Monday, March 31, 2008

HGTV in HDTV, or, Why I Hate Everyone

No double sinks in the master suite? Well, fiddle-dee-dee!

I’m over 30 and in a relationship, so I spent much of my weekend watching Home and Garden Television. If you ever want to witness everything that is wrong with America, spend a few hours watching materialistic nitwits confuse wants with needs and hurtle toward financial chaos.

There are just so many HGTV options. Want to see a kitchen undergo a stunningly modern update from avocado green to, wait for it...vomit green? Or how about watching a young couple as they adorn their living room with surfboards and fake bamboo? Care to be a witness to a striking furniture rearrangement that shows putrescent floral sofas to their best advantage? Or maybe you’d like to see a guest room go arts-and-crafts style via so much hand-sewing and fussy frippery that you wonder whether these people have anything better to do. (Answer: No. No, they do not.)

But my favorite shows are the ones where young couples shop for houses. Sometimes they want a ready-made house, sometimes they want to renovate. But either way, it’s completely fascinating. It shouldn't be, because watching other people shop usually makes me want to staple-gun my eyelids shut. But it is!

I don’t know why economists spend their days poring over dull charts and graphs. Thirty minutes of “House Hunters” will tell them everything they need to know about the housing market crash, subprime loan disaster, and recession. Each episode starts with an examination of everything wrong with their current home. Usually, it’s “doesn’t have granite and stainless steel all over the kitchen,” which is our generation's answer to avocado green and harvest gold shag carpeting. Or they don't have enough closet space for all the yuppie doodads they never needed in the first place, or it lacks a four-car heated garage complete with built-in Slip n’ Slide.

So the couple troops from house to house, carefully noting the ways in which perfectly fine, nay, adorable homes just aren’t good enough. What they really need to do is tear out a bunch of walls, build a screened-in playroom to accommodate the entire Fisher-Price line of educational toys for their hyper-indulged children, and then install at least two bathrooms for each member of the family. Including the dog.

My favorite was the young married couple in Florida. OK, she’s pregnant and they live in a fourth-floor walkup. Fair enough, it’s time to move. But on closer viewing, these people are shopping exclusively for toddler deathtraps. Tile floors? Sure, Baby’s gonna want to fall down on those when learning to walk. Oooh, how about a pool and a hot tub? Multiple places for Baby to drown! And let’s pick the place behind the golf course, so Baby can get beaned on the head by the CEO of GimmeMore Industries as he finishes up eighteen holes and four martinis.

I guess I just don’t get it. What’s so wrong with a cute three-bedroom house in a safe neighborhood near the city? How could such a nice, wholesome place to live possibly need $140,000 in renovations? How could anyone turn up their noses at a fenced yard, two-car garage, good schools, and other standard-issue American Dream items?

Instead, everybody goes over budget, confusing what they need (a roof over their heads) with what they want (a roof over their heads that’s much nicer than what their friends have). And that’s why we’ve got a housing crash, credit crunch, and recession. Because people have no clue how to be happy with what they have, so they buy more than they need. Because they’re somehow entitled to the luxury and status that earlier generations would save up and wait for.

As for us? Tim was inspired to do some spring cleaning. Hopefully he won’t staple-gun plastic palm fronds to his walls or make a faux Magic Eye painting from his vacation slides. I was inspired to go home, look around my shabby little studio, and feel absurdly grateful. I’m glad it’s not a stainless steel McMansion in an exurb, shoving me towards a life of acquisition and the fear-laden ambition I’d need to sustain all of that pointless stuff. I don't see any reason to knock myself out attaining the sort of life I never wanted.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to hand-stitch some faux stained-glass curtains and use a nail gun to perform a home lobotomy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back Before We All Got to Be Special...A Tale of Nerd P.E.

When I was in high school, I was considered “gifted.” Nowadays, with the smartification of America, every child is gifted. But once upon a time, you could gain enormous prestige by properly shifting bits of construction paper in a four-hour, demandingly inane standardized test.

Every other week, Imperial Me and I would spend several hours locked in a tiny, windowless room with between four and seven fellow nerds. We would have deep discussions on stuff no one cared about, thereby re-confirming our inherent smartyness. To this day, I am convinced this “classroom” was really a CIA laboratory, used to groom future covert agents.

Other signs of our enhanced status included nerd-only field trips, nerd-only class projects, and free time to fill out our abundant college applications. (True story: I applied to Harvard because I really had nothing else going on that day. No, I didn’t get in.)

But the greatest honor of all was “Nerd P.E.” Because our schedules were blocked together, all the gifted kids took gym during second period. So, theoretically, this should have saved me from all the humiliations of gym class with non-nerds. You know, being the last one picked for teams, being the last one to finish the mile run, being the only one to wipe out on the gymnastics equipment…oh, wait. Even in Nerd P.E., I was still the last one picked for teams, the last one to finish every race (a mile in 20 minutes! Go me!), and the girl who did an unintentional cannonball off the gymnastics horse.

And, of course, what all this really meant...Nerd Driver's Ed. Nerd Health. And, worst of all, Nerd Sex Ed. ("Boys and girls, here's the vital information the vast majority of you will not need until college, if ever.")

So what have we learned? I’m the Nerdiest Nerd Who Ever Nerded. I’m a Nerd Queen!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Pit of Laundry Despair

I live in a soulless high rise apartment building. It’s a concrete filing cabinet with slots for widows, single people, and recent immigrants. Usually, two of the three elevators are busted, and the functioning one stops at every floor due to the shenanigans of bratty kids.

On the other hand, it’s rent-controlled and all-inclusive. So I don’t care. Oh, except for the basement laundry room, which I’ve taken to calling the Pit of Laundry Despair. However, instead of a wheelbarrow-toting albino, we have the Glamourous Ladies of Washing(ton). GLOW, if you will.

The GLOW engage in at least three, if not all six, of the following reprehensible communal living behaviors:

  1. Suck up at least five washers.
  2. Use at least twice as many dryers as washers, thereby creating a logjam, because for some godforsaken reason my building has twice as many washers as dryers.
  3. Remove said items from washers one item at a time, shaking them out, regarding them closely, and transferring them lovingly to a dryer.
  4. Remove and fold items from the dryer one by one, instead of dumping them on a table to be folded.
  5. Scatter clothes over every flat surface to be folded, preventing anyone else from folding their laundry.
  6. Do all of the above in ratty sweatpants with words across the rump, while their children roller-skate in circles around the folding table.

The Princess Bride had an amazing device that could suck years off your life. My building’s Pit of Despair has a similar life-shortening contraption: dryers. Somehow, of the paltry seven dryers, at least two will be out of order. And the ones that do work will convert your clothes into a tasty snack of melted cotton and stir-fried denim.

So, what can I do? Go to a Laundromat? Neat trick, except I don’t have a car. Leave passive-aggressive notes all over the basement? Building management already tried that, it was pretty hopeless. Complain on my blog, in the hopes that people will commiserate? Done!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Whole Paycheck Rant

A few weeks ago, I attempted to expand my horizons, do my bit for Mother Earth, and shoot my bank account to hell. Add it all up...I bought lunch at Whole Foods.

I despise Whole Foods. For starters, food is a basic human right and simply should not cost that much. There is no logical reason why a small bag of cherries should be $10, unless the cherries were sneezed on by Moses himself and polished by blind Bhutanese monks. I'm also a pretty simple person, and don't require that all my food be gloriously gourmet and farm-fresh.

But don't worry about the prices, because the customer base gives out the sanctimony for free. There's nothing like a yuppie guilt trip about factory farming and buying local/organic/raised by elves when food prices are skyrocketing and I am barely making ends meet. Apparently, if you do not spend an absurd amount on a can of beans, you are a Bad Person. This is much like the Prius evangelicals who want tax breaks and fawning admiration, because they can go out and buy a brand-new car when so many others cannot.

Whole Foods is not hippie-dippy counterculture. We have my parents for that. Whole Foods is a mega-corp that squashes competition and is working to replace all those little companies on its shelves with their own 365 brand. It's not the cute little grassroots mama Earth movement the yupsters seem to think it is.

But I could deal with the prices, the snootiness and the sanctimony if the store itself made even a smidge of effort to be pleasant. My neighborhood Safeway is infamous for its chaotic aisles, rude customers, bratty kids, long lines, and slow cashiers. Which, funnily enough, was just like shopping at Whole Foods. All the fun for twice the price!

On my visit, the lines were halfway down the aisles. And, to add to the pain, some genius decided to put a teenage trainee cashier on the line during lunch rush.

Trainer: Now you put the food on the scanner.
Trainee: I put the food on the scanner?
Trainer: Yes. That tells you how much it costs.
Trainee: It costs (absurdly stupid amount for a glorified snack).
Trainer: Take her money, then give her change.
Trainee: I don't understand!

Please note that this exchange occurred for every single customer.

So, Whole Paycheck, you can keep your yuppie sanctimony and silly prices. I'll be at my nasty old Safeway.

How Life Gets It Wrong

I spent an exciting Saturday evening playing a new edition of The Game of Life.

I miss the Life of my youth. Mainly because, upon retirement, you could trade in your children for cash. I just loved the idea that procreation had a cash value of $2,500. Also, it was entirely possible to go bankrupt or lose your job. The Life of my youth was uncertain and somewhat challenging. Much like the real thing.

Today’s Life reflects a certain gimme-gimme bourgeois sensibility. For starters, the cars are now minivans instead of sedans. The game order is college-career-marriage-house-kids, with no deviations. I married a fellow pink peg, just to inject a teeny slice of counterculture. Nobody gets to stay single, nobody can say “screw you” to the housing market and rent forever, and there are enough “It’s a Boy!” or “Adopt Twins!” spaces that kids are virtually compulsory. My own pegwife was astonishingly fertile, spawning twice within three turns. If she’d had arms, I would have jammed some teeny-tiny Norplant in there.

Additionally, all of the career options are a child’s-eye view of prestige. Entertainer, doctor, teacher, policeman. The lone dullard is the accountant. I’m surprised there was no “astronaut” option. Nobody becomes a bartender, carpenter, or secretary (boo!).

It was all too easy and absurdly lucrative. You could earn upwards of $250,000 just for landing on a random space and getting a Life Tile. You could earn $90,000 a year as a rookie cop. Tax payments involved luck instead of law. Everyone retires a millionaire. I wonder if this game is warping children, convincing them that adulthood is a lockstep of success with little to no effort. Who am I kidding? Kids today think that way anyhow, without the influence of Milton Bradley.

So, after a round of Life on a Saturday night, I felt like a bit of a loser. Not because I should have been out at a swank club instead of playing children’s games on the floor of my little studio. Instead, I wondered why nobody’s ever handed me $90,000 a year, a house by random selection, a trouble-free fruitful marriage, or the ability to pay off my college loans within three spins of the wheel. Why does everything in my life happen out of sequence and take so much effort?

On the other hand, at least I don’t have to drive around in an orange plastic minivan.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Your Essential Haircut Update

Today, The Haircut From Hell has decided to arrange itself in a tribute to a beloved fictional character:


Friday, March 21, 2008

Craigslist: The Odds Are Good, the Goods Are Odd

No doubt, dating is a raw deal for everyone. But, in the approach stage, it’s primarily a raw deal for men. That's because approach is, fairly or no, the province of guys.

I’ve seen successful and unsuccessful approaches over the years. Generally speaking, I dig direct and funny. “Nice shoes, wanna screw?” at the very least will get you a laugh. Asking to see my hands, asking my opinion about celebrities, or other common Gamester tricks will get you nowhere. Hovering in my presence and hoping I’ll notice you is just going to give me the creeps.

The bar scene is no different than Internet dating. Craigslist is like that dirty, stanky meat market bar that occasionally turns up some real gems.

If you’re a woman and you post a personal ad, your inbox will fill up in 20 seconds flat with treatises of love, friendly hellos from nice guys, and a few weenie photos. Your odds of meeting a man are good, then again, the goods are odd. Much like the bar scene, many guys completely lock up on the approach and make fools of themselves. They're most likely to go hopelessly off the rails within the first sentence.

For your Friday enjoyment, here are some introductory sentence gems from my Craigslist date-a-thon player phase (about a year ago):

......i am starting to think that its hard to find and trust someone on here.....i guess words are meaningless.......the word love just stays a word and don,t really mean anything........just a meaningless word......

It’s like poetry. Lord Byron! Byron by way of Borat, that is.

I'm a 28 year old Ivy League professional working as a lobbyist in town... and have found it difficult to find a truly substantive and fun relationship in DC.

Possibly because you tell women right off the bat that you’re an Ivy League lobbyist? Also, please don’t use corporate killspeak like “substantive” in a pickup. His whole sentence reads like a cover letter for a job at the Shannon Corporation.

I Thought That I'd send You A small Response To Your Message ... :-)

And I Thought It would Be Best To Not Reply.

Yes, I was in a long relationship, 7 years. Don't worry, I'm over her. That was about 7 months ago.

Yeah, take THAT, ex-girlfriend! I’m movin’ on! By mentioning you as quickly as humanly possible!

PS – I am aware that I’m a deeply flawed woman, not all that, not representative of women everywhere, etc. Let it go, have a laugh.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My Hair Fills Me With Rage: A Photo Essay

Remember when I got that bad haircut? All of two weeks ago? The too-short bangs that made me look like this?

Forget divorce, unemployment, heartbreak or disease. This has been the most trying time of my life. Every time I see a woman with full-length bangs, I feel a twinge of jealousy. I've become well-acquainted with headbands, barrettes, and other accoutrements of the badly-banged (heh heh).

This morning, I nearly wept with relief when I discovered that my bangs were almost back to normal. So I finally took notice of the rest of the Haircut from Hell:

Want a closer look? No, you don't. You really really don't:

I have a Dorothy Hamill wedge haircut. My hair has gone completely insane. It's hell-bent on reliving the 1970s (not my hairstyle heyday, as I was not alive/in diapers for most of it).

I'm petrified to see what sort of retro insanity will come up next. My bet?

Complete with the no-bra nip effect. Unless my hair REALLY hates me, in which case I'll wind up like this:

Just like poor old Jane Fonda, tossed in the pokey for having fugly hair.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Guest Blogging for Godot

Reader 1: Dude, where’s Shannon? I don’t see her around.
Reader 2: I don’t know, dude, where’s Shannon?
Reader 1: She’s kind of small, maybe she fell between the sofa cushions again.
Reader 2: Or maybe she slipped down the drain.
Reader 1: I hope she didn’t run off to South America again.
Reader 2: When was she in South America?
Reader 1: About four years and two blog titles ago.
Reader 2: Wow. Was that back when this was a 7th Heaven tribute site?
Reader 1: No, that was five years and three blog titles ago.
Reader 2: Wow, you sure know a lot about Shannon.
Reader 1: I sleep on her balcony at night and sniff her laundry while she’s at work. Do you have any idea how much crap she owns from Forever 21?
Reader 2: Well, that’s just creepy. And she needs better clothes.
Reader 1: No kidding. Anyways, where’s Shannon?
Reader 2: I don’t know, dude. (rummages around the Internet) Oh, wait, here she is! She’s guest blogging over at Life in Pink.
Reader 1: Who lives in pink?
Reader 2: My Little Ponies. Mariah Carey. And someone named Heidi. Heidi seems pretty cool.
Reader 1: What’s a quarterlife crisis?
Reader 2: No clue. Let’s go check it out. (Both readers exit stage right)

Programming Note: I’m guest blogging over at Life in Pink today, offering an excerpt from the Infamous Book. The Book is that thing no one is allowed to ask me about, because as soon as they do, I get writers’ block for two weeks. I’ll be back tomorrow, spewing the usual sarcasm.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wedding Season in Hell

I don’t have any weddings on deck for this year. I’ve found, due to demographics, luck, or divine plan, that I usually either have zero weddings in a season, or several.

Going wedding-free is quite the relief, as my wedding karma is usually pretty bad. Aside from my own wedding(s), which involved things like Elvis and the majority of my guests dining-‘n-dashing, we have:

-That bridesmaid experience where I had the stomach flu
-That wedding where I had a kidney infection
-That bridesmaid experience where I wore a black, heavy satin gown with layers of crinoline…during an Alabama heat wave
-That wedding where I drove from North Carolina to Maine with the groom (who I didn’t much care for) and the best man (aka, the guy I was dating up until the day before we left, when he got back together with his ex, which he didn’t see fit to tell me before we embarked on a 14-hour road trip)

So, what does this have to do with anything? Well, it seems like I’m always reading about how a woman can be a good wedding guest, fantastic bridesmaid, or gracious bride. (Men pretty much get a pass on wedding stuff, provided they don’t hit on the bride or hork on anyone.)

But what if you want to be DIS-gracious? Well, you’re going to have to step up your game. Here’s how:

The Bridal Shower:

Standard rude: Give a baby outfit.
Step it up: Give a baby outfit, but cut an extra opening so there’s room for two heads. Include a card asking the bride to verify that she is not marrying her cousin.

Standard rude: Bring a date, even if your invitation doesn’t say, “And Guest.” Or if your invite says, “And Family,” bring the whole reunion list.
Step it up: Demand to bring your life coach, because otherwise you will NEVER be able to choose between chicken and fish.

Outfit Selection:

Standard rude: Wear a white dress to upstage the bride.
Step it up: Take that white dress and tack on a veil and some gloves. Or, if you’re married, dig out your gown (aside from Halloween, when else are you going to be able to wear it?)

The Ceremony:
Standard rude: Don’t silence your cellphone.
Step it up: Answer your cellphone.

The Toast:

Standard rude: Grab the mike, offer a long and slurring tribute to the happy couple.
Step it up: Grab the mike, offer a long a slurring tribute to the hot groomsman you boinked in a broom closet at the rehearsal dinner. (Even if that never even happened. Actually, if it never happened, so much the better.)

The Open Bar:
Standard rude: Drink a little, drink a lot, fall down once or twice.
Step it up: How many licks does it take to get to the DJ center of a pop DJ?

While We’re Discussing the DJ:

Standard rude: Request something appalling, like “The Electric Slide.”
Step it up: Request something insulting, like “Baby Got Back,” dedicate it to the bride’s mother.

And a Bit of Meta:

Standard Rude: Write a blog post about how to be rude at a wedding.
Step it Up: Solicit ideas from commenters on other ways to be rude at a wedding. Have at it!

PS- Photo is from

Monday, March 17, 2008

Aging Disgracefully at the Bob Mould Show

Many things depress me. War. Hunger. Old Yeller. But, most of all, I get depressed when I see some emo boy with spiky hair and skinny jeans, pushing a stroller. Sweetie, by spawning, you have given up any obligation to coolness. It's time to trade in those Diesels for some Dockers and fire up the minivan.

What does this have to do with Saturday's Bob Mould show? Not much of anything. Except I bet the emo stroller guy's brother was the one who tried to stagedive.

If you're like me and got into Sugar in high school, you're over 30. If you're a Husker Du person, you, like, built the Pyramids and Jesus owes you a quarter. So most of the crowd was pretty well old. Someone even brought their kid. Most of us stood around, bobbed our heads, or did that white-person-at-the-rock-show sway. One guy tried to start a mosh pit, and by the end of the show had perfected a dance move that sort of looked like a prairie dog trying to climb a ladder. He almost got punched once or twice, but for the most part the crowd wasn't up for a rumble.

But you want to hear about the stagediving. Right. Some guy in a green shirt launched himself onto the stage and then right into the audience. First of all, I wasn't aware that it was still 1993. Who stagedives any more? Second, I can't believe I saw some dude leap off a stage into a sea of gray hairs and bald scalps. Where did he think he was, in the swimming pool scene from Cocoon? It was more of a stage bellyflop, because nobody was in good enough shape to catch him. I'm pretty sure he hit the floor, and that it probably hurt.

Other than that, the show was pretty uneventful. Doors at 6:30, out the door by 10:00. As we left the club, I turned to Tim and said, "What should we do now?" "Go home," he replied.

So we did, to drink hot cocoa and listen to Will Shatner sing "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds." See, Stagediver Guy, THAT's how you age gracefully.

PS - the show itself? Awesome.

In the comments, tell me about the weirdest thing you ever saw at a rock show.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday's Story: Profiles in Occupational Hotness

Before I began my lucrative career in the secretarial arts, I had a different brush with occupational hotness. Librarian? No. Nurse? Not even close. Instead, I applied for Arjewtino’s favorite sexy career: Flight Attendant.

I had just finished college, and was looking for a job. In 1998, job hunting involved actual newspapers, circling relevant want ads with a red pen, and mailing off resumes. With stamps! That you licked! We also churned our own butter and wore bonnets.

So, one day, I was circling ads by the pool when I came across an open call for flight attendants. Hey, who is better qualified than me? I have a degree in journalism from a top-flight state university, for heaven’s sake. I can pass out pillows and cans of Coke, and see the world at the same time. Plus, I could fly for free and meet lots of cute pilots.

Harsh Reality #1: If you want to see the world, don’t apply to work for a prop-plane regional airline.

So I went to the open call. It was very similar to the Disney intern open call I had gone to several years before. Namely, very happy people make very depressing jobs seem like the funnest thing ever.

For the record, prop-plane flight attendants only get paid when the cabin doors are closed. And they have to gather trash and clean the plane after every flight. So, much like my housewife era, I would not be paid to pick up after others. And the money is so hilariously bad it makes my current wages look like a king’s ransom.

And you have to live at the airline’s hub. Well, you sort of live there, but really, you don’t. Because you’re so broke you do things like fly standby for the free peanuts.

Harsh Reality #2: Let's move to glamorous Newark!

And I almost forgot about the uniforms. Which you had to pay for yourself. They were made of a fascinating sandpaper/polyester hybrid fabric. The things even smelled flammable. If the plane went down, everyone would die. That's because there would be no flight attendants left to remind people about their seat cushion flotation devices. The attendants and their poly-blend getups would have all combusted at the first spark.

Nonetheless, I wanted to be sexy stewardess. So I stayed for the spiel, I stayed for the group interview, I got a callback for an individual interview. All told, I was there for three hours. Only then did they tell me that I’m too short to reach the overhead compartments.

Harsh Reality #3: I’ll never be tall enough to be truly hot.

That’s when I said, “Oh well, secretaries can be sexy, too! I’ll just take that job at the hotel.”

And that's how I became the woman I am today. Inspiring, no?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

So What's Up With the Sexy Secretaries?

In the ongoing, but often-dropped, redesign of this site, I ran a search on Google Images. I was trying to find some sort of secretary graphic. Instead, I found page after page of exposed bras and pretty young ladies draping themselves across Dictaphones and typewriters.

Thanks, Google! I'm glad to know that my job is such a turn-on for you. The pay isn't great, so it's good to be compensated in hotness.

Last night, I cornered Tim into discussing occupational fetishes. Here's what we came up with: Men have the hots for secretaries because we're conveniently located (the desk right outside your office!). Librarians and teachers are hot because they're dominant, and either one might suddenly take off her glasses and shake out her hair to a thumping bass beat. Nurses are sexy because they're in a service profession and they see you naked.

The hot guy professions seem to be centered around uniforms: cop, fireman, military, etc. Is the "man in uniform" thing simply because there are so many guys out there who can't dress themselves? And I don't know any woman who is turned on by plumbers or pizza boys, so why do male strippers dress up as plumbers and pizza boys? And what's up with the milkman thing? I don't think anyone's seen a real milkman in decades.

Creative professions are hot to both sexes: musicians (guilty as charged), artists, writers, actors and actresses.

What occupations do you think are hot? Do you work in a sexy profession? If so, did you plan it that way?

PS - the image is of "Secretary Barbie." I'm envious of her full-length bangs and her ability to wear yellow without looking like a corpse.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mrs. Spitzer and the Default Settings of Powerful Pants

I didn’t watch the news conference. I've seen it all before. I didn’t need to see the same scene play out as it has a thousand times. Political scandal, complete with cliché-ridden non-apology and late show wee-wee jokes, while Tammy Wynette provides the cultural soundtrack. Stand by your man while the whole world gawps.

I’m not too interested in the Governor, because I think we all know that power corrupts. Eventually up is down, down is up, and powerful men forget that pants should have a default setting of up around the waist and not down around the ankles.

I’m more intrigued by Mrs. Spitzer. A man she chose to give her life to humiliates her, endangers her health, permanently screws up her kids, and spends thousands of dollars of her family’s money. And she stood right there next to him for the world to see, as I’m sure he and his advisors begged her to.

That’s an interesting question for the governor and his advisors. Did you really have to have her there at the news conference? This woman is clearly in shock, and it’s disgusting of you to take advantage of that and nudge her into that news conference. I doubt she had a chance to think it through, and went of her own free will. And it didn’t do you much good, anyway. I don’t think anyone watches those press conferences and thinks, “His wife still loves him, so he must not be so bad.” I think we all get just a bit angrier from watching the wife endure yet another public slap to the face.

On the other hand, I can’t pretend to know what’s going on in her mind. I’m not her. So I can’t say I would have done things differently or that I’d have been able to just walk away. I think it’s impossible to say, “I sure as hell wouldn’t be up there.” What do we know? Marriage is a very complicated thing, especially when kids and a public career are involved. What do we know about the inner workings of their marriage? Maybe she always knew about the hooker and they’re just staying together until their kids go to college. I doubt it, but it’s possible.

But I do know what I wish had happened. I wish that press conference had played out very differently. I wish she’d looked over, shrugged, and clocked him but good. I wish she’d pantsed him or given him a wedgie. I wish she’d broken in and said, “And the worst part of all? He’s got SUCH a tiny penis.” I wish she’d looked on in disgust and shock, and simply walked away. In that case, her silence would have spoken volumes. Instead, her silence served as endorsement.

What do YOU wish Mrs. Spitzer had done?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Venue Review and Striking a Blow for Short Chicks

Friday night, I went to see Longwave at Rock n' Roll Hotel with Tim. The show? Very good. The venue? Not a fan.

This club involves a serious time investment. The first band doesn't go on until nine, then there are not one, not two, but THREE opening acts. So it's usually midnight before the headliner even goes on. By then, the crowd is in one of three places: home in their beds, blearily checking their watches in the crowd, or so wasted they might as well be anywhere. (Lest you write me off as an old fogey, even the underage kids with the Xes were yawning by the time Longwave went on. And what decent band would want to play to a sleepy room, anyway?)

I will say, at $10 cover, $2.50 a band is a pretty sweet deal. And the beer isn't ridiculously expensive, parking is easy, and bar service is very prompt (especially compared to the Black Cat, where there's always some snooty club kid who cuts in line and throws elbows).

But since I'm all sorts of cranky today, here's a note to tall guys. Yes, you. I'm down here! Hi! When the club is full, stand where you want. It's every man for himself. But in a half-empty room, why not show a little courtesy? I will never figure out why the tallest man in the room always stands right in front of the shortest woman (me, usually). Is there some sort of tall guy radar going on? It would be nice not to spend every show bobbing, weaving, adjusting, and nudging guys to move over a notch or two. As soon as I get settled in, another tall guy pops up. It's like a sick carnival game. Whack-a-Giant.

You're tall, and male. Statistically you earn more money, get more promotions, and are more likely to be President. So with all those advantages, throw a bone to the short chicks. Do you not look behind you before you settle into a location? Could you, perhaps?

PS - I would like to thank the group in front of us at the show Friday. A couple tall guys moved in front of me, the girl in their group noticed, and gave them a talking-to. Then for the rest of the night, I had their permission to just reach over and nudge them when they got in the way. Manhandling strangers AND a decent view? Rock show heaven.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Me, On TV

If you're watching TV tonight, try and spot me on Lehrer...supposedly we'll be in some sort of prologue on a story about the job market. Once again my hour of taping stock footage has reared its ugly head.

Ten points to whoever records this and spots me, as I will not be near a TV tonight!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Prince Valiant Is Sweating the Small Stuff

Yesterday, the big stuff went right. I woke up in my cute apartment, next to my cute boyfriend. I went to my job to work among nice people, had dinner and a beer with an old friend, and went home to sleep in a warm bed. I lead a charmed and lucky life.

The little stuff? All wrong. End-to-end disaster. I got to work, settled in, and promptly splashed coffee onto my skirt. Since the skirt looks the same front-or-back, and I sit at a desk all day, I simply went into the restroom and turned the skirt around. If I'm sitting on the stain, no one can see it.

I sat back down, and poured another batch of coffee onto my skirt. Oh well, at least I match.

After work, and before dinner, I went to get my hair cut. I'm trying to switch from a shag to a bob with bangs (for my male readers, that means blah blah blah...snore).

Somehow, in the midst of scissors flurrying about near my eyeballs and having my scalp torn out to a throbbing techno beat, I wound up with ridiculously short bangs. I look like Prince Valiant. I look like a little Dutch boy. I look like my mother cut my hair. I look, most of all, like a dork with an enormous forehead. Make that a fivehead or a sixhead.

It'll be OK, because I'm a human Chia Pet with plenty of other skirts. My hair and nails grow absurdly fast, and my bangs will be back to normal in no time. And hopefully the coffee stains will come out of that skirt. In the meanwhile, I've got the big stuff covered.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Temporarily Yours

I'm breaking a rule here, because I almost never discuss work. If you read between the lines, though, it's pretty obvious that I'm an office temp. I do mostly higher-end, longer-term assignments, and have been with the same agency for five years (not counting my stints overseas when I worked for the guv'ment).

There are some really great things about being a temp. Actually, if it paid more, I'd temp forever.

The Highs:
I'm always meeting new people and learning new things
If a position isn't a perfect fit, it isn't forever
I have contacts all over town and have made a lot of friends
I can refer to myself as an "office anthropologist"
I really and truly enjoy (and rock the house at) administrative work
People are very appreciative of the work I do, and I get lots of coffee gift cards and free food

The Lows:
Not much stability
Would YOU want to be 31 years old and paid by the hour?

I've been hunting for a permanent job for a while now. I specifically took time over the summer just temp and write, but started my job search in earnest in the fall. I'm grateful for the experiences I've had, grateful to have a roof over my head, and really happy I got the chance to try out so many different industries and jobs. The last year has given me a much better idea of who I am, what my strengths are, and who I want to be.

So, if you're at loose ends, give temping a try.

Redesign, Ask the Readers-Style

This blog is ugly. So ugly that not even my mother could love it. So I've been tinkering with ClipArt and Paint and I've been redesigning this thing. Yes, I know, sad and retro...but remember, just yesterday I was asking you about tape decks.

I created my own little secretary header (if you have a retro profession, you should have a retro header). I need to center it and make it pretty. In Paint. (Stop laughing. Now.) I'm guessing I have to use html. Or magic powers.


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

This Question Was Worth a Post to Itself

Many people have strong opinions on marriage.

Divorce is always bad. You should settle before you're old and ugly. It's better to marry young. It's better to wait until your 30s. You should wait for your totally perfect soulmate. Marriage should be dissolved altogether and replaced with civil unions. Marriage is always a raw deal for the man (or for the woman).

What I've found, though, is that the people with the strongest opinions on marriage are most often people who have never been married. Why is that? And do these people have any real knowledge to offer, or do you have to be either married or divorced to really "get it"?

What do you think?

The Ask and Answer Blogger-Reader Exchange

I have questions. I want you to answer them. And to make it worth your while, if you answer one of my questions, you can come up with something for me (or the group as a whole) to answer.

So, here goes:

True or False: Dating and Relationships
1. True or False: Pickup artists appreciate women more than typical "nice guys" because the pickup artists give women what they really want.
2. True or False: A person who is not close to his/her family is a poor relationship prospect.

Essay Section: Retail
3. I love, adore, can't live without polo shirt dresses (think Gwyneth Paltrow in The Royal Tenenbaums). But the only ones I can ever find are at American Apparel, and are skanky-short (even on 5'2", Welsh-legged me!). Where can I buy polo shirt dresses?
4. At some point, when my employment situation is more settled, I want to buy a stereo. (Not an iPod docking station, I have nothing to dock.) My current system, an Aiwa, is finally dying after five years. I hate those giant frat-boy space alien looking things. But I want multi-CD and a tape deck. What should I buy?

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Annual Running of the Tourists

Dear Tourists,


Cherry Blossom season is just around the corner, and with it comes the annual Running of the Tourists. Which is more accurately called the "The Slow Disorganized Waddling of the Tourists." Or, "That Time That All Locals Hate."

Locals don't like you. You don't charm us with your sweet small-town ways or enthusiastic grins. We hate your fanny packs, your stupid clothes, your spoiled fidgety children, and your tendency to grind to a halt and throw sidewalks into chaos just so you can take a photo or adjust little Madison's FBI t-shirt. Do you really need the whole sidewalk? You can't move a few feet to the side so others can pass? No, of course not.

You destroy the already precarious Metro equilibrium with your total inability to take a freakin' hint. You just can't pay attention to your surroundings, can you? You can't blend in? You stand on the left side of the escalators, you herd the entire extended family onboard during rush hour, and you wheel school-age kids around in pony-sized strollers (can't they walk by now?).

Then you putter from museum to memorial to Spy Museum, complaining about the heat and the fact that you can't just pull right up and park like you do at the local Cracker Barrel. You take most of your meals at McDonald's and Quizno's. Your near-hysteria about urban environments precludes you from experiencing cheese fries at Ben's Chili Bowl, a Sunday afternoon at Eastern Market, non-chain restaurants, or anything else that might stink of "local color."

But we need you. We loathe you, we don't want you, but we need you. We count on tourism dollars to keep our city alive. Tourists and Washington are locked in a demented and unhealthy symbiosis. We must break the pattern and be free.

So, here's my suggestion. Long ago, this guy suggested that all tourists skip the visit and just send a check. You don't experience our city, anyway. Don't bother packing the kids into the Suburban, paying outrageous amounts for parking and hotels, and don't stress about herding the family from one blandly inspiring location to the next. Just send a check, and I'll send you a packet of postcards and a "Female Body Inspector" sweatshirt with coordinating "CIA" trucker cap.

Can we make this work?