Sunday, April 29, 2007

too much information

am i the only one who's noticed a rather alarming trend at my local gas station? there i was, minding my own business last week, trying to top off my tank (and by "top off", i mean "put in just enough to get the little red needle back above "e""), when suddenly, i heard a tinny-sounding semi-masculine voice behind me.

i had the bosses' kids in the car at the time, and they were nearly as startled as i was. (i'm proud to report that the car seat has almost completely dried out- who knew those liners could be so darned absorbent?)

it took me a few seconds (about the time the voice started telling me about some fabulous specials the gas station was offering on "the necessities: bud light bottles, hot dogs, and tampax") to realize what was going on, and a fraction of another second to whip my head around and notice the handy "mute" button on the speaker box.

i thought the experience was just a fluke, but then SO and i stopped for gas before heading off on a local hike (there's a 2-mile trail at sesquicentennial state park, which we hiked twice), and this time, he was the one who jumped. however, instead of the voice coming from a small box with a mute button, some sort of motion sensor had been rigged to a speaker on the corner of the quikie-mart's roof. the effect was something akin to that scene in "real genius" where kent can't figure out the origin of the voices he's hearing and becomes convinced that he's having a conversation with god.

except that it was a very one sided conversation.

and i lean more towards atheism, myself.

and i'm pretty sure that god wouldn't play bad gangsta rap and tell me about the specials his quickie-mart was running on "the necessities" (that'd be bud light, hot dogs, and trojan 12-packs, for you folks who've been deprived of these sorts of experiences.)

so, it's not enough to get cemmercials on the radio, in my magazines, popping up while i'm downloading porn (kidding)- i can't even stop by the gas station without being prodded to buy more crap i don't need?

what's next? voices in public restrooms, besides just the folks who wander in, talking on their cell phones?

i can hardly wait to wander into a public restroom, settle in and hear, "let me tell you about some of the fabulous specials we're running on the necessities: bud light, hot dogs........."

Friday, April 27, 2007

got junk?

i recently read something interesting- it seems that a new surgical procedure has gained popularity lately- women are actually wandering into their doctors' offices and requesting that a little extra junk be packed in their trunks. the article didn't say anything about recovery times or anything of that sort ("how long before i'll be able to sit again, doc?" and "if i'm out ice skating and fall on my butt a little too hard, will the padding move and give me hips like venus de milo?") i am quite thankful that i'll never need to go through such a procedure.

more of that in a minute.

last week, while the bosses were out of town, i took it upon myself to swing by target and drop off a couple of disposable cameras i'd found lying around their house.

i never know what to expect when dropping off a random disposable camera for develping. sometimes, i can actually identify the main subjects, though usually i wind up staring at vaguely familiar scenes and wondering if maybe this was one of those "drunken party" cameras from a weekend of debauchery in college or some such thing.

i recognized one camera from our recent trip to florida, but the other was a complete mystery and quite frankly, i was a little fearful that it was filled with pictures of my bosses, snapped during a weekend of post-college debauchery.

as it turns out, the second camera was quite innocent- mostly pictures my five year old sidekick took of her parents, albeit at odd angles and sometimes with portions of her right hand making an appearance.

on the other hand (pun quite possibly intended), the known camera, the one she toted around typhoon lagoon....well....

i remember her yelling about taking a picture of my butt while we were wading around in one of the pools. little did i know that it was actually one of several. (note to the faint of heart, as well as any of my relatives: you probably want to leave now and go look for webkinz on ebay instead or something.):

this is the portrait of my derriere that i actually knew about. (however, i obviously did not know that my tag was hanging out.)

...and the butt shot i didn't know about. (thank goodness it's not that bad.)

as a public service, i'll spare you the other photos. for some reason, direct sunlight makes my butt resemble jabba the hutt's more than it does heidi klum's....and i don't need either of my readers to suggest the other, more popular surgical procedure for that general area.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

over the river and through the woods.....

...not quite, although we crossed a small stream on yesterday's hike.

the bosses weren't getting back into town until last night, so i packed up the kids and SO, and we headed up to caesar's head state park for a long-overdue hike to raven cliff falls, near the north/south carolina border.

since the park is a good two hour drive from columbia, i took the kids on a "test hike" at congaree national park the last time their parents were out of town- to make sure the five year old could handle a 4 1/2 mile hike without pooping out somewhere in the middle.(she passed with flying colors and very little whining, i'm pleased to report.)

we'd packed a variety of snacks, our national park passports (we were hoping to have enough time to boogie across the border to the carl sandburg home but, alas, we ran out of time), our gnomads, and the nine year old's webkinz (a current obsession).

all were hauled out at one point or another, as you can imagine, though we had to settle for the caesar's head state park address stamp on our passports. (the kids were still excited, which is the important part.)

i'll spare you the mundane details regarding our root beer floats, SO's recurring belching (much to the five year old's delight, as each explosion was followed with a spot-on steve martinish "excuuuuuuuuse me"), and the lectures regarding the (lack of) wisdom of running near the mountain's edge.

however, i will make you suffer through some pictures :)

the webkinz claimed shotgun

hot dog, who's taken over bodhi's blog while he's on his world cruise, with caesar's head

raven cliff falls

i suckered SO into buying two hiking books for me at the caesar's head gift shop- he's already been tipped off that i'm planning on dragging him out to frolic in the wilderness when i get done with my radio shift next weekend....assuming he's walking normally again by then.

Friday, April 20, 2007

sadly, nevermore.....

cell phone boycott: day one
calls missed: one (damn)

i've had a peculiar blend of "why can't i be you?", "roam", and various songs from the my best friend's wedding soundtrack running through my head. i'm not sure what all this means, but i'm sure it'll lead to some sort of bizarre julia roberts/robert smith dream this evening. (wait- perhaps that's the connection....but what about the b-52s? did they have a member with "robert" somewhere in their name? i should google that later.)

however, i'm not here this evening to pound out various connections between random songs in my head. i'm here, to give myself something to do while i run the bathwater- which i'll top off after getting in the tub, just because i learned a rather chilly lesson the other night. (go ahead- scroll down and read it- i can wait.......)

speaking of water, it is with great sorrow that i must report the passing of a dear friend, whom i never actually had the pleasure of meeting. it seems a close college friend of mine is preparing to bury her close friend and roommate.

i asked if there had been any warning signs. perhaps he wasn't his usual happy-go-lucky self? had she overheard him quoting the raven and listening to joy division more than usual? maybe she'd come home from class one day and found him writing bad poetry in his journal. did she catch him practicing various mopey shakespearean monologues? was he sobbing uncontrollably in his room in the wee hours of the morning, when he thought she'd fallen asleep? was he sleeping more than usual?

simply put, the answer to all of these questions was "no" (though i noticed a long pause before receiving an answer to that final question, though i suppose that one might have required a little extra thought, considering it was sometimes hard to tell when he was actually asleep and when he was just staring into space.)

however, now is not the time to ponder how/when it all went sour. it's time to recount happy memories (which i'm sure i'd have, had i actually met him), and lend support to the bereaved (i already offered to fly out to montana and hand her kleenex during the burial ceremony....still waiting for an answer on that one.)

so, raise a tall glass of water to a dear friend and loved one, who brought my former roommate such joy. his life was far too short, but he lived every day to the fullest.

r.i.p count cosmos
september 2006- april 2007

Thursday, April 19, 2007

don't call me- i might call you (when i'm good and ready)

was looking for inspiration this evening, and interestingly enough, it comes from my bosses. (actually, i could probably write a book or two about them, but for once they've given me something to work with that i think i can share.

we're currently battling over my distaste of the "electronic leash". it was bestowed upon me while in miami, and for some reason, it just won't go away....which is not making me happy.

i know i'm alone on this one, but quite frankly, i like being unreachable. with a cell phone comes the impression (of others) that suddenly they can reach you, no matter what time of day. if the phone rings and you don't answer, for some reason, then you have to field questions about why you didn't answer. (every time i'm asked about this, i have to suppress the urge to say "because i don't feel like talking while i'm in the can"- though as we all know, that doesn't stop most folks.)

since the phone i use rings my boss's phone if i don't answer, he's decided he needs to switch the forwarding on it....and i'm supposed to set up voice mail so people can leave me messages.

i can already smell the storm brewing. the way i see it, if something's that vitally important, it can be taken care of before i wander off, or sent to my email, or left on my answering machine at home, or, heck, i'm always at work- might as well dial that number. therefore, the voice mail is unnecessary.

i'm playing along this week, only because they're out of town and i've got their offspring. however, i figure by monday or tuesday, the battery should be tapped and maybe i can be left alone.

call me old fashioned, but don't expect me to answer if you're calling the cell.


there's nothing quite like running a warm bath (while trying to clear out the ol' inbox), letting the water cool (while ordering new pajamas, then pondering how exactly "free shipping" translates into an $11.99 "handling" fee), and finally setting a toe in the tub and realizing (rather quickly, i might add) that in many states, one could now qualify to become a member of the "polar bear club".

perhaps i got a little out of hand with the multitasking this evening......

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

uncle sam is my gigolo

i've come to the conclusion that word must've gotten out that i was a decent lay or something, because today i found myself, checkbook in hand, bending way over for uncle sam.

given that i was not taken out for a nice dinner beforehand, handed a dozen roses, or even given a peck on the cheek, this distresses me.

year after year, i find myself spending april 14th (or 16th, this year) listening to SO gloat over his huge refund ($12000 this year....or something to that effect. perhaps i accidentally added a zero as some sort of subconscious slip referring to the number of times i'd like to hear his gloating) while trying to suppress the urge to hurl my checkbook at him.....right after i write the government a check that, in ratio to my earnings, seems just a tad exorbitant.

for my money, i'd like to be wined, dined, and perhaps a small thank you note from the government is in order. while various actors, who shall remain nameless (cough cough cough wesley snipes) and reality tv stars (like that dude from survivor- did he honestly think that no one from the irs watched survivor and therefore no one would notice if he "forgot" to report his winnings?) pretend not to be gainfully employed, here i am, shelling out better than 10% of my earnings (and that's after socking money away in a 401k and an ira, folks) just so our fearless leader can buy his daughters another round of frosty beverages.

(actually, i should probably take that last comment back. after all, i don't recall seeing the girls teetering around with tara reid or lindsay lohan recently, so i should probably assume they, like many of us who've made it out of college, have sobered up at least a little.)

with that in mind, perhaps i'm simply paying for mark foley's lap dances, which actually doesn't distress me nearly as much as having to actually pay the state government this year for the first time ever.

yes- you read that right- no relief from anyone. instead, i'm forking over the equivalent of three nights at a fancy hotel to the feds, and paying the state of south carolina for a mint-flavored condom on the pillow.

Friday, April 13, 2007

perhaps i should get out more

i'm restless, and a nine year old is partially to blame.

since our return from miami, i've found myself in three different conversations with the nine year old (my sidekick's big brother) about how lucky i am that my parents liked to travel with us so much and how i'm always going cool places and he wishes he could travel that much and so on and so forth.

apparently, sometime between our first conversation on the topic and the brief one we had earlier this evening (as his dad was contemplating where in the world they should travel using his 600000 marriott bonus points or whatever they're called), he'd brought the topic up with his mom (my boss). as he told me earlier, she told him that once they retire (i think she's got a five year plan in place for such an event), they'll travel even more than i do.

is it just me, or does this sound like it's evolved into some sort of pissing contest? furthermore, why do i find myself with not only this window open, but also windows for expedia, orbitz, and travelocity, trying to figure out whether or not i want to go adventuring in seattle, alaska, or the caribbean by myself?

Sunday, April 08, 2007

friends, romans, easter bunnies, lend me your ear

it's easter, and i have not had one tiny little nibble of chocolate. what's wrong with this picture?

sadly, i have not had one little nibble of a taco, either, because as SO discovered on his lunch run (is it still "lunch" if you're eating it at 4:45?), the employees of taco bell must be sleeping off a sugar coma somewhere, as no one was manning the drive-thru when he made his usual sunday stop.

i am so distraught that i may be forced to console myself with a dozen 50% off (would that make it a half-dozen?) cadbury creme eggs after my hot date with the hunky orthodontist tomorrow morning.

ahhh...creme eggs. just thinking about their creamy (creme-y?) goodness is almost enough to make me bounce off the walls. (perhaps that energy would be better spent on the treadmill here at clear channel's state-of-the-art fitness cubicle center, but that would take some motivation that i do not currently possess.)

speaking of eggs, i seriously contemplated scanning in an article from the woodlawn, md, local newspaper from roughly 20 years ago, when yours truly was photographed (in all my nerdish glory, no less) with my first prize ever- a chocolate bunny i was given after finding one of the golden eggs at the parks & rec annual egg hunt. (was it a coincidence that mama helped hide the eggs that year? of course!)

however, the sight of myself in glasses that i'm pretty sure were bigger than my entire face is just too much to behold with the naked eye. i mean, you don't go outside and stare at the sun during a solar eclipse, do you? of course not! you haul out a shoebox and a couple of mirrors and a nail to poke a hole in the shoebox with, just like they advise you to in the newspaper about a week beforehand, right?

well, unless you have that same shoebox/mirror contraption handy, i'm afraid your vision might be irreparably damaged by the sight of such a vision (no pun intended....or at least not a big one, anyway), and therefore i'm really looking out for your best interests by not scanning it in.

(that sounds so much better than simply admitting that the only time i can ever seem to find my copy of the photo is mid-august, when there's positively no reason whatsoever for me to need to scan it in or at the very least move it to a spot where i'll be able to find it roughly eight months later.)

which reminds me- i can't seem to find my easter basket, either. this means that in addition to a serious lack of chocolate in my apartment (and if the easter bunny's waiting for that 50% off sale on cadbury creme eggs, let me just point out that i should be justified in anticipating getting twice as much chocolate in my basket), i am being deprived of the joy of plucking little strands of plastic easter grass off of the furniture and carpet. can you feel the deprivation here?

seriously, can you?

i'll be sure to leave an empty basket by my front door, lest you feel inclined to cheer me up with chocolate and/or tacos.*

*and if you folks lucky enough to live near a taco john's want to combine the two and bring me a choco taco or two, i certainly won't complain.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

miami by the numbers

i know you've been waiting on the edge of your seat to find out whether or not i did, in fact, make it out of miami without winding up as the inspiration for an episode of csi. (and by "you", i'm obviously referring to both of my readers.)

in a word, yes.

since it took me three hours to scribble the trip summary into my journal the other day (and not just because i kept cracking up every time i thought about a rather unlikely conversation with my bosses involving the correct pronounciation of pretty much the most famous female adult movie star ever, which somehow degraded into ponderances regarding taking molds of rather personal body parts for mass production......but i digress), i'll give you the highlights:

number of times master thespian david caruso took off his sunglasses, gazed at me (because i was blocking his view of the sunset), and said something profound: 0 (my time inside miami city limits was spent waiting for red lights to turn green.)

number of crime scenes we passed when my young charges and i took a mile long (at most) stroll near our hotel: 1 (i'm still not quite sure what happened at said crime scene, but i'm guessing that the four cop cars were called in for something slightly more serious than a missing pet.)

number of times we were shot at while wandering through the crime scene: 0 (woo hoo!)

number of adult film conventions in town last weekend: 1

number of adult film conventions i attended last weekend: 0

number of times my boss mispronounced jenna jameson' name: 1

number of times his wife asked how i knew who she was: 1

number of jenna jameson flicks i've actually seen: 0

number of mornings spent picking up seashells on the beach: 4

number of very large people in very small swimsuits edited out of the above photo: 1

number of giant conch shells i still have yet to find: all of them

number of national parks visited last weekend: 2

the everglades
biscayne national park

number of park employees i wound up having a ridiculously long conversation with: 1

number of park employees i was accused (by a 9 year old) of flirting with: 1 (i swear i was just getting trip advice. i mean, sure, he was cute, and i suppose him telling me he hoped he'd see me again real soon could have been seen as flirting or something, but i'm pretty sure he was just being friendly to an obvious tourist.)

number of times this sort of thing has happened before: 2 (brown vs. board of education site in topeka, kansas; tuzigoot national monument near clarkdale, arizona)

number of hours it took to get a meal at the ft. lauderdale ihop: 1.5

number of hours our waitress was missing in action while we waited for our food: 1 (seriously, lady, couldn't your lunch wait until after we'd been brought ours?)

number of detours on the way home: 1 (sushi in orlando, anyone?)

number of strange items found in my hair following the post-sushi swim: 1 (interestingly enough, no one wanted to claim ownership of the mysteriously appearing booger)

number of times i shampooed post swim, just because i was perhaps a wee bit grossed out. i mean, wouln't you be pretty concerned if someone else's booger had taken up temporary residence on your noggin after an otherwise relaxing swim?: 3

number of waterparks visited during said detour: 1 (typhoon lagoon)

number of times yours truly was hit on at said waterpark, whilst wearing the jaw-droppingly fabulous white bikini: 0 (some things never change, i guess)

number of alcoholic beverages introduced to yours truly during the trip: 3 (mojito, sake, and whatever you call the mojito's fiesty brazilian cousin)

number of times yours truly was called a "chatty cathy" after two mojitos and a crown & ginger: 4 (though it is entirely possible that i was hearing double by that point.)

number of times yours truly was called a "chatty cathy" by master thespian david caruso, as he took off his sunglasses and stared into the sunset: *sigh* damn.