Thursday, July 31, 2008


"I think I'll come into the office late tomorrow," said my boss at about 8:30pm, as we embarked on the final, somewhat delayed leg of our trip from Amarillo back to Austin. "You might want to do that too."

"Oh, okay, if it's all right. Maybe I'll come in about 9," I said.

"That's fine," she told me. "Or 10. Whatever."

That sounds like a plan. What's more, I think I'll drive.

We finished up our inspection today. The fun part of the inspection entails examining the building's interior, exterior, and grounds for upkeep. The less fun part is making sure all the paperwork is in order. But a lot of our time was spent visiting with the staff, which was very pleasant - and part of the job too; we are supposed to gauge employee morale and workplace relations.

Because if they're not good, the beatings will continue.

We flew back over the canyon again on our way out, so I pointed it out to my boss. She seemed mildly interested. I don't know why I've always been so fascinated by maps and the way the earth works. I've always loved exploring. There's a small playa (thank you!) on the grounds of the facility we were inspecting. Yesterday when we went over the grounds, it was almost full. This afternoon it was just a damp depression in the grassy ground.

Very careless of them, I must say, losing all that water. So we docked 'em.

My boss, though, didn't seem to find this overly interesting. Nor, when we descended into Austin tonight, was she glued to the window, to stare at all the beautiful ribbons of moving lights, wrapped around houses and fields and lots and buildings, like a huge glittery beautiful perfect Christmas present just for us, and try to figure out exactly what we were passing over. How could you not?! Nonetheless, I quite like her - more and more the better I get to know her. And I think she really is genuinely happy with my work and the role I'm taking on in my group, and I'm so glad, so glad.

Oh, but it's so nice to be home, tonight, and not have to worry about getting to work early tomorrow. So I am having a glass of wine and relaxing. Having a wonderful time... wish you were here...

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A Suffusion of Yellow

Surprise! I'm in Amarillo!

Well, at least it's a surprise to the people my boss and I came here to see. I personally was not all that surprised, though I was surprised enough to neglect to bring a camera. That wasn't really so much a matter of surprise as it was of the house being very dark and everyone being asleep when I left, and the camera probably being under Katie's bed, full of yet another 872,564,931 MySpace vanity shots.

My boss picked me up at the office at 6 this morning, and we flew Southwest to Amarillo via Dallas-Love Field. I'm not as afraid of flying as I used to be, for a few years, but am still deeply distressed by turbulence, which I'm pretty sure is caused by malevolent airborne demons who grab the plane by its wings and bounce it up and down. I was sitting next to my boss, at that, so I had to act calm: never let them see the whites of your knuckles.

The sky seems unnecessarily large here, but at least it's nice and cool - and it's a dry cool, too. The geography is interesting. Our mapping group at work depicts the Amarillo area as dotted all over with small, ovoid lakes - or ponds - or puddles might be a better word. But from an aerial you just see that the ground has lots of strange little wet depressions. What's up with that?

The best part of the trip so far was flying over Palo Duro Canyon, which rips through the otherwise featureless landscape just to the east as if some monstrous creature had clawed the smooth flat earth open. Also, I think I might have recognized, from the air, a couple of towns with highways whose designations I worked on. So I guess I know the area better than I realized. Or else it's just that, if I worked on highways in two towns in the vicinity of Amarillo, and I saw two towns in the vicinity of Amarillo out my airplane window, the statistical likelihood of it being the same two towns is pretty darn high. There isn't a lot out here.

There is, however, a hotel with actual working free wi-fi (remind me to post a good review of the Ambassador; it seems to have gotten some bad rap lately) and a steakhouse. Huzzah!

Ooh, and the bed is nice and soft and amply bedecked with pillows. Thank God. I was up before asses even had cracks.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


This video reminds me of my house, except my shoes are cuter.

Why are cockroaches so gross, anyway? Flies are dirtier. But if a fly lands on me, I just brush it away. I don't flip out and go hopping around the room squealing "ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew!!!!!!"

On the other hand, maggots are worse than cockroaches. Maggots are very, very, very bad.

There's a cricket in the house - it just landed on Eric's leg in the kitchen, then bounced away. He thought it was a cockroach at first and gave the manly equivalent of the abovementioned squeaking sound, then realized what it was and settled down. Why is a cricket so much better?

Do you think cockroaches get grossed out when they touch us? They do seem to avoid it if they can. Perhaps they do, but when cockroaches squeal "ew ew ew ew ew," it's too high-pitched for us to hear.

Or actually, a better question is do we hate cockroaches because we know they are destined to supplant us as the dominant life form on Earth? If so, did T. rex think that early little mammalian shrew-creatures were simply the most ghastly little squelchy things he'd ever seen?

I don't really mind the cockroaches living here as long as they stay out of my way, and kindly refrain from landing on my face while I'm sleeping, because this wakes me up, and not in a way at all conducive to proper cardiopulmonary functioning. And unlike Dave the raccoon, they don't knock over the garbage and eat up all the cat food.

Plus it's not nearly as easy to take out Dave with a shoe.

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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day Trip to South Dallas

Georgetown is a cute little city, but it closes on Sundays. Go on Saturday instead.

Closed or not, I had a good time today with Robbie, who took me for a bit of sight-seeing, and indulged me with a spot of shopping at Payless, where I picked up a cute, yet sensible pair of ballet flats. We also visited the big-box mega pet store so we could buy something his wiener could play with.

I never really noticed before how closely dog toys can resemble, um, other kinds of toys. Bill, I asked Robbie to take this picture for you - maybe it's not the one you were looking for, but it really might as well be.

I liked the old Williamson County jail, now in service as a public health building, and looking pretty much the way a place you take your children for free vaccinations should look - at least from the kids' point of view:

We tried to go for iced coffee, but every place that wasn't Starbucks was closed. So we went back to Robbie's and drank ice water and watched a movie on cable instead.

But at least Robbie's wiener was happy.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Quote for the Day

Dolly made landfall about 1 p.m. today as a Category 2, having strengthened just enough prior to landfall; but almost immediately weakened again to a strong Category 1.

Category, schmategory - you never want to take a hurricane right in the kisser.

South Padre Island did. Luckily, we had oodles of warning, as Dolly came ashore after a leisurely saunter across the Gulf on a steadfast course. The Rio Grande Valley has been making preparations for days. No mandatory evacuations were ordered, although the worst effects of the storm are yet to come, in the form of flooding - this very slow-moving storm is lingering long enough to dump massive amounts of rain; and this is where people are really going to need assistance. We even had a little spinoff band of rainfall in Austin late this afternoon - and oh my gosh, you guys. Watching this storm unfold, keeping a close eye on the radar, following all the bulletins and really seeing all the affected areas, has led me to one inescapable conclusion:

Weather is big.

That is not the quote for the day. The quote for the day comes from an emergency response official this afternoon. As Dolly made her final approach this morning, the Queen Isabella causeway - the only connector between South Padre Island and the mainland - was closed due to, well, very high winds, you know. Without a mandatory evacuation in effect, many residents and summer vacationers had elected to weather the storm in their homes, condos and hotels. We watched footage this afternoon of some of them frolicking on the beach as the eye of the storm passed over. NWS told them not to, but did they listen? Noooooo! Dolly rolled through, bitch-slapped a few trees and buildings and street signs around, and knocked out the power. Only one serious injury has been reported, thank God, and the victim is being treated and is expected to recover. The causeway will reopen as soon as it's cleared of debris and declared safe for traffic.

"We have some people who stayed behind on the Island," remarked the official mildly, "who would now like to leave."

Cry me a hurricane!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Remind Me

Is this not the coolest video ever?

I prefer this version of the song, though.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Paying the Piper (Through the Nose)

"If my love for you were nickels and dimes," a guy I dated in college once told me, "you would be able to buy a mound of cocaine the size of Greenland."

To this day, it's possibly the best thing a guy has ever said to me, and its impact is in no way lessened by the fact that a month or two later he dumped me for another girl in our co-op. Still living with an ex is fairly unpleasant. Living with an ex and his new squeeze is highly contraindicated.

Geographically speaking, Greenland is really not all that big.

Last week, coming out of a two-and-a-half hour staff meeting, I realized that I absolutely love my new job. Obviously I've been aware that it was better than the one I came from, which still blows the socks off Corpus marketing hell, I'll tell you what. But it wasn't until this staff meeting, which ran over its allotted time solely because all of us were having so much fun talking and laughing and working, too, genuinely exchanging ideas and being productive - that I came to realize I'm simply in love. How did I get so lucky?

The number of times, by the way, that the subject of how to request time off, and the fact that everyone persists in doing it exactly wrong, has come up in staff meetings during the five months that I've been there, is zero. Nor is there guilt, blame, or finger-pointing; and I don't think the panicmonger (God rest her, um, work ethic) ever held a single meeting that didn't loose every single one of those particular workplace demons.

Not that I'm merely basking in an absence of negativity, because I actually quite like and respect my bosses, the feeling appears to be mutual, and my coworkers are hardworking and competent, every single one of them. And most of the work is interesting and downright fun! It cuts down on blog fodder a bit, which is a pity. But I can hardly complain.

So the unpleasant task, the fly in this ointment, is Tropical Storm Dolly, gaining intensity as she spins west-northwestward across the Gulf of Mexico. She's only projected to be a Category 1 hurricane, possibly Cat 2. But she's only the first of who knows how many there will be this year; and the problem with landing this plum of a job just now is that over the next few years, I expect hurricane season will expand until it encompasses approximately February - December, and soon I will be doing nothing except answering the phone to the stranded, angry and frightened traveling public. And do you think they're going to be interested in where the wildflowers are? I'm betting they won't give a rat's ass.

I suppose if things get bad enough I can always move to Greenland.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alternative Medicine

Vampires, like dogs, vary widely according to breed. You've got your gross, bald, pointy-eared Nosferatu type, and your brutal, ugly, rip-your-face-off Alaskan vampires. Some are sinister and dour, like Bela Lugosi's Dracula, and some are pale and glamorous and erotic, like Anne Rice's creations. They seem similar enough to belong to the same species - though taxonomic classification is a bit problematic, what with them being so elusive and all, not to mention undead.

So maybe, like dogs, they're just different breeds. Maybe there are even toy vampires you could carry around in your handbag. Wouldn't that be cool? As long as it was made of UV-resistant fabric.

You see, I'm thinking about this because I've got these weird marks on my neck lately. The doctor said it was eczema and put me on steroids, but this has had no noticeable effect except that my thigh muscles seem to be bulking up nicely.

So I'm wondering if perhaps I've fallen victim to some vampire that saps its victims' lifeblood very, very, very slowly, by scraping lightly at the skin and getting just a tiny bit of capillary blood from the surface.

I don't see why not, do you? They would have to subsist primarily on regular food, because they wouldn't get enough nourishment from such a small amount of blood. So maybe they aren't actually undead. Unsick, perhaps - with a general desire to nibble on someone attractive, a philosophical objection to organized religion, and a tendency to stay up too late, then feel kind of crappy when the alarm goes off in the morning.

Maybe I should swap out the steroids for holy water.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Strange Twists

About four years ago, as a brand-new account manager for ye olde evil internet marketing company in Corpus, I was assigned one of the lower-budget clients, which was always given to the newest account manager to cut her teeth on.

The client's representative had certainly noticed that she had a different account manager practically every time she called, and that each one seemed less knowledgeable than the last. Was she happy about this?


I had a bit of a tricky time with this client for a couple of months, until, mercifully, a still newer account manager was hired, and the client became her problem. And of course what was difficult about this client was not that she was angry, exasperated, and becoming more snippy with each successive phone call. It was that she was completely in the right, and I knew it, and it was my job to pretend that she wasn't. Yuck!

These are much happier times. But in one of those bizarre twists that will occasionally whip back on you if you move around to different positions within the same industry, today I found myself seated at a business lunch with this woman. As her client, in fact; and her organization picked up the tab.

It's been years, we had never before met face-to-face, and I had been one of so many account managers, there's no particular reason she would remember me. I didn't volunteer the information. We had a very pleasant lunch, I learned a lot about the destination (we are holding a meeting there this winter), and we got along just great.

What a funny, small world it is sometimes.

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Writing Impediment

People who make up horrible stupid words, either from ignorance or simply not giving a damn, drive me up the wall. I am speaking as one of the internet's foremost experts on whether or not "incentivize" is a word.*

At work today, someone in HR (no!) sent out an agency-wide email to recruit employees for a program that pairs volunteers with the children of parents who are doing time in prison.

If some of the state employees I've seen constitute an improvement, we're not talking petty larceny here, either.

There's going to be a seminar explaining how much of a positive impact you can have, and telling you how to become a mentor, and how mentors are matched with mentees, which at first glance I read as "manatees," because "mentees" is not a word, people!

It's probably inevitable, seeing as how there is now an accepted word "orate," which is a back-formation of "orator." The -or ending is not a causative suffix. An orator is not a person who orates; and a mentor most certainly is not someone who ments. An advisor is someone who advises, but that's only because it was originally a misspelling of "adviser."

That's your language lesson for the day. Now go do something nice for a walrus.


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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good Will Shopping

Katie, Eric and I went to Goodwill today. Katie wants 70s garb for her roller skating party, since it's only 3 months away. Eric needs some respectable-looking pants, in case he gets a job, or at least an interview. And I need something professional to wear to Waco next week.

There's a sentence you don't get to read every day.

None of us were entirely successful. I bought a flirty little top with outrageous décolletage, Katie inexplicably picked out fur-lined boots and a sweater, and Eric found nothing at all. Apparently they were fresh out of pants.

Ah, but we did find this:

The best thing about it is the American flag pin, which seems to suggest that if you don't like this jacket, you must hate your country. Nice try, but no reasonable person would ever disagree that wearing this garment would be little short of an act of terrorism in itself; and in fact, putting a flag pin on it is roughly equivalent to using the real thing to wipe your, um, nose.

It's at the Lake Austin Blvd. location, if you're interested. You might want to hurry.

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Contraceptives: Is There Anything They Can't Do?

Katie's been watching a modern, well-scrubbed teenaged version of Thunderbirds on the Disney Channel. I sat and watched a bit of it with her. Ben Kingsley is in it, I'm sorry to say. He's the bad guy, and has trapped all our teenaged heroes and a few accompanying adults in a freezer vault using his evil red-eyed mind pulses. I had to leave the room.

Katie followed me a few minutes later. "Oh my God, Mom!" she said. "That was disturbing! That was so wrong!"

"What happened?" I asked her.

"The lady in the freezer vault just pulled out her, what's that birth control thing that's made of wire? They used it to pick the lock!" she said.

"Her IUD?!" I asked. "Is her gynecologist trapped in there with them?"

"No!" exclaimed Katie. "She just started reaching up under her clothes, and everybody turned around, and she pulled out this wire! She said she didn't really need it anyway."

I didn't know what to say. "But you can't, you can't do that," I protested. "It doesn't just come out."

Katie insisted. "She really did! I swear!"

I still couldn't believe it. "On the Disney channel?!"

"Watch it yourself," Katie told me, and rewound it.

Don't you love DVR? Remember when you used to have to videotape things? Remember trying to edit out the commercials? We had a Betamax, with a remote control whose cord snaked across the room. I'm not sure they shouldn't have stuck with that design. You couldn't lose it, and you didn't have to remember to buy batteries all the time. For all the technological advances of the last 30 years, you know, batteries are still batteries. Why hasn't anyone done something about this?

We watched the scene. The manservant informs Lady Penelope that he could pick the lock if only he had a wire of some kind; and a slow look of understanding, then resolve comes into her eyes. Her hand moves to her waist, and she begins to reach under her clothes, and everybody gets embarrassed and turns around. There is a closeup of fumbling underneath pink fabric, and after a few moments, she emerges with...

With the underwire from a bra, Katie. For God's sake!

Still fairly risqué for the Disney Channel, but note it was directed by Commander Riker.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bathroom for Improvement

Really, I'm only writing because I haven't in a few days. Lately it seems to be harder and harder to come up with something. And most of what I come up with seems hardly worthwhile at all. Still I have to write something, because otherwise - otherwise - well, because otherwise I won't be writing anything.

If this isn't a perfect metaphor for life, I'd like to know what is.

One of the problems is that what's been on my mind a lot lately is public restrooms. Have you ever tried writing something meaningful about public restrooms? Something that really speaks to the human condition? Something really (sorry) moving??

Public restrooms are an even better metaphor for the pointless and ephemeral nature of human existence than blogging is. You meet people in bathrooms; you can have conversations with them. You can learn to hate strangers anonymously in a public bathroom. You can be angry, territorial, or very, very afraid. You can marvel at the injustices with which life is fraught. Did I ever mention that the president of the internet marketing company I worked for in Corpus never washed her hands after going? Even #2?!? Well, it's true, I'm sorry to say.

I don't know if men's restrooms are so enlightening. I still suspect that urinals are the product of a demented joke played on mankind by some long-dead, self-made designer who was bitter about being barred from architecture school because of her sex. I imagine her in a room full of other early feminists, all sipping cosmos. "I'm going to design the first public restroom for men," she tells them exultingly, "where they all have to pee in plain sight of each other!"

The other women laugh, because of course no sane person would ever do this. But our architect insists - perhaps placing a substantial bet with her friends - that she can bring male society to such a nadir that eventually, they will stand next to one another to pee, vulnerable, exposed - and think this is perfectly normal behavior.

This was after a lot of cosmos, so she was more surprised than anybody when she won.

I get pissed off at work now because the no-count bitchez from right across the hall, who work in an inferior, bureaucratic division where the restroom is darker and more cramped, like to come over to our side to use the facilities. They commit such atrocities as hogging the sink, splashing water everywhere, the unspeakable "hoversquat," and using the handicapped door button to open the door so they don't have to touch the handle, which, ew! might have germs! omg!!1!!1! This leaves the door wide open to the elevator lobby for about ten seconds - not the end of the world, but not very considerate to anyone who may be trying to perform some reasonably private function inside.

But that's not the one that really pisses me off. No. What really bugs me is that these bureaucrettes always insist on taking up the handicapped stall for their, um, lengthier visits. Since our building doesn't have a locker room, and many of us in the far superior, classier division where I work are into regular exercise, and therefore have to change clothes once or twice a day, this means we get relegated to the smaller stalls, where on several occasions I personally have come perilously close to dropping my scrunchie in the toilet.

File that away for future reference, would you? That has to be a euphemism for something - though, I have to say, probably something that goes on in the men's room.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Worst Amusement Park Ever

Robbie and I were just talking about how much things have changed in our old division. Our former lead worker has now given notice – because he found another job elsewhere in the agency, I’m glad to say. Seeing the goings-on in that place is like watching a train wreck in slow motion, only, you know, fast. I’m so happy he could escape before it sucked him down to a watery grave.

It’s a really bad train wreck, okay?

Robbie was suggesting that the last survivor of our new-hire group over there ought to sell tickets for guided tours, and maybe put up commemorative plaques showing where employees of note used to sit. Don’t disturb the remaining denizens of the place, though. They may bite.

So I got to thinking. What if we made sort of a theme park out of it? As far as we can tell, it always was a circus. We could start off with a tour of the cubicle maze, and each paying customer would be given a bag of microwave popcorn to toss to the inhabitants during the tour.

Alas! Like Ralph the Swimming Pig, many of our old division’s star attractions are things of the past. Gone Transportational has gone somewhere else, as has the string of security guards that trailed for so long in his wake. There is no more Coworker-You-Idiot; the section director fobbed him off about a year ago, quietly, on another manager who is a good friend of hers. (Or was.) There’s no more Phantom Pharter, no more Bitching Bubbly Nonsmoker. But we could hire actors to dress up in character suits, and you could get your picture taken with them.

If you happen to be of the female persuasion, I wouldn’t stand too close to C-Y-I.

Speaking of which, there would of course be hands-on activities for kids of all ages. Visitors with a yen for antiques could see what it’s like to 10-key in a page of authentic 1974 pavement statistics, marvel at the greenscreen displays, and thrill to the old-timey bells on the telephones. Feeling a bit more daring? Try entering some data into the mainframe, but be careful: F2 saves your updates. F3 clears the screen. F8 vaporizes the city of San Angelo. So don’t hit the wrong one!

If you’re into really extreme adventure, why not take the “Phantom Pharter Secret Identity” challenge? We’ll issue you a gas mask, which will also provide some protection if you must visit the rest room. Other forms of “protection” may or may not be available there, but a certain amount of psychological damage is practically guaranteed.

Wear a tank top, but bring a parka – the wildly unpredictable AC is an adventure all by itself! And when you’re ready for a break, have a quick one, just 45 minutes or so, in the historic 3-Martini-Break-Group spot. It’s weed-choked and dusted over with ashes now, but if you listen carefully, you can still hear the faint echo of laughter and the rattle of cocktail shakers.

Cap off your visit with a tour of the locker rooms and shower facilities so detailed and thorough, you’ll swear your guide must live there. What could be more relaxing?

We’ll make a fortune! And the best part is that all proceeds go to save the – well, no, actually. Robbie and I are going to spend them all at Dominican Joe.

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Sunday, July 06, 2008

A Few Blocks Down from Godliness

Here, for posterity, is what my living room looks like on those staggeringly rare occasions when it's clean.

Isn't it cute? I don't know why there's that little half-moon in the front door, but I like it. Makes you think of an outhouse; not entirely accurate, as my house does have plumbing:

The kitchen is clean, too, but you've already seen that.

It's been just Eric and me, this Fourth of July weekend, and it's been kind of fun. Tonight we biked over to Zen for dinner. I've never eaten there before, but I did once buy a car from one of the owners. R.I.P., little Grungietta - she met her untimely demise at the tires of a pickup truck making a blind left turn into oncoming traffic; crumpled up like an accordion and left me completely unscathed. I miss her still.

But it's probably just as well that we went out to eat tonight, because last night, I cooked: pasta tossed with sauce from a jar and what was left of the bagged veggies in the freezer - sort of a pasta secunda vera... I do prefer good food to bad; but not strongly enough to bother cooking decently, though I draw the line at Cheez Whiz.

We went shopping yesterday, too - in the car, which, once we put some air in the tire, drove just as well as if it hadn't sat idle in the carport for three months or more. Borders had the most amazing book on treehouses, although if they're large and elaborate enough, with plumbing and wiring and finished interior walls and wood paneling and climate control and everything, you sort of start to wonder what, exactly, is the point? Still, a cool book. We had ice cream at Amy's, and I had an epiphany at Bath and Body Works.

Bath and Body Works is one of those stores where they routinely ask for your phone number while you're checking out. Why do so many stores do this? Is it so that, if it turns out their Warm Vanilla Sugar body spray causes leprosy (which would certainly explain these weird flaky red spots on my neck), they can call you and tell you to load up on health insurance? I kind of doubt it. I think they sell the information to telemarketers. It's always bothered me.

So my turn came at the checkout, and the clerk rang up my purchase, and I paid for it, and she said, "Your phone number starting with the area code, please?" and I did something that amazed me.

I smiled and said, "I'm sorry, I don't give it out." And - get this - she still let me leave with the stuff I bought. She didn't argue with me, or even act the slightest bit chilly, or anything. It was the most incredible experience.

Don't laugh. I have a hard time saying no. Really hard. My stomach was all quivery. I'm serious.

I thought about it while sweeping the living room and listening to Public Enemy. Fight the powers that be - especially when the main person oppressing you is yourself. And further thoughts along those lines just get me down.

But at least I smell good!

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Saturday, July 05, 2008

People Who Watch Buck Rogers Are Stupid

Well, I'm watching it right now, actually. "Buck Rogers in the 21st Century." Gil Gerard! Erin Gray! Either Lorne Michaels, or a close enough facsimile thereof to make no difference! A penis-headed robot who says "Bee-dee-bee-dee-bee-dee" all the time despite the fact that he is clearly capable of normal speech! What's not to believe?

Well, to start with, it's the commercials. The first one was not too bad: just a bunch of people sipping champagne and telling you how they started out making $5,000 a month and are now making $18,000 a month or more!

They don't really get into what they do.

The second ad is worse just because it does get into what you do. You sell crap, including, apparently, highly tasteless green-glass mass-produced leaping dolphin sculptures which people even stupider than the people who watch Buck Rogers (because that's you, remember? You forgot, didn't you??) will put on their mantelpiece, in flagrant defiance of every law of good taste ever known to man.

That's not what's bad about the second ad. No. What's bad about the second ad is that it tells you how all this works. And the way all this works is that you get to use a giant sales, marketing and warehousing network supporting all the crap you're selling, so you can make all these sales and build your personal fortune, right? And they show you the warehouses, and the customers, and the crap; but where it all falls apart is that they also show you the workers: a big panned shot of a vast cubicle farm full of purchasers and marketers and telephone operators who are showing up at 8am every day just to bring everything together so you, dear Buck Rogers viewer, can work from home and make a small fortune. Maybe even a large one.

I bet they don't even get dental.

This is where, unless your brain was completely liquidated by the aerosol fumes of the mid-to-late 80s (and I wouldn't be at all surprised if the advertisers had taken this possibility into consideration), the record goes scrrrriiiiiiitch!!! And you say, hey. Wait a minute.

If I can make $15,000 a month or more, selling tasteless crap, presumably the people working for me in the cubicle farm are aware of this fact. Right? So - why, again, are they content to work full-time jobs in a soulless cubicle environment to get you rich? Are they ruined Ginsu investors? Survivors of Richard-Simmons-induced cardiac arrest?? It just doesn't make sense.

Again, when you look at some of the stuff that science fiction has thrown at us, faster-than-light travel doesn't seem all that improbable.

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78704th of July

The cool thing about the Gay Pride parade - aside from the fact that it is, naturally, FABulous - is the crowd. The crowd is also fabulous; it's a great mix of gays and lesbians, friends and family of gays and lesbians, and people who are just there for the spectacle, all mixed together and laughing and happy and friendly. The excited crowd presses gradually forward as the classic cars and floats go by, until every so often a few of the marchers must coax the spectators back onto the sidewalks because they're making the parade route too narrow for some of the floats, which toss out trinkets - beads, literature, promotional items, candies, glowsticks, and little packets of flavored lubricants and condoms - to the crowd.

Ribbed condoms, in fact, which leads me to ask if any women reading this actually enjoy them; because while the packaging says they're "for her pleasure," the only time I ever used one (or it was, more accurately, used on me; or actually "on" is probably not the correct preposition, but I don't want to get too graphic here), it felt like being internally sandpapered, which, incidentally, I do not enjoy; or at least I imagine that I wouldn't, based on not having cared much for the whole ribbed condom experience, and also on the fact that it just sounds very unpleasant, not to mention a little more weird than my tastes, which in many ways, let's face it, are pretty vanilla, would allow; which brings me to suspect that the advertising executives who are blithely assuring us that the ribbing is for our benefit are indeed, not to put too fine a point on it, men.

But I digress.

Anyway, the 78704th parade was not so much like that in that it's a great deal smaller, the parade route is much longer, and there are not so many spectators - a few scattered neighborhood residents here and there along the route, probably outnumbered by the marchers - especially since, as the whole thing ends up with a bandstand and cookout at Little Stacy Park, the spectators simply join the parade at the tail end and march or bicycle along with it to its terminus.

And no Flying Spaghetti Monster this year - unless he was straggling way behind and I missed him. I was bummed. But Lloyd Doggett was in the parade, and somebody did throw me a string of red beads.

No condoms, though. Maybe next year.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

To Lift Your Spirits

Literally AND figuratively; here is some Irish clerical humor, in case you happen to be feeling a little bit down. Because who doesn't, from time to time?

It also helps to get drunk.

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