Monday, February 27, 2006

media update: February

I’m posting this a day early because tomorrow promises to be hectic both at work (training in the morning + mail and file in the afternoon = zero slacktime) and at home (a to-do list that could choke Jenna Jameson), so I doubt I’ll be reading or watching anything between now and then.

Oddly enough, two of these books feature women being penetrated with stiletto heels. What the frell? Is this an alarming new literary trend or something? It's not like I thought, "Gee, I'd sure love to read a book that has a scene with a woman being penetrated by a stiletto heel" and Googled for appropriate novels.

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may, of course, vary.


1. Mirabilis* by Susann Cokal: Wet nurses, religious fanatics, dwarves, the plague, and a beautiful lesbian widow rumored to be a heretic...what more could you ask for in a historical novel?

2. Manstealing for Fat Girls* by Michelle Embree: Oh, what a fabulous book. It's about an overweight teenage girl and her two best friends, an out lesbian and a girl who only has one breast...but it's enormous. She copes with bullying, trying to fit in, losing weight, her sexuality, and her mother's oily boyfriend in prose that's so real it hurts. If you loved Welcome to the Dollhouse, this is its much funnier literary twin. (Caveat to the anal-retentive: there are a lot of spelling and punctuation errors. It's a small-press book, though, so I'm going to let it slide.)

3. The Female of the Species by Joyce Carol Oates: A collection of short suspense stories, one of which ("Madison at Guignol") would make Stephen King puke. I made the mistake of reading it right before bed, and let's just say I didn't sleep too soundly that night.

Read so far this year: 9


1. You'll Never Nanny in This Town Again by Suzanne Hansen: Okay, lady, so the Ovitzes weren't exactly the greatest employers. Quit acting like you lived through Buchenwald!

2. Japanland* by Karin Muller: A fascinating, often funny, and occasionally poignant account of the author's year in Japan.

3. Skinny Bitch by Kim Barnouin and Rory Freedman: I can't say as I've ever read a diet and nutrition guide that included the phrase "Sober up, asshole" before this frequently foulmouthed tome.

4. I Have Chosen to Stay and Fight by Margaret Cho: I loooooves me some Margaret Cho, though much of her humor loses something in print.

5. The Black Dahlia Files by Donald H. Wolfe: In 1946, an aspiring actress named Elizabeth Short was brutally murdered and her dismembered body was tossed in a vacant lot. This book claims---none too convincingly, in my opinion---that Bugsy Siegel was behind the crime. Warning to the sensitive: in addition to the upsetting details of her torture and murder, there are extremely graphic photos of her corpse.

6. Oh the Glory of It All* by Sean Wilsey: In the last couple of years, there have been several memoirs that were so outrageous I couldn't bring myself to believe they were 100% true, such as A Million Little Pieces by James Frey and Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs. Still, despite my suspicions, I enjoyed the hell out of them, and the same is true with this corker. This is the author's account of his very weird and very rich family: his father, prone to taking him to the arcade via helicopter and spouting weird adages like "There is no better thing in this world you can be than a lover of fruit"; his mother, a drama queen of the highest order; and his stepmother, who treats him like shit, but he still masturbates to pictures of her. Alternately thrilling and depressing, and hilarious throughout.

Read so far this year: 12


1. God's Music Box by Megumi Mizusawa

2. Itadakimasu* vol. 4 by Yoshihara Yuki

3. Beauty Pop vol. 3 by Kiyoko Arai

4. Indigo Blue by Yamaji Ebine

Read so far this year: 16


1. Grizzly Man: Disturbing documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a man who was obsessed by grizzly bears and, along with his girlfriend, was eventually killed by one. Part of me feels sorry for him, because he was obviously a little wacky (at one point he puts his hand in bear shit and moans ecstatically, "This was inside her! This was a part of her!") and part of me doesn't, because you just do NOT treat wild animals like huge stuffed toys.

2. Drunken Master: This early Jackie Chan film is enjoyably goofy. Gotta love drunk guys doing kung fu!

3. Layer Cake*: A British crime caper full of double-crossings and dirty deals. I would have enjoyed this even more if I'd understood more than half of the dialogue, but it still gets a star because of the ending and a brilliant sniper scene.

4. Thumbsucker: Indie flick about a teenage boy who copes with his problems by sucking his thumb. It had its moments, and the acting was good, but it's skippable.

Seen so far this year: 16


Anything by Martina Topley-Bird: Recently, G and I finished playing Indigo Prophecy, a PS2 game that started out promising and wound up being a confusing mess. One thing I cannot fault it for, however, is its excellent soundtrack, featuring Angelo Badalamenti (who’s done the score for every David Lynch project), Theory of a Dead Man, Nina Simone, and Martina Topley-Bird. I was so intrigued by “Sandpaper Kisses”, the utterly seductive song featured in Indigo Prophecy, that I wound up downloading this album from iTunes. A review on Amazon describes her work as “chilled noir soul”, which is just about right. If Norah Jones collaborated with Hotel-era Moby, this would be the result.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

oh my freakin' whee!

When I was just a tiny lass, my mom used to host bridge parties at our house once a month. Usually Daddy-O would take my brother and me to Muncie to see a movie, but on one occasion, he had to go out of town on business and we were allowed to stay at home.

Now, after the inevitable introductions and cheek-pinchings from Mom's friends, we were supposed to go to our rooms and entertain ourselves. I sat on my bed, trying to read, but the laughter from the living room was driving me insane. I didn't know what bridge was, exactly, but it sounded like fun.


I finally stood up, smoothed down the front of my Hollie Hobbie nightgown, and trudged down the hall.

"What's wrong, honey?" Mom asked.

"I want Tommy Gray," I said. (Tommy Gray was my beloved, albeit aloof, half-Persian cat.)

"He's probably hiding; you know how he gets around strangers. Do you want a glass of water?"

Something caught my eye...something pink and shiny.

"What's that?" I asked, pointing.

"It's a drink called Tab."

"Can I have some?"

"I don't think you'd like it," Mom said.

"Is it beer?"


"So can I try it?"

"Just a small sip and then back to your room, okay?"

I took a drink from the proffered can. "Ugh!" I cried, handing it back immediately. "It tastes like pennies!"

Everyone laughed, and Mom kissed the top of my head. "Okay, off with you."

"Can I have some bridge mix?"

She sighed and dug out three pieces. "Here you go. Brush your teeth!" she called after my rapidly retreating back.

I returned to my bed and flopped down on my stomach. I wondered why adults drank such yucky-tasting stuff, and then the caffeine started working its magic (remember, I was 7, and I've always been a lightweight), and lo, an addict was born.

So you can imagine my delight when I went to Long's to buy People for my traditional Friday night soak and found...Tab Energy. I grabbed a four-pack and my magazine and made a beeline to the checkout stand.

I finished my first can about ten minutes ago. It doesn't taste like pennies anymore...more like a melted watermelon Jolly Rancher.

It's bright pink.

It's kind of nasty, yet strangely appealing.

And ordinarily I type about 65 words per minute, but I swear to you I'm typing about 90 right now. I don't remember the last time I felt this...alert.

With the help of this pretty pink can, I might just make it through next week's asscrackery after all.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

movin' on up

Tuesday morning found me in a rotten mood. I hadn’t slept well the night before, and I was none too thrilled to come in to work…even less so than usual, because I have to train in the mail and file department.

Yes, I am suddenly the company bicycle, free for anyone to ride, and I must go where I’m told. One of the mail and file people is going on vacation for three weeks, so they need someone to help out. I, the masterless samurai, was tapped for the position.

Gosh, you mean I get to work mornings in one shiterrific position, and then spend the afternoon in another one? Let me find a container for my joy! I wanted to complain, but I knew I needed to make a good impression on my potential bosses, and so I was as flexible as a Cirque du Soleil hooker.

So back to the tale at hand. I came in to work, logged in, and sullenly began datestamping an enormous pile of shit. The other CSA said, “Boy, you don’t seem too happy this morning.” I shrugged noncommittally, and she said, “Got a delayed case of Mondayitis?”


Only my fear of prison, where I would inevitably wind up whoring myself out to the biggest, meanest woman for protection, kept her safe from defenestration.

Anyway, so I smiled humorlessly, my lips pulled tight as a seam, and continued stamping. I was in the middle of this glorious task when I was summoned for a meeting. I was afraid they were going to tell me I was shitcanned for my crap attitude since being yanked from the comforts of my former department, but no…they wanted to offer me a position in the department I’ve been gunning for. No interview necessary, just a nice smooth lateral move. Oh, sure, it will be the standard paper-shuffling grunt work, but it will be an enormous improvement over what I’m doing now, plus I get to keep my salary and my benefits.

Color me relieved!

Now, don’t go thinking that I want to do this shit for the rest of my life, but I’d much rather look for something better while I’m still actually employed. I’ll be honest, I’m totally lazy, and if I was unemployed for longer than a week, I wouldn’t be out pounding the pavements and filling out applications and posting my resume on Monster. No, I’d be catching matinees and sleeping till noon.

And I’m no happy-crappy corporate mouthpiece, but overall this is a very good place to work. The benefits are really good, there’s usually free food sitting around somewhere, we get to pick out a Christmas gift every year, and I have access to a breathtaking array of office supplies. I don’t make a ton of money, but I earn enough to pay my bills, with some left over for savings, candy, and porn.

So there you have it. I still have to finish up the week in this Office Spacey farce of a department, but next week I get to split my days between training for my new position and helping out in mail and file. I did mail and file this morning, and I’ll be honest…I kind of liked it. I didn’t have to think at all, and there was something so peaceful and zen about putting things in their proper place. Sure, I felt a bit like Will Hunting, walking around wondering if "Jeopardy" will call me while pushing a fucking mail cart, but whatever. This too shall pass.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to burgle the supply room.

Thursday, February 16, 2006 Calvin Klein

Recently, I have become addicted to Laughing Cow Swiss cheese wedges; there's just no better snack. I love grabbing a piece, peeling back its saucy silver wrapper, and popping it whole into my mouth.

Today a wedge, favoring a quick death over mastication and digestion, took a suicide leap from my fingers and bounced off my cans, landing in my lap. A milky white comet trail of cheese streaked down the front of my black sweater and black skirt.

Oy vey Maria.

This is where my Girl Scout training came in handy, for I always keep a Shout Wipe in my purse, and it made short work of the cheese smears. Unfortunately, it did nothing for the smell, and I'm hoping I don't run into a swarm of horny mice between now and the time I get home.

And then, to add insult to stinky injury, I went to the break room to get a substitute snack---I wasn't going to eat no crotch cheese---and I didn't pay close enough attention to the front of the Baked Lay's bag, and I wound up buying sour cream and ONION-flavored chips, which I didn't notice until I had already eaten one. My tongue was instantly covered in a fug of horrible oniony nastiness, and I wanted to puke, but I didn't have another Shout Wipe and couldn't risk splatter.

Christ, it's just been one of those days.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


I have a notoriously poor sense of direction, and the 405 is also known as "the world's longest parking lot", so I figured I'd better leave plenty early for my Jeopardy audition. Traffic wasn't too bad until I got about five miles away, and then it snarled up, but I still got to the Culver City Radisson with 2 hours to spare.

So I went in the restaurant and had a nice Angus burger and fries, and then I sat in the lobby and read The Life of Pi until 3:20, at which point I headed over to the meeting room with the big Jeopardy sign pinned to the door. The coordinators handed me a form to fill out and a nifty Jeopardy pen, which found its way into my purse as soon as I was done with it. Then they took a Polaroid of me, which came out muy shitty, and asked me to go inside and sit down.

Eventually, when everyone had been duly photographed and turned in their paperwork, one of the producers introduced herself and explained the procedure: first a written test, followed by a mock game and brief personality interview.

Okay, I thought, taking a deep breath. You can do this.

The written test consisted of 50 questions which ranged from fairly easy ("This Irish band's breakout album was titled Boy") to insanely hard ("This James Joyce short story ends in a snowy graveyard"). We only had about ten seconds to jot down our answers, so I did the best I could.

Next up, we got to play a mock game. They called up groups of three, gave them buzzers, and directed their attention to the game board on the screen. The producer warned that we could only click our buzzers when the question had finished; our cue would be a yellow light going on at the side of the screen. I was in the next-to-last group (along with, of all people, Roseanne Barr's first ex-husband, Bill Pentland) and these are the questions I got right (paraphrased from memory).

Category: The World of Spam

A: Spam's name comes from these two words.
Q: What is spiced ham?

Category: French 101

A: This item's French name, parapluie, literally means "against the rain".
Q: What is an umbrella?

Category: Sports

A: This religious term refers to a football play made in sheer desperation.
Q: What is a Hail Mary?

(And no, I never would have gotten that right 2 years ago!)

Category: Before & After

A: Former lead singer of Van Halen teams up with comic strip Viking.
Q: Who is Sammy Hagar the Horrible?

(This one took forever to answer.)

Finally, it was time for the interview. I stood up straight and smiled nervously. My mouth was so dry that my lips stuck to my teeth, and for the first time, I understood why beauty queens slick their teeth with Vaseline.

"My gawd, look at those dimples!" the producer cooed in her New Yawk accent. "Gawd, how adorable."

I resisted the urge to scuff my toe in the dirt.

"So, [C]. It says here that you once ate earwax-flavored jellybeans on a dare?"

"Yes, I sure did."

"What was that all about?"

"Well, I had purchased a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, which are inspired by the Harry Potter books. In addition to normal flavors, they have some truly disgusting ones, like dirt, sardines, and earwax. A friend of mine dared me to try all of them, so I did, with the exception of one flavor."

"My kids had a box of those. Let me guess, you wouldn't try the vomit-flavored one?"

"Nope. Banana."

Explosive laughter. I relaxed a little.

"What would you do if you won a lot of money on the show, hon?"

"My boyfriend G is the one who convinced me to try out, and he's a huge New York Giants fan, so I'd buy him season tickets, and of course I'd have to get him plane tickets too!"

"That's great. What about for yourself?"

"It's my dream to visit Japan during every one of the seasons, and I've already been there during fall and spring, so now I want to go in the summer and the winter. In the more practical category, I need a new car, and there's always bills to be paid."

"Anything else?"

"Well, the Playstation 3 comes out soon."

The table of producers smiled at me. "Thanks so much, hon," the woman said, and I thanked them and sat back down.

Once everyone had participated in the mock game and been interviewed, they told us that the people who passed would be put in their files for a full year, and if we didn't hear anything during that time, we were welcome to try out again. They cautioned us to keep them updated on any changes in address or phone number, and then they thanked us and sent us on our merry way.

So there you have it. No matter what happens, I had a great time (traffic back notwithstanding) and I got a truly bitchin' pen.


A: I'm going here in a couple of hours.

Q: Where is Culver City for the Jeopardy auditions?

That's right, you get a case of Turtle Wax!

Holy shit, y'all. I wasn't nervous until I woke up during the night, and then I pretty much wigged. I managed to get back to sleep, but I had a horrible dream in which I was the victim of a big con game, and after discovering the deception, I killed four people (one of whom was Meg Ryan, although I'm not sure if she was supposed to be herself or was just playing my tormentor) with a golf club.


Anyway, so I filled out my form with five anecdotes ranging from standard ho-hum shit (my alma mater and degree) to mildly interesting (countries I've visited) to flat-out bizarre (my love of martial arts movies---if I get on the actual show, I WILL find a way to say "Tony Jaa" or, even better, "Sammo Hung" on TV---and the fact that I once ate earwax-flavored jelly beans on a dare). I'm going with the Potentially Naughty Librarian outfit (black blouse and pinstripe skirt with high-heeled mary janes). I've crapped my guts out.

So here goes. I'm logging out ("Uh huh huh, didn't you say you already did that?") and heading upstairs to get ready. I have a few errands to run, and then I'm hitting the road. That 405 is a beeyotch, and I want to make sure I get there in plenty of time. Fortunately, there's a restaurant in the hotel and a large mall nearby, so I can kill a couple of hours after the audition too, seeing as I'll be done right around rush hour, and I absolutely will not drive on the 405 during rush hour, nosirreebob.

Please wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

isn't it ironic...don't you think?

In my rush to sing the praises of the Luther, I forgot this little gem from Sunday afternoon.

I was grudgingly watching the Super Bowl, and my cell phone rang. I grabbed it and took it upstairs so as not to disturb G.


“Hey, little Ro.”

“Oh, hey, Dad…what’s up?”

“Well, I just got back from seeing Brokeback Mountain, and I have a question for you.”

So I answered his question (which I won’t repeat here, as it’s a spoiler), chatted for a few more minutes, and then returned downstairs.

It was only today that I realized how bizarre this truly was…

While I was watching the Super Bowl, my father was watching Brokeback Mountain.

"Skating with Celebrities" featuring Satan!

Monday, February 06, 2006


Even though his beloved Giants didn’t make it to the Super Bowl, G still wanted to watch it, and he had a proposition for me: “Pick the team you think will win, and if they do, you get to eat some horrible confection on my dime.”

I thought about it for a second, and then I said, “Okay, I think the Steelers will win, and for my horrible confection, I want a Luther.”

For those of you not familiar with the eating habits of the late Luther Vandross, or who haven’t seen the “Itis” episode of “The Boondocks”, here are the ingredients for a Luther:

  • 1 pound of beef
  • Grilled onions
  • Cheese
  • Five bacon strips
  • Two Krispy Kreme donuts

Yes, my friends, the Luther is basically an enormous bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two Krispy Kremes instead of a bun.

G’s eyes went animenormous. “You. Have. Got. To. Be. Shitting. Me.”

“Oh, no, I’m dead serious,” I said cheerfully. “Of course, I don’t want it to be a whole pound of meat, and obviously I don’t want the onions, but what I’m thinking is that we could get a bacon cheeseburger at Carl’s Jr. or Wendy’s or something, and then toss the bun in favor of the donuts.”

G tried to talk me out of it, but I would not be moved.

And the Steelers won!

So next weekend, I’ll be chowing down on a modified Luther. It’s either going to be the most horrific thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, or it will be sublime.

I can’t wait.

DISCLAIMER FOR ANYONE WORRIED ABOUT MY HEALTH AND/OR SANITY: Even if the Luther is the most incredible thing I’ve ever eaten, this is a one-time only thing. Not even my eating habits are atrocious enough to justify something like this on a regular basis!

spitting in a wishing well

Okay, what the hell am I supposed to wear to my Jeopardy audition? And what five facts about myself should I put on the form I'm supposed to bring?

You know, it's funny, because remember my evil bovine coworker, Bossy? She once told a fellow coworker that I was "nice, but not very bright."

ExmothafuckinCUSE me?

I ain't no Stephen Hawking or anything, but I'd say I'm reasonably bright, and to hear this sort of insult from someone who wears mustard yellow flats with a blue pantsuit really chapped my hide.

I hope I pass the second audition and get on the show and win a respectable amount of money. Then, when she comes up to me in the bathroom at work, all fawny and shit, I'm going to peer at her over the tops of my glasses and sniff, "I'm sorry, I don't hang with no short money bitches."

Broke Mac Mountain

Brokeback to the Future

(Both worksafe, although they won't make any sense unless you're familiar with the movie)

Yesterday, in a desperate attempt to take my mind off my horrible soul-sucking asstacular job, I grabbed my wallet and headed to the break room.

Hmmm, first order of business: selecting a beverage. I got a Diet Dr Pepper, because I'm trying to cut out sugared soda (and lest those of you who know my deep and unwavering love for Coke Classic scoff, I haven't had a Coke in probably a week) and it's the only diet drink that actually tastes exactly like its caloric counterpart.

Next, a snack. Hmmm...okay, Baked Lays. I put my money in and the bag started to drop, but it got stuck.


I noticed that the "Tombstone Spicy Meat Sticks" were above and slightly to the left of my stranded chips. I figured if I purchased those, they would dislodge the chips and then I'd have my chips as well as a snack for the next day.

The spicy meat sticks glanced off the edge of the bag as they fell, but the chips stayed put.

Bastard-ass bastard!

I wasn't leaving that break room without my Baked Lays, goddammit. I put another dollar in, hit A5 for the Pepperidge Farm Milanos, and finally left in triumph, cradling my bounty o' snacks in my arms.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Jesus and his lawyers are coming back

(Title not related to anything in the entry; I've just been listening to The Eels lately.)

I’m about to tell you all something which may cause you to angrily partake of Haterade, but please refrain, for once I have finished my tale, you will instead pity me.

Anyway, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, my department at work is going to be shut down at the end of June, and we’ve spent the last several months clearing out as many files as possible. By the middle of December, most of my coworkers had gotten other jobs within the company, and the ones who were planning to retire were sent to understaffed departments to help out. This left me, my boss T, one lone claim rep, and the secretary…and there was literally nothing to do. I asked T what I should be doing, and he said, “Well, there’s always Spider Solitaire.”

And o, didst I frolic! My workdays consisted of surfing the Internet, reading, composing lengthy personal e-mails, and jotting down notes for my novel. Occasionally, I would get up to visit K, enjoy a snack, or take a whiz. During my legally mandated morning and afternoon breaks, I’d put on my sneakers, grab my iPod and my sunglasses, and head out into the lovely California sunshine to take a nice long walk. Sure, I had to go upstairs and drop off/pick up the mail a couple of times a day, and there was the occasional phone call, but other than that, it was 7.45 hours of pure slackerdom.

This was, of course, my dream job.

Oh, I knew it wouldn’t last, of course, and that the gravy (mmmm…gravy) train would eventually screech to a halt and disgorge me at Unemployment Station. So I applied for a job in the Special Investigative Unit (not as exciting as it sounds; this is an insurance company, after all), only to have the offer rescinded when the person who was supposed to be leaving decided they’d stick around after all.

Okay then.

The next job I applied for was in fire claims. I went out and, at great personal expense and annoyance, purchased a business suit. I actually set aside a couple of hours in the day to read job hunting manuals and bone up (uh huh huh huh) on perfect answers to the toughest interview questions. I had an interview, thought I did pretty well, and found out that they gave the job to someone who not only has 25 years seniority to me, but is married to a team manager.

Okay then.

Ah well, so back to the reading and the surfing. I figured that I’d keep checking the job postings, apply when possible, and start worrying about finding something else in, oh, let’s say April.

But noooooooooooooooooooo! No, T had to offer my services to a needy department. Now I sit in a drab cubicle facing a break room, and I have to file.


Let’s see which happens first: I get another job, or the last gossamer strand of my sanity snaps.

How much do you love that one of the Oscar-nominated songs is called “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp”?

And last but not remotely least...

G’s been trying to convince me to audition for Jeopardy for months now. I just kind of laughed him off---what the hell do I know about nuclear physics and Mexican history?---but he insisted that I had the chops, not to mention the perfect “buzzer” finger, conditioned as my hands and reflexes are by years and years of avid gaming.

Anyway, I was watching Jeopardy by myself a couple of weeks ago, and they mentioned that for the first time, they were going to do a preliminary online audition for Southern California residents. I thought that sounded fun, so I registered.

On the night of the audition, I went over to C and M’s, hopped online, signed in, and scrolled through the rules. They’d give 50 questions in 10 minutes. We had 15 seconds to answer each one…no backtracking, no second chances, and no indication whether our answer was correct or not, nor would we receive a final score at the end. Fortunately, we didn’t have to phrase our answer in the form of a question; I mean, I type fast, but not that friggin’ fast. The test started, I answered what I could, got help from C, M, and G on the others, and when the test was done, I got a screen that said (I’m paraphrasing) “Thank you for participating! If you wish to be considered for a personal audition at our studio, please click here. If you only did the test for fun, and do NOT wish to be considered for a personal audition, please click here.”

My cursor hovered over the last choice, and then I thought What the hell, I’m sure I bombed but what could it hurt? and clicked the first choice.

Today I got an e-mail telling me that I’d passed the online audition, and they want me to come to Culver City next week to audition for real.

Holy fucking SHIT, y’all.