Tuesday, December 20, 2005

like pine sap off a sheet of fly paper

Saying "Happy Holidays" is nice and all, but it's insincere. Not only is it a cop-out designed to include all the holidays this time of year in one easy alliterative phrase, but it's easy to say. I will have none of that. I sincerely want you to have a wonderful whatever-the-fuck-you-celebrate, and I will create a word to showcase that sincerity.

I thought for a full thirty or thirty-five seconds and now I am ready to wish you all a very happy Solstichrismanukwanadan. (Go ahead. Try to dissect it at its seams--this fucker is built solid.)

Rolls off the tongue, doesn't it? Like maple syrup off a cotton ball.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

does amanda seem jittery? yeah, she forgot to floss

"I know exactly how hard it is to quit smoking. It's as hard to quit smoking as it is to start flossing. Mitch, you seem jittery. Yeah man, I'm about to floss."
--Mitch Hedberg (probably not a direct quotation--if you want legitimate research, teach a class)

It will come as no great surprise to you, Loyal Readers, that I inherited a bit of obsessive-compulsiveness from my father. Or at least I think I did. His parents lived through the Great Depression, plus they were crazy, which meant they used to steal ketchup packets from everywhere they went and then squirt them into a jar when they got home. So it's somewhat natural that my father can't throw things away. With the exception of hoarding dental floss, it's all quite organic in the Family Nut Tree. But I'm not sure where my particular psychological oddity comes from, other than perhaps a fear of the dentist.

I take obsessively good care of my teeth. I don't brush them constantly, because that's not good for them either. My usual routine is to begin with a rinse with a normal plaque-breaker-upper. My favorite is Crest Pro-Health, because I can using and not feel like I'm doing a shot really badly. (Corporate sponsor for my blog? You know you want to, Crest.) Then I brush my teeth. However, this is where I stop being a normal person. After I brush, I floss. Then I brush again. That first time was just for practice. A warm-up for the toothbrush. Then I end with a two-minute flouride rinse.

Right about now is where you guys wonder if you can continue to read this, or if you can still be my friend, or if you ought to return the necklace and get me a water pick for Christmas. (The answer to all three is "yes.")

But tonight I crossed a line. A line I had seen on the horizon, much like unemployment. But, like unemployment, I was in denial until I found myself hurtling over the line, straining several tendons in the process. Tonight I began by brushing and flossing my teeth in the "real" bathroom upstairs. And then halfway down the stairs to my basement lair, I felt myself being pulled toward the bathroom. I rinsed, brushed, flossed, brushed, and rinsed again. I guess brushing them upstairs was just to dislodge any food I'd saved for later or small animals that had begun nesting behind a bicuspid. (Even my cuspids are bicuspids. Yeah, don't pretend you didn't get that.)

Apparently it's not just starting to floss that can give you the jitters. It's the lack of flossing in the correct bathroom, or the lack of a flouride rinse. By the way, my favorite is Act. Cinnamon flavored. I bet I'd look great holding that in a promo spot. I have influence over literally dozens* of people. Come on, dental industry. It's time to back one of your biggest** consumers. You can pay me in electric toothbrush attachments.

*Probably not true. But like I said, if you want facts, teach a class.
**I have no idea. I suggest you do not look into it. Also, I straight-up lied in the next sentence. Cash or check only.

Friday, December 16, 2005

an open letter to all the people who, over several decades, have decorated our kitchen

Dear Decorators,

Seriously, what the hell. You started out with a nice plaster wall. Then you went with some light yellow paint. Wonderful move. Not far from the shade of yellow we intend to paint those very walls. Then something happened and you suddenly started painting in a horrid mustard color. I believe it was called Harvest Gold.

Not to be outdone, someone else painted half of the walls--only half, and I don't mean they painted two out of four, I mean they painted halfway up from the floor on ALL the walls--a robin's egg blue. Actually, it's more of a Demented Turquoise.

And then someone, god forbid I find out who, decided to wallpaper the kitchen. Leaving, of course, the exposed Demented Turquoise. Did the paint threaten you? You can tell me. I'm not afraid of it. Well, just a little.

But surely your Wallpaper From Hell could have stood up to Demented Turquoise. On any given square foot of that paper, you have what... seven or eight pieces of dancing fruit? It could have taken DT in a fight.

But oh how the mighty have fallen. Our primer may take a few coats, but it's covering the good yellow--the one shining moment in our kitchen's tragic history--the Harvest Gold, and even that sick bastard Demented Turquoise. And the wallpaper is nearly all gone, save for a few dangling strips over the fridge. They wave in the ceiling fan breeze like strands of hair on a row of scalps.

You did your worst. You installed horrible appliances, you put up awful cabinets made from fake wood. You used the ugliest and least ergonomic hardware available. --Did you have to special order it from a Nazi camp? You even gauged holes in the wall and stabbed the plaster. You installed a faulty shelf that periodically tips over, raining all its contents over the kitchen, making us wonder if the place is haunted. You even had a goddamn electric stove. How do you sleep at night?

I am no longer worried. All that is left of you is an awkward border in an unholy shade of blue, a fake tile floor, and those goddamn cabinets.

I will see you and your dancing pears in hell.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

do they have a short version of air force one?

"Wow! Brazil is big." —George W. Bush, after being shown a map of Brazil by Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brasilia, Brazil, Nov. 6, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

the box matrix is far from perfect

Despite what you might have heard in the title of my blog, I've been without work for a while now. And I have so much time that I accomplish nothing every day. I've somehow gotten into this summer vacation mindset where I think "Well, I'm back from Target... looks like I'm done for today!"

It's given me time to read. Instead, I watch tv. It's given me time to write. Instead, I do my nails. It's given me time to cook. Well, ok, I do that. I also make my bed, slightly obsessively, every day. I also drink way too much soda for no apparent reason other than I can.

I also get way too involved in the little projects I make for myself that are of absolutely no consequence whatsoever. I made a garland of extra Christmas glass-ball ornaments the other day. I made a pattern that alternated color (of which there were three) and pattern (of which there were two.) A person with other things to do might have just put the ornaments on the string. But no, I planned out and executed the most complicated, well-done, completely unnoticed decoration ever.

I also have almost all of my Christmas shopping done. And because that wasn't irritating enough to people who have shit going on in their lives, I wrapped it all tonight. I had to put one item in a box that came from Urban Outfitters, which has become one of my new favorite stores. I love Urban Outfitters. They have great trendy stuff, and I'm lucky enough to live in a city where only a small percentage of the population is even aware of current fashion trends, so I don't look like a clone of every other twentysomething on the street. Pittsburgh is a place where I can wear the most mass-produced bohemian-styled clothing and still look like an individual. It's both wonderful and terrifying. Suffice to say, I love practically everything in Urban Outfitters.

That said, what the hell cracked-out sadist devised their gift boxes?

If I were a professional box-assembler, this baby would be a piece of cake. However, I am but a mere unemployed poet, and I am not savvy to the ways of the Box Matrix. That dotted line across that little 1/8 inch flap? What the fuck is that? Some sort of reinforcement? What kind of structural integrity does that offer? And the part that's glued down--yeah, I understand that now. But you might have mentioned it before I tried to pull it up. Furthermore, having it glued down like that means that you can flip up one side of the box in a jiffy, but in order to pull the other side into box-like position, you practically have to disassemble what you've already accomplished. And frankly, that was not an option. Also, I don't understand why cursing at the cardboard made it slide into place easier, but it did, and that would be some nice information to have on a little card or insert, or perhaps embossed on the inside of the box. Plus, that way, we'll all know which way to fold the little flaps next time.

After I assembled the box and wrapped the present, fearing that the box would self-destruct at any moment, and that Target gift-wrap would help keep it from falling apart, I stacked it neatly with the others (read: put it on the floor in the dining room) and tried to figure out how to wrap a particularly oddly-shaped gift. I cannot reveal the gift's identity here, as it would give away a friend's Christmas present. So, although I love my friend very much, I shall refer to this particular item as The Motherfucker.

The Motherfucker was a great buy, and my friend is sure to love it. I just hope she doesn't buy her own Motherfucker before I get a chance to give it to her. So I looked for a box, but alas, none were the right size. Then I thought about a bag. There was a fairly large gift bag in the storage closet in the basement, so I went and got it. There was a tag still attached to it that said, for some reason, "To Sasha, From The King." I had no idea that my friend Sasha knew Elvis, but we all have secrets. As I tried to pull the tag off of the bag handle, I discovered a large-ish spider inside the bag. When I recovered from my stroke, I saw that the spider was in fact a spider corpse. But that just meant there was a spider ghost around here somewhere. I mean, if I were a spider that died inside a bag owned by two arachnophobics, I'd probably have some unfinished business. So I decided to dump the spider into the toilet and be rid of it. No way was I going to touch it. I once tried to pick up what I thought was a dead spider with a tissue, and the bastard jumped when I touched it. That was the end of my tissue-disposal method.

So I was still sort of wary of the spider corpse, and I really, really didn't want to touch it. But I soon discovered that it was stuck to the inside of the bag by web, or whatever it's called. After a lot of shaking the bag over the toilet, I concluded that the bastard was decidedly stuck, and I tried to dislodge the web with a piece of trash from the trash can. Unfortunately, I picked up a used toilet paper tube, and when I dislodged the web from the bag, it became stuck on the roll, and the dead (now most assuredly so) spider rolled out the other end and dangled dangerously close to my arm. So I did what anyone would do when confronted with a terrifying dead spider. I dropped the tube into the toilet. I picked it out, and there was spidey, dangling toward me. I dropped it again. I went through this several times before I gave up, plucked the roll out of the toilet (it got completely wet, and it's ridiculous that getting toilet water on my hands doesn't bother me nearly as much as touching a dried-out arachnid) and tossed it in the trash. Still afraid of the prospect of some sort of Resurrection Spider, I tied the bag as tightly as I could and threw it away. Far, far away.

And after all that, The Motherfucker didn't even fit in the bag. So I tied a red ribbon on The Motherfucker, took an Excedrine, and that's that.

Happy holidays, everyone.