Tuesday, January 19, 2010

tea and strumpets*

M, my former boss, is getting married to a fireman she's known for approximately seven months. I don't know where she met said fireman, but I'm assuming in a bar, seeing as her Facebook page is loaded (no pun intended) with pictures of her completely and utterly smashed out of her mind. I won't be so cynical as to say it won't last, but...yeah.

Anyway, last week I was sitting at my desk minding my own goddamn business when my coworker KB came up to me.

"Hey, C!" she chirped. "You heard about M's engagement, right?"

"I sure did," I said in my best fake sweet voice. (Seriously, that voice has been implicated in lab rat cancer.) What, like I couldn't miss her flashing her rock all over the fucking place? I think she gave me impromptu Lasik when she was waving it around.

"Well, we're having a tea party for her next week, and as a present we're all chipping in and giving her a money tree! Would you like to donate a couple of bucks?"

Not really, I thought but did not say. But clever me, I never keep anything smaller than a ten in my wallet because otherwise I get the 3PM munchies and frantically feed the vending machine with my precious cash. I figure if I want something THAT bad, I can walk over to the nearby shopping center and get it, but 9 times out of 10, sloth trumps gluttony. So I confidently pulled out my wallet, opened it wide, and said, "Sorry, I only have a twenty."

KB laughed and said, "Well, you can give twenty if you want."

Um, excuse me? "That's a bit more than I'm willing to spend."

Like twenty bucks more.

KB sniffed and said, "Several of us are giving her twenty dollars. Like, how much did that book cost you?" She pointed at the large, glossy paperback sitting on my desk.

Wordlessly, I turned it over so she could see the library barcode sticker on the back.

"Oh-kay!" she said, shrugging. "I tried!"

Eyes narrowed, I watched her ass, clad in cheap denim, twitch away in search of more generous prey.

The tea party is in seven minutes.

I'm taking my lunch early.

EDIT: Okay, so as mentioned above, I took my lunch early so I could avoid the tea party and presentation of the money tree and all that bullshit.

So wouldn't you know they postponed it until 2.

I figured I'd wait until the crowds died down a little before going to grab a cuppa and some scones, but when I was sitting at my desk working (yes, honestly), my boss came over and crouched down next to my chair and said, "Why aren't you in there? It's M's bridal party."

"Oh, I just got back from lunch and I have so much paperwork to catch up on, so I figured I'd do that before pigging out!"

I laughed.

He did not.

No, instead he said, in a tone of voice people usually reserve for talking to wounded animals, "Well, it would be a good opportunity for you to interact with your teammates and get your two hellos in." (See previous entry if you have no idea what THATcrapfest is all about.)

What I said: "Okay, I'll be over in a minute."

What I WANTED to say: "Look, dude, I actually like you because you're a geek like me, but listen. I have no desire to interact with my teammates on a personal level, okay? I prefer to keep to myself, and as long as I'm cordial and not afraid to ask for help if I need it, then I don't think it matters if I'm all 'oh, hiiiiiii, let's have a tea party LOL, did you see House last night'. I do a fair bit of fucking around at work, but I always get my shit done in a timely manner and I'm good at what I do. So PISS THE FUCK OFF WITH THIS STUPID HAPPY CRAPPY BULLSHIT. Now get the hell out of my cube so I can go get a red velvet cupcake in peace."

Is Subway hiring?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

yeah, good luck with that

When it was announced last year that my current boss would be joining Unit B, people actually CRIED. So when I got moved over to that unit---despite my strenuous protests---I was really dreading it. But although I utterly loathe Unit B and only my addictions to food, shelter, and magazines keep me working here, I actually don't mind Red. Sure, he looks like a non-juicehead version of Danny Bonaduce and he wears his name badge on a lanyard that says "I [heart] JESUS", but I like him. Whenever he calls me into his office to ask me a question or whatever, we always wind up talking about geeky shit like video games and aliens.

So when he asked me to come into his office today and close the door behind me, I wasn't too worried. "Hey, Red, what's the haps?" I said cheerfully.

...okay, fine, I actually said, "Hey, what's up?" GOD.

Anyway, I sat down and he said, "I have a special project for you."

Oh dear Christballs. "What's that?" I asked cautiously.

"For the rest of January, I'd like you to say hi to two people every day."




Ignoring my stupefied expression, he continued, "Because I know you're shy and everything, but you have so much to offer this team. You're smart, you're articulate, you're a hard worker...but I think your shyness keeps you from sharing your ideas. So we're gonna work on that! I bet if you say hi to two different people every day, you'll really start to open up. Will you do that for me?"

What the fuck was I supposed to say, no? I mean, sure, I could have, but somehow I don't think it would have gone over too well. "I guess so," I said through a fake Joker-like smile.

"Great. Thanks!" He handed me a miniature candy bar from the jar on his desk, and I took my leave.

I mean, seriously, what the fresh fuck? I've been shy for 38 years, and you think you can change that in less than three weeks?

I hate living in a Dilbert cartoon.

Friday, January 08, 2010

goddammit, Steve Carell

I was ten minutes late to work today.


Well, for once, it was through no fault of my own. Rather, it's because they're filming The Office at my office, and I had to park in the next fucking zip code. When I pulled into the parking lot, I saw hordes of people and cameras and those big white...thingies they put up to reflect light or whatever, and a security guard imperiously held up his hand as I started to turn into the lot where I usually park.

"No parking," he said.

"I work here," I said, holding up my ID badge.

"Other lot."

So I had to turn around, drive to the other lot, park, and speed walk about a half-mile (no exaggeration) to get inside. By the time I got to my cube, I was irritated as all hell, and my mood wasn't improved by hearing a coworker screech that she ran into Christian Slater when she got here this morning.


Did I get to meet Christian Slater, who I've seen in Heathers and Pump Up the Volume about a million times? No, I did not. I got to meet the surly security guard.

So if you see an episode of The Office featuring special guest star Christian Slater, look in the background. If you see a harried woman flipping off the camera as she sprints toward the building, that would be me.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2009: the year in review

NOTE: Bold type indicates something that was either a major highlight or a serious low point of the year. I think it will be obvious which is which!

JANUARY: On New Year’s Day, G, C, M, and I went to Santa Monica to shop and ice skate. Went to Little Tokyo and stocked up on magazines, calendars, and our beloved jyaga bata potato chips; also got our curry fix. Finished Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Got a strange text message warning me that “Sherwinz buggn”. Celebrated President Obama’s inauguration with champagne. Left for 10 days in beautiful Costa Rica, where I enjoyed breathtaking scenery, close encounters with monkeys and sloths, and long walks on the beach. I also ate a ton of chicken and rice, walked a zillion miles, logged countless hours on buses and boats, and stayed in hotels ranging from the sumptuous to the shitty. Read 3 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 8 volumes of manga, and 6 graphic novels; saw 7 movies.

FEBRUARY: Ended my Costa Rica trip with a bad cold, a lousy flight, and an endless wait in customs, but I was thrilled to see G waiting for me at LAX. For an early Valentine’s Day present, G surprised me with tickets to the ballet. Got a rock chip in Ginji’s trunk fixed; had to make do with a temperamental rental until he was finished. Watched the Oscars. Daddy-O had to have emergency surgery to fix a detached retina, but fortunately he healed up quickly and with no lasting effects. G’s XBOX 360 came down with the dreaded red ring of death. Headed off to Vegas with G and C; we met up with G2 and Spock, ate tons of delicious food, gambled, and had an awesome time. Read 3 novels, 1 nonfiction book, 14 volumes of manga, and 2 graphic novels; saw 9 movies.

MARCH: Spent countless hours playing Resident Evil 5. Got a clean bill of health at the dentist’s (and a free pink toothbrush to boot). A coworker irritated me by e-mailing me a link to a weight loss site, and then followed it up by putting a picture of a hideous monkey collectible on my desk. Somehow, I managed to keep from slapping her. Housesat for C and M and loved up on their cats. Went to Santa Monica and gorged myself on plum rice balls from Famima. Read 6 novels, 1 nonfiction book, and 17 volumes of manga; saw 4 movies.

APRIL: G and I went to Little Tokyo and were sad when we couldn’t find our favorite chips; consoled ourselves with curry and kitschy toys. Started my new job duties doing salvage recoveries. Took a mental health day and spent it going to see I Love You Man, reading magazines, and napping, which helped improve my mood immensely. G went home for Passover, but since I didn’t have enough vacation time left, I had to stay behind. I spent a lonely weekend going to the movies, eating tons of crap, reading, cleaning, and sleeping way more than necessary. When G and I were reunited, I practically broke one of his ribs hugging him. Finished Gardening Mama. Got a nasty virus on my computer which took forever to eradicate. My downstairs neighbors had a loud party that lasted until 1AM; I purchased earplugs the next day. Went on a cooking jag and made G omelets and pasta salad. He said the omelets were just as good as his mom’s, and since she’s a bona fide Jewish mother, I was quite proud of myself. Got a silver Tiffany’s ring for my ten year anniversary at work, and it was a size too small, so off to Ebay it went. Administrative Assistant’s Day was even worse than usual because we didn’t get our customary free hour off; instead, we got a lame notepad, pen, and bookmark, as well as “treats” from a crappy bakery. Met up with Daddy-O in Las Vegas and had a great time…until I returned home, walked in the door, and began puking and shitting my guts out. Went to the doctor the next day and was diagnosed with massive food poisoning. By the time Cipro cleared everything up, I had lost six pounds. Read 6 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 8 volumes of manga, and two comic collections; saw 5 movies.

MAY: Southern California was rocked by several small earthquakes. Just as I started to actually enjoy doing salvage recoveries, I was taken off that job and put back on my old one. Housesat for C and M while they were away and just about shit myself when the gardener suddenly popped up in front of the kitchen window while I was standing there pantsless and eating a cup of yogurt. Went on a hike through the Malibu mountains with C, M, and G. Went to the Third Street Promenade for window shopping and plum rice balls. Read 4 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 8 volumes of manga, one comic collection, and one graphic novel; saw 10 movies.

JUNE: One of my favorite magazines, Shojo Beat, folded. Went to the eye doctor and actually managed to hold still during the air puff test for once. The new John Connolly book came out, but I wouldn't allow myself to buy it until I made a very overdue appointment with my crotch doc. To my horror, I was forced to move to a different department at the Cube Farm…the same one I once said I’d rather quit than work in. The worst part was being evicted from my choice cube, next to the one person at work I consider a friend, and being relocated behind Giggles and next to Twinkletwat. To add to the fun, that same week I got a nail in my tire and cut my leg badly while shaving. Despite rinsing it out immediately and covering it with Neosporin, it got badly infected, necessitating two trips to the doctor and three prescriptions. Finished Cate West: The Vanishing Files. Read 5 novels, 10 nonfiction books, 5 volumes of manga, and one graphic novel; saw 12 movies.

JULY: My stupid ankle finally healed, although now I have a 2” scar. Went to the crotch doc. G and I found a relatively deserted spot to watch fireworks on the 4th of July, and we leaned back in our lawn chairs and held hands as the sky lit up in the distance. Persona 4 ate our souls. My irritating downstairs neighbors and their loud hump dumpling moved out; I celebrated with a bottle of Moet Chandon. Received many wonderful presents for my 38th birthday, and we went to dinner at my favorite restaurant, where I overindulged in both food and drink and paid dearly for it later. Went to Little Tokyo. Read 4 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 5 volumes of manga, and one graphic novel; saw 3 movies.

AUGUST: Work continued to suck my ass out. Went to the county fair with G, C, and M; we ate a ton of food, and G and I went on the Ferris wheel and made out. He also won me a big stuffed dog (promptly named Pochi) at one of the game booths. To my dismay, someone moved into the apartment below me, but fortunately they were nowhere near as loud as the previous tenants. G’s grandmother died, so he headed back to Florida for the funeral, and I spent a lonely weekend reading book after book and binging on Hell’s Kitchen. Hung out with G2 during his brief visit to California. Stubbed my toe so hard I thought it was broken, but fortunately it was only badly bruised and swollen for about a week. G and I celebrated our five year anniversary. Read 12 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 1 graphic novel, and 8 volumes of manga; saw 6 movies.

SEPTEMBER: Football season began. Finally finished Persona 4 after almost 150 hours of gameplay. The Cube Farm pulled up stakes and relocated to a new building, which was much nicer than the old one but filled with snotty people who ratted on me for using “their” vending machine. Originally I was supposed to share an office with Twinkletwat, but fortunately that turned out not to be the case. Still, work was even more frustrating than usual, and it took all my strength to keep from throwing my hands up in the air and yelling “I quit this bitch!” at the top of my lungs. Read 6 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 2 graphic novels, and 5 volumes of manga; saw 6 movies.

OCTOBER: G and I took a particularly enjoyable trip to Little Tokyo, which included a delicious curry lunch and an awesome exhibit of kokeshi dolls at the Japanese-American National Museum. Got a migraine that led to me barfing up fettucini carbonara; the smell cannot be described. Work sucked so bad that I cried in front of my horrified boss. Went back to Minnesota for a week and spent lots of quality time with my dad and brother. I also got my feed on hardcore, visited two museums and the zoo, shopped, read, met Daddy-O’s girlfriend A, and caught up on my sleep. When G picked me up at the Van Nuys flyaway upon my return, he was really crabby because of the Giants’ slaughter at the hands of the Saints. Went to the Silent Hill/Fear haunted houses and had a screamingly good time. Bought a bizarre vintage-looking photograph of a fox and rabbit wearing clothes. Read 7 novels, 3 nonfiction books, 1 comic anthology, 4 volumes of manga, and 1 graphic memoir; saw 3 movies.

NOVEMBER: At the end of my rope emotionally when it came to work, I took a mental health day and went to Ventura for a decadent lunch and a long walk on the beach. Went to Royal-T’s 35th anniversary celebration of Hello Kitty and couldn’t resist getting my picture taken with her. Received the sad news from K that Sneakers had passed away. Was disgusted with Levi Johnston’s last-minute change of heart when it came to showing his Alaskan pipeline for Playgirl. Spent Thanksgiving weekend cocooning with G, although we did venture out to Malibu and Santa Monica with C and M. Lots of football meant lots of reading; I read 4 novels, 5 nonfiction books, 9 volumes of manga, and one graphic novel; saw 9 movies.

DECEMBER: Finished Cooking Mama 3 and CSI: Deadly Intent (though just barely; there was a chemical analysis near the end that had me tearing out my hair, but then I found a walkthrough online, and even though it was in French I was able to translate enough to get through that stupid goddamn chemical analysis, otherwise I would have returned it to Gamefly with about ten minutes left in the stupid game). A rainy Monday was improved by the guy at Subway giving me an impromptu $3 discount and the sighting of an egret in front of work. My move to a new department was delayed because so many people were out for the holidays. Our friend R came for a visit. Spent Christmas break in New Mexico, where I lounged around, nommed out on Madre's famous cheesecake, hiked (and fell down three times), and visited Roswell, Carlsbad Caverns, the International Folk Art Museum, and Ghost Ranch. Rang in 2010 with champagne and a kiss from G. Read 2 novels, 4 nonfiction books, 15 volumes of manga, and 5 graphic novels; saw 6 movies.

Monday, January 04, 2010

media update: December

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm posting this later than usual because I was in New Mexico for ten days with G and his family. For the most part, I had an awesome time, although I fell down a couple of times while hiking and now my ass looks like a Rorschach test. More details to come in my 2009 recap, which will be posted sometime in the next few days.

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


1. U Is for Undertow by Sue Grafton: In the 21st Kinsey Millhone mystery, a man contacts her claiming to have seen the burial of a young girl when he was six years old. She doesn't put much credence in his story, especially after she learns that he has a history of lying, but soon it becomes apparent that there may be some truth to it after all. I was expecting this to be better, especially since T Is for Trespass was one of my ten favorite books of 2007, but it has its moments.

2. Bought by Anna David: When a fledgling Hollywood reporter learns about women who accept gifts for their sexual services, she decides to write a story about it. Needless to say, she gets in over her head. I had high hopes for this book because I loved the author's debut, Party Girl, but this one was terrible.

TOTAL READ IN 2009: 62


1. Lit* by Mary Karr: The author wrote Liars' Club, one of my favorite memoirs of all time, so I was eager to get my hands on this one...and she didn't disappoint. It's about her descent into alcoholism and how it affected her marriage ("If you lie to your husband---even about something so banal as how much you drink---each lie is a brick in a wall going up between you, and when he tells you he loves you, it's deflected away") and her other relationships, from her young son to her troubled mother. Despite her misgivings as an agnostic about their "higher power" philosophy, she turns to AA, but as she becomes sober, she has to face the problems she'd been drinking to forget. Blackly funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting, though not in a saccharine way.

2. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress* by Rhoda Janzen: The author's husband of 15 years left her for a man he met online, and only days later, she was seriously injured in a car accident. Bruised both emotionally and physically, she returned to her Mennonite family to heal. An occasionally painful read, but more often laugh out loud funny.

3. Cleaving by Julie Powell: A memoir of the author's infidelities and the near-dissolution of her marriage. In the midst of all this sadomasochistic cavorting around, she decides to try her hand at being a butcher; cue lots of groanworthy metaphors comparing sex and meat and butchery and tiresome Buffy the Vampire Slayer references...ugh. Just ugh. I loved Julie and Julia, but this smug, often poorly written book was disappointing. It gets considerably more interesting in the last 100 pages or so, when she decides to travel by herself to different countries and see how they process meat, but it's too little, too late.

4. The Vice Guide to Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll: Another selection of articles from Vice magazine, ranging from their infamous oral sex guide to interviews with everyone from Ronnie Spector to "a huge fat guy". They also include the results of an experiment where the writer only ate corn for several days to see how long it would take to produce a bowel movement made up of nothing but corn. (Answer: 96 hours.)

TOTAL READ IN 2009: 51


1. Black Bird vol. 2 by Kanoko Sakurakoji

2. 12 Days by June Kim

3. Summer Blonde* by Adrian Tomine: I'm starting to seriously worship this guy; his work is like Edward Hopper in graphic novel form.

4. Kaze Hikaru vol. 14 by Taeko Watanabe

5. Alone in My King's Harem by Lily Hoshino

6. Mixed Vegetables vol. 5 by Ayumi Komura

7. Yurara vols. 1-5 by Chika Shiomi

8. Yotsuba* vols. 4 and 6 by Kiyohiko Azuma

9. The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks by Max Brooks and Ibraim Roberson

10. Baby & Me vol. 8 by Marimo Ragawa

11. Silent Hill: Among the Damned by Scott Ciencin and Shaun Thomas: If you're privileged enough to be allowed to borrow the Silent Hill universe, could you maybe...oh...do it justice? The art tries to be Francis Bacon and instead winds up being so muddled that you can't tell what's going on, and the storyline is bleh. Don't dishonor my beloved franchise with your crap-ass graphic novel, goddammit!

12. Pet Shop of Horrors: Tokyo vol. 5 by Matsuri Akino

13. Papillon vol. 4 by Miwa Ueda

14. You Will Fall in Love by Hinako Takanaga

15. Zombies: A Record of the Year of Infection* by Chris Lane and Dan Roff

TOTAL READ IN 2009: 131


1. Wasabi: Jean Reno plays a French cop who learns that the love of his life, a Japanese woman named Miko, has passed away and named him executor of her estate. He hasn't seen her in almost 20 years, so when he gets to Japan, he's shocked to discover that they had a daughter, Yumi, together. Miko left a shitload of money to Yumi, which puts her in danger from unsavory characters who want the cash for themselves. I thought there would be more action and less comedy in this, seeing as Luc Besson wrote it, but it's still enjoyable. Jean Reno and Ryoko Hirosue (who's like an anime character come to life) have great chemistry together. I recommend watching this with subtitles, because the dubbing is terrible, and Jean Reno speaking French is hotter than Texas asphalt.

2. The Proposal: An uptight editor finds out that she's about to be deported to Canada, so she forces her long-suffering assistant to marry her. In order to keep up appearances, they visit his family in Alaska; hijinks ensue. Predictable, but there are a few snappy lines, and Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds work really well together.

3. Observe and Report*: When a flasher starts terrorizing a mall, the head of security (Seth Rogen) is determined to stop him, both in hopes of becoming a real cop and winning the heart of the cosmetics salesgirl he has a crush on. As the credits were rolling, G turned to me and said, "Okay, that was like Paul Blart meets Taxi Driver." It's often insanely funny (my personal favorite quote: "Why the fuck would I want to blow up the Chick-fil-A? It's fucking delicious!"), but unless you like your comedy pitch black (and with a side of surprisingly nasty violence), you should stay away.

4. Paper Heart: In this strange combination of documentary and scripted scenes, actress Charlene Yi sets out to learn more about love, which she claims she doesn't believe in. Along the way, she hooks up with Michael Cera, but are his boyish charms enough to change her mind? Nauseatingly twee at times, but the interviews with real-life couples are sweet.

5. Jackie Brown*: The title character, played by the eternally awesome Pam Grier, is a flight attendant who supplements her income by smuggling in cash for gun runner Ordell Robbie. The ATF catches her in the act and offers her a deal. If she helps them nab Ordell, she won't do time...but Jackie has a different plan in mind. This was the only Tarantino movie (aside from Inglourious Basterds) I hadn't seen, and like all of his movies, it's clever fun.

6. Sherlock Holmes: When your visit to Carlsbad Caverns is delayed due to shitty weather and you're stuck in Carlsbad, New Mexico, what do you do? Why, go to the movies, of course! I love Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, but although this flick was fun, it was ultimately forgettable.




1. "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga

2. "Help Is On Its Way" by Little River Band: This was in Observe and Report, and it reminded me that this (along with "The Logical Song" by Supertramp) used to be my effing JAM when I was a kid.

...oh, hush.