Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Vulture Incident

Surprisingly, we don't have many stories of interest from the road trip out West. We did get stopped by border patrol at one point, but they waved us on when we showed we were citizens. I'll let Quint fill you in on our one run-in with the Texas Po Pos. And then there was the vulture incident.

We were somewhere in New Mexico -- I was driving and Quint was sleeping. On the road ahead I spotted four vultures, just standing around on the shoulder conversating with each other. I started shouting for Quint to wake up, since he'd been disappointed with the paucity of wildlife on our trip thus far. The birds must have heard the car coming because they started looking over in interest. Quint woke up just in time to see one of the vultures flying directly at our windshield (I swerved to avoid it). And then I laughed and laughed and laughed at Quint's girlish scream. Maybe you had to be there. Please see my artist's rendering of the incident below.

Friday Foto Fun 3

Study the image below and then respond to the questions that follow. Time limit: 10 minutes.

Part 1 (25 points): Truth or Dare?

Part 2 (100 points): If you chose Truth, do tell.

Part 3 (250 points): Multiple-choice. Which of the following is the name of an actual town in New Mexico that you will encounter on your Texas to California road trip?
a. Elephant Butt
b. Donkey Balls
c. Giraffe Boob
(Hint: see below.)

Answers to last week's Friday Foto Fun:
Part 1: $$$.

Part 2: White.
Part 3: I have four friends more than I should.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Price Check on Register One

Since today was Quint's birthday and no birthday would be complete without some candles atop a piece of manager-comped cheesecake (which was given to Quint when he found a plastic twist-tie in his sandwich at lunch today), I ducked into the Walgreen's to buy some candles.

The Walgreen's had a fair selection of the usual pink and blue stripey deals, but a dusty box of lettered candles was what caught my eye. It contained all the letters necessary to spell "CONGRATULATIONS" but what intrigued me were the N, G, R, and O visible in the window of the box (almost spelling "NEGRO"). A quick survey of the rest of the candle section revealed that there was also a box of candles spelling "CELEBRATE." Not wanting to pay for two boxes of candles just to get the E from the second one, I decided to simply steal an E from the CELEBRATE box. But then, feeling bad about some poor guy decorating his cake with "CELEBRAT," I decided to swap in one of my unneeded letters. I slipped in an A, figuring maybe some fool would spell "CELABRATE" and never know the difference.

I got in the only check-out line, which was manned by the kind of kooky white woman that tends to work the check-out line at a Walgreen's at 9:00 p.m on a weekday. I listened as she informed the couple two spots in front of me that she was very happy to be single and not have any kids to tie her down. Then I looked on in horror as she flirted shamelessly with the greazy man in front of me (who was buying five boxes of Tucks hemorrhoid wipes and insisting he didn't need a shopping bag).

Finally I got to the front of the line. The barcode on the box of candles wouldn't scan. "Price check on register one," Cashier Lady sang over the intercom. A few moments passed. "I think they were $2.99," I offered. A lot of times the cashier will just take your word for the price when the price check doesn't come quickly and there are other people waiting in line. (The candles were actually $3.99, but I figured they were worth $2.99, tops.) Cashier Lady didn't seem down for that idea. "I still need a price check on register one," she repeated with some impatience.

Another minute passed (filled with her mutterings about something or other and my pretend fascination with the latest issue of TV Guide). Finally Cashier Lady threw up her hands in frustration and declared, "Well, if they're not going to give me price checks, I'll just have to start making up prices myself!" She studied the box of candles for a few seconds. "One dollar sounds like a good price to me!" She gleefully rang up the dollar with tax.

Just then the manager came over asking about the price check. Cashier Lady waved him on, saying she'd taken care of it. Maybe it was just the wine I'd had with dinner, but I suddenly found myself struggling hard to keep a straight face.

After I'd gotten home and proudly stuck NEGRO into Quint's cheesecake, I realized that (if one pretends O is the same as Q) I could also spell out QUINT. (That I'm starting to think of my own boyfriend as his blogger name as much as his real name is surely one of the warning signs on someone's "You know you blog too much when..." quiz.)

And so here is my dear Quint's birthday cake. Best $1.07 I ever spent.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Happy Birthday Quint!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Guess Who's Bzack

Made the Houston to Bay Area trek with no break-ins or break-downs. More later!

Thursday, August 18, 2005


Internet is being cut off today.

When next we blog, Quint and I will be in Cali!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Nathan, My Guardian Angel

Quint said he would come with me, but as it happened the only appointment I could get was when he was out of town. It couldn't wait until he got back.

I drove alone and with the radio off, as I usually do when I'm trying to follow driving directions. It was sunny and hot. I was uncharacteristically on time.

As I turned on to Fannin Street, my empty stomach dropped. I reached for my cell and dialed Quint. No answer.

There were about 20 or 30 of them. Some held picket signs and chanted, fists in the air. A small faction stood stoically, red tape over their mouths. And then there were the people holding the five-foot billboard photos of bloody fetuses.

I decided to park in the overflow parking lot around the corner. I turned the ignition off and sat, trying to gather myself. I started to suffocate. I turned the ignition back on to get some air. I flipped open the cell phone again -- Quint's voicemail.

Just then two men approached my car. I instinctively reached for the door lock -- but of course I had already locked it when I first saw the protesters. When the men got close enough for my poor eyesight to focus I realized they were wearing Planned Parenthood T-shirts.

I got out of the car. The older man smiled and introduced me to the younger one, Nathan. He was a tall white guy with wrinkled khakis and hair that was shaggy (not from Brit-rock coolness but from a defiance of neatness).

"I'll escort you inside the clinic," Nathan said. I wanted to hug this mess of a boy.

As we rounded the corner, one of the protesters approached me with some literature. I cut off his spiel with a polite "no thank you." He stepped closer and began ranting with heightened volume. Nathan pulled me along. Either the distance we put between us and him or the policeman's ready stance finally quieted the diatribe.

Nathan offered nervous smiles as we passed the long line of protesters. They stared me down in silence during my final steps to the clinic entrance. Nathan held the door open for me. I paused and looked back over my shoulder.

I just need to get my fu*king Pill! Can I live?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I know my posts are crappy this week, I've been busy with some freelance work (no, not Legal Snooze) and getting in some "QT" with Quint (yes, he's taking that job -- we've been mentally preparing for our possible separation for a while).

If you'd like some entertainment, you can amuse yourself with my personal haters. This person is actually funny. This racist, not so much (scroll down). And even though it's almost a month old, ignorant fools still be hating on me in the comments of this post. (And yes, "fools be hating" is a valid construction, although non-standard. It's a more succinct way of saying "fools are constantly hating." Ok...haters?)

Tears in My Fettuccine Alfredo

Quint got a job...three thousand miles away from my school.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Friday Foto Fun 2

Study the image below and then respond to the questions that follow. Time limit: 45 minutes.

Part 1 (67.99 points): How much money did KP drop on her new Phat Farm back-to-school kicks that finally arrived in the mail today?

Part 2 (25 points): Laces -- pink or white? (Hint: white.)

Part 3 (5 points each): Will you guys still be my friends if I paint my sneakers (see below)?

Answers to last week's Friday Foto Fun:
Part 1: The cube with the balloons.
Part 2: Nine.
Part 3:
Bonus: See below.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Bus Stop Part 2

Found the article below in the Chronicle.

Houston police are searching for the person who sexually assaulted a woman Sunday night at a northwest-side Metro bus stop. The attack occurred about 10:30 p.m., shortly after the victim, 26, got off the bus at the Metro stop near Little York and West Montgomery, officials said. The assailant struck up a conversation with the woman, then assaulted her at gunpoint. He then fled the scene, officials said.
Forget trying to be polite, I'm not conversating with those bus stop fools anymore.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Crash Landing from Office Space

I suddenly realized that school is starting really soon. The good thing about temping is that you don't have to give notice.

So at the end of the day I shook hands with Bryan the wedding interrupter and hugged Amber, promising to keep in touch. Brent, the cute white boy who sits next to Amber, gave me a good-luck-in-school cookie. And then I walked down the funky hall of Regis for the last time, a ream of paper under my jacket and that crazy guy's Swingline in my purse. (No, I'm just kidding about the stapler. I did look for it on his desk but couldn't find it -- that fool keeps it on lockdown or something.)

As I waited for the bus, my stomach started to feel weird (and not from Brent's cookie). I realized that I'd just finished my last day of "work" for a long time. I am suddenly terrified about going back to school. I have no idea if I will like it at all. I have no idea if I even remember how to do school. I graduated a year early from undergrad because I was so anxious to get out -- why am I going back? The bus pulled up.

There are these two girls I usually see on my ride home who sit in two separate rows but always spend the whole ride chatting with each other. Yesterday I sat in the empty seat next to the more talkative one and smiled politely before opening my book (I know, I've been reading it for like a month and I can't get through it -- that doesn't bode well for school). The two girls saw my book and asked if I was a student. Turns out they are both studying to be medical technicians. Their eyes widened when I answered their question about how long I'd be in law school. Then they asked how much money lawyers make. I could only reply, "a lot."

We ended up chatting on and off for the rest of the bus ride -- about their babies, about the hourly wage they could expect to make when they get certified, about R. Kelly's parts six through ten. It was the first good bus ride I'd had.

Well, today I got on the bus and there were hardly any seats left. I saw my two buddies near the back -- both had empty seats next to them. So what did I do? I sat myself in one of the seats up front reserved for the elderly.

I felt immediate regret -- I wanted to have sat with the girls. They must have seen me board the bus, even though I had shyly avoided looking directly at them. I started glancing over in their direction, figuring that I would catch their attention and then give the "ohhh hi, I didn't see you there" wave. But neither of them looked over.

They got off at their stop and didn't notice my last frantic attempt at eye contact. I'll never see them again.

I'm worried about making friends at school. These past few weeks in the blogosphere have made me feel like one of the borderline cool kids -- I feel so popular when people leave comments and even come back on a regular basis. But something about my online charm gets lost in translation when I'm away from the keyboard.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Some genius of design decided to put mirrors on the elevator interiors at Regis. Elevator rides are already so awkward, standing in close quarters with strangers (or worse, slight acquaintances) trying to mind your own business in the thick silence. But Regis elevator rides are even more excruciating because there's no safe place on which to rest your gaze. The entire front of the elevator is mirrored, so you can't look straight ahead or else you might get caught peeping at one of the other passenger's reflections (or vainly studying your own). You either have to stare at your feet or (my preference) the floor ticker. Come on, seven!

After I get off the elevator in the morning I head straight to the ladies' room to wash the bus germs off my hands. The mirror in the ladies' room is horribly unflattering. I guess it's actually the lighting in the bathroom, not the mirror -- but either way, every time I use the rest room I walk away feeling terrible about myself. Are my eyes really that bloodshot and baggy? Do I really have such simultaneously oily and dry skin? Is my make-up really so frightful?

I usually feel ok about the way I look when I leave my bathroom mirror at home in the morning. And I'm decent looking when I come home at night, albeit a tad worn. But at the office I'm confronted with unattractive-me in the ladies' room a good seven or eight times daily. (I drink a lot of water.)

Well, today it occurred to me that maybe the unsightly specter in the Regis bathroom mirror is the real me. Maybe my mirror at home is especially flattering and forgiving and in real life I look like crap.

I feel like there is some life lesson or grand metaphor that I could extract from this, but I'm too upset to think about it, hideous as I am.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Office Funk

There's this one stretch of hallway in the office that occasionally stinks. Of body odor. Amber and I were returning from lunch a while back the first time we encountered the smell. As we entered the funk zone, both of us simultaneously looked at each other with scrunched up faces. "Oooh, girl...someone is musty up in here," Amber whispered. Indeed.

Well, today, as I was sitting at my desk, the funk spilled into my cube. I sniffed my armpits, momentarily worried that the foul smell might actually be emanating from me. It didn't seem to be. I crawled over to Amber's cube -- she was smelling it too. "Is that the BO?" I asked, pointing in the direction of the usually offending section of hallway. "No," she said, "it's the hot dogs."

Oh, right. Today was Hot Dog Day. Hooray! Hot Dogs! I'm a vegetarian! (Yeah, I'm a veggie...I know, it made the whole chitlins nonsense that much more charming). I had forgotten, but we'd gotten a memo last week saying there would be a free hot dog lunch today to celebrate some kind of company milestone. Regis underwrote its 20 kabillionth dollar and the employees get thanked with free hot dogs. But two per person only -- there was a strict limit, according to the memo. You would also get one bag of chips.

They had distributed a schedule of time slots for when you should claim your dogs according to last names (but the slots didn't go in alphabetical order -- it was randomized, to be fair). Just in case we had missed the memo on what time we were supposed to go to the lunch room, some woman sent mass emails to the entire company at 15 minute intervals. This is the actual header from one of her emails:

To: !Regis Houston
Subject: Lunchroom is ready for M-N-O. Please enter the lunchroom on the boardroom side and exit by the mailroom. Thanks. Jean
Importance: High

When my slot came up, I asked Amber to come with me to the lunch room even though it wasn't her time yet. She was more than happy to oblige ("Big girls gotta eat!"). She's never one for following Regis rules anyhow -- she was wearing jeans today, despite the memo's postscript reminder that the dress code would not be relaxed for Hot Dog Day. (She also wore jeans on the $3 Jeans Day two weeks ago -- but she didn't pay the $3, which was supposed to go towards the very charitable cause of the Regis Social Activities Committee.)

Inside the lunch room the hot dog stench was unreal. I went straight to the chips table to get the only thing I wanted. Some lady in charge of pedestrian flow pointed out that I was supposed to stand in the hot dog line first. I told her that I was vegetarian and just wanted to get my chips. I turned to the chips table and who was standing there but the great white wonder, Mike.

"Vegetarian?!" he exclaimed in a tone that conveyed confusion more than disbelief. "Yeah, I uh...don't eat meat," I explained. "You don't eat meat?!" He shook his head in disdain. Clearly I had shirked my duties as an American by refusing to eat a cylinder of re-constituted pork/beef/raccoon/mystery meat. Oh right, I forgot, I'm not an American. "They must not even have meat in her country," he was probably thinking.

I grabbed my chips and started heading for the door before too many hot dog odor particles clung to my sweater. Please understand, to a vegetarian, hot dog scent might as well be BO. Mike called after me. "Hey, since you're not going to eat your two hot dogs, can you get them and give them to me?" He gestured towards the hot dog line (which was now snaking outside the lunch room door, the S-T-U last names having joined in). I stared back at Mike -- this time I was the one in disbelief.

Oh...(excuse me, Mike, while I have a Whitney Houston moment)...hell to the no!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Friday Foto Fun

Study the image below and then respond to the questions that follow. Time limit: 15 minutes.

Part 1 (10 points): One of the employees at Regis had a birthday today. Which cube is his?

Part 2 (30 points): How many balloons were harmed in the making of this Foto?

Part 3 (10 points): Identify one occurrence of "prairie dogging."

Bonus section (1,500 points): Spot my supervisor in the Foto. (Hint: if you're stuck, see the close-up below.)

I'm So Artistic

Click over to The Quintessential Negro to see my latest portrait of Quint.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Slow News Day

Not much to report today. No office supply scandals or ignorant comments or sabotaged nuptials. (By the way, Bryan said he saw the infamous couple last night -- in his apartment complex -- and they were wearing wedding bands. He was able to duck out of sight before they noticed him.)

Hmm...well, I almost bit it today walking down the hall. My stiletto got caught on a snag in the carpet and I tripped up pretty good. I didn't hit the deck, but I did do a nice little jig. You know, complete with the quick look behind the shoulder to see if anyone had been looking. friend Mark emailed a harrowing story about his cats, a cloud of locusts, and the devil's own dinner (boiled pork liver). I'm trying to get him to share this and his other stories in a blog, but he's resisting, claiming we bloggers are "crazy." Raise your hand if you think Mark needs to get a blog.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

At the Exotic Zoo

James, the "fake loan" supervisor, gave his notice today. Too bad, because James is a decent guy. Not the kind of guy I would normally befriend (he's a little too goofy and bug-eyed and in the habit of saying, "that's soooo Sex and the City!" for my liking), but he's nice and never gets mad when he catches me reading TQN or Amber chatting on BP. He's always good for a story too. (His claim to fame is that he used to date Brandi Stahr, the former Texas A&M student who got national news coverage a couple of months ago for faking her own disappearance. He said he's been trying to get in touch with her ever since the story broke but she hasn't returned his calls.)

Anyway, James came by in the afternoon to introduce Mike, the guy who will be taking over as our supervisor when James leaves. Mike is a short, sunburnt guy who moves with a slowness and talks with the drawl to match.

They stopped at my desk, peering over the cube wall while James made introductions. Mike's eyes fell on my ID badge.

"Hey, you have the same last name as Chad!" Chad is this guy in the office who's from the same country as my father.

"Oh yeah, I met Chad last week."

"So...are you [Chad's nationality]?"

"Well, my father is, but I was born here in the States."

"Wow, I never would have guessed you were [Chad's nationality]! You don't look it at all."

"Oh...yeah, well I'm uh...mixed." I made a swirling motion in front of my face, as I always do when I'm pressed hard enough to have to explain. It never occurred to me until just now how silly that is.

" would really never know..." Mike shook his head and regarded me in disbelief; I could see him trying to do the math in his head. "I never would have guessed from the way you look...and the way you talk!"

"Well, I'm American -- I was born here in the States," I repeated.

"Yeah, I can tell," he said, "you hardly have an accent!"

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Lunch at K. Roger's

Whenever someone in the office has a birthday, his or her cube gets decorated with banners and balloons. The strange thing is that the balloons are always tied down to the edges of the cubicle so that they just barely peep up over the tops of the chest-high walls. It is so utterly bizarre-looking that I have to think it's the result of one of Mayor Matt's decrees. Thou shalt not fly balloons above cube wall height.

Anyway, all morning I was actually working because I kept feeling like someone was looking over my shoulder. When my phone rang, I took the opportunity to turn around as I picked up the receiver to see who this intrusive person was. Turns out it was just a birthday balloon that had come loose from one of the cubes behind me and was floating at an illegal height. I felt pretty stupid, but Amber, who was on the other end of the phone line, laughed and said she'd made the same exact mistake.

Yes, Amber and I sit directly next to each other, and yes, we use the phone to communicate (had you forgotten about the Mayor's prairie dog commandment?). Usually Amber just calls to tell me about her latest find on BP (if she says he's particularly fine I'll crawl over to look for myself) but this morning the topic was lunch.

"You wanna do the salad bar at K. Roger's?" she asked. (K. Roger's, for those not in the know, is Kroger Supermarket.) I said yes. We needed a new lunch spot after seeing something disgusting -- the details of which I'll spare you -- in the office cafeteria yesterday.

I was glad we were getting away from the office caf anyway. Amber and I always ended up eating near this loud table of guys who spend their entire lunch hour whooping it up over their "bball" skills (read: their ability to sink balled-up napkins into the giant garbage can a few yards away). One of them also had the charming habit of asking me, every single day, if I had brought chitlins for lunch. I simply didn't know how to respond to this.

So today Amber and I happily made the pilgrimage to K. Roger's. The salad bar was good and we were both duly impressed with the basket of free crackers (the office caf charges 7 cents per pack). We ate in the outdoor cafe area, the Texas heat thawing our office-frozen extremities. Being outside the walls of Regis got us talking candidly quick.

"This is one of the best temp jobs I've had," Amber said. "Shoot, we sit there doing nothing and they pay us $15 an hour!"

Wait. What? "I'm sorry, did you say $15?" Those bustas are only paying me $14!

We concluded that maybe Amber's rate was for software testing whereas mine was for the admin position I'd originally been hired for. But I talked to our temp agency and they assured me that $14 was the "correct" rate, even for software testing. I couldn't argue further without revealing that Amber and I had explicitly discussed our pay rate (a strict no-no).

So now they leave me with no choice but to take back the hourly dollar that is owed to me. Instead of working the usual 10 minutes per hour, I'm cutting back to 9 minutes 20 seconds. (I logged the time it took me to calculate that as "work time.")

I was determined to stick to the 9:20 plan for the rest of the afternoon -- but I found myself compelled to do too much work. That damn balloon was still hassling me.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Wedding Interrupter

There's this guy named Bryan who sits in the cube across from me. He's that guy in the office: the one who's hysterical and loud and full of energy -- the kid with ADD who never should have come off the Ritalin. He's divorced, maybe in his late forties (he told me that his natural hair color is the same as mine, but it's hard to tell with all the grey).

Aside from his physical appearance and the bass in his voice, nothing about this man tells of his age. He's the type that stands in his cube -- without fear of Mayor Matt -- talking loudly to anyone who will listen (often posing questions such as, "Who thinks I can fit ten Mr. Goodbars in my mouth?"). He is constantly breaking into song -- anything from B2K's "Bom Bom Bom" to "Cheese Glorious Cheese" to Snow's "Informer" (which, admittedly, was the jam back in eighth grade). He's told me countless times, in his best Gwen Stefani voice, how to spell "bananas."

I'm quite amused by him, perhaps because I like being distracted from the work I (pretend to) do and because he's taken a liking to me and always includes me in on his jokes. On Friday, he loudly made fun of a lady a few cubes down whose cell phone was going off while she was away from her desk. "Are you going to get that? No, that's not annoying, leaving your cell phone at your desk on full volume." The lady scurried back to her desk and fumbled with her phone, trying to answer it. "You need some help over there? Because the phone is still ringing..." I laughed along with everyone else, but I did feel bad for her -- I can imagine being on the wrong end of Bryan's jokes. It's rumored that a woman once requested a transfer to another department just so she wouldn't have to sit near him. (By the way, Bryan leaves his own cell phone on full volume all the time -- and his plays some sort of weird porn music.)

Anyway, the point of this story is that Bryan had told me Friday that he was planning to interrupt a wedding. Apparently last week he had met two girls in his apartment complex -- one was getting married on Saturday and the other was the maid of honor. The girls were both very upset because the bride didn't want to go through with the wedding but felt she couldn't turn back -- Daddy had already shelled out 20 grand for the shindig.

I was surprised at how passionately ADD-Bryan had spoken about this wedding situation on Friday (it made me wonder about the back story on his divorce). He said he couldn't live with himself if he didn't try to stop this girl from entering into a bad marriage. And so he decided that when the priest asked if anyone objected to the union, he would be that fool who stands up and says "I do."

I didn't even think people did this kind of thing outside of the movies, but then again, Bryan is larger than life. I admired his convictions about marriage, but I don't think I would have ever meddled in a stranger's business like that. I thought about him at 2:00 on Saturday, wondering what was going down at the church.

This morning he came in to the office his usual jovial self. The twinkle in his eye told me he had done the deed -- as did his fat lip. He said we'll have to stay tuned because he wasn't sure what happened with the wedding after his interruption. The only thing he saw was one of the groomsmen introducing his face to the church steps.

I just hope, for Bryan's sake, that the unhappy couple is moving out of his apartment complex.