Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sleep. Deprived.

Just yesterday I was burbling, annoyingly, to my mother, "I'm getting less sleep overall because of my more crowded job schedule, but I'm getting much better sleep quality because my brain is tired! No more insomnia! This is great!"

Today I am bloody tired. I have not slept more than five or six hours a night in a week. The bags under my eyes may become permanent. Domino, my favorite decor magazine ever, is closing its doors. I am way more scared about the economy than I ever was before and I have the horrible premonition it's going to get worse. I personally know two people who have been laid off, one from Starbucks Corporate and one from Microsoft, and another friend lost two and a half weeks of pay because his company put everyone on unpaid holiday over Christmas.

On the other hand, the cold snap has broken. (Global warming somehow skipped Seattle. It has been about 20 degrees here for a week. Before yesterday, I hadn't had any feeling in my hands since the New Year.) And I still have both my jobs. It could be worse.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Things I'm Supposed to Love, But Don't

Rock Band.

I've tried it several times, and I have finally accepted this truth about myself. Seriously? People play this nonsense? Learn to play a real instrument or don't bother.

Hey, I'm not a snob. I'm all for amateurs--music doesn't have to be perfect! At an inauguration party recently, we busted out into a badly harmonized version of The Star Spangled Banner that had the only music major in the room cringing. (The harmonic IDEAS were there. He insists we were off by a crucial minor second. Whatever.)

Back to the topic: amateurs are awesome. I'm definitely for karaoke, for busting some jams with a friend, for singing on the street. It's important to know your limits, of course. But there's no need to keep quiet just because you don't play with the Seattle Symphony.

But to recourse to Rock Band--ugh.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friday Morning Snippets

Friday mornings turn out to be not so bad when you have wakeup calls and iSnooze.

Of course, I've only been up for two hours. Ask me again at lunchtime.

Happy Friday, everyone! I got about five hours of sleep, give or take, after salsa dancing until midnight and getting a parking ticket--also around midnight--for parking HEAD IN instead of REAR IN.

That seems to me to be the last word in frivolous--seriously, you ticketed me at 11:30 pm for parking in a real spot, but in the wrong direction? I mean, I guess we are in a recession, so Seattle needs the money. But seriously?

Fortunately, none of my friends have been laid off yet--not even from M'soft, which will cut 1400 jobs in this region by today--and Obama will end the funding ban for groups abroad that provide abortion services or counseling, a small gesture that is completely awesome, although expected. (Reagan passed the ban as he took office. Clinton reversed it. Bush re-instated it, etc, etc.)

Also, I have a fancy dress party to attend tonight, and nothing to do tomorrow! HOORAY!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Good Hair Day

Me: "Sorry I had to hang up in the middle of calling you. I just had my hair done, and as I left the salon, a man just stopped me on the street and asked me to go have a drink with him."

Sarah: "WHAT? Did he look normal?"

Me: "Yes!"

Sarah: "What did you say? What did he say? What happened?"

Me: "I was in the middle of dialing your number, and I smiled at him and his friend as we passed. He smiled back, and then he kept looking at me and turned around to walk with me, ditching his friend. He said, 'Who are you?' I told him my name, and he said, 'My friend and I are going to go have a drink in Belltown. Would to come?' I said, 'I would love to, but I have to go buy shoes.'"

Sarah: "By the way, you are really testing out that 'A girl can never have too many shoes' idiom."

Me: "I like to go the extra mile. IN REALLY CUTE SHOES."

Sarah: (Sighs) "Moving on. Then what happened?"

Me: "He asked me if we could have a drink some other time, and I said we could."

Sarah: "Where the heck do you get your hair done? And do they have openings?"

Me: "Seriously."

Sarah: "Are you going to go out with him if he calls?"

Me: "He won't."

Sarah: "What? Why not?"

Me: "I asked him if he normally stopped girls on the street, and he said no. And I asked him, 'What makes me so special?' And then I went ahead and answered for him, and I went on and on about my hair and the salon."

Sarah bursts out laughing. "You asked him what made you so special and then you answered the question for him?"

Me: "Yes. I'm an idiot."

Sarah: "But an attractive idiot, apparently!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

Working and Cars

(And working ON cars.)

Speaking of cars! My car runs and there's beautiful sunshine today! HOORAY!

In fact, it's been sunny all weekend here, which is enough cause to throw a freaking party. I went for a long sunny drive to the beach (in the car! which runs!) and back, which was pretty fantastic, and my parents took me out for lunch after my dad rearranged my computer station for maximum awesomeness and my mom walked Titan.

In between those things, though, we had one of those epic nights at the restaurant that makes servers so bitter.

My friend T worked a double--he was already at the restaurant when I got there, so he had been stuck inside all day on a nice day, but that happens. We were pretty busy, according to the reservation book, so we were all girding our loins, but that happens, too.

What doesn't normally happen is the hot water disappearing. Which meant we couldn't use the dishwasher. Because the dishwasher won't run without water at a certain temperature. And the dishwasher doesn't have a heating element. So our dishwasher had to wash everything by hand. And in order to get hot water for the hand dishwashing, we had to BOIL IT ON THE STOVE. Parties kept calling and changing their numbers, meaning that my GM ran around like crazy trying to fit everyone in. Therefore, the servers absolutely could not make a mistake, because if you fired something wrong, it would be half an hour before the GM could get to the computer and authorize the void. Which would make your table wait half an hour for your check. We had a whole party of screaming children. A table of four completely stiffed us after their child threw cheerios all over the floor. I forgot entrees on two separate tables, both birthdays. At eight o'clock, the calculator broke, so in the middle of going crazy, we had to split checks and calculate 18% tips by hand. We technically close at nine, and the restaurant was still packed to the gills at nine thirty.

Nights like this make me happy that serving is no longer my primary source of income.

Moving on. My new job at my actual career is going well, which is awesome, although let me tell you that waking up every day at 6:30 after being at a restaurant the night before until 10 is not as easy as it sounds. I worked three shifts last week and didn't eat dinner any of those nights. As a result, I have lost three pounds. Hooray!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Gas Not Included

I drove to work. I drove home from work. I drove to the restaurant. I drove my manager to the bus stop from the restaurant. I got gas on the way back.

I noticed, when I got in my car, that I smelled like gasoline. "Hmmm," I thought. "I must have stepped in some. My cuffs are long. I will switch jeans when I get home."

I get home and switch jeans. My apartment STILL smells like gasoline. Five minutes later, two neighbors knock on my door. "Can you smell that?" they ask. I say that I think it's me, and the downstairs neighbor--who is fabulously gay--picks up my abandoned jeans and sniffs.

"JESUS, honey," he says, "what did you do? Bathe in it? Roll around in it? Did you shoot a porno at the gas station?"

I throw my jeans, shoes, and belt outside.

Five minutes later, my apartment STILL smells like gasoline. I realize that some of the windows I have opened for ventilation are directly over my jeans, now outside. I close these windows and open other ones.

Ten minutes later my apartment still smells like gasoline. I run out to my Jeep to see if she is leaking gas. I can't smell a darned thing.

Back inside, I also throw my coat outside.

Twenty minutes later, the smell seems to be dissipating.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Love and Value: A Eulogy

I know that it's wrong to speak ill of the dead, but I think the time has come for me to say how I really felt about Helter-Skelter, aka Trouble, aka my Jeep, aka the Worst Financial Decision I Ever Made.

I liked Helter, I did. And unlike Titan, who I can actually get mad at, I couldn't really get mad at Helter. It certainly wasn't her fault that she was so expensive. I chose to pay that high price, and I chose not to negotiate because I wanted that specific car, and the car salesmen knew it and they bled me dry.

Readers, I paid something like 33,000 dollars for that car. And I had 7.5% financing.

It's an outrageous price, an outrageous rate, and my monthly payments were equally outrageous. Add in the fact that I was driving a brand-new car and I had a terrible driving record, and you can imagine that my insurance premiums were pretty outrageous, too.

It all seemed worth it at the time, mainly because I had no idea what money was, how much it was worth, how long it took to earn enough money to pay for that car. Six years seemed like eternity to me, so why care? Why try to push for five years? Why try to lower the price? $564.90 a month seemed fine. I had no concept of reality, of what you COULD get for 565 dollars, how to measure value. I had never seen a car payment before and I had no idea what my parents paid a month, either for car payments or insurance. I had no idea what a good deal was. And even if I had known, it wouldn't have really helped. Suddenly, for the first time in my life, I had money, what seemed like a LOT of money, and I was very ready to spend it.

And so Helter and I began our relationship, and in her defense, she tried her best to live up to her hype. She never caused me a moment of trouble--not likely in four years on a new car, but still it's worth mentioning--and she got me into and out of many a tight spot. She never rolled off that cliff or refused to start. Her radio, although nothing special, worked every day and accepted my iPod connections later. She never rolled over on me, in spite of my best efforts, and although she would never win a drag race, she gave it her all when I pressed down on that gas pedal.

After four years of crashing her through underbrush, backing her into telephone poles, rear-ending minivans, spinning her out on the freeway, crawling rocks, and turning left in front of speeding motorcycles, she slipped on a patch of black ice and gave up the ghost. Poor Helter. I never gave her a chance, really. By the time I realized how much I had paid for her, working to get the most value from her frame seemed impossible. I would never get out what I had put in, and so from the start, I never valued her. I never babied her, not once. I never loved her. I liked her, but it wasn't love. I treated her like a junk car that I had paid a pittance for, and by the end of her time, she looked like it. I couldn't use the rear wiper anymore because when I backed into a telephone pole, the back gate had bent so far in that the spare tire no longer gave the rear wiper enough clearance. She was black, and I never washed her. The interior was also black, and I never bothered to pick up the Titan hair, so the exterior and the interior were basically gray. I melted wax on a seat and stained the dashboard, and of course I drenched her in coffee. Her sides were scratched up, and she was beginning to develop rust spots on her hood from bird doings that I never cleaned off.

Maybe she committed suicide on that ice patch out of depression because she knew I didn't love her. I'll never know.

Now I have a new car. She's only a year younger than the girls I tutor, all of whom are now seniors in high school. When she rolled off the factory floor, the first Bush was still president. She already has 174,000 miles on her. Her hood is losing its paint, showing the primer underneath, and her interior lights are gone and there is actual mold on the console. I paid $800 for her, and put an additional $550 in her right away, in the form of all new fluids and an oil change. And I can tell already I will value her more than I ever valued Helter.

She doesn't have a name yet, but that doesn't matter. She needs babying and I am here to give it to her. She drives great and handles great and her four wheel drive works great, and everything else, I can fix. She doesn't have a radio, she doesn't even have cup holders, and I don't care. She's mine. Not shared with the bank and my dad: she's MINE. I paid for her, and I worked for every dollar that I used to buy her, and she's mine. I'm in this relationship for good. If it's under a year, so be it. If it's five years, I'll be there at the end.

Of course, I'll be a little more comfortable in her once I clean out her mold.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


By the way, this is--as always--inspired by The Stranger article of the same name. Which is just as funny this year as it has been every year, and that's pretty damn funny.

I recently went to Mediterranean Mix for the first time--after hearing about their falafel from about everyone--and it did not live up to the falafel hype. Mediterranean Mix regrets this.

Hallava Falafel regrets that it had to move to Portland due to the Georgetown Brawl.

The people involved in the Georgetown Brawl, specifically the guy from Smarty Pants, regret that they are such fucking idiots.

Seattle regrets that it now has no good falafel. Seattle should have done more to keep Hallava Falafel here, in spite of Hallava Falafel's too-cool-for-a-storefront thing.

Hallava Falafel regrets that it is too cool for a storefront.

Moving on to music: I regret that I never got to see the Massive Monkees battle with Dyme Def. That would have been an awesome show. Furthermore, I regret that there's still posters up in my neighborhood advertising that show, rubbing in the fact that I never got to see it.

Having just discovered the Duke and Dutchess, I regret not having found them earlier. They are awesome.

I regret the lack of really good women blues singers.

I regret the entire designer denim market. Specifically, I regret that now, due to the plethora of options and the flooding of the market by designers with no taste at all, that you can look just as bad in a simple denim trouser as you can in the REST of your over-designed clothes. Adding to this, I regret girls who wear jeans that fit them so poorly that the fancy pocket stitching sits half on their thighs.

Possibly related: also, I can't find a pair of designer jeans that looks good on me. I regret this.

Seattle regrets its mayor and snowstorms, both, but especially regrets the two of them together.

Travel Regrets:

On my trip to New York, in spite of all of my obsession about what to wear, I completely failed to look cute at any point in that trip. I sincerely regret this. A lot. I should have never worn my rather old and oversized winter coat, in spite of the 20 degree weather.

On a side note, I regret my winter coat, which has served me faithfully but really needs to be retired and updated.

In fact, I regret cold altogether.

Speaking of cold, I regret attempting to find a lost ski on Crystal Mountain in late October. Everything about that trip turned out poorly and I should have known better.

While in Tokyo, a very nice West African guy helped me buy a subway ticket at 5:10 a.m., when I was on my way to the Tsukiji Fish Market and he was getting off his job as a bouncer at a club. He asked to see me while I was in town, and I rejected him, as I had a boyfriend, I wasn't sure how to communicate that, and I didn't know what he was looking for, or how people dated in Japan. I regret this. It would have been awesome to mingle a little among the locals. Plus the club scene turned out to be impossible to break into if you weren't Japanese and it would have been great to have an in.

Jack in the Box and Taco Bell regret that they were torn down this year, making it impossible to find a bite to eat on the Hill for less than ten dollars an ounce. Everyone regrets this, especially stoners, drunks, bar hoppers, dog walkers, and...okay, everyone.

Dicks does not regret the sudden lack of competition.

Titan regrets eating carrots, hot cocoa, brie, saran wrap, almonds, and bread. He does not regret eating lamb stew.

I regret Titan eating my lamb stew.

My figure regrets me listening to the siren call of Starbucks. And not, say, the siren call of running.

My love life has not run perfectly smoothly this year. I have lied to people, I have been lied to. I have led people on, I have shied away from confrontation, I have passed on information that wasn't necessary. I regret all of this and resolve to do better in 2009. (Except for the telling of white lies, which I almost always regret NOT telling.)

However, the demise of my love has given me a lot more free time, and I do not, in any way, regret the number of awesome girl friends I have made this year!

I hope they don't regret becoming MY friend.

I regret Jaeger. And vodka. And tequila. And beer pong. (Some of the time.)

I do not regret red wine. In any shape or form.

And most of all, I do not, in any way, regret my birthday run, skydiving, or buying a motorcycle!

Happy 2009, everyone! May you strive for many more regrets!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bordering on Giving Up Altogether

I had one of the worst days of my life ever, yesterday, ever. It reminded me of the old joke: It's a recession when your friend gets laid off, but it's a depression when YOU get laid off.

My friend got laid off and my Jeep was TOTALED, so I guess I'm somewhere in between a recession and a depression, and let me tell you, that is nowhere like being between a rock and a hard place. It is more like being in a dream sequence where a bad guy is chasing you and ahead of you is a cliff and you CAN'T STOP. Yes, my Jeep is gone, that Jeep that slid into a guardrail after hitting a patch of black ice going MAYBE 35 miles an hour, two weeks ago. Yes, two weeks ago. Seattle entered Thunderdome status after the worst storm we had in two decades and the body shops have all been a leetle backed up, not to mention the entire city is sold out of rental cars, I called seven places, DO I SOUND HYSTERICAL YET?

Plus I forgot my lunch today.

Help me. Send wine.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Greatest Picture Ever

Random sawhorse, some random street, Capitol Hill (Pike, I think):