Friday, November 30, 2007

want an icy stare?

Sunny can give you the goods on this one - I ignore other drivers on the road. Before you freak out and call the DMV, hoping to get my license revoked, that doesn't mean I don't pay attention to other cars, it just means that I don't look at who's in them. After years of lewd gestures from truck drivers and teenagers, I started to drive in my own world. Because of this, friends and relatives commonly drive beside me for miles and I have no clue.

This morning, crawling in my car to work (people keep telling me that I commute against traffic, but I have yet to see that), I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye. Thinking someone needed to change lanes, I looked over, ready to wave him or her in. Mistake. Some guy had his Treo out and his window lowered, and was gesturing to me to lower mine too.

What, did you want to beam me your business card? See if I can fix the problem you've been experiencing with wireless email? Show me the latest photos of your child? Or maybe you just wanted to show off your latest high score on snood?

I'm the first one to admit that commuting is boring, but I wish people would find ways to amuse themselves that don't involve me.


Thursday, November 29, 2007


(So much pressure to continue the one-word titles.)

Last week I went to another charity event and bought something at the silent auction. For this, I was handed a bag of (questionable) parting gifts. A lingerie club membership. A book about closets. A tube of lipstick. A gift certificate for money off a Botox injection. A complimentary one-year subscription to a newspaper.

I haven't subscribed to a paper edition of the news in about ten years. My lifestyle was very different back then, and I relished mornings spent poring over the stories with a pot of tea. Then my schedule went haywire and I could only read bits here and there. By the time I got to read some of it, the news was already old, and I started feeling guilty about all the trees I was killing. I discovered the news online and it was love-at-first-sight.

(Plus it doesn't help that the paper they decided to send me is the crummiest newspaper in existence that costs money. This paper, which shall remain nameless, doesn't actually employ more than a handful of journalists, but just buys all of its stories from Reuters or AP.)

So the newspaper was delivered every morning for almost a week. I actually procrastinated on leaving my house to go to work (dangerous, given the parking situation at the office these days). I dreaded opening my door and finding it there. I'm looking at the stack of papers while I write this and I don't think I opened a single one. Also, one morning the paper even woke me up when it slammed into my front door (which, btw, is located far, far away from my bed), so my gut says my delivery person may have some kind of anger management issues.

Yesterday I wrote in and begged them to cancel the delivery. This kind of stuff always takes days, so I opened my door this morning with the same feeling of dread. Miraculously, no paper awaited me.

It's small things like this that make life so good.



I am in the country where I was born to attend a funeral. Here are a few highlights of my trip since I left yesterday morning:

1. They no longer serve food on the plane - it's a 5 hour flight. You can purchase beef sandwiches for the low price of $6 if you feel like eating that at 9:30 in the morning. No thanks. I was starving when I landed.

2. You have to purchase a blanket if you want one. I was sitting in the exit row so it was extra cold but I refused to buy a blanket just on principle.

3. Halfway into the flight, I stood up between the pass-through to stretch my legs. A man walked by and reached out for me and then his eyes rolled back into his head and he collapsed. He then lost consciousness and when he regained it, threw up for 30 minutes straight. Despite the urgent calls to see if there was a doctor on board, none appeared. The flight attendant brought out the biggest first aid kit imaginable and tried to help him. I was sure we were going to have to make an emergency landing but they made him lie down in the last row and he was able to last the rest of the flight. I think he's ok.

4. We landed just after two gigantic planes from Europe so I spent an hour in the line up for customs. This foiled my plan of not checking luggage and breezing through with my carry-on.

5. My father picked me up and asked me if I wanted to go to A (where I was staying) or B (to visit). I said A because I wanted to nap, shower, and change before I had to go out later. He said 'why don't we go to B'. Great. Turns out, I didn't make it to where I was staying until midnight and I had been up since 5:30 for the early morning flight.

6. When I finally got into bed to go to sleep, my sister decided it would be the right time to have an msn conversation with who knows who. She tapped away for a good 20 minutes through my incessant pleas for her to go into another room. She doesn't have a drop of common courtesy in her body.

7. Migraine

8. I fell down the stairs this morning. I didn't just fall down the last stair, I fell down the full flight of stairs. My sister, of course, asked me to hurry up.

9. Funeral

10. Earthquake. 7.3. I could not make this up. We could barely stand up, much less run away from the house. It felt as if we were on one of those things where they make you stand on a surfboard and it moves all around. We stayed out on the lawn for a very long time, and even now, I'm right beside the door in case we get some more tremors.

I'm leaving tomorrow. Hopefully I'll make it home in one piece.


RainyBow note: Harumph. I'll stop trying to garner sympathy for myself while you're gone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


I've got rashes. Nasty ones, running all over my armpits. Burning, itchy, on fire.

It's a running-related condition I get twice a year. In the spring, because of the return to tank tops for the first time in a while, the sweaty skin on sweaty skin chafes like crazy. In the late fall, man-made materials combined with sweat prove to be foreign to my skin again, rubbing and scraping. I've tried taping, I've tried Vaseline, I've tried creams. Nothing that's supposed to help actually works.

Last night, I attempted to sleep in the position of crucifixion, minus the crucifix, of course. It got more than a bit frustrating.

After a day of feigning normalcy at work, I've spent the night at home in my wifebeater, my armpits slathered in Gold Bond. I'm currently testing a new typing technique designed to minimize the rubbing action. It involves a strong elbow bend and some very challenging angles. This is going about as well as the crucifixion sleeping.

But the biggest problem with this rash isn't trying to get the regular stuff done. You see, I'm kind of addicted to the adrenaline of runner's high, and it's an addiction I've been indulging for a very long time. When I spent a week horizontal on my couch during spring rash season this year, I took up chain-smoking. The smoker's high was pretty damn good, although I smelled kinda raunchy and was wheezing a bit when I got back into running again.

I've promised myself I'm not going the nicotine route again. Tonight, on the way home from work, I stopped and bought one helluva lot of candy. I figure sugar's got to give me a high and it can't be too addictive, right?

So I'm writing this while munching on a delightful combo of chocolate and sour, chewy candies. Experience tells me I'm benched until about Monday. I think I had dreams about being an adult and eating ridiculous amounts of candy for days on end when I was a kid. It's good to accomplish your dreams, no?



The bad news: The scintillating SunnyShine is out of the country at a family gathering.

The good news: There will inevitably be more great rants under the "family obligations" tag upon her return.

Looks like I'll be flying solo until Sunday. Lately, I've gotten into the groove of posting daily so maybe this won't be so tough.

Am skeptical but optimistic.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

open concept work update

Note: I attempted to draw a diagram to make this post more understandable, but that went horribly wrong. I was going to add it anyway, just for fun, but decided it would only distract.

Here's my current work sitch, based on a N-E-S-W grid:

N: The printer. Thank goodness. My father would tell you it's the most dangerous element of my workday but, despite all the swearing, slamming and exasperated breathing that happens there, it is relative sanity.

E: A woman who's been my neighbour for years and has spoken no more than 50 words to me, total.

S: Watch-my-birth-video, I-follow-my-kids'-schoolbus, people-suddenly-turn-gay colleague. While she amuses me, she is indisputably a bit unhinged. Today, in the midst of our office, she lifted her shirt for me, right to the neck. I've never been so happy to see someone wearing a bra. She did this, she told me with a big smile on her face, to show me the contraption she's been wearing that allows her doctor to monitor her for a possible mini-stroke. Or something like that. The surplus of bare skin may have prevented me from grasping the full story. So. Much. Bare. Skin.

W: Previously occupied by guy who married a Cuban woman (still living in Cuba) and then proceeded to spend a year of his (and my) life learning Spanish at his desk and discussing the possible courses of action with a myriad of immigration lawyers, friends and colleagues in great detail. One day he just disappeared. He may be in Cuba, or maybe not. It was incredibly dramatic at the time but I lost interest quickly. My travel Spanish now rocks though.

Yesterday, a new woman claimed the ex-Guantanamo Bay area. Her name is Rachel Rackale or Sarah Sloane or something equally pretentious with a superfluous E on the end. We've yet to exchange anything beyond hello. And yet, over the last two days I've managed to learn this about her:

- the credit limit on her Mastercard
- the amount owing on her Amex
- her son has ADD
- her daughter is terrified of speaking in public
- she needs to drink coffee every day at 2pm sharp
- she's fighting with her mom over how to celebrate her dad's birthday this year
- who she hates at work.

Most importantly, I know that she uses 'xylophone' as an example of usage of the letter Z, as in "no, Z, as in 'xylophone.'"

Does it not seem wrong that I know more about these people than I do about my actual friends and family? And am I correct in my occasional suspicions that there is a small man hiding in my plant, filming all of this for a bad reality TV show? Are you all watching it right now?


care for a smothie?

This place moved in down the street from me in the storefront-where-nobody-can-sustain-a-business. Well, apparently the new owners are as bad at spelling as they were at researching the property.

I wonder if this new spelling with only one O indicates that it's only half as smooth as a smoothie?


Monday, November 26, 2007

i finally know how to relieve constipation

Went out with friend-of-the-34-hour-date fame. He's still dating the girl, and I think I heard something about it getting serious. I have to admit that I'm not quite sure as I blanked out several times during our conversation. I wasn't hammered or even remotely inebriated. As has been the pattern over years of friendship, tonight he was the girl, talking endlessly about his relationship, his feelings, his hopes and dreams and his biggest fears. I, on the other hand, was the guy, grunting, cutting in and out to my fantasies of the hot new guy at the gym (far too young but with a delightful devil-may-care look), and picking a little fight here and there to show I was still listening.

Now and then, I'm reassured that my buddy's still a guy when he gets on the topic of his beloved car. He'll insist on driving me to a pizza joint in a whole other city just to show off how his car handles varying driving conditions ("Look at how she takes this turn on the side road. See how this is different from the city streets we were on earlier?"). Then, the pizza will be a bit raunchy and "to make up for it," he'll insist on driving me to a completely different city for a drink. He cannot be convinced to park the car and walk somewhere for pizza and a drink in the downtown core of the city in which we live.

These days, my buddy's biggest obsession with his car is with the heated seats. As he will tell absolutely anybody, he's convinced that they rid him of constipation. That's right, in his mind, heat on one's backside is a catalyst for bowel movements. Tonight was nasty and rainy here, and when I went to turn on the heat for my seat, he cautioned, "Wait, do you really want to do that? You know what'll happen."

I told him I would chance it.

I've asked many times what scientific basis he might have for said theory, and he says it's trial and error. Huh?



SunnyShine note: This is complete crap. (hee) I love me a heated seat and I keep mine on all the time. I love them so much, if the heat thing ever broke and could not be repaired, I would have to go out and buy a new vehicle immediately. I'm not kidding. Never once have I had this heated-seat-related-bowel-issue. I think men are just sensitive to heat on their posteriors. My main 'mo has an issue with them as well; his old car had some kind of issue with the heated seats and he burned his backside. I still laugh every time I think of it. Whenever I drive his car, I turn the seats up to max and purposely leave it on for him. Good times.

RainyBow note: Burned his backside? Lmao. 34-hour-date boy must never hear of this.


SunnyShine note: Funniest-thing-ever. When you meet him, I'll get him to tell you.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

please, may i park in the royal parking lot?

I've been looking for a new place to live for quite some time. Not seriously, of course, because I'm extremely picky and nothing seems to be good enough. I can't live in a house because the yard would quickly fall into a state of disrepair and my neighbours would despise me. In the interest of not finding dead bunnies on my porch, I'm looking at condos and lofts. All in all, my current place is great, and I'm really not home enough to care, which is probably why the search is going so slowly.

Well, a new building is planned 4-5 blocks from where I currently am, and there is much associated fanfare. Prices skyrocketed before units ever went up for sale, and the building won't even be completed until 2011. Yes, 5 years from now.

I went to the grand opening today. The air reeked of desperation. People were scrambling to buy whatever they could. And the prices were stupid, along with the fact that you have to pay a significant amount upfront long before even the building's foundation is completed.

But the thing that makes me the most crazy about the building is the parking. Here is the situation:
1. you can't get a parking spot unless you spend a minimum of $840K on your unit
2. the parking spots (for those who are allowed to purchase them) cost $50K.

I just want to point out that I don't live in NYC, Tokyo or London. When I mentioned to the guy that I currently live 4-5 blocks away and parking in my building regularly sells for $20-25K, he scoffed and told me that my building was clearly not that prestigious.

So I guess the price tag for prestige these days is $50K (not to mention the associated more than $800K for a unit).



you wanna ride?

When I travelled on business the other day, I had checked in online and printed my boarding pass. Because I had checked in early, the gate number was not printed on the boarding pass. When I got through security, I walked to the digital screens to see which gate I had to go to.

As I was looking, I heard someone behind me say "You wanna ride?". I didn't pay much attention cause why would someone be asking me this in an airport terminal. I then heard the same question, only louder. I turned around to see a middle aged woman on one of those carts they use to drive older passengers, sick people, and unaccompanied children. She asked me again. I laughed and told her I was just looking for my gate and I was ok. She then commanded me to get on the cart so she could drive me. Commanded is the best word I can think of cause it didn't seem like I had a choice. Quite frankly, she scared me.

So here I am - perfectly capable of walking - being driven down the terminal by this crazy woman. I was mortified enough as it was and then she started honking the horn. Beep beep. Beep beep. She was making people jump out of the way during the entire ride. I was completely petrified that I would see someone I knew - EVERYONE in the terminal was looking. I'm sure they were wondering what terrible ailment I was suffering from. She pulled up and did a u-turn right in front of all of the people waiting at my gate. I saw a few smirks.


RainyBow note: I wish I could say that I called ahead to arrange this.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

tax on the poor

Yesterday, I went to a variety store to buy some mints to mask my garlic-laden lunch. There was another customer ahead of me at the counter; a man in his seventies or perhaps early eighties who was buying lottery tickets. I wasn't really paying much attention until the cashier told him it would be $122. I couldn't believe my ears. The man paid with a $100 cheque (already filled out) and $22 in cash.

Now, I don't know where you live, but here, you can't just walk into some place and pay with a cheque. I don't even think I could name a place that accepts personal cheques. This leads me to believe that this is a regular weekly visit for him and he has something worked out with the store owner.

Thinking about this man breaks my heart. Lotteries always prey on people who have less than others. They use fancy adverting to show you how much better your life would be if you won millions of dollars and could live on a yacht. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket. Hey, even better to buy several tickets to increase your chances. This is how the cycle starts. So, a man who is on a fixed income is spending $500/month on a dream. Is he skimping on food or heat to afford this? Ugh.



RainyBow note: If only you didn't despise gum so much. If you were a gum aficionado as I am, the wide selection you would have with you at all times would have precluded this yucky convenience store experience.

Just sayin.'

one month left, people

I just have to get through one month. That's all I'm saying.

so how do men ever get things done?

As I mentioned earlier, one of my car headlights burned out this week. Trying to get the stupid bulb replaced was a comedy of errors and I won't bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I finally got fed up late this week and took my car into the dealership.

I called ahead to ask if I could bring it in after 3pm. The woman on the phone said to bring it by any time in the afternoon before 4pm. However, when I arrived at 3:03pm, the place was a madhouse and the woman behind the counter said they just couldn't help me.

As I was about to leave, the man beside her took over. "Is it just one of your headlights?" he asked. "Yes," I said and gave him a helpless look, batting my eyelashes. "I've tried to get it fixed so many times and I just need my headlight to work. Is there any way you can help me?"

He offered to install it himself, so that I would only have to pay for the bulb. He then walked me out to my car and chatted me up while installing it. I smiled, thanked him and drove away.

I'm shameless. Over the years I've managed to get all kinds of stuff done by flipping my hair and batting my eyelashes, from getting oversized luggage on a flight at no charge to doubling the amount of butter on my movie popcorn (which, btw, didn't go so well because I put the bag on my lap and it drained out onto my jean skirt, leaving a nasty stain). But all of this leads me to wonder: how do men ever get things done?



SunnyShine note: Men throw money at the problem. 'Will $100 take care of it?'

Friday, November 23, 2007

it's like where's waldo for crazy people

Recently there was the towel, the fire in Poland and the seeds of an eggplant. There's never much time to wonder where someone's going to spot Jesus again.

This week some bored people in Florida found Jesus in a pancake. It seems fitting that that pancake was made from a mix bought at Wal-Mart, clearly my choice for holiest of holy stores.

jesus pancake
As the woman who first spotted the likeness told the interviewer, "I know it's Jesus and Mary. It's unmistakable." Apparently, the halo over one of the figures was the big tip-off.

The woman believes her deceased father was speaking to her through the pancake. She was nonetheless willing to sell the divine creation to the highest bidder on ebay, so perhaps her father wasn't saying much beyond hello. In the end, the pancake went to the top bidder for the bargain price of $29. As the writer of the article states, "religious images that hop out of the frying pan just don't get respect anymore."

Maybe not, but we'll keep posting 'em on complainaway....


SunnyShine note: I'm not sure if these people are bored, or if they're blind. I can't see Jesus in this pancake. Maybe they have x-ray vision or night-vision goggles (typed google again...hee) that help them view these things. I can only see a camel with two humps. Maybe I'm anticipating.....


RainyBow note: To me, it just seems kinda gross. Even when this was fresh, I think you'd still need to have paid ME the $29 to get me to eat it. Ick.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

motto i saw in a store today

Joy is a flower that blooms when you do.

(Really? What kind of people actually find this meaningful?)


princesses don't walk in the rain

It's been raining a lot lately. I have no problem with rain myself, but Princess The Dog feels it is beneath her to have to go out in the rain. Jethro The Dog, as you can well imagine, doesn't give a fig about what is happening with the weather, he's just excited for the opportunity to chase small 4-legged animals. I dread rain.

When I open the door and Princess assesses the rain situation, she starts to back up into the house. (Most dogs turn around but she enjoys backing up for some reason.) At the same time, Jethro has flown out the door and is pulling my arm out of the socket. I have to drag Princess out the door and down the street. I end up walking like a scarecrow with one dog pulling and the other dragging. She also makes these lovely choking noises to go along with the drag so I feel extra badly for her. Little does she know that I really don't.

Jethro always does his business right away. He has other things to do so he gets it over with very quickly. Princess is never fast to begin with, but when it rains, it's near impossible to get her to do anything. I stand there and reason with her but she doesn't seem to get it. If she got down to business right away, she could go right back inside to her comfy bed, but nope. Stubborn. Sometimes, we've had to spend nearly an hour getting wet before she decides to get on with it. We've gone through this song and dance for nearly 6 years but it hasn't changed. And, don't advise me to get her a coat cause I've tried everything. Clearly, I just need to accept it.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

ever heard of thirst?

Once a month I get together with a handful of people and engage in some heated debate. OK, I engage in debate quite frequently, but this is the same group of people, and the genesis is always a book.

This week we touched on whether cultural relativism is ever defensible, whether superpowers have any clue their dominance inevitably has an end date, and how the demise of face-to-face combat has changed the nature of war. It gets a bit animated because everyone who shows up is pretty bright, and the same woman always hosts at her place.

Sounds good so far, right? Now, here's the complaint: never once have I seen the host offer anyone food, snacks, a drink, or even water. Nor have I seen anyone else bring any such items, not even a take-out coffee. People sit in their designated seat and engage in debate for three hours at a time and nobody eats or drinks. Last time I brought a tea in a safe, lidded, take-out container and I think I saw a few frowns.

Admittedly, I'm not the normal house guest. I grew up in a decidedly-non-white-bread household where food was a huge part of any social gathering. I've learned not to expect everyone to serve a six course meal for anyone who crosses his or her threshold, the way my parents would. But having guests at your house for three hours, without even offering up some tap water just seems a bit gauche, no?

This group has predated me for quite some time (I've only joined in the last few months), so there may be some fantastic explanation for this dearth of food and drink. I've spent an embarrassing amount of time amusing myself with potential explanations. Perhaps a particularly heated debate provoked a nasty food fight, leading the banning of food into perpetuity? Or they discovered that half liked peanut butter, the other half chocolate, but no accidental combination of the two ever happened? Or perhaps the drinks were mysteriously spiked one night, leading to a strange round of strip debating? I could go on and on.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

all you need is... makeup

be yourselfForget spending tonnes of money on therapy and searching the world for your true self. Just get makeup!

Thankfully I found this sign today and am turning over a new leaf.

However, since every makeup brand will tell you to remove their product before going to bed, I do have to ask: do you wake up as something less than yourself? Or perhaps you wake up as someone else?



SunnyShine note: Isn't the goal to wake up with someone else?


RainyBow note: Hmmm... yes, but then what happens when that someone else wakes up next to you but you look totally different? Am puzzled. Need a girly girl to explain.


SunnyShine note: There are two possibilities. 1) He is gone by the time you wake up so doesn't have to find out. 2) He doesn't care because he has already gotten the proverbial milk. Why buy the cow....


RainyBow note: Hey, don't you have a friend who does absolutely everything in makeup? I seem to recall from the hot yoga discussion. Do you think her skin, under all that, still resembles skin?


SunnyShine note: I have no idea because I've never seen it. She even lived with a guy and he never saw her without makeup; I don't think anyone has. I'm not sure if she gets up to reapply in the middle of the night or what. I can tell you that she stopped by my house full of sweat after 3 classes at the gym, and even then, she had a face full of makeup on.

RainyBow note: Methinks she should win an award for that. It's freakishly impressive. I got made up for a wedding once (yes, the one where the make up artist actually drew in an upper lip) and I swear the gunk was all gone within the hour. Maybe one's skin must be trained-?

no force on earth can move this mountain

A good friend of mine is addicted to his car. Not addicted in the sense that he shines it every day or has given it a name; addicted in the sense that he will drive to the corner store instead of walking. As well, he is forever complaining about driving. He's a nervous Nelly and I hear daily stories about the idiots on the road and the horrible traffic he had to endure on the way to work. His commute is about 15 minutes through the city streets, against the flow of traffic. If there are 2 cars on the road with him on the way to work, I would be surprised.

Same friend would never lower himself to get on public transit. He boasts that he used to take it all of the time however I have yet to find any corroborating evidence.

We live not far from each other, east of the downtown core. Whenever I have things to do downtown, I take the subway or streetcar. You can park free at the subway on weekends or after 3pm so it is very convenient. Finding parking downtown and dealing with the traffic is not so convenient.

Last Sunday when I went to the ballet, I took the subway. When I got home that evening and was talking to my friend, he went off on a tirade about the traffic that day. Clearly, he knew that the Santa Claus Parade and two professional sporting events were on, so I wasn't feeling so sorry for him. Then, I made the mistake of asking him where he went. He drove right into the middle of downtown, into the area of the parade. I was stunned and told him he was an idiot. Then he started to say that it really wasn't that bad. Oh really?? Please. If he didn't bother to take transit downtown this past weekend, there is nothing could get him to do it. (BTW, the streetcar stop is right outside his door and the streetcar goes directly to where he was going.)


Monday, November 19, 2007

again with the global warming

Around these parts, we have full colour on our trees in October and, for the most part, all leaves have been raked and picked up by the beginning of November. I would just like to point out that the massive 70 year old maple tree in my back yard had not dropped one leaf until Saturday. Also, the leaves were completely green until the end of last week. In two days, all of the leaves turned yellow and then fell. It was raining yellow leaves in my yard all Sunday. Believe in global warming yet?

This gives me only 2 weekends two rake and bag all of the leaves before the city stops picking them up. Now, this may not seem like a difficult task, but my back yard is like a landing strip and the tree is gigantic. I usually take a few weekends and do it in stages. I don't like being under the gun for these tasks. Rainy has some sketchy mould allergy so she can't help. How convenient.


please don't call me at work

My father's one of the smartest people I know. He multiplies five digit numbers together in his head for fun. He disassembles then reassembles things just to see how they work. He loves physics and often drones on about the forces that cause objects to act in certain ways. However, he is unable to perform the basic yet essential task called listening.

This makes my dad officially the most frustrating movie companion in the world. Because he doesn't listen, he picks up on major plot revelations or twists long after every single other viewer, including small children and dogs. Halfway through E.T., he actually said, "Oh, I get it, E.T.'s trying to phone home." I wish I were kidding.

Although I have repeated the work phone rule 40 million times, he apparently has not listened to that either. The rule is this: I work in an open concept office and I listen to other people's personal issues ad nauseum. I know, in great detail, who is fighting with his/her spouse/significant other/child/parent/shrink/dog groomer/investment banker/hairstylist. This has become so tedious that I have begged friends and family to email or IM me if they need to reach me during work hours. In case of emergency, I've asked them to call my cell phone, so that I can take the call in a boardroom or on a walk outside the building. Under no circumstances are friends and family to call my work landline.

Today my father called my work landline. I immediately thought this to be the biggest emergency ever.

Me: What's wrong?

Father: Nothing, I'm just calling to see how your car is.

Me [forgetting that I had a brake job on the weekend and thinking that my dad had somehow divined that one of my lights had blown this morning]: Oh, well, you know, it's just a blown headlamp. I'm going to go pick up a replacement after work.

Father: Blown headlamps? Oh no! You didn't drive to work, did you? You can't be driving around with no lights. You're going to get hit! Tell me you didn't drive yourself to work. You need to get the car to a garage. DON'T DRIVE ANYWHERE.

Me [cringing at my obvious error and trying desperately to get out of this conversation that is clearly descending into my father's usual paranoia. Also conscious of the fact that every one of my work neighbours is listening to my end of this conversation]: Dad, stop talking for a second and listen, please. I said ONE blown headlamp. It's my front left. Everything else is still working, OK?

Father: I can't believe you drove to work! What were you thinking? Your car is clearly broken! I saw you on Saturday and all of them were working and all of a sudden you have no lights! You need to take your car in! There is something wrong and you're going to get killed on the roads! You need to leave work now!! Drive your car to a shop near me right now and I'll come pick you up.

Me [voice rising in frustration]: You're NOT listening. I said that ONE light has blown. I'm only missing my front left headlamp. I'm going to pick up a new one.

Father: What do you mean "going to pick up??" You CAN'T drive like this. I can't believe you're telling me this. What's wrong with you? You never listen to me. You think the rules don't apply to you. You're going to get yourself killed and then we'll see who's right!!!

Me [practically yelling, and speaking very, very slowly]: You're the one who's NOT LISTENING. They're ALL working EXCEPT ONE. Everything is FINE. Please LISTEN to me. ONLY THE FRONT LEFT IS BROKEN.

Father: Oh, it's only your front left headlamp? Well, you can just stop by the store and pick up a replacement. That's no big deal. Why didn't you just say so? And you don't have to yell at me, you know.

Me: I have to go. Bye.

In typical open concept office style, three people came by afterwards to chitchat about this conversation. One said, "Wow, I've never heard you raise your voice like that before. That had to have been family."

Why, dad, why?


Sunday, November 18, 2007

foiled by foil

I attended the ballet this afternoon. I'll steer away from complaining about hordes of people taking the subway downtown to see the Santa Claus Parade. I'll also steer away from complaining about the Santa Claus Parade itself.

This post is about gum. More specifically, the fact that it is now pretty much exclusively packaged in the noisiest foil packaging ever. What happened to the quieter paper packaging? I miss that packaging.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I have to say that I hate gum. I hate seeing people chew it. I hate HEARING people chew it. I hate it when people talk to me while they are chewing it. I hate hearing people snap and pop gum. I find it cheap and tacky and I use it to judge people. Don't hate. We all have our things and this is mine. I'm sure you have skeletons in the closet too. (Have I posted about this hatred before. I might have. Who can remember?)

Today at the ballet, everyone seemed to need gum approximately 5 minutes after the beginning of the production or 5 minutes after the end of the two intermissions. (OMG, there is a Dentyne Ice commercial on right now. First visual is a piece of gum popping out of foil. Princess has just kissed frog with fresh breath. Gum is haunting me. grrr) Why they couldn't manage to pull out the plastic and foil package during the 15 minutes of intermission (x 2) is beyond me. Do you have any idea how loud and annoying those gum packages are while you are hearing Chopin and watching two dancers dance a Jerome Robbins piece? Where have the manners gone? At the very least, they could have waited for some clapping during the piece and quickly taken a piece then. Selfish.


RainyBow note: You have most definitely posted about this before. I, on the other hand, am in a permanent state of gum DEFCON 1, on alert with maximum readiness to fight random gum cravings. I normally carry 4-5 packs of gum, with a full array of flavours from fruity to minty. Most days I'm good with just Chiclets Sours, the greatest gum ever invented (except that I don't love the weird blue flavour, and I'll actually open the packages to ensure I buy the ones with the fewest blues).

My most similar (and way less rational) pet peeve is with people who eat tomatoes like they're apples. You know, those people who'll bite into a tomato and let the juice run down their chin? Ick.

better not set my house on fire

I know people who have lost their homes and all of their possessions to fire. Fortunately, this has never happened to me. I did nearly set my kitchen on fire a few weeks ago when I set a piece of paper towel on top of a candle. Stupid is as stupid does.

I hadn't realized how much of a bullet I had dodged until I read this article. Apparently, fire is big business in China. I wonder if there is an a la carte menu of favours? How much to ensure that they show up when my house catches fire? Enquiring minds want to know. Perhaps I would be lucky enough to get the one corrupt official who does not require sexual favours.


throwin' up in my car

I have now officially thrown up in my car twice. I'm not counting when I was little and used to get carsick on my parents every half hour. Strangely, they were determined folk and continued to pack me into the backseat for long road trips around North America. I believe I owe my mother for that.

The first time happened two years ago on Christmas Day. I managed to get whooping cough, which is apparently a disease only found in the developing world. Oh yeah, and in me and the one person who I know got it from me (a colleague at work who wasn't so keen on me after that). Whooping cough was one of my favourite strange ailments. I learned that "whooping" actually means something: it's what one does when one is coughing so hard that it's impossible to breathe. Good times.

Christmas Day is non-negotiable in my family. The unspoken rule is that if I fail to show up at my parents' house, instant exile will result. So, while I was so ill that eating was an impossibility, I drank half a bottle of cough syrup and got in my car to drive out to the suburbs. To be fair, my father offered to come pick me up, but I'm a teensy bit stubborn and was certain I could make the half hour drive myself.

Halfway home, in a stretch of the high-speed route with no shoulder, I had a coughing fit so severe that I wound up vomiting in my left hand. Since I had been drinking Buckley's, my vomit was a purple, foamy mess, which made me want to throw up more. There was nowhere to pull over. I was driving at a high speed so I couldn't roll down my window and scrape it off my hand outside. The tissues in the backseat were too far to reach with my other hand. And I was driving standard. I drove all the way to my parents' house with one hand full of purple vomit.

The second time happened yesterday morning. I was driving back into the city after visiting my parents (do you sense a pattern?). A car cut in front of me in the middle lane and swung over to the left lane at a ridiculous speed. Shortly after, with a huge bang, the same car smashed into the back of a tractor trailer about six or seven car lengths in front of me. From my vantage point, the only possibility was instant decapitation. A wave of nausea hit me and I pulled the car over (this time there was a shoulder), jumped to the passenger side and threw up out the door onto the side of the road.

Three times won't be a charm.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

new meaning for atm

As Rainy posted earlier this week, I was away on business for two days. I was staying in a great boutique hotel in the old part of the city and, at one point, decided to flip through the binder of amenities. Here is what I read:

Don't know if you can see it properly or not, but it says Automated Taylor Machine (ATM). lmao Obviously, the French-speaking person who wrote the English, sounded it out. Sounds like....taylor. I broke up laughing when I read this but I have to admit that I find it kinda charming. Perhaps this is some new kind of technology I don't know about. Perhaps it dispenses something other than money. The jury is out.

In the bathroom of my room, they had a variety of very helpful things. There was a sewing kit, various creams, an intimacy kit (which remained in tact, unfortunately) and the oddest thing ever, Personal Oxygen!!!??? Now, I have no idea why someone would need personal oxygen but again, there is plenty I don't know about. I put it on the bedside table in case the air got sucked out of the room in the middle of the night. You can never be too careful.

personal oxygen


RainyBow note: I've read this post several times and I'm still laughing (thanks).
Oh, how I love English that's sounded out. I recently took this shot of another hotel's list of rules (sorry for the bad quality, my cameraphone does the best it can). Check out the part in red.

strickly prohibitedI was distressed to discover that prostitutes were "strickly" prohibited.

"ever notice how it's always runners who find dead bodies?"

Years ago, another runner asked me what my 5K PB (Personal Best) was. I had no idea. I ran cross-country races for years and PBs have no place in the sport.

Cross-country is essentially trail running, and, unlike track or road running, the routes take runners through forests, up and down hills and even across water. The dissimilarity of route distances and conditions combined with unpredictable weather and underfoot conditions make it impossible to compare times, and international meets don't even record times. (Btw, this may be one of the reasons why it was ditched as an Olympic sport. I still can't believe though that table-tennis IS an Olympic sport and that tug-of-war is a "recognized" sport while cross-country is nothing, but I need to let that go.)

When I explained that PBs didn't factor into my life, aforementioned runner said something about me being "one of those joggers." Long accustomed to the disdain of track and long-distance runners, I decided not to be offended.

Well, now I am offended by another definition of runner (vs. jogger), this one by Pearl Izumi. Check out the ads they ran in Runner's World, below.

pearl izumi 1pearl izumi 2

Here are the two most offensive parts:

Joggers mostly stick to gentrified stretches of pedestrian walkways...
. Runners, on the other hand, cut through dumpster-laden back alleys or disappear into remote wooden areas.... [E]very forensic program on TV begins with a runner stumbling across some wayward soul who climbed into the wrong panel van. In fact, if it weren't for runners, you wonder how many of these crimes would ever get solved. Better lace 'em up. Because someone, somewhere is missing. So do your civic duty. Run like an animal.

.... And, with all the jogging going on out there, runners are losing the soul of their sport. A sport that started with our ancestors running down dinner and remains to this day predatory at its core. Joggers are prey. Runners are hunters....

OK, so I know Pearl Izumi is trying to be all provocative, to get a bunch
of egotistical men to believe they belong to an elite group so that they'll buy Izumi shoes. I say "men" because I have a hard time believing most women would buy into this, but I'm probably wrong. The thing is that it has crossed my mind more than once that trail running alone may not always be safe and that's not something I really want to think about. Don't even get me started on the panel van reference. And referring to anyone as "prey" is pretty messed up.

I have been mulling over whether to send a complaint letter to the company (I do love my complaint letters), but I think I would just get dismissed as a "jogger." Sales speak louder than words and after this, I won't ever buy their shoes again.



SunnyShine note: It's either runners or people walking their dogs. I have been paranoid that one of my dogs would find a body or body part after they found a little girl along one of the routes I used to take early in the morning. The ad is offensive but that seems to sell things these days.

Friday, November 16, 2007

racism really livens up a sales pitch

My car got hurt again quite some time ago and I still haven't gotten it fixed. Long (and not-so-interesting) story for another time.

My usual guy gave me an estimate for repairs that seemed a bit high, and this week I took my car in for a second opinion. This time I took it into a place recommended by the guy who hit me.

The man in charge was a small man of Polish descent. At first, he amused me because his accent was so thick it was Inspector Clouseau-fake. I kept imagining that buddy was actually a bad theatre student just trying to pull it off. Plus the guy kept using the word "yes" indiscriminately, which made it just that little bit more sketch.

But the amusement took a wrong turn. Handing me his estimate, the guy said, "You know, yes, I just want you to know that I no rip you off, yes. In old days, it was always Polish, Ukrainian, Greek, Italians who fix the car, yes. And yes, nobody rip you off. But now you go to shop and there is black man, yes, Indian man, yes, and you pay too much and they do very bad job, yes."


Was this his sales pitch of himself and his shop? I was so shocked as I strode out of there that I didn't even look at the estimate until I was long gone. And now I'm kicking myself for waiting so long, because his estimate was a good 25% higher than the one my guy gave me. If traffic hadn't been so bad, I would have turned around to give him a piece of my mind. You no rip me off indeed, racist man.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

i'm learning that dan quayle was right

"What a terrible thing to have lost one's mind. Or not to have a mind at all. How true that is."

I have officially lost my mind. That's it. Kaput. Sayonara.

Generally, I think Sunny's a big liar. This is not for any particular reason. Sometimes she's talking and I assume everything she says is complete kaka. One day she called to tell me she was on her way to work with a yummy croissant for me. I thought it was yet another one of her yarns, so I went and bought myself breakfast. And then she turned up with a croissant, so I ate that too. This has happened a lot.

But my losing my mind goes beyond just my skepticism and mistrust of croissant deliveries.

Last week, Sunny told me she had to work out what to do with the dogs this week on Thursday night, since she was travelling for work on Thursday and Friday. This week, the following conversations ensued:

Monday night: conversation
Me: Traffic is so bad right now and it's going to get worse because of all the stuff going on here at the end of the week.
Sunny: I'm going to be out-of-town Thursday and Friday.

Tuesday: invitation from me to Sunny
Me: I think you should come to this meeting with me on Thursday afternoon.
Sunny: I'm going to be out of town for work.

Wednesday: IM conversation
Me: Hey, do you want to go to this event with me on Thursday night?
Sunny: Can't, I'm going to be travelling for work.

Today (Thursday): call from Sunny's cell phone.
Me: Oh, are you on your way to the other office today?
Sunny: I'm on my way to the airport because I'm @%@#$@#%^ travelling for work, you moron. [Note: she actually was much more patient than I'm giving her credit for here.]

I did some research this morning (as I mentioned, I'm bored at work) on what nutritionists recommend to increase memory power. The thing is that my diet is actually already high in all of the things they recommend, vitamins B and C, beta carotene and omega-3. I'm screwed.

I might as well go try to be Dan Quayle's buddy now.



SunnyShine note: Too bad you didn't see the look on my face when we were on the phone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

left boot apb

I love shoes. I'm female so this should come as no surprise. I generally loathe shopping (ok, I'm only mostly female) but I make an exception for shoe shopping. Recently, I had a very frustrating experience while I was looking for some boots. (The only reason I have to buy boots is because Jethro The Dog ate two pairs of them during his shoe-eating spree a few months ago. I'm still bitter.)

I found a pair of boots I liked but couldn't find them in my size. I have large feet so this isn't so unusual. It still makes me mad because the shoe buyers never order enough of the larger sizes even though there are more and more people with large sized feet these days. I asked the salesperson to check the other stores to see if there were any in the city in my size. This took approx 15 minutes. Between the socializing with the person on the other end of the phone and the seemingly monumental task of walking down the row to check for the boots, I nearly lost my mind. Needless to say, no luck.

I then moved to a different store and found another pair I liked. They even had my size. Yippee. I opened the box and found only the right boot. I tried it on and loved it, so I peered around to see if the left boot was on display somewhere. Nope. I then looked around for a salesperson. I found someone and asked if she could help me find the left boot; she didn't work there. Whoops. Five minutes later, I finally located the lone person working in the store. She started to look through some of the other boxes for the boot.

The first box she opened had a pair of boots that were two different sizes. The second box she opened had two left boots - different sizes. This was shoe-buying hell. What has happened to all of the left boots in the world? She then moved on to the cash area to see if there were any stray boots behind the counter. Imagine how pleased I was by this time. I told her to forget it.

Such a disappointing outing...sigh.


i didn't need muscles anyway

I've been an ectomorph all of my life. The fact that I log so much mileage each week in my running shoes doesn't help. While my friends can go to the gym twice and suddenly have monstrous biceps, I can hit the weights religiously for years and nobody will believe I ever lifted 5 pounds. But I still weight-train because I remember when I was running cross-country races years ago and felt no need to hit a gym. Any guy who saw me naked was frightened of snapping me in half, which didn't exactly do wonders for the love life.

Well, my gym just decided to remove all of the free weights and weight machines in order to conduct noise testing. Apparently they will be gone for 30 days. I have no idea why a gym that's been operational for 14 years would require such extensive noise testing, but this is what I've been told.

I don't really want to see my body after 30 days of no weight training and massive muscle atrophy, and I don't think anyone else should have to see it either. After I write this, I'll be calling around to try to borrow a set of weights. Crappy gym.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

dry clean only is a scam

I often wonder if there is some sort of cash exchange between clothes manufacturers and dry cleaners. Are dry cleaners a mafioso type business where they threaten and strong-arm other businesses into doing their bidding? How else to explain the dry clean only label on practically everything I own?

For the record, I don't dry clean anything. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. The few times I have actually taken something to a dry cleaner, they managed to ruin it. The last time was about 6 years ago and I haven't been back since.

I put everything in the washing machine. The velour sweat pants I'm wearing have been put in the washer and dryer regularly for the past two years. The label says dry clean only. The feather duvet on my bed has been put in the washing machine twice a year since I got it a few years ago. The label says dry clean only. My winter coat of 6 years goes into the washing machine, faux fur and all. The faded label says dry clean only.

None of these dry clean only items have been damaged. To be fair, I have a front-loading washing machine and they are gentler than the top-loading ones. Though, when I lived in an apartment, I used the top-loader on the gentle cycle and nothing ever happened to my dry clean only items.

What to make of this? This is fear mongering, dry cleaner style. Lol.


RainyBow note: I think it's also a big CYA move in the litigious-happy US of A. You know, so nobody sues a manufacturer for $3M when he or she washes a shirt and the collar comes out a teensy bit wrinkly. I'm laughing while I write this, but remember the McDonald's coffee debacle? Oh, to be a lawyer with that wrinkly-collared shirt that doesn't say "dry clean only."

i wish i were poor so i could do these fun things

A friend got me watching Guinness’ new tv commercial, its most expensive yet. It reminds me a lot of the Honda Cog tv from a few years back.

In case you’re too lazy to watch it (it is like a minute 30 seconds, after all), an entire village of people who don’t look like they have much money spend a whole lotta time on a beer shenanigan.

I’ve sat on this for a few days and it still feels a bit offensive to me. Perhaps I’m being a tad too sensitive, or maybe Guinness just sucks.



SunnyShine note: Yes, it does feel a bit offensive. Maybe (I'm really hoping here) the beer company provided clean water or electricity or food or some other basic necessity or aid that will help change their lives in a positive way.

Monday, November 12, 2007

how are you?

I lived in Eastern Europe for a while a few years back. I was fortunate enough to get a great job there, despite my lack of knowledge of any local language and/or culture. Although in time I managed to learn some of the language, breaking into the culture was much more difficult.

At first, my team (all locals) viewed me with some suspicion. I found out later that this wasn't because of my habit of falling asleep during meetings (it was a bit of a party time in my life) or my obsession with finding absolutely any television programming in English (even though I never watched tv at home). It was because I was a crazy English speaker who smiled way too much and asked everyone, "How are you?"

In a short time, I figured out that the smiling thing was kinda bad, but it took one of my team members to explain to me that the "How are you?" thing was actually offensive. As she explained, one should never ask that question unless one is prepared to hear the answer... in full. In her mind, people like Americans were too quick to pretend they cared when they really didn't. I thought about it and realized that she was right: I actually didn't care how most people were. After a while, once my mindset had shifted, it was hard for me to come home to things that had seemed normal to me before. Walking into any store like Gap or Pottery Barn was an assault on the senses. All of these people I didn't know were pretending to care how I was. Fakes and phonies.

Well, last week I seem to have forgotten this valuable lesson. A colleague who I barely know (I'm racking my brain trying to think of her last name right now and I can't) came by my desk to ask my opinion on one of her projects. I turned around and said, without thinking, "Hey, how are you?"

Big mistake. Over 40 minutes later I had heard the full story of her mother's health problems, which South American region she was in, what the insurance company had tried to get away with, what her sister was doing to try to get her mom home, and how her dad was holding up.

I don't want you to think I'm heartless. Hey, if your mother's sick I'm all about the sympathy. My parents aren't young and my dad hasn't been in the best of health. Lots of people in my life have died, especially recently, and I know that's tough. But I'm not sure you should be telling someone you barely know the long version of your story.

But it's still my fault for asking. I need to get back in touch with the Eastern European in me. No more random "How are you?"s.



SunnyShine note: Ugh.

i'm convinced no one can write any more

Im convinced noone can right anymore.

This is what I read in a flyer this weekend:

  • Drying time equals wash time added convenience
  • The steam team pair's 6-point suspension system offers performance and reassurance that your laundry can be installed anywhere!
  • PLUS! GIFT WITH PURCHASE! Get a deluxe bed frame FREE! with the purchase of any mattress set!
No, I don't understand what the first two mean, but I feel relieved that the exclamation point is alive and well.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

you're now a compulsive gambler, but at least your legs have stopped shaking

I was watching 60 Minutes tonight and after it finished, a drug commercial came on. I don't really think prescription drugs should be advertised on TV, but those drug companies need to make their money somehow. Too bad they couldn't divert some of their resources to give out much-needed drugs to people in the third world. I'm digressing, this is not the point of this post....

This particular drug does helps people with restless leg syndrome. I hadn't realized this was an earth-shattering problem, but apparently it must be. As with all drugs advertised on TV, they read out a list of warnings about taking the drug. Here is exactly what they said (gotta love the pvr):

Prescription MxxxxxX may cause you to feel drowsy or fall asleep during normal activities such as DRIVING (emphasis mine), or to feel faint or dizzy when you stand up. Tell your doctor if you experience these problems, if you drink alcohol, are taking medicines that make you drowsy, or if you experience increased gambling, sexual, or other intense urges. Other side effects include nausea. Talk to your doctor about MxxxxxX, because when your legs feel better, you feel better.

Do I even need to say anything else?


it's only about our wars and our soldiers

OK, Sunny just posted about Veterans Day/Poppy Day/Armistice Day/Remembrance Day/probably some other names that I don't know. Apologies for another one in the same vein.

While I don't personally know anybody affected by war right now, various wars wiped out most of my family in the past. My family members weren't soldiers and most had no connection to the conflict. I wouldn't feel so crappy about this if anyone actually learned a lesson from it, but, as Sunny has already pointed out, war is out there, everywhere, right now. Humans don't learn.

I think this day should be a time when we all take a moment and think about the consequences of large-scale human conflict. Why do we keep doing this?

Every year on November 11, I go to a memorial, hoping to find like-minded people who are asking themselves the same question. Every year I'm so horribly disappointed. I look around and everyone is old and white, and the memorial is always the same:

1. it's replete with Bible readings, hymns and references to a Christian God.
Argh. The last time I checked, I didn't live in a Christian country, and Christians weren't the only victims of war. This seems obvious to me.

2. references are made only to the wars in which our country has been involved, and in which our citizens have died, and the ceremony is always about soldiers who have fallen and soldiers only.
Nobody feels the need to even mention the other conflicts that have ravaged other parts of the world (parts that are the native land of many people who've immigrated to this city) or about the average citizens who die all over the world as a by-product of war.

3. representatives of countries instigating war and conflict in the world are permitted to place a wreath at the cenotaph.
Call me a hardass (especially when I've just said that I want the memorials to be more inclusive) but I feel that if your country goes out and invades other ones, your consulate or embassy or whatever shouldn't be able to just stroll up with some stupid flowers and pretend your country's on the side of peace.

I was out-of-town this weekend and decided to go to a ceremony in a small town, hoping that maybe it would be different. It wasn't. One of these years I'll just stop going.


lest we forget

Today is Remembrance Day. This is a day to remember people who fought, and people who fought and died in the name of war. Unfortunately, wars are still being waged all over the world and needless deaths continue.

Here are some stats about Iraq:

US costs: approx 800B (including 200B budgeted for 2008)
daily spend: approx 270B
troops in Iraq: 183000
troop casualties: 4152
troop injuries (US): 28451 (not including psychological injuries; they estimate that 30% of all troops return home with psychological problems)

Iraqi civilian deaths: upwards of 600K (Bush would have you believe it is less than 100K but some people even estimate that it is over 1M)
Iraqis displaced by war: 2.2M
Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies: 70%

Now these numbers are probably not 100% spot on and different orgs have different stats, but a little higher or a little lower doesn't make much difference in the grand scheme of things.

The Iraq war makes us forget about all the other wars, insurgencies, uprisings, conflicts etc going on all over the world. Educate yourselves. Learn about Kashmir, Ethiopia, Chechnya, Burma......and educate the people you know.

Don't forget how lucky you are.


RainyBow note: Shocking numbers. While you're on the Iraq thing, everyone should watch No End in Sight.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

i hate b&bs

Earlier this year I went to a charity event. It was the usual save-the-animals yadeeyadah. I go to a lot of these. This one seemed a teensy bit low budget, because raffle tickets for "the big draw" cost only $10. I bought a ticket and didn't even bother looking at the prizes.

Well, I got the phone call a few days later congratulating me on being the big winner. Skeptical and figuring that I had won an animal stuffed toy or perhaps a specimen of taxidermy, I asked what the prize was. I won a bed & breakfast for a night. The whole bed & breakfast. Me and up to seven friends.

Now, I've stayed at b&bs before. This summer, for example, I went to Fallingwater with a friend (yes, we're geeks) and we ended up staying at a b&b in the middle of nowhere that was owned by Jehovah's Witnesses. They looked way too young to be married and gave us many, many pamphlets. And the Jesus Camp was just down the street.

But that's not really the reason why I hate b&bs. I'm a city girl and I enjoy being nameless. I like that I can go to the local drugstore and buy a home pregnancy test and nobody will spend the rest of the day speculating on the identity of the father. I enjoy that I can go for breakfast and the person who cooked my meal doesn't need to know what I did yesterday and what I plan to do today. But then I end up at a b&b and all is lost. The walls are resplendent with floral patterns and there are so many trinkets and chotchkas that I'm afraid to make my usual sweeping gestures during conversation. I'm out of my element and my defenses are down. Then the owner starts with the questions. So many, many questions.

So today I'm heading out there with some friends. Velma (yes, that's the owner's name, and I've already seen photos of her floral walls) and I have already had numerous phone and email conversations. She's offered numerous suggestions for our weekend. She also ran the breakfast menu past me almost five weeks ago. Yes, five.

Wish me luck.


Friday, November 9, 2007

"reckless abandon" and "blind date" do not go together like peanut butter and chocolate

A friend of mine sent me the beta of a frightening new dating service. If you live in Austin, Boston, NYC or San Francisco and you tell them what part of the city you'll be in and when, crazy blind date will set you up with a complete stranger for a drink or coffee.

Apparently all you get is a location and your date's name and short description. No real deets, no photos. The website bills this as dating "with reckless abandon."

What kills me is that my friend doesn't just think this is "really cool," but actually thinks that we should do a crazy blind date double-date. Has this friend never met me?

I've been on two blind dates in my life, both because I just couldn't find a way to decline. One of the dates was passable; the second was one of the worst nights I've ever spent with another human being. My date, who I had been told was "the sweetest guy ever," actually spent a good chunk of dinner recounting the details of his daily exercise routine. When he got to Tuesday and how many sit-ups he did before the push-ups and why that was different from the number and order on Monday, I abandoned all pretense of civility. I figured that smoking while eating would a huge turn-off to a work-out junkie, so I purchased cigarettes. Unfortunately, he thought this was rebelliously attractive. Then my date actually finished his story and decided to ask me about my life. This scintillating new line of conversation began with: "So, do you like to have fun?"

I found out later that he was actually my boss (who I despised) at the time's regular booty call. Icky.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

my car and/ or i need to up our cool factor by tomorrow

At work today I got a rather cryptic meeting invitation for tomorrow. Apparently I and/ or my vehicle (unclear) are to be part of some kind of photo shoot at 4pm tomorrow. The photo will be of young hipsters in a cool car using a new product.

I am somewhat perplexed.

I'm guessing that I have not been chosen for my youth or my hipness since neither one is exactly off the charts these days.

But I also find it hard to believe that my car was chosen for its cool factor. While I sometimes get stopped by guys who want to talk about it, generally they're either:
a. old guys who think it's a nifty way to hit on a cute, younger girl, or
b. really young guys who think it's an awesome way to meet their Mrs. Robinson, or
c. freaky guys who are into tires, since I'm such an aficionado of gadgets that my tires cost about what one would need to pay a team of anthropologists, artists and sewing gods to recreate Joseph's amazing technicolor dreamcoat.

Right now my car contains the following items: dirty running shoes, my bike repair kit, my F-bomb air freshener, hiking boots, a camping chair, several blankets, boxes and boxes of kleenex, a wide variety of snacks and a yoga mat. About the only mildly cool thing about my car right now is the Justin Timberlake CD in the stereo, and even that's pretty questionable.

And right now my likely outfit for work tomorrow comprises a pair of jeans and a sweater.

Must rethink my options. Sunny, I promise not to go as far as the two-inch skirt, the boots that look like fat cats and the fake medusa Barbie hair that we saw on that chick last night.


RainyBow update: My car and I are now superstars. V. exciting.

Before you go off being even mildly impressed, I should add that my car was always meant to be the star; I, however, was not. The younger, hipper woman who was the chosen talent didn't show. Since I was just standing there looking all forlorn, my moment of glory kicked in.

Sadly, I know several people who would now be able to die happy in my shoes. Even more sadly, I went on a date with one of them once.

it's snowing



RainyBow note: Just went for a run. Cold. Wet. Miserable. Decided that I really needed to do some speed training. Rather coincidentally, of course, this meant that I got to go home earlier.

This is somewhat reminiscent of all the times I've faked an injury to get out of a grueling run, to get home earlier to eat candy, or to avoid looking like a chump in front of some guy.

I am not looking forward to crappy winter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

no tea for me

This afternoon, I stopped into a Starbucks to get a mint tea. I was cold and I just wanted something to warm me up.

I ordered a grande tea and the barista gave me an odd look. She then told me that they were out of grande lids. This would not do as I was driving to the office and have a talent for spilling things when I am stationary. Lidless tea in transit would be a disaster.

Fine. I asked for a tall instead and got the look again. 'We're out of tall cups.' So, to recap, no grande lids, and no tall cups. Basically, I was s.o.l. She offered a short, but what good is a gulp of tea?

It's November. Hot drinks are necessary. Get it together.


RainyBow note: Someone sent me this a while ago. I think it's appropriate, given your bitterness toward the chain right now.

this strikes me as a particularly bad way to die

Some guy was crushed by a pile of peanuts. It happened at a peanut company, but it's still weird.

Now, the article doesn't reveal all that much, but I'm guessing that it would take quite a number of peanuts to kill a man. Apparently the guy's coworkers looked for two hours before finding him.

I want to see the interior of that peanut company.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

i'm in hell

I am currently (right now as I type) on the phone helping a good friend of mine answer the eharmony questions some dude sent her. It's hellish. She wants me to compose the answers for her so she sounds witty and interesting. I think the point is to be yourself. This is lost on her.

We are embroiled in an argument about whether she would prefer to attend a) symphony/ballet/theatre b) a sporting event c) a movie in a theatre d) don't remember this one. The answer is c but she insists that it is a. As long as I have known her, she has been to the theatre once. That once was because I bought tickets to a play and made her come with me. She hated it and was disappointed that it wasn't a musical. I had never said it was a musical so I have no idea why she would have thought that it was. She just informed me that she has been to the ballet once and has never been to the symphony yet she insists that the answer should still be a. sigh

Soon, she will move the conversation into a discussion about why I am not on eharmony and how I should be because youdontwanttobealonefortherestofyourlife.
I'll take the risk. I'm not joining eharmony.


RainyBow note: OK, in a moment of boredom, I just went to the eharmony website. Here are two samples of what you can find there:

An actual advice column letter: Dear Dr. Warren, I am trying to be very open to the eHarmony process. But am struggling with not taking things too seriously and getting too attached to matches too quickly. Can you help?
This person should not be dating.

2. An article titled "5 Bad Habits that Tank First Dates." And here are the five bad habits:
- don't monopolize the conversation
- don't "over-share"
- don't try to be someone you're not
- don't ignore cues
- don't propose
Don't PROPOSE?! They actually need to give their members this advice for a first date?!

Run away, Sunny. Run far, far away.

don't all guys owe me for this?

I looked at last month's cell phone bill this week and discovered that I sent and received 436 text messages in the month of October. So I either text people in my sleep or I am secretly 16. Either way I think it's safe to say I have an addiction.

A couple of weeks ago I was spending a very enjoyable Friday night chez moi. It had been a long week and I had just settled in with take-out Pad Thai, a bottle of red wine, a few blankies and a quality movie on DVD. And my cell phone, of course.

I got a 911 text from a good friend of mine. When I answered, he told me that he was out on a first date which was actually going quite well, when he remembered that he was at a restaurant but his wallet was still on his dresser at home. Nice going, huh? "Kwik," he texted, "can u bring me $150?"


Now I have to admit I'm a bit of a sucker for people who find themselves in sudden and urgent need of cash. When one of my friends was backpacking through Europe and some guy chloroformed him and stole absolutely everything he owned, I wired him cash to eat and get a new passport and clothes. I have a bunch of those kind of stories.

I really didn't mind driving up to the restaurant, getting the waiter to call over my buddy and slipping him the cash. In fact, it was all pretty amusing. The only crappy thing was that my friend apparently doesn't take his dates out to places that are actually in the city. Perhaps I missed the memo that the suburbs are the new hot place for a first date. I had to drive out to some restaurant that was so far out of the city it could very well have been the place where Jesus lost his sandals.

At any rate, I just discovered today that said date (which I think I can safely say I rescued from certain disaster) turned into not just a good first date, but a 34-hour first date. Yes, 34 hours. Although my friend is being somewhat discreet (at least with me, maybe because I'm not a boy), I think we can safely assume that he got lucky in some way, shape or form.

So how do guys express their gratitude when one aids and abets the other in the quest to score? I'm not up on the etiquette here, but I feel I should be thanked, no?


Monday, November 5, 2007

i hate november

October was beautiful. yay. November has arrived. boo. Today was cold and rainy and windy and gray - classic November. It got dark around 6. There are no stat holidays in November. Kill me now.


RainyBow note: Who are you kidding with the "got dark around 6" charade? I think it was more like 2:30 today. Why bother leaving the house, really?


There are some serious things going on in the world these days - state of emergency in Pakistan, flooding in Mexico, the war in Iraq, numerous droughts, diseases, wars etc destroying Africa, child slavery, poverty, famine.... The list could on forever.

Interestingly enough, this is the story I heard over and over today. Supermodel news seems to be the most important thing to talk about today. Of course, this is only until britneylindsayparis does something newsworthy. That should be in a minute or two. Last week, it was that Dumbledore is gay and that Marie Osmond collapsed during Dancing With the Stars.

Is it any wonder why the world is in the state it is in?


RainyBow note: What's a Pakistan?

The big media conglomerates are partially to blame for this. It's a perpetual circle: when the media don't cover the important stories, then nobody knows anything about them, and then people don't want to hear about those important stories because they don't know anything about them and they feel stupid. Dumbledore and Marie Osmond are safe, easy stories and people will buy them, so why publish anything else?

The public is also partially to blame for this. We're so caught up in our bubble of celebrity-obsessed, cushy culture that we don't want anything to threaten our reality. Wars, starvation, and natural disasters are wreaking havoc on people who aren't that different from us? Maybe if we ignore all of this it will just go away.

Journalist Howard W. French has written extensively on West and Central Africa and writes of many people who risked their life to tell him their stories, in the hopes that a Western journalist writing in western papers would raise awareness of the region's issues and agitate for change. But does anyone actually read French's work? I'm skeptical.

things that are not yummy

Chocolate ice cream with chipotle chillies. Chocolate-covered applewood smoked bacon. Chocolate-covered kalamata olives.

Now, I like chocolate and ice cream as much as the next girl, but sometimes a line must be drawn.



SunnyShine note: Yuck. Ok, I might be willing to try the bacon one. I love bacon.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

my sister is crazy (do you sense a theme?)

The only time I hear from my sister is when she wants something. Usually, the request is to look something up on google because she is in the car or away from her computer or too lazy to do it herself.

Last week, she called to tell me that I needed to come to her house as soon as possible so I could fix her vcr. VCR? Do people still use those? Apparently, they do. To give you some context, my sister lives about 40 minutes from me and I was not in any hurry to drive there to fix some mysterious problem with her vcr. She said the tv was fuzzy when the vcr was on, so I concluded she hadn't hooked it up properly.

I asked her to pull it out and look to see how it was hooked up. 'The guy did it so it must be right'. Sure. She then continued to argue with me that it couldn't possibly be hooked up incorrectly because the 'cable guy' had hooked it up. She also didn't want to pull it out because that would have required some effort on her part. It's much easier to have me drive for 40 minutes to check. I told her that 1) I wasn't about to drive there 2) if she didn't want to pull out the vcr, she could find someone else to help her or continue to live with a non-functional vcr.

She wisely decided to pull the vcr out and told me that it was hooked up correctly (not that she would know this in the first place.) I asked her to tell me where the cable wire was going in. She said it was in the 'out'. Shocking. I told her to move it to the 'in' and then she complained that she now had to move more things to be able to do that. I reminded her again of her options. She again repeated that the 'guy' did it so it should be correct but decided to humour me and move the wire. Miracle of all miracles, it started to work. She was amazed. I heard several times again how the 'guy' hooked it up but I'm not sure I heard a thank you.


scraping the bottom of the reality barrel

Today, I was surfing Sunday afternoon television and happened upon a dating show which featured a bisexual woman looking for love among a bunch of straight men and lesbians. The men and women are competing against each other to be the last man/woman standing. Does it get much worse than this?

At one point, the men had to prove they had a feminine side by parading around in high heels (note: men in high heels are not so attractive), and the women had to prove their strength and manliness by doing pushups. Riveting television, I tell ya. There was even a guy - competing with lesbians for the love of a bisexual, don't forget - who is still a virgin because his beliefs won't allow him to have sex before marriage. I'm not sure how he reconciles his beliefs with what's happening on this program but I'm sure a good confession will take care of that.

If I recall correctly, I think there was even a reality show where a bunch of men competed for the love of a transexual woman, except that they didn't know she used to be a man. The winner found out at the end. Wow.

I really wonder what these people go on these shows for. Clearly, they are not serious about looking for love. Is it the 15 minutes of fame that is appealing? Is it the possibility of winning some kind of monetary prize? I'm not sure how much money it would take to get me on one of these shows. Come to think of it, no amount of money would be enough.

It never ceases to amaze me how people are willing to degrade themselves to compete with 20 other people for a guy or a girl. It would make me feel so good to know that the guy I am dating is also dating 10 other people. And, you can't tell me they are not sleeping together either. Don't these people have any self respect?

You dodged a bullet, Rainy.


finally, i can trust my clocks again

I’ve come to the realization that every stationary timepiece in my life is smart but not smart enough. All knew to jump back one hour at the end of Daylight Savings Time, but they didn’t get the memo that DST was extended by one week this year. Last Sunday I woke up a bit freaked out at the early hour until I realized what was going on.

It just didn’t seem worth the effort to change all of them manually for only seven days and then change them back again, so I just left them to tell time incorrectly. I know some people set their watch fast on purpose so they’ll "fool" themselves and get to their next meeting or maybe the wedding (or divorce) on time. Who are those people? Doesn’t it just make them mad when they realize they’ve been had yet again? At several points over the past week my clocks were ticking on thin ice. Luckily, all the crap I ate last week dulled my senses and none of them got it.

I did hear that one day last week a vase flew out of a window of my condo building and hit a passerby in the head. I wouldn’t be surprised if that vase had a built-in clock that was smart, but not smart enough.



SunnyShine note: As much as I love the fall back hour, there is much to be annoyed about. First, there were 43 people in yoga this morning. 43!! Usually, there are no more than 15 or 20. I always wake up early but most people don't, so I don't expect to see that many people in the morning. Apparently, the extra hour meant people could suddenly make it to morning yoga instead of afternoon yoga. I don't like it.

The other annoying thing is that no one informed the dogs that the time had changed. There was practically an uprising when they got fed this morning at 6:3o, which was really 7:30 as far as they were concerned, and way too late for breakfast apparently. Same thing happened this evening. At 5:00, there was much pacing and squeaking because dinner was not being prepared and served. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

has this dog secretly been trained in the art of ninja?

This (terrible) photo (sorry) was taken of a sign on a convenience store window near my house.

pepper spray on dogPepper spray on dog?!?

Perhaps the owners wanted to warn intruders in a big way, so decided to mention both the pepper spray and the dog, but then got all carried away and put them together.

I figure it must be this, or:
a. this dog has already been the victim of pepper spray him or herself, leading to what one can only assume is a reduced capacity to function as a guard dog (which then sort of defeats the purpose of the sign), or
b. this dog has been secretly trained in the art of ninja, a la Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (Master Splinter has been busy, non?)