Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'm like Match.com for felons.

I have a dilemma. I don't expect any of you yahoos to have a solution for me, but I'll tell you anyway, because if you can't tell your problem to faceless strangers on the internet, who can you tell them to?

I met and became friendly with a very nice girl over the weekend. In the course of our conversations, she asked me to keep her in mind for any of my single male friends, since she's unattached and is looking for someone. Being the helpful sort, I quickly agreed, and set to work mentally sorting through my male friends to see who might be available and a good match for her. My enthusiastic, "Let's help this girl out!" attitude quickly deflated like a balloon when it became clear that in assessing my single male comrades for love candidates, I was doing something akin to rooting through dumpsters looking for something to wear to the prom.

Don't get me wrong, I love these guys--that's why I call them my friends. But most of them have, shall we say, issues. And let's face it, part of my love and affection for them is probably rooted in my relief over the fact that I'm only friends with them, and not trying to slog through a romantic relationship with them. While I would recommend them highly if someone were asking for referrals for good friends to hang out and have fun with, I don't think I can, in good conscience, foist any of them upon this sweet, respectable female acquaintance of mine. I'd suffer from seller's guilt, as if I were trying to scam her into buying a car that I knew was a lemon.

Let's run through the list of eligible bachelors in my friend pool:

-I have one friend who spent several years and several thousand dollars on a coke habit, then several more years and several more thousand on a meth habit, then settled into the more economical life of a major pothead.

- I have one friend who woke up in emergency room one night to discover his stomach was being pumped, and his blood alcohol was .37.

- I have one friend who drove from Missouri to Florida to visit his dad, bringing along a girl for company a girl he had recently met and was interested in. But it wasn't long before they started to get on each others' nerves, eventually getting into an argument of some kind...so at a bathroom break in Georgia, he drove off and left her at a gas station. And no, he didn't go back for her.

- I have one friend who I once saw buy a rose for his girlfriend. We were in a bar, and a lady was going from table to table with a basket of roses, trying to guilt-trip men into buying them for their dates. When Todd said "Sure, I'll buy one," his girlfriend Jennifer was shocked, as were the rest of us, since none of us would have dreamed he'd try to do anything romantic or sweet. Her face lit up as he paid for it, and we all said, "Wow, how nice!" as she blushed and smiled. When Todd finished paying for the rose, he turned to Jennifer and proceeded to whack her on the head with the rose over and over until every petal had fallen off. Then he handed her the thorny stem, which she accepted with a look of crushing disappointment and total resignation.

- I have one friend who has two kids by two different girls (neither of whom he married), and he still lives with his mom despite being in his mid-30s. He's probably been gainfully employed a total of 11 months in his entire adult life.

- I have one friend who drives a car that's painted only with primer. I've tried at length to explain to him that he will never, ever get laid until he paints his car, but he's either very stubborn or completely asexual, because he steadfastly refuses to paint it, preferring, for some inconceivable reason, to drive around town in his primermobile.

- I have one friend who has spent time in two different mental institutions.

- I have one friend with the most mind-bogglingly extensive porn collection, both in video and in print, that you can imagine. Go ahead, imagine. No, it's bigger than that.

- I have one friend who used to have masturbation contests with his roommate. They'd each lay on one of the two couches in his living room and watch porn, then race to see who could finish masturbating first. Whoever finished first would get up and go to the couch where the other one was still at it, and try to distract him so he couldn't finish.

- I have one friend who claims to have slept with over 200 girls, a figure which doesn't surprise me at all. I've known him to sleep with 2 or 3 in the same night, usually without remembering even their first names.

- I have one friend who, after a night of drunken debauchery, woke up stark naked in the living room of a strange house, with a naked female stranger passed out on one side of him, and an empty bottle of cooking oil on the other side of him.

- I have one friend who cheated on wife #1 with the girl who eventually became wife #2, who he eventually cheated on with one of my gay male friends.

-I have one friend who gave one of my female friends crabs. (And no, this isn't the one I already told you about. Or the other one I told you about.) STDs are so prevalent among my male friends that the Atlanta Center for Disease Control probably has most of them on their Most Wanted list.

- I have another friend who gave one of my female friends chlamydia, which is bad in two ways: It's depressing and demoralizing enough just having a diseased hoo-ha, but it's just downright cruel when the very name of the hoo-ha disease mocks you by starting with "clam."

So you can see my quandary. If my male friends were assembled in a mail-order husband catalogue, it would look more like a collection of mugshots at the local police station. If I do set this lovely girl up with one of my, um, colorful male friends, I'll have to sit up nights wondering if she's somehow gotten stuck bailing him out of jail, or cleaning up his puke, or notifying his mother of his unexpected demise, or becoming a drug mule for him. But I do want to help her out, and I would like to see her meet a nice guy, so tell me, do any of you have any nice, single male friends you can let me borrow?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Procreate your way to financial stability

People seem to think it costs money to have children. I hear people say things all the time like, "We're going to wait to have a baby until we're making a little more money and can afford it." I admit, I used to be under this misconception myself. I thought it was very, very important to wait til I was financially stable before going forth and multiplying. (I can hear you out there saying that perhaps I should have waited til I was mentally stable as well. Or is that the voice in my head again?)

Turns out I was wrong about the expense issue. Jake saves us money, big time.

For one thing, Brian and I used to go out every weekend with friends to bars and restaurants. Both Friday and Saturday night, sometimes even on Sunday. Now we very rarely go out. When we do, we drink like old grannies rather than like frat boys, like we used to, because it's no fun getting drunk when you know you'll be up at 7 am with a cheerful infant who seems innately driven to turn the TV on and off over and over by pressing the big power button on the front panel. So we daintily sip on a modest couple of drinks and then go home before midnight like the old folks we've become. On the drive home, we shake our fists at the cars that pass us, shouting "Slow down, you young whippersnappers, before you kill everyone on the road!"

In addition, I used to do a lot of drive-by shopping. I'd be driving by department store, and I'd think, "I'll pop in and see what 's on sale." Although I'm a big cheapskate when it comes to clothing and shoes, only buying things if I get them for a good price, it doesn't take long for the numbers to add up when you're constantly popping in at the drop of a hat. However, now that I have Jake, I'd rather go naked than take him to the ladies' department of any store to try on clothes. He sits in his stroller and twists and contorts himself like a bendy straw as he whines about being confined to his seat. I put toys on the little tray in front of him to keep him entertained, and he swiftly snatches them up and tosses them overboard, so that I have to get on my hands and knees and ferret them out from under the racks of clothes. As I push the stroller along, his arms are permanently outstretched, hands open to grab anything that comes within reach. Whatever Snatchy McGrabby is able to secure in his grubby mitts is then quickly deposited on the floor for his dutiful mommy to pick up. Eventually the tortured howling starts, and that's when the fun ends. I now understand why Julia says " I would willing pay $500 million thousand trillion (per annum) to avoid shopping with [my son] Patrick."

Interestingly, while Jake pointedly dislikes cruising around his stroller for any length of time, he loves to sit in a shopping cart. I have one of these nifty things, which is comfy for him to sit in, has some toys attached to it, and keeps him from licking from the shopping cart handles the bacteria of the million syphilis-riddled crack-whore shoppers who have gone before us. We can shop for any length of time like this, with him happily chirping away and pointing at things we pass. Observe my cheerful shopping companion, riding like a prince in his grocery cart:

Of course, the problem lies in the fact that lots of stores don't have shopping carts, especially clothing stores. They have those big mesh bags for you to carry over your shoulder, which I'm guessing Jake would not be as happy to ride in as he is the shopping cart. Still other clothing stores do have a cart of sorts, but it's a strange contraption that really amounts to a huge mesh bag on wheels. Also probably not something Jake would like to be stuffed into. A real shopping cart, such as the one pictured above, is crucial to a successful shopping jaunt.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, in anticipation of his first birthday party, I stopped at a card and party store to see what kind of nifty kid crap I might find to decorate my hovel. I thought I'd be safe doing this, despite the fact that they didn't have any shopping carts, because I knew we wouldn't be in there long, and I assumed Jake would take at least a few minutes to get bored and cranky. I was wrong. The twisting and fidgeting and grabbing and complaining began almost instantly, as well as the disdainful tossing overboard of everything I tried to put on his little tray to amuse him. At first I put some effort into trying to chat him up and keep him happy, but seeing it was in vain, eventually I decided to just grin and bear the crabbiness and try to just accomplish my mission as quickly as possible. So I stopped messing with him and just minded my own shopping business. He whined a little, moaned some, and then eventually emitted such a plaintive little mooing sound that I leaned forward to get a peek at him...and discovered a breakdown in the system. Not being seatbelted in (since I figured this would be such a quick and easy trip), he had twisted and writhed in his crabbiness to the point that he had completely slid off his seat, and would have plopped to the floor if not for the little tray that was keeping him barely hanging on. His little body had easily slid under the tray toward the floor, but his fat head would not quite fit. Below is a picture of a stroller, and although it's not the same stroller we have, it's close enough. Imagine Jake's fat head wedged halfway under the tray, with the rest of his body dangling off the front of the stroller as he meowed sadly for help. Even as I was hustling to rescue him, I was lamenting the fact that the laws of good motherhood prevented me from taking a moment to stop and snap his picture first. You would have enjoyed it. You would have called the cops immediately on me, but you would have had a private chuckle first.

Another way Jake saves us money is in preventing us from traveling. We used to take off work now and then for a weekend or a week of vacation, sometimes flying, sometimes driving. I know lots of people travel with their children, but there's nothing about spending a week in a hotel room repeatedly removing the un-babyproofed electrical cords from Jake's slobbery mouth that sounds fun or relaxing to me. Nor does the fact that he gets bored in a stroller in under 10 minutes bode well for the prospect of keeping him entertained on a plane for a 2 hour flight, or more horrifying to imagine, a car ride for 6 hours. While I haven't checked into it, I am willing to bet that it's illegal to give a child moose tranquilizer just to keep him quiet during travel, and since I can't think of any other solutions, travel is simply out of the question til he turns 12.

So by my calculations, Jake has saved us close to 4 billion dollars in the past year, money we would have foolishly squandered on booze, restaurant meals, hotels, flights, and clothes.

"Yes," you're probably thinking, "but what about the things you have to buy for Jake that you didn't have to buy before, like diapers and baby food?" Good question, but I assure you those are small expenses in comparison to the massive savings mentioned above. Take diapers, for instance. Diapers are about 23 cents each, which could add up if we changed his diaper 5 or 6 times a day. But being the thrifty, forward thinkers we are, we've figured out that it's cheaper and easier to put him in an adult diaper, which is so much larger than a baby diaper that we only have to change it once every few days, rather than once every few hours. Clever, no? Think about it: Do you empty your kitchen trash bag every time you toss a banana peel or a coffee filter into it? No, you wait til it's good and full and then change it. Furthermore, do you put a teeny tiny little trash bag in your kitchen? No, you put a good-sized trash bag in there, which takes longer to fill up. So it's only logical to use the same principle with babies and diapers.

As far as food goes, that's pretty cheap, too. We feed him birdseed, which is far more economical than pricey baby food. And since babies grow out of their clothes in a matter of minutes, we leave him naked the majority of the time, except for his Depend undergarment. That adds up to big savings on clothing. Think, people. Don't just keep handing Babies R Us your wallets simply because they say you need all that expensive stuff.

In conclusion, I'd just like to assure you that babies are nowhere near as costly as you think. You've just got to think outside the box, and keep one step ahead of Child Protective Services. Now go reproduce.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lessons I've Learned, Part 10

Let your underwear be a camouflage for your ass.

I don't have time to recount here the many and various times I've made a fool of myself, nor do you have enough years left to read them all before you die. But I'll tell you about one of them, and I'll leave you to speculate how many hundreds more exist in the record books.

Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror about two hours after a meal and noticed you had some huge, incredibly eye-catching, uniquely disgusting bit of food stuck in your teeth? Or maybe a couple hours after your last lipstick application, you notice a big smear of lipstick across your chin, or maybe a couple hours after your last killing spree you notice an unsightly streak of blood across your forehead? Whatever the faux-pas, your reaction is always basically the same: Once you realize how goofy you look, your mind starts reeling back over the previous few hours as you wonder how many people saw you in this condition. Suddenly those just-slightly "off" looks people were giving you make sense. First, you're embarrassed for yourself, and then your embarrassment turns to anger at the parade of people who obviously took note of your appearance and didn't say a thing to alert you that something was amiss.

At my previous job we used a parking garage with valet parking. We had no choice--it was the only parking available downtown, so our company paid for us to valet park there. This might sound like a perk to you, but it sucked. I prefer to drive vehicles with a standard transmission, and at the time I drove an Isuzu Rodeo with a stick shift. As it happened, only one of the parking garage attendants knew how to drive a stick, so sometimes I had to wait 20 minutes for that one yahoo to become available to get my car. And their so-called safety rules prevented me from being able to get the thing myself, despite the fact that I was often able to see it from where I stood fuming. How can it be that a person who is hired to park cars only knows how to drive half the cars out there? Shouldn't that be a job requirement for a guy who valet parks? Eventually when it was time to trade my car in, I went against my preference and bought a vehicle with an automatic transmission just so I could get my car from the stupid parking garage without having to wait forever. That's neither here nor there, I just wanted to bitch about that. At any rate, I liked all the guys who worked at the parking garage and they liked me, and we often exchanged pleasantries while I waited for my car.

One day Mike, one of the attendants, was acting a little bit "off" while I was babbling to him about God-knows-what. He just kind of gazed at me with this glassy look in his eyes and didn't have much to say, which was unusual for him. Normally, he chatted away and flirted, but today there was clearly something wrong. I'm incredibly self-critical, so I assumed I had said something to offend him--which wouldn't be unusual for me, since I often yap before I think, and then am later aghast when it suddenly hits me how insensitive/retarded/high-on-PCP I must have sounded. So on my drive home, after taking note of Mike's strange gaze following me as I got into my car and drove away, I mulled over our past few conversations in my mind, picking them apart to find the offending barb. I couldn't pinpoint anything, but then again, the truly insensitive/retarded/high-on-PCP aren't always cognizant of their blunders, even when they try to be, so the fact that I couldn't think of what I'd done wrong certainly didn't mean I hadn't done anything wrong. I pondered it for awhile, eventually giving up and moving on to other thoughts. I went home home to relax for the evening.

At some point, I went to the bathroom at home--which is where everything suddenly snapped unhappily into focus. I was wearing a cute pair of black dress pants with an unusual design--they zipped up the back rather than the front or side, and were fastened above the zipper with a single button. I reached behind me and unbuttoned them, then went to unzip them--and realized they were already unzipped. They had been unzipped for hours. Stricken, I buttoned them back up again and left them unzipped, twisting in front of the mirror to see what I had looked like for the past few hours. This was not the kind of unzipped fly that you barely notice--I was wearing black slacks, a black, short-waisted sweater, and the whitest panties money could buy. With the button fastened and the zipper unzipped, my virginal white panties presented themselves in a huge, gaping 4-inch long oval that seemed to start at my waist and run halfway down my butt. To top it off, my panties weren't cotton, but kind of a sheer material, in spite of their glaring whiteness. I had truly made an ass out of myself. The only thing I was grateful for was that I hadn't been wearing a thong.

Naturally I did that thing I mentioned above--I stood there in my bathroom, mind racing back over the last few hours to determine who had seen my big white ass and cheerfully declined to alert me to the fact that I was strolling about half-nude. By my calculations, it had been probably about three hours since my last trip to the bathroom, which must have been where the problem originated, and in that span of time I had interacted with probably 15 people or more. All of them wretched, disease-riddled, soulless weasels without the slightest remorse for letting me sashay around town with my hiney on display. I wished them all a painful death by fire.

The next day I accosted each one of the gutless swine who had been with me in the midst of my previous day's streaking incident, and demanded to know why they hadn't said anything. My coworkers claimed not to have noticed, which was bad on two fronts: Either it meant they were all big fat liars, or, considering they were all men, it meant that apparently not one of them ever took an interest in looking at my ass. So either I was working with a pack of lying scumbags, or worse, I was an unattractive toad who my male coworkers did not readily identify as "female" in any way. When I interrogated Mike, the parking garage traitor, he paled at the mention of my panties and began to stammer and wet himself, offering me no explanation for why he had allowed me to humiliate myself.

So I learned a lesson that day. No, not "zip up your pants," goofball. I learned that one right about the time my mom potty trained me. This was an accident, and there's no way to guarantee I'll never again have another wardrobe malfunction after using the bathroom. No, the lesson is to wear panties similar in color to my clothes. Not matching--that's a little overboard. But if I'm wearing dark colored pants, I wear dark colored panties, just in case my ass ever makes another public appearance without my consent. I'll still look like a dumbshit, but hopefully only the very alert few will notice it this time. And the extra bonus is that if fewer people notice me making a fool of myself, I'll have fewer people to wish cancer upon later when I count up how many people could have bailed me out and chose not to.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The survey parade stops here

Every 15 seconds I'm getting one of those damn email questionnaires that I'm supposed to copy, fill out with my own answers, and send back to the person who sent it to me, as well as everyone else I'm friends with. This was borderline entertaining the first two times, but now that we're on about the 6,788th questionnaire, and the questions haven't gotten one bit more interesting, it's starting to wear me down. The questions are usually of the most mind-numbingly boring sort, such as "Vanilla or chocolate?" and "What time do you wake up in the mornings?" Trust me, no one cares about the answers to these questions. I usually don't fill them out anymore, although I'll generally skim the answers of the person who sent it to me. Well, except in the case of "Vanilla or chocolate?" because seriously, I could care less if you prefer vanilla or chocolate, unless I happen to be in the process of baking you a cake. Which I'm not, fortunately for your intestines.

Every once in awhile, though, a questionnaire comes along with some unusual, interesting questions, and is worth reading and then filling out. I'll immediately think, "Oh crap, not another of these dumb things," but then quickly notice that this one is funny, creative, and worth a few minutes of my time. The following questionnaire isn't one of those. In fact, it's not only as boring as watching your sister-in-law's wedding video while listening to Barry Manilow and doing needlepoint, but it's five times longer than the average questionnaire, elevating it from merely irritating to soul-killingly tedious. But this one was sent to me by Common Wombat, who has some kind of psychic hold on me. He's the opposite of this quiz--he's interesting and funny and totally entertaining, and I'm compelled to follow his wishes because comic genius is like a handful of roofies to me--it'll make me do things I previously swore I wouldn't, like filling out long, tedious internet quizzes, or waking up on tour busses wearing nothing but the peeled-off label to a Jack Daniels bottle stuck to my back.

I'm posting this quiz and my answers here not because I feel it will be of interest to you, but because the process of filling it out took about 912 hours of my life--time I might otherwise have spent writing a blog post or two, and I want to get a little mileage out of that time. Really, I want my 912 hours back, but since that's not possible, I at least want to get a blog post out of it. And yeah, I want you to be as bored reading it as I was writing it. Why should your day be so perfect? Suffer along with me.

Believe it or not, I changed a few of my answers slightly from the original version I sent back to Wombat. I had to clean it up a little for public consumption. I don't want you guys thinking I'm some kind of lunatic or anything. (I could care less what Wombat thinks. I'm like a nun compared to that degenerate.) So here's the church version.

[Relationship Status] Married, but only in the loosest sense of the word. I only did it to get my green card.
[Shoe size] What a great question! Give me a second, I want to write this one down and keep it in my purse for a quick conversation-starter.
[Parents still together] Technically no--they're doing time in separate prisons, but they keep in touch through long, heartfelt letters.
[Siblings] 3 sisters, although when the state removed us from our home of origin, we were each given to separate foster families, so do they still count as my sisters?
[Pets] 1 Rottweiler named Jade, 1 Caucasian infant named Jake, 1 husband I keep around in case I need small repairs around the house.

[Color] The practice of having favorite colors went out in 3rd grade.
[Number] 34C
[Animal] Live or dead? Because if it's live, the answer is dog or monkey. If it's dead, the answer is wombat.
[Book] The Bible. Well, I've actually never read it, but that might be my answer if I could find a Bible that didn't suddenly burst into flames when I try to open it.
[Flower] Who am I, Charo? Who cares?.

[Twirl your hair?] Um, no, because I'm an adult.
[Have tattoos?] Yes, on my inner thigh it says "I love to take long, tedious surveys that ask me retarded questions."
[Cheat on tests?] I'm cheating on this survey, as a matter of fact.
[Like roller coasters?] Yes and no. No, I don't like to ride them, but yes, I like them when other people get killed in roller coaster mishaps. I always think to myself, "Great! A few more people I don't have to wait in line behind at the grocery store."

[Wish you could live somewhere else?] Yes, I wish I could live in a country where I'd be free to express myself sexually with animals and pinatas and not be deemed "deviant."
[Like cleaning?] Yes. I love taking a tiny pocket knife and cleaning the dried blood out from under my fingernails.
[Write in cursive or print?] I use hand gestures wherever possible.
[Know how to drive?] No, I ride my burro from town to town.
[Own a cell phone?] Wait, was this survey written in 1989? Because otherwise this answer is probably always yes.
[Ever get off the internet?] You mean "get off on the internet?" I think that was a typo, right? Yes, and for $19.95 a month you can watch my hot web cam action.
[Been in a fist fight?] Is it a fist fight when a woman gets beaten with a shoe by her pimp? Then yes.
[Considered a life of crime?] - This
[Considered being a hooker?] - survey
[Been in love?] sucks!
[Made out with JUST a friend?] Does a group of friends count? Because I used to hang out with the football team a lot, and some of the parties used to get pretty wild. I'd wake up with a bite guard lodged in my--wait, is that considered making out? Then no.
[Kicked someone in the nuts?] I would never, ever do that. Not because I am so fair-minded, but because nuts are just gross and vile and uglier than a hedgehog with a cranial Siamese twin, and I try to pretend they don't exist.
[Current clothing] Did I use the bloody clown suit joke already? Damn.
[Current hair] I'm wearing a weave made of horse's tail and sculpted into the shape of a Viking helmet.
[Current thing I ought to be doing] Divorcing Donald Trump and spending my huge settlement check.
[Current CD in stereo] "Surveys are Stupid" by Everyone.
[Last movie you saw] They don't let us watch movies in here. They're afraid it will interfere with the therapeutic process.
[Last thing you ate] I need to speak to the person who wrote these survey questions. I've decided to break tradition and kick them in the balls.
[Believe there is life on other planets?] Yes. And I believe it is so far advanced that we can't comprehend it. I think their internet surveys would blow ours away.
[Hate yourself?] I love myself. It's everyone else that I hate.
[Collect anything?] Yes, communicable diseases.
[Like your handwriting?] No, because it's illegible, but I do the best I can with the limited motor skills I have left after my most recent crack-induced stroke.

[First crush] : Myself.
[You believe in love at first sight?] That sappy fairy tale shit is for junior high girls. But hate at first sight, that's for real.
[You believe in "the one?"] You mean Keanu Reeves? I guess, but why bring up The Matrix?
[Are you a tease?] For $35 and a six-pack, I'll be anything you want me to be, baby.
[Too shy to make the first move?] No, just too drunk.

[Daydreamer] Yes. I'm daydreaming right now about killing my entire family with a meat tenderizer. (The mallet-like instrument, not the stuff in the jar that you sprinkle on. That would take forever.)
[Sarcastic] No. Absolutely not.
[Shy] Painfully so. I'm so shy I can barely participate in an orgy without blushing.
[Talkative] - Mmmphff.

[Pierce your nose or lip?] I'd like to take a gold hoop and run it through my bottom lip and up through my left nostril..
[Be serious or funny?] Serious. I abhor people who try to crack a joke at every opportunity. It's like they have no soul, no depth. I think life is very important, and we should take every moment
seriously. Very, very seriously. I'm serious. Totally serious. Seriously.

[Simple or complicated?] I'm a complex maze of simplicity. Put simply, I'm complicated. No wait, I'm simple. Crap. This is a complex question. Yar!

[What time is it] Time for me to stop taking this godforsaken, 300 question survey. But it's like I'm trapped on a ferris wheel and can't get off.
[Name] Fitty Cent.
[Nickname(s)] Inmate #55689765.

[Where do you want to live] Jesus H. Christ, I just noticed there are still 6 zillion fucking questions here. I need a drink.
[How many kids do you want] As many as I can snatch from playgrounds and sell at top dollar.
[What kind of job do you want] Executive Playground Kid Snatcher
[Do you want to get married] Yes, and next time there'll be a prenup. This joker's probably going to take me for everything I've got. I'll have to start all over building my Spam snowglobe collection.

[Nervous Habits] - I kill blindly.
[Are you double jointed] Yes. I can flip my bladder around 180 degrees. Also, I can push my nose into the shape of a J.
[Can you roll your tongue] FUCK YOU, YOU STUPID SURVEY WRITER!!
[Can you raise one eyebrow] DIE DIE DIE DIE DIEDIEDIEDIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[Can you cross your eyes] - *weeping softly*
[Do you make your bed daily] - I hate my life....

[Which shoe goes on first] FUCK.
[Ever thrown one at someone] - SHIT
[How Much money do you carry in your wallet] - PISSBALL

[Bought something] No, I don't believe in commerce. I make everything I own from the raw materials I find in God's wilderness. I built this computer from maple leaves and squirrel feet.
[Gotten sick] I wretched a little as I cut off the squirrel feet.
[Sang] No. I ripped out my vocal cords when I realized it's possible to communicate only through internet surveys.
[Felt stupid] I feel very smart when I think of how much better my questions would be if I wrote a survey.
[Missed someone] Once, but I re-aimed and got him the second time.
[Gotten drunk] You mean today?
[Gotten your hair cut] I've had to have my hair trimmed twice in the 6 months it's taken me to fill out this goddamn survey.
[Watched cartoons] No, we only watch religious programming in our house.
[Lied] I lied about the religious programming. But the rest of what I've said here is 100% true.

[Slept in your bed] A merchant marine on leave; I think his name was Frank, or maybe Juan. Still owes me fifty bucks, too.
[Saw you cry] The liquor store owner as he was locking up the door and telling me they were closed for the night.
[Made you cry] Um. The liquor store owner. Pay attention!!
[Saw a movie with you] Coincidentally, the liquor store owner.
[Said 'I love you' to you] Same answer applies.

[Been to California] GO FUCK YOURSELF!
[Wished you were the opposite sex] I've wished I were the opposite species.
[Snuck out of your house] Like I'd admit to that. Someone would probably tell Brian, and then he'd figure out I've been working the streets for money again, and that'd be the end of marriage number 7 for me.
[Regretted filling out a survey?] No. This has been a rewarding and therapeutic. I'd like another 7,045 questions, please. And try to make them more boring and meaningless, if possible. Don't forget to
ask what brand of toothpaste I use.


And that's it; this is the last time I will fill out one of these dopey things. Don't send me any more of them, unless you happen to come across one that's just brilliantly witty and different. But use your best judgement when determining the relative brilliance and wittiness and differentitude of whatever survey you're considering sending me, because if you misjudge and send me one that is not brilliant or witty or different, I will go ahead and fill it out, but rather than emailing it back to you, I will print it out and staple it to your eyelid. Except Common Wombat; he can send me whatever he wants. I'm afraid of him.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

The Birthday Party Report

I know you guys want to see pictures of Jake's 1st birthday party that took place on Sunday--not so much because you love kids, or because we're all one big happy family here in Blogland, sharing in each others' joys, sorrows and milestones--but because you're constantly baffled that he hasn't been taken away from me yet by the state, and the photographic proof of that always comes as a surprise. So as a little "F you" to all of you who've previously called Child Protective Services on me, here are a few photos to prove he's still with me.

First, let me say he got everything under the sun. Everything. Go ahead, name something; he got it. A boat? Yes. A plane? Yes. A Shetland pony? Yes. An impressive collection of hunting knives and 3 Samurai swords? Yes. Oh, and more clothes than Cher has in her closet. I'll never have to buy another outfit for him again, provided I can come up with a way to prevent him from ever weighing more than 30 lbs.

At any rate, he stepped up to the plate and performed his sole required birthday task well, which is the traditional Smearing of Cake on The Face. I had my doubts as to whether he'd do his duty in this regard, since he's not one to enthusiastically dive into new foods. Usually, when presented with a food he hasn't seen before, he will turn his head so far to the side that it threatens to swivel on his chubby neck, and he will remain in that prissy little pose til the food is removed from his sight. Only after I've rudely smeared a little of the offending food on his lips, and he eventually licks said lips and discovers goodness thereon, will he then open his beak for a bite. However, when the cake was put in front on him, he did not turn away, although he did not eat it, either. He first began grabbing handfulls of it and methodically tossing them onto the floor for me to clean up at my leisure. He had no intention of putting his frosting-encrusted fingers to his mouth, so once he finished getting a good solid coating of frosting on my carpet, I took a fingerful of icing and put it to his lips. His head swivelled like he was auditioning for a remake of The Exorcist, and I chased his fleeing lips until I was able to swipe them with the icing. He cried out in protest, made the kind of face I'd imagine one makes upon taking a bite of rotting human flesh, and then sat there unhappily til it slowly dawned on him that what he'd just tasted was actually pretty decent. Then he began smacking his lips, and quickly opened his mouth for another fingerful. Then he proceeded to take charge of smearing his face and hands with cake while the crowd cackled and grinned and snapped his photo. Mission accomplished.

It was all fun and games til our friend Jay suggested we light the "#1" candle on his cake. Jake was mesmerized by the flame, eventually giving in to his desire to see what it felt like. Apparently it hurt. You know how every time I post photos of Jake here on the site, several of you leave comments asking "Is he ALWAYS smiling?" And it's true, he does break out the big flashy grin for the camera just about every time. But just so you know that Jake does indeed have a full range of emotions, here's proof that, at least upon sticking his finger in the flame of a birthday candle, he does occasionally stop smiling.

But he cheered up soon enough, and the event went on as planned. Later, when the crowd had dissipated, I inquired as to how he'd like to spend the remainder of his birthday. He enthusiastically replied that there was some housecleaning he'd been meaning to get to, which I thought was odd--I don't know if many children volunteer to clean house on their birthdays, but what can I say, he's a neat freak.

First order of business was the refrigerator. He went through it and carefully read the expiration dates of the various items, tossing the ones that were no longer fresh. Then he rearranged things so that the beer was on the bottom shelf where he could reach it, and the boring stuff like Splenda and steak sauce were on the top shelves where they wouldn't be in his way.

Next he hit the office, where he looked disgustedly at the bookshelf. "Most of these books suck," he declared, "and once again, the boring stuff is on the bottom and the good stuff is on the top shelves I can't reach." In fact, that's exactly what he was blathering on about when I snapped this first picture. Note the mouth, open in mid-blather.

He started to cheer up as the project progressed, though. He takes great satisfaction in putting things in order, so by the time I took this picture he was downright festive.

After that, he mopped the kitchen floors and scrubbed the tub in the master bathroom, muttering under his breath about how "some children have mommies who do this stuff" (whatever that means). Then he headed up to the attic to label all the boxes of Christmas decorations so they'll be easier to find come December. By then it was nearly one in the morning, and I had watched all the movies we had on DVD and was starting to get bored. I asked Jake to make a run to the liquor store for me, but he reminded me that it had closed hours ago, which only proves my point that everything would be perfect if we just moved to Vegas. So instead I had him give me a foot massage and a manicure, and then I changed his diaper and we went to bed.

All in all, it was a long, busy day, but a good one.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Clearly, Mike pissed off the wrong person.

Poor Mike. He messed with the wrong girl.

I mean, it's a given that it had to be a female who did this to the back of his truck, right? Because when a guy pisses off another guy, he gets punched in the nuts. But when a guy pisses off a girl, he gets bleach poured over all his clothes, or an "anonymous" disparaging phone call to his wife/girlfriend/mom/boss, or, in extreme cases, a bunny rabbit simmering in a pot on his stove. Perhaps because men are (usually) more adept at delivering an effective ass-beating, women have had to get more clever and creative when seeking revenge. That's why God invented Judge Judy, who is, as far as I can tell, one of the few checks and balances in place to deter vengeful girls from doing real damage in their revenge-seeking exploits. The more cautious of the angry girls stick to that old, tired "shoe polish on the truck windows" trick, pictured above, which is something that's probably very rarely punished in the court system. Unfortunately, it's not very satisfying, as far as revenge tactics go.

Myself, I like to stick to a few of my own original revenge methods:

- Steal his porno magazines and tape color photocopies of David Hasselhoff's face over the faces of the girls inside. This one may take him months to figure out, because most men aren't aware that women have faces. But when he does eventually catch on, it'll scar him for life, possibly even making him subconsciously attracted to Hasselhoff.

- Get a job where he works, and then start up a sexual affair with his boss. Eventually use your pull with the boss to get the guy demoted to janitor.

- Put a severed human leg in his bed. The logistics of this one are tricky, but I can tell you from experience that it can definitely be done.

- Change his computer's internet home page to something awful.

- Break into his house while he's sleeping and chloroform him. Then, dress him in a blood-soaked clown suit and put him back in bed the way you found him.

- Marry him and have a baby with him. Then you have free reign to make his life miserable for decades. Brian has no idea he's a victim of this one.

But I guess shoe polish on the windows can be a good one, too, depending on how clever the libelous graffiti scrawl is. It is a little mystifying, though, that Mike was in such a godawful hurry to get where he was going that he didn't have a few minutes to clean up his truck window before jumping in and driving off. Hopefully he at least had the good sense to change out of the bloody clown suit.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I'm here to help keep your romance alive

Valentine's Day is coming up, and I bet many of you star-crossed lovers have big plans to celebrate by going out to eat at your favorite restaurant.

Don't do it.

That's right, you heard me. Dining in a restaurant on this particular holiday is frequently proposed as some kind of treat, when in fact, it should be considered a punishment. I'd rather eat Alpo straight out of the can while perched atop my husband's corpse than go out to dinner on Valentine's Day. Not that I don't love to dine out; I do. I love it more than I love pushing old ladies into busy intersections or teasing dogs with sticks. But I know better than to try it on this particular holiday.

Here's what'll happen if you ignore my sage advice and insist on going out to eat on Valentine's Day:

- In spite of the reservations you dutifully made weeks ahead of time, you'll wait in the packed lobby for an hour or more for your table, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a mob of well-dressed, hungry, angry lovers. Carry mace, just in case some famished individual begins gnawing on your leg in desperation. Also, carry a bag of Cheetos. Not out in the open, but discreetly. If the starving mob discovers you're carrying, they'll close in on you like a pack of rats.

- While the restaurant you've chosen offers a full menu every other day of the year, on this day they'll have trimmed it down to a "special," limited menu, in which you can choose from two different full menu options, which dictate the appetizer, main course and dessert. You may have, for instance, either choice A, which is the Spring Salad, the Poached Salmon, and the New York Cheesecake, OR you may have choice B, which is the Spinach Dip, the Baked Chicken, and the Tiramisu. No, you may not mix items from Choice A and Choice B, so don't ask, lest your waiter throttle you right there in front of your beloved. If you picked the Poached Salmon, there's no way in hell you're getting your mitts on that Tiramisu, unless you kill the guy at the next table and take his. Yes, I know you come to this restaurant several times a year and are always able to choose from 20 main courses, 11 desserts and 9 appetizers, and are able to get whatever the hell you want. But because this is Valentine's Day, a romantic, special holiday, you are now forced to pick from a measly two prepackaged meal deals, and you better take what you get and be happy about it.

-These two menu choices also come with a "special" romantic price tag that's much higher than what you would pay any other night of the year. If you normally come to this restaurant and pay about $60, on Valentine's Day it will cost you $120. If you normally pay $100, on Valentine's Day it will cost you $150. Bring your accountant and the deed to your house with you, just in case your date wants a second glass of wine.

-The service will totally blow. Your server will be exhausted and distracted, because he's probably been running his ass off since the doors opened at 11 AM, and he probably hasn't had a chance to eat or pee all day long. I used to wait tables, and Valentine's Day always meant working a double shift with no break. The up side was I'd bring home a boatload of hard-won cash, but the down side was that my bladder would prolapse by 9:30 PM. I'd crawl home, pee-soaked and emotionally broken, clutching my wads of cash and cursing God.

-Your food will take forever to cook. The kitchen will be backed up because it's so busy, and the cooks will be running themselves ragged trying to keep up with the workload. In spite of their efforts, it will take no less than 45 minutes for your food to get to your table. Not 45 minutes from the time you sit down, mind you, but 45 minutes from the time you order. Remember, your waiter will be racing like a hamster on a wheel, so you won't even get a chance to place your order til you've been seated at your table for at least 15 minutes. By then, you'll be wild-eyed and jittery from all the sugar packets you've scarfed down to ward off the hunger that might otherwise cause your internal organs to eat each other.

-You think after shelling out bigbig money for that disappointingly mediocre meal you're going to get laid? Ha! Your reservations may be for 7:30, but since you won't get seated til 8:45, your meal won't arrive til 9:30 and your server will be MIA for most of your meal, you won't end up getting home til sometime mid-March. One of both of you will be too tired and aggravated from the dining fiasco to put out.

Now, don't get excited, Cheapskate. I'm not suggesting you opt out of the whole Valentine's Day thing altogether. I'm just suggesting you don't dine out at the exact same moment every other couple on the face of the planet will be dining out. You'll still be obligated to scrape up some sort of gift, to show that you're a romantic individual still deeply in love. So what's it going to be--flowers? You unimaginative turd. Candy? You'll be the first one complaining when your sweetie puts on 10 pounds. A teddy bear? That's perfect, if your loved one is in kindergarten. Look, do I have to do everything for you? Don't answer. I've compiled a short list of gift suggestions, since I know most of you either lack the imagination or are simply too stoned to think of anything romantic and unique yourselves. You can thank me later.

-An inflatable sheep
-A case box of anal lube
-A prosthetic foot
-400 lemons
-A live chicken
-A pallet of lumber
-A fake Hitler mustache

So there you go. Get on the phone now and cancel those reservations, and get ready to have the best V.D. ever. (Valentine's Day, I mean, not venereal disease. Although sometimes the two go hand in hand. Or something in something.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Maybe there's an up side to intestinal bleeding

I've been having a little wrist pain lately in my left hand, which is my dominant (meaning my sword-wielding) hand. It's hard to pinpoint the cause, but I suspect it's one or all of the following:

- It could be that I grip the pen too hard when I write, causing undue strain.

-I may need to cut back (no pun intended) on the number of homeless drifters I pick up, take home and stab to death with a kitchen knife. The stabbing, and perhaps the subsequent skinning, may contribute to the problem. Perhaps I should buy an electric carving knife, to alleviate the pressure on my wrist.

-Maybe I should quit blogging. All this typing could be irritating to my apparently delicate hand, not to mention how irritating it must be to my readers.

-I should consider getting rid of Jake. Like any 11-month old, he needs to be picked up a lot throughout the course of a given day (you know, to be comforted, changed, bathed, fed or beaten with a wire brush), and he weighs nearly 25 lbs. I need to give him away to a sumo wrestler or body builder; someone who has a lot more upper body strength than I do. Or maybe I could keep him, if I buy one of those electronic lifts they use for hoisting wheelchair-bound people in and out of vans.

At any rate, I assumed it was carpal tunnel--which my husband used to mispronounce as "carnal tunnel," until I berated him out of it. ("Carnal tunnel" sounds like a Harlequin Romance euphemism for vagina, as in, "He plunged his throbbing manhood into my carnal tunnel.") However, my doctor told me that it's something lesser than that--something with a big smartypants name I can't recall that employs many letters of the alphabet, and which is hopefully fixable with some anti-inflammatory pills and one of those sexy beige splint things that looks like a robot glove, secured with wide velcro straps.

So I was wearing my fetching beige splint yesterday as I perused the drug information sheet that accompanied my prescription of Lodine, the aforementioned anti-inflammatory drug. Usually I only give these drug information sheets a cursory glance, as the text is usually pretty predictable. It lists the drug name, then has a paragraph explaining "How To Use," then a paragraph for "Side Effects," one for "Precautions," and finally, one for "Drug Interactions." And somewhere therein, a warning not to operate heavy machinery while using this drug, as if we're all swallowing these pills in mid-leap, as we hop back on the forklift. These sheets use a lot of words, when really all we need to know is, "Swallow these with liquid." But pharmacists have a chip on their shoulder about not being smart enough to have become doctors, so they use a lot of tedious wording to dupe us into thinking they're very, very smart.

This drug information sheet was different, however. The first paragraph, rather than being the usual bland "How To Use" part, was instead "Warning." It was a very ominous paragraph which was peppered with such eye-catching phrases as, "bleeding from the stomach or intestines," "black stools," "vomit that looks like coffee grounds," and a suggestion to "talk to your doctor about other possible medication choices," which seems to translate as "do everything you can to avoid taking this incredibly dangerous poison." I know all medications have ridiculously gruesome possible side effects, but as I mentioned above, these are usually buried far further down the drug information sheet, in the paragraphs headed "Side Effects" and "Precautions." I've never seen this new "Warning" paragraph inserted at the very top of the sheet.

The rest of the sheet is rife with intestinal bleeding references. The normally uneventful "How to Use" paragraph even mentions it, warning me not to increase my dosage without consulting my doctor, as this "might increase risk of stomach bleeding." No shit, Sherlock. So you're saying that if two pills a day might cause my insides to liquefy and bleed out of me, ten pills a day might accelerate the process? Duly noted.

The "Side Effects" paragraph, as you would expect, mentions it again, but also cheerfully notes that this drug may cause, "serious (possibly fatal) liver disease." Which actually might come as a relief, since death would at least end the copious intestinal bleeding that I'm starting to think is imminent.

Even if the gut bleeding doesn't kill me, I suspect it'll at least be a real bummer. It's probably downright depressing to bleed from the stomach, not to mention the havoc it will wreak on my clothes and furniture. But my mom taught me to always look on the bright side of things, so I wonder if there might be an up side to the intestinal bleeding. Might I not lose some weight in the process? That'd be nice. I've recently gotten to the point where I can fit into all my pre-pregnancy clothes, but a girl is never opposed to dropping a couple more pounds. I tried on a pair of jeans at Hollister the other day that didn't quite look right on me, but I bet If I lost 4 pints of blood, they'd be a perfect fit.

Plus, I'd probably get out of the "mandatory" employee meetings I am loathe to attend on a monthly basis. I would think it would be a distraction to the other employees to see me collapsing in a pool of blood 10 minutes into the meeting. Demoralizing to the staff, even. Or, considering my boss is a stickler about these meetings, she might make me attend, but might at least let me leave early if the bleeding gets bad. I bet you'd like to pull the old "bleeding from the stomach" ruse to get out of a few meetings yourself.

And I am sure people would offer to carry things for me. I bet I'd never have to carry a heavy box again, for the duration of my short, bloody life.

And let's face it, I look good in red.

So bring on the intestinal bleeding; I'm ready for it. Sure, I could quit blogging, thereby sparing my hand some stress, and probably never have to take these organ-killing pills. But that would mean abandoning my faithful readers, who are a dangerously unstable group, likely to fly off the handle and kill again if their routine is interrupted in the smallest way. So for them--for you, my dear readers, I will swallow these pills, sacrificing my liver, my stomach, my very life, just to keep you entertained.

I love you--and fear you--that much.

Friday, February 03, 2006

I need your phone numbers

At 4:30 AM on Wednesday morning, Jake and I couldn't have been more different. He was standing up in his crib, ready to rock, cheerfully babbling away as he pointed at his star night light that hangs in his window. I was slumped dejectedly over his crib, my cheek resting on the rail while I fantasized that I was asleep in my bed. I kept laying him down in the vain hope that he would just pass right out (these are the kinds of impossible fantasies that come to you in the middle of the night when you're half asleep), but I was no match for the spring under his butt that kept popping him right back up for more enthusiastic pointing and babbling.

The reason I bring this up is I thought of you guys. Not right then, but about an hour later, when I was laying on the couch (to be further from his room and the crying emanating from within) with a pillow over my head, trying to wait him out and see if he'd fall back to sleep on his own. He eventually did, by about 5:30. But until he did, I was seized by a strange compulsion to wake up everyone I know. I felt that if I had to be awake in the middle of the night, so did you.

So I need your phone numbers. It's not like Jake does this all the time or anything, I don't expect this to become a habit. But just in case it does happen again, I need to be able to call each and every one of you (collect, of course) and wake you up. You need to be there for me at such times. That's what friends are for. I'll put the phone in Jake's crib and you can listen to him cry. Or maybe I'll put the phone by my pillow and you can listen to me cry, as I vow not to have more children. Either way, just knowing you're there for me will be a big help.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Dear Jake: A List of Grievances

Jake, you are sweet and adorable, and I love you ferociously. That said, you can, on occasion, be a bit of a pain in the arse. I have a small list of complaints I'd appreciate you addressing immediately. And since I know you're a faithful reader of my blog (as are many 11-month olds), I'll post them here.

1) I'd like it if you'd stop screeching like a banshee when I wipe your nose. If that's not possible, then at the very least, clear up the mystery of why you find this to be such a violation. You blithely allow me to perform a great number of actions that seem far more objectionable than an innocent beak-wiping. For instance, you chatter happily away while I repeatedly grab at your kicking feet so that I can trim your toenails. The kicking, grabbing, and hit-and-miss clipping sessions can go on for a small eternity with no real objections from you. Likewise, you're downright agreeable about allowing me to poke you in the ear with a Q-tip while you splash away in the bathtub. You cheerfully acquiesce nearly every time I propose the idea of snatching off your diaper and swabbing your nether regions with a cold Wet Wipe. Most surprising is your laissez-faire attitude as I take your rectal temperature. And yet when I attempt to make a harmless pass across your beak with a Kleenex, you wail like you're afraid I'm one step away from jamming my thumbs knuckle-deep into your nostrils. As soon as you learn to talk, I'm going to demand an explanation for this completely irriational fear of yours.

2) You're right, it is incredibly cool that you can now get around on your own! I don't blame you for being excited about all the things you can examine and all the places you can explore now that you are a whiz at making your way across a room without help. However, it would be nice if you would finish your bottle sometimes before popping up and heading for the window to bang joyfully on it. Don't get me wrong, the joyful banging is super cute, as are the grimy little fist-sized smudges all over my windows. But all I ask is that you finish your bottle before hopping up. You need your energy for pounding on the TV screen and the smudged glass-top coffee table that I now realize it was a mistake to buy.

3) What's so bad about naps? Naps are nice. When you become an adult, a nap will be your friend. I often spend large chunks of my day wishing I were napping. Heck, I'm half-asleep right now. But you do not share my affection for naps. You seem to view nap time as a time to cry and sob until you pass out in a pool of your own snot and tears. Learn to love the nap. Surrender, and embrace the nap. Someday when you're grown up you will appreciate how a good long nap can change your whole attitude, temporarily halting the fantasies you may have about killing your coworker or ramming your car into the a-hole who cut you off in the grocery store parking lot. Naps save lives.

4) I don't mean to nitpick, but you can be a bit of a messy eater. But here's the thing: It should be easy for you to bring food to mouth without mishap, given that your arms are so disproportionately stubby. The distance the food has to travel, therefore, is short. Of the two of us, I should be the messier eater. My arms are way longer, and there's far more room for error when food is traveling that great distance from hand to mouth. So from now on, there'll be no more of this: I expect more of you, my stubby-armed, filthy bib-wearing friend.

5) There's nothing exciting about the drain in the bathtub. It's shiny and may look deceptively interesting, but when you get a close look at it, you'll discover that it's not a toy, not food, not a button that, when pressed, sets off a carnival of lights and sound. No, it's just a hole in the tub. Very boring. So stop trying to climb out of your baby tub and get your soapy mitts on that drain. Everything that glitters is not gold.
6) A rarely-discussed fact about electrical cords is this: They look tastier than they actually are. I do find your electrical cord radar to be quite an impressive thing: Any time you're deposited in the middle of a room, your ability to quickly locate, make your way over to, and stuff in your mouth the nearest electrical cord is really quite amazing. However, your ardent love of gnawing on electrical cords is in direct conflict with my desire to keep you alive into adulthood. So cut it out, or I'll be forced to duct-tape your arms to your sides.

This concludes my list of grievances. And just so you don't think I'm all take and no give, I'm willing to change a couple of my behaviors that I know you don't like. I hereby promise to stop putting you into strangers' shopping carts at the grocery store when they're not looking, just to see their reaction when they turn around and see you there. And if you're very well-behaved, I'll stop taping photos of my ex-boyfriends to the inside of your diapers. I realize it's funny to me, but a bit uncomfortable for you.