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.