Sunday, March 30, 2008

Oh my...

This is pretty darn humorous.  I particularly like the part about him suffering from "negative body image".

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Luck Done Run Out

Last Wednesday was an unfortunate day. Sometime between 2PM and 7PM my wallet was stolen. My hope that some nice soul would find and return it to me was quickly dashed when my credit card company called at 8AM to inquire if I had attempted a purchase of $1,600 at Wal*Mart. I suppose lightening doesn't strike twice.  Fortunately for me, the fraud departments are on the ball.

Had my friends, the wallet thieves, been smarter perhaps they would have gotten away with some loot. I offer the following critique to the not so bright losers that think they can steal from hardworking people like myself.

1. Don't assume anyone but your sorry ass shops at Wal*Mart. Seriously, when was the last time I set foot in a Wal*Mart... Oh wait, I remember, HIGH SCHOOL. And only then because it was the only place open 24 hours near our lame little town.

2. You should have paced yourselves, greedy bastards. Yes, running out to buy a brand new 47" LCD HDTV is what most normal people do on a Wednesday night. Totally part of my purchasing behavior. (This may be the only time in your life when you realize that predictability can be your saviour.)

3. Make an effort to understand the person from which you are attempting to steal. I assure you that a grand on shoes or handbags would have gotten you further towards your goal. Wal*Mart? Seriously. I am offended. (Is there something wrong with me?)

4. Your choice of venue. Did you know Wal*Mart has cameras at each of their checkout lines? Neither did I, but my crack security team at work did. They're coming after you and thanks to my little trip to the 9th District Police perhaps you'll have the opportunity to meet some new friends soon!

As irritating as this whole experience has been, the thing that makes me the most angry is my drivers license.  Did those people who took my wallet know what a pain in the butt it is to deal with PennDOT?  They're open about four and a half minutes a day and they don't take cash or credit cards.  I know this because I've tried twice already.  Wish me luck, I'm going back Saturday.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

My Grandmother's Special Brand of Torture: Lawrence Welk

I would like to know who thought it was a good idea to close all available shopping on Easter. I have nowhere to go today and thus am stuck on the couch with my grandmother who will only watch reruns of the Lawrence Welk show. Not just any rerun, the Easter special. My parent's say she isn't aware. I think this is all part of her covert plan. I could tell she was just waiting for the remote to be left unattended to make her move. No sooner had this happened and there we were, Lawrence Welk.

This particular show was from the early 80's and as far as I could tell it seemed to be a lot of men with "Reno 911" style mustaches playing acoustic guitars. I might have said that was the highlight, but I think it actually might have been a close second to the dudes in baby blue tuxedos. I never thought I would say this, but I'm sad that the game show network was taken out of the channel line up. At least that was slightly more tolerable.

She's enthralled, tapping her foot, singing along. I wonder if she knows that Lawrence Welk is dead. My money is on no. Enter the happy singing people in pastel with parasols and men in top hats doing the foxtrot…

I’ve decided that PBS is evil. How else can you explain this programming? About that point I was starting to have delusions of a hostile take over of the remote control. Of course I could never do that because I'm really not that mean.

Then enters a man in a bad hair piece, sweating profusely, singing about being nailed to a cross…strangely he sounds a bit like Josh Grobin. I started praying that she would fall asleep so I could change the channel.

It's was clear at that point that it wasn't a rerun but some sort of montage flashback sort of deal with a lady named Ralna English who sang gospel music on the original show with her husband. She is now divorced but came back to sing a song about Mary…in what appeared to be a sky blue stretch polyester pants suit. The camera cut between her in the jumpsuit and renaissance paintings of Mary & Jesus.

Nowhere to go but up from there. Wait, I was wrong…giant super duet – two dudes with mutton chop side burns and two chicks in lemon yellow off the shoulder chiffon…all grinning manically while singing "Put a Little Love in your Heart".

And the last thing I saw before admitting defeat and leaving the room, a big dude with a gold pinky ring playing the organ. Nothing says Easter like a little bling.

And people call reality television terrifying and mind numbing. I'll take Brett Michaels any day over this. Don't believe me? Check this out and I think you may change your mind:

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Philly it is...

And so we keep on keepin on, here in the city that loves you back. I can't say I'm sad. As much as I make fun of this little town it is the place I call home. And so it appears I will be able to continue to do that for a little while longer.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

14 Hours and Counting...

In a mere 14 hours we find out our fate for the next 4+ years. As I previously mentioned, this is annoying. I say annoying because it certainly doesn't rank as terrifying, only Immigration Services qualifies as terrifying. I figure I'll sleep 6 of the next 14 hours so really I only have 8 hours more to sweat this thing out. So what have I been doing?

I did indeed attempt to research "good" neighborhoods in the North Bronx. I'm not sure such a thing really exists. Perhaps there are less bad neighborhoods but people usually qualified these by saying you pay close to Manhattan rent for what includes 24 hour bodegas, laundromats, and drug dealers - basically hell. Fantastic.

I have surfed the web. Why is the only trash news out there about Dancing with the Stars? Who cares about D List celebrities doing the foxtrot? Not me. I just want to know if I'm going to have to move and they can't help me with that.

I found Yes, apparently old news, but it made me happy none the less. There's a link to an article about how home owners have been scammed by the National Association of Realtors. This did a little to lift my spirits since I've long thought I wasn't a loser for renting. Yay me!

I received our annual statement summary from Citibank. This made me sad. Last Sunday I spent hours evaluating our 2007 spending with the good intention of creating a budget. I pulled every record of every nickle the two of us spent. Simply terrifying. I made a pie chart. Became more depressed by the large chunk that accounted for our cash withdrawals and charges to retail stores. Perhaps there's something to that theory my work husband has. Every time he sees something new I've purchased he tells me, "You need to have kids so you stop spending money". We can now add this to the Pro list for having children (right up there with tax deductions and a good excuse to leave work at a reasonable hour).

I received an Easter package from my mother in law. The post card was in German until she realized I wouldn't be able to read it so she wrote "I forgot to write in English" and continued in English. Too funny. Again I am thankful that she has truly superb taste. While in Paris she picked up the most delightful little clutch. Perhaps I can use it to carry my MTA card once I move to the hood.

Today is actually our 4th wedding anniversary...sort of. We got married in a scary civil courtroom in the burbs (before our church wedding 6 months later). It was somewhere between the bullet proof glass (umm, is that really necessary in the suburbs) and the holding cell for prisoners. We celebrate appropriate to the level of the occasion. Every year we go to Wendys. He says if it's good enough for John Edwards and his wife, it's good enough for us. I'm partial to the Froste and french fries. Husband happily passed out on the couch from crappy carb overload. This is why I've been bored and pulling out my hair for the last 4 hours. Do you think they have a Wendys in the hood?

I can't take it anymore, I'm off to will myself to sleep. Fingers crossed for which ever option will eventually allow me to retire early and watch daytime television!

Stuff White People Like

So as I said previously, if you haven't checked out the site - Go. Now. It's super funny.

Yesterday was a tribute to the ritual of St. Patrick's Day. It reminds me of the vomit fueled weekends of college during Erin Express. Drinking at 10AM is totally acceptable a few days of the year. Of course at my age I don't start before noon and when I do start at noon I have to take a nap by 8PM. Such is life.

People are obsessed with the drinking of others. Case in point - please direct your attention to a little something the NYTimes is calling a new phenomena, Drunkorexia. I think this requires little explanation. They describe this as the practice of replacing food with alcohol. I seem to recall this being called something else when I was in my early 20's...what was that again? Oh wait, I know. College. Yes it was called College.

They claim that people starve themselves all day and then binge drink. HA! I seem to recall that starving ones self all day was either because you forgot to go food shopping, had no money or wanted to make sure you got good and tanked that evening. The binge part was pretty much the status quo. When did we not binge drink? It's not like we were having dinner parties and networking events. We were there to tie a load on.

It's not something you really get a lot of guidance around. My mother's only advice was the following, "When your face goes numb, you should stop" and "If you want to drink a lot, try scotch and water." Good sound advice if one wants to avoid making an arse out of ones self. However our objective was a little less noble - when you face goes numb, you're halfway there, keep drinking! If this weren't the case then why would someone create a plethora of games to push you over the edge?

Ponder that as you celebrate your next drinking holiday. (PS - you may want to have a few first, it will make the conversation much more interesting.)

Picture credit:

Monday, March 17, 2008

Most Excellent News

The residency clock is slowly winding down and today we found out that my husband matched with a program. VERY exciting news. This process has to be one of the most annoying things I have ever experienced. Never in my life have I experienced such waiting, waiting and more waiting. I know you're all thinking...where are you guys going? Staying in Philly? Moving to Jersey? What happened to New York? You know what, welcome to the club. I wish I knew.

Match Day should be called Universal Torture Young Doctors Day. They tell you that you have a job but they won't tell you where. Who ever heard of such a thing? You don't find out for three more days. I think this counts as cruel and unusual.

Last week I started poking around at house listings near the hospital in Philly just for fun. BTW, you can seriously waste hours looking at these things. I am superstitious so since I've done this I will probably end up in New York. Perhaps I'll go look at rentals in New York to even out the playing field...

At the end of the day I suppose it doesn't matter where we end up. All the choices have pros and cons. Actually it's all a pro for the husband, but I am selfish so we will make this about me for a second.

New York: Pro - new city, new places to explore, possibly a new job. Con - moving...again and this time it will require real movers, not being able (or interested) in owning a home there, expensive, having exactly three friends in the area.

Philly: Pro - not much change necessary, can keep job I like most days, can afford house, near family and friends totalling more than three. Con - been here a looooong time (there must be a rule against this somewhere), have to move again anyway (which is like a half con if I move to a house we own), would need to buy a car

Jersey: Pro - I don't actually have to live there since he can take a train, can keep job I like most days, may not need a car. Con - there aren't enough hours for this one.

Stay tuned for more news later in the week when the sadists decide to tell us. Please reassure me I do not have to move to New Jersey.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Telemart, Telemart, Tel, Tel, Telemart, Telemart!

Back in the days of my misspent pre-teen youth, my girlfriends and I kept ourselves busy with all sorts of things after our parents went to bed. It was too soon to swill our parents liquor cabinets, we weren't old enough to care about boys and we were finished with dolls. We had to find something to do with endless hours of sobriety. The telephone was just such a vehicle to provide hours of free entertainment.

During the great pre-caller ID era (and it's evil predecessor *69), you could actually call people and they didn't know it was you unless you chose to tell them. We would dial numbers at random and annoy people well into the wee hours of the morning.

Of course this gets old at some point and you start looking to up your game. The answer to our prayers was public access television. Back in the late 80's there was a show on PCTV called Telemart. It was basically the bargain basement version of QVC. The show started out with a little jingle that went something like this....(sing it to any tune, it really doesn't matter - it was that bad)

"Telemart, Telemart, Tel, Tel, Telemart, Telemart!" and then it cut to a woman who would hawk crap to poor unsuspecting people with unfulfilled lives with nothing better to do than watch public access TV. I'm not really sure who ordered the decorative plastic Santa toilet paper holder but someone must have because she was a regular on PCTV.

While I describe it as similar to QVC, it differed in a few critical areas:

1. The wide range of pleasant and convincing descriptive adjectives used to highlight product features. QVC did a decent job convincing people that their stuff was nice. On Telemart her grasp of the language went as far as "beyouteful". That was it.

2. The spectacular quality of production. QVC had a nice studio, they had more than one camera and clearly had someone who knew how to work all the crap in the studio. Telemart had one camera that someone borrowed from weird Uncle Merv set up on a tripod. Typically this was aimed directly at the Telemart lady from one angle and she sat behind a folding table that had a dirty bed sheet hung on the wall behind her. Nothing says classy like a modified double wide that was last used to hide kidnapped children.

3. The quality of the on air talent. QVC had attractive plastic looking people with nice manicures, recent make-up application and somewhat attractive clothing. God help me if I can remember her name but the Telemart lady had a face that only radio could love. She sort of resembled your bizarre-o neighbor that rarely left the house and always shuffled out to get the mail in a wacky print house dress.

4. Talking to the public. QVC takes a caller now and again as testimony to the fantastic quality and desirability of their products ("Hey Betty from Oklahoma! Tell us about how much you love the thirty-five "Never Water Decorative Plastic House Plants" you bought last week!). Magically the customer voice would just come out of your television and the on air talent would smile and chat with them right there on camera. The Telemart lady had a old rotary phone that sat on the folding table. It would ring, she would answer (wearing her trusty headset) and she would take calls from people. At best this was confusing because you could only hear her end of the conversation. Riveting television I say.

It is this last point with which we had hours of unending joy. Seriously, did they not think that every bored pre-teen was going to call in and prank this poor woman? We would dial, watch the phone ring, hear her answer (see her answer) and then proceed to ask a million questions about whatever piece of crap she happened to be selling that evening. We would speak to her in a crazy falsetto voice (noooo, that shouldn't have been any kind of tip off that I wasn't really Cathy who had questions about the Bedazzler decorated toilet seat cover...)

Me: "Hi Telemart lady, can you tell me if those are real crystals?"
Telemart Lady: "Hi Cathy, I'm not real sure but they sure are beyouteful."
Me: "Ok, can you describe the fabric?"
Telemart Lady: "It's a beyouteful blue."
Me: "Ok, do you think it would fit a really oval shaped toilet seat not just the regular sort of round kind?"
Telemart Lady: "Well it's kind of stretchy so I think it will look beyouteful on your toilet."
Me: "Are you sure you don't know what those bedazzler things are made of?"

You get the picture.

I really feel badly for the kids nowadays. Thanks to technology you just can't get away with anything. No wonder kids are out there smoking crack and having babies. Where's the Telemart Lady when you need her to save our children from the hard life of the streets?

She Floats Through the Air with the Greatest of Ease, The Daring Young Girl on the Flying Trapeze...

For all of my sister's strange quirks, the funniest is the following: she won't touch a public door handle because of the germs yet somehow has zero qualms about jumping out of an airplane or flying on the trapeze. I offer the following proof that being a serious germaphobe can't keep you from achieving your dream of joining the circus.

And this is where she beat out all the other circus hopefuls and aced the audition...

Exciting New Opportunity - Work From Home!

If you've ever thought of finding a new job, I would like to offer the following for consideration as a possible option. You'll get to communicate with a large audience, exercise your creativity and be a published author. Sounds good huh?

I became aware of this particular career choice while I was at work. I noticed that the SPAM I get there isn't your run of the mill junk mail, it has a certain elegance that the junky Cialis ads landing in my spam filter do not. Clearly someone, somewhere, is putting some serious thought into these subject lines to avoid the filter at work. (Yes, these are actual copy/paste from SPAM I've received...I'm not quite this creative)

- Be a winner with the ladies with a huge lovestick
- Thrust DEEPER into her with your new instrument.
- She won’t be able to keep her mouth off you when you have this.
- Delight her with your gigantic schlong.
- She will lick yours like a sugared lollipop.
- You grow, she'll blow.
- Plunge your weapon deeper into her

So if that future as a Harlequin romance novel writer doesn't work out (read: throbbing, quivering member prose) you can always consider a second career as a SPAM subject line writer.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Say Peep

My favorite field hockey coach sent me a link to a bizarre collection of peep pictures. No, not the dirty kind (you perverts!), the Easter variety. Here's my favorite picture from the peep show as well as my favorite quote from the movie.

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. " ~ Lloyd Dobler

Is it just me or are peeps so much better once they're stale?

Things to do in Denver When You're...Actually in the Suburbs

I just came back from a short trip to Denver. In all the times I’ve been to Denver I have never once made it to Denver proper. I drive from the airport to the suburbs and then back to the airport. I hear there’s a city somewhere, I think they may be lying to me...

This trip was made better thanks to my friend at work who introduced me to the deliciousness of Caribou Coffee. Think: Better tasting than Starbucks and environmentally crunchier. She also took me to a donut shop called LaMars. There appears to be a fierce debate around which is better, Krispy Kreme or LaMars. I did not settle this debate and chose not to compare “donut to donut” (aka glazed goodness) and instead got a Bavarian Crème donut that was slightly larger than my head. Since I was with coworkers I refrained from sticking my grubby little fingers into the crème hole to scoop it out by hand and opted instead to use a fork. It was delish but the crash after the sugar high reminded me why I don’t eat donuts for breakfast.

The true highlight of my trip was going through security in Denver. I’ll start by saying that a few weeks ago I discovered that the TSA had started a blog. I don’t know too many people that have a lot of love for the TSA. As a result, you have to give a little credit to these poor TSA bloggers who keep coming back for more abuse day after day. Anyway, I read about this new trial they’re doing in Salt Lake and Denver – self selecting screening lines based on “traveling skill”. Can you say BRILLIANT? Separate lines for experienced business travelers, casual travelers and families. Clearly I am a dork and I was super excited about hitting that black diamond line. I was also nervous about measuring up. I spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I was going to do when I got up there. I needed to measure up as an "experienced traveler"*. If I got flagged for self selecting incorrectly I would never forgive myself. The TSA lady checking tickets at the front of the line wished me luck.

Here are some highlights...
No one screeched at me to remove my laptop from my bag
No one defined “liquids” 35 different ways
In fact, no one said a single thing to me - it was actually quiet
There wasn’t a single old lady or child in the line with me
The TSA people didn’t order me around like someone with special needs
The screeners seemed much happier than normal - I think I actually saw one of them smile
The time from shoe removal to shoe replacement was less than 60 seconds

Dare I say it was actually a pleasant experience?

According to USA Today ten more airports have expressed interest in the pilot program as well.

Finally someone shows a little respect for my perfectly packed quart sized 3-1-1 Ziploc bag. Rock on TSA, thanks for the love - right back at ya.

*For the record, I wasn't the only dork. We were all like crazy people trying to one up each other to get through security the fastest. There was quite a bit of shoe throwing & laptop chucking going on.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hey Tax Man...Kiss THIS!

Not having children or owning a house is a pretty sweet deal 364 days out of the year. The one day that you start to question your current life choice is the day you see you tax accountant. I have a theory that the IRS is a front for a right wing fundamentalist Christian organization – they clearly want you to make babies and settle down into married arrangements. This is evidenced by the following – joint filing, children and a mortgage all mean they cut you a break. This year I came prepared, armed with something more powerful than them - my husband’s false optimism in Lucent’s performance. Rarely can one say that something good comes out of taking a loss in the market, but today I proved that Lucent is like kryptonite against the super human strength of the IRS.

Before I met my husband he, like many others, owned Lucent stock. Until last year he was still holding onto that stock, optimistically hoping that it would somehow rebound from it’s sad state. As the year end approached I sensed we were about to take a jailhouse style beat down on tax day and scrambled to sell in the last few days of the year. I won't say it was like prying food from a starving man's death grip, but he did refuse right up to the last business day of the year. That sale will deliver the equivalent deduction of a child for several years. All of the tax rewards, none of the diapers. Can you says A W E S O M E.

I am excited to report that this tax day, unlike the last few, is a day to celebrate…we are actually getting a refund!

So, for those of you who were lucky enough to stay away from crappy tech stocks in the late nineties, perhaps you’ll find a deduction somewhere in here that you'll find useful. I particularly like the breast implants and body oil.