Archive for category Random
If Santa Claus was real the reports would read: Santa Claus, controversial businessman/resident of the North Pole promises free gifts to US children. In other news, North Pole, Inc. is reporting record losses due to lack of consumer confidence and tightening of the credit markets. In still other news Sen. 6-Term whose controversial re-election bid, supported by Claus/Pole SuperPAC, seeks emergency federal funds to protect North Pole, Inc. labs from terror attacks and form exploratory committee for oil drilling in the arctic.
Whenever I read something online or in print and there are semicolons all over the piece I think, “no fair, they know how to use semicolons…or do they?!” Is this writer like me, who after years and years of using Word, and it’s constant “semicolon suggestions” they are not even sure they really know how to use them anymore!?! I think years from now people will look back at the writings we have left behind and wonder why we had a semicolon fetish. I swear I feel like such a pretender every time I put one into my document at Word’s suggestion, just to make the squiggly green line go away. It’s the Word Document’s version of “JUST MAKE THE VOICES STOP…JUST MAKE THE SQUIGGLY LINE GO AWAY!”
So my birthday came and went this week. Happy birthday to me! For those of you that are wondering (okay, the 1 one you that is wondering) I turned 25 again this year, and it was fabulous! For my birthday I went to Yard House with my family, which was really only okay. I don’t drink, so like 90% of the reason to go to Yard House was out the window. For my second birthday celebration I went to The Cheesecake Factory with a friend.
For the past couple of years I have really been on this kick to eat more healthy whole foods, etc. So for dinner I got the Little House Salad (very healthy) and barely had any dressing on it. I also got the stuffed mushrooms (not so healthy, but my friend ate two and I had 4), plus I only had two small pieces of bread. So I was doing good, right?! Like I hadn’t eaten a lot and I was like, thinking to myself “pat on the back, KB!! Way to be healthy!!” So then my friend, over orderer that they are, ordered TWO pieces of Tiramisu to go, without whip cream, this to me was a travesty, I mean the whip cream there is the good high quality, high fat whip cream that you KNOW doesn’t come out of a can. So I asked her to get the whip cream on the side. So after we walked around the mall and I went home the whip cream was calling to me. So I had just a little bit of the whip cream, and it was delicious!!! I hadn’t had whip cream on a beverage or on a dessert for what seemed like forever, and I couldn’t remember why I started asking for “no whip”. So I had a little bit more. LET ME JUST SAY NOW, WHIP CREAM IS A SLIPPERY FUCKING SLOPE. Five minutes later, it was like I had freebased the whip cream!!! I had eaten all 3 tablespoons of whip cream and I felt like my arteries hurt. It was NO BUENO!!!! I was walking around the house thinking “WHY, KB?! WHY!!!!!!!????!!!!!!” So needless to say all of my healthy eating that evening faced an untimely downfall at the altar of the Cheesecake Factory Whip Cream Gods. It was MUY TERRIBLE.
So even today, the thought of whip cream makes my heart feel unhealthy, and I feel the need to go do something active, to get the remembrance of that post-whip cream over indulgence out of my mind. Needless to say my iced coffee this morning was sans whip cream…YUCK!
There are many dos and don’ts associated with behavior, and to learn them you just have to exist in a society. There is no book, no hard and fast rules to tell you what is and what isn’t acceptable on every occasion in every situation, a lot of times, it’s just a “use common sense and hope for the best” type of situation out there. However, there are occasions when there are clearly defined social norms that must be observed, indeed ignoring or not paying attention to them leads to blogs about you written by strangers who wish they had your full name so they could put your name out there for the world to know what a world class butt munch you are.
So I often ask myself, whatever happened to customer service…and recently I got a very, very clear answer to that question I send out into the cosmos…CHEAP ASSHOLES HAPPENED TO CUSTOMER SERVICE. That is where customer service went. It went away because some people out there despite getting AMAZING customer service or service of any kind feel that under tipping or tipping via In-N-Out chocolate milkshakes is okay. Here is the story of the cheap asshole I recently dealt with, judge for your self.
After a hideous children crying, little girl with light up shoes and an airplane bathroom fetish, and sitting near the toilets and getting to smell things no one wants to smell flight I ended I finally landed in San Francisco from London. On my flight I sat next to a guy named Mustafa (Balla/VIP), and yes, I wanted to quote the Lion King the entire flight because his names was WAY too close to Mufasa (Simba’s dad’s name) for me not to want to say:
Banzai: Oh, Scar, it’s just you.
Shenzi: We were afraid it was somebody important.
Banzai: Yeah, you know, like Mufasa.
Scar: I see.
Banzai: Now that’s power.
Shenzi: Tell me about it. I just hear that name and I shudder.
Shenzi: Ooooh! Do it again!
Banzai: Mufasa, Mufasa, Mufasa!
Shenzi: Ooooh! [breaks into laughter]
Shenzi: And it tingles me!
Scar: I’m *surrounded* by idiots.
Anyway, some how I contained myself and got to hear about this guy his trip to London to meet a girlie who his parents wanted him to marry, but he wasn’t interested in. I guess the first thing that clued me into his idiocy was that looks in a potential life partner is the most important attribute to him. But, hey at least the guy was honest…I couldn’t blame him. But then it was all a case of a rap song gone bad, he was talking about the crazy bar tabs him and his “boys” run up at the clubs in Vegas, how they “roll VIP”, all the chicks they hook up with. I mean it was like a Jersey Shore meets Canada meets Show Off all in one person.
Somehow, and let’s please not get into the inadvisability of my course of action, I am an idiot too, I ended up going to In-N-Out in a cab with this guy once our flight landed in San Francisco. So for those of you who don’t know In-N-Out it is a west coast, mostly California fast food place, it kinda has a cult following. The lines at In-N-Out are always long, and I mean super long. The In-N-Out closest to me had to recently redesign its entrance because the lines to get into drive-thru used to cause a traffic jam on one of the major surface streets at lunch and dinner times. So after pulling up to an In-N-Out with this “balla” in a taxi cab whose meter was already at $22+ for the ride there and taking a gander at the HORRENDOUS line the “balla” decides to run in to the store instead of doing drive-thru. Five minutes later he runs out and asks the Taxi driver if he can turn off the meter. The taxi driver of course does not want to do this but the “balla” pleads, and the Taxi driver agrees after saying “you know this is a BIG favor, right?” The “balla” agrees it is a huge favor comes back out hands the guy a chocolate milkshake runs back in emerge some 10 minutes later with his food and off we go to the airport, another $15 ride.
So pulling up to the terminal, in a Prius taxi that smelled like French fries, with two people that probably smelled gross as a result of 10+ hours of flying in a plane sitting next to the bathrooms, the “balla” hands over his credit card to pay for the ride back to the airport as well as the tip. The taxi driver asks the VIP “so how much do you want to leave for a tip?” The response…”oh it wasn’t included in what you just told me?” Taxi driver, “no, how much do you want to leave, bro?” “Balla”, “$2”. Taxi driver “come on buddy, how much do you want to leave?”. “Balla”, “yeah I think $2 is fine.
Okay…stop… right there…you see that $2 that I typed…that is where your customer service has gone. People like that have stolen it. They have left horrible $2 tips for people like this taxi driver who do them favors like turning off the meter on their cab for 15 minutes while they were in In-N-Out getting a burger and in return for this kindness left the man a $2 tip. Here I was sitting next to Mr. Balla/me an my boys roll VIP in Vegas and his cheap ass is giving this man a $2 tip?! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?! I have never been so embarrassed at someone else’s cheapness like I was at that moment. Every single one of my embarrassment sensors if such things exist lit up like a Christmas light. Refusing to shaft another apparently kind human being so completely I opened up my own wallet and handed the taxi driver some money even though VIP next to me was supposed to have paid for the entire ride.
After we got out of the cab he made mention of his horrible tip saying “I bought him a milkshake and gave him $2, that should be enough”. I was tired, I smelled like recycled airplane air, the makeup I put on in Italy 14 hours before was gone, and my tact was at its wicks end. “NO IT WAS NOT ENOUGH”. I said emphatically, and in an irritated voice “YOU SHAFTED THAT MAN, A CHOCOLCATE MILKSHAKE AND $2 IS NOT SUFFICIENT FOR HAVING TURNED OFF THE METER FOR 15 MINUTES”. He gave me a bit of surprised look, but continued to munch on his burger. I swear I have never wanted to slap the cow outta someone’s hands like I did at that moment. He was talking about taking his food through the security line and eating it once inside. Without missing a beat I told him “I would like to see that given your ethnic background, it should be entertaining what happens when you cause a scene at security trying to take in a soda, fries, and a burger.”
Shortly after my smart-ass remarks and his cheapassedness we parted company, but the cheapness of this man still lingers in my consciousness. I can’t stop thinking about that damn $2 tip. I can’t stop thinking about the disbelief and almost dejectedness on the taxi driver’s face and in his voice when $2 was said. If there was ever a moment when I realized “where customer service went” it was at that moment. Why do something nice or above and beyond for someone, when they can’t even show proper gratitude for your kindness? His brand of cheap assholedness is like a disease, it spreads like wildfire, what are the chances that taxi driver will do something kind like that for the next rider who might actually give a decent tip at the end of it…not good. Cheapassedness…don’t be a carrier.
It’s hard to believe, but in a few shorts months I will have lived in California for 10 years. That’s 10 years of eternal sunshine, congested freeways, palm trees, and stolen shopping carts perched like modern day scarecrows in undeveloped dusty lots. In that time there is a lot of I have come to hate about this State (mostly the tax) and a lot of I have come to love (mostly the Inland Valley Library system ironically supported by the tax), but more than that I have come to realize there is more to California that the stratification you see on TV, it’s not just the haves and the have nots. There are the people that live the California dream of beaches and tans and the people that work the boring mindless drone of their jobs that are just like jobs in every other part of the country, just in better weather. There is the California you see from the freeway at 65 mph, when there is no traffic, but then there is also the California you don’t see from the freeway.
If I had to put where I currently live on the “have/have-not” scale, it would be somewhere in the middle, probably a tiny bit closer to the “have” side than the “have-not” side. Comfortably nestled in between cities where the average neighbor is a professional, a college graduate, or student working to become a professional or college graduate it’s not a bad place to live. The lawns are mowed regularly, the park seems to have a bunny infestation but other than that it is quite nice, and on the days when the smog hasn’t gotten too bad there is a spectacular view of the mountains. Most of the people in my neighborhood are “want to haves”. They want to have a nicer car one day, they want to have a bigger house, they want to have a better lawn, in short if we were closer to the freeway, we would definitely be the California you tend to see from the freeways. The repetitive architecture of the houses and closeness of the homes would make it seem like you could easily jump from one roof to the next if you were flying by in a car.
If where I live is the “want-to-haves” then where I work is the “mostly-haves”. Every house I drive by on my way to work has a different style, color, roofing material, landscaping, and garage door style, the unifying quality is the manicured perfection of each lawn and the wide yawning newly slurried smoothness of the roads. Mature trees aren’t the only mark that you are now in the world of the mostly haves, the street is also free of cars. Why is that streets in nicer areas are suspiciously devoid of cars parked at the curb?! This is the California that you would see in a “This Is California! Commercial” without going super high-end and showing people a “bungalow” in Malibu that makes your mouth water and pocketbook shriek and fall over dead from a heart attack. This is the other California, the more idyllic California.
A couple of weeks ago I went “off the freeway”, down the road, passed the newly fashioned ARCO stations with mini-marts and the organized chaos that immediately surrounds freeway off-ramps. As I jerkily shifted from third to fourth gear it was hard to believe the changes that took place from one stoplight to the next. How to say this without sounding racist, I don’t know, but English all but disappeared from the signage, and for a couple of blocks the only thing I recognized was the relatively clean stuccoed area of wall where a Blockbuster Video sign was obviously recently removed. This was not the California I was used to. This non-chain store, neighborhoods with un-manicured lawns California were as foreign to me as a different country. In fact I made it my usual practice to avoid areas like this. It could have been a perfectly safe neighborhood, but to me it was totally suspicious. As I pulled up to the house I was going to I looked at it with dread, my windows were up and I could already hear the loud dialogue from the television pouring out into the street and wafting into my car.
After knocking on the front door and explaining who I was and why I was there I was taken to see some trees I was supposed to look at, and my mind was in a mess. The minimalist look I love in design and the “corporate park “ like cleanliness of my work and home neighborhoods was completely missing. Instead the front entry area was a jumble of an old couch and cardboard boxes filled with toys and bric-a-brac with stains enough to prove they had been through a couple of rainstorms with no protection. Rounding the corner I was hit with a smell. I have read that your brain never forgets a smell, that smell is in fact one the strongest of the senses, and if you have ever smelled carpet left out in the rain, the dried out in the sun in an endless cycle, then you know the smell that hit me. Forcing myself to smile and keep up a light banter when all I wanted to do was run back to my car and inhale the smell of sun warmed upholstery and mint coming from my newly opened pack of gum, I pushed forward to see the trees. Walking past more rolls of carpet and down a crumbling driveway the man swung open the door and there were the trees.
In the middle of the backyard, next to a chicken coop smelling exactly like a chicken coop smells, were these branching fluffy Japanese Maple trees. Their delicate branches twisted and drooped as they formed their tell tale mushroom cap appearance. They were Zen in the middle of the chaos of a backyard that featured a broken down Barbie Hot Wheels. Trying to block out the boking chickens, and grimy pink plastic that would have never been allowed in Malibu Barbie’s neck of the woods I couldn’t help but think “where is a Viewmaster when you need one?” Here are these trees, that if they were found in the orderly confines of a Lowe’s or in an Oriental Nursery I wouldn’t have blinked at a $250 – $350 price tag. In this backyard with every single one of my senses saturated with the unfamiliar and disliked $80 seemed too steep. It was the Nordstrom effect. Put the same shirt in a Nordstrom and a Marshall’s and you get 3 times the price at Nordstrom, except this backyard wasn’t even Marshall’s, it hoped one day to be Marshall’s. I really, really needed a Viewmaster with familiar scenery loaded into it.
Saying my thank yous and heading back to the freeway I couldn’t help but think if this area tucked away from the freeway and away from major cross streets was the area of the “will never haves”. To even say it sounds un-American. After all, we are a country that still believes that everyone can be anyone. But let me know how easy it is to believe that when you are staring at apartments rented by the week and motels exclaiming “AC IN ALL ROOMS” while the motel sits in the middle of a city with summer time temps regularly climbing over 110. Maybe the freeways I so love to hate are Viewmasters in their own way. I leave one area with Starbucks on every block, apartments rented on long-term leases and when I get off the freeway Viewmaster I enter another area with Starbucks on every corner and trucks with gardeners filing in to do battle with lawns that would probably fail a drug test they are so green and perfect. But there that part of California that is not in between the want to have and the mostly haves that I like to forget. The part where HOA’s and fear of neighbor backlash isn’t a concern, the place I am willing to say I NEVER, EVER want to live or work.
I am not sure what it says about me that I want the homogeneity that is my modern “Levittown”, USA over what might be reality. Mostly I wonder what the “THIS IS CALIFORNIA!” commercial would look like if it was made by someone who rented their apartment with AC by the week.
Being a SATC devotee even now, years after the show went off the air, I love the episodes more than the first time I watched them, I feel like I just get them more now that I am sadly older. Like a whole bunch of other devotees out there one of my favorite episodes is the “He’s Just Not That Into You” episode. For those of you who don’t know the episode, this is the episode where Carrie’s man, Berger, tells Miranda that the guy who Miranda went out on a date with the previous night who didn’t go up to her apartment for a little wink, wink after dinner was “just not that into her”. Berger went onto explain if a guy was really into a women he would go up regardless of an early morning the next day or meetings, etc. Naturally an uproar ensued all the girls tried to soothe what they thought would be Miranda’s hurt feelings over this piece of blatant honesty from Berger. But instead of being hurt by Berger’s pronouncement Miranda felt free. Free not to obsess about when her date would call, why he didn’t call, what he meant when he did call. Miranda was free realizing he wouldn’t call and when he did he would be saying they wouldn’t be seeing each other anymore.
Of course this piece of wisdom, this inherent inability in women to realize when a guy is “just not that into you” spawned a book, and then a talk show for the staff writer who first uttered the phrase…basically it became a phenomenon. So basically the blatant, non-sugar coated, the honest truth became a phenomenon. After years of reading articles and books with titles “7 Signs He’s Really Into You” and “Decoding Your Crush’s Behavior” the truth of “he’s just not that into” seemed harsh, even when it was said to a fictional person! But I guess that sometimes that reality check is what we need, not just with potential dates, but with everything in life in which we delude ourselves into believing things can actually workout the way it does in our fantasies. I mean not to be a totally downer, but I think it is nice when books, and magazines, and online articles occasionally tell us the truth like “give it up, he doesn’t like you” or “he might be trying to better deal you”…harsh, but sometimes I guess the truth hurts. I learned about this harsh reality first hand when I was recently reading an article about hair.
I am a sucker for shallow, poorly written articles on how to achieve the perfect hair, makeup, etc. There is something about them that calls to me, with the pictures, and promises of perfection in 5 minutes or less that just makes me want to click, read, and experiment. Inevitably I will run out and buy the recommended perfect navy blue eyeliner, or the eye shadow blender brush #8, or Moroccan Oil with Argan oil which is supposed to make my hair like totally perfect. After racing to the store and then racing home after work, and messing up my hair shampooing schedule or just reapplying my makeup for no apparent reason at 10:00 on a Wednesday night I realize the promised miracle product and problem solver is just a big fake! It doesn’t solve all my makeup dilemmas or make my hair shiny and bouncy. So I add the new product to my overflowing makeup drawer or stash it away with hairsprays that don’t spray anymore and mousses that don’t foam and re-start my search for the next new cure all.
This vicious cycle which has lead me to become a Sephora VIB, a person who has spent $500 or more in one year at Sephora (I need to seek help), and has made me susceptible to buying all sorts of potions, and tonics, and conditioning aids from a myriad of overpriced companies. I was a dupe! Well I was, at least until a couple of weeks ago when I was reading an article whose author apparently channeled the “he’s just not that into you” wisdom, she was blunt and honest, and the truth stung a little. The author laid it out like no other author had in a DIY hair article, “stop trying to replicate the blowout you get when your stylist does your hair, it’s not going to happen. Your stylist went to school to learn how to blow dry and style your hair that way, they also do it numerous times a day, let it go…you can’t do it…!”
What?!!! This is hair blasphemy, was all I could think! I know I can replicate it, I KNOW I CAN, my mind, pocketbook, and overly full bathroom cabinets screamed! I bought the ceramic flat iron, the special boar bristle hair brush, the non-Goody hair tools, the hairspray that cost $23.95 and doesn’t fit under the bathroom sink due to its ridiculous height, I even bought the X-rated, looks like a dildo, tube of hair de-frizzer/shine…I CAN make my hair look like my hair stylist does was all that was going through my mind all while a little voice told me the author of this article had just told me the unvarnished truth. And then, like Miranda from SATC who heard “he’s just not that into” and realized that was exactly what she needed to hear, the truth of the “forget trying to replicate it” sunk in and I felt a little bit more at peace about my hair. I mean yeah, I still hate that I can’t get Texas big hair the way my stylist can in 10 minutes with only a brush and hairdryer, and it still bothers me that my wavy hair can’t just calm itself and be straight…but I am not a hairstylist, and I am happy that I am not.
No doubt I will still fall for the occasional “get hair like this model” in 5 minutes using these 10 products that cost $15 – $300 each, but from here out, I think I am going to look for the Herbal Essences $3.25 substitute.