Archive for December 23, 2008

A Lincoln for Your Thoughts

December 23, 2008

Did you know that cash money is the number-one carrier of pink eye? (Who just told me that? Someone just told me that recently. Matt Newell? I think so). Money is filthy! And it makes sense, because all God’s children are passing it around all day, from hand to grubby hand, in and out of sweaty pockets, dropped on bathroom floors and picked up again, and whatever else you can imagine; if a place is gross, I’ll bet money has been there.

That said, if you’re too grossed out to keep your cash now and want to get rid of it, I’ll be more than happy to take it off your hands — then you can go wash those hands immediately. You’re welcome.

Today I went to the big, pretty central library, which I’ve been frequenting ever since I started working up the street from it. Those sillies got all mixed up about my fines. I had a fine of $3.60, which I paid on Dec. 1, then checked out 3 more books, which I also let get overdue. I renewed them online on the 15th, and owed a 90-cent fine. Well, they were trying to tell me that I had paid the 90 cents and still owed the $3.60! I made the woman get her manager, and the manager kept saying the same thing over and over: “It shows that you paid the 90 cents but not the $3.60.” Which is physically impossible, because I hadn’t been to the library since I checked out the books that eventually cost me the 90 cents. And even more illogical, you can’t check out books when you have fines, and clearly I checked out 3 more books on the 1st, so clearly I must have paid my fines. Sigh. Sometimes people do not use their brains.

Despite the fact that the difference we’re talking about here was $2.70, it’s the principle of the whole thing. You can’t just take my (filthy) cash and forget about it and tell me I didn’t pay it, because I did, by George. And I stood there and pointed out the logic of my thinking and non-logic of hers until she waived the $3.60. But the whole time she acted like she was doing me some huge favor, like it was somehow my fault that they don’t securely fasten their thinking caps. Sigh again. In any case, I was proud of myself for sticking to my guns. And by the by, I paid my correct 90-cent fine and made sure to get a receipt.

So after that happened, I went into the library gift shop, which has become a favorite spot of mine to buy gifts due to its selection of generally awesome and delightful things. Awesome and delightful, but not particularly cheap. I ended up dropping a cool hundy on a handful of gifts for others (and two calendars for myself). As my break ended and I walked back inside and up to my desk, I was contemplating this “cool hundy” and wondering about other “hip” ways to say that I just spent a hundred dollars that I hadn’t expected to spend, because somehow if I say it in a different way it makes me feel a little better about the whistling sound of wind blowing through the sparsely populated tundra of my bank account. And the other way to refer to a hundred is, of course, as a Benjamin, but at that moment I couldn’t remember if old Benny Boy Franklin is on the hundred or the twenty. So I came back to my desk and looked it up, and here’s what I found out: (Thanks, Marshu.com.)

U.S. paper currency and presidents (Faces) on the bills (note: some of Faces on dollar bills were not presidents)
President on $1 one dollar bill: George Washington
President on $2 two dollar bill: Thomas Jefferson
President on $5 five dollar bill: Abraham Lincoln
Face on $10 Ten dollar bill: Alexander Hamilton
President on $20 twenty dollar bill: Andrew Jackson
President on $50 fifty dollar bill: U.S. Grant
Face on $100 One hundred dollar bill: Benjamin Franklin
President on $500 five hundred dollar bill: William McKinley
President on $1,000 one thousand dollar bill: Grover Cleveland
President on $5,000 five thousand dollar bill: James Madison
Face on $10,000 Ten thousand dollar bill: Salmon P. Chase
President on $100,000 one hundred thousand dollar bill: Woodrow Wilson

I’m thinking I want to start referring to all paper solely by the first name of the man whose face is on it, or a nickname where appropriate, and all coins by last names only. “Do you have change for an Andy?” I’ll ask. “One Alex, an Honest Abe, and five Georges would be good. Thanks!” Or, “Can I get four Washingtons for a George?” Sometimes I’ll call one-dollar bills “Jorge”s, to acknowledge the increasingly significant Latin American influence here in the U.S. And I always get excited to see Toms, because you just don’t see them very often.

Has anyone ever seen a Woodrow Wilson, or a “Woody”? (ahem). I know I sure haven’t — but life’s not over yet! I did one time hold fourteen crisp Grovers in my hand when my dad was about to buy a car with cash, and that was a nice feeling indeed. It would have been even nicer if the Grovers were mine, but still.

Someday I hope to have a Woody’s worth of cash and more. But for now I’d be thrilled if I could drum up a Salmon or two and a couple Jimmys. And if they’re crawling with Pink Eye, that’s just a sacrifice I’ll have to make.

Hostel for Hippi- People

December 22, 2008

I’m turning 30 this March, and I’ve only just started to think about what I want to do to celebrate. Last Thursday I got my hair cut (and ran out of gas — FYI, if you drive a Subaru Impreza, don’t try to drive to Pasadena with the gas light on — more about that later), and my hairstylist was talking about New Orleans, and I recalled that I’ve always wanted to go there — indeed, visiting the city is on my shiny new bucket list. I thought, what better time than my 30th birthday?

Well, for some reason, flights and hotels cost money — like, more than five dollars kind of money. I know! And seeing as how I’m still recovering from having been mostly unemployed for four months and am now a temp with no paid vacation days, I started to investigate the hostel scene in New Orleans… until my wise friend Elise reminded me that I’m turning THIRTY, and ringing in that milestone by staying in a hostel is just sad and will not be allowed, and I agree. But anyway, for a minute I was reading reviews on hostels and found this gem written by someone from Denmark named Knud:

It´s a hostel for hippi- people and youth who want to reknow their anal face – living in shit and enjoy- or fly away being high. –knud, from Denmark

Do you think “reknow their anal face” is a phrase directly translated from an expression they use in Denmark? I’d like to know. Either way, I somehow think I know exactly what he’s saying and found his review as helpful as any other, or more so. Clearly, I’m not a hippi- person (or a youth, for that matter), and if I did want to stay in a hostel, I would certainly take Knud’s advice and steer clear of that one.

So I may or may not go to New Orleans for my birthday. I had really, really wanted to organize a ski trip with friends this winter to Big Bear, Mammoth, or Tahoe, and I surely won’t be able to do both unless a rich old aunt I didn’t know I had suddenly dies and leaves me a fortune. But if I don’t make the trip to the land of hurricanes and Cajun food, what will I do to celebrate my having lived on this earth for 3 decades? Sigh. I wish I could ask Knud. He always knows exactly what to say.

Sock Monkey Miracle

December 16, 2008

This weekend I went to Austin, Texas, and while there, saw a nativity scene made of SOCK MONKEYS!!!! in somebody’s front yard. If you think this wasn’t the best nativity scene I’ve ever seen, you’re wrong, and if you think the teeny tiny monkey baby Jesus wasn’t the cutest thing this side of the Mississippi, think again.

Yes, I took pictures, and yes, I will upload them as soon as I get my act together.

There’s a Hole in the Bucket, Dear Liza, Dear Liza

December 4, 2008

My old friend Rebecca, a.k.a. The Feisty Tourist, had a post on her blog suggesting that her readers make bucket lists, like that old man movie with Jack Nicholson from a couple years ago. “Bucket list” meaning a list of things you want to accomplish before you die (kick the bucket). I don’t know why I’ve never done it before, but why the H not? Goals are always good. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Attend the Kentucky Derby wearing a fabulous dress and hat.

Have a passionate make-out scene in the rain, just like in the movies but real.

Travel around the world, especially to Japan and New Zealand.

Ski in the alps and stay in a cute alpine chalet.

Learn to speak Spanish fluently.

Learn to meditate.

Visit New Orleans and Philadelphia to experience jazz, food, history, and brotherly love.

Go to the Sundance Film Festival to watch one of my own films.

Clarify my spiritual beliefs.

There! Now after a few short minutes, I’ve created all these things to look forward to! What would be on y’all’s lists?

Fee Fi Fo Fum! I smell the blood of a naive blonde girl!

December 2, 2008

This is a testament to my steadfastness; to my desire to finish what I’ve started; and mostly to my love of drinks with umbrellas in them.

I have been trying, for almost two years, to get a free tropical vacation for two that someone promised me.

I know what you’re thinking, and no, it wasn’t a time-share sales pitch or an internet pop-up ad or someone who also promised me a handful of magic beans in exchange for my cow.

I was on a game show called Starface in the summer of 2006. There were three contestants, and near the end, I was neck in neck with one of the others. We were in the round where we were holding Anna-Nicole Smith masks over our faces and answering in her voice (yep). The answer to a question was Playmate of the Year. I just said “Playmate,” and it was wrong, and the other guy answered it correctly and won by a slim margin. After the show, the contestant producers came up to me and said they should have let me try to answer it completely before giving it to him, so here’s what they’d do: If the show got picked up for the next season, I’d get to go back on and try again. If it didn’t, I’d receive a grand prize vacation for two to a tropical destination. SWEET!

Well, being the kind of show in which contestants wear cardboard masks of celebrities, it did not get picked up for a second season… meaning… a vacation for me and one lucky guest! Right? Um… well, as it turns out, after 29 years of living on this planet, I have somehow managed to remain hopelessly trusting. Believing they meant what they said and intended to actually do it, I failed to get any sort of official document. As soon as I realized the show wasn’t returning, I went, “OH! I should contact someone… ” and proceeded to search for someone’s contact info. Finally I dug something up, and I emailed her and emailed her and emailed her, and she apparently was emailing someone else at another office who wasn’t emailing her back, so she finally gave me his info so I could contact him directly, so I did, and didn’t hear back, and emailed again and again and finally heard from a third person who said it was now out of this office’s hands and I needed to contact the network… so I did, with this one address she gave me, and didn’t hear back, and didn’t hear back, and didn’t hear back… until finally I ran into the original contestant producer on a NEW game show I was on recently, and she gave me a new name of someone at the network, Kevin, so I called him and spoke to his assistant, then You guessed it! didn’t hear back, so I called again and emailed just to be safe, then finally heard the very encouraging, “We haven’t forgotten; we’re working on it. Please contact us again near the end of the month.”

That was early November, so I emailed again today and received an email back from a brand new person, Joel, who said that Kevin was no longer working there and that now legal was “investigating the situation” and he would let me know. Sigh.

Do y’all think I’m getting this vacation? Am I the biggest, dumbest, optimist ever? Because I still believe I am. Despite two years of being passed from hand to hand like a dish of salted nuts*, I still firmly believe that I will get that vacation, for two reasons: #1: It is the right thing to do. They told me I’d get it, and I can’t help but believe that somewhere in every human is the need to do the right thing. and #2: I am going to continue to politely bug the hell out of these people until they give me the dang vacation that they told me they were giving me!!!!!

Please picture me on a beautiful beach somewhere, with white sand and clear water, sipping the fruitiest of drinks, with a big smile on my face. Thank you! Now I’m one step closer. And while you’re at it, can you help me steal this golden-egg-laying hen from underneath this sleeping giant? Thanks.

*That wonderful descriptive phrase is from a Nicky Silver play, I think called Free Will and Wanton Lust, unless I’m confusing it with another one.