What Wilford Brimley & Cat Fancy Have In Common

Posted in Prose on December 26, 2009 by Meister

Having four days off of work is leading to all sorts of interesting discoveries.  For one, I have learned about a breed of cat that I never knew previously existed.  I attribute this to being subjected to a show on Animal Planet called “Cats 101″ (and by subjected, I mean that I am not in absolute control and dominion of the remote control at this juncture in the evening), wherein they are interviewing a lady who has dubbed herself “Kitty Cassandra” and paints cats called “Exotics” (which look like Wilford Brimley, but with four legs and fine fur.)  I then looked up Exotic cats on the Internet, and happened upon the Cat Fanciers’ Association (which I shall heretofore name the Association of People Who Have Given Up On Getting Laid EVER).  These are clearly the people who appreciate the kitty centerfold in the middle of “Cat Fancy” magazine (which I personally feel should include an “interests” section – “Hello there, my name is Anna Karenina and I enjoy laser pointers and catnip.  Dislikes:  hairballs and large-breed dogs.  I’m looking for a tom who’s not afraid to show his playful side, cuddle, and lick the hairballs off of me so I can keep a nice clean trachea.  My favorite charity is “Spay One to Know One.”)

For another, I have learned that it takes me only two days to epically fail at updating this blog every day for 30 days.  However, having received both an Amazon Kindle (the bestest gift EVER!) and Rock Band for Christmas, I would consider the fact that I am writing a blog at all to show a considerable amount of dedication and resolve.  (Or it might indicate that I played so much Rock Band that I got a blister on my right ring finger and had to pack in my drum sticks for the night.)

Speaking of which, I haven’t petted my Kindle in the last few hours…I wouldn’t want it to feel lonely, so lonely. . .

The Ballad of the Oculi

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , on December 21, 2009 by Meister

Every morning, I come to a mental crossroads — do I read the NY Times and Washington Post online, thereby saving reams of paper, but subjecting my eyes to mean, glaring pixels that want nothing more than to rip my sight away from me at a youthful age?  Or do I print out the articles that I am interesting in perusing in-depth, thereby contributing to worldwide deforestation, but preserving my oculi and therefore keeping them eligible for organ donation down the road?  Oh, the dilemma.

In less neurotic news, I almost fell out of my chair in court today.  While I am always anxious to make a lasting impression on the judges, methinks the graceless splat of my large frame hitting the floor is not the kind of message I’d like to be sending to the local judiciary.  This is why slouching is really bad, kids – not because it could lead to looking like you have Captain Hook’s appendage up your arse later in life, but because it could cause random acts of utter embarassment.  This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Commitment Issues and Illicit Barnyard Trafficking

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , on December 20, 2009 by Meister

Watching “Julie & Julia” yesterday made me feel like a very naughty, naughty blogger.  Young Julie managed to get up early, write a blog, work a full day, cook Julia Child meals at night, and maintain a functional relationship.  And I?  I ain’t cooking no Julia Child (butter is the devil, Julia!) and I for sure as hell am not waking up early to write on my blog (as writing on my blog before caffeine might give you the impression that I’m functionally disabled).  However, if the slightly obsessive-compulsive Julie can commit to an entire year of Julia Child’s recipes (and nab a book deal out of it), I feel it is only fair that more-than-slightly anal Snarky commit to updating her blog every day for 30 days (and nab nothing other than a respite from Facebook status updates.  Certainly, it should be far more fun than giving up caffeine (epic fail), soda (moderately successful), carbohydrates (successful in very, very short bursts, like 15 minutes), and salt (you will have to pry my collection of gourmand salts from my cold, dead fingers).

So, Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah kids, for the next 30 days it’s going to be all Snarky, all the time.  Perhaps I shall become more pithy in short, controlled bursts.  Or, instead, daily sound bytes from yours truly could be a disaster of John Kerry-like proportions.  Only time and experimentation will tell.

Today, I would also like to note that I am grateful for the awesomeness that is Chipotle.  Fast, cheap, delicious, and requiring absolutely no work from me whatsoever.  And as a bonus, my inner tree hugger (really, there is one, she’s just very, very tiny) can feel good about the humanely-raised meat (until, of course, the eventual lawsuit that proves that Chipotle engages in false advertising to hide the fact that its cows and chickens are the victims of child-labor and illicit barnyard trafficking).  Nom nom.

The Vagaries of True Fandom

Posted in Prose with tags , , , , on November 9, 2009 by Meister

I am not ashamed to admit that I am a rabid soccer fan.  Indeed, I am proud to state that my DirecTV bill is often times more expensive than all my other utility bills combined because life is bereft without Fox Soccer Channel, Setanta, GolTV, UEFATV, and ESPN Deportes (who cares about A/C when you can just watch Champions League in your underwear?).  I have been known to stalk Marta and Shannon Boxx in search of autographs and drive for 6-8 hours in order to support the Women’s Professional Soccer League

Some may view this as psychosis, but I find it no more psychotic than people who pay mad money for NFL Sunday Ticket and show up to Green Bay Packers games semi-nude in the Winter (it should be cruel and unusual punishment to expose nipples to those kind of temperatures).  At least I’m supporting a sport that (a) is actually a WORLD sport in that it is actually played in virtually every county in the world (as opposed to American football, where the Super Bowl champion claims to be the World Champion every year despite the fact that much of the planetary population couldn’t care less); (b) values true physical fitness (as opposed to a sport where you play for, say, a minute and a half and then get a huff-and-puff break and man boobies are acceptable); (c) is almost impossible to play well on any sort of body-enhancing drug (Barry Bonds and his ever-expanding neck wouldn’t last ten minutes on the footy field); and (d) where the resident players may not be the brightest bears in the bunch, but are generally not knife-wielding street thugs (hello, Ray Lewis). 

Besides, I think it shows an incredible amount of restraint on my part that I haven’t yet purchased either FCBTV or ArsenalTV (which tend to air those few pesky Carling Cup and Deutscher Pokal games that all the money in the world can’t buy on broadcast TV).  On the other hand, Sassyfras and I make sure that we purchase each year’s edition of FIFA Soccer for the PS3 on the day of its release, so we probably aren’t saving too much money by foregoing online soccer porn for PS3 interactive soccer porn.  (But, at least the PS3′s dual shock controller vibrates.  Neither FCBTV nor ArsenalTV can deliver that kind of action.)

And so it has been that I have found myself in the past few weeks, slack-jawed in front of my television, cursing a variety of deities, players, and passerby, for the horrendously poor performance of my beloved soccer team, FC Bayern Munich (aka FC Hollywood).  My team - a once mighty force that comfortably acquired championship hardware with nary an exertion of the pinky toe on their left foot – is but 8th in their league and probably won’t even make it to the next round of Champions League, having pretty much raised their hindquarters in the air and begged the lads of Bordeauxto stick it to them over the past four weeks (for those of you who spent the last few sentences believing that I am speaking some sort of strange, foreign language, NY Giants and AZ Cardinals fans will currently appreciate how I feel).  We have a new coach who is about as effective as the rhythm method and looks sort of like someone who is accused of doing inappropriate things with young boys.  We have a $35 million euro striker who has splinters up his nuggets from riding the pine and a $60 million euro midfielder who seems to be made of highly breakable glass.  In sum, Saturday has become a holy day of grimacing and hand-wringing for me and drinking before 8 am is not out of the question (as German Bundesliga games tend to air at about 6:30 a.m. local time). 

Indeed, it has been so bad lately that not even my virtual PS3 Bayern team can escape the clutches of the Bayern implosion – yesterday, I was virtually fired as the virtual manager of the virtual Bayern team on FIFA10 (for losing fewer games than the current manager of Bayern Munich, I might add) and had to sink my head in shame, put my virtual tail between my virtual legs and accept a managerial job at lowly Exeter City, the only virtual team that would take me!  (This, I suppose, is my just desserts for thinking myself a far more capable PS3 soccer maven than I evidently am…the “Professional” level on FIFA10 is evidently far beyond my thumb-clicking skillz).

And yet, you could not pull me away from my weekly Bayern game with a crowbar and dental floss (unless your name was Sassyfras and Arsenal had a match at the same time – thank goodness for that beautiful invention, the DVR).  Despair as I might (and pull my hair out as I may – I have plenty left), they are still my team and I were I not to stick with them through the rough patches, I would not be much of a fan, now would I?.  I’ve even decided to spend a virtual year as the virtual manager of Exeter City on FIFA10 in hopes that Bayern will see the beauty of my virtual management style and will, once again, come calling.  Until then, FC Hollywood, until then. . .

The Ballad of the Cross-Country Pioneer

Posted in Prose on July 14, 2009 by Meister

I have been very remiss in my blogging obligations, as of late…but the accursed cross-country move, the new job, a spur-of-the-moment work trip to South Carolina, a planned trip to Bora Bora that turned into one of the worst Snarky Snafus in history, and the addition of a new puppy to our freak circus sideshow of pets that perform no special tricks whatsoever has kept me on my toes and my fingers away from blogging. Sad, but true. But now I’m back from outer space and ready to belt it out like Gloria Gaynor.

For all of you out there who are even beginning to contemplate a move of some distance, I have sage words of wisdom for you: either suck it up and pay through the nose and ass to have one company move you, from alpha to omega, loading/unloading/driving/and everything in between OR sell everything that won’t fit in your vehicle and embrace the beauty of being free from material objects. Do NOT under any circumstances hire a local unloading/loading company by the hour to load your stuff onto a freight vehicle that has only a pre-set amount of linear feet available to you based on a faulty computer program, especially, and this is important kids, when you live a mile off the grid off a dirt road that cannot support the weight of a 16-wheel rig. If you do not heed my advice, the following events MAY occur:

(1) Your seemingly friendly local movers, who quoted you a price of $400 for the job (but are paid by the hour), may end up costing almost $900 based on the fact that you have stairs, own more heavy shit than you thought you did, have a foreperson from Romania who does not communicate well with the other two Spanish-speaking movers, and are secretly charged for rolls of tape and "specialized" boxes that the movers used (at $6 per roll and $15 per box) without your permission and despite the fact that you had rolls of tape available for their use and abuse. Screaming matches with moving company management in which fraud allegations and litigation are threatened may follow.

(2) You will run out of your allotted space on the freight moving truck, because although you allowed for two linear feet over what their computer program told you that you needed (because you’re Type-A that way), well, you were a cotton-headed ninnymugins for trusting a computer program (e.g., see 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Terminator oevure, and TRON). You will then either be forced to have a sidewalk fire sale on whatever doesn’t fit on the freight truck or beg and barter with the freight moving company to load and unload a SECOND truck with your extra stuffs, so that now your move is not in one fail swoop, but two rather inefficient swaps.

(3) Your stuff will be broken, damaged, chipped, and dirty on account of the fact that linear space moving trucks require one to follow the "pile high, my son" theory of packing. You may wonder if removing the dining room chair that is sticking precariously out of the morass of furniture about 3/4ths of the way to the diaphanous ceiling of the freight truck will be the "Jenga" piece-de-resistance.

(4) You will have to hire a THIRD moving company (in addition to the loaders and the freight company) to unload the freight truck and shuttle your worldly goods along the one mile of oh-so-scenic-and-yet-oh-such-a-pain-in-your-ass dirt road leading up to your new three acre tarantula-bearing estate. This will inevitably cause the unloading process to last five to six hours, when it should have only lasted two hours under normal operating conditions. However, if you’re smart, at this stage, you will have figured out to hoodwink the unloading moving company into a flat rate job estimate, thereby avoiding problem #1 (because lord knows they won’t anticipate that anyone with two brain cells to rub together would possibly attempt to move in the manner described above).

(5) You will end up paying equal to or more than the estimates you received for total moving solution companies, and will now simply have more headaches and a harder time getting all the bills together for the moving tax deduction for next year. On the upside, if you’re a believer in whatever doesn’t kill you make you stronger, well then, you just paid for an injection of titanium rods into your ego. Congratulations.

Oh, and one last word of advice – never, ever, ever, if you can avoid it, plan a cross-country trip with yours truly. While my laissez-faire, last-minute packing ethos works perfectly fine for in-city moves (where I can slink back to my old place after my friends have helped me move and clear up the detritus littering my floor and closets), it is wholly incompatible with an organized launch across the nation. Sassyfras should be given a medal, or at least a year’s worth of slave labor.

Speaking of Sassyfras – the FUN part of our trip was the part where we arranged our five cats (see above reference to freak circus sideshow of pets that perform no special tricks whatsoever) into five kitty carriers and five sets of kitty-sized leashes and harnesses), ourselves plus luggage, and my 70-80-bottle wine collection into a BMW 335i two-door coupe for our own temperature-controlled cross-country voyage. Along the way, I learned some valuable lessons – (a) I am not allergic to cats unless you place five of them within close proximity to me for four days in an enclosed space less than 14 cubic feet; (b) the Meox Mix "meow meow meow meow" song is NOT entertaining if it persists longer than an hour; (c) organic pet sedatives are da bomb; (d) attempting to walk five cats on leashes at rest stops and restaurants is inefficient, unruly, and would cause a diaper-clad walrus with an alien growing out of its head to look at you funny; (e) Best Westerns allow pets in pretty much every state of the union; (f) Arkansas has six dry counties and a roadside billboard that gives you the number for Satan (which we failed to write down in enough time to call it and see if it rang either of our cell phones); (g) the birth places of Presidents Clinton, Bush, and Andrew Jackson are more or less off the same highway; (h) the United States would get much prettier if we allowed the Western part of Texas to secede from the union; and (i) if your relationship can survive all of the above, you’re probably pretty set for a life of peace and happiness.

Needless to say, we finished the trip with less wine than we started (although, in no event did we drink in any of the six dry states in Arklansas; indeed, we neglected to even stop in any of them), and we are not moving our boot-ays out of this house for a good, looooooooooong while.

New Discoveries of the Recently Liberated

Posted in Prose on March 5, 2009 by Meister

When you're not forced to be at work 8-10 hours per day, there are all sorts of interesting things you can discover:

Example #1New and Amusing Ways To Hurt Yourself – despite the fact that I've been playing sports since I was 5 years old, it wasn't until around about the ripe old age of 30 that the body started saying "fuck you" to me when I attempted to throw it around as if it were a lithe, teenage incarnation of itself.  There was the broken forearm playing rec league soccer, followed by the torn shoulder tendons playing rec league softball, followed by bursitis in the knee playing rec league flag football.  Notice that I have never really injured myself playing COMPETITIVE sports…just the "I'm Way Too Old To Be Playing Sports, But I Just Can't Help Myself and my Beer Belly" leagues.  Well, now I've decided to say "fuck you" to my body right back by enrolling in an exercise regimen known as "Crossfit."  For those of you who are unaware of this modern day panacea of pain, Crossfit is a combination of Olympic weightlifting (wherein the weights are heavy and fall down and go boom on the ground often), gymnastics (and you thought that rings were just for short men wearing leotards!), cardio (mostly rowing with a dash of running thrown in), plyometrics (burpee is NOT a carbonated slurpee), and more traditional forms of torture (such as the push-up, pull-up, sit-up – why is it always an "up" instead of a "down?").  Thus far, I've managed to pull my trap muscle twice (oh, the joys of jerk presses), bruise the heck out of my knees (when you start doing 50-70 burpees, they get a wee bit out of control), and make steam rise from the top of my head in 55 degree weather (that would be during THIS workout), but on the positive side, I can now do a double-under (take that, Rocky Balboa!), my vertical in basketball has shot above traditional white-girl status, and I can actually do a pull-up or two (though far less than the former competitive gymnast who is in my class and smokes the rest of us mere mortals on a regular basis).  Here's to hoping my body starts liking the benefits and gives up its pursuit of making me replace every freakin' joint in my body before the age of 50, shall we?

Example #2The Shortcomings of One's Wardrobe – as it so happens, a wardrobe full of Brooks Brothers shirts and sweaters is absolutely useless unless you work at a law firm every day.  While my 30-50 shirt collection of Brooks Brothers' famous non-iron hits (pointed-collar dress shirts in every stripe-y color of the rainbow) appeared to make sense when I was wearing them on a daily basis and didn't want to show up at work dressed in the same shirt on any two given weeks (because that would be, like, unfashionable and stuff), now they just sit in my closet like a furloughed army, voluminous and yet impotent.

Example #3
The Myth of the Perfect Household – when you work full-time, you fantasize that, if you could only take a day, or a week, or a month off from your job, then you could turn to all those nittering details in life that you cannot accomplish when locked inside a glass cage for 8-10 hours a day.  WIth enough time, you muse, the DMV and post office would be a snap, you would always make it to the gym, your e-mail Inbox would be well-organized, your bills would all be paid, your house would be tidy, and dag nabit, you might just have extra time to volunteer at a local charity.  Lies, lies, and more lies, I say!  Perhaps this would happen if you had ALL your shit together BEFORE you stopped working full-time (which seems about as likely as my five cats breaking out in a rendition of "Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo" and cleaning my house), but work, or no work, errands and tasks create a mountain faster than you can swing a pickaxe.  While my 3,500 new and unopened e-mail Inbox messages have been whittled down to a mere 1,500, there are always fresh shills, updates, and correspondence to take their place.  While I no longer slave 8-10 hours a day for money, I am now forced to think of more creative ways to fund my Brooks-Brothers-and-BMW-buying lifestyle (recent innovations include paying WAY more attention to my tax deductions this year and pondering the relative profitability of "The Lesbian Cat Lady" webcam).  And while running errands mid-day is far easier due to less traffic and less unwashed humanity in the aisles, the errands seem to take about as long, either because I am less efficient due to the fact that I do not have the allure/guilt of work hanging over my head or because the soccer moms and retirees with whom I am now competing with for my place in the Target Shopping Hall of Fame are WAY slower than their corporate-ladder climbing counterparts.

I Am Handy Woman . . . Hear Me Roar

Posted in Prose on February 20, 2009 by Meister

The denizens of Panera Bread in Fairfax, Virginia at 10:30 in the morning are a motley crew.  Let's just say that all of the handicapped and "Mothers with Small Children" parking spaces are completely full (and yes, in Fairfax, Virginia, not only do expectant mothers get primo parking privileges, but so do those with small children; because not only do we want to encourage rampant reproduction in the suburbs, but we want to show children that walking and exercise are bad, evil things that should be stamped out with mini-vans and higher insurance premiums). Joining the retirees and suburban house fraus were a collection of young hipster types with headphones and computers (perhaps local college students?), a collection of working stiffs on their mid-morning break (aka Second Breakfast in Hobbit-ese), and some single men sipping coffee while reading the paper (I'm guessing alternative shift government workers on their Friday off).  I certainly added a dose of city flava to the human collection of curiosities this morning – a gay lawyer attempting (rather poorly) to author her first book while awaiting the FBI's acceptance of the last 10 years of her life (and hence, the a-ok to start her new job in Arizona). 

Now, creative writing is something that I have loved ever since I started my very first blog post in 2003 (back when Blogger was king and I lived in Brooklyn, New York the summer after law school and saw gay go-go dancers in the store window of the local Borders).  It is rather unfortunate that I didn't actually have a yen for creative writing in college, when I actually could have taken, oh I don't know, a creative writing class or two, but it's not like being absolutely unqualified has ever stopped me from doing anything before (I mean, hey, I made the varsity badminton team in high school without ever knowing what the hell a "shuttlecock" was – pretending you know what the hell you're doing goes a long way!).  However, it appears I will have to get over my own inner editor in order to actually commit an entire book (or even a damn page) to Microsoft Word.  I couldn't write two sentences down this morning without attempting to rework those sentences to make more sense, more fun, more snark.  This may be a long, slow, tortuous process, but hey, so is the FBI background check, so it should work out.

In other news, I have added the title of "Handy Woman" to my list of personal accomplishments . . . since moving into Sassyfras's place in the country, I have installed an under-the-counter coffee mug holder, assembled a Container Store baker's rack, and most recently, installed a new door handle and lock.  I don't think it takes away from my accomplishments at all to admit that in the midst of replacing aforementioned door handle and lock, I momentarily (okay, maybe for about 10 minutes) locked both myself and Sassyfras inside the spare bedroom (a by-product of assembling the lock portion and then closing the door without assembling the door handle portion).  Alas, the cats were of absolutely no use in freeing us from our temporary prison (though one of them did seem to try by manuevering his paws through the hole in the door; I tried to pass him a credit card to pick the lock, but he just started eating it).  I did finally manage to pick my newly installed lock with a delicate combination of banging it with a hammer and jiggling it with a long, flat drill bit just as Sassyfras was contemplating how to escape the third-story room through the window.  Something tells me THAT would not have been pretty.

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