Thursday, December 30, 2004

I was OK ...

...for a while at least, Today started out decently. No headache, no backache, no sore knee, quiet day in the office. Then I was able to leave work early and it all went downhill ... (Warning: long pointless ramble ahead.)

I decided to seize a portion of the day to TCB, as Elvis would say. I had to renew my drivers license, which had expired in November (and which I had totally forgotten about until I was hurtling down I-95 toward Myrtle Beach in the Pantsmobile when it occurred to me that I should probably stay a little closer to the speed limit on account of I had some unfinished business with the DMV.) The DMV is one of life's great equalizers. Whatever your situation in life, if you want to operate a motor vehicle sooner or later you will end up in front of The Woman Who Doesn't Want To Work There. If you're lucky, she will bestow upon you a number which entitles you to take your place in The Very Crowded Area until the Voice From Above announces that you may appear before The Examiner.

Being lucky means you brought satisfactory documentation. For a renewal that means your old license and something that has your Social Security number (i.e. Proof Of Your Existence) on it. I knew this because I had gone to the DMV website and looked up the requirements beforehand, so I did not have to suffer the humiliation of being turned away by The Woman Who Doesn't Want To Work There. I watched it happen again and again (and again again ... I was in the Very Crowded Area for a good while.)

I had forgotten to bring a book and it got boring watching people get turned away by TWWDWTWT, so I tried to study up on the sign identification test ...what if I called the "Farm Equipment" warning sign a "Tractor Crossing" sign? It looks like it should mean "Tractor Crossing" to me. What if I gave my answer in the form of a question? (I'll take "Road Signs" for $1,000, Alex.) Would the examiner think it was funny or fail me? Then I obsessed on the sign that said "Please have all documents in your hands at all times." Were they doing spot checks, ejecting anyone who had carelessly placed their documents in a pocket or purse? What would happen if I dropped mine on the floor? That got boring, and my mind wandered off on its own until I got to the topic of tsunamis. I plotted my escape route. I don't think we would have had a chance. Finally, as The Voice got to within ten of my number, I started obsessing on The Calling Of The Numbers. I was A075. What if they called it and I wasn't paying attention? They didn't waste much time before calling the next number if someone didn't get up and head to the appropriate desk right away. What if I got so excited I jumped up and shouted "BINGO!" when A075 was called? I even had a little time left over to obsess about the picture-taking part--If I smile too much for ID photos I look psycho. Too little and I look like a terrorist.

Fortunately, I heard my number and I was approprately calm, collected and quick. With the help of my glasses I aced the eye exam, and since the tractor thing wasn't on the sign test I aced that as well. But I failed the picture taking part. I don't know what I did wrong but they called me back for a do-over. Anyway, my strategies paid off because now I have an ID photo that makes me look like a drunken nerd instead of a psycho or a terrorist.

So with my new license in hand, I had just enough time left in the day to go renew my WXDU access card, which was to expire tomorrow, at the Duke Card Office. I know exactly where the Duke Card Office is, but I can never remember how to get there. It's nestled in the heart of Duke's West Campus, which is all winding roads that always seem to be a part of a construction zone. It's like an enchanted vortex that sucks you in and spins you around until, after you've passed the Fuqua School of Business for the thirteenth time, you realize that you may never see your loved ones again. Plus two of the main roads are "Science Drive" and "Research Drive" which are easily confused in my mind--really, what's the difference? Couldn't they name them something like "This One Goes Right By The Big Famous Chapel Street" or "Here's Where You're Allowed To Park Road?" I finally asked a jogger to point me in the right direction and somehow he knew the way. The card thing took all of five minutes (no new photo required!), but then I had to find my way back out again. I decided the best idea was to just follow a car, any car and soon enough I was dumped back outside the campus--on the side completely opposite where I had entered, but outside of the enchantment zone so I immediately knew the way home.

But the good thing is I don't have to work tomorrow. Woo hoo!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Grind, grind, grind ...

My dear, sweet husband once told me that I'm the grouchiest person he knows. (He also told me he married me because all the nice wives were already taken.) I've been trying to work on the grouchy thing, but it's been very hard over the past two weeks. Part of that was the whole "holiday" thing (two days of work doesn't really qualify as a "holiday" in my opinion, but whatever), but I think part of it is also the fact that I'm just so damn achey all the time. I have a bad back, a bad knee, a headache-prone skull, my stomach's a bit dodgy ... I just never feel good. Hey, if I'd been drowned by a giant wave then maybe I wouldn't have this sinus headache anymore.

Anyway, I'll be on the radio today from 4-6 pm eastern whatever time, but I do not feel up to it at all. Maybe I'll look for the grouchiest music I can find ... tune in if you can (if you dare?): 88.7 locally, elewhere.

And have a really super day!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Yeah, I'm silly ...

So yesterday I was in quite a kvetchy mood, hence that complaining post. After I wrote it I'm thinking "around 40,000 people are wiped out by a tsunami and I'm bitching about having to sleep on an air mattress." So I am silly (but still all "stove up" from my crappy sleeping arrangements over the weekend.)

The fact is, being reminded of worse things does not make me feel any better about my mundane little complaints. Like this morning, the elevator I take up to the 5th floor wasn't working ... again. So I was faced with walking up 5 flights--it's really 6 floors up because of a "mezzanine" level they snuck in there--first thing in the morning. I crabbed about it to a co-worker, and he said "Hey, it could be worse--at least we weren't wiped out by a tsunami." Yeah, that helped me out--reminding me of the tens of thousands of people obliterated in Southeast Asia. AND the elevator wasn't working.

So telling me how much worse someone else in the world has it only adds to my misery. My back hurts, my knee hurts (and both will continue to hurt until I die), and the survivors in Sri Lanka, Thailand and other places are homeless, probably hungry and missing many family members. Am I supposed to feel like getting up and dancing now?

Sorry, I guess I'm still kvetchy.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Feh, holiday schmoliday ...

So I was stuck in Myrtle Beach all weekend. Really I only got stuck there yesterday, which was when I planned to come home, leaving me today as a wonderful, committment-free day off work to do with whatever I pleased. But as I was leaving MB yesterday I heard a report on the radio that there was only one lane open on I-40 near Raleigh and accidents all over the place because of a "wintery mix" of snow and ice. What? It was raining in MB and an SUV right in front of me had just hydroplaned into a 360 that sent him right off the roadway, but I just figured I'd take it slowly. So I called Mark, who had stayed in town with his mum, to ask what was up. What? he said. There's no bad weather here. Nothing had fallen from the sky, and it was just a chilly day in Durham. But being a sport he offered to go online, check out the situation, and call me back. Sure enough, I-95 around Fayetteville and I-40 east of Raleigh were supposed to be messy with snow and ice and full of wrecks. Since that was a large chunk of my route home I turned around and reluctantly went back to my mom's.

Not that I have anything against my mom, but her house isn't my house. There are no comfortable places to sit there. Actually, the living room is full of big overstuffed uber-comfy furniture, but my brother, who is living there right now, likes to plant himself in front of the TV and watch stupid crap like sports and shows about motorcycles. So I have to find somewhere else to hang, and all the other seating in the house is uncomfortable. I spent a lot of time scanning in old family photos, but mom's computer chair is a metal folding chair and it was really kind of a drag.

Plus I had to sleep on an air mattress, because even though mom has three bedrooms and a "bonus" room over the garage, there are only 2 beds in the house. When my aunt and uncle came to visit a few weeks ago my brother got kicked to the air bed so they could have the real bed. (It's not like he's paying rent or anything.) My mother really doesn't seem too concerned about her lack of decent sleeping arrangements (she has a fantastic bed for herself), and isn't in a big hurry to fix the situation. But she's always wanting me to come down and visit, and she's always asking when Mark is going to come with me. Should I tell her he'll come when she gets a decent bed for us?

OK, I'll stop complaining. Hope everyone else had a half-decent holiday.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

The stress is lifting ...

Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

I finished the presents for my co-workers, just in the nick of time last night. Everyone appeared to really like them (or at least pretended to). I had originally thought I would give the two guys in my group store-bought stuff because I figured they wouldn't want some stupid hand-painted thing, but then I decided that, dammit, why should they escape the hand-made crap that everyone else has to endure? They survived the ordeal.

I have to mention that lunch yesterday was actually quite fun. Everyone begged off except for the six of us in my immediate group, and we have lunch together all the time so it was just like another lunch out. We were all in good cheer. I had a crab cake (oops, I almost typed "crap cake," even though it wasn't crappy at all) and the twice-baked potato thingie that dickumbrage recommended, plus some of the hushpuppies kept leaping out of the basket into my mouth, so I ended up eating a wee bit much. It was good (yep, the potato thingie was tasty), but a bit of a heavy lunch. I came back and my pal Lia had left a bag of homemade cookies on my desk. Most of them are still here.

People in my division like to eat. This morning we had a breakfast feast with bagels, "breakfast casserole" (which is reaaallly good), Krispy Kremes and miscellaneous pastries. On top of that, the print shop is having its annual party spread, to which we are invited. My pants feel uncomfortably tight right now. I know I could just say no to all the food, but I've got to have a little taste of this, and then that, and then the other ...

I'm lunching with rick! later on, and I think a small salad and a diet beverage will be all I can handle.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

It's all better now. ....

I was bah-humbugging until just now when I listened to the Donnie & Marie version of "Winter Wonderland" that I downloaded yesterday from Copy, Right? Everything is all better now. Life is good. What am I doing here? Who am I?

(If you want your own copy of Donnie and Marie spreading joy, go get it now. The proprietress of Copy, Right only leaves each download up for a few days.)

Question answered ...

I just discovered why my boss wanted me to go to lunch so badly: She had bought each of us in her group a $5.00 gift certificate to 42nd St. Oyster Bar (in addition to latte mugs and candy!) So when I said I didn't want to go I was foiling her little plan to spread x-mas cheer. So I guess I'll be going with the group today. I'll survive. I always do.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Definitely stress ...

I'm ready to snap ...

Just now I was listening to the Pixies Trompe Le Monde, and even though I've heard "Motorway To Roswell" many times, I hadn't given much though to the lyrics aside from "heh, clever." (Essentially it's the Roswell incident from the alien's point of view, in case you're not familiar with it.) Well today that song made me really, really sad. (Particularly "how could this so great / turn so shitty / he ended up in army crates / and photographs in files) I mean, poor guy was just looking for a place to stay ...

It's the whole x-mas stress thing, I'm tellin ya. I say "who gives a crap about x-mas?", but then I still feel like I have to fulfill many expectations.

Well not all of them ... Monday we had our annual division x-mas breakfast thingie at yet another country cooking restaurant. Not only would the meal not be free, but we would be squashed elbow-to-elbow at 20-foot-long tables. I couldn't stand the thought of going, so I said no thanks. My boss, a normally very nice person, seemed a little irked, but she got over it.

So then I was reminded today that we have another forced fellowship encounter tomorrow at lunch for our "section." (That's smaller than a division but still about 15 people). This one is at a half decent restaurant (4nd Street Oyster Bar--everyone else just loves it but I'm ambivalent about it.) but I still don't feel like going. I'm group-lunched out. The thought of enduring another group lunch fills me with dread. So I said I'm not going. Again, boss seemed a little irked. She'll get over it. I feel like I should spend lunchtime tomorrow at a day spa or something to celebrate my freedom from the group lunch.

(I think my boss may be jealous that she can't blow off the group things because she gives a crap about what other people here think of her.)

Be courteous!

If you bring your cell phone to work so that family members and whatnot can reach you during the day with all their crises, please do not leave it on your desk while you go elsewhere in the building. Your creative ring tones may be charming the first or second time around, but your co-workers will soon grow weary of hearing them over and over and over ...

Monday, December 20, 2004

One more thing to worry about ....

I generally stress out about a lot of things I shouldn't, but exploding Zambonis have not been among them.

But right now, x-mas is (I take mine christ-free, thank you very much). I don't get terribly bugged about it being a Christian holiday--I make up for that by saying a lot of "goddamns" all season long. I really think having some sort of celebration at the beginning of winter is probably a good idea; it's a way of staving off for a couple of weeks the gloom and depression of the cold, dark season. I like that people string lights all over their houses and lawns--especially the ones where nothing matches and it's just a huge, happy, gaudy hodge-podge of crap that makes the statement: "Who gives damn what the neighbors think?" (My favorites are the nativity scenes that include Santa, toy soldiers, reindeer, snowmen, Homer Simpson, etc.) I like having decorations up everywhere I go, and I can even get into a bit of christmas music. I think I really just have a problem with the whole deadline thing.

I don't need one more deadline in my life. Although I hate shopping (except at Target--I think they put something into the air there), in theory I support the giving of gifts. It's nice to give people things, but why do they have to all be due on Dec. 25th? Of course, I'm all against mindless consumerism, non-stop commercialism, needless waste and unnecessary debt, which means that theoretically I should be all for making x-mas gifts for everyone. It doesn't work like that in real life for reasons I'll get to, but let's pretend for a moment that I'm making all of my x-mas presents this year. They all would have to be done by Saturday. In reality, since I'm making presents for a handful of co-workers, they have to be done by Thursday morning, because we're off Friday. It's fun and nice to make things, but when you have a deadline and when the thing in question really needs to look half-decent, it adds up to a whole lot of pressure. It's no longer creative self-expression, which is good, but obligatory toil, which is bad. So more than once over the past week I've thought to myself "Screw this homemade crap, I'm going to Target."

But even the whole making-gifts thing gives me a few ethical dilemmas. For one, my homemade gifts are decorative and not really useful. Who needs more decorative crap around their house? Not me--in fact I couldn't give Mark a homemade gift because it would be too silly--the poor guy has to live his life surrounded by my "art" (and I'm using that term very liberally) whether he likes it or not. Then there is my mother, who may appreciate my artistic attempts, but has a tendency to live a very cluttered life (I know where I get it from). I refuse to contribute to that, so I'm careful to get her something she can actually use (this year it's Warm Things To Wear). As for the co-workers who are going to get homemade crap from me, I don't know whether they need or want yet another decorative piece of crap, but I don't want to be the only one in my group who doesn't have a little token for the others. So it's either go and buy some useless crap, thus contributing the all that is evil about x-mas, or make some, and I feel better about making it. They can regift it or donate it to a thrift store and I'll never know the difference.

I know one oft-suggested x-mas gift is to make a donation to a person's "favorite charity." Look, I'm cheap. If said charity wants a hand-painted faux-stained-glass vase made out of a bottle that otherwise would have been thrown in the recycle bin, then we're good to go.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Not-very-advance notice ...

I'll be on WXDU today from 1-3 pm Eastern doing the Mondo Mundo World Music show. Locals: 88.7 FM, others streaming via

I have a blog entry brewing about holiday ennui, but I'm too filled with ennui to actually write it. But those of you with telepathic powers can contact my psyche right now and get the full skinny.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Can of worms ...

The whole confederate flag thing came up today at work ... OK, I brought it up because I was mentioning why I hated Big Ed's. Well of course it sparked a bit of discussion--because the Civil War is hands down the single most defining event of American history. I'm often taken aback by the impulse of seemingly civilized, nice and reasonable people to defend the Confederate flag or the Southern "cause" in the Civil War (which many will vehemently deny has anything whatsoever to do with slavery). I hear it all the time: the Civil War (or the "War of Northern Aggression," as many still call it, in fact there is a plaque in the office of the State Farmer's Market--a government building--that refers to it that way) had nothing to do with slavery, it was about "defending a way of life" or "states' rights."

When one points out that the way of life and the entire economy of the antebellum US South would have been impossible without slavery, and that "states' rights" mostly referred to the right to own human beings, then the argument often shifts into slavery defense mode (even people who otherwise would not explicity defend slavery just can't admit that dear Dixie could have been just plain WRONG on the question and maybe deserved to get her ass kicked over such a barbaric system). So then I'll hear "They had slaves in the North!" (Until it was OUTLAWED, you mean. It's called "progress" or more specifically, "civilization triumphing over barbarism." Duh.) Someone today had a new on on me: "Yeah, well slaves had slaves, too" (which, if true, would presumably make chattel slavery A-OK, I suppose). But I'm thinking, slaves weren't even allowed to own property ... I'm sorry, but this was a new one on me, so I of course said "What?" The explanation was that slaves often paid other slaves to do their work for them ... Um, sorry: paying someone who is not your legal property to do something for you is what we call employment. Sure, in Marxist terms it can be "wage slavery" and it often feels like slavery, but it's not the same thing. Nice try though.

I don't hate the South or (most) Southerners--in fact I love the weather, the accents, the peculiar phrases, the practice of being nice to people regardless of what you really think of them (Trotsky called civility "a necessary social lubricant") and even some of the food. But dammit, the Confederacy stood for a shitty cause in the Civil War and its defeat represented progress! The Confederate flag is a symbol of a bad thing and its display is a racist provocation.

(Confidential to M.R.: If that asshole from New Jersey were from South Carolina, he'd be an asshole from South Carolina, see? I mean, just because you're a psycho doesn't mean all Southerners are psychos, right?)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Restaurant reviews you can use ...

I had another obligatory lunch at a crummy restaurant today. It was a co-worker's birthday, and his favorite restaurant is Big Ed's in Raleigh's City Market. Big Ed's is a Southern-cooking joint, or as one co-worker once put it, a "gravytorium." Everything on the menu is very heavy, and based on past experience with Southern-style food, I expected the vegetables to be oily from being drenched in pork fat. To be perfectly honest, the very thought of eating there was making me queasy from the get-go, so I was having a hard time even reading the menu. Unlike everyone else in our group I was certainly not hankering for "country-syle steak," which is really more like an elongated hamburger on top of either rice or mashed potatoes and covered with ... yep, you guessed it, gravy.

Anyway, I ended up opting for the grilled cheese sandwich. It was very greasy, as if they had fried it in twice the recommended amount of butter. But the good news is I got out of Big Ed's for $2.65 plus tip, a much better experience than paying $10.99 for a near-tasteless sandwich at the Cheescake Factory. So all in all I would say that maybe the Big Ed's experience would be slightly preferable to that of the Cheescake Factory except that ... and this is a biggie in my book: among all the down-home crap adorning the surfaces available for decoration at Big Ed's are several items that feature confederate flags. When I see confederate flags, I automatically start checking my pockets to see if I have matches or a lighter that I can set them on fire with. I start imagining ways to tear them down, deface them, spit on them, grind them into the ground ... so in conclusion I would have to say that Big Ed's fucking sucks and no one should ever eat there.

Also: I'll be on WXDU today from 4-6 pm (EDT ... or is it EST? I can't keep it straight). That would be 88.7 FM if you're local, if you ain't.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Hollow inside, I was hollow inside ...

... and I couldn't find out what the reason was why I was hollow inside ...

Oh, hello!

The weekend went swimmingly, for anyone who may be wondering how my dog and I did at our agility demo. We did 3 demos on Saturday and two on Sunday, and we finally did the course absolutely perfectly on our last run. The cool thing is that the crowd loves it when you mess up--it's cute and funny. And anyway, the purpose of the demo was to show people that you, yes you, can do agility with that dog that's hogging your sofa right now. You don't need a border collie, and you certainly don't have to be as good as the people they show competing in the "Champion of the Universe" agility competions on Animal Planet. Anyway, we showed how we teach some of the equipment and even brought up an audience dog and got it to go through a short tunnel. So it was actually useful to have a few goof-ups now and then so it didn't look as intimidating to people. Then it's easier to ensnare them into our cult of obsessive dog-training ... (One of us! One of us! One of us!)

Anyway, right now I'm listening to some of the cds I took for review this week, and it's killing me. Except for the Arhoolie The Roots of The Narcocorrido compilation, they're boring me (I'm not going to name them here because I doubt you'll ever hear of them and I know for a fact that the bands are busily googling themselves right now and they'll find me and then I don't want to deal with any correspondence regarding a band I've trashed). So anyway, I don't feel like listening to the cds all the way through, but then that makes me feel guilty that perhaps I'm not giving them a chance ... Honestly, I just want to listen to the Buzzcocks right now: "Hollow inside, I was hollow inside ..." Is that so wrong?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Dixie just won't stay down ...

If you ain't from around here, you may not have heard of Cary, NC, a locality that went from tiny little town to sprawling, pretentious, prefab, butt-ugly cookie-cutter municipality in the space of about 10 years or so. A lot of newcomers seem to want to live there because it's supposedly full of good schools, "shopping opportunities" and regimented sub-divisions with lots of rules to keep the neighbors in line. Some of the locals like to say that CARY is an acronym for "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees." (Note to those from other lands: to you we're all Yankees, but around here "yankee" refers to folks from "The North," north being generally defined as anything that wasn't part of the Confederacy during the US Civil War.)

Anyway, thanks to this entry at Whig Hill Dispatch (whose proprietor, Chris, I met the other day outside the history museum, but that's probably another blog entry ...), I see that Cary is a containment area for something else entirely. Apparently a private school there teaches about slavery using a booklet that provides a biblical justification for it. The school principal says it's "hard to find writings that are both sympathetic to the South and explore what the Bible says about slavery." Um, and that's supposed to be a bad thing?

Shortly after I moved here a friend (A Canadian, who I think may be considered "worse" than a Yankee) remarked that "people around here seem to think the Civil War isn't over." No, it's really not, and it's high time we finished it once and for all.

You deserve a break ....

... so go take Leesh's survey.

We're putting on a show!

heeere's lucy!

Me 'n' Lucy are going to be doing agility demos this weekend at the Super Pet Expo (Graham Building, state fairgrounds). Lucy is hoping her fan base will come and watch, but I told her not to hold her breath since they're charging something like $6 or $7 to get in the door (you can buy cheaper tix at their web site, though). What really bugs me about the admission price is that the Pet Expo is just a big marketing opportunity for people who sell pet stuff. Sure, they'll have entertainment, like agility demos and whatnot, but they're charging vendors many hundreds of dollars to set up booths so they can sell things to pet owners. So people will be paying for the privilege of buying stuff. Of course, a lot of Americans view shopping as entertainment and are willing to pay a lot of money for a good "shopping opportunity"--just look at all the people who choose vacation destinations based on the quality of the outlet malls nearby. I bet if malls decided to charge admission, a lot of people would pay it.

Anywho, if you're a local and you've got no problem spending a few of your hard-earned dollars to be a marketing target, come on out to the Pet Expo (Lucy and I will be in the demos at 11 am, 1 pm and 4:30 pm Saturday and 11 am and 1 pm Sunday). You can bring your dog, and it will be quite entertaining (a really cute little Papillon will be in some of the demos, as will a great big Aussie--that's shorthand for Australian Shepherd, a breed that was invented in the US--who loves to bark and spin and try to grab his owners' arms). But then again, you could come out to an agility trial sometime and see the same thing for free ... (By the way, mark your calendars because my team will be hosting a flyball tournament at the fairgrounds Jan. 8 and 9. It's free but you'll need to bring your own earplugs. It's loud.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

It has all become too ridiculous to contemplate ...

So a co-worker's kid has to go to "teen court," which is a sort of alternative court for first-time misdemeanor offenders, in which teen voluteers serve as "the court." His offense? Disrupting class, specifically talking, making noises and drumming on his desk.

That's right, in Wake County, NC, disrupting class is a criminal offense, for which a kid gets his ass hauled into court. I can't think of any other way to say this except: What the fuck?

Contrast this: in 8th grade I was one of the ringleaders of a student walkout, and all I got was a single-day suspension and two after-school detentions. If I were a kid in Wake County, NC, today I'd probably be tried as an adult on some sort of RICO or conspiracy charges (or worse, they'd hold me incommunicado as an enemy combatant.) I was a little pot-smoking smart-ass who really got away with a lot of stuff, yet here I am, gainfully employed and all the crap that goes with being a responsible adult (except for the having kids part, and damn am I glad I skipped that). Hey, I've even got a (mostly useless) master's degree.

Honestly, with the way things are for kids at public schools today can you blame them for wanting to smoke a little pot?

Oh yeah, and the whole teen court thing scares the shit out of me because can you just imagine what kind of kids would volunteer for something like that? The most uptight and unpleasant ones--the kind of people who really get off on the power trip of enforcing all the over-the-top rules, that's who. Truly frightening.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Your Flash website sucks

As someone who visits a lot of band and label websites looking for information, I would like to thank 43 folders for this post about how annoying many bands' Flash-laden web sites are.

In fact, I'd like to add, just for the record that I have grown to hate Flash. Properly used, Flash can be cool, but when someone uses it to build and entire website it almost always sucks.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Whaddya know about Ecuador?

I've got to start thinking about Ecuador. We'll be going there for vacation in March. So far we have a plane ticket and no plans. Maybe we should just travel light, show up and see where we end up ... Anyway, if anyone's ever been to Quito or its environs, let me know what the highlight of your trip was.

We sort of picked Ecuador out of the blue. We're using frequent flier miles, so we had to book early (I think we booked the flight in August or September) and we had to come up with a place that had frequent flier seats available (which meant the Caribbean was out). So we were thinking Nicaragua, but for some reason one of us thought of Ecuador and be both said "Ecuador, yeah!" That was pretty much it. I have no idea what we will do there, but hey, we'll be in Ecuador! Yay!

We have a Rough Guide, but I haven't gotten around to looking at it. There are always travel web sites, but I haven't gotten around to looking at them either. I hate planning things because things never turn out the way you planned, but if you go into something with no expectations you're usually pleasantly surprised. I'm sort of figuring that since I speak Spanish we'll be able to figure things out as we go along. But if there's some place really cool that we should aim ourselves toward, I'd like to know.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Lazy blogger time!!

You scored as Pissed at the World Cat. And here we have the next serial killer. Try having some cotton candy, it'll make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, Psycho.

Pissed at the World Cat


Drunk Cat


Couch Potato Cat


Ninja Cat


Derranged Cat


Nerd Cat


Love Machine Cat


Which Absurd Cat are you?
created with

I found the results of this quiz oddly satisfying.

Thanks to Spacegrrl for the link.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Direct from the factory ...

We had a big lunch outing for a departing co-worker today. I would have considered skipping it but she’s one of my favorite co-workers. I hate the big office lunches. There are too many people, yet I always end up sitting next to someone I don’t care for. The lunches last too long, and I always end up spending way more for lunch than I would otherwise, and I rarely even like the food.

I know I sound like a curmudgeonly grouch, but wait, it gets better ... or worse ...

Today’s lunch was at the Cheesecake Factory, which is the kind of place I would generally avoid at all costs. The very name of it is disgusting to me; it’s not just a factory, which is unappetizing enough, but it’s a cheesecake factory. Rich, gooey, sweet cheesecake, and not just a moderate portion as a dessert after a sensible meal, but a whole factory full. “Hey folks, wanna shovel down a whole lot of cheesecake? This is the place!” Another problem with the Cheesecake Factory is that I’d always heard it was a bit pricey, “but they give you so much food!” everyone says. I guess that’s part of the whole “factory” concept. Well I’m against that. I don’t want to pay way too much for a lunch just because it represents more calories that I should eat in a whole day.

And of course the way-too-much-food wasn’t even good. I ended up just ordering a cheesesteak sandwich because I was too exhausted from trying to read the whole menu to actually make a decision (I think my mind was saying: “Cheesecake ... cheesesteak ... whatever.”). I should have done what I often do and order an appetizer of nachos as my meal. At least then I can have fun trying to artfully balance mixtures of flavors on tortilla chips while I sit next to the people I don’t care to talk to. But instead I got a bland sandwich on a plate loaded to overflowing with french fries ...
... not even very good french fries. I was wishing that I had brought along a little mini-bottle of Texas Pete to give the sandwich some flavor. I thought about asking for some, but after the sweet tea incident I figured they wouldn’t have any. The sweet tea incident irked some of the native North Carolinians: they asked for sweet tea, I mean “sweetea.” and the waitron said they didn’t have any, explaining that the Cheesecake Factory is a California company, and they don’t drink sweet tea in California, therefore the Cheesecake Factory doesn’t sell sweet tea. Of course I hate sweet tea, but I was irked in solidarity with the others.

And no, I didn’t have any cheesecake. By the time everyone finally arrived, ordered and ate, I was ready to get the hell out of there, and I didn’t feel like adding another $6-$8 to my bill for a stupid piece of cheesecake that would probably taste no better than any other piece of cheesecake. When I mentioned to someone that $6 was more than a piece of cheesecake was worth to me, she replied “But they give you a really big piece!” I’m not even all that nuts about cheesecake to begin with--I’d really rather have some tiramisu. Where’s the Tiramisu Factory?

The mean Streets at Southpoint ...

A few years ago "they" built The Streets at Southpoint, a mall that was designed to evoke the feeling of being downtown (presumably downtown Durham because one of the buildings has a faux-tobacco-warehouse facade and there is a smokestack that I guess is supposed to mimic our famous Lucky Strike smokestack). Now Streets at Southpoint is more like downtown than even downtown Durham is: I can't remember hearing about anyone being shot in the face in downtown Durham since I moved here, but yesterday a guy was shot in the face in the parking lot of Streets of Southpoint. (Warning: that link will expire soon because the Durham Herald Sun is a two-bit piece of crap newspaper that doesn't archive its articles.)

So in my unscientific study, I have concluded that downtown Durham is just as safe as the Streets at Southpoint. Plus it's a real place, not a hokey, target-marketed simulacrum. Now if Safari Cuisine would just open for dinner and lunch on Saturdays ...

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

OK, time to post that massive doodle I was talking about the other day:
it has grown ...
There's no reason for this posting other than to allow me to make yet another joke about having a great big doodle.

I'm going to me mum's tonight. I'm going to make a point of trying to actually get out and "enjoy" Myrtle Beach, if such a thing is indeed possible. I think that means shopping, as miniature golf is out of season now. I will definitely visit the dog park, which I think could kick any other dog park's ass. It's the highlight of every trip to Myrtle Beach.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Advance notice!

DJ Martin H. needed a sub for his show tonight, so I said I'd do it (I'm going to miss my regular slot because I'm going to me mum's on Wednesday night). SO, anyone interested can tune in to WXDU tonight from 8-10 pm and hear me play ... I don't know what. How about "Everyone Thinks He looks Daft" by the Wedding Present?

I'm definitely going to play a track from "A Very Unschooled Christmas," a review of which was my only contribution to the betterment of this week's WXDU playlist. I know it's early for Christmas music, but I liked the cd, OK?

"Dogs are the new people!"

I stole that title quote from the Super Nova Scotian, who I believe does not even own a dog. But I do (two, in fact), and of course I don't let anyone forget it. When people at work start talking about the wonderful things their kids do, I make a point of interjecting something like "That reminds me of something Mr. Gomez does ..." which drives the people with kids nuts because they can't stand to hear someone equate their precious offspring with dogs. It's quite fun.

Anyway, the only reason I'm posting a blog entry right now is to link to two adorable photos of my little precious angel princess Lucy, taken by my flyball teammate Sam Bennett. So go look: here and here.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Am I strange?

Almost every single day I get a hankering to listen to "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft" by the Wedding Present. It's not even my favorite song. Does this kind of thing happen to other people? I mean, not specifically "Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft," but do other people get song fixations like that? Usually what ends up happening is that I'll start listening to George Best Plus (because "ETHLD" is the first song) and then just keep right on listening ...

My right hand is missing ...

I had to finally get my act together last night and start getting packed to go to a flyball tournament this weekend. It's a little more involved than a regular weekend trip because you have to remember stuff like dog food, the harness the dog wears while racing, dog treats and any possible creature comfort you may require while being stuck all day at a fairgrounds in Franklin, Va. Usually I just carry lots of junk around in my car at all times, so if I suddenly find myself at a flyball tournament or agility trial I'll have what I need. (I think I could last a week stuck in a snowbank, too.) But I'm riding with someone else this weekend so I need to be a bit more streamlined, which requires some actual forethought.

Anyway, the point is that I carefully packed my camera with extra batteries and memory stick, just in case there's anything worth taking pictures of. Now I realize my folly: I don't have my camera with me today! I can't take any pictures! I feel handicapped. Just now I had the idea of taking a picture of a massive doodle I've been drawing on for a month. It started out rather modestly sometime in October:
This morning, I realized that it had grown into quite a monster of a doodle, and I felt the need to document it. Alas, the moment must go unrecorded. The world must wait until Monday to marvel at the proportions of my doodle.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

I get a lot of things done when I procrastinate ...

I'm supposed to be getting my gear all packed up so I can travel to a flyball tournament tomorrow afternoon, but instead I decided to finally post my photos from the Chicks Rock DIY day, which was only about a month ago ...

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Definitely not the Virgin Mary ...

So some woman is selling a grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary on ebay. It's bullshit. That's not the Virgin Mary. I know for a fact that it's Jean Harlow.

Lady, you obviously don't have enough to worry about ....

This kind of thing is what irritates me about people: Some lady in Illinois is upset because a business called "The Bas Ass Coffee Company" is moving in to her crummy little town. "I just can't see going up and saying, 'Can I have a Bad Ass mocha please." Fine, lady. So don't. Go make your own coffee in your safe little house and drink it with your boring friends. Apparently the woman is afraid her children will learn to say the word "ass." Said she: "How do I tell my children that it is inappropriate to use this type of language, but it is acceptable to use it for a store name?"

Should I rethink my "Fucking Huge Burritos" franchise idea?

Under the weather ...

No updates recently because I've been sick. It's just a cold, and I'm getting better.

Nonetheless, I managed to give a little talk on the topic of flyball at the Durham Kennel Club Monday night. Tons of people showed up and I didn't have enough handouts, but it went really well and people had lots of questions. Because I always find myself trying to describe flyball to the uninitiated (which is pretty much everyone I meet), and because I've never found any sort of web page that gives a succinct description of the sport, I turned the handout I made into a web page.

Another creation I managed to complete is my little photo gallery of Blackstrap's last show.

Now I'm sure Niku would be thrilled if I would just post my photos from the Chicks Rock DIY day ...

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Have I mentioned how cool my dog is lately?

lucy jumps through hoops for me
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

Since today was a holiday I took the opportunity to get in some agility practice with Lucy. She's so darned cute! It seems like she really has fun with agility, but I don't know if it's because she's excited about the prospect of getting lots of treats or if she also thinks it's fun to be out running around a field with me. Probably a little of both.

We also saw "The Incredibles" today and, based on the reviews I was expecting it to be sheer uninterrupted bliss. It wasn't, but I still liked it. It was a bad day to see it, considering that all the kids had the day off school and they don't know how to shut up and watch a movie and their parents are oblivious to the fact that not everyone wants to hear their little darling's commentary. Oh well.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I should have told you ...

I had great fun on my radio show tonight. During the last half hour I had an interview with Niku Arbabi of Ms. Films and Mel Thomas of 307 Knox Records about the Chicks Rock Compilation cd. I don't know if the listeners enjoyed it, but I thought it was a blast. Niku recorded it and hopes to get it up on her website, and if I don't sound like a complete dork I'll link to it. I probably should have alerted my three regular readers so they could tune in to the web stream, but I'm really bad about planning ahead.

Tomorrow is a state and federal holiday (Wheelbarrow Day), so I get to sleep in. I'm taking Friday off because it's my birthday and I have some comp time to use, so I get a four-day weekend. I plan to practice what I preach, and that is: "Laziness is its own reward."

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Music is making me very happy ...

I got a great stack of cds to review for WXDU this week. Topping the list are The Futureheads, who are rocking my world and filling it with joy right this minute. They keep reminding me, alternately, of XTC, Joy Division, The Jam and ... I'm sure there are a few other blatant influences I'm not able to name off the top of my head. Very retro-80s while not sounding derivative. Sooo fucking good. Th album makes my heart race. It aggravated my ADHD. I love it. Plus, they do a completely incredible cover of "Hounds of Love" that no one should miss.

Also great: Munly & the Lee Lewis Harlots (Munly is the "front sideman" of Slim Cessna's Auto Club), Faux Fox--Cusp Of The Precipice (I loved their EP Black Glove or White Glove), and The Prefects--Amateur Wankers.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Un Año ...

So it appears that last Friday was the first anniversary of my blogging adventures and I failed to make any sort of to-do about it. Perhaps it's because there is a more important celebration coming up: The one-year anniversary of the purchase and assembly of my wheelbarrow. I should load it full of mulch and take it out for a long walk or something to celebrate. If anyone else has that day off work (it's Veteran's Day), we could have a wheelbarrow parade! In fact, from now on I'm going to refer to Nov. 11 as Wheelbarrow Day! Callooh! Callay!

Oh yeah, and this Friday's my birthday. I will officially become "Old As Dirt."

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Know your rights ...

And let me know what they are, while you're at it ... The neighborhood "crime" listserv has brought up a question: If a cop comes to your house as a result of a noise complaint and cites you for violating the city noise ordinance, do you have to let him take your photo so he can post it on the neighborhood e-mail list? For that matter, other than a mug shot at the station when you are arrested, do you ever have to allow a cop to take your photo? I mean, really, you don't even have to actually talk to a cop, or let one into your home without a warrant, or say "yes" if one asks to search your car. So do you have to let one take your photograph?

Our neighborhood "Officer Friendly," aka Sgt. Gunter, routinely takes photos of anyone cited or arrested for anything in our neighborhood--not mug shots officially at the cop shop, but snapshots with his digital camera, and posts them to the neighborhood e-mail list. (I swear I keep expecting some of the people on the list to offer Sgt. Gunter a blow job--they fall all over themselves to tell him how wonderful he is). Recently, cops cited some Duke students in the neighborhood for a noise violation, and Sgt. Gunter posted their photos to the listserv. The students claim that the cops told them they had to allow their photos to be taken or they would have to "go down to the station." Cops lie, of course, and I'm willing to bet these were lying to the students.

The question has been posted to Sgt. Gunter on the listserv, but he hasn't replied, further convincing me that his "miscreants" are allowed to say no when he asks to ph0tograph them. Anybody know the law enough to enlighten me?

Come waste some time with me ...

Whoa! It's a trip through the waaay back machine ... a guy from my high school posted old yearbook pages, including this one from my 8th grade year. I think I'm really easy to spot, even if you've never met me in person ...

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Chin up, buckaroos ...

There's always the revolution to look forward to ...

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

There's an election?

Tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of the Greensboro Massacre. There's a "truth and reconciliation" march planned in Greensboro for Nov. 13, and I'm sitting here thinking "Reconciliation? With the fucking Ku Klux Klan?" What is wrong with people? Didn't the Greensboro Massacre demonstrate fairly forcefully that stuff like singing "We Shall Overcome" is not effective protection from fascist terror?

Which reminds me: everybody, right now, go read Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power. I had been meaning to write about how great this book is since reading many weeks ago, but I got busy and/or lazy. Anyway, Robert Williams didn't sit around singing Kumbayah (did I spell that correctly) when the Klan came shooting. He organized defense committes and yes, they shot first when the Klan motorcades came squealing through their neighborhoods. And the Klansmen couldn't wait to get the hell out of there.

Oooh, scary ....

This article in Sunday's NYT Magazine about the spread of Christian businesses as part of a widespread strategy to take Christianity to "the marketplace" has me really creeped out. It seems so sinister and, for lack of a better word, evil. Ick.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Everybody loves the F word!

So the topic of my birthday came up at work today (I didn't raise it, I swear). We usually bring in goodies and whatnot and sing at each other when it's someone's birthday, and co-workers mentioned that they needed to decide what they wanted to do for mine. Yesterday we were also discussing birthdays, and several of us agreed that it would be funny to make a cake that said "Happy Fucking Birthday, Stupid," except that the recipient of such cake may not take it in the intended jovial spirit. So today I told them that I wanted such a cake. I was serious--I would feel honored to receive said cake. My co-workers laughed and said that would be pretty funny, but I know that between now and the big day, someone will suggest that such a cake would be "inappropriate" for the "office environment." To that I say ... well you can imagine what kind of response I would have. It would be inappropriate, of course.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I wish to expend great effort trying to win a crummy T-shirt ....

So one of my favorite wastes of time on the web, Spamusment, is having a contest. All you have to do is take a photo of a real-life "re-enactment" of your favorite Spamusment cartoon, and if your entry meets some probably arbitrary and completely subjective criteria for being "the best," you can win a silly T-shirt. I can't wait to enter. First step is to figure out which cartoon is my favorite. On a lo-carb diet? Not anymore.. is funny, and I think I may be able to talk a co-worker into posing for it, seeing as how it involves doughnuts and all. I'm also fond of Who likes Masturbators? and Look Out For Your Family. I'd need to assemble a cast for those. I could pull off Never been Easier on my own. I would only need a couple of people for It's not even Funny When You Do That (hmmmm, a project for the Little Debbie Nutty Bars? We could have joint custody of the T-shirt ...)

Anywho, the deadline is Nov. 14, so I better get cracking. If anyone else wants to enter we could have a "Spamusment Contest Collaboration Day" at Ooh La Latte where everyone shows up with their ideas, props and cameras and collaborates ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

But seriously ...

So while white Americans are spending lots of money and time to adopt Russian, Chinese and Guatamalan babies, the US is "exporting" black babies to folks in places like Canada, Germany and the Netherlands. It's funny that the writer of the article goes to great pains to come up with as many reasons besides racism that this is so. For example, maybe they "are not sure it is in the best interest of the child to be raised in a white environment." (Yeah, I hear the schools really suck.) And "whites often are uncertain whether they can provide the child with cultural exposure to the African-American community."

The thing about these reasons is that, though they may reflect sincere good intentions on the part of potential adopters, they are completely about racism. They reflect the fact that American society is racist to the core, to the point that it's just understood that a black child raised in a "white environment" will pretty much be treated as a martian. And it just proves out how racially polarized the country is that white people couldn't imagine being able to give a black child "exposure to the African-American community." Lots of white folks spend a lot of money and effort avoiding "the black community." A lot of my co-workers wouldn't ever imagine coming to Durham (where about half the population is black) outside of being strapped to a gurney on its way to Duke Medical Center. Even here in Durham, in my own neighborhood, a black man on a bicycle prompts people to call the cops and write a panicky letter to the e-mail list alerting the neighbors. (I told Mark that he must wear his helmet while riding not just to protect his head, but so the people in the neighborhood will think he's just out for a bike ride and not looking for folks to mug.)

What a deformed place this is.

(Addendum: I just clicked on a link from the story mentioned above to another story from last year about how some Americans are adopting kids from Africa. Apparently it's a tiny fraction of the number of kids who are adopted from Russia and China, but still interesting in light of the article about black babies being adopted abroad. One of the factors cited in the article about African adoptions is how much cheaper it is, when the article about black American babies being "exported" points out how low the adoption fees for black babies are compared to white babies or international adoptions. I still can't figure out Americans, and I've lived here all my life ...)


On a completely different subject, I was looking for a pirate eye patch at Party City tonight when I saw a totally goth guy looking at costumes. Maybe he was shopping for someone else ...

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Where am I and why am I here...

All day long I've been seeing articles about Ashlee Simpson getting caught lip-synching on Saturday Night Live, which leads me to the question: Who the fuck is Ashlee Simpson?

Remember the good old days when SNL had cool music like Elvis Costello, Talking Heads and Devo? Kids these days and the music they listen to ...

Speaking of music, I now have in my possession WXDU's copy of Steve Lieberman's new cd "Arbeiter At the Gate." I'd stay home and stay up late to see him on SNL ...

Mark said the vet called and Lucy's fine with newly clean teeth.

Worry, worry ...

My little champion is getting her teeth cleaned today. They have to put dogs under for that, so I'm just going to do nothing but worry all day. I'm just afraid that they're going to give her the wrong dose and she's not going to come out of it. Then I would have to go all Texas Chain Saw massacre on the veterinary office and all it's employees ... I really hope they get it right.

Hello ...

Is Tuesday too late to blog what happened Saturday? I've been suffering from some back pain (a co-worker speculates that it's problem with my sacroiliac joint, and that sounds reasonable to me), which makes me tired and cranky and useless. So I haven't felt like writing (or doing much of anything, really).

But Saturday I soldiered through the pain for the Chicks Rock "DIY Day." I took a mind-boggling array of photos--so many that just looking through them to pick out the best is going to take a while. My favorite part of the day was the "Build An Art Car" workshop, led by the lovely and talented Ms. Sarah O., whose Undersea Mah Jongg mobile is truly a sight to behold. Here's how it all began:

art car

The theme for this car is "Chicks Rock." I'll post more photos at some point. It was quite a lot of fun and it's made me really want to turn the Pantsmobile into an art car. I have to pick a theme first--"Pantsmobile" is cool but I'm not sure how to carry it out. I could stencil pants all over the car, but I want toys and things ... do they make toy pants? I've never seen any. I was thinking that a barnyard theme would be fun because then I could put little toy livestock all over my car. Or maybe just a goat theme--goats rock! Anyway, I welcome suggestions.

The DIY day also featured workshops on silkscreening, zinemaking, starting your own record label and vegan cooking, plus a great show by Rocketfire Red, Regina Hexaphone, Bellafea and des_ark. It was exhausting but fun.

I was very useless on Sunday, and then I decided to use some of the comp time I earned getting the fair up an running to lie about all day Monday in lieu of showing up for work. But I didn't completely lie about--our awesome neighbor Paul used the power of his pickup truck to bring us a load of mulch. So Mark and I spread most of it--I've been way to lazy and-or busy to weed, so I figured covering all the weeds in mulch would at least make the place look presentable. It looks lovely.

Now I must work because I haven't yet figured out a better way to receive a regular paycheck.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Just for the record ....

I'd like to announce that the use of a toy piano in indie pop/rock is hereby officially done to death.

Thank you and have a pleasant day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Hey, I'm going to be a "speaker" ...

I've been asked to give a talk on flyball to the Durham Kennel Club next month, basically just explaining what it is and how it works. Not only do I feel a bit honored that they asked me, but apparently they are going to pay me. Now I've got to come up with a presentation worth being paid for.

But in even more exciting news, I managed to convince a co-worker, whom I promised not to identify, to act like an animal for a photograph. He chose a dog:

do the dog

This wasn't just for the hell of it--I'm competing in a game called "chase" over at Flickr (the real reason this blog has been so boring lately--I'm spending all my time playing with pictures), and we have to get specific photgraphs to win. What I really need most is a shot of two people sharing a dessert, with bonus points for it being a "candid." Maybe I should go hang out at Francesca's sneaking photos of people ...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

It's a winner!

I just learned via the board meeting minutes sent out to the WXDU list that my dolphin design has been approved for the new T-shirts (some other design was chosen for the tote bags). That makes me happy

I still have to work on a special design requested by Niku.

I wonder where my next Dr. Pepper is coming from ...

Monday, October 18, 2004

I feel like a trained seal ...

I volunteered to take a particularly tedious job off my boss's hands today. She brought me a Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

recovery mode ...

I'm almost recovered from my intense week of adventure doing my small bit to get the "Big Annual Event" up and running. Yesterday I was exhausted (plus I had a migraine all day), and today I just felt like doing very little. I have a whole slew of cds that I need to review but I haven't had time for all week, but I don't even feel like listening to music. It's pretty bad when I don't feel like istening to music.

The lasting legacy of my week is new addiction to Dr. Pepper. I love Dr. Pepper but I don't often allow myself to drink soft drinks (or "pop" as they call them in the midwest). They're just plain bad for you. But while I was working at the Big Annual Event Site, we had access to free sodas and bottled water--I guess they realize it's not fair (heh heh) to make employees pay the mega-inflated prices for drinks that the event vendors charge. (Don't worry, the annual event is self-funded through its own revenues, so NC taxpayers' money did not contribute to my Dr. Pepper addiction.) Anyway, when your blood sugar is running low and someone presents free sugared soft drinks, it's easy to think "oh, one Dr. Pepper isn't going to kill me." I used that justification many times over the past week. So now I've been craving Dr. Pepper all weekend. I'm trying to switch that craving back to beer, which I consider a far healthier beverage.

Party on, y'all.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

I have 5 minutes ...

So I've been working out at the state fairgrounds today, getting everything all ready for the state fair (which starts tomorrow). Earlier today my boss and I were painting the facade of this exhibit called The Ark ('cause it's full of animals) for the third time because the first two times it rained on our wet paint (ha ha! We were getting the Ark ready and it rained on us! Good times ...) Anyway, these evangelicals came by handing out gifts--little bags with soap, toothpaste, washcloths--all the kinds of things you might be in need of if you traveled from town to town and slept 20 people to an RV. The guy handed it to me and said "Here's a little gift. It's from God. He wants you to have a wonderful day." "Holy shit, toiletries from God?" I said. "Fuckin' A, that rocks!" OK, I'm kidding. What I really said was "No thanks, the devil's already been by and we're all set for toiletries today." OK, OK, I really just said thank you very much, I'm sure I'll have a swell day and you do the same. But inside I was thinking "Does he really think I believe that God is sending me toiletries?" After the guy left, my boss said, "That guy thought we were carnies!"

The really sad thing is that it was pretty much the highlight of our day. Oh well, back to work with me ...

Monday, October 11, 2004

They don't deserve my art ...

I heard through the grapevine that my proposed WXDU T-shirt design has not been appreciated by the entire board of directors. I will not let The Man stand in the way of my art!

Slacker ...

Somebody isn't being very good about updating her blog lately. She apologizes. She's too busy to have any original, insightful or interesting thoughts.

But she will tell you that the cd "How it Ends" by DeVotchKa is fantastic.

Ack, she has to go work now.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

It's that time again ...

Please prepare for six months of me complaining about how cold it is.

In other news, I'll be doing Mondo Mundo today on WXDU from 1-3 pm. Thanks to Georg for sending out his "it's Lisa's turn so I better remind the Mundoites of the fall schedule" e-mail.

I have to go in to work tomorrow because I have much to do--It's almost time for the NC State Fair and all the kiddies are depending on me to make it fun and educational. Actually, nothing I'm doing will contribute to their fun, but I am trying to make it educational. Did you know that a mule is only a mule if the cross was between a donkey jack (boy donkey) and a horse mare? If you cross a horse stallion with a donkey jennet (girl donkey) you get what is called a "hinny."

Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

A crowded agenda ....

Wow, in contrast to previous days, today I'm bursting with tales to tell ....

1. People In My Neighborhood Are Stupid, Part ... um, I can't keep track.
There have been several reports of missing residential trash carts in the neighborhood, along with sightings of residential trash carts where they don't belong. Clearly there is some crime syndicate involving residential trash carts at work ... anyway, today some moron posts to the neighborhood scare list that his trash cart is missing. Then he writes "My wife watched a guy (she says he looked like a teenager) outside our apartment with a garbage bag, put the bag in the can/cart and wheel it away. She says he was looking around warily before taking it. She called the police to report the theft." Am I weird in thinking that if someone is about to wheel away my garbage cart perhaps I should go ask where the hell they think they are going with my garbage cart? Am I the only person who wouldn't stand and watch while someone stole my shit? No wonder people are stealing stuff from yards and sheds around here--my moron neighbors don't know any better than to stand there and watch themselves get ripped off.

2. Oh yeah, and what are you going to do about it?
I had to go out into the wilds of Raleigh and forage for my lunch today, and along the way I took a lot of photos, including this one. As I was taking it, I was challenged by a security guard because Progress Energy "forbids" anyone from taking photos of their building. Ha! Fat chance! I challenged her to a duel and won. Not really, but I did manage to make her go away ... I think I made her realize that they don't pay her enough to deal with people like me.

3. Somebody please tell me what the hell is going on here ...

I was walking today about a block from the site of the "older lady" incident--actually I think I had stopped to take this photo--and a guy walking by stopped and said "Excuse me." I turned and reluctantly said "Yes?" expecting to get panhandled. He said "I just wanted to tell you that you are a very nice looking young lady." My jaw is still bruised from hitting the ground. I said thank you and he just went on his way. I think someone's messing with me ...

4. That's right, you're in my damn driveway!
So last Friday night my next-door neighbors had a party. I was stading in their front yard, and a guy drives up and very painstakingly parks blocking my driveway. He wasn't quite as blatant as the guy last week, but he was still beyond the curb cut. So as he was struggling to get out of the car--he was most definitely drunk--I asked him if he had intended to block my driveway or if it was accidental. He said "Am I in your driveway?" I showed him where the curb ended and the driveway began and said "You're not the first one." He moved, of course. Maybe he'll tell all his friends ...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

lookie what I did today ...

wxdu t-shirt design
Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

I've got very little to say, but I have been busy thinking visually (see above). This is a proposed design for the new WXDU T-shirts. Our music director suggested the concept. There are a million other proposed slogans that I can try to come up with designs for if I feel like it.

Mr. Pants quit his job yesterday. I'm so jealous. Oh well, eventually he's going to have to get another one, and then maybe it will be my turn to quit for a while ... We joke that we need to get a puppy now, because the last two times I was unemployed we got puppies (makes sense--someone's home to housetrain 'em, right?) But I would have to pick out the dog--last time I let Mr. Pants pick we ended up with a very "special" dog

Monday, October 04, 2004

I'm jealous ....

I think Mark may have quit his job today. Or he's going to quit tomorrow. It's a long story ... OK, not really so long, but beside the point. The point is, it's a really beautiful day for quitting a job.

It was a pretty good weekend ....

Originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

I know, I know, I'm bragging, but indulge me for a moment. Lucy and I did pretty well in our agility trial this weekend. I could go on and on about it but unless you're an agility person it will sound like the ravings of a lunatic (e.g. "I got two new Qs!"). But look at the pretty ribbons! (We also got a dog toy with each of these ... people look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them that's all you get when you win. They don't understand why people would do this if there's no money to be won).

Anyway, I'm tired and good for nothing today.

Friday, October 01, 2004

Thursday, September 30, 2004

"Something really fun and illegal happened today at school"

Private school employees accidentally gave kids margaritas, complete with tequila at snack time. Those ungrateful little brats didn't like it and called it "gross." Little do they know that one day they will sit in their dreary little cubicles and dream of free margaritas ... (Wash. Post requires registration, but you can get a login/password here. Thanks to the Obscure Store for the link.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

I'm not always so stupid ...

I had to go to Costco to buy things tonight. The problem is that you have to pay with cash, debit card, Amex or a check. I had to pay with a certain debit card because that's where the money is (and I don't have an Amex card). Problem is, I hardly use this particular debit card, and the PIN was assigned by the bank so it has no particular significance for me. Under pressure, I can never remember it. Pressure like: they've just finished ringing up all my stuff and now I have to pay so the next person in line can check out. The checkout guys were cracking jokes about calling security on me at first, and then one guy realized that he was only making it worse for me. So he said "Try it again, I know you can do it. I feel good about this one." It worked, but I still felt like a dork.

The moral of this story is: Always remember your stupid PIN number, ya dope! It's only four numbers, for crying in a bucket.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


jerk, originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

Those wacky Duke students are at it again! Blocking my driveway with their shiny new cars. It happens several times a year, and it's always the guys who live at the illegal frat house two doors down. Mr. Illinois plate #520-4351 is lucky I don't still drive my old beater Nissan Stanza, because I would have been very tempted to just back it into his cute little bug. Oops! Why what on earth was that l'il ol' car doing at the end of my driveway?

Monday, September 27, 2004

I finally got around to it ...

found in the street 2, originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

About three years ago I found this photo (with another one taken the same day) in the street outside of the building where I work. I had always intended to post it somewhere but I never got around to it. At one point I soaked and rinsed it trying to get the dirt off (it's OK! Photos go through a water rinse after they are printed, and they can withstand a certain amout of water) but it only did a little good.

I make up stories about how and why the photos got into the street. Chances are they fell accidentally, but the one I prefer is that a guy came to the US to work and then someone sent him photos of his sweetheart marrying someone else back home. Heartbroken and jealous, he flung the photos into the street because he never wanted to see them again ...

It's no wonder I'm a sucker for those melodramatic Mexican telenovelas.

The story of my life ...

I was just doing my morning check of the NHC Tropical Prediction Center and I saw this: "...LISA REMAINS DISORGANIZED WHILE CRAWLING NORTHWARD..." And I didn't even drink much this weekend!

Sunday, September 26, 2004

A (relatively) clean house ...

So this morning while we were out eating brunch, I announced my "clean house plan" to Mark. I pronounced the house an "unliveable pile of filth" that must be cleaned. Mark seemed to make a bit of a face, which I interpreted to signal Menshevism on the house cleaning question. But no, when we got back home, he supported the program wholeheartedly. Turns out he wasn't a house-cleaning Menshevik after all, but he had a problem with my "unliveable pile of filth" formulation, considering it to be a bit ultra-leftist. At any rate, the house is now liveable.

We went to the Save Our Starlite benefit for a while, but left very early so I could got to WXDU music staff meeting. I brought home seven cds to review, far too many but I don't expect to actually like all of them. I'll be sure to share which ones I think are special.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Shameless grovelling ...

I really want a Flickr Pro account, but the only way to get one right now is to successfully invite 5 people to join Flickr--they aren't selling them. All the people I would think of inviting already have Flickr accounts. So, help me! Tell me you'll sign up for a FREE Flickr account if I invite you! You don't have to actually post any photos to it, and it's FREE. E-mail me at, k? Thanks! Did I mention that the Flickr account is free?

I'm a loser ...

Cap'n Pants is at the boat and I have nothing to do tonight. I'll probably just read the cool cool book I recently checked out from the library (Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power by Timothy B Tyson. I should write a book report on it and post it here ... it's a hell of a book). Anyway, I want to go eat Ethiopian or Salavadoran food or something but I don't have anyone to go with. Sniff ... oh well, I'd be better off getting a salad ...

Anyway, I'm listening to Georg's Mondo Mundo show on WXDU and it's awesome. His show is so hot I had to request some Enrique Iglesias to cool it down a little! (Seriously, I did via the web request form but then I made sure he knew I was kidding because for all I know he really aims to please ... good thing I know for a fact that XDU has absolutely no Enrique Iglesias in its library.)

Friday, September 24, 2004

All about me ...

I'm going to submit a shot to JPG Magazine, and they want a "brief 2-sentence bio." Wow, how am I going to stretch the essence of me out enough to fill up two whole sentences? I think it would be more interesting to say nothing at all ... but I actually think I'm going to make something up because the truth seems too boring. So maybe I'll say I'm a homemaker and mother of four living at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro. In my spare time I crochet bandages for leper colonies in Bangladesh.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Nothing a tub of alpha hydroxy won't take care of ...

So I was walking down the street today, enjoying the mega-beautiful weather and thinking that life is mostly good, when this guy walking toward me said something I couldn't make out except for the words "older lady." "Excuse me?" I said. He said "You've got great hips for an older lady." I was stunned and I just looked at him for a minute ... he looked like he was really trying to be complimentary, so I said "uhh, thanks" and kept walking. But then the phrase was bouncing off the walls of my brain ... "older lady, older lady, older lady." OK, the guy was in his early 20s, so it doesn't take much to be older than he is, but "older lady" is my mother for crying out loud.

When I got back to my building at least the security guard had the sense to say "Hello, young lady." That's more like it. Of course, he's probably pushing 60 so it doesn't take much to be younger than he is ...

Clues ...

I honestly thought that, with the exception of a couple of lyrics, my legions of obscure-music-loving readers would just tear right through my little lyrics-guessing meme game. I really thought I was making it easy, except for maybe No. 1 and possible No. 14. But I guess not.

So if anyone (rick!?) wants to keep trying, here are some clues:

1. Related to #15 (in a side-project/later band kind of way)
2. I got to meet the lead singer of this group a few weeks before his tragic and bizarre death in 1985.
3. A #1 hit in the UK in the early '80s ... this band was much less well-known in the US but still beloved by the young college radio/punk/new wave types
4. BWV got this one
5. Oop, this isn't from the 80s--it's from 1979, and I didn't discover it until after this man's third album came out in 1980.
6. rick! got this one
7. We already know this one is Elvis Costello ... come on, is there no one else who obsessed over EC in the 80s the way I did?
8. From the 70s, a defining hit for the artist most famous for singing it ...
9. The group is Irish ... this song was actually released in 1978, and I didn't discover it until after this group's controversial 1979 hit single. I still think of this as "80s music", though ...
10. We know it's Luna ... just need the song title ...
11. Ooops, another "80s song" that actually came out in 1979 ... from a UK group with enduring influence
12. rick! got this one
13. These scruffy midwestern guys were grungy 10 years before the record companies discovered Seattle. They were also known for being incoherently drunk onstage, wearing dresses and spitting beer on their fans. This is from their ass-kicking third album (not counting an EP) released in 1984.
14. See the comments for clues on this one
15. rick! got this one

Tuesday, September 21, 2004


why?, originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

The logic behind "Boss's Day" escapes me. What does a Boss's day card say?

"Thanks for not firing me in a fit of pique?"
"Thanks for not being as much of an asshole as other bosses I've had?"
"Thanks for being clueless and staying out of our way most of the time. Go play a couple rounds of golf?"
"Thanks for not having me killed?" (That last one is a reference to someone I know--the less said the better--whose boss actually threatened some employees by saying he would have them killed. That started a debate in the office over whether he would at least help the NC economy and hire someone local to do the killing or whether he would bring in someone from elsewhere to do it.)

Anyway, the good thing about Boss's Day is that it falls on a Saturday, which means many of us can conveniently ignore it.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Play my meme ...

... or I'll blow your house down!

I'm picking this up from Alicia ... I don't know what I was up to last time this meme went around, because Alicia was the first I'd heard of it. No biggie, I'm usually pretty much out of the loop on everything. Anyway, the deal is I list song lyrics and you people tell me where you think they are from. Most of this stuff is from the 80s, a few are from the 90s, two are from the 70s and only one is from this century. I think most of them are pretty easy, but then I made the list, didn't I?

While I was "researching" this by listening to lots of music, I started listening to The Pixies Trompe Le Monde (no Pixies lyrics here, though), and it made me wonder: how many songs can people come up with that contain the sound of a beer bottle falling on the floor? Because "Planet of Sound" features a falling beer bottle, and I'm positive there's a Replacements song that features a bottle as well (I just can't remember which one). Anybody know of any other songs?

Anyway, here's the list:
1. In this age of frozen freaks the only highs we get are low
2. I had a girl, she loved what she saw; she loved me so good, she made her daddy mad (Georg got this one)
3. You choose your leaders and place your trust; As their lies wash you down and their promises rust (Andrew got this one)
4. It may look to the untrained eye, I'm sitting on my arse all day; I'm biding time until I take you all on (BWV got this one--mostly)
5. He sits there drinkin' gin and she sits there drinkin' beer like me
6. Dark party bars, shiny cadillac cars and the people on subways and trains (rick! got this one)
7. Don't you know I got the bully boys out changing someone's facial design,
8. I know I need a small vacation, but it don't look like rain.
9. And Suzie is a jewel, she flashes when she smiles.
10. I can hypnotize a pancake, I can levitate the pope
11. I can't love when anyone loves me, and I can't find the someone to love
12. This was the only kindness and it was accidental too (rick! got this one)
13. Yeah, I know I look like hell; I smoke and I drink and I'm feeling swell
14. To yourself and to your family and friends you're just like a party and the party never ends
15. Dialogue dub, now here's the rub; She's acting her reaction (rick! got this one)

Special bonus extra credit "rock en español" lyric (any kindred spirits out there?):
Por eso ahora tendre que obsequiarte un par de balazos pa que te duela. (Who rocks completely for knowing the provenance of these lyrics? Prentiss, that's who!)

Like I said, if you don't play along Hurricane Lisa will mess you up.

Look at me, I'm a hurricane (well, almost)!

Mark and a few of my friends are making fun of me because I'm a little bitty tropical storm. But I've got plenty of time to draw energy from the warm tropical waters and then I'll show them! And maybe when I'm done around here I'll go say hello to Andrew and Heidi up in Nova Scotia.

In other news, I spent all weekend at the Carolina Sportsplex playing flyball. It was fun but I'm still a bit tired. My teammate Sam took some photos. This is my favorite one.

Friday, September 17, 2004

I wanna play the meme ...

... that Alicia played--"guess the song lyrics," but half the songs I listen to are in Spanish and nobody's going to get the answers. Plus, I've been listening to a lot of brand new stuff this week because I brought home too many cds to review from Sunday's WXDU music staff meeting. In fact, I'm listening to something that makes me very, very happy: H.M.S. Mondegreen byThe Thin Man. In fact, I just wrote a semi-review of it, and then I stupidly navigated off of my Blogger preview page without saving it as a draft and it disappeared, and now I'm too lazy to rewrite it. So I'll be just be lame and say it reminds me somewhat of Firewater, which is a very good thing indeed.

Oh yeah, I also like D.W. Holiday's Techincal Difficulties, Under the Influence and Paul Westerberg's new cd Folker. Not that you asked, or anything ...

As for the meme, maybe I'll indulge Jason and do a bunch of 80s lyrics. First I gotta listen to all these new cds ...

“It was so scary,

... all those Ronald McDonalds staring at us in our headlights. It gave us a very, very funny feeling."

Thanks to the Obscure Store for the link.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Chix Pix ...

I finally finished the Chicks Rock III photo gallery.

A messy desk is a sign of ...

messydesk, originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

I must clean off my desk because it's getting hard to get things done, but I'm too busy to have time to clean my desk. The problem is that people are always giving me all these pieces of paper associated with something they want me to do. Then I'm afraid to just throw away all the paper because what if someone asks for it back? But I'm not the type of person who keeps paper files ... even if I were I have nowhere to file them. So they start piling up, and then the piles sort of slide sideways until everything is all morphed together. Whatever happened to the "paperless office" that was being touted back in the '80s?

Another problem is that people give me all sorts of files on cd, and when I'm done they rarely want the cds back. Again, I'm loath to throw them away for some reason, so they start to stack up.

So it gets to the point where all my toys and personal effects get crowded out by all the work crap, and it's not a happy situation. I think tomorrow I'll throw away everything work related that's on my desk ... not today because I've got to finish up and then drive back to Durham to do my radio show.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Hostess wedding cake

Hostess wedding cake, originally uploaded by trixie_skips.

Here's me blogging someone else's photo again. I like photos of cakes. I especially like this one. That's all.


lucky?, originally uploaded by bunchofpants.
Let's hope your new home lasts longer than your owner's impending marriage ... (from the elevator at work).

Plan for Canadian domination ....

My Canadian friend Geoff sent me this: Canadian World Domination. Fine with me, just don't forget to bring the Nanaimo bars.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Chicks Rock III ....

anne gomez ..., originally uploaded by bunchofpants.

I'm still in the process of going through my Chicks Rock photos. My problem is that iPhoto is clearly not designed for actual photographers, because it slows to a crawl when you get any quantity of photos in your library. I have 3072, which really isn't that many for a serious hobby photographer. Anyway, at Sarah's suggestion I'm going to have to back them up and get them out of my library--but that sort of defeats the purpose of using iPhoto as an organizing tool ... it's good at organizing nothing, I guess.

But my friend Sam (a flyball teammate) who is seriously into rock 'n' roll photography, put up his galleries. You can see them here: Audubon Park,
Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan, and Gerty.

Gmail demand spikes!!

Horray for Maggie, who got herself a gmail inviation just for emailing me.

As for the big Durham Blues Festival noise email list brouhaha, it continues ... The guy who seems to be the tightest pantiewad of them all wrote that none of the blues fest defenders had offered "a valid argument for allowing the festival to break the law" (i.e. the city noise ordinance.) At this point I'm getting sick of the guy, so I had to reply:
How about this: Because we want it to. Because we're not so hung up on controlling absolutely everything and everyone around us, and we want people who come to our city to enjoy the once-a-year blues fest to get what they came for ... blues sound good loud, after all. Because we don't see the point in getting all worked up over one night's sleep and besides, if we just relax our sphincters a little bit we find it's easier to sleep even with a little noise. Because we see beauty and joy in a world that allows a little bit of randomness and disarray, yes, even chaos sometimes, and we know that getting our undies in a bundie over "the rule of law" would just make life overly regimented and awful. Because if we wanted to live in a place where everyone gets uptight over anything out of the ordinary or skirting the sacred rule of law we would have moved to Cary*.
I hope the guy takes it personally.

*For those of you who ain't from around here, Cary is a town that many people feel is very soulless and Stepford-like: cookie-cutter housing developments, lots of rules about what color you can paint your house (I heard a rumor that they demanded the Red Roof Inn not put a red roof on their inn in Cary because it wouldn't match everything else ... I don't know if it's really true) and vast shopping centers with national chain stores and national chain restaurants. The locals like to say that CARY stands for "Containment Area for Relocated Yankees."