Saturday, February 26, 2011

Offline for a bit

If the weather cooperates, I'll be going to see my family in CA today for a few days.

Four of them share one computer (in the heart of Silicon Valley, go figure) so I won't be online much. But I'll catch up mid-week next week.

Ta ta for now!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Post #600, Or, truth is dumber than fiction.

So yesterday I got a call from one of the informational directories updating our contact information.

Him: "And are you still at (our old address)?"
Me: "No, I have a new address to give you."
Him: "Why, did you move?"
Me: "Yes, that's why we have a new address."

I kid you not. Someone is paying this person a salary!

And last week at our writing group, we had a couple of other groups going at the same time in another room. One of my group participants asked, "Why can't we just close the doors?"

She had walked past the doors...which were off the hinges because the doorframes were being redone.

Still, I very patiently said, "We can't close the doors because they're off the frames right now, because of the remodel."

Once again: "But why can't we just close the doors?"

I really wanted to say, "Because I don't like you, that's why."

Every once in awhile I wonder why I quit drinking!

And yes, there *are* lolcats for just about everything.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thank God for that

Sometimes life imitates art, and sometimes art imitates life, and sometimes something so strange and fucked up happens that you just have to write about it.

I am reading the Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories for the first time. Last night, I was about halfway through a story when the tired stick hit me and I went to sleep.

At this point in the post I should mention, lest anyone get confused later, that I have an ex who turned out to be a liar and a thief - let's call him Ned (not his real name of course. Who the hell is named Ned these days?)

So in this Sherlock Holmes story, there is a gang of father/son criminals who are called the "Ned Burglars." (OK, not really, but they have the same name as the ex.) I thought that was hilarious until I went to sleep and had a dream that not only was I still in contact with Ned (we broke up more than seven years ago), but we had gotten married, he had stolen stuff from me and stuff from my dad, and was threatening to drag out a divorce for a year.

Never have I been so grateful to wake up next to Mr. RK!

And I was thinking later in the day that I take it for granted that Mr. RK won't be dishonest or hide things from me (except for a birthday present or two.)

And thank God for that.

Plus, Ned had a small penis.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A keyboard I want to design

I gave a friend a ride on the way home today, and we were talking about a couple of the people who make our lives difficult at work.

"Don't you wish," she said, "that your computer keyboard had a 'fuck you' key that you could 'accidentally' hit?"

I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt.

What a great idea!

Other buttons I'd like to add: "up yours," "go to hell," "I'll give you 50 cents to call someone who gives a flying fuck," and, "why is this my problem?"

I wouldn't have to use them very often but they'd come in handy.

So would one that says "eject."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

So tired, and it's only Tuesday

Once a week I take myself out to lunch at a Thai place where I've been going for years. The guy who usually waits on me was ringing me up today, and asked me how I was.


He said, "But it's only Tuesday!"

I am planning three major events in the next three months but most of what has worn me out are not the hours at work, but the personalities that go with them.

There are a handful of people we interact with who are a real handful, people whose words and actions occasionally spur me to go home and wonder why I ever quit drinking! Some people in our organization make the excuse, "Oh, but they have been through so much!"

So have many kind and caring and thoughtful people, is my argument.

And today I found a quote to that effect:

Don’t allow your wounds to turn you into a person you are not.
– Paulo Coehlo

Food for thought.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Feet in mouth

A few days ago, I was corresponding with my friend G about moments where social faux pas were committed. I realized, to my horror, that I had enough of them for an entire post...

1. I used to volunteer as an ESL teacher. One class, I had a co-teacher who was right out of college, going into grad school to be a professional ESL teacher. He showed up and said, "I brought my bag of tricks!" And I blurted out, "What, from Spartacus?" (a local porn/sex toy shop.) We were teaching class in a church. AND he had no idea what I was talking about. Luckily that was the last class for the term.

2. At an editorial board meeting, when I was a reporter, I walked in and saw one of my contacts from a federal agency who I hadn't seen for a few months. Since then, he had changed his hairstyle from something relatively mundane into something that looked like one of the Everly brothers. I was so taken aback that I blurted out (in front of a bunch of federal officials and my boss), "Ed! I haven't seen you since the new hair!" I meant hair style, but it sounded like Hair Club for Men, didn't it? He just looked at me and said, "Same hair." Somehow I recovered my balance and we had the meeting.

3. At another newspaper where I worked, my executive editor, who had a relatively foul mouth and fun sense of humor, announced to the newsroom, "My wife is pregnant again! I'm getting too old for this! Cancer doctor told me we couldn't have any more!" So I blurted out, in front of a dozen people, "So this was a surprise?" Later I brought in a cake to celebrate and he told me, "I'm surprised you didn't have them put little squiggles on it."

4. Comparing notes on spam at work one morning, I told my boss that we were all rich, since I had won a Nigerian lottery. He said even better, we could all get discounts on viagra. I said, "So let's go party and stay up all night!" TOTALLY DID NOT REALIZE WHAT I SAID. He gave me a funny look and I ran off to a meeting. Fortunately that kept me out of sight for a few hours.

I am embarrassed to tell you that I have many, many more, but this post is too long already. Don't ask me why most of these seem to happen at work. Wait, I know...a faux pas is defined as "a violation of acceptable social norms." I suppose we don't have many of those at home.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Real questions I have answered this week

Most of the time, I love my job. I know the work we do is important.

I also know that lobby days are important. But they are a pain in the ass.

Here are real questions I have been asked, in regards to an event that involves breakfast (with a speaker), followed by (optional) appointments with legislators, and real events that have happened in the past few days.

1. "Do we have to RSVP for the breakfast?"
No, we'll just tell the caterer to take their best guess.

2. "Do we have to pay to come have breakfast and hear the speaker?"
Yes, that's why it's called a breakfast event.

3. "Can we make legislative appointments, even if we don't know who's going yet?"
Sure. Why bother to have a real person, attached to a real address, so we can set up an appointment with a real legislator from a real district?

4. "We can't leave at six a.m. Can't we just arrive at the event an hour late?" (BTW, I have to leave at 5:30 that day.)
Sure. Our speaker is a nationally respected expert, but why show him any courtesy? Just waltz right in, all of you.

5. "Do we get to leave after the rally?"
No. You're volunteers, we're planning to hold you hostage.

6. "Can I get a ride?"
Sure. We have 2,000 members. Why don't I pick all of you up on my way down there?

7. "I want to meet with all of the legislators, not just the ones in my district."
There are 90 of them. Good luck!

8. "I joined once years ago. Do I need to renew my membership to be a member?"
Um, in a word, yes.

9. "I went to the breakfast a couple of years ago and I ate but I don't remember paying."
Do you remember anything from that day? 99 bottles of beer on the wall...

10. People who give me a PO Box, which is in A DIFFERENT CITY than their street address, which is what we need to make a legislative appointment.

Obviously I need an escape hatch.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The only reason I care about the Super Bowl

OK, I don't really care about the Super Bowl (no offense to football fans), but I should say the only reason I *think* about the Super Bowl is my friend Mike D.

Mike and I met on an off chance on Super Bowl weekend in 1998. I was down for a weekend in Washington, D.C., where I was planning to move from New York City, having just graduated from college. Mike and I had mutual friends and by pure chance the friend I was staying with invited him out to dinner with us.

We hit it off instantly. I never moved to D.C. - in fact I moved across the country about a month later - but Mike and I have remained good friends since then.

(I took this picture from a trip to NYC last summer. I know he won't hate me for posting it, because for awhile, it was on his Facebook page. You've got to love someone who can look at Dino like that.)

Some people come and go, but Mike, you are a keeper. I wish you lived closer, and I am so happy you are my friend!

Happy friend-iversary!

Friday, February 04, 2011

Blame Ronald McDonald!

I hate labels. I particularly hate labels that try to refer to one's political/personal viewpoints, because I don't believe in a "one size fits all" for anyone. OK, maybe for G. Gordon Liddy or Bill Maher, but just about no one else.'s no secret that I believe in personal and civil liberties. Along with that, I think personal responsibility goes hand in hand. (Does this make me a liberal or a conservative? Inquiring minds don't really want to know.)

My state is in a hell of a hole right now. Unemployment is at one of the highest rates in the nation, we have a legislature full of wimps who let us do everything by ballot initiative, job creation is nill, infrastructure is falling apart, and our tax structure is regressive. We are facing huge cuts to services due to the fact that our state government has its head up its ass and isn't spending money where it should be spent, and is wasting money on places where it should not be spent. There are people sleeping on the streets and people going without meals because they can't afford to buy enough food.

Read: there are many issues to be dealt with.

So what do a large group of people in my area do last week?

Stage a protest at McDonald's and demand that they drop Ronald McDonald as a mascot.

Ronald markets to kids, kids eat at McDonald's, and kids get fat, and this is causing the childhood obesity epidemic. Or so these people say.

Let's back up a moment - as insidious as it is, corporations have marketed to kids since the ice ages. And last time I checked, there weren't gangs of five-year-olds sneaking out of their homes in caravans and robbing banks to go eat fast food.

What happened to personal responsibility? Aren't parents, theoretically, in charge here? No one can force you to eat a McNugget. (And if you care about your own health, you won't.) It's the same mentality that supports banning happy meals, because they have toys, which also markets to kids.

When I was growing up we were allowed to have a bit of junk food once a week. It was called our "Saturday night treat." We could go nuts with Ho Hos, Twinkies, french fries, or what have you. The rest of the week, we ate healthy, and mostly at home.

Granted, there is plenty of corporate evil out there, but I don't think Ronald McDonald can hold the blame for making kids fat. That people would go out in the cold and say as much is their first amendment right. I'm impressed that McDonald's met with them with less than 24 hours notice, as opposed to telling them to get the fuck out of the parking lot, which is what I would have been tempted to do.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Things I have learned recently...

Photo of Lucky by Mr. RK

1. Men's Health magazine is like Cosmo for boys. Every other article is, "What she REALLY likes in bed..." Tip for the uninitiated: just ask!

2. Any day that starts with your hairdryer nearly catching on fire is not going to be a good day.

3. It is impossible to try and stop laughing if your boss rips a hole in the ass of his pants and then says to the staff, "No one look!"

4. Nothing travels faster than smell after your cat has been to the litter box.

5. Even if you require an RSVP for an event that has food, people will still ask you, "Do I need to RSVP?" No, we'll just guess and hope for the best with the caterer.

6. Honey badgers are vicious creatures that go straight for the testicles. Really. It's true.

7. No matter how many weird phone calls we get at work, there will always be a stranger one. A voicemail left Sunday night: "My sister has schizophrenia and she stole someone's dog. Should I call the police?" Um. What exactly would you like us to do?

8. If there are two exits in a restaurant, people will leave by the one I'm sitting at - even if it's below freezing and an artic blast comes in. And even after I say, "Hey! There's a front door, too!"

9. If your husband wakes up early on a weekend day, it's because one of your cats put his tail up his nose.

10. If you are hungry and desperate enough, you CAN finish the large size popcorn at the movie theater.*

How about you? What have you learned recently? I am ready to be enlightened.

*With help from a friend.