profusely every time she stops by with a new loaf, and then, once she's gone, they toss it in the trash. The bread is so dry, it crumbles where it falls. Even the banana bread is dry.

In all my versions of the story I'm a spinster, and bitter as hell. I'm a little like Barbara in Notes on a Scandal, if I'm being honest. Of course, Barbara wouldn't bake bread, and I'm not a lesbian, and I can't imagine ever being cruel enough to completely destroy someone's life the way she does to Sheba's, but I have her acerbity, and air of disdain. (Disdain masking a crippling insecurity, as it usually does.)

Okay, truly, I don’t believe I’ll end up like this, but I can’t envision any alternatives. Sweet pie-baking granny? Um, no. Red Hat Society member? Hell, no. Spry, athletic spitfire of a senior? Well, I could probably be a spitfire, but I’ve never been spry.

The funny thing is that I really enjoy talking to old people - I find them interesting – but I dread becoming one. I worry that I’ll be the wrong type of old person: the bitter, angry type, who missed out on everything, and only realizes it when it’s too late. A person who goes from angry but functional to angry and senile, who becomes a burden on people who never wanted to hang out with her in the first place.

I’ve heard so many people say that once they’re senile, they don’t want to live anymore. I get where they’re coming from, and I usually feel the same way, but ultimately I know that I will cling to the last remaining shreds of my life the way Madonna clings to relevancy. Pathetically.

Which is all just a rather long-winded and not terribly articulate way of saying that I am utterly terrified of death and the last dozen or so years leading up to it, and would prefer to stay twenty-one and aimless for the rest of time. You know?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Quick Question

Is it normal to have 135 movies in your Netflix queue?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Power, Unleashed

And from my spam folder:

Something titled "hey pretty momma," from someone called "Darwin." Deleted without reading, for obvious reasons. The obvious reason being, of course, that eradicating Darwin is oddly satisfying. Survival of the fittest, and all.

If only Darwin had been a "pretty momma," he might have made it out alive. Poor Darwin.

I Am Doomed to Be a Solitary Bubble

On Monday, I bought a book. I bought it for my English class. It's called "They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter In Academic Writing," and it looks like this:

When I picked it up, the first thought that popped into my head was, "what's with the cover? It reminds me of something. Something bad. Something endorsed by Oprah, penned by the very essence of douchebaggery."

And that's when I realized: it reminds me of "He's Just Not That Into You."

I mean, yes, there are some pretty obvious differences, but the colors are there. The green background, the blue and orange bubbles. No, the bubbles on the second book don't overlap, but they come close. (If the authors were only a little more into the New York Times, there would be some definite merging taking place.) And, of course, both books are written by a Mars/Venus team of authors with different last names.

What sucks about this is the fact that, every time I am required to open "They Say, I Say," the image that pops into my head will be of Greg Behrendt.

Seriously, how is this jerk qualified to tell me why my dating life sucks? He sports a spiked pseudo-mullet and appears to be winking. Also, is that a popped collar?

And before anyone mentally chastises me for being shallow, consider the book. I don't doubt that some guys are just not that into me, but I don't need Greg here to be such a condescending asshat about it. Some of my hatred for his book has to do with my overall disdain for the self-help genre, but the other 40% is aimed specifically at the book's content. I do not need another talentless wannabe guru telling me I'm not good enough. Oh, I know it's all just tough love, that it's supposed to help me find my soul mate, the man who really is into me, and yada yada yada, but, um, Greg? I wouldn't accept a date with you anyway, much less heed your wisdom.

Besides, I know why my dating life sucks: I am a judgmental ice queen who never gives out her phone number. (It's (605) 877 3007. Call it. Seriously.)

Of course, for most of the world, the time of Greg Behrendt is pretty much over. The book has been praised, then roundly criticized, and is nearing the end of its slide into oblivion. But for me, the time of Greg Behrendt is only just begun.

At 8:00 a.m., every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Greg will descend upon my mind like a vindictive woodpecker, his bulbous beak pecking at my brain. And it's all the fault of the jerks who designed the cover of "They Say, I Say."

And it simply isn't fair.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Ross Perot, I Love You, Really

So I have a blog entry in the works - an icky entry, which recounts the story of how I literally got pissed on - but it isn't done yet. Mind you, it is not a glowing, urine-colored beacon of light, not a shocking expose of the toilet industry, nothing like that; it is merely the kind of gross-but-oddly-funny-so-long-as-you-aren't-the-protagonist story I love to tell.

However, as I said, it isn't done yet. So for now I give you the thought that has plaguing me all day:

When Ross Perot looks at this book cover:

What does he think about?

Does he think, "damn it. Here I had a book praising my heroism, written by the guy who would later write Pillars of the Earth - a man who would go on to obtain Oprah's blessing, and subsequent endorsement - and it did nothing. I suck."

Or: "God, that Ken Follett guy was no help at all. What a douche bag. He owes me big time."

Or maybe: "Hmm, think maybe that cover made me look like kind of a cocky bastard? Heroic, but cocky?"

I don't know. But I think enlisting a guy whose previous writing experience is limited to thrilling tales of espionage to promote your bid for presidency is probably not the wisest course of action. At the very least, don't put your picture on the cover. Because somewhere (here) a young bookstore employee (me) is giggling at you (Perot).

And using you to delay writing a real blog post, at that.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Milk In a Bag

I lived in Wisconsin during fourth and fifth grade. It was okay. Kind of cold. Very slushy snow. The grocery store closed during the Superbowl, which was inconvenient, but then again, this was at the height of Favremania, so I guess that's to be expected.

Anyway, Favremania aside, the main thing I remember about Wisconsin is that our cafeteria served milk in a bag. I've tried explaining milk in a bag to other people - privileged people, people with cartons - but they never seem to get it.

"You mean, it was like a Capri Sun?"
"Well, kind of. Except it wasn't vertical."
"It didn't stand up. It just...flopped around. Like a fish."
"What kind of bag was it?"
"Like a Ziploc. Only no zip. Or lock. But it was plastic like that."
"How did you drink out of it?"
"You poked a straw through the plastic. The thing that sucked about it was that it was really easy to poke the straw through both sides, and then milk would go everywhere."
"I don't get it."

Well, I can't say I blame people for not getting it. Milk in a bag is a messed up concept. I had resigned myself to people never understanding this particular tale of woe, and honestly, I was happy for them, because there are certain things people should never have to understand. But today, I found a picture of milk in a bag, and I am gleefully posting it.

See? I told you it wasn't vertical!

Milk in a bag has made me the girl I am today.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Wise Tourist Doesn't Monkey Around With Grammar

I just waited on a clueless tourist with a unidentifiable accent (she asked me if Helen Keller had written any "poyms"), which in itself is not that strange, except that this chick was wearing a bright orange t-shirt with a picture of one monkey pulling the tail of another monkey, and the words "a wise monkey doesn't monkey with another monkies monkey." I don't really think it's all that funny, but more importantly, shouldn't it say "a wise monkey doesn't monkey with another monkey's monkey"?

I think it should. And that disturbs me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pardon Me; I'm Just Having a Fangirl Moment

Last night I started watching Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, and it was intense and well-acted and achingly sad, but because I was more in the mood for happy rainbow-striped unicorns eating cotton candy in a grassy meadow than piece-of-shit brothers robbing their parents' jewelry store (a literal "mom-and-pop" operation), I turned it off and watched Penelope instead. Which was so freaking cute I almost couldn't stand it.

Okay, so there weren't any unicorns, rainbow-striped or otherwise, but it did have Christina Ricci's face marred by a pig snout, Reese Witherspoon on a Vespa, a midget reporter, and best of all, James McAvoy.
Friends, I can tolerate you mocking my love for Stephen Colbert, but my adoration of James McAvoy will go unmocked. (According to spellcheck, "unmocked" is not a word; also, neither is "spellcheck." Well, screw that.)

The point I'm making here is that, like the movie he starred in, James McAvoy is so freaking cute I almost can't stand it. See?

Oops, wrong picture.

That's better.

If I had gone to high school I would probably have gotten my fangirl-like tendencies out of my system, but I didn't go to high school, so I am still capable of blind adoration of actors who are probably moody and irritatingly eccentric in real life. To my underdeveloped mind, James McAvoy is pretty much perfect, and he can act. Also, he's Scottish, and his shoes in that last picture are artfully battered, and he has good hair, and...

Well anyway, it was a fun movie.

So tonight I'll be finishing Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, to find out:

Is Phillip Seymour Hoffman capable of shooting up on his own, or will he continue to seek assistance from that weird guy in the silk bathrobe?
Is Ethan Hawke going to come completely unhinged?
Will his ex-wife stop being such a bitch?
Does Marisa Tomei own a shirt?

And then I'm going to watch Penelope one more time.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Too Early In the Day to Be So Ridiculous

Woman looking at audio books: I don't want cassettes. They go flying everywhere at night and you can never find them in the morning.


Middle-aged woman in valley girl voice: Do you have any books on, like, butterflies...or dreams? Like a coffee table book? Something pretty, like with angels?

Well gag me with a sequin-encrusted fairy wing.

For Christ's sake, who are these people? Why do they plague me so? When will they stop?

Fly with the cassettes; dance with the butterflies; just leave me be. I can't deal with you morons anymore.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Horror

At dinner last night I used the phrase "I've never saw." I blame the red wine (the menu boasted of its "peppery overtones") and mood lighting.

That's right: a single glass of wine turns me into a redneck faster than a six-pack of PBR. (Not that I've ever had a six-pack of anything - and if I did it certainly wouldn't be PBR, which is disgusting - but, you know. At least I hope you do. 'Cause I sure don't.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Gift For the Silicone-Pumped Lolita In Every Man's Life

Is it irony? Or is it just offensive?

Pro-Date Rape T-Shirt, Sold By Amazon (Update: shirt is no longer available through Amazon. Ha. There are still pictures of them, however.) (Update 2: The pictures are down as well. Which is good. The shirt in question was a three-quarter sleeve raglan emblazoned with the words "Anti-Abortion, But Pro-Date Rape.")

Maybe it's meant to point out the hypocrisy of the so-called "pro-lifers" - in fact, it probably is - but I still felt sick when I looked at it. If it is meant to be ironic, it isn't clear enough, and thus it has failed.

Of course, you can also get this shirt - in a junior size - at the manufacturer's website. Or this one. Or this one.

But no, I think my favorite is this "girly-sized" stunner. One would presume that once she gets drunk, the shirt comes off.

Actually, wait. I don't mean to be one of those indecisive, wishy-washy women with breasts for brains, but after further perusal of this charming website, I've found it. The shirt I want. The shirt I need. The shirt every girl is destined to wear:

Yes, it comes in a junior size.

Friday, June 27, 2008

I Love My Feet More Than You

Every once in awhile I fall asleep ridiculously early - think 8:00 - wake up at around 3:00 a.m., and spend the rest of the night/early morning watching movies and drinking caffeinated tea. Sometimes I feel compelled to eat something, or maybe replace the movies with music performed by individuals desperately in need of a little Prozac while I reminisce about all of the odd things that have ever happened to, or been perpetrated by, me.

I find this fun. Which is why I was happy as a clam when I found myself awake at 3:30 on Thursday morning, making pasta and listening to angsty Welsh rock. (Is The Manic Street Preachers not one of the best band names ever?) And it was as I was sprinkling garlic powder over my freshly buttered egg noodles that I remembered the time I denied my boss the use of my socks.

Yes, the socks I was wearing.

It was about a year ago, and it was raining. The woman I like to call Lady Micromanage had been micromanaging something or other outside, and in the process, her socks had sustained some - quite serious - water damage. Upon reentering the store, she eyed my Converse-clad feet and asked if she could have mine.

"My socks?"

"Mine got all wet outside."

"Oh. Huh."

I ran through all the possible counterarguments in my mind. My socks are too small - oh wait, no they're not. My socks don't match - but she wouldn't care. My socks prefer the sanctuary of my shoes to hers - but that's really insulting.

Then I wondered if my reluctance to share my socks with a person in need made me a horrible, selfish wench. Her feet were cold. Her socks were soggy. (That's a gross word, isn't it? Soggy.) My feet were dry, and I could go without socks for a few hours, couldn't I?

Well, yes. But then so could she. Keep your socks on, my feet begged. You're walking home; she's driving. We are more important than her stupid feet. And they were, I decided, absolutely correct. I needed my socks.

"Well," I said, "normally I would. But I was outside earlier too, and my socks are wet as well."

"Oh." Her voice was even flatter than usual, crushed with disappointment. I felt bad for a moment, and then I thought, what kind of person asks her employee to relinquish her socks? She'd promised to give them back, which she probably considered generous, but I found it repulsive. How could I ever wear them again? Once my socks touch the sweaty, rain-soaked feet of another human, they become dead to me. It's cheating, as far as I'm concerned, and cheating is something you do behind your partner's back, not with her grudging permission.

And asking people to give you their socks is abnormal, right? Or, at the very least, a slight breach of etiquette? Because I didn't buy those socks on a lark, I bought them for a specific reason. I bought them because I wanted my feet to be swaddled in cheap stretchy cotton.

Don't my feet deserve that much?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Snarkiness: Provoked, Explained

"I dropped some books off here two years ago. Name's Ulong. I'd like 'em back."
"You want them back? The books you dropped off?"
"That's what I said."
"Well, um, we don't have them anymore."
"You don't. Have them. Anymore."
"So what did you do with them?"
"If you bring us books we put them out for sale."
"And you can't take them back off the shelves and give them back to me?"
"If it was two years ago we probably already sold them - but even if we hadn't, I wouldn't be able to tell which ones were yours anyway, so no, I really couldn't."
"Get out of here!"
"I'm sorry, but that's just the way it works."
Muttered: "Stupid bitch."

I've been trying to cut down on the vulgarity - in this blog, at least - but seriously? Fuck off.

No, really. Because guess what, asshole? I am smarter than you. I am smarter, I am wittier, my clothes are free of mustard stains: I am superior to you in every possible respect. You are stupid and rude and condescending and I hope to God you don't have any daughters.

I know I'm too sensitive about this crap and I shouldn't take it personally, and I realize that at some point I'm going to have to hitch up my big girl pants and get on with my life, but at the moment all I want to do is track down this guy and mace him. Or cry. I don't know.

I mean, why? Why call some girl you don't know, who's answering your idiotic questions as politely as she can, a "stupid bitch"? What does it accomplish? Did he really think it was going to make me sympathetic to him?

You know what this guy needs? He needs a blog. He needs a place where he can type up nasty, insult-laden, poorly-written pleas for underpaid 21-year-olds to be his personal slaves. And then he needs to drink a Guinness, unbunch his panties, and adopt a disabled puppy.

As for me - I just need a cupcake.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Of Death and Food

There is a bird trapped somewhere in the store, and I can't figure out where it is. Its chirping is beyond obnoxious, loud and shrill - it's amazing how ugly chirping sounds out of context - but if it stops for good I'll know the bird is dead, and then I'll have to sit here, wondering exactly where the carcass is rotting, and that will just freak me out.

Also, my boss was supposed to come in to give me a break today, but he didn't, and now it's 3:30 and I haven't eaten in seven and a half hours. Another ten minutes and that bird is going to sound pretty appetizing.

You know, I never thought I'd want to microwave a robin, but damn if it isn't tempting. Although, let's be honest: as much as my stomach desires fullness, its innate weakness forbids the digestion of wild birds.

Stomach, you suck.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bitter Much?

Classified from the Northern Hills Advertiser:

JOE had a job making $4,000 a week but the state took Joe's driver's license away. If you want Joe's job, call today! Must be trainable. Call Michelle 1-877-313-3633 8am-4pm Mon-Fri.

I wonder how Joe feels right now. And what did he do to piss Michelle off so badly?

Also, I love how the only qualification is that one must be "trainable." "We don't care if you have skills; all we ask is that you possess the capacity to develop skills. Which basically means that you can't be a lazy ass. Which really shouldn't need to be said, but what the hell - we're willing to spend the money to cram those three extra words in the ad in order to hopefully weed out people like Joe. So yeah. You want four grand a week?"

Seriously, that ad made my day.

Which is good, because this almost ruined it: Study shows ability to detect sarcasm decreases with age.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Pushed to the Limit

Guy, to girl: Did you want to look around a little longer?
Girl: No. They don't sell these books. (Turning to me) Right? Ma'am? These books aren't for sale, are they?
Me, confused:, they're for sale.
Girl: Really? Then what are these stickers?
Me, dismayed: Price tags?
Girl: Oh. Where's the price?
Me: It's the number on the bottom. With the, uh...with the dollar sign in front.
Girl: I don't see it.
Me: (Bangs head against wall)

I swear to God, I cannot take this anymore. Each day finds me buried beneath an avalanche of breathtaking stupidity, and I can't - keep - digging - myself - out. I'm done. I give up. Apathy, be quick.

Just please, for the love of God...make it stop.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Praise Be to Boing Boing

For they have shown me how to save my poor, decrepit Converse.

Yep, those are knitted Converse tops. Granted, the soles of my Converse are a bigger problem than the tops (the bits of rubber on the heels that say All Star, for example, have ceased to be), but still, replacing the tops would help.

I am so tempted to try this.


To Hell and Back

...In which Sam is forced to attend an utterly asinine two-hour customer service training seminar given by an obnoxious jokey douche bag who fills her with thoughts of rage and causes her to overindulge in adjectives of negative connotation. Told in seven parts of varying horror/inanity.

Part 1: Damn It.

I am incredibly hungry for unhealthy food, and have decided to share this piece of news with my co-worker.

"You know what I could go for right now?"
"A soft pretzel. A great big one with a cup of melted cheese to dip it in. Or - a soft pretzel on a stick, coated in cinnamon."
"Those are disgusting."
"Yes. Yes, they are. And yet, they're delicious."
"Um, no they're not."
"Well, whatever. I just wish there was someplace downtown that sold them."
"Sucks to be you."

This last comment is quickly proven true, when my boss comes in and announces that I will be going to This Really Awesome Customer Service Seminar!! My co-worker had gone to one this morning, but a doctor's appointment had gotten me out of it. I'd thought I had escaped it entirely, but as luck would have it, there's an afternoon seminar as well. Of course we have to leave immediately, so I don't get time for lunch, which sucks, and the seminar is two hours long, which sucks more, but oh well.

I have no choice. To the Holiday Inn I go.

Part 2: Attempt at Optimism Crushed By Reality

I drag myself into the conference room, silently cursing myself for working a job where this sort of thing is required. I consider bailing right then, becoming a freelance writer or a dutiful housewife with seventeen children and one more on the way, or living on the streets of Rapid, recycling glass bottles for quarters...and then I see the pretzels.

Yes, pretzels. Soft, warm, lightly salted pretzels. And cheese. A huge pot of cheese with a stack of little white cups leaning against it.

Suddenly, it's worth it.

I take two pretzels and three cups of cheese (I'm hungry and cranky and damn it, I deserve it) and sit next to a white-haired, red-suited woman with a clipboard, who rambles for a few moments about how absolutely brilliant this speaker is before asking if I would please move over so she has a place to set her clipboard and plate.

I do so, and then I realize: I'm relinquishing my chair to two inanimate objects that would have been equally apathetic on the floor. Also, the salt on this pretzel is not evenly distributed. Screw being positive: this place sucks.

Part 3: Wait, What?

The speaker is, naturally, an assclown, and his customer service experience appears to be limited to this one time? when he worked in a gift shop?, which is obnoxious. Still, at least he's boring, and thus easy to ignore. That is, until he says something so witty, and yet so deep, that I am struck dumb by his profundity. I stare reverently at his douchily animated face and bask in the glow of his beauteous words of wisdom, desperately wishing I could come up with something as enlightening as:

"Remember, we are human beings, not lima beans."

Except, wait: what the hell does that mean? Beings and beans are two entirely different words, so there isn't even a pun in there, but more importantly, what particular undesirable traits do lima beans possess, and how could they be confused with human ones? I'm not light green and chewy. Children don't hate me. (Although, when I was a kid, I loved lima beans. God knows why. I hate them now.) Why do my differences from lima beans need to be mentioned at all? Frankly, Mr. Promotional Speaker, I'm offended. In fact, that one phrase has put me on the fast track to hating you. Do you have anymore tricks up your sleeve? Anything that rips off/cheapens Lewis Carroll, perhaps?

I think you do.

Part 4: Cheshire Cat Rip-Off

"Does anyone have a co-worker who doesn't smile? Anyone? A co-worker who never smiles? Surely someone does. Someone who never smiles at customers or the people they work with? A co-worker who never smiles? C'mon, people, I know one of you has one..."

A lone hand emerges from a sea of blank faces, waving slowly back and forth like a broken car antenna. When Mr. Assclown leaps to her side and presents her with his World-Famous Smile On a Stick, I die a little inside.

The Smile On a Stick is precisely what it sounds like - a paper cut-out of an obnoxiously toothy grin glued to a cheap wooden stick, meant to be held up to one's face when one's frown won't reverse itself. It's creepy as hell, as disembodied facial features generally are, but even worse, it's a Cheshire cat rip-off.

I swear to God, that's exactly what that damn smile looked like - overly curved, lip-less, and no bottom teeth. The only difference was that it couldn't levitate.

Part 5: My Body Stages a Protest

Damn, I need to get me some glasses. I'm squinting at his power point presentation, taking careful note of every misused or conspicuously absent apostrophe, feeling my blood pressure rise every time I read a phrase like "customer's who leave," and my eyes just won't take it anymore. No, they plead. Stop. We can't read anymore. We're tired. Don't you love us?

I look down at my empty plate, and my stomach swells with dissatisfaction. I wanted a pretzel on a stick. Can't you do anything right?

My brain shouts at me to, just this once, take a nap. No one will notice. Please? Every word from this man's mouth is a kick to my frontal lobe. Every sentence is an angry black bruise. Do you know what a brain bruise is, Samantha? It's a concussion. You are giving me a rapid series of concussions, and that's abuse. If you don't get me out of here, I'm going to call a neurosurgeon and have him transplant me in a nicer girl's head.

I disregard their pleas for mercy. I tell my brain, oh, but won't this be something to blog! I tell my stomach to shut up and think of the starving children in Argentina. I promise my eyes a pair of shiny new glasses. I pacify them with words as cheap and empty as the ones my ears are trying desperately to ignore, and the guilt overwhelms me.

Part 6: No, Really, What?

Mr. Assclown Promotional Speaker has run out of things to say. I know this, because he has resorted to making us speak. He asks each of us to state the most important thing we've learned today; the one piece of advice we plan to follow religiously, no matter how asinine it proves to be. I stare at his pompous jackass face and think, damn. What a pompous jackass. Then I think, oh, shit - does this mean I have to talk?

He starts with the opposite side of the room, and at first I'm amused by the uniformity of everyone's replies. "I'm going to go above and beyond what my customers request." "I'm going to smile all the time." "Use customers' first names." "Have fun at work!!!" But after awhile the repetition starts to get to me, and I realize that if this doesn't stop, I'm going to...actually, I don't know. But it will not be good.

When he gets to me, I promise to use customers' first names. It's not a lie, since I do it already, and it's boring enough that he doesn't ask for details or congratulate me on my Really Hot Idea, thank God. Instead he moves on to the next woman, who says she is going to "be more intentional in my customer service." She says this as though struck dumb by her own brilliance, and I am reminded of a girl I once worked with at a job hated. This girl was perfectly nice and had an upbeat, positive attitude. She was also dumb as post, and spoke as if she was constantly in the middle of a religious epiphany. This is the girl who once said to me, "I think I'm going to stop sleeping with guys I don't know!" as if the suggestion to stop hooking up with every available guy in a fifty-mile radius had come straight from the mouth of Jesus. I stared at her, watching her open a bag of cold chicken with a steak knife, and then I said, "well. That sounds like a plan."

But let's be fair - not sleeping with strangers is a noble goal. I can't fault her for it. I think it was a smart move on her part, especially since it meant I no longer had to listen to stories that began, "so, this one time, when I slept with four guys in a row?" Good girl.

And at least Dumb Formerly-Trampy Girl's comment made sense. Because, really,"I'm going to be more intentional in my customer service," makes about as much sense as "we are human beings, not lima beans." I'm still not sure what that woman was trying to say. Was she saying that she intended to be more conscientious while dealing with customers? Or was she saying that her customer service skills are usually a happy accident, and that from now on she intends to think while answering the phone?

I just don't know.

Part 7: My Really Hot Idea

I'm standing in the lobby, waiting for my ride. I'm cranky and pissed off and seriously disappointed with the quality of the soft pretzels sitting like wet lumps of clay in my stomach. Outside it's raining, which under normal circumstances would have thrilled me to no end, but I'm too annoyed to appreciate it. Then I see one of the women from the audience, the one with the co-worker who never smiles, run outside. She has an umbrella, but it doesn't protect her Smile On a Stick, which she holds out to her side. And as the corners of that repulsive disembodied grin bend beneath the weight of the rain, turning the smile to a toothy grimace, I realize what I want to do with my life.

I want to have my own seminar. A seminar for customers. I will call it the How Not to Be an Assclown Seminar, and it will be wonderful. It will include such topics such as "I Don't Want to Know About Your Incarcerated Child-Molesting Son" and "No, You Really Can't Have My Phone Number." The only items on sticks will be soft pretzels, and I won't compare my audience to legumes.

Mr. Promotional Speaker, you're more than welcome to attend.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

My Religious Epiphany

A few weeks ago, en route to my blog, I made a simple typing error and became lost. By switching the s and p in blogspot, I found myself in a crazy religious site run by people who think that, since I am a Catholic who sins frequently and flippantly, I am going to Hell. Which is entirely possible, I suppose, but something tells me that God would decline to share such a juicy piece of gossip with self-righteous borderline-psychotics.

Anyway, I thought it was odd for a religious site to have as their URL, since 1. they're not a blog, and 2. "skipping past conclusions" is meant to imply a lack of both focus and knowledge. (Although, maybe that's why they misspelled "spot.")

Then this morning, on my way to Carrie's blog, I once again switched the s and the p, and, once again, I wound up in Psychotic Pseudo-Christian Land. This seemed strange, so I started testing other blogs, and the same thing happened every time. Rachel, it works for your blog. It works for the Guerrilla Knitters as well. It works for everything.

And that's when I realized - the roads to hell are both profuse and varied, but all it takes to bring us to Jesus is a simple typo.

Thus, stupidity saves.

Friday, May 9, 2008

In Praise of Linnea

So, I realize that there are an infinite number of childless people who nonetheless have very strict notions of what constitutes good parenting. I like to think that I am not one of those people. All I ask is that when children come into my work, they speak in a reasonable tone of voice, don't run around knocking things over, and if they do, that their parents make some effort to control/discipline them. I have no intention of procreating, so I rarely start sentences with "if that was my child I'd...," because it sounds strange to me. I can't picture myself with a baby. I would be so bewildered by a a baby's presence - the sort of person who would be confused at a newborn's inability to use a spoon.

That said, I do have one very strong belief, one I would certainly adhere to should a baby fall from the sky and into my lap, and that is the belief that every little girl should have a floppy doll.

Specifically, Linnea.
I had the one on the right, and she was awesome.

Linnea rocked because she was smart, she liked to garden, and she wore a cute hat. Also, her hair was adorably low-maintenance, and although she dressed well, she was not afraid to get her little cloth hands dirty. She had a pretty name, which she shared with a flower, but it was an unusual flower name, nothing obvious like Rose or Lily. (Not that I don't like those names - I'm particularly fond of Lily.) She only had one pair of shoes, but they went with everything, and dammit, she just looked a little kid.

I hadn't thought of Linnea in years, but that all changed yesterday, when I found a Linnea doll in an antique/gift shop. She was perched on the edge of an antique bureau, and I literally jumped for joy when I saw her. She was a little bigger than the one I had, and she wore the dress and apron of the doll on the left, but everything else was the same. I almost bought it out of nostalgia.

Apparently, I'm the only person who has walked into that store and recognized Linnea for the amazing, kickass little gardener she is, and that makes me sad. Linnea was genuine. She was sincere, she was happy, and she had her own almanac.
She was a chatty, enthusiastic little kid utterly lacking in vanity, and the birds just flocked to her. Sure, I had Barbies, and I liked them, but they lived such complicated lives. Some were adopted, one was diabetic, and Ken's foot had been gnawed off by a vindictive rabbit. Linnea was just a nice, sweet girl, and she had no taste for sequins or backless gowns. A rabbit would be too charmed by her to gnaw off her foot - in fact, if I remember correctly, she made friends with the rabbits. If I had a kid, I'd name it Linnea. Even if it was a boy.

So it's probably a good thing I don't want kids.

And that was my shiny happy post.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Never Thought I'd Try This, But...

On Sunday my mother informed that I am too negative, and pointed out that one day I will be old, and how would I like people mocking me on a blog, and although I do believe she was being facetious, maybe she has a point. On the one hand, I love being negative. I delight in my cynicism, wallow in my sarcasm, and enjoy nothing more than trekking through the torrential rains of my contempt. On the other hand, negativity is all I know. Perhaps if I tried my hand at optimism my mind would be opened to a world outside my bleak, dusty little corner: a world of sunshine and daisies and rainbows that aren't the faded watercolor strips which so disappointed me a child, but huge arcs of poster paint stretching from my apartment building to Egypt.


What the hell. I'll give it a shot. I'll give it a great big shot of...

The List of Things That Make Me Happy, Or Would If They Were True:

1. My boss is George Carlin. How amazing would this be? I could spend eight hours a day mocking people with George Carlin. Every time someone asked me for books on horticulture and insisted I was spelling it wrong because, duh, it starts with a w, George Carlin would be there to point out that Whorticulture sounds like a porn video that takes place in a flower bed and involves gardening tools in odd places. Not only would George Carlin be there to say all the things I'd like to say but can't, but because he is my boss that can't would become can, and although we would probably frighten away all our customers, at least we would have a good time doing it.

2. The customer with the imprisoned, child-molesting son who, to her mind, wouldn't even be in jail were it not for his lying brat of a daughter has not been in lately. She definitely didn't come in yesterday, have me ship more books out to him, and inform me, as I was packing them up, that his lying brat of a daughter is grounded until he gets out of prison, and hopefully she'll learn to stop running her mouth, that little lying brat. Also, said customer finally found a bra, so that never again will I wonder why her stomach looks deformed, sort of forked, and then realize that I am actually seeing her breasts, swinging back and forth like two opposing pendulums. I thought the whole "she had boobs down to her waist" thing was just a myth, but apparently not.

(And yeah, I know it's cheap and a little tacky to poke fun at someone's appearance, but she had it coming. God, I hate that woman.)

3. This is my boyfriend:

And that's not even a very good picture of him. I tried to find a picture with him in glasses, because no one looks better in square black frames than Rodrigo Santoro, but there were none to be had. Stupid Google Image Search. You'll just have to take my word for it. Man looks gorgeous in glasses - kind of a shy, nerdy, completely-unaware-of-how-heart-stoppingly-gorgeous-he-is look. Which, as everyone knows, is the best look of all.

4. I am writing an episode of Seinfeld. They're not bringing the show back permanently, they're just doing one episode, which is unfortunate, but still: I get to write it. George, Elaine, Jerry, and Kramer are my marionettes, and I'm pulling their strings in whatever directions I fancy.

Really though, it's always been my dream to write for Seinfeld. I don't know what the story would be, but it would be glorious. Elaine would date somebody who was actually attractive, and Jerry would have to settle for a woman who was actually in his league, and George and Kramer would stick to what they're best at - lying and hijinks, respectively. Nothing would please me more than writing an episode of Seinfeld. They wouldn't even have to pay me for it.

And that's the end of the list. All this dissatisfaction with life as I know it masquerading as optimism has left me exhausted.

Hmm. You know, the sun is shining, and quite brightly too. I don't see any poster-paint rainbows though.

Back to being cranky.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Hello, and welcome to my place of employment. I am very pleased to be of service to you. Truly. Pleased as punch. And what can I do for you today?

Ah. Computer books. Sixty year old women in search of computer books. This should be a kick.

Computers for Dummies? Well, actually, there isn't a book by that title -

Yes, really.

No, I'm not kidding.

No, ma'am, there is no book called Computers for Dummies. There is Buying a Computer for Dummies, there is Laptops for Dummies, and there is Computers for Seniors for Dummies, which, unbelievably long and clunky title notwithstanding, might be right up your alley. I can order it for the low price of $21.99.

But no, there is no Computers for Dummies. It doesn't exist, see. And trust me, PCP for Dummies is not what you need. I'm not saying it wouldn't help, but it isn't necessary. Not for you anyway.

You might be looking for PCs for Dummies, which, I'm sorry, but we don't have that in right - well, yes, I can order it if you'd like. No, it wouldn't be a used copy. You want the copy that was printed in the 90s? Well, the newest edition was just released last year, that's all I can really - oh, you have a new computer? Well, the new edition would probably be best then anyway.

Okay, wait. So you have a new computer, but you want the old book? Do you realize that makes no sense whatsoever?

What was that, ma'am? Um no. No, HTML is not a "style" of computer, and Windows 98 is not a company. Ergo, your computer is not an HTML model from the Windows company, and it was not built in 1998.

Yes, I agree - computers sure are confusing. Especially when you're clueless. I mean, yeah, I know you're old, and I sympathize - I realize all this new-fangled technology is befuddling at best - but, and this is important, you are not senile. Also, I am not an idiot. I can help you, really. I would like to help you. It is my duty.

What was that? You've decided on Microsoft Word for Dummies? That's the book you need?

No, it isn't! Open your mind! Help me help you help you.

...On second thought, forget it. I just can't wrangle up the energy to care.

Thank you ladies, and have a terrific day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A Post About Nothing

My birthday was over ten weeks ago, and I just finally finished the cake. Which grosses me out the more I think about it. But refrigerated red velvet cake was all we had at work to eat, and my co-worker and I were hungry, and, well, it seemed like an interesting experiment. I hope I don't die.

Isn't there a Seinfeld episode where Elaine eats a $20,000 piece of antique cake? (That's a rhetorical question, of course. It's in season nine, and she waltzes around her boss's office speaking in a British accent while she does it.) So it's not really so bad. I was just emulating Elaine.

(Actually, that's awful. Never mind.)

Anyway, assuming I don't die, I don't think I'll ever be able to eat red velvet cake again without thinking back to that one fairly-edible-but-repulsive-in-theory slice. Conversations while eating cake should be pleasant and centered on something other than how disgusting the cake is, yes? And if you are going to have a conversation about disgusting cake, it's probably best not to have it when there numerous inquisitive customers in the store. I now fear that I will be immortalized in the minds of said customers as the girl who ate ten-week-old cake and engaged in a running commentary with her co-worker detailing the quality, or lack thereof, of each disgusting bite.

"This icing is crumbling. Like a cracker."
"Hey, did you notice that the color of the cake is -"
"Bleeding into the icing and turning it pink? I know."
"I'm surprised it's not molding, actually."
"Yeah, me too...maybe it is and we just can't see it."
"Can mold camouflage itself?"
"I hope not. Wouldn't that be awful?"
"That's gross."
"That would make me cry."
"Please don't."
[Hacking cough]
"It's a bit dry, isn't it."
"Pieces keep getting lodged in my throat - it's repulsive."
"You want some tap water for your stale cake?"
"Yeah, that'd be - oh, ew."
"Nothing. It's just, um, that piece was disturbingly moist."

I've got to learn to cook.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shut Up.

"I need some books to send to my son in jail. He shouldn't be in jail. They teach them damn kids too much in school - about sex. My son wouldn' let his daughter date - at fourteen - so she went and accused him o'molestin' her. And now he's stuck in that damn jail, and it's all her fault."

I feel ill.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Help Me Justify My Incessant Bitchiness and Win a Place In My Heart

Disclaimer: This post contains even more venom than usual - so much venom, in fact, it's literally toxic. It's the blogging equivalent of nuclear waste. Consider yourself warned.

I have decided to give out an award. I shall call it The Dumbest Customer Ever Award. This award will not be a statue or plaque; it will be a small piece of my brain forever devoted to mocking the one lucky customer who wins it. Every time my conscience taps against my skull and suggests I lighten up, cut people a little slack, whatever, I will take shelter in that piece of brain. And I will call it...

The Center to Promote Justification for Contempt.

There will be seven contestants. Seven, because I'm still trying to think of an eighth. Oh, what the hell - seven is fine.


Now, there are rules to this contest. The first rule is that none of the nominees be mentally retarded. By definition they must be at least somewhat deficient, but I draw the line at retarded. See? I can be nice. The second is that they must be eighteen or older. No minors shall be ridiculed in this contest, not because I'm nice, but because it's too easy. I shan't abide laziness. The third is that English be their first language, as it seems unfair to make fun of people when the problem lies in faulty communication instead of thought (or lack thereof). And the fourth is that rude behavior and weirdness on the part of the nominees not be factors in voting. Voters should base their decisions purely on stupidity.

So, without further ado, here are the nominees:

Contestant #1:

Woman standing at cash register with book in hand: I'd like to check this out.
Me, having misheard her as saying "I'd like to check out": Okay. That'll be $6.36.
Woman: What do you mean?
Me: This book - it costs $6.36.
Woman: But I don't have any late fees.
Me: Late fees? ...This is a bookstore, not a library.
Woman: Really?
Me: Yes...
Woman: It looks like a library.

So many clues revealing the function of this few powers of observation. Did she not notice the price tags? The sign out front advertising "Book Trader: New & Used Books"? What about the signs explaining our credit policy, or the cheery, brightly-colored ones alerting the world that, yes, "WE HAVE GIFT CERTIFICATES!"? I can forgive her for not seeing the cash register, since we ring up transactions on the computer and the cash drawer is hidden below the keyboard, but good Lord, lady, unless you've never shopped before, that's no excuse.

Contestant #2:

Woman holding up two different books: What is the difference between these two books?
Me: Well, um, they're different books...
Woman, condescendingly: Yes, I know that. But what is the difference?
Me: I'm sorry, but I'm not really sure what you're asking me.
Woman: I mean, are the stories different? Are they by different authors?
Me: Well, yeah. They're different books.
Woman: That's not what I asked.

This one baffles me because, while it apparently did occur to this woman that these two books were not the same, she was at a loss as to how this was so. One would think that to move past point A (these books are the same), one would have a reason (because they look nothing alike), which would take her immediately to point B (there is no need to ask such an asinine question). Not this lady. I would love to get inside her head to see in exactly which directions her neurons fire. Something tells me it's a mess in there, like a Christmas tree with too many lights - or my apartment.

Contestant #3:

Woman with preteen daughter: What is fiction?
Me: What is it...?
Woman: Is it true? Or not true?
Me: Oh! It's not true.
Woman: Really?
Me: Yep.
Woman: I thought it was true.
Me: No, that's non-fiction.
Woman: Oh. Huh.

This one isn't as outrageously idiotic as some of the others, but it's idiotic enough, and there is the added horror of the fact that this woman has a child. Who needed a work of fiction. For a book report. You want to know why our nation's children are so stupid? Too many morons never practiced putting the condom on the banana in sex ed. Most people can figure out how to get it on themselves, but let's face it: some people need assistance. Solution? Bring in the bananas. And the condoms. And do away with this abstinence-only crap once and for all.

Contestant #4:

Woman holding up book with sticker reading "signed by the author": Signed by the author? What does that mean?
Me: means it was autographed by the woman who wrote it.
Woman, blankly: Whatever that means.

How can you not know what an autograph is? That's what I want to know. Or an author? Or a signature? Or...ugh. I don't even know what to say about this one. My wit has failed me. Damn you, wit. Damn you for deserting me when I need you most.

Contestant #5:

(I feel silly posting this again, since all you really need to do to read it is scroll down to the previous entry, but for the sake of completion I will include it a second time.)

Middle-aged woman with husband, reading title of book: Old Money. That's money that's not new. All rich people now are new money. And that's why we had the Titanic, so we could kill off all the old rich people and start over with new rich people.

Quickly followed by...

I told you Condoleeza would run. She'd make such a better president than Hillary - I really hope she wins.

Let me get one thing out of the way right now: conspiracy theorists annoy me. I'm not exactly a history buff, but it seems to me that history is interesting on its own without making up crap about aliens, or poisoned produce, or, I don't know, crashing ships into icebergs so rich people die. As for the second quote, let me first note, in fairness, that she was looking at a copy of this book. That said, when was the last time she watched the news, opened a paper, or crawled out from beneath the rock she apparently lives under? That's right - never.

Contestant #6:

Woman, to friend: It says here this book is $15.95. Is that closer to fifteen dollars, or sixteen?
Friend: I'm not sure. I think it's fifteen.

I almost didn't include this one because it's so stupid. It's the kind of stupid that makes me wonder if including it violates my rule about exempting the mentally challenged. It illustrates the same problem suffered by Contestant #2, but it's so much worse. At least with Contestant #2, getting to point B involved looking at two books and noting the differences. With this, all you have to do is recognize the number nine. So if it turns out that these women are mentally challenged, I apologize. Aside from this exchange, I saw no others signs of it.

Contestant #7:

Obnoxious guy at cash register: Senior discount.
Me: Sorry, we don't have a senior discount.
Guy: Well, maybe you should get one. Say, right now.
Me: I'm sorry. I would, but that's not my decision.
Guy: So I have to pay full price for this?
Me: Well, yes...
Guy: Why can't I have a senior discount?
Me: That's not my decision to make. It's up to my bosses if we have a senior discount or not, and as of now we don't. I'm sorry - I'd give you one if I could.
Guy: [Mumble] must be a republican.
Me: Um, no, they're not republicans.
Guy: No, I said you must be a republican.
Me: No, I'm not.
Guy: Then why can't you give me a senior discount?
Me: Because I'm not authorized to do so. I'm just doing my job.
Guy: Well, I don't like the way you do your job.
Me: That'll be $5.30.
Guy: What would it be with a senior discount?
Me: I don't know.
Guy: I bet it'd be less.
Me: Yes, I'm sure it would.
Guy: This is a ridiculous price for this book.
Me: It's 80% off the cover price, which is more than you'd get at most used bookstores.
Guy: Oh.

At first glance this is more rude than stupid, but then again, a lot of rude people are stupid, and this guy definitely qualifies as such.

There is, for example, his belief that calling me a republican will shame me into handing out a discount, when in fact it just annoys the crap out of me, because I am not a republican, thank you very much, and what does that have to do with senior discounts anyway? Then there is his insistence that $5.00 for a hardback is outrageously expensive, which clearly even he doesn't believe, since he paid it. Most importantly, there is this mindset that since being an asshole is often instrumental to attaining success in the corporate world, it works for everything else. Well, it doesn't. It pisses me off and makes me mock you for the arrogant jerk you are. I was inches away from doubling the price out of spite, and you know what? In retrospect, I kind of wish I had.

So there they are: the seven horsemen of my diminishing capacity to be pleasant and open-minded. Place your votes...every comment helps fund The Center to Promote Justification for Contempt.