Friday, December 21, 2007

it didn't hurt a bit

I've lived in Brooklyn for 7 years and for 7 years I've tried to avoid ever entering a post office. Every time it has been an unavoidable task, I've left the post office frustrated, irritated and pondering libertarianism. So, after losing a bet with my dear husband (not really, but it felt that way), I had to go to the post office today to ship Christmas presents to Skippito and Dee Dee (and yes, as usual, they are being shipped this late). I went prepared, mentally and physically. I reloaded my ipod with new stuff, charged it up, bought some chocolate milk, brought the book I'm reading plus some crossword puzzles and wore lighter layers so I could take off my outer layer when I became too warm, without having to tote a bulky winter coat. I was prepared to move in if I had to.

When I arrived at the 9th Street PO, there were 2 lines; one for pick ups and the other for those shipping packages, purchasing stamps, etc. There were about 15 people in each line and only 2 windows open. It looked almost exactly as it has every time I've ever gone, which is why I never go. And to make matters worse, I searched and searched for a box in which to pack these presents and couldn't find anything even close to being big enough. I knew I was going to have to purchase a box at the window, then get back in the line after I'd packed the box up. ugh. I noticed the line was actually moving and people were not nearly as surly as I've been accustomed to. One old guy was even cracking jokes with me. After less than 10 minutes in line, I am next and I can't believe it. I get to the window and Linda, the postal worker is smiling, friendly, helpful. She finds the perfect sized box for my gifts, gives me a label and a roll of tape and tells me to come back up to her window after I pack the box, rather than get back in line. gaah. I was out of that post office in under 20 minutes and I was happy! Thank you Linda. Seriously, thank you.

I now have so much unexpected time I'm currently trying to recreate the Belgian beef stew with prunes I had last weekend. It smells delicious!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

november was the longest month

Once again, November was a crappy and difficult month. I've sworn off deriving any kind of pleasure from Thanksgiving, because for as long as I can remember it's been a stressful and depressing holiday.

On October 30th my healthy and happy grandpa was diagnosed with lung cancer. It had spread to his lymph, bones, liver and then brain and 30 days later he died. 30 days. No one in the family even had a chance to wrap their heads around it, least of all him. Jamie and I went home the week before Thanksgiving to visit with him. He was in and out, although mostly in. He had some wild hallucinations though since it had spread to his brain at that point. He saw fog rolling in off the walls, red bugs crawling, saw his dogs sitting at Jamie's feet. But when I said goodbye to him and I was crying because I knew it was the last time we'd see each other, he said "Kaci honey, you're too pretty for me never to see again."

He died a week ago today and we went back for the viewing and funeral. It felt like everything a funeral should be. The time spent with family was comforting, the services felt intimate and not impersonal and I came home feeling oddly relieved. At least it was over fast and he didn't have to suffer. And I think my grandma is holding up better than we could have expected.

One of the more unnerving things to happen while we were in Ohio was that my mom found a gray hair on my head. That might not sound like much, but it's a huge deal to me. My mom was totally gray by 40, but my dad didn't get a single gray hair until he was almost 60. I have my dad's coloring and was obviously delusional in thinking I had no/would get no gray hair. But as Jamie pointed out, mom zeroed right in on that one gray hair and seemed to take a little too much pleasure in it. It's kind of fitting that she found it the day after we buried Grandpa because I was thinking a lot about mortality at that point (duh), but not my own mortality, everyone else's. Now I have a piece of paper with a gray hair taped to it and the date noted. Stupid, shitty gray hair.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Wild World of NYC retail real estate

Well, it's official. The Barnes & Noble in Chelsea is indeed closing next year. For once, the Post was correct. It's pretty sickening too. That store opened almost 15 years ago before there was really anything at all on that stretch of 6th Avenue. Now that the area has grown and exploded into a mega-retail store destination, the landlord has asked for a 500% increase in rent. 500%!! Say what you will about corporate giants like B & N and Borders, but at this point they are not the behemoths they once were, despite their seeming ubiquity. They are no longer each others' competition in the way they once were. They are both competing against Amazon and the online world in general. I love shopping online, but I do still love book shopping in a store. I just love being surrounded by books I think.

well, boo to this. I know we will all have jobs waiting for us when they absorb us into other stores, but still. I like my store. It's a beautiful, soaring space where I never feel claustrophobic and the customers are generally wonderful. boo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

where oh where can i be?

I've been so busy lately. I've catered 4 weddings in 8 days. Oh, and I met Bill Clinton! That was a big deal. He was at the B & N in Union Square last week and I worked the event.

I must say, it was surreal. After all of the wristbanded folks went up, I was able to go in myself. The line upstairs winds in and out of the shelves, so you can't actually see the area where you are ultimately heading. After waiting in line for about 20-25 minutes, I got to the secret service wanding area. Once wanded, I was in the home stretch. That was when it started to get weird for me. For me some reason, I started to feel very, very nervous; short of breath even. I felt the way I've felt in the past at King's Island or Cedar Point while waiting to ride a really big roller coaster. Like maybe I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into and I'm nervous and excited all at once. At this point, the woman in line behind me leaned forward and said, "It's too soon." I thought that was hilarious. A good tension breaker and I totally understood what she meant. So when I was in the penultimate position, the twit in front of me decided he wanted to jabber on and on to Clinton about who knows what. All I knew is that he was eating into my potential face time. Not that it really mattered since I had no idea what I was going to say anyway. When I finally had my turn, Clinton reached out and shook my hand, and I told him I was very happy to get to meet him. He then said , "Thank you. Bless you." At which point I cocked my head like a curious dog. Bless me? Um, okay.

Next month, Jimmy Carter's coming to the same location and I'll have the opportunity to meet him too. Now if he were to bless me, it might seem a little less strange, what with his proven history of god fearing. But it would still be weird to be blessed by a stranger who's not also a panhandler on the R train.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

2 recent interactions

Interaction #1:
young latina woman: can you tell me where to find the books on STDs?
me: sexually transmitted diseases?
young latina woman: what?? NO!
me: SATs?
young latina woman: huh? yeah.

Interaction #2: [she has a school reading list in hand]
young latina woman (different from #1): yeah, just gimme 2 books off the list.
me: which two?
young latina woman: i don't care. just make em inneresting.
me: i can't make a book interesting.
me: {handing her richard wright's Native Son}
young latina woman: Yo! this book is mad fat! gimme a skinny book!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

squealing on the inside

The celebrity sightings at my job are pretty much daily. At least once a week I learn firsthand which celebrity is an adult child of an alcoholic or only reads self-help books or loves books on cd for her many road trips, etc. Other than noting who is exceedingly nice, normal, weird, old looking or pretty, I don't really feel phased by seeing any particular celebrity. Until now.

Yesterday I made disturbingly intense eye contact with a very tall curly haired guy. It was for a moment as if all time stopped and all sense of politeness disappeared because I didn't even try to stop staring. I was mostly staring because I knew that I knew and loved this guy, but couldn't immediately place him. But then, I got it!
It was Wayne Wilcox aka Marty from Gilmore Girls!!!! Holy crap! Marty, you were robbed. I mean, Lucy was nice and all, but she was no Rory. Nice guys finish last indeed.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Brooklyn Cobblers

Not too long ago I took 2 pairs of shoes (same shoes, one black leather, one brown) to my local shoe repair store; Alexi's on 4th Avenue. I've never been to a cobbler before so I didn't know what to expect. Turns out, it's very reasonable to repair a much loved pair of shoes. He is replacing the sole on the right shoes and the sole and midsole on the left shoes (apparently my gait has me walking like Igor in Young Frankenstein). For all of this, he is only charging me $28/pair. Has anyone else ever used a cobbler. What was your experience like?

Oh, and speaking of Young Frankenstein (it's Fronkensteen!), Jamie's work is going to be screening it for one of their solar powered films this summer! Check out the upcoming Solar 1 film schedule.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

i am not a crazy cat lady. yet.

she's a land shark.
she dominates the turntable.
she's a computer lounger.

an on top of the fridge lurker.

a backpack snuggler.

a friend to arlo.

but can she ever be as cute as he is?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

makes my jaw clench

Today I had a disproportionate cringe-type response when I heard a customer say the following to her friend, "I'm gonna go cop a squat and check out these books." I've heard the phrase 'cop a squat' before, but I had no idea how much I hated it until today. Perhaps it has something to do with the word squat, which has that unpleasant, Carlin-esque awht sound to it. ick.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

salty caramel, you rock my world

i've been in ohio the past few days and while there, i discovered that jeni's ice cream has a location in grandview that I happened upon on saturday afternoon. oh jeni's. so delicious, so unique. some of you may recall that planbreaker has a thing for jeni's also. she usually stops there on her way back and forth between illinois and nyc. so salty caramel with toasted almonds, butterscotch with cocoa nibs and queen city cayenne were my flavors of choice. i couldn't eat them slowly enough though and too quickly they were only a delicious memory in my mouth. *sigh*

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

melty, sweet vanilla bean-y goodness

Just had my tastebuds blown by the vanilla bean dome cookies at City Bakery. I work in the neighborhood and have staved off my desire to go there multiple times a week. But today I gave in and at 3 for a dollar, they are by far the cheapest, most delicious way to satisfy a sweet tooth. With a super short dough, they practically dissolved in my mouth. Does anyone have the recipe? Also, what else comes highly recommended there? I've had the vegan cookies they make over at Build a Green Bakery on the east side and they are surprising delicious.
What about the full fat, full butter bovine-y goods?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

what's for dessert?

2 beautiful things happened today at work. First, a small group of mentally disabled people came in. One of the men was really into the cookbooks and wandered over to where I have a display of (the most hateful woman on tv next to Oprah) Rachael Ray. As soon as he saw her cookbooks, he gasped, picked up one with a particularly toothy, joker-like smile on it and stuck his face about 3 inches from the cover. He then cooed, the way a beastly mother would to a child, "You're my favorite girl. Yes you are. Yes you are!". I had to walk away because I was laughing so hard. Finally, some insight into the Rachael Ray demographic.

About an hour later, a mid-30's-ish woman who I can only assume was homeless went into the women's room with her grandma cart. A minute later one of my co-workers came out of there and told me I had to go check out the scene in the bathroom. On the sink counter she had assembled a blender, a hot plate, a dutch oven and about a pound of raw sausage. She was making herself some lunch. In the BATHROOM.

I swear, some days I love that place so much.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

my day just got a little better

There's this guy at work who is mentally disabled, but no one quite knows the details. He's very high functioning, for certain. He comes to work most days, does some work here and there. He loves to read and is more schooled on current events and politics than most Americans. He often says things to me like, "George Bush is craaaaazzzy. He can't send more troops over; they're gonna die." Lately, he seems a little stressed over Iran. He told me today that we might need to start a war with Iran to kill their president. I mentioned that they could also send in the CIA to kill him. He was intrigued, to say the least. So I brought him a book about the CIA, which he read off and on for the rest of the day.

But usually I find him in the humor section reading comics. His absolute favorite is For Better or Worse, although he also likes Hagar the Horrible, Shoe, Beetle Bailey and any other classic 80's comic. (except Cathy; he doesn't really like her. Not that anyone does). But today he started the most awesome conversation with me.
Him: You know, if it wasn't for September 11th, I'd have my vicky robot vest by now.
Me: What's a vicky robot vest?
Him: It's red and white and plastic. It's the control panel.
Me: Yeah, but who's Vicky?
Him: She's a small wonder.
Me: Are you talking about the old tv show, Small Wonder?
Him: Yeah!
Me: Wow, Joe. That's a pretty old show. She wore a red dress, right?
Him: No, it was a pinafore.

This conversation went on for about 5 minutes, with him grilling me for everything I could remember about the show, which unfortunately is summed up in the above lines. And that even at the age of 13, which according to IMDB is how old I was when it hit the airwaves, I thought it was stupid. But I love how excited he gets about things like that. I wonder if he ever watched Out of This World?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Mary Weiss. Dangerous Game. Buy it now.

This album rocks! Mary Weiss was the singer of the Shangri Las and this is a solo record, 40 years in the making. She's backed by the Reigning Sound and most of the songs are written by them. So good. So good. Buy it now!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Not too cool then, not too cool now

I actually started this entry a year ago, after reading DF's entry about great concerts he's attended. I started compiling my own mental list. Taking stock of the shows, good and bad, has been entertaining on its own.

First, I had an endless series of shows when I lived in San Francisco. My roommate worked for the Warfield Theatre and got me a permanent position as an usher. After about a month and a half of ushering random shows not of my choosing, I was able to sign myself up for whatever show I wanted. It was pretty great because I would usher for the opening act and then during the first song of the headliner someone would come around and cut you for the night, give you 2 free drink tickets and you were able to go wherever you wanted to watch/enjoy the show. One interesting twist was the bonus you got for ushering either heavy crowd control shows (any heavy metal or rap) or a majority of the multiple night shows- mainly Jerry Garcia/David Grisman, who would play 7-9 shows in a row. No matter how big a fan you may be, any band for nine nights straight is too much. The reward for doing these shows was free tickets to the show of your choice at other SF venues. So for example, anything at the Cow Palace or Slim's, etc. With the heavy crowd control shows, I would always try to do them if there were other shows coming up that I wanted to see. This is what led me to usher one of the first shows on my list.

Gwar at the Warfield Theatre, SF 1992: Among close friends, I am known to have virtual heart palpitations when around too many costumed things. Kiss gave me terrible nightmares as a child and I nearly cried when my dad took me to Universal Studios when I was 16. So as a 19-20 year old Midwestern girl, I spent the evening nearly shitting myself in fear, nothing but a Mini MagLite coming between me and certain destruction. "Clear the aisles please."

Haunting Souls at Canal Street Tavern, Dayton, OH 1995: I scarcely recall a single song, but it was the experience that mattered. Jamy Holiday was the ideal rock and roll front man, their shows overflowed with energy. Plus, I 'll always love Jamy for starting a fight with some stupid U Dayton frat guys when they called me a dyke, temporarily getting all of us banned from the Walnut Hills.

Brainiac at any number of venues in Ohio 1994-1996: Some of the best live shows I'll ever see. Bonsai Superstar is still one of my favorite records of all time.

The Sugarcubes & The Primitives at Bogart's in Cincinnati 1990:
I was a senior in high school and I loved the Sugarcubes with a huge passion. When I read about Bjork going on Icelandic TV "obscenely" dressed and obscenely pregnant, I was sold.

The Sundays at The Warfield 1993:
I loved the album Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, but was truly surprised to discover that their sound translated very well live. Rollicking and almost disco-y at times, but in a good way. At one point, the theatre was just silent, when Harriet was singing with only guitar accompanying her. It was pretty surprising.

Pearl Jam/Nirvana/Red Hot Chili Peppers at the Cow Palace in SF December 31, 1991:

This ended up being probably the best overall show I ever saw. First, I was 19 years old, obsessed with Nirvana's Bleach and completely in awe at my luck getting free tickets to this show. Pearl Jam was popular, but still new-ish. RHCP were hugely popular; the era of Flea being suspended upside down as a show opener. But Nirvana had just hit #1 with Smells Like Teen Spirit and were on fire. I went with one of my roommates and we lost each other almost immediately. I was too young to drink, but not too young to do anything else. I remember the crowd was like a wave; I just got sucked in and pushed further in and forward until I was eventually on the edge of a testosterone fueled mosh pit. It was filled with shirtless, sweaty young guys marching in circles and jumping around. At the end of the set when they went into Territorial Pissings it became so frenzied that I was pushed and knocked over and I went down fast. I was totally freaked out when suddenly a hand just reached down and literally plucked me up from the floor. After the show I never did find my roommate. I ended up hitching a ride back to Oakland with some random weirdos I met in the parking lot. So worth it.

Guided By Voices at the Dayton Voice Music Awards 1994:
This was held at a little supper club on the north side of town. My old band, Walaroo, was playing, along with Cage, Oxymorons, Pastures Green and GBV. I'd seen GBV many times, in really small settings around town and they usually ended in a drunken puddle on the stage. This night was no different. The stage was only about 12 inches off the floor, but that didn't stop Bob from falling off. The best part was the actual awards show after the music. I don't think GBV was actually getting an award (from the "prestigious" Dayton Voice free weekly, which was a very new paper). However, The Ohio Players and Zapp and Roger were getting awards and the guy accepting the award for the Ohio Players did not fail to impress. I have no idea which band member he was, but I'm pretty sure he was the only one who showed up. He was wearing a floor length fur coat and a fedora, full on Huggy Bear style. It was one of those moments when you completely know that you are seeing something that needs to be seen by everyone.

The Knitter's at Slim's in SF 1992: The picture is actually X, not the Knitters. When I saw them I had been mourning their break up for a few years and I was convinced that I would never, ever see them play them live. I was into them in high school, in central Ohio; not exactly full of opportunities to see X play live. So when I found out they were playing at Slim's with Tony Gilykson replacing Billy Zoom, I was excited, albeit a little disappointed about Mr. Zoom's absence. My disappointment didn't last long though. They were everything I hoped for and more. The big fat negative memory of the evening was the horrible food poisoning I got from the diner food I ate that night.

Pavement and Guided by Voices at Southgate House, Kentucky 1994:
It was like Mecca for indie kids in 1994. Fantastic show. My whole band went down in our van and we brought a couple of friends with us. One of our friends discovered the hard way when he takes a bunch of mushrooms, he just may end up on the side of the freeway on his hands and knees, throwing up with his pants around his ankles. Our sympathy was expressed through hysterical laughter.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

good, bad and pretty ugly

For some reason I started thinking about all of the jobs I've held in my life, and there have been a few. It's probably on my mind because I'm being underutilized in a giant bookstore, but I'm not currently willing to commit myself to other, more challenging endeavors. I decided to make an actual list of every job I can remember. It's something that I'd recommend you all do. It's kind of depressing, but in a funny way. There are always worse jobs that we could have had and I'm sure some of you had much worse ones than I did.


High School


Judy’s Ice Cream


Photographer’s model





Chocolate shop counter person

House cleaner


Cashier at Cracker Barrel


Political canvasser

Day care center worker

Theatre usher

USDA guinea pig*

Retail at a clothing boutique

Private cook




Record store clerk


Music magazine contributor

Country club garde manger

Home baker


Kitchen manager

Bank teller



Book buyer

Worker’s comp data entry

Worker’s comp intake manager

Worker’s comp claims specialist

New York

Chocolate maker

Pastry cook

Ice cream maker

Catering company pastry cook

Home baker

Kitchen manager

Assistant office manager

Event planner

Event company sales rep**

Catering chef

Non-profit radio documentary company intern



*on paper, the worst gig

** in reality, absolute rock bottom

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

and I, am Tumble Bumble

Today at work, I got a quiet and polite "excuse me" and when I looked up, there was none other than Dan Zanes! I was a fan of the Del Fuegos back in the 80's and I really like the family albums he's put out in recent years, but any joy I may take in him or his music pales beside that of our nephew.

When he was around 2 years old he went through a series of names, meaning, he had decided that he was to be addressed by a new name. I seem to recall French Tape and Tumble Bumble being a couple of favorites for a while. A little after the Tumble Bumble era, the Dan Zanes era was ushered in. It was never that the kid didn't care for his own name, it seemed like it was more a matter of creativity and I guess, giving props to his favorite guy. For that matter, he has a framed photo of Jonathon Richmond in his bedroom.

So I mentioned to Mr. Zanes that he was quite a celebrity in our family and to my nephew in particular. And to my surprise, he pulled out a small piece of paper, wrote "Hello Rockin My Nephew's Name" and drew a little doodley picture of himself on it. Awesome. Considering that I've been casually stalking Dan Zanes around Brooklyn for the past 2 years after seeing him in passing multiple times, I am incredibly excited to finally meet him and get something cool for the little nephew.

Monday, March 26, 2007

got to git......eventually

Like many New Yorkers, I occasionally feel claustrophobic and in need of clean, green space. For a couple of years now, Jamie and I have discussed where our next home could be. Last year we took a trip to the west coast and discovered that while we liked Portland, it didn't have enough to get us west of the Mississippi.

Recently the conversation came up between Marc, Jim, Jamie and I about moving and where to go. I'm beginning to hear some rumblings among more and more of our peers about the subject. But it seems like so many of the places have issues: either too hot (Memphis) or too cold (Minneapolis), too far (Portland) or not far enough (Jersey City). I like checking out the statistics of a town on Sperling's Best Places , but it seems like the comment posters are either bitter and ready to bolt from their town, or quite possibly shilling for the local Chamber of Commerce. Our priorities are still the same: the ability to be a one car family, low cost of living, available and appropriate jobs and that we be close enough to regularly visit our families, but not so close that anyone can drop in unannounced. This last one was made a little bit difficult with the move by Jamie's family back up to New Hampshire. Unless we were to live w-a-y north, there's no such thing as "easy" access to folks in New Hampshire. We're probably living as close as we will ever be to them at this point, and unfortunately, it's not too convenient to visit them without a car.

Currently, the list of towns is not very long, but not too shabby. Pennsylvania is turning out to be a strong contender based on location and cost of living. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are both front runners in my imagination. Pittsburgh is quite close to my family and very affordable. It has a fairly strong non-profit sector thanks to all of the old philanthropic families and the weather is no different from what we basically grew up with. Philly is not quite as close to my family, but it's the most affordable big city around, while still being on the East coast. The cost of living and job market would both fall into our thumbs up column.
Lastly, there's always the weird little town of Asheville, NC. The job market there would probably keep it from being a real possibility, but it certainly seems like a lovely place.

Any other cities and towns you can suggest?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

either the smartest dumb thing or the dumbest smart thing

I'm a fan of Lost. I'm also a fan of trashy celebrity gossip. A month or so ago I told a coworker that Suri Cruise is the spitting image of Ethan Rom, the now dead Other from Lost (he kidnapped Claire, tried to kill Charlie and was ultimately killed by Charlie). So imagine my surprise when I recently saw a picture of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes with little baby Suri at what appears to be a basketball game. What I immediately noticed was the gentleman sitting in front of them. It was Ethan aka William Mapother aka Tom's first cousin!

When Tom and Nicole Kidman adopted their kids, no real mention was made about if the adoptions were for the sake of adopting or if they were unable to have children of their own. But with the recent speculation that Nicole is pregnant, I've decided that I have my own theory. They adopted because Tom couldn't have kids. When he and Katie got together, he convinced her to have "his" kid and Suri Cruise is actually the child of Katie and Ethan Rom from Lost! For that matter, maybe Juliet impregnated Katie Holmes!

Oh god, I need help.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

these are a few of my favorite things

Every day I get such a wide range of funny, inspired, occasionally ignorant questions from funny, inspired and occasionally ignorant customers. I try to make a mental note to tell Apes about it when I come home, but I often forget. I'm going to try to remember, if only to mention it here.

So far this week:
"Do you have a book on cabanas? Just pictures of people's cabanas?"
"I need a book on how to build a bomb shelter. You know, in case of a war."
"I'm looking for a book. I don't know the title or author, but I think it has the word {happiness, forget, love, the something and the something} in it."
"Where's the non-fiction?" This question is inevitably asked in an annoyed voice. The tone doesn't get any better when I have to explain to them that most of the store is non-fiction and I need more information, to which they usually reply, "No, the NON-fiction." Thankfully, this doesn't happen too frequently.
"Where is a book to help someone learn to read? No, not with words, just pictures. I told you, she can't read!"

Friday, March 02, 2007

March has become my Big Ben, Parliament

This time last year I was getting ready to have surgery (in April) to find out why I was having such a hard time getting pregnant. Sometime in early March someone said to me "hey, if you got pregnant now, you'd have a Christmas baby!" And I realized at that moment, that it was the second year in a row that I had heard or thought that. Well, obviously the third time has rolled around and let me tell you, it's just as magical as the first 2 times.

So, as much as a Christmas baby sounds sweet and all that, here are some other potential holidays/birthdays that I can now look towards.

December 7th: National Cotton Candy Day
March 14th (3/14): Pi Day
First Friday in May: No Pants Day
June 23rd: National Hug a Cop Day
August 30th: National Toasted Marshmallow Day
September 19th: International Talk Like a Pirate Day
November 15th: America Recycles Day
November 5th: Guy Fawkes Day (vive la Weasel)

Come on, first Friday in May.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

the roach coach is smoking

This morning on the R train everyone cleared off at City Hall, as usual. There were only about 10-12 of us left, including a homeless guy sitting across from me. As soon as the train pulls out of the station I smell fire. I look up and the guy is sitting there lighting roach after roach after roach. Then he pulls out a whole joint and starts smoking that too! Within 2 stops the entire car smells like weed and when the train pulls into Canal Street and the doors open, smokes literally tumbles out the door. Wake and bake, indeed.

a series of weird and/or annoying events

On Saturday night we collectively celebrated Jamie's birthday at Buffalo Wild Wings. After the glutton-fest was through a group of folks headed to O'Connor's. I had to work in the morning though, so Sweet Touch gave me a ride home, the sooner to put on my jammies and park it on the couch.

Shortly after getting home I hear a crash/thud in the kitchen, knowing it's the cat, but unsure what kind of trouble she's caused this time. Ah, the salt. She's recently become fascinated with my open salt cellar, so I've been keeping it hidden from sight. I apparently forgot to hide it though, because she has dumped about an entire cup of kosher salt all over the stove. gggrrrr. This is going to need the hose attachment on the vacuum, as it's far too much to sop up. But wait, a couple of weekends ago Jamie was looking for duct tape because he said the hose attachment had a leak and lost suction. Great, so now I have to fix the vacuum first.

The floor lamp next to the closet where we store the vacuum has a foot pedal on/off switch. I see kitty's favorite mousy toy on the floor in the near dark, next to the switch. I hit the on/off with my foot, hear a tremendous POP sound, see a ton of sparks and, shit!, what's that smell? SHIT! My pant leg is smoldering! Stupid cat chewed through the cord. Fuses have gone out in the whole house. Awesome. I put out my pants, flip the fuses, pull out the vacuum, and start to look into fixing it.

Turns out it isn't a leaking hose at all, it's the world's largest wad of kleenex in the hose. I get a very long, very sharp knife and start shredding it, eventually getting all of it out and successfully cleaning up the salt. stupid cat.

Monday, February 26, 2007

fuck guitar hero

That's right. You heard me. The past 2 times it's shown up at parties (the Superbowl and more recently at Listmaker's birthday party-which was still an awesome party and happy birthday Listmaker!), I have been transported back to an era of teenagers sitting around staring at the tv screen while playing whatever video games were popular in the 80's. An experience I never actually had because I didn't hang out with kids who played video games, nor did I myself play them.

The thing is, it's a pretty entertaining game to watch others play, but only for about 15-20 minutes. Then it's just a sea of faces gazing at the television, not interacting with each other except to occasionally comment on the players' performances. I mean, the collective cheers, etc, are fun, but are no substitute for conversation. And it wouldn't be so bad for more than 15 minutes except that someone inevitably starts harassing me to get up and play. It's just about all the commitment I can muster to even watch my friends play! With the exception of playing Pong when I was 13 (about 10 years after it came out), I didn't play a video game until I was in my 20's. And by then I didn't really get it. Not to be a total dork, but I prefer pinball. And anyone who plays bocce with me can tell you how nervous I get under the pressure of that simple bar game! The last thing I'm going to do is get up in front 5-15 friends and play not just this video game for the first time, but any video game.

I don't care if anyone thinks I'm a total pussy. Even if they come up with a video game that simulates baking a beautiful, fluffy angel food cake, I won't want to play it. I don't like video games.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

There was an article in the NY Times about this organization called If you have a chance, please check out the article and the web site (or just the web site). It's a great grassroots organization that is doing increasingly important work for American women and families!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Gilmore arc is confusing at best

Tonight's Gilmore Girls really felt like a return to something better; actually the past couple of episodes have seemed better. But then they show the clip for next week with Lane going in to labor and being wheeled in a bed through Stars Hollow and Jamie and I both just groaned. What the hell is wrong with those writers? Why can't they maintain some kind of plausible momentum for more than 2 or 3 episodes?

this one's for you, Mom

My mom has always loved Tina Turner. She's been below the radar in recent years, but I just saw this picture of her and she looks fantastic! And she's 67 years old! Way to go Ms. Turner......

Monday, February 19, 2007

We can discuss here, just not with my dad

My dad doesn't even know I have a blog, so hopefully he won't find this. I love him dearly, but he insists on sending me these outrageous, right-wing, utterly ridiculous rants that he gets from his Marine Corps pals. Other than just shake my head (and post it here), there is nothing to be done, in that I can't really discuss it with him. I tried a couple of times and even though he knows I completely disagree with him, he said that he felt he would not be doing his job as a father if he did not keep me "informed" about what was "really" going on. Eventually I learned to just ignore the emails, which are thankfully not too frequent.

Please pay special attention to the fact that this guy blames the Girls Gone Wild culture we live in on Bill Clinton's White House blowjobs. Doubtless, me favorite part of this whole thing. Enjoy! Oh, and the guy introducing the rant is not my dad, he was my dad's platoon leader on one of his Vietnam tours.

Dear friends, comrades, Patriots, brother Marines and Veterans of all branches of the military. Please read the following. I would ask that you too forward this to your friends, relatives and acquaintances and ask them to forward it to their friends, relatives and acquaintances etc.
We conservatives, patriots, Veterans must take a stand somewhere ...sometime.
Jim Cannon
Major USMC(Ret.)

Due to the thunderous applause that I received from the far-left over
the "I Am Tired" letter written by one of our troops in Iraq, I thought it
prudent to follow up with one last attempt to be very specific about what I
have observed and actually personally encountered during my 36 years of
service to this Great Country. Unlike Bob McClellan, I will not continue to
whine, twist and degrade our country's leaders on a weekly basis. Instead,
this will be a one time input attempting to reach some of those who are
confused by McClellan and his ilk's unethical rantings and give some insight
through my personal experience as a professional military officer over the
years. These examples are but a few. In real life there were many more which
space and time will not allow.
As a young fighter pilot, flying F-4s in Vietnam, I was stopped in my
tracks by the decisions made by Lyndon Johnson and Robert McNamara. I was
young and naive, but even then I knew their daily interference was wrong and
would not allow us to win this thing and go home. Decisions like not
allowing us to strike enemy aircraft while still on the ground, keeping real
targets off the target track, and allowing us to strike only rusted-out
trucks made us basically a toothpick factory. However, the big one for me
came the day I saw the President Lyndon Johnson on television, forcefully
lying to the American people. I'll never forget the language, "I want to
assure the American people that the United States of America has never, and
will never, bomb or use force inside the borders of Cambodia". On and on he
disavowed the reports that this was happening. I was amazed. Guess where I
had put several F-4 loads of 750 pound general purpose bombs every day for
the past five days. You guessed it, Cambodia!!! So much for Mr. Johnson. The
only question in my mind was simply, "Was it just Johnson or was it the
methodology of a particular political party?" I decided to delay answering
that question until more experience was gained.
Years passed, and I ignored politics as much as possible, as a good
military man should. Then came Jimmy Carter. Our young people don't remember
18% interest rates and 18% inflation, but I'll bet someone in your family
does. That is one really bad thing Carter did for our country, but it is not
the worst. During this period, I was an F-15 Squadron Commander, located at
Langley AFB, VA. Jimmy Carter and his democratic party stopped spare parts
procurement for almost every weapon system in our military, and diverted the
funds to social programs. The F-15 was brand new at the time with leading
edge technology designed to provide air superiority anywhere in the world on
a moments notice. That was my job. I loved it, but guess what? In a two year
period from 1979 to 1981, there was not one day when more than one-third of
my assigned aircraft were flyable It is amazing the lengths we went to in
those days, cannibalizing parts, expending twice the time and energy to fix
every little item, and still two-thirds of the birds were always broken
because of no spare parts. Had this country faced a really serious military
threat during that time frame, only Montana Hunters could have saved us. The
military had some equipment, but it was all broken. Do you want to know the
really bad part for me and the young fighter pilots working for me? Our
flying sortie rate was so low that pilot proficiency dropped to dangerous
levels. The accident rate tripled. That obviously was totally unacceptable,
as we were losing expensive airplanes and highly trained young pilots at a
rate comparable to losses seen in actual combat. All of a sudden, even a
Texas Aggie like me began
to see a trend.
Forward a few years to 1986. I am an F-16 Wing Commander at MacDill AFB,
Florida, and Ronald Regan is president. His change in attitude and policy
toward the military had time to fix the spare parts problem. We were flying
26,000 flying sorties per year out of MacDill AFB, my aircraft fully mission
capable rate (FMC) was above 90%, the aircraft accident rate was below 1.75
per hundred thousand flying hours, fighter pilots were flying and
proficiency levels were at an all time high. The United States Air Force was
ready to defend this Wonderful Country. Proof of the pudding is simple. Look
what the USAF, and the military in general, accomplished in Iraq during
Desert Storm. And, they did it in less than 100 hours. Yeah, at this point I
was starting to realize there was a difference in mentality between
Democrats and Republicans, or should I say, the Right and the Left.
Then, came everyone's favorite---Bill Clinton. If there ever was an
individual 180 degrees out of sync with the ideals and the values of the US
military, it was Clinton. He was a known draft dodger, military hating, self
absorbed, unspeakingly shameless and immoral individual, who the Left
managed to elect President of the United States of America. Clinton's antics
in the White House would have brought court martial, conviction, and
Dishonorable Discharge had he been a military member. We still suffer oral
sex on school buses, because the President told the world it wasn't real
sex, and some of our children believed him. It took a lot of years, but now
I became certain. There is a big difference in the right and the left on all
fronts, and for the first time I started feeling angry and shamed that the
majority of the American people were actually willing to vote for such an
Sometimes, an abstract such as the following tells the story in very
simple terms: Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, Ted
Kennedy, Howard Dean, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Tim
Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Nancy Pelosi, Barbra Boxer, John Kerry, Benedict
Arnold, and the list goes on. America, wake up. Giving in to the likes of
these people and Abraham Lincoln's prediction of destruction from within
just may come true. There is not a country in the world that can be
considered a conventional military threat to the United States today.
However, this country faces a new kind of threat---one that will not go
away. It is a threat even more serious than WWII, because money, industry
and technology will not defeat it. It is a threat of defeat from within. It
is a threat of a faltering economy because of a lack of resources, or the
even the simple threat of such a loss brought on by terrorism. It is a
threat created by the American people trusting the inept. It is a threat
created by the people wanting change, and perilously believing that the left
can successfully deliver that change. Have you seen anything from the left
that remotely resembles an answer to the Iraq situation? Have you seen
anything more than continued Bush-Bashing? Is that an answer? If there was
ever a need for a strong, well trained military, it is now. THE LEFT HAS
FAVORING SOCIAL PROGRAMS. We just cannot afford to
let that happen now. If we do, the entire country will be bowing to the east
several times a day within the next 50 years, maybe sooner.
Now a final thought meant to upset as many as possible on the far-left.
As you might guess, I don't believe in political correctness. So, let's look
at the facts, not far-left rhetoric attempting to empower the democratic
Initially, I was not a George Bush fan. I am not even a Republican. I
normally vote Republican, because of my total despise of Communism,
Socialism and the far-left in this country. I am a Conservative. However,
during his watch, I feel President Bush just happened to stumble upon the
leading edge of the greatest threat this country has ever faced. Mistakes
have been made, because of the newness of the threat. Overall, the President
has done a superb job dealing with the threat, and at the same time held off
the constant ranting, raving, deceitful and malicious escapades of the
far-left attempting to regain political power. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME THE
THE TERRORIST!!!! The far-left is totally absorbed with the power struggle
and regaining control of congress. They could care less about defeating the
threat. It literally disgusts me to hear the constant disagreement with
everything the President tries to do, all in the name of trying to make him
look bad to the voters. Unfortunately, by the time the American people
really appreciate how bad the far-left really is, it may too late.
What are the real facts? On the home front this country's economy is the
strongest that it has been in my lifetime. Interest rates are as low as they
were when I was in high school forty years ago. Inflation does not exist for
all practical purposes. For you youngster's, please remember the Jimmy
Carter comments? The Dow is approaching 13,000. Unemployment is nonexistent.
Wages are at an all time high. Home ownership is at an all time high. Taxes
have been lowered to an almost acceptable level. Because of the surging
economy the deficit is under control and projected to go away far ahead of
schedule. The far-left is rich beyond its wildest dreams, so Mr. President
when are you going to "fix" all these domestic problems? Bob and George,
give me a break!!!!
On the war front this country has not been touched since 2001. I
remember being part of a seminar at the USAF War College in 1983 discussing
the terrorist threat. There were some good minds at that table and a lot of
disagreement. However, one common thought was that the US would be hit
within the next five years. Answers to the terrorist threat were just as
hard to come by then as they are now. Well, it took a little longer than the
projection, but the attack occurred. For an old military guy like me, the
main point here is that it has not happened again. We have suckered the bad
guys into entering the fight somewhere other than in our country. To hell
with political correctness. The President can't say this, but I sure can. I
smile every morning when I get up and realize that one of our great cities
has not been blown away. And, there is zero doubt in my mind that if we pull
out of Iraq prematurely, that will happen within a short period of time
after our departure. I don't care what you might think of President Bush
personally. He has done the best he can with what he has, and this country
is not smoking because of it. So, back off McLean and McClellan. You
honestly don't have a clue about what you are talking about. Call me, and I
will tell you what I really think.
I realize there are different points of view on war, and I do not
believe the meek will inherit the earth, at least not in the next few
hundred years. To those like McClellan, McLean, poor Eve Kyes and Sinowa
Cruz let me say, "This is a strong country!!!" It has survived the
uneducated thinking of the far-left before, and I'll just bet it will again.
Regardless of who is President, the people will not tolerate mass explosions
on a daily basis, as our good friends in Israel have been forced to do. To
protect that position of power, even Hillary will be forced to become a true
hawk. To guarantee a few more votes Ted Kennedy may be forced to begin
supporting a strong military. One more attack on America might even wipe the
giddy, 'I-am-finally-somebody' grin from Nancy Pelosi's face, and make her
realize that is not about votes and personal power. IT IS ABOUT PROTECTING

Jimmy L. Cash, Brig. Gen., USAF, Ret

Friday, February 16, 2007

Joe Rogan v. Carlos Mencia Slapdown

This video and it's aftermath is making it's way around the internet this week. I feel compelled to spread the gospel because I despise Carlos Mencia. Even without knowing the backstory (that Carlos Mencia is a well known bit stealer among comedians), I would not be too put out if was pushed under a bus. That said, he'll probably be pushed under a bus ala Lost and I will feel like shit. But anyone with half a brain can see that he sucks. I cringe any time the tv accidentally lands on his stupid Comedy Central show.

I am a huge fan of News Radio and as such, have a fondness for Joe Rogan, even though his character was the most weakly written on the show. But mostly I like that he is trying to expose Carlos Mencia (real name Ned!) for what he really is: an unfunny, uncreative little turd who skates by on other people's material. My favorite part is at the end of the video when Carlos says something like, "Do you know how hard it is to write jokes?" and Joe says something like "Yes, I do. But you don't!"

The unfortunate fallout from this whole thing is that Carlos Mencia managed to get Joe Rogan banned from the Comedy Store and dropped by their (shared) agent. The video is 10 minutes long, but worth watching. It's an interesting look into the world of stand up. Oh, and you can also read more about the fallout on Joe Rogan's website.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

the week's most 5 finger discounted books

There's always a fair amount of stealing going on in a store, but these are the most swiped books as of the past few weeks:

Your Best Life Now by Joel Osteen (reserving your special place in hell)

The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs (New Year's resolution purging)

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (save money & gain importance by stealing)

It's No Secret by Carmen Bryan (for the baby daddy lover in everyone)

All of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks (huh?)

best books ever

Been reading a lot, as usual, thanks to the commute and job perks. I may have mentioned previously that I was getting ready to read the new Dave Eggers, What Is the What. I know a lot of people are turned off by him these days and I can understand why. However, this book is not like his others. It's shelved in fiction, but is actually a biography. Per 'journalistic standards' , he couldn't justify it being kept in bios because the conversations being quoted were not on tape. Of course, they are officially undocumented because the main guy in the book was a war refugee in Sudan, Ethiopia and Kenya. This book was incredibly good; so much that I was nervous about whatever book I would read next, dreading the letdown.

Lucky for me, the letdown didn't come because the next book I read was doubtless the best work of fiction I've read in years. It's called Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamonda Ngozi Adichie. It's a story about the Nigerian civil war as told from the perspective of a Biafran family. Definitely an epic type novel, it covers a place and time in history that I knew very little about. Please, please, please, if you only read one piece of fiction this year, let Half of a Yellow Sun be it.

nobody wants a charlie in the box

Working in retail, a bookstore specifically, means that I work with a lot of overeducated people who cannot or will not function in a typical corporate environment (myself included on the environment part). Half of my coworkers are usually 15-45 minutes late every day. It gets very clique-y, resulting in over the top snubbings when there is a perceived slight. One woman spazzes out and cries whenever management requests she do something/anything.

But the most bizarre and entertaining of my coworkers is a man I work closely with every day. He is ostensibly a priest, in his mid-70's, but after about 2 months of getting to know him, I came to realize that whatever he may have been in an earlier phase of his life, he most certainly no longer is. He claims to be a priest, living in a convent in Chelsea. He says he is a medical doctor. He claims to have two academic PhDs (I'm not sure of the subjects). He arrives to work every day in a full habit. He is filled to the top with bitterness and drama, openly nursing unrequited crushes on straight men. And he happens to resemble Count Chocula. A lot.

He has some medical problems, namely Parkinson's, which lately has been getting more obvious and certainly more frustrating for him. Unfortunately, even with a genuine ailment, most everyone just humors him, since he daily says things like "I'll certainly be dead in a year" and "I don't have long to live". I've nicknamed him (to his face, of course) Fred, for Fred Sanford and started saying things like "Hold on Father, I'll go get Elizabeth". Of course, he isn't holding out for Elizabeth. His face lights up whenever the cute Chelsea boys come in to see him. That and our coworker that he has a h-u-g-e crush on. In the mornings when it's just Father and I, he talks about him non-stop. It's like being with a 13 year old girl, except weird and a little bit creepy.

So, for now, I'm naming the good Father my notable bookstore person of the week. I suggest that if you find yourself in Chelsea during the week, you stop by the religion section and take a look (animal in the zoo style?) at Count Chocula in the flesh.