Monday, December 20, 2004

On Holiday

Between December publication deadlines at work, and vacationing in California, I won't be blogging for the next little while. I'll post again when I have some time. Don't go abandoning me and never coming back. I know where you live.

Merry Christmas, ya'll!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Walmart Banshee

I was pushing a shopping cart around Walmart the other day, dodging what I could only guess were rednecks and homeless people, wondering once again why I sacrificed a pleasant, odor-free environment just so I wouldn't have to drive too far, when I heard an ungodly commotion coming from the pet supplies aisle.

“Get the f--- off me, mother f---ers!!” some creature was shrieking. “Don't you touch me, b----! Get the f--- off me!!"

Naturally I was curious. After all, in normal circumstances, the most exciting part about shopping at Walmart is leaving the store. This was certainly more interesting than anything else that had happened that day, not counting what happened on T.V. I had to get a closer look, so I nonchalantly turned my cart in the direction of the screaming, which increased in volume as I approached. “Get the f--- off me! Get the f--- off me!!” the creature moaned over and over again. Soon I could make out that someone was being pinned by what looked like half a dozen cops. About that time I reminded myself that I hate “lookie-loos,” the kind that stare like stunned cattle at anything and everything, especially near car accidents, causing much more traffic than the accident ever could. So I decided to keep my distance, continue shopping, and let the cops do their job.

But the screaming kept going, on and on and on. It seemed like Walmart had a recording they were looping over the loudspeakers, although why they would choose a chorus of “Get the f--- off me,” to their normal new-age elevator music, I can't begin to explain. Reaching out to younger markets, probably.

As the screaming continued, I kept staring at items I had no intention to buy, just so I could listen for any new developments, all the while pretending non-interest. Most people were not so discreet, often walking right up to the cops before being shooed away. Finally, the cops stood up and begin to lead the angry screamer towards the front of the store. I was surprised to see that the detainee was no more than a small, pudgy girl, that couldn't have been older than 16. My first thought was, wow that girl has lungs! What a waste of talent, entertaining the masses at Walmart instead of on a stage at a death-metal concert. My second thought was, why are some people so easily provoked into hysteria? The girl was still screaming, at full force, “Get the f--- off me, b----!” to the female cop holding her arms. She was in her own, rage-induced world, hollering for no reason other than to keep up her strange pseudo-rhythm. My third thought was deeper still: do I really need eggs? I could have sworn I bought eggs just last week.

It seems like it would take A LOT to get me as riled up as that girl; like someone murdering my parents, and then murdering my friends, and then murdering all the band members in The Stills. Perhaps then I could reach her level of hysteria. As to what brought out this rage in the girl, I can only guess. Maybe some of Walmart's “falling prices” hit her in the face. Or maybe she was attacked by that scary smiley face from the commercials. I admit, I would be upset if that happened to me. In fact, just that “rollin' rollin' rollin'” song alone could drive me into an insane rage. I'm wetting myself from anger, just thinking about it.

Damned Ladies 3

In the proud tradition of Damned Ladies 1 and Damned Ladies 2, comes the all-new, totally exciting Damned Ladies 3: quotes from all-girl coworkers around my cubicle. As always, no context will be given. Enjoy.

“Oh no, I have skittles falling out of my chest!”

"She's got hair like a human."

“I don’t just want them out of my life anymore, I want them DEAD.”

“I so look like Tori Spelling, with my big, long face.”

- “What is it that your mom always says?”
- “Oh, that I’m a lesbian?”

“I want big teeth.”

“Don’t suck on your hair, you’ll get diseases.”

- “What do you call it when you hold yourself up in a place?”
- “Hostagized?”

“Oh. My. Gosh. There’s a giant bald spot in my head.”

“He’s the only human being I can honestly say that if I saw him standing in the road, I would slam on my gas and KILL him.”

Friday, December 10, 2004

Free Concert

I just finished designing a flier for my Dad's band, the Sentimental Sisters, and figured why not post it here. If you're going to be in the LA area late December, you should check this concert out. How often do you get to hear fantastic, live 40s music? I'm a little peeved that I'll be flying back to Utah two days before the concert. Stupid job. I miss all my Dad's gigs living so freaking far away. I need a helicopter. A gigantic black helicopter. That would be so sweet.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Amazon Will Be the Death of Me

Having a degree in marketing, I am completely aware of what is doing to me. So why am I powerless to resist? I have bought more CDs from them than I care to say, yet they keep pulling me back in. It doesn't help that they have a freakishly large selection, worthwhile reviews, sound clips, and the notorious “recommendation” feature. I will buy a CD, and before I know it, five more are recommended to me. So I check them out. After all, these aren't hackneyed, random recommendations. They are usually dead-on. Half the time I find another CD I absolutely love, and add it to my cart. “You like The Stills,” Amazon coos. “Well then check out Plus Minus or Elected, they're good too.”

“Sure,” I say. Next thing I know, I'm buying another CD. And then there is the free shipping offer with a $25 purchase. So I have to buy more than one. And they ship so fast, too. Damn them!

There just has to be a line. Amazon has gotten into the habit of sending me follow-up emails with a list of further recommendations. Sure, I could ignore these, but I'm tragically curious. What if ignoring these recommendations is depriving me from some revolutionary new music experience? So I click away, listen to some sound samples, do a little research, and end up hooked on another CD.

Why is this a bad thing? Well it's not, exactly. It's just that it all adds up, money wise. I'm not driving myself into the poor house or anything, but I could do with some self control and stick to a tighter budget. Maybe I should blame commercial radio, being so lame and all. They have driven me to this, with their overplayed, soulless music and annoying Djs. I have no choice but to seek solace on the Internet.

I'm not going to fight it. Amazon has won. That's just the way it is. Who am I kidding, trying to break free from their delicious grasp? Now if you will excuse me, I'm going to look up some more West African Funk. I love you Amazon.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Squeaks and Shrieks

It's cold and the mice are invading. I suppose this is a natural consequence of working in a building surrounded by fields. When the temperature drops, the mice look for somewhere warm, which is usually a coworker's desk drawer and sometimes a filing cabinet. Fine, let the mice come. Rodents are people too, after all.

But wait. I work in a place where the overwhelming majority of employees are female. I hate to generalize, but aren't all women afraid of mice? Yes they are. Every day I'm greeted with more shrieking as an unfortunate coworker sees a mouse running from their cubicle or office. This always creates quite a stir and then the inevitable mob of women join the frightened victim to discuss the mouse-sighting and commiserate.

It's a mouse, ladies, not a rabid werewolf. I mean, even if it was a werewolf, and he was in the process of chewing off your arm, do you have to make so much noise? Honestly!

Traps have been set, of course, and they don't do a spit of good. The mice lick the peanut butter right off, defecate on the trap, and skip merrily away. If I learned anything from Pinky and the Brain, it's that mice are smarter than we think and we shouldn't underestimate them. Thankfully, my bosses haven't yet resorted to extreme pest-control methods, like sticky paper. Apparently, mice will chew off their own legs to get free when they're stuck on those things. Even more unpleasant than all the feminine shrieking, would be walking into work to find mouse versions of the movie “Saw” happening all around me.

My company's other building (in an adjacent city) is actually an old barn, which has been converted into office space. One of the employees at that building is a crazy cat-lady. You know the type. There are no less than 20 cats wandering the grounds of the barn. I guess if you've been with the company since it started, 35 years ago, you're allowed to keep pets. Heck, we have company sheep! The point is, we need to bring in some of those cats. Getting eaten is better than being trapped on sticky paper, as I see it. Then again, the women here would probably spend their time playing with the cats, making loud comments about how much they like cats, chatting about their cats at home, and exchanging various other cat stories. I think this would be much more annoying than the initial shrieking over mice.

Luckily, I have an out. I have headphones. No better way to snuff out petty commotions than with some SomaFM. They can keep their mice. God bless internet radio.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Le Poisson Est Mort, Vive Le Poisson

Deceased: one pet fish, orange-red, age 8 months. True, I had no emotional attachment to this creature. His sole purpose in life was to act as a decoration, and perhaps to give me something to write about in my profile. True, he only cost $3.99, the equivilant to a fast-food value meal, quickly digested and forgotten. And true, he probably had it coming, the little bastard. That's not the point. What bothers me is that I tried, if rather sloppily, to save his life and ended up doing a crappy job of it. It's like this: I remembered at the very last second, not long before leaving for the airport, that I would be gone five days and would not be able to feed the fish. It was too late to drop him off a friend's house, since I was leaving to the airport buttcrack early. I mean, who would like to be woken at four in the morning by a guy at their doorstep holding a fish bowl? I couldn't take the fish on the plane because that's just way too dangerous (thanks a lot 9/11). What was I to do?

Let him die, I suppose. That was my first thought. But I was crippled with guilt over the whole gerbil incident and couldn't bring myself to kill any more small animals. I had to do something. So I went to Walmart. That store has the answers to everything, doesn't it? Yup, a sweet slice of sin, that Walmart. I found what I needed: a white, sea shell-shaped wafer that disolves slowly in water, feeding a fish for up to 14 days. I was set. I had saved the day. Glory Hallelujah and whatnot.

The fish still died, of course. I didn't leave my heater on while I was gone and there was a snow storm. I came home to find the fish frozen to death. Betas are tropical fish. Duh, Jeremy. There was nothing to do but toss the corpse into the sink, turn on the disposal, wait for it to be ground up, then move on in life. Things happen, fish die. But, God, why did you have to take the Sea Monkeys too? They were only babies!