Wednesday, December 29, 2004


Hi. How’s everybody been? Super cool here, thanks.

Today was the first normal day at work in the longest time. Normal meaning that there wasn’t a guest around to pester me until about 10:00. So I was able to bee bop around and actually do my weekly work. And I was able to breathe. The kids rolled in around 1:00, right after my lunch break, with their holiday cash and gift cards. But it wasn’t so bad. I only got annoyed maybe 3 times today, as opposed to 20. For the most part I was in a good mood. I didn’t even realize I was in a good mood until somebody I work with pointed it out. Then I was like, oh yeah, that’s why I feel so different today. I’m almost back to normal, happy E-Lo. I’ll be fully restored in a few weeks.

I’m looking forward to the new year. I like the feeling of starting fresh, even though all that will really change is the date. But I’m hoping this year will bring lots of good stuff, instead of the mostly crappy stuff I’ve been dealing with for the past couple years. Mainly I hope that this will be the year that I’ll find a job that isn’t related to what I’m doing now. Because I certainly can’t take another year in retail. How do people do this job their whole lives? I can’t understand it.

I hope that the new year is full of happiness, prosperity, and good health for all of my friends out there in blogger-ville. Much love to all yinz guys.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Thursday Thoughts

I didn’t manage to sleep the entire day Tuesday, but I almost managed that today. I woke up at 1:30.

I broke my tooth last night on a piece of gum. Let me repeat: on a piece of gum.

I just saw on the news that there is an actual business out there that will clone your cat for you. So when your cat dies, for the low low price of $50,000, they’ll make you a replica. Can we say Pet Semetary?

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve and I have to be at work at 6 in the morning. Should I be happy?

On New Years Eve I work until 11, then I have to open on New Years Day. What a crock.

It’s supposed to snow 1 to 3 inches here today. This morning it was raining, and now it’s just windy. I’ll be pissed if it doesn’t snow. I need snow this year for Christmas.

I fell asleep on the couch last night, and I woke up with my husband next to me. I don’t know what possessed him to get on the couch with me, but it was so freakin’ uncomfortable.

My tongue won’t keep away from the sharp little point that is my broken tooth. So annoying.

People are still asking me for Three.

I can’t believe I’ve survived working in retail this season. I need a t-shirt that says: I survived Holiday 2004 with a big bullseye on it.

Work gave me a red windbreaker for Christmas. I don’t know if I’ll ever wear it, but it was a nice thought.

Merry Christmas everyone. I hope you all get what you wish for. I'm wishing for it to be over, which I know will happen soon enough.

Monday, December 20, 2004

It's All Good Though...

So we’re into the final stretch. 4 more days after today. And I only have to work today, Wednesday, and Friday. Yee freakin’ haw.

I’ve spent my weekend telling all the last minute shoppers that we’re out of just about everything that they want. Cameras, video games, CDs, i-pods, stereos, you name it. We’re out. My shelves are bare. This is my fourth night in a row working until midnight or later, so I’m feeling a little over extended. And I have yet to finish my own Christmas shopping. Plus my house need cleaned, I need to do laundry, I haven’t shaved for over a week, I need a haircut, my nail polish is beyond chipped, and I think the only thing I have in my refrigerator is pierogies and beer. At least that’s a good combination.

I’m off tomorrow. I may sleep until Wednesday.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

9 Days and Counting

Tuesday is new release day. And since my department works in conjunction with the entertainment department, I get a lot of questions about what movies, books, and music we have. So this past Tuesday a woman came up to my counter and asked me, "Do you have the movie Three?" "Three?" I asked, puzzled. "I’ve never heard of it, but let me look at our listing." So I checked our dvd list and couldn’t find it. "Hmm, I don’t have it listed…" The lady then got this totally exasperated look on her face and rolled her eyes and said, "You don’t have it? It’s the new Dale Earnheardt movie!" Her tone told me, "Duh, you should know this!" And I wanted to say, Seriously? They made a NASCAR movie? About a guy who died while racing? And you want to buy it? Okaaaayyy…

Yeah, I’m not a NASCAR fan. I’d rather watch football any day over cars going in a circle. The people that are fans amaze me. Most of them are not just fans, they’re fanatics. With those jackets, and their number decals on their mini-vans… I just don’t get it. And I’ve heard the argument about how physically taxing it is to drive those cars, and how in shape the drivers are, and the stress of driving really fast in a circle. But that doesn’t make it any more interesting for me. So this woman’s attitude with me about NOT knowing about this movie mystified me. God forbid. Excuse me.

My cold is still hanging on, but I’ve gone from dry hack to productive hack. I’m sure you wanted to know that. I coughed so much at work yesterday that my eyes were watering and my nose was red, and I was just a mess. At that point one of my managers came up and asked me if I needed to go home. For the most part I was fine. I stuck around and tried not to cough on my customers too much. I just get these little coughing fits every once in a while. I’m taking cold medicine that makes me feel like I’m floating, which is fun, so everything is a-ok.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Whiny E-Lo

I’ve been sick since Friday. I called off, knowing full well that I had the weekend off. So I ended up having a 3 day weekend. And I was sick the whole time. And still sick. Cough.

I went to visit with the insurance man this morning, after a major struggle to get my car out of the driveway because of the fucking blizzard we had here, and ended up a bit disappointed. It seems that if I were to take the job, I would have to sell insurance. So I’d actually have to get my license to do so. And I’d only be making 55 cents more an hour than what I make now. Plus I have to learn all kinds of insurance crap on top of it. And wait 6 months for benefits (and I have them at my present job). So I’m a little leery of taking it. I’m just not as interested as I thought I’d be, which is kind of sad. I had high hopes. But I'm supposed to go back on Wednesday to take a test (which I'll probably fail since there's math involved), so I'll be weighing it out mentally for a few days.

Now I have to get ready to get my sick ass into work. Until midnight. Ahh. Retail. At least there’s only 12 more days until my hours get cut. Thank god.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Rodeo Rant

I got drunk last night and got myself in weird arguments that ended up with my being pissed off. My argument was valid, though. The bar had ESPN on and they had some sort of cow roping event going on, which I simply said I don’t agree with. There’s no need to rope cows in this day and age. It’s just not needed to survive any more. And all it really does is hurt the cow. The cows that were being chased down were baby cows, and if you know my feelings on veal, I disagree with anything that hurts baby cows. I mean, is it really necessary to lasso a baby cow, jump off a horse and tackle the cow to the ground, and hog tie it? It’s disturbing. Well, it disturbs me, anyway. And that was my argument. And the asshole I was discussing this with said, "what’s that cow’s purpose in life? Is that cow going to grow up and become the CEO of some company somewhere? No, it’s a cow. We eat them." That’s the type of stupid redneck mentality that really irritates me.

Whether I eat meat or not, I don’t agree with hurting animals for sport, even though rodeo fanatics would argue that all the shit they do doesn’t hurt the animals that they are using. Please. Cow tipping hurts cows. Wrestling cows to the ground hurts them too. And the fact that they use baby cows just shows what pussies they are. If you feel the need to gain fortune and glory by exercising your superiority over animals, then by all means, you should use an animal that matches your strength. But it probably wouldn’t be as easy, right? Besides that, rodeos are famous for cruelty to animals. There are many documented cases of animals being punched, prodded, shocked, kicked, and left to suffer with their injuries. Most of the baby cows are left with bruised or broken necks. It’s really just a form of violence dressed in baby cows clothing. It’s all cute and fun for the people who are paying to be entertained by this sick shit, but at the end the ones left suffering are the beings that can’t speak for themselves. It’s no different that the assholes that train pit bulls for dog fights. That’s illegal, so please show me the difference? And don’t even get me started about bull riding. It makes me sick.

So you see why I got pissed off. Stupid rodeo.

On a happier note, in my quest yesterday to win 171 million dollars in the powerball, I won 7 bucks. Not too shabby, since I spent 5 bucks on the ticket. I just knew it was going to be my lucky day. And I was right, since I’m 2 dollars richer. Hell yeah. I’m going to buy myself a beer with my winnings. But not today, since my brain still hurts from last night.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Oh Christmas Tree

This is my tree this year. It looks a little Charlie Brown, but that’s ok, because it was free.

Somebody bought me a nativity scene when I got married. I felt a little funny about putting it under my tree. After a bit of deliberation, I set it up yesterday afternoon. I really like the animals. But I also feel like I should have some other artifacts under there, to reflect my religious uncertainty. So I need some crafty ideas. Things that encompass the entire holiday season. Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yule, whatever. Any ideas? What could I make?

Even though I was raised Catholic, and my parents sent me to Catholic school, we rarely went to church. My church going days were during the week with my class. And we never had a nativity set up under our tree. My mom had this awesome antique little town that she’d always let me set up, with houses and a barn and even a little pond with a bridge and little metal cars and people. There was even a little hunter guy holding up a rifle. My brother and I would play for hours with that shit. I wish she still had that, because I’d repaint it all and set that up. My parents don’t even bother setting up a big tree anymore, which I find sort of depressing. They have this little fiber optic tree that they put up.

My dad used to go crazy with the Christmas tree. His job was to set it up, (we never had a real tree, since my parents were both neat freaks and didn’t like needles all over the place), and then he’d decorate it. Once he was done you couldn’t even tell there was a tree under there. It would be so shiny, because he’d wrap about 30 feet of garland around it and drape it with those metallic icicles. Even though they never got a real tree because of the needles, those icicles, much like plastic Easter grass, would be all over the house. And year after year when we got our tree out, there would still be icicles from the last year embedded in the needles, but he would put a fresh coating of them on. I’ve got to find some pictures of that old tree. Maybe my tree needs some crazy icicles to fill in the holes.

Only 17 days left of retail hell before all the returns start coming in.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

The Fantasies of Retail Workers

I have this little fantasy where I’m at work, helping a guest (yeah, that’s what we call our customers), and they are extremely impressed with my knowledge and expertise. Because of that, and of course my great smile and winning personality, they offer me a job working for them in a field that is vaguely related to what I’ve spent seven years in school for. They offer me great money and benefits, and I put my two weeks in on the spot.

That halfway happened to me today. And it totally caught me off guard, of course. I was helping these two men who resembled construction workers (although not as dirty as my husband is when he comes home), answering their questions about digital cameras. They both bought some camera related items and one of the guys wanted to get a credit card so he could save 10%. So as he filled out the application I chatted with them and joked about how I have to go in tomorrow at 4 in the morning, and blah, blah, blah. It was time for me to leave, so I walked them up to the service desk to put their application through and they both complimented me on how friendly and helpful I was. One of them started asking me about how long I’ve been working there, and I told him that I was there a year in October. Then he said, "well, I’m an insurance agent, even though I’m sure you wouldn’t have guessed that by the way I’m dressed, and I’m looking for a secretary. You have a great personality. You should stop by my office. I could probably pay you more than what you make here." Then he dug out his card for me. I was dumbfounded. Then his friend added, "hey, you won’t have to come in at 4 in the morning! Or on the weekends!" Which made me laugh and say, "well, that’s definitely a bonus!"

So should I email him my resume? Should I stop by his office? Would he be freaked out by my Master’s degree? Could being an insurance agent’s secretary be my true calling? And could it possibly pay more than the $8.35 an hour I make now? There is probably at least good health insurance involved.

I know it’s only half of my fantasy, but do you think that this kind of thing would possibly ever happen to me again? Doubtful.

Hmmph. At least I left work with a smile on my face.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Stick your raincheck where the sun don't shine. Thank you.

If I come through this holiday season with my brain intact, it will be a miracle. There are 24 more days until Christmas, and believe me, I’m not counting down because I can’t wait to open my presents. I want this month to be over in the worst way. If I hear the phrase, "can I have a raincheck," one more time, my head will explode. Rainchecks are the worst invention ever. Because once I give a raincheck to someone, they are going to call me every single day until their item comes in. And every single time they’ll ask, "do you have any idea when it will come in?" and I’ll say, "no, I have no clue." And they’ll call again and again and again until I’m ready to commit myself to the mental institution.

Enough about my day job. My newest piece of news is that I’m officially a free lance web designer. My sister is paying me to completely re-do her old web site (which is linked over there on my sidebar). It won't be up and running until early next year, but hopefully it will be cool. It’s been a while since I’ve created a web site, so it’s kind of fun and frustrating at the same time. Especially since last night as I was working on it my power went out. Talk about bad timing. Luckily I hadn’t done much but create the template. So this should prove to be a new and interesting experience for me. Actually getting paid to do something that I learned in school. College didn’t prepare me for the mental stress of giving out 500 rainchecks a day, but I can make a killer web page. At least that's what I think.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Flat Chicken

One Easter, when I was probably about 5 or 6, my parents thought it would be cute to buy my brother and I some baby chickens. Easter morning after we found our baskets, my dad brought out these cute fuzzy little yellow baby chicks. Looking back, I don’t know what possessed my neat freak parents to buy live chickens. But they were adorable, and for a while they lived in our backyard. They grew into chickens rather quickly.

So before Easter I was telling my brother, who was two years old at the time, how mother hens sit on their eggs to keep them warm. We had this game where we pretended to be chickens and sat on those little plastic eggs and squawked around, flapping our arms. That’s still one of my favorite games. Just kidding. But I think you can see where this is going.

One day we were out in the yard playing with the chicks, and my brother sat on my chick. MY chick. He obviously thought he was keeping it warm, but it turned out that he squished it. And my chicken was no more.

About a month later, my grandma came and took the remaining chicken and made it into soup.

Then my parents got us a dog.

Since then, we’ve had many dogs and cats, but never any chickens. And yes, I’m fairly sure that I ate that chicken soup.

Friday, November 26, 2004

I Survived

I know I promised the chicken story, but I have to talk about Black Friday for a second.

It went well, actually. I didn’t even lose my temper. Almost, once. We ran out of almost everything and gave out probably a thousand rainchecks. And I was bouncing off the walls.

When the doors opened at 6 a.m., I was manning the electronics department, which of course, besides toys, is the biggest department in terms of sales during the holiday season. I looked toward the entrance and actually saw a mob running towards me. RUNNING. I almost crapped. There were so many people that I think I forgot how to breathe for about 2 hours. It was all "Do you have Playstation 2?" (Nope) and "Can I have a raincheck for the under the counter CD player?" (Ok!) All day.

My store is not usually extremely busy. But today we made probably 5 times what we normally make, possibly more. I know when I left at 2:00 our sales were triple what a normal day is. It was crazy and almost kind of fun. Plus we had a catered lunch, which was fantastic. But I was out the door once it was my time to leave.

Must drink beer and put up Christmas tree now….

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Let Me See That Thong…

For your viewing pleasure this fine Tuesday, a thong. To me, it seemed that this thong had a life of it’s own. It had no real owner, it was just roaming free in the wilderness, and at this precise moment, was inching it’s way up this poor lady’s back. So let this be a lesson to us all. Beware of wild thongs. They do attack, but they do it very sneakily. First you’ll feel a slight discomfort in your butt crack, then before you know it, it’s ready to strike. And when it does, I’ll be there with my camera to catch all the action. This unsuspecting woman had no idea what hit her.

She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck
Thighs like what, what, what
Baby move your butt, butt, butt
I think I'll sing it again
She had dumps like a truck, truck, truck
Thighs like what, what, what
All night long
Let me see that thong...

Having dumps like a truck makes it sound like she had too much Mexican food the night before. I hope you all have this song stuck in your head now, because everytime I see this picture it's what pops into mine. I'll apologize now.

Next up, the chicken story!

Friday, November 19, 2004

Jive Turkey

Today doesn’t feel like Friday. Maybe that’s because I know that for the next week, I’m going to be working every day except National Slaughter a Turkey day until next Saturday. Then I’ll have one measly day off and do it all over again. Bee-yotch. Choosing a career in retail at this time of the year is not only crazy, it’s just plain stupid. Plus I get the joy of closing on New Years Eve and opening on New Years Day. Wow, I have a lot to look forward to.

Sorry, I’ll stop whining now.

Ok, it’s time to start bitching again.

Who decided that Thanksgiving is the best day out of the year to eat turkey? I mean, it’s good with all that stuffing and mashed potatoes and gravy and cranberries and pumpkin pie, but it’s a little boring and predictable. I eat meat and stuff, but I hate to think about the animal that I’m eating while I’m viscerally tearing into it. I especially hate this on Thanksgiving because so many turkeys end up in turkey heaven this time of year. Turkeys are by no means a beautiful or intelligent animal, (or are they?) but it makes me a little downhearted to eat one just because that’s the designated thing people eat on a certain day. Oh, fuck it. Thinking about it is making me hungry. Mmm, turkey.

Have a good weekend everyone! I’ll post my thong picture soon. It’s not my thong, just a random one that happened to be just hanging out for the world to see while I was at the bar last night. So I took a picture. Better to remember it by.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Bitchy E-Lo

I was buying some cigarettes today on my way home from work, and the kid behind the counter, who I’m sure was probably at least a decade younger than me, looked at me as if he were ready to card me. He looked from my face to my gigantic orange mom purse that I had just plopped on the counter and just grabbed my Camel lights and rang them up. I couldn’t figure out if he thought I looked old enough to buy cigarettes or if my purse was a dead giveaway for my age. It’s huge. I usually always get carded for cigarettes. Beer is no problem. I can’t figure that out. But since I started carrying a duffel bag chock full of female goodness, I haven’t been carded for either.

Sloth was talking today about those Lance Armstrong bracelets and how over they are (I agree). That reminded me of something I think is so over. And they’re probably for a good cause too, but I wouldn’t know. Those stupid ribbon car magnets. You know the ones, they’re yellow or red white and blue and say "support our troops," or "God Bless America" Sometimes people have a dozen or so pasted all over their cars. I can’t stand them. It’s so damn trendy. Since when did it become trendy to support the troops or love America? I mean, so trendy that you have to paste it all over your car? What are these people actually doing for the troops or for our country, other than buying stupid magnets to parade around town with? And like the Armstrong bracelets, people are actually selling them on ebay. People in my town have wasted space in our local newspaper to write letters to the editor bitching about how they were shopping at Wal-Mart or at a high school football game and all their magnets were stolen. One lady actually said that she has had to resort to taking them off her vehicle when she parks her car. So, are these people stealing them because they think they’re stupid, or because they can’t afford a 3 dollar magnet of their own? And why didn’t they just make them a sticker, instead of a magnet? So when the trend is over they’re easier to remove? Shouldn’t loving America or supporting the troops be a permanent thing? I mean, I still have my "Mission Nothing Accomplished, Defeat Bush in ’04" sticker on my car. I know he won, but that doesn’t change my mind. So when this war is over, if ever, are all these people going to take their ribbon magnets off their cars and forget about it?

Ok, if you have one, I’m sorry. Go ahead, say something shitty. I don’t care. In the words of our commander in chief, "bring it on." Back to thesis land now…

Friday, November 12, 2004

The Methods to My Madness

I’ve been slaving away for the past couple days trying to make sense of research I did almost 2 years ago. It didn’t make sense then, and it still doesn’t. Measuring attitudes is a lot harder than you might think. And trying to make a thesis out of it is even harder.

I’m not much of a social scientist. And let me tell you how much I hate APA. Who decided that it would be a good idea to tell somebody exactly how their data should look? I like things to be pretty and visually stimulating, and tables full of numbers are just plain ugly. I want some colorful charts and graphs. My brain is full of Ns and ns and variables and descriptive statistics and validity and reliability and treatments and a bunch of other mutha fuckin’ nonsense. And this is just stuff for my methods section of my paper. Not to mention my craphole of a lit review.

The funniest part of my writing a thesis about this bullshit is that it’s a thesis on how different people learn differently. Duh. We all know that. So I’m measuring attitudes of how college students feel about learning about a specific theory that says, hey, if you learn best this way, this is the way you ought to be taught. Isn’t that only fair? My hypothesis is that students who are traditionally (people who are best at math and reading and that stuff) intelligent would be less open to this idea, while non-traditionally intelligent learners (artistic people, like myself) will be all for it. So what’s funny is that my lowest intelligence is mathematical-logical (my highest being musical and visual) and here I am, doing research that involves tons of numbers. Have I mentioned that I have a type of number dyslexia? I see them all ass backwards most of the time. So this is by no means fun for me. It’s been such a struggle to even try to learn what all these numbers MEAN. And it’s neat how they paint a pretty picture and form into a concrete kind of pattern, but holy hell, is it tough for me to figure it out. I can’t even figure out how to do a percentage without a calculator. Even then it’s too much for my musical/visual brain to handle. Why can’t I just draw some stick figures or write a song about it? So that’s why I’ve been living in thesis limbo land, because I can’t do this unless someone is holding my hand. Hmm, maybe that could be one of my song lyrics.

Anyone want to re-write my thesis for me? I mean, I don’t have a lot of money but I can make a killer dinner of white spaghetti…

Have a good weekend everyone. I’ll be here, wishing I was doing something that didn’t involve numbers.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Evil

With all the crap going on in the world in the past week, I haven’t had time to talk about my Halloween. It was a good night to go out and blow off some steam. Hmm, I might need another one of those soon.

As you can see, I was the devil. Not to be confused with El Presidente. My husband dressed up as some sort of cooter redneck.

Here we are. The pictures don’t look all that fantastic because they’re scanned Polaroids. Why the fuck do Polaroids turn green when you scan them? Somebody enlighten me. Does it have something to do with the emulsion?

Anyhoo, we got dressed up and went out to a bar that we would otherwise avoid, since it’s mostly filled with meatheads and slutty drunk girls. But on Halloween you have to be a little out of the ordinary, so there you go. And there’s a lot to be said for being drunk and slutty on Halloween, so I went with the flow. We met up with our friends Greg (white belt karate kid) and Starr (80’s girl). I’m sure they’d love to have their picture here, so here they are.

After Starr bought me a shot of Jager, I was ready to boogie my evil ass off.

Hell yeah. I’m shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture in that Polaroid picture. We danced until we were nice and sweaty. Didn’t think the devil could sweat, did ya? At one point I actually kicked off my platform sandals so I wouldn’t break anything.

Greg was feeling frisky in this one (I bet he loves seeing this). But Starr was even friskier, Greg. Hate to burst your kung fu bubble.
All in all, it was a good fucking time. We got shitty, we danced, and everybody was happy. The world was a beautiful place. And there was a lady dressed as a cave woman, complete with fucked up teeth, armpit hair, a bone, and a club, who danced as if she really were from the stone age. She never broke character. You can’t beat that with a stick (you just need a bigger club than hers). Man, now that I think about it, we should have requested "Walk the Dinosaur" just for her. That would have been great.

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. Everybody needs a break one day a year from being themselves. Although I didn’t get to employ my purple feather boa in any way. I need better costume planning for next year. I better start on that now.

Here’s a great article about defining American values.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

There's No Running Away...

I’ve had this song running through my head for a few days now. Hmm, I wonder why? I’m sure you will probably recognize it, and if you agree with me, the words will hit home. I think the band that originally did it was the Undead. Old hippie music. Good stuff. So get out your harmonica and sing along, you crazy liberals.

The eastern world, it is explodin'
Violence flaring, bullets loading
You're old enough to kill, but not for votin'
You don't believe in war
Then what's that gun you're totin'
When even the Jordan River has bodies floating
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe we're on The Eve of Destruction
Don't you understand what I'm tryin' to say
Can't you feel the fear that I feel today
If the button is pushed there's no running away
There'll be no one to save with the world in a grave
Take a look around you boy, it's bound to scare you boy
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe we're on The Eve of Destruction
My blood's so mad, feels like coagulating
And I'm just sitting here, contemplating
I can't change the truth, it has no regulation
A handful of senators won't pass legislation
And marchers alone can't bring integration
When human respect is disintegrating
This whole damn world is too frustrating
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe we're on The Eve of Destruction
Think of all the hate there is in Red China
Then take a look around to Selma, Alabama
You might leave here for four days in space
But when you return it's the same bloody place
The beating of the drums and the pride and disgrace
You can bury your dead but don't leave a trace
And hate your next-door-neighbor, but don't forget to say grace
But you tell me over and over and over again my friend
You don't believe we're on The Eve of Destruction
Yeah, you don't believe we're on The Eve of Destruction.

And hate your next-door-neighbor, but don't forget to say grace is my favorite part.

Hey kids, don’t lose heart and move to Canada, or Tuscany, or Australia. We need to stay and keep screaming until our throats are bloody. Or at least scratchy. No! Bloody!

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Save That Dream For Another Day

Today I feel like I’m back in 9th grade, when my first real boyfriend and I broke up. All day at school I had a hollow pit in my stomach, and was on the edge of crying. At one point I ran out of history class in tears. Mr. Love (the history teacher) thought I was nuts. I was an emotional train wreck of a 15 year old girl.

12 years later, that feeling has come back to me, full force, and has nothing to do with teenage love. I can’t help feeling personally defeated in some way. But like then, I’m hoping a little time will help to heal my broken heart. In the meantime, I’ll keep busy, trying to finish my thesis before my advisor resigns in the spring. In all the hubbub of political awareness, I seem to have forgotten that I have an academic portion of my life to worry about. Whoops. And now it's up to me and me alone to try like hell to get a real job, crappy economy or not.

Don’t worry kids, I haven’t forgotten my sense of humor. And I’m going to remain politically aware. Because if there’s one thing this election has taught me, it’s to stay informed about the issues. And to care about them. Too many young people proved that they didn’t care yesterday by not participating in the election.

Here’s my prayer chant from last night:
Pleasegodohio, pleasegodohio, pleasegodohio…ohfuckit.

See how well that worked?

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Unalienable Rights

This afternoon I will vote. For the first time EVER in my life. Never have I cared so much, or felt so passionately about what is going on in our country. Never have I watched CNN and MSNBC religiously every morning. Never have I given a second thought to any of this shit. Until this election year. Why? Because I’ve personally felt the impact of our current administration. My educated friends (and I) can’t find jobs. My diabetic mother-in-law has no health insurance and she pays thousands of dollars a month for eye surgery and medication. My father-in-law just lost his job. I’m not saying that all this is the president’s fault, but I am saying, "what has he done for me and the people I love?" And the answer is pretty clear to me.

So yes, now I’m geared up, ready to go, and anxious. I’m nervous and stressed and have butterflies in my stomach. Every once in a while I’ll look skyward and think, "oh please, make things go my way for once," in my own silly, selfish way.

Tonight I’ll sit, glued to my television, drinking beer and praying, even though I know that praying won’t do a damn thing. Only WE can do this thing. And no matter which way the political wind blows at the end of the night, at least I’ll know that I finally did my part. And I’ll do it again and again, because I can. So I hope everybody out there is doing their part, no matter who you’re voting for. Just vote. Maybe you’ll be the one to make a difference.

Or maybe I’ll end up crying myself to sleep and calling off on Wednesday to avoid the gloating of 95% of my co-workers. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

"….That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…"

Whoop, whoop, whoop!

Friday, October 29, 2004

Looney Lunar

This is the lunar eclipse from Wednesday as seen from my front porch. I sat outside with hot chocolate, wrapped in a blanket, and jumped at every rustle of the leaves. It was windy, but I couldn’t help thinking about the giant skunk I had seen outside of my house a few weeks ago. He was huge and white with a black stripe, instead of the other way around. Cool looking, but stinky. Then my hairdresser told me yesterday about the giant coyotes that are running rampant in parts of Butler County. Supposedly they are as big as German Shepherds. I don’t know what to be more afraid of, giant skunks or giant coyotes.

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

White Spaghetti

Here’s the recipe for white spaghetti, as requested by Regan. It was excellent. Try it with bow tie noodles, my favorite.
You’ll need:
2-3 chicken breasts
1 8 oz. Package of cream cheese
1 packet of italian dressing mix (the powdery kind)
1/2 a cup of white wine vinegar
a stick of butter or margarine
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of chicken broth
Some sort of pasta, preferably penne, rigatoni, or something big and chunky (why it’s called white spaghetti, I don’t know, but you can use whatever, don’t let me dictate your culinary creativity!)

Ok, what you’re gonna do is take half of your chicken broth and some water (enough to cover the chicken in a skillet), and simmer the chicken breasts in that mixture for about a half hour, until it’s cooked. Take out the chicken and cut it into bite sized pieces, and drain the skillet (you could probably re-use the same broth mixture, which is what my mom told me to do, but the little chicken floaties scared me, so I drained it) and throw the other half of the chicken broth and a little water (you’ll want to have less this time) into the skillet with the pieces and cook it up some more while you’re making the sauce.

To make the sauce, take a medium sized pot and throw in the butter and cream cheese until it softens up and whip it around with a fork, or an egg beater, which worked nicely for me. Add your other ingredients as you whip. When all the stuff is mixed together, throw the entire contents of the skillet, chicken broth and all, and mix that in. Let that cook around together for about 15 minutes or so on low-ish heat. When you’re ready, add your pasta. I used an entire 12 oz box of bow ties. The sauce will be really thick and creamy, so it’s good to use a lot. Add some salt and pepper and parmesan cheese and serve. Or eat it all yourself. And throw some cheesy garlic italian bread into the mix.

Mmm mmm, good.

Us old married people ate that last night and fell asleep on the couch before 11 last night. Maybe it’s the cure for insomnia? White spaghetti, a natural sleep-aid.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

On this day, I thee wedded my dear husband, two years ago. How about that shit? I’ve made it through two years of marriage. I can’t say it’s always been easy, heck, it’s been pretty rocky, life-wise. But with my buddy sticking by me, I’ve made it. But I’m no expert on marriage by far. We still have a long way to go. And I want dogs like most girls want babies. Not in a birthing way. That’s gross.

Now it’s just a matter of waiting for him to get home from work, so I can wow him with the fabulous dinner that I made. White spaghetti. Which really isn’t spaghetti at all. It’s yummy, I can tell you that.

Now I’m going to go dig out wedding pictures. Just wanted to say hi to all you bloggers out there. Hope your week is going well. Mine is going significantly better than last week. And I get to look forward to a weekend off from retail hell! Happy days.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Working too hard can give you a heart attack-ack-ack-ack

Name that song, boys and girls.
Oh, what a fucking day. For the past three days, I’ve dealt with some pretty bitchy mother fuckers. And I don’t use that term lightly, at least not in this case. I’m a fairly friendly person. I’m never mean to people. I always try to be as helpful as possible. So when people are rude to me, which is virtually never (I think I could count all the rude people on one hand, it’s just the stupid people that I have to deal with the most), it just plain pisses me off. Cause, it’s like, seriously, what did I ever do to you?

On Wednesday, a woman came in wanting a new release game that hadn’t arrived in our store yet. I looked in the ad when she asked about it, and it said "available Wed. Oct.20." Ok, good enough, but we hadn’t gotten it in yet. When I told her this, her head literally began to bobble, and her face got red. Keep in mind we are talking about a fucking Game Boy game. She was noticeably upset, so I calmly explained that we get our new release games via UPS, and UPS doesn’t arrive until after noon. At this point, her eyes got real wide and she slammed her hand down on the counter and cried, "It says in the ad that it comes out today, and it should be here today, not this afternoon!" And again, I calmly explained that I am in charge of the department and that I take care of all new releases that come in, and I hadn’t seen it yesterday, so it should be in today, but when UPS brings it (which was in about an hour). This was simply not good enough. She started yelling about gas prices, and how she expects what she needs to be in stock, and blah, blah, blah, and when I tried to interject, she said, "I WANT TO TALK TO A MANAGER." Ok, good enough. Let them deal with the crazy bitch. As I’m waiting, this freak is standing there mumbling to herself. I’m a bit frightened at this point. So one of my managers comes over and the lady starts yipping about poor service (what does she want, me to slit my wrists and give her my blood?), and the cost of gas (apparently she had to drive 20 minutes to get to the store, ooh, I drive 20 minutes to get there every day!), and how disappointed she is that when we have something advertised we don’t have it. So my manager looks at me and says, "is it UPS?" I nod, and the lady starts going off about how that’s not the point, blah, blah, I want it now, blah, blah. All the while I’m thinking, yes, because we control UPS. If you’re that pissed off, call UPS and tell them to come to the store earlier in the day. Dude. So as my manager is apologizing for UPS, I put on my best fake ass smile and say, "why don’t I take your name, and when it comes in, I can hold it for you?" And she looks at me like I’m insane and says, "Oh. You can do that?"
Problem solved. Guest riot avoided. My manager smiles at me and says, "yes, we CAN do that for you." So as I’m taking the crazy lady’s name, she apologizes to me, and tells me that she’s not mad or anything. Yeah, lady, that’s why your head was about to explode. All over a GAME BOYGAME.

Today, after a refreshing day off, another couple was rude to me. I didn’t have a television in stock that they wanted. And that’s just the problem with my store, things are always out of stock. But I have no control over it. Everything that has to do with ordering is automated, and once our system determines that we sold the last item on the floor, it automatically tells headquarters, hey, we need some more of those. So headquarters then has to tell our distribution centers, and by the time everything is said and done, it can be a week before we have it in the store again. So naturally, these people don’t understand this, nor do they want to. They want to blame me, because I control it all. So I call another store, which is only 20 minutes away, at their request. They have it, and they’ll hold it. I tell the couple that, and they pshaw and decide that they want a different TV. So I load it up into a cart for them, and they dawdle around, as I patiently wait. The thing about these people is that they weren’t outright mean, they were rude in a way that was like, "you are nothing because you work here." And I hate that. Just because I work in retail doesn’t make you any better than me. You don’t know me, so don’t presume to. I’m a person with a life too. So when they’re finally ready to check out, the lady hands me a coupon that is only good online. I tell her so, and she is just plain indignant. "You’ve got to be kidding me, I’ve been holding on to that thing forever. We should have gone to Wal-Mart, it’s cheaper." So go, you bitch. It’s right around the goddamn corner. I’ll drive you. Then the guy makes a big deal about getting somebody to help him out with it. Which I was going to do anyway, because we legally can’t let people push out our carts by themselves. But I know he doesn’t want ME to help him, because for godsakes, I’m a girl. I couldn’t possibly lift a 20 inch television. And how would that make him look, a teeny tiny little girl helping him to load a TV into his stupid minivan? So I call for somebody to help me. That person is my supervisor, also a girl, even littler and skinnier than me. So as we go to lift the TV into the car, the basically pushes my supervisor and I out of the way so that he doesn’t look like he has a smaller penis than we do and does it himself. Grrrrrr. Ok! HAVE A GREAT DAY!!!! Seriously, people. How long have you been alive? And you haven’t developed your people skills yet?

The last straw for me came a few hours later, as I was re-labeling my video game display. I had a cart full of video games with my labels stacked on top. A woman decided she needed to push her cart through the aisle and of course, bumped me, which made my labels fall all over the place. No big deal. She said, "oh, I’m sorry," and I said, "hey, that’s ok, no problem." So I’m picking up the labels, and she says, "actually, can I bother you for a second?" And I look up and nod and continue to pick up the labels that are on the floor. That’s when the bitch went insane. And I don’t know what even happened. "Well, apparently not! I’m sorry to bother you!" Confused, I said, "no, I can help you." "No, just forget about it, you’re too busy!" Now I’m fucking pissed. "Ma’am, I can help you. What did you need?" "No, forget it, I’ll just talk to a manager." And she starts storming away. In my head, I’m like, what the fuck just happened? Fuck, she’s going to find a manager. Ok, that’s it, I’ve had it. "MA’AM, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SO RUDE, I SAID I WOULD HELP YOU AND YOU CHOSE TO IGNORE ME! WHAT’S THE PROBLEM?!?" She continued to ignore me and headed up to guest service. I’m so fucking angry that I’m shaking. I find my manager, and tell her I had a guest incident. At this point, I’m practically in tears of frustration, from being treated like a piece of dog shit from just about every person I’ve encountered over the past days. My manager starts laughing at me, and I can’t help it, I start laughing too. She says, "god, what are we going to do with you? You’re so mean to people!" Then she thanks me for the heads up, and asks what she looks like and says she’ll tell the other manager on duty so he knows. That manager makes fun of me and says he’s going to give me a pay cut for being so rude to people. And I laugh, and decide that sometimes I love the people I work with.

So kids, don’t be mean to the girl working the check-out counter at your local department store. She’s a person too, with feelings, even if she seems a little stupid. Retail will do that to you, mainly because it numbs your brain. She’s just trying to get by in life, working a mindless job and dealing with the public. Be extra special nice and make sure you smile and tell her to have a good day. Joke around a bit, be charming. That niceness goes a long way. You can either make or break someone’s day. You’re the one with the power, baby. Use it wisely.

I’m going to go drink another beer now. Oops, I’m still in my red and khaki.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

The Twins Part Deux

Well, I’ve spent since August trying to get a picture of these ladies, and this is the best I could do. This post might make a little more sense if you go back a few months to August, my last post on the twins. But to sum up, these women are our resident crazies at my store. They’ve been asked to leave twice now, because they like to bicker and they get really loud. Add to that their funny speech impediment and you’ve got yourselves a rare entertaining moment in retail. So when I heard over the walkie talkies somebody informing our security team that they were on their way in from being outside arguing and making a scene, I grabbed a camera and ran to the front doors, figuring this was my best shot at getting a picture. That proved to be difficult, as you will see. It seems that everyone else I work with wanted some free entertainment to spice up the drudgery of stocking shelves. So as the little ladies were busy looking through the Halloween candy, me and several other co-workers milled around and listened in. What we heard was them cussing each other out, and the kicker being when the feisty one told her sister, "you reek of alcohol!" Of course this sent us into a fit of giggles, because to the ordinary passer-by, you would have thought maybe the twins spent their afternoon having cocktails, with as loud as they were screaming about reeking of alchol. But I knew better.

I’ve found out that part of their obsessive-compulsive-ness consists of bathing in rubbing alcohol when they come in contact with anything out in public. And rubbing alcohol is one of the mystery items that the one twin carries in their secret stash paper bag (I realized that day that they had upgraded their stash bag from plain brown paper to a lovely metallic gold gift bag). Whenever they touch anything in a public place, they take that shit out and pour it over their hands.

At this point our security team were on the floor laughing with us, and I began to conspire with everyone about getting their picture. A few brave souls took my camera and inconspicuously tried to snap a few shots. But every time the camera was aimed at them, one of them turned around and looked right at the would-be photographer. I even had the flash turned off.

Eventually they meandered their way to the other side of the store where my department is, and in true secret agent style, I followed them, ducking through clothes racks and peeking around end caps. I knew the game was almost up, because they were making their way over to electronics to be checked out, which is where I work. So I handed off the camera to one of my work buddies, and he took over with the pictures when they were ready to check out. Checking out was trying for them, because my register was blocked by one of the big carts we use to put merchandise on (probably the same kind that almost ran over Julie the other day). Because they wouldn’t touch it, the one kind of kicked it out of the way with her foot as the other one coached her, hissing, "get that dirty thing away from me." This day they were buying some brown paper bags, believe it or not. Their total was around a buck, and the twin-in-charge handed me a 20 and asked me (as always) if she could have the change in ones. I obliged, and they were on their way back to the front of the store. On that short walk, they started with the screaming again, which brought security over. The security manager told them very nicely that they were disturbing the other customers, and if they were going to continue to make a scene, he would have to escort them out. I don’t know what happened after that. I do know that the last time one of my managers asked them to leave, they cursed at her and told her they were going to put a spell on her. She told me that after that she didn’t sleep for two weeks. But she’s voting for Bush, so I’m not going to take anything she says too seriously. Of course I couldn’t get a good picture of them either, and we probably took around 6 pictures total. Every single one was out of focus. Spooky.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tuesday Bluesday

Ever have one of those days where it just feels like everything is falling apart at the seams? I’m having one of those days. On top of all of my regular bullshit stress that I deal with on a day to day basis, I just found out that my niece lost her baby. And yes, in my strange extended family, I do have a niece who is old enough to have a baby. She’s only a couple years younger than I am. She got married in March, and got pregnant right away. She was due in February, and went for a sonogram, and there was no heartbeat. So she has to go to the doctor tomorrow to bascially get the fetus removed. I don’t know if there’s a more delicate way of putting that. I’m struggling with how to feel about this at the moment. I’m not very close with my family, other than my mom and dad, so it’s a strange feeling. I feel kind of disconnected, but I want to be there for her. I’m terrible with these kinds of things. I’m so awkward and strange when it comes to death. I never know what to do. Plus she lives in South Carolina, and here I am, stuck in PA. I can’t even begin to imagine what she must be feeling. I’m somebody who will probably never have kids. I don’t really want them, and I can’t imagine my life with children. Maybe it’s selfishness (as I’ve been told by relatives who have children coming out of their ears) or whatever, but I’m really not mom material. But I know it must be terrible to be excited about bringing a baby of your own into the world and then to lose it. All the anticipation and happiness just stamped out for no apparent reason.

I was talking to my mom on the phone about this, and she broke down and started crying. Then I remembered that the same thing happened to my mom between having my brother and I. I would have had a brother who was 2 years younger than me. I remember being younger and wondering what it would have been like to have two younger brothers instead of just one. Of course my brother Jerry, who is four years younger than me, might have never been born if that were the case. It’s weird to think about that. The worst part of it is that my mom, without the benefit of sonograms in the 70’s, probably carried him to full term. But I didn’t ask. Hearing my mother sob over the phone is uncomfortable enough without bringing up bad memories.

I was excited to welcome another great-niece/nephew into the world. I have 10 nieces and nephews total, and one great-niece. One of my nieces is a step-niece, and her 2 brothers are my step-nephews. Another one of my nieces died two years ago at the end of October. She was 17, and the younger sister of my niece who lost her baby. I can only imagine what my older brother (who I haven’t seen in over a decade and lives in Nevada) must be feeling, being so close to the anniversary of my niece’s death. It’s been a rough month for my family, extended and scattered about the country as we all are. It’s so hard to have a person just ripped out of your life. And it’s strange to think about the people who might have been part of your family, but didn’t have the chance.

On a brighter note, I got my pictures of the scary old twins. Look for that one next.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Festival of Fear

This was me and my husband last Halloween. Scary stuff.

Friday night was especially fun this weekend. We went to this crazy haunted house thing, which strangely enough, was situated inside of a bowling alley. The bowling alley has a big laser tag arena in it, so they set up shop there, fashioning it to look like a big decaying old mansion. To fully appreciate this haunted house story, you should know a little history about me and haunted houses. When I was little I would get all gung-ho about going to them. Once we’d get there I’d freak out and cry and wouldn’t even go in. So technically, this was only my second trip into a haunted house in my life. The last one I went to was set up in an old barn somewhere in Knox, PA, sponsored by the area J.C.’s. So it was run by a bunch of little kids. There were big signs as we went in telling us to refrain from using profane language and that kind of thing, since the monsters inside were innocent children. I don’t remember it being remotely scary at all, but my girlfriends were being big babies and hanging on to each other, which made me kind of freak out. I was hanging on to my then future husband until some of the little monsters starting weaving through us to separate us. So I grabbed one of my roommates, and my husband was left by himself in the dark (which he was a little pissed off about). The final room that we went into held a guy with a chainsaw. He was standing there very still until we got about a quarter of the way through the room, when he started up the chainsaw. My friends and I all jumped, and I lost the iron grip I had on my friends’ sweatshirt, and they skirted along the wall and out of the room. I was just inches behind them, scurrying along the wall, when suddenly a door on the wall burst open right into my face, and another guy with a chainsaw jumped out. Forgetting my haunted house etiquette, I screamed, "OW! SHIT! FUCK!" and the little guy with the chainsaw looked at me with concern and said, "are you ok?" as I ran blindly from the room, clutching my face, seeing spots. Some crazy psycho killer he was. The door had slammed me right in the corner of my brow bone, and as soon as I emerged from the barn it began to swell. So I had a nice shiner from that experience.

Needless to say, I was a bit concerned about the same type of thing happening at the one on Friday. But I came out with my face intact, even though my throat hurt a little from screaming like a little bitch. This one was pretty scary, even though thinking back on it I feel a little silly for being so afraid. The people in the haunted house must have thought we were seriously insane or drunk or something, the way we behaved. My husband was in the lead, because nobody else wanted to go first, with me clutching on to his shirt, my friend Starr clutching on to me, and Greg (the one that pointed out my jack o lantern looks like Che) bringing up the rear. As we rounded corners you could see the scary masked people standing still, waiting for us to walk past them, so they could jump out behind us and follow us. One of them followed us through the entire thing. Windows on the corners would fly open and people would scream, which would send us running. I was screaming and giggling and squealing at the monsters in the corners, " I can see you! Don’t scare me!" By the time we were about halfway through I was ready to stop being scared and get the fuck out, but there was more. We got to one room at the bottom of a set of stairs where there was a bloody blonde girl caught in a table saw, screaming in agony. But I could see her holding back her laughter as we all refused to go in, because of the crazy guy standing right around the corner of the doorway. He was fucking scary. After that it was smooth sailing, although I did have a small anxiety attack from hearing the sounds of a chainsaw. The main attraction of the whole thing, a psycho butler who brutally tortured and murdered the mansion’s inhabitants, wasn’t even in it. I was waiting for some big finish, which never came. It wasn’t really worth the 10 bucks a person, but I was still scared enough to want to pee my pants. Thankfully I didn’t. Nor did I maim myself in any way.

At any rate, I hope to keep the scary stories going here until Halloween. Remember back in August I told the story of the crazy twins that are customers where I work? I’ve been trying since then to get a picture of them, just because they are so fucking creepy. On Friday I heard that they were outside of the store, fighting as usual and being very loud. So I took that opportunity to grab a camera from my department and make it a goal to finally get their picture. And I did, sort of. I’ll post that sometime this week, along with their antics for that day.

Oh, and I finally got to see Fahrenheit 9/11. It was even better than I expected.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Viva la pumpkin!

Um, my friend Greg pointed out that my jack o lantern has a tiny resemblance to Marxist revolutionary and Cuban guerrilla leader, and also that mysterious guy that Antonio Banderas was in Evita, Che Guevara. I honestly didn’t plan it that way, but now I see it. Spoooky.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Halloween is coming…


Sorry about that. Have I mentioned that my favorite holiday of the year is almost upon us? Yes, boys and girls, Halloween, the one day of the year that you don’t have to be yourself. Of course, there’s a lot to be said about being yourself, but it’s nice to take a break once a year. I don’t know what I’m going to dress up as this year, but I’ve been tossing around some ideas. I was going to be Stevie Nicks, but then I colored my hair, so I’m no longer blonde, I’m auburn. So she’s out. Then I thought about being Elton John. I have a lovely purple feather boa that would be great for that costume. I’m not sure exactly why I’m aiming for middle aged rock stars. Even if I’m not Elton John, I have to figure out a way to incorporate that feather boa. Any ideas?

Every year the History Channel airs "The History of Halloween," which is one of my favorite shows to watch. I love educational programming at Halloween time. I’ve always kind of been an occult nerd, ever since I was in Catholic school. Probably because all that occult nonsense was forbidden, but I liked educating myself about it. So I thought Halloween would be a good idea for an E-Lo history lesson! Hang on to your hats, my fellow bloggers, we’re in for a wild ride.

As I’m sure many of my pagan/Wicca blogger friends know, Halloween’s roots are mainly pagan or Druidic in origin. So this is probably going to be old news for you, but it’s nice to have a refresher course once in a while, right? Halloween dates back probably 2000 or so years ago, when the ancient Celts celebrated their new year on November 1. This also symbolized the death of summer and the beginning of winter, which is also associated with death. The belief was that on the night before the mark of the new year, the veil between the world of the living and the dead was at it’s thinnest. On this night, spirits walked the earth with the living, and mostly caused havoc, ruining crops and doing some routine possessions. The Druid priests would spark up a giant sacred bonfire to scare the spirits away, and dressed in the skins of animals to discourage the spirits from messing with them. This festival was called Samhain, not to be confused with that band that Glenn Danzig used to be in after he quit the Misfits. Pronounced Sow-ween, not Sam Hane.

The Roman festival of Pomona was also at the end of October, and as Europe became more Romanized, the Celts adopted some of their traditions. Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit and trees, so many kinds of fruits were introduced into the feast, including apples, the token fruit of the goddess. Ever wonder why bobbing for apples is a part of this holiday? Yeah, me too, cause that still doesn’t really explain why you would put your face into a tub of water and try to spear an apple with your teeth. But that’s just me.

As time went on and religions and cultures began to intermingle, traditions of the festival began to change. The spread of Christianity was rampant, and when the Church couldn’t get the pagans to convert, they adopted their customs and feasts and "christianized" them. So November 1 was designated All Saints Day, and October 31 became All Hallow’s Eve, dubbed Halloween by the pagans. This happened of course with every major pagan holiday, like Christmas and Easter. But those are E-Lo history lessons for another day, boys and girls.

The tradition of dressing up began with the Celts, who dressed in order to hide from the spirits. They did so in order to kind of mix in, and when Irish immigrants came to America, they brought that tradition with them. Although trick or treating didn’t begin with the Celts. It was a European tradition that was started on November 2, All Souls Day, where people would go from door to door, begging for soul cakes. The more soul cakes, the more prayers they would say in honor of their dead relatives.

The jack o lantern (like the one at the top of the page that I made a few years ago) is another silly story, stemming from a myth about a man named Jack, who somehow tricked the devil into climbing a tree and carving a cross into it to trap him. When he died he was turned away from the gates of heaven because of his evil ways (he was a drunk), but then he was denied access to hell because he tricked the devil. The devil gave Jack a lump of glowing coal and he put it inside a turnip to light his way through the night. There are many variations of this story, but they always end the same way. So people put lights inside of turnips, until they immigrated to America, and found that pumpkins were more plentiful here than turnips. This Halloween I’m going to carve my own turnip. After I bob for apples.

And that’s the end of that lesson. Any questions? Feel free to add your own little tidbits if I left anything out. As with any holiday, America commercialized Halloween, and now we must fight the masses at retail stores like the ones I work at in order to get the perfect slutty nurse costume. I’m not sure how slutty nurses have anything to do with the origins of the holiday. Personally if I were going to dress as a slutty nurse, I’d be a dead slutty nurse. No, I’ve been some pretty slutty non-dead things for past Halloweens. I’ve been a slutty cat more than once. I’ve stayed away from those costumes for a few years. Maybe it’s time to bring it back. No, I’d rather be a middle aged rock star with a purple feather boa...I'm just not sure which one.

The Final Countdown

I’ve been so tired this week. Napping on the couch and being lazy. I usually get like that after working my bi-weekly 6 day stretch. Working on the weekends kills me. Luckily it’s only every other. After the debate last night I polished off my bottle of wine and passed out on the couch, in true alcoholic form. I don’t usually do stuff like that. Whoopsy.

Dick Cheney was in my town yesterday. Disrupting traffic all over the place. I didn’t even know he was supposed to be here. I’m so ill informed. I’m waiting for Kerry to come to town. Although the people here would probably start a riot. The new mystery here is who’s stealing everyone’s Kerry-Edwards signs. Yes, people are resorting to stealing lawn signs. I’ve seen multiple people in the last few days scowling at my "Mission Nothing Accomplished: Defeat Bush in 04" bumper sticker. Things are starting to get very heated. When we were in Pittsburgh someone actually screamed "go Bush" at us, since my friend has a similar sticker on her car. In the next few weeks I’m waiting for some actual vandalism to occur. As long as they beat my car with a bat. Then I can get the piece of shit fixed up.

One of the more freaky stories I’ve been relaying to my friends was a conversation I had with my boss the other day. It wasn’t really a conversation, it was more like me listening and trying not to say anything to piss off my boss. And it’s a good example of how some people are voting for Bush for the wrong reason. At work I’m a minority, since I’m voting for Kerry. Most of the people I work with are supporting Bush, which I find very strange since we all work in retail and have shitty health insurance and don’t get paid very much. Anyway, I was in my department (electronics) changing the channels on the TV. John Edwards was on some news show doing an interview and he was talking about how we rushed into war. My boss was going on and on about how much she hates him, and when he said that the president rushed into war with Iraq, my boss said, "No we didn’t! There were people that wanted to go to war on September 12 and he waited! He didn’t rush to war!" My thought process was this: Huh? We sent troops to Afghanistan right away. Remember that guy, oh, what’s his name? Osama Bin Laden? Where did he go again? So Saddam Hussein attacked us? Oh, bite your tongue, change the subject, do something else! Somebody help me!
After the fact, I thought I really should have said what was on my mind. And my mom literally yelled at me yesterday for not saying something. But I don’t like arguing with people who can fire me. So my boss is one of those people who really believe that Iraq attacked us. I didn’t know that they actually existed, and it was so shocking to see that someone really believes that.

It’s Thursday, so it’s cleaning day at my house. I’m off to inhale the fumes of Clorox Clean Up.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Squirrel and the City

Happy Columbus Day! So people really get a long weekend for Columbus day? Amazing. I’ve never had Columbus day off in my entire life. Although I could use a day off after the weekend I had. But yes, fellow bloggers, I have to work today, again. Sigh. The drama of life in retail.

Anyhoo, yesterday after work, I went on a personal field trip. I call it that because I loved going on field trips when I was a little E-Lo, even more so when it involved museums and theater, which is what I did yesterday. A friend of mine invited me to go to Pittsburgh for the start of the Carnegie International. And I thought, wow, it’s been so long since I’ve been to a museum, especially the Carnegie. So I went, and it was well worth not getting my afternoon nap (since I got up at 3 am to be at work at 4). The museum was full of exhibits from 37 artists from all around the world, placed randomly throughout the place. Some of the exhibits were built inside the museum just for the occasion, some of them were pieces like you would normally see. Some were shocking, some were bland, and some were inspirational. There were lots of videos and films from artists, lots of interactive pieces. It was a flood of sights and sounds. Some of my favorites were the drawings of cartoonist Robert Crumb, an interactive sculpture that I can’t even begin to describe by sculptor and performance artist John Bock, gorgeous larger than life photos of strippers from Philip-Lorca diCorcia and a funny, sad, and shocking video installment from Katarzyna Kozyra. That’s just to name a few.

After the Carnegie we got some nummy Chinese food (that I ate entirely with chopsticks, which are hard to come by in my little town), and went to the Northside for a free performance of Titanick, another part of Carnegie Internationals Festival of Firsts, which was right on the river front of the Allegheny. We figured we’d get there early, since we didn’t really know where we were going. Turns out it was right between Heinz Field and PNC Park, and the Steelers game had just ended. There were still some fans celebrating in the parking lot since Pittsburgh kicked Cleveland’s ass, and we had to wade through the remains of tailgaters to get to our destination. Needless to say we were on the riverbank and hour and a half before the show actually began, so we picked out our spot and plopped down in the grass with only a few people waiting around. It was a good thing we got there so early, because thousands of people showed up while we were waiting. It was amazing. Titanick made its debut on Friday for the first time in the U.S., and it was so neat. It wasn’t what I expected at all. It was more about sound and action rather than actors saying lines. And of course it was about the sinking of the Titanic, so it took place on a floating stage in the river. As the play progressed, the ship was built on stage, and after they hit the ice burg it began to crumble. Water sprayed everywhere and the ship caught fire. It was such a spectacle, and I’ve never seen anything like it. Because the actors really didn’t have many lines, you had to rely on watching their actions to know what was going on. As the ship started to sink, the people on the ship were eating dinner and drinking and laughing, refusing to believe that anything bad was going to happen. Then it all went downhill from there, and eventually every single actor was drenched in water. And it was freezing, so I felt kind of bad for all of them. But I guess it wasn’t as cold as the real Titanic.

So that was my Sunday field trip, all full of art and theatre. So I can start my Monday being more culturally enriched. It was nice to step outside of my little world and see what else is going on, besides politics. Hopefully I can do more of that soon.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Not for Sale

Here he is, poor little guy.

Today I'm a very angry E-Lo. There is no justice in the world. Remember Pepper, the little Yorkie we rescued a few weeks ago? The lady who owned him put up a big stink about him, after she accepted my mom’s check for him. She raised her price to 500 bucks, then to 850, and told my mom if she didn’t pay, she’d seek legal advice. Which is bullshit since she already had the check from my mom. So after this lady called the police on my mother for "stealing her dog," my mom called our area dog officer, who went to check out her other dogs. To make a long, sad story short, the dog officer said we have to give him back, because he was not near death. He was only malnourished with a lesion in his eye that went untreated for who knows how long that it turned into an ulcer. He would have eventually lost his eye had my mother not taken him to the vet. Meanwhile, this lady still has the check that my mom gave her. When my mom asked how much she wanted, the lady said "he’s not for sale." So now poor Pepper, who has been regaining his health in the last three weeks, has to go back into the environment that made him all sick and malnourished with a raging eye infection, which was more than likely acquired by getting scratched from one of the 17 cats that also live there. My mother is beside herself. Because she tried to be nice, and didn’t want to cause problems for this old lady, she waited until the lady got ugly before calling the humane society and the dog officer. And the dog officer admitted that this wasn’t the first time he was called to go to this lady’s house, but he’s telling my mom that there’s nothing else she can do. So if making sure that dogs are safe is this guys job, how is this guy doing his job? It seems like he’s doing the opposite to me. So now Pepper has to go back to the place where he was neglected, where he was unable to eat as much as he should and slept in a crate. After a month of being with my parents, who gave him all the attention he deserved, and let him sleep in their bed.
Every pet I’ve ever had I’ve treated like a member of my family. These people treat them like animals. They use them for breeding and keep them in cages at night, which is pretty much the equivalent of having your own personal puppy farm. So I’m a little more than pissed off about this turn of events. It breaks my heart to know that good people like my parents, who genuinely care about animals and who fell in love with this dog are getting screwed.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Nice Hair, Wanna be Vice President?

Ack. I’m still trying to sort through last night’s debate. I’d call it cringe worthy at best. There were so many moments that I just wanted to grab John Edwards by the hand and say, "why are you doing this?" Although the polls haven’t declared a definite victor, I’m still thinking that Cheney came out smelling like roses, and Edwards came out looking like he got schooled. And I don’t like it. But it’s hard work, and we have to be strong, and resolute, and make no doubt about it, we will prevail. Gag.

Bush is quoted as saying, "America saw two very different versions of our country and two different hairdos. I didn't pick my vice presidential candidate for his hairdo, I picked him for his judgment, his experience." Well, that’s good to know. What?

The big issue for me was Cheney calling Edwards out about his Senate voting record, saying Edwards has "one of the worst attendance records in the United States Senate." After a little digging, I found this interesting tidbit from Democratic Underground :

In truth, Edwards has an 84.8% voting record in the Senate. In each of his first four years, he had a perfect or near perfect record:
1999 Cast 371 out of 274 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2000 Cast 298 out of 298 votes for a 100% voting record
2001 Cast 377 out of 380 votes for a 99.2% voting record
2002 Cast 253 out of 253 votes for a 100% voting record
2003 Cast 281 out of 459 votes for a 61.2% voting record
2004 Cast 84 out of 198 votes for a 42.4% voting record
OVERALL Edwards has cast 1664 out of 1962 votes for a 84.8% voting record.

There’s a lot more enlightening facts there, so if you’re interested, check it out.

On a random side note, the last couple days driving home from work I’ve seen one of the most beautiful construction workers ever. I’m not one to ogle random guys, but this man is hot, with big muscley arms covered with tattoos. Yummy. It’s funny to me because my husband is a construction worker too. I wonder if women drive by and check him out as he’s laying asphalt. I would. Aww. Gag again.

Monday, October 04, 2004

my heros have always been retired steel workers...

Taking a page out of Sloth's book, since she is back from her very looooong vacation, I went to McSweeney's Daily Reason to Dispatch Bush and found this very interesting tidbit.

DAY 123:

When President Bush traveled to Pittsburgh in 2002, a protester named Bill Neel who refused to move to the "designated free-speech zone"—a baseball field a third of a mile from Bush's speech—was arrested for disorderly conduct. At Neel's trial, a police detective testified that the Secret Service had told local police to keep "people that were there making a statement pretty much against the president and his views" in the free-speech zone. The judge threw out the charge, saying, "I believe this is America. Whatever happened to 'I don't agree with you, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it'?"

This excerpt is a little bit longer on the site, but as I read the first part of it I recognized the first name right away. Bill Neel is from Butler, where I live. So I looked him up, and I found his statement of challenge to Bush’s free speech zones on the ACLU site. Check it out, he said some pretty interesting things.

And I thought all the cool people were in Clarion. I don’t remember this from the news, but as it happened when I lived in Clarion, I guess that’s probably why. Yay for guys like Bill Neel, who have worked hard their whole lives, served our country, and have the balls to stand up and defend what they believe in, and our rights as American citizens. This is someone from my hometown that I can be proud of.

*By the way, do you know what my sign said? It said, “The Bush family must surely love the poor – they made so many of us.”  If the Secret Service thinks statements like that are a threat, then we’re all in trouble -Bill Neel*


Happy Monday. This is what Main Street in Clarion looked like on Friday. The picture doesn’t do it justice. Read on, my friends…

The bad thing about having a big weekend is that it eventually has to end. Then it’s back to the same old routine of working, eating, and sleeping and trying to recover. We had a blast in Clarion, of course. There is just no way to describe the size and scope of the Autumn Leaf Festival. Clarion is a town of about 6,000 people, which doesn’t include the university population, which adds probably about another 6 to 7,000 give or take when school is in session. When it’s time for ALF, the population goes up to 100,000 or more. So for one weekend out of the year, the town goes from a tiny little college town to a cultural mecca of locals, students, parents, alumni, artisans, musicians, carnies, and many others. Needless to say, when it’s all over, there is a big mess to clean up. I’ve been participating in this little shindig in one way or another for the past 15 years. I was at my first ALF when I was 12 or 13. I think I’ve only ever missed one year since then.

I sort of miss living there. It’s only been over a year since I moved back home. There is very little opportunity there. If you live in Clarion, you probably work at the university, the glass plant, the fiber board plant, the hospital, or Wal-Mart. The coolest thing about being there was seeing all the Kerry supporters. In my town, which is a mere 50 miles away, most yards are littered with Bush signs. Occasionally you’ll see a Kerry sign in somebody’s yard, but then you’ll see 5 Bush signs. In Clarion it was the opposite. During the parade, a float for Republicans of Clarion County went by, and people actually booed. A guy standing next to me was yelling, "We can’t take 4 more years!" When the Democrat float went by, people cheered. It was great, and I felt like I was home. It’s nice to fit in once in a while. Of course I was in a liberal college / blue collar working class town, a big difference from where I am now.

But the weekend was fun, and enlightening. I watched the debate on Thursday, and I thought Bush did horrible. Same empty promises, stuff we’ve all heard dozens of times. I tried to be objective, but my dad was yelling too much about how he’s ruined our country, blah, blah, blah. I was happy to see how composed Kerry was, and how he never said um, or uh, like W did. On Friday my ma and my girlfriends went downtown for the crafter day, and we visited the Democratic Headquarters, which was swarming with people. I got some pretty cool buttons, my favorite being "Teresa Heinz-Kerry for First Lady" inside the Heinz ketchup logo. Saturday was the parade, which was somewhat bland compared to previous years, so I watched most of it out of the window of the Tavern, one of three bars on Main Street. We were all pretty buzzed by the time the parade was over at 2, so we hit the next bar, stayed for a few hours, and decided we’d better eat something before going to the party that we were invited to at my friend Todd’s house. After that, I was exhausted, having been drunk and then sobered up. So I pretty much sat like a lump at the party and couldn’t drink again until we got back to my camp. I got my second wind and was up until 4 in the morning. What a champ I am.

So now it feels like the day after Christmas. I’m off today, thank goodness, so I’m going to get out my Halloween decorations. I’ll leave you with a quote on from my friend Bill, who is on tour with a theater group and was in Mobile, Alabama this weekend, unable to celebrate ALF with us. He called us on Saturday night and talked to all of us for a couple hours while drinking a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Bill on being in the South:
The devastation around here from the hurricane is tremendous in size and scope. Seeing all the damage first hand is incredible. You just can't imagine the seriousness of all the destruction caused by Mother Nature until you see it. What a terrible year for weather, droughts in the west, hurricanes and tornados in the south, and flooding in the north, and if that wasn't enough, a volcano is on the verge of erupting. If Bush gets reelected look for the earth to open up and swallow the USA. Armageddon is upon us, run away.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Debate Debacle

First and foremost, a very happy birthday to Julie , who will be celebrating tonight by watching the debate (then maybe getting tattooed or pierced?), like I hope most of you are. Yes, there is no better way to kick off a weekend of partying like watching presidential debates. I’m having my own debate party at my camp. I’m pretty darn excited. After those plans, the weekend will be pretty much a free for all. Wackiness will ensue.

And now it’s time again for an E-Lo History Lesson!
Ok, boys and girls. As we know, tonight there will be a very heated debate, full of hot topics, such as the war on terror, the war in Iraq, the economy, and healthcare. But what were the topics of choice in former presidential debates, you ask? Well let me tell you!

In 1858, it was the Illinois Senate Debates. Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas, both very stern looking gentlemen, I might add, said their piece regarding slavery and the Union. There were seven debates total, each 3 hours in length. The first candidate spoke for an hour, and the second spoke for and hour and a half, taking the first half hour to respond. I bet witty banter abounded in those debates!

In 1948, Oregon was the host of the Republican Presidential Primary Debate between Thomas Dewey and Harold Stassen. This was the first and last presidential debate limited to a single issue. Can anybody guess what that issue was? Abortion? Gay marriage? Welfare Reform? No, sir! It was all about outlawing the Communist party in the U.S. Was it held in a bunker? Nope, it was on the radio! Technology is an amazing thing.

Jumping ahead to 1960, the birth of modern debates, was the first televised General Election Presidential Debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. These guys paved the way to the debates you see these days. There were four presidential debates and no vice presidential debates during the 1960 general election. They talked mostly about domestic issues, like the economy. The thing that was most remembered from the first televised debate was how the candidates looked. Yes, Americans wanted their candidates to be eye candy even back then! Kennedy took the cake in the looks department. Nixon was recovering from the flu and was pale and had lost weight. After the first debate, Nixon learned to wear dark suits and make-up! Pressing issues in 1960.

Moving even further ahead to 1992’s General Election Presidential Debate between Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ross Perot. Now who doesn’t remember this one? I was in 9th grade… And if you think the phrase "Weapons of Mass Destruction" were coined by W., buddy, you are wrong! Clinton is quoted as saying in these debates, "We need to stop this proliferation of weapons of mass destruction." How about that? But we didn’t see him starting a war over it, did we? Speaking of war, how about that old war on drugs that we don’t hear much about anymore? Here’s what Bush had to say in 92, "The use of cocaine, for example, by teenagers is dramatically down." Teenagers. Not middle aged men, though. That’s all I have to say about that. Clinton responded by saying "But I know more about this, I think, than anybody else up here because I have a brother who's a recovering drug addict." Well, at least he admitted that. Somebody else in this debate had a family member who was an addict. Any guesses who, boys and girls?

So how will the 2004 General Election Presidential Debate turn out? Will there be blood and gore? Will chairs be thrown, like in baseball? Will the crowd boo and hiss? Should they just have a death match instead? The anticipation is mounting. I hope you all watch and tell me what you think.

Yeah...I wrote this last night at 3 a.m., so sorry if it sounds a little loopy. Well, off to pack my bags for my big party weekend. Hopefully I can get some good pictures of this crazy thing they call ALF. Alien life form, indeed. No, Autumn Leaf Festival... the only time of year when Clarion's population is over 100,000... It reminds me of an episode of the Family Guy that was on a couple nights ago, when all the leafers come to town. That's pretty much what Clarion is like right now. So I'm going to go add to the out of town population.

Everybody have a good weekend! I'm gonna make like a tree and leave. Oh, and don't forget to comment on my last post. Buh-bye.

On the Milk Carton

Well, it seems that a member of blogosphere has disappeared for good. I’ve been following the comments for a few days at Kev's place and it’s getting weird over there. He hasn’t posted since August 29, and rumor has it that he’s:

1. sick of blogging so he’s writing a novel
2. run away with a stripper
3. been shipped off to Iraq
4. been killed in a car accident
5. has become a Mormon
6. has been officially requested by his employers to refrain from using their club as the inspiration for his blog.

It’s weird how little we know about the people in this world. Weirder yet that someone with such a popular blog can just drop off the face of the earth, leaving people with absolutely no clue what happened. There are well over 200 comments on his site, with no word from the man himself, unless you count all the fake Kevin comments left by assholes with nothing better to do than shake things up. (Yeah, but what am I doing?) Although the scariest comment to date is one posted by someone claiming to be Kev’s friend, who just found the site, saying that he was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver. Of course there’s no way to verify this without any details. So it all goes back to the whole "who’s who in bloggerville" concept, which we’ve all been through before. It’s a shame in a sense, since Kev’s blog got me into this whole mess of blog community. I feel a bit of personal loss. I can only hope whoever Kevin is, he’s alive and well, and laughing at all the people still commenting on his blog and begging him to come back. I don’t think he’ll be back, but we’ll probably never know why.

I’ll post something better tomorrow before I leave, just wanted to know if anyone has any thoughts on the many identity controversies of blogland.

Monday, September 27, 2004

ALF: Autumn Leaf Freak

I’m in the process of mentally and physically preparing myself for the upcoming weekend. Yes, I know it’s only Monday, but the weekend coming up is the weekend that I look forward to every year. Technically it begins for me on Wednesday, the day my vacation begins. I start gearing up for the Autumn Leaf Festival usually somewhere in late August. As you can see here in my previous ALF post from August.

As I get a little bit older, I know things are going to be different from the years that I was in college, walking the streets of Clarion at night, drunk, of course, going from party to party, then walking home and passing out. This year, I’ll be with a bunch of my other married friends, and of course, the "not yet married" friends. It’s weird how that becomes a way to classify your single friends once you’re married. The weekend will also involve driving, from the bar, to other parties, to my camp, which is 15 minutes outside of town. That means that at least one of us will have to stay somewhat sober (and it's not going to be me!). And I’m sure everyone will have different ideas about what they want to do, so our little group will inevitably be spilt apart, which is another new thing.

The bad thing about anticipation is that if things don’t go the way you hope, you’ll be let down. Hopefully I’ll be drunk enough not to care. I always envision things to go a certain way, and when they don’t go that way, I end up disappointed. Selfish bitch that I am. I have to just learn to roll with the punches and make every situation the best it can be. I know, I’m over analyzing a weekend of partying. Holy crap. But it never fails for me that there is at least one part of the weekend where there is a little bit of tension on my part, usually because of what other people are doing to screw up my good time. But I’m just going to take a deep breath this year and relax. Because I don’t have to worry about anything. I’m not going to worry about work, I’m not going to worry about paying bills, I’m not going to worry about finding a new job, heck, I’m not even going to worry about politics (except on Thursday night, I can’t miss the debate!). I’m not going to worry about having a good time, because I know I’ll have fun.

The problem with me is that I don’t know how to relax. I’m wound tighter than Pee-Wee Hermans’ rubber band ball. Sometime I just drop my shoulders and go, "oh, that’s what’s causing my neck to hurt. Hmm, maybe I’ll try that again later." I always have to be doing something, moving and accomplishing some goal. More than likely that’s the reason I never really accomplish anything.

So the moral of the story is, this weekend I’m going to have a blast. It’s inescapable, because I’ve been looking forward to it for so long. I’m going to walk the streets of Clarion, eat greasy food, drink lots of beer, and enjoy the company of friends that I don’t see very often. Because that’s what it’s all about, man.

I hate it when my posts turn themselves into a monster, when my brain and fingers take over. Ack, I’m doing it again! Relax, E-Lo! Breathe!

Three more days of work before the debauchery officially begins!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Math Anxiety-ridden Art Smart E-Lo

I went to a tiny little Catholic school, St. Mary's, but we didn’t have nuns as teachers. My kindergarten teacher was a nun, and our principal was a nun. The rest of them were just regular teachers. My seventh grade teacher wasn’t even Catholic. I’m sure they all had very crappy salaries, and most of them were pretty nasty. I had 5 teachers that I liked out of my 9 years.

My math anxiety started in first grade. I can pinpoint the exact moment that it happened. I came back from being sick one day to find that the previous day’s math lesson was learning to subtract 2 digit numbers. We had only done 1 digit subtraction up until then. My teacher gave me my homework and let me start on it during lunch. She didn’t explain it to me, or teach me anything about it. She just handed it to me and said, "This is due by the end of the day." After about 10 minutes of trying to figure it out by myself, I went to her and told her I didn’t understand it. She got pissed and told me to ask someone in my class, and to stay in during recess and finish it. I remember it was a beautiful day, and all my friends were outside playing in the playground. I went and sat down and started to cry. I think another girl in my class tried to help me, but she didn’t really know what she was doing either.

In second grade things got worse for me. I didn’t realize that my problem was that I couldn’t see. I had trouble following when the teacher was writing on the black board. This led to me getting behind in just about every subject. My teacher would send me into the hallway when I couldn’t get my work done. I would sit under the coat racks, hoping nobody would see me, because being sent into the hallway was such an embarrassment. Finally, my parents realized (at the end of the school year) that I needed glasses. What a relief that was. I put my glasses on for the first time and it was like a whole other world appeared in front of me. I couldn’t believe that things looked so different. I was a blind little child. Still am.

Things improved until I moved upstairs in our building. Then we had certain teachers for each subject for the next four years. This was when I ran into Mrs. Cousins, the oldest teacher in the school. She had been a teacher there when one of my mom’s friends went there. She was old, mean, and taught math. And she loved to torture me.

Mrs. Cousins lived for sending me to the blackboard in math class. She knew how terrible I was at math, so she’d ridicule me in front of my class. She made me feel like the stupidest person on earth. It got so bad with her that kids in my class started making fun of me on the bus. I remember Kristi, who thought she was so cool cause her name ended in "i" and was one of the most popular girls in my class, yelling from the back of the bus (the cool people seats) "hey, E-Lo! What’s 10 times 6?" and laughing. When I didn’t answer, she said to her popular (and older, another embarrassment) friend, "see, I told you she couldn’t do math!" Like it was the most hilarious thing ever.

Towards the end of the year in 6th grade, before all the popular kids went to the junior high, and the geeky kids like me stayed at St. Mary’s, our entire class entered in a national poster contest sponsored by Crayola. We had to draw a poster of what we wished most for. Mine was "I wish everybody would share a smile," and I drew 2 peoples heads with their faces close together and one big smile extending from one face to the other, like they were literally sharing a smile. And guess what? I won first place in a national poster contest. My name was in the paper and everything. After that, I was considered the best artist in the class, and nobody made fun of me anymore. I didn’t feel stupid. I knew there was something out there that I could do, besides read (I was always in the top reading groups). I was an artist. I could draw better than anyone in my class. Kristi couldn’t even draw a straight line. Dumb bitch.

So here I am, years later, writing a thesis on the theory of Multiple Intelligences. The theory basically says that everybody has different levels of intelligence in different areas. So the idea behind my thesis is, even if you aren’t traditionally smart, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t intelligent in other areas, like art or music. It all stems from somewhere deep within me, I guess. I’m art smart. Always have been, always will be. And I still can’t do math. I’m probably worse at it now then I was back then. But I have a Master’s degree. So ha ha to all the kids that made fun of me for not being able to do math. Nanny nanny poo poo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Prohibition 2004

I started thinking today about who else is running for president this year, because I haven’t heard anything about anyone besides Bush, Kerry, and Nader. I saw a little piece on CNN the other day about Earl Dodge, the candidate for the Prohibition party. (Oh what fun that would be. I’d be drinking bootleg Coors Light.) Needless to say, I was taken a little off guard, not realizing that prohibition was still a pressing issue to some people. Having never heard of this guy, I thought, ‘hmm. Who else haven’ I heard of?’ Well, apparently a lot of people. It seems like any regular Joe can get their name on the ballot, even though some, like Earl Dodge, will only be on the ballot in their home state (his is Colorado, home of my beer that he would make illegal). So I started a little bit of research on his party and here’s what I came up with.

The Moral Issues of the Prohibition Party:
For Right to Life
Against Commercial Gambling
Against the Homosexual Agenda
Against Commercial Pornography
For the Right to Prayer and Bible Reading in the Public Schools
Against Commercial Sale of Alcohol and Other Harmful Drugs

Hmm. This makes me wonder what exactly the homosexual agenda is. On that issue alone I say even if I could vote for this guy, or if he was in John Kerry’s position in the polls, I’d rather have Bush. What? No. It’s a little scary to think about. But seriously. Gambling? Commercial pornography? Come on, really? These are pressing issues? Hey, remember organized crime? They’d have a field day with these things. It worked in the 20’s, right?

Which brings me to –woo hoo!- E-Lo’s history lesson for the day!

In case you think that Prohibition is just a story you were told as a young child to give you nightmares, I’m here to tell you; No, sir! It was real! Drinking was once as illegal as parading down the street buck naked. It’s a scary prospect, I know. Think about how fun your social life would be if you couldn’t go drinking with your friends on the weekends. Ok, well, I know mine would be less fun. But that’s because I’m an immoral alcohol consumer. Glug, glug. But I digress. The whole idea behind this wacky prohibition thing was to reduce crime, corruption, solve social problems (because people drank so much), reduce the tax burden created by prisons (people who got drunk and caused silly drunken problems), and improve health and hygiene in America. Why hygiene? I can’t tell ya. Probably because of the rapid increase of urban areas and industrialization. But maybe one of my history scholar friends can add some comments on that one. Of course, keep in mind that before Prohibition, most saloons also offered legal gambling and prostitution.

History tells us that Prohibition was a miserable failure. Sure, alcohol consumption went down at the beginning of the whole crazy scheme, but law officials really couldn’t make the government do all it could to enforce it. Plus prohibition removed a significant source of tax revenue, and increased government spending just to hire the people needed to enforce it, like customs agents and Coast Guard personnel. Corruption was rampant, everyone from major politicians to cops were taking bribes from bootleggers. Not to mention the fact that many of the drinkers switched to narcotics. Organized crime was running amok with speakeasies, gambling, and prostitution, which were all big boons for guys like Al Capone. The rates of violent crimes went up. Prisons began to be filled to the brim, which was the opposite of what they thought would happen. So, to make a long story short, Prohibition lasted from 1920 to 1933, and then government decided, ‘hey, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all!’ So it was repealed, and we all lived happily ever after. With beer. As Ben Franklin once said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." And who’s going to argue with Ben Franklin?

Ok, so now I will ask: WHY is there a Prohibition Party? Do they really want to go there again? Look at the facts, jack. It didn’t work. Things went downhill very quickly. Don’t you think it would happen the same way these days, only tenfold? Hello! Illegal drugs are still around. Illegal alcohol would be too. Crime is terrible. It would get way worse. I just don’t get how this is a good idea! Plus the fact that there are more pressing social issues to deal with at the moment, other than the oh so evil porn industry. Sorry, I’m generalizing. Don’t yell at me or call me a brain dead whiner, please. But their issues are pretty general. Like "balanced federal budget.’ What party doesn’t want that one? I know somebody out there has a smart-alecky answer to that… Ahh, Prohibition. The oldest third party in the United States.

This rant is officially over. Go about your business. Nothing to see here.