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.