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