A Workday Conversation

The following workday conversation is regarding a local news article about a homeless man who built a guillotine in the woods and accidentally cut off his own arm. (as you do.)

Lindsay: http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-homemade-guillotine-accident,0,3086419.story

Marcy: UM, WHY had he built a guillotine? Was that question never raised?

Lindsay: nobody seems even a little worried abotu that fact that this bum has a GUILLOTINE IN THE WOODS
Lindsay: I KNOW

Marcy: And how did he *accidentally* put his arm between the blades? I’m sorry. You build a guillotene and you cut off your own arm. You are an idiot.
Marcy: Yah, WTF??? Whose arm (or head) did he INTEND to cut off???

Lindsay: exactly

Marcy: Well, the good news is, it will now be 50% more difficult for him to murder someone.

Ohhhh, Mornings

This morning I looked for my belt for about 7 minutes. “What in the… ” I muttered to myself. “Where could it have gone? Did it fall? I just had it last night!”

“Beeeellllllt!” I called. It didn’t answer.

But then I found it. Around my waist. Where I had put it minutes earlier.

Badd Ad Monday

It’s not even Friday, but I can’t not post about this amazing ad:

I see a lot of these ads come out of the beautiful town of Flossmoor, wherever on Planet Earth that might be. They must know something we don’t, you guys. They seem to have all the answers!

My main question on this one is:
What exactly is the job she’s doing at home? If I click on the link, will it take me to the fololowing job posting?

Wanted: Administrative Assistant for Busy Office
Ideal candidate should have:
3-5 years’ experience in administrative position
Ability to juggle multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment
Bachelor’s Degree in Communications or related field
Experience wearing blue face paint a must
Ability to hold fish in teeth preferred
Telecommuting OK

Citizens of Flossmoor, I’m directing this question to you.

Badd Ad Friday #1

I used to have a section of this blog called “Spam Friday,” in which I made fun of all the spam I received via email and in my blog comments. But this is a new era, and starting today (and whenever else I choose to; I do not promise to do this every Friday), I am instituting “Bad Ad Friday,” in which I make fun of the stupid pop-up ads that are all over the internet.

My combination favorite / least favorite ads are the ones that claim that a “mom” discovered some miracle cure or loophole in the system. Why is the fact that a mom discovered it supposed make it so much more appealing? Like Betty Johnson in Somewheresville, USA, is going to all of a sudden do a double take at her computer screen and go, “DALE, GET IN HERE. It says a MOM discovered this weird old trick that is going to make my teeth 10 shades lighter while also putting money in my pocket and infuriating my dentist. And I know I can trust her, because I’m a mom, too! Never mind that I know nothing about this particular mom or if she knows anything about dentistry, or even how to tie her shoes, for that matter. She’s a MOM, Dale. A MOM!!! I’M CLICKING THE AD!!!”

Another question I have is: Why is it always a weird old trick? Do people think it’s more legit if it’s old? and weird? Because I know of some weird old tricks that I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. (Don’t come near me with those leeches, please!) Science has come a long way, and if given the option between a “weird old trick” and “modern science,” I think I know which one I’ll choose.

I’m going to leave you with a trick from a mom in Lyndhurst (wherever the hell that is; are we supposed to know where Lyndhurst is, or is it a generic town name that anyone in an English-speaking country can realte to: “OH, yeah, someone from Lyndhurst, Dale. WE’VE HEARD OF THAT TOWN! I’M CLICKING THE AD!”)

So this mom discovered this clever wrinkle therapy that makes botox doctors furious (and are there really such things as “botox doctors”? That’s very specific).

I clicked on the ad to find out what the trick was, and as it turns out, she stopped doing meth.

That is a clever trick!

Full House, Empty Brain

I was just thinking about Full House, as you do, and it dawned on me that almost every character in that series had a catchphrase.

Stephanie had “How rude!”
Michelle had “You got it, Dude.”
Joey had “Cut it out!” (complete with hand motions)
Uncle Jesse had “Have mercy!”

Now what about Danny, DJ, Aunt Becky, and Kimmy Gibler? I’m sure Kimmy had to have one, right? OK, so now that I’ve got them written down, it looks like only half the main characters had catch phrases. But that’s still more than your average family.

I watched so much Full House, I could maybe win some kind of Full House trivia game show, and with the amount of reality TV happening, a game show about a real show wouldn’t surprise me at all. So it could happen! Facts I know, without visiting any kind of website, include:

Their phone number is 555-2424.
Stephanie’s full name is Stephanie Judith Tanner.
DJ’s is Donna Jo Margaret Tanner.

Actually… I think that’s all I know, other than all the obvious stuff. I would lose that game show so hard! Oh, man. Those are good facts though, right?

BUMMED 2.0

OK, I was sitting here at the dining room table working, glanced outside, and saw the following:

bum's bum

AWESOME!

Then he got up and picked up some trash in his area. “Well, at least he’s cleaning up,” I thought. “That’s something.”

No. he threw the trash on the street. Isn’t it cool how he doesn’t want trash, his own trash, in his little area, but he’ll put it out for the rest of us to enjoy?

Street, trash can -- so hard to tell those pesky things apart.

I’ve had enough. What do I do???

Do I shout out the window at him? Leave him a note of warning? Do I call someone? Who do I call? Opinions, please. I’m done getting bummed.

BUMMED

If you know me at all, you know that I have great care and sympathy for homeless people, and that the homeless problem in LA makes me very upset. I know that many of these people are mentally ill and are literally dropped off on skid row in mental hospital vans, left to fend for themselves in a world in which they can’t possibly do that. I also feel for the ones who, for whatever reason, have become so heavily addicted to drugs that they can’t see any way out. I have a homeless friend whom I pass when I walk to and from the metro, and sometimes I bring him treats from the farmer’s market. I know he’s addicted to something, and whatever it is, it ain’t pretty — but he’s nice, and I like him. (Plus, his eyes look in two different directions, which is kind of endearing.)

But… then there’s the third kind. These are the ones who, for one reason or the other, choose to be homeless. Maybe they think the world owes them something. Maybe they fancy themselves as being off the grid, not controlled by anyone else. Or maybe they are just plain lazy. I know it’s super un-PC to say that, and I truly believe that the majority of the homeless population, especially in LA, falls into the first two categories. But this third category does exist. I used to pay them no mind, but starting recently, they’ve really started to grind my gears.

I will pinpoint for you the exact moment when this shift in my perspective occurred.

The shift occurred a few months ago when I walked over to the living room window and saw a 60-something-year-old bum get up from where he was sitting on the bench in front of the church across the street, walk to the edge of the sidewalk, pull out his floppy little willy, and pee right into the street. Right into the street, on my nice, residential street. Then he SHOOK OFF his disgusting, floppy weiner, tucked it in, and sauntered back to the bench like he hadn’t just PEED INTO THE STREET IN BROAD, BRIGHT, SUNNY DAYLIGHT. And people, that is a sight that I can never un-see.

That was the first day I saw him, and he was with a woman, and they had backpacks, and they sat on that bench in front of the church and smoked cigarettes. So I guess he’d just gotten into town from somewhere, and decided that this was his new home? Indeed, he has since taken up residence right next to the church, on a small piece of sidewalk in front of a side door to the next building, which I assume isn’t used. And he’s got all the setup. It’s like he’s taking a camping trip. Tarp, blankets, clothes, all the goods. The other day I came home and he had all his clothes laid out all over all the bushes nearby. He’s reeeeeallly getting comfortable. And oh yeah, that whole side of the street is awash with the delicous, acrid smell of fresh urine mixed with dry, stale urine. Mmmm.

And tonight, folks… tonight he reeeeally upped the ante. Yes. The ante was upped. I came home and noticed that the “money spot” was free… that is, the best parking spot near my apartment. It’s not under any trees or power lines, and there aren’t any spaces in front or behind it, and when I leave for work in the morning, I’m already facing the right direction, so I just hop in and go. When I get that spot, it is a victory. It’s right across the street.

Right in front of the homeless man’s new “home.”

SON of a bitch.

So I moved. I moved my EFFING car, because you know why? Because when I saw him peeing into the street, he stood right next to someone’s car, so close that I would be surprised if some pee didn’t splatter on that poor, unsuspecting, tax-paying citizen’s automobile. There are quite a few substances I don’t want on my car. And can you guess what’s on the short list of those substances? Correct. BUM URINE.

So I parked in our garage behind my roommate Mary, but now I realize that she’s probably leaving early in the morning and I’ll be blocking her in, so I have to go move it again right now, in the black of night (OK, 11:15, whatever) to a different spot on the street. A spot under both a tree and a power line. So that the bum will not pee on my car.

I hate to say what I’m about to say, for so many reasons.

But seriously.

Get a job.

The Righteous, the Wicked, and the Little Black Cat

Y’all some serious drama just went down at the church across the street. It’s like West Side Story, except instead of Sharks vs. Jets, it’s Episcopal priests vs. street preachers. OK, one street preacher. But he was being loud enough for like 20 people. Here’s how it unfolded…

I was washing my face, and suddenly I heard the sounds of shouting and condemnation through the open windows, and then some murmuring and a woman’s voice say, “No, you are NOT controlling yourself.” And I was inclined to agree with her, as the man continued to rant and rave. I went out to the living room where I could get an unobstructed view, and there was a woman and a priest facing off with a man with a big, yellow sign that said, “The Wicked Shall (Something, I forget now).” So I hunkered down to watch, and he kept up the tirade for several minutes. More people came out, including the main priest in the white robe, and the street preacher was getting up in their faces somewhat, and my neighbor downstairs announced that she’d called the police.

At this point, I decided I needed to take a picture, so I went to get my camera, and wouldn’t you know, when I came back he’d crossed the street and had set up camp right outside my apartment building (greeaaaat), but continued to shout at them from across the street. So I couldn’t get a good picture. By this point, also, the church cat, Vesper, was trotting outside to see what all the excitement was about. And at that moment, the street preacher said something that sounded like, “You thesperals,” but I don’t think that was it, since that’s not a word, but it sounded enough like “Vesper” that I saw her be like, “What? Me? What do I have to do with this?” Nevertheless, she was intrigued and parked herself on the sidewalk to get an unobstructed view as he continued the rant. He said that word a couple more times, and each time, her ears perked up. Eventually the shouting tapered off, and Vesper trotted back inside, deciding the excitement was over, and similarly, I trotted back to my room, got back in bed and started writing this.

And oh, boy, he’s shouting again, although I can’t quite make out what he’s saying. I have a feeling he may not actually be saying sentences, because I just heard something like, “With folly, set on high! Magnified good with God’s shrimp! And the righteous and the wicked shall personally give the wicked to condemn the righteous.” (What?) Then something about a scholar or a collar, and I think he’s pretty upset about an unmarried couple living together.

And Ohhh, boy, he just very clearly said, “Yes, I’m still here, Cowards. I’ll be here for a very long time. Perhaps week after week.” And by “here” I can only assume he means his current position right by our garage. Mmm, can’t wait for that. Won’t be awkward at all walking by him on my way to take out the recycling.

A Metaphorical Spank on the Back

When I was little, I had a book, and a record that went along with it, called “The Story About Ping.” It was about a duck who lived on a fishing boat with his extended duck family and their human master, and every evening, the boat master would call, “La-la-la-la-lei!” And the ducks would run back to the boat, and the last one back would get a spank on his or her back. (Yeah, kind of a weird situation overall; don’t think about it too hard.) Well, Ping understandibly never wanted to be that last duck, to the extent that one evening he realized he was going to be last and didn’t go back at all — and adventures, of course, ensued.

Well, last night I started a writing class that is held at the teacher’s apartment. This apartment is in a lovely neighborhood with a heinus, heinus parking situation. Like, I guess the first two or three people actually get to park on his street, then the next six or eight find spaces a couple blocks away after circling twice or thrice, and then, there’s me. And I can’t really get there much sooner, because I’m coming from work. So by the time I got there, (and I was not yet late, mind you; when I got to the apartment and started looking for parking, I still had a couple minutes to spare), all the good, fair, and mediocre spots were taken; all that was left was a metered spot, blocks and blocks away and down a steep series of hills, and I only found it after driving around for 15 minutes. And I can’t help thinking this is like a modern-day, non-fishing-boat Ping situation, except that the last person, instead of getting a spank on the back, gets the shittiest parking space of all time.

La-la-la-la-lei!

Sunrise on the Terrycloth Horizon

I have never bought towels for myself. Never. Well, until the other day at Ikea, and tonight on the Crate & Barrel website… and the Pottery Barn Website. Yes, I’m making up for lost time by spending a fortune on an amazing variety of towels. Some are even monogrammed! And for years, and up until the other day, I had absolutely no desire whatsoever to own new towels, whether I bought them for myself or not.

The reason for this is because my parents have always lived dangerously close to the Springmaid Wamsutta outlet in Asheville, North Carolina, which, coincidentally and irrelevant to this story, is right next door to a Bojangles. YUM. Anyway, so my mom always has way too many towels, and has always either given me her extras or has bought them for me at the outlet. And I think I’ve been using towels I’ve had since college. This hasn’t bothered me in the slightest, because for my first five years in LA, my bathroom was a jarring pinky/purply color, and the only way I could see to deal with that was to lean it toward the purple, and away from the pink, by having white and purple accessories. So my sister bought me a beautiful white shower curtain with purple squares, I happened to find a lovely white bath rug with purple squares, and all my towels from college were, conveniently, purple! When I moved to a different bedroom in that house, my new bathroom was just white, so purple went fine… and when I lived in my last apartment, Mary and I had a bunch of different-colored stuff anyway, so it was no big deal that my towels were purple (and a few various shades of blue that had made their way into my collection (via Mom) along the way).

The Pinky-Purply Bathroom of Doom

Close-up on Those Sweet Purple Towels!

Another reason I’ve kept those old towels is that I kind of hate new towels, or maybe the only new towels I’m familiar with haven’t been the highest quality. I mean, not my Wamsutta towels, because those are great quality… but some new towels I’ve used at other people’s houses, when they’re new and haven’t yet been washed 75-80 times, shed lint all over you and, rather than absorbing water, merely push it around, which is quite annoying when you’re trying to get dry, because isn’t that the point of towels to begin with? So anyway, why would I want to put myself through that, when I can just keep my trusty old absorbent purple friends?

So, back to the other day. I cleaned my bathroom and changed out my blue bath rug for my yellow and white one… and I’d recently gotten some new soap in a yellow dispenser… and I happened to have a navy blue hand towel on the rack… and I noticed how lovely everything looked with the blue and the yellow. And I decided that it was time to get rid of my purple towels and move toward a new dawn… a dawn of navy blue and yellow towels… towels that I would purchase myself, and wash 75-80 times if need be, so that they’d absorb.

And throughout all this, I noticed something kind of disturbing… I noticed that I’m actually very attached to my old purple towels, and that all my hemming and hawing about how new towels suck, and the only acceptable towels are old towels, was actually me masking the fact that I, for some reason, am deeply attached to these purple towels! And as I was spending way too much money on new towels online just now (Monograms! Ahahahahahahaha!), I found myself wondering what would become of the old ones. I could use them as rags, but no, they were too dignified for that; that would be insulting. I don’t think Goodwill takes towels, and if you think I’m going to put them in the dumpster, you can think again. I’m pretty sure what’s happening is that I care about these towels’ feelings! I feel like they’re part of me, like we’ve been through so much together, like comfy old pals. And that, my friends, is precisely the reason I must get rid of them as quickly as possible.

Blue and Yellow Paradise! (The tiles and towels look almost black, but trust me, they're blue.)

R.I.P. Purple Towels: 2001ish–2011.

Simple Times

I went to dinner with my friend Lindsey the other night, and these words came out of my mouth, with genuine enthusiasm: “The most exciting things in my life right now are [the cat]’s haircut and our new vacuum cleaner.”

Unconscious Poet

I was organizing some papers last night when I came across a small, square note — I had woken up from a dream and scrawled it down so I’d remember, stuck the note in a pile of other stuff, and forgotten about it. Reading it now, I think it sounds like a poem, so here it is. This is exactly what I wrote on the paper:

dream

big, tall black woman
in furry white snowsuit
2 white poodles she couldn’t control
She stole my jacket and denied it

2012

So I guess the world is going to end next year, right? Isn’t that what they’re saying? My friend Jeremy and I were talking this weekend about it, and we figure the Mayans just got sick of writing, and that’s why their calendar ended in 2012. I mean, it has to end somewhere, right? Those Mayans had been working their asses off all day writing this calendar, and at some point, what I’m thinking is that one of them finally said, “OK, guys, let’s wrap it up for today. Happy hour at the pyramid next door starts at 4, and I still need to pick a few ears of maize before it gets too dark. We’ll pick up where we left off tomorrow.”

Then, when tomorrow came, there was something else more pressing on the agenda, like creating the first known written language, for example, and the calendar got pushed to the back burner.

But what if the world, totally coincidentally, does end next year? Holy accurate predictions, Batman! I guess, just in case, we should all try to have the best year ever.

I’m a Fool for Yule

I knew there was a reason I was already starting to get excited for next Christmas. Yes, I realize it’s only March, but that means that Christmas season is a mere eight months away, and GUESS WHAT???

THIS!!!!!!!

It’s a Yule Ball at this amazing place, Whimsic Alley, right in the very heart of Los Angeles! And it combines two of my most favoritist things in the whole wide world: Harry Potter and Christmas!!!!!!! Whimsic Alley was brought to my attention by my lovely new friend Andrea, the amazing genius who was behind this


(that’s her on the right)

and this

and quite frankly, her attention to detail when executing anything involving a theme or a costume has me wondering where she has been all my life.

I am expecting with unadulterated hope that there will be another Yule Ball in 2011. I have no idea how this year’s managed to slip under my radar. But listen to this, witches and wizards: Full dinner. Open bar. Enchanted ceiling. Dance. Performance by a band called Wingardium Leviosa! And Christmas! All on one night! The only thing more wonderful that I can think of would be if an owl flew in my window right now and delivered my acceptance letter to Hogwarts.

Oh boy, I really hope that bartender will mix me a butterbeer!

Mystery Solved. Bunnies may now exhale.

One of my resolutions for 2011 is to renew my dedication to not buying products from companies that test any of their products or ingredients on animals. I used to be very strict about this, but in recent years have let myself slip, using such excuses as, “Ohhh, it’s 2010; I doubt anyone tests on animals anymore; it’s so outdated.”

However, when I revisited Peta’s lists of companies that do and do not test on animals, I was annoyed, to say the least, at the number of companies that still DO test on animals (even though it is, indeed, long-since outdated, unnessary, and not required by any law). Most appalling to me is that many PET FOOD companies torture DOGS in order to do things like put a “new and improved” label on their food. Blergh, it makes me sick. I hope one day those dogs get loose and run into the CEO’s office and bite them in the crotch and don’t let go. That’s what I’d do. (I mean, if I were a dog. As my human self, I probably wouldn’t bite anyone in the crotch, at least not literally. Maybe metaphorically.)

So anyway, in my quest to be a responsible and animal-loving consumer, I set out on a quest (read: sent an email) to find out if Bath and Body Works tested on animals. The wording on many of their products reads, “Finished product not tested on animals,” leading me to believe they were trying to be tricksters, and that their ingredients might be bunny and puppy tested. That would make me madder than if they hadn’t said anything at all, because you know, if you’re going to be evil, at least own up to it. But anyway, the results of my quest (emails) ended up being positive, which is happy news, because even though it’s not even my most favorite store, it is one of the three stores near my work, so by default, it is one of my three favorite stores near work.

Oh, and side note: just in case you’re unclear on what is involved in animal testing, it’s not just rabbits and mice sitting in a little salon getting their hair washed and nails polished. (“Hey, Louise, what you up to today? Want to sneak into Mr. MacGregor’s garden and nibble on some carrots?” “Aw, nah, it’s cool, I’m heading over to the Procter & Gamble lab to get my hair did.” “Aw, ok, girl, I’ll check you later.”) It’s pretty grizzly, and you can read about one common test here, if you have the stomach for it.

For your reading pleasure (pleasure being relative, of course) and purchasing knowledge, here is the email chain between Bath and Body Works and me. (I’ve changed the customer service people’s names. Obviously.)

——————————————————————————–
Hello,

Can you tell me if the ingredients in Bath and Body Works products are tested on animals? I saw your company listed on Peta’s "Does not test" list, but the wording on many of your packages suggests that the individual ingredients are indeed tested on animals. Either way, it’s confusing, so I’d like to hear it from the source.

Thank you for your prompt reply.

Best regards,
Marcy
——————————————————————————–

Dear Marcy,

Thank you for your email regarding our Animal Testing policy. We are happy to assist with your inquiry. At Bath and Body Works, we share the public’s concern about animal testing. Bath and Body Works does not conduct animal testing to substantiate the safety of our product. We support, advance, and utilize current alternative methods when evaluations are required.

Our products are not tested on animals. In addition, we require all of our suppliers to adhere to our no testing on animals policy for products supplied to us. This policy applies to every product that is produced, supplied or tested on behalf of Bath and Body Works, in both the United States and abroad.

Thank you for your interest in BathandBodyWorks.com. We hope you enjoy our products and look forward to serving you in the future.

Sincerely,

Person
Customer Service Specialist
Bath & Body Works Direct

——————————————————————————–

Dear Person,

Thank you very much for your reply. Not to… ahem… beat a dead horse, but I’m still confused as to whether any of the ingredients used in Bath and Body Works are tested on animals, by anyone, on behalf of anyone. I’m not satisfied purchasing a product that contains any ingredient that has caused an animal to suffer, regardless of who ordered that testing. I think you’re telling me that indeed, no animals suffered in the making of any ingredient used in Bath and Body Works products, but I want to make absolutely sure I’m interpreting your reply correctly.

Maybe an easier way to ask would be to find out if Bath and Body Works adheres to the EU Cosmetics Directive: http://europa.eu/legislation_summaries/consumers/product_labelling_and_packaging/l21191_en.htm

Thank you kindly for your further attention to this matter.

Best regards,
Marcy
——————————————————————————–

Dear Marcy,

We appreciate you taking the time to write us in regards to our policies, services and products. We value your inquiry and your interest in Bath and Body Works and The White Barn Candle Co.

We want you to know how much we appreciate your insight on the wording of our Animal Testing policy listed on our labels. We will note your request to make it less confusing, but also want to take the time to explain why it is worded this way.

We want you to know that we believe all living creatures deserve respect and we would never think of testing any of our products on animals. Likewise, we don’t ask anyone who may be helping us develop or make our products to conduct these kinds of tests on our behalf.

At one time, we had stores in the United Kingdom as well as the United States. Under United Kingdom law, all labels on cosmetic and toiletry items must read, “This finished product not tested on animals.” As a convenience to our customers in both countries, we decided to have the same labels on all our products instead of keeping separate inventories for the UK and the US.

We hope this information has put to rest any concerns you may have had, and helps you enjoy all your favorites from Bath and Body Works. We will certainly take your comments to heart and will also forward them to our Executive Team for future consideration.

If we can be of any further assistance, please reply to this email or contact us at 1-800-395-1001, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

Sincerely,

Human McWorker
Customer Relations
Bath & Body Works

——————————————————————————–

Dear Ms. McWorker,

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to me so quickly and thoroughly. From now on, I will enjoy shopping at Bath and Body Works and will tell my friends that they may do the same, knowing that rabbits around the world would support such an endeavor. :)

Many Thanks,
Marcy