Archive for August, 2005

While I was walking to the gym this morning, I saw a mid-sized SUV pull into the parking lot with a “W” sticker on it. The owner was a woman who looked to be in her mid-30s.

I approached her and said, “Excuse me, you have ‘W’ sticker on your car,” in the same tone you would inform someone that his or her shoes were untied.

She looked up at me, eyes growing cold and hollow. Two giant horns sprouted from her head as she grew fangs and claws that were sharper than razors. She yelled, “FUCK YOU!” and lunged toward me at full speed.

I picked up a sledgehammer, jumped onto the hood of her car, and started whaling on the windshield. “See what happens, lady? You see what happens when you let a stranger fuck you and millions of American citizens in the ass?”

Then I went inside and ran a few miles, and that was pretty much my morning.

There may be safety in numbers in Texas, but you can’t get away with this kind of shit in California.

When I was about 16 or so, my friend Andrea and I used to cruise around in her white 1980 Crown Victoria (lovingly referred to as the SS Pimp Daddy for its yacht-like size). Most of the time, we didn’t have anywhere important to be, so we’d follow people for no reason. We didn’t really have a profile by which we chose people to vigorously pursue; we’d usually just pick a car and go for it. We’d follow our target down boulevards, through fast food drive-thrus, around neighborhoods…

People really freak out when they’re being followed.

One time, we followed some guy, probably about our age. It was nighttime. When he realized he was being followed, he tried to lose us by ducking into dark neighborhoods, turning on his left blinker and then turning right, taking sharp corners and accelerating, etc. This went on for a few hours. The guy started driving really fast and chain smoking. He finally pulled up to his house in a neighboring suburb and ran inside like we were Satan with a gun. I didn’t know the guy, but that preppy fucker probably deserved it.

Another time, we followed some guy that looked like some other guy we knew, and had the same car. It was nighttime again. The guy was onto us, so he slowed down and changed lanes a few times, figuring we were just assholes that wanted to pass him. (I guess he didn’t know that our breed of “asshole” existed yet.) After about an hour of tailing him down Ogden Avenue, he stopped in a parking lot, obviously scared and confused (unlike the prepster who was probably expecting revenge for one of his lame pranks). Turns out it wasn’t the guy we knew, or even a guy like the guy we knew, but a dad with a kid in a car seat who was also wondering what the hell was going on. We saw this as we creepily drove past the car, only to see him calming down the child. We felt kinda bad, involving kids in our moronic psychological bender, but most dads don’t have a mohawk pulled into a ponytail and drive around in a wood-paneled station wagon, ya know?

I’ve never had anyone follow me for no reason, but I don’t think I’d freak out like these people did. Especially if they’d been following me for a long time and I didn’t recognize them. What are they going to do? Try to mug me? After giving me ample time to realize they’re following me and take down their license plate number? Yeah, I wouldn’t do anything. I might get out and say “hi.”

But what if that’s what they want and they take out a gun and blow my head off?!?!

I guess I’d be dead then, huh.

I logged on today to find out that my slutty, irresponsible website had contracted a virus. Nice going! See what happens when you hang out in the same place as porn sites and mpegs of tapdancing, polio-stricken transvestites? Sleep in a whore house long enough and you’re gonna get fucked, my primary authoritative female figure from childhood always used to say…

It’s all better now and safe for viewing, but man that was close! Thank Gaia for Valtrex, or you wouldn’t even be able to read this.

I live by the river and die by the river.

There is no van involved.

So I ended up going to the Ben Lee/Ben Folds/Rufus Wainwright show in San Francisco, as mentioned in my music blog. I’m writing about it here because the concert was somewhat dull and I missed Ben Lee!! He was the only one of the three that I was interested in seeing, and I didn’t even catch a glimpse of his act.

Why? Because I’m an idiot.

I decided to take the Caltrain because the show was at 7:30 and traffic into San Francisco dies down sometime after the vampires and werewolves come out to feast. Unfortunately, my watch was slow and I arrived at the train station just as the train did. For a split second, I considered just getting on, but it would be really embarrassing to get chewed out on a train full of people for not having a ticket.

I saw people unloading bikes and other junk off the train and figured I had time. I ran to the machine, quickly bought my ticket, and turned around just in time to see the train pull away. I actually ran alongside it for a couple of minutes, which is what makes this ordeal truly idiotic.

I even threw my arms up in the air and yelled, “Wait!” like they do in the movies, as if that would actually stop the train. I know at some point I dissed those stupid movie scenes where one of the main characters is in a desperate hurry and just misses the train/bus/plane. I mocked the idea that someone would try yelling, “Wait!” to a large, moving train and think that in doing so, the conductor would stop a train full of people just so he could get on.

Transportation Commissioner: “Bob, your train is running over 30 minutes behind schedule. What’s going on?”

Conductor: “Well, this one guy said, ‘Wait,’ so I had to wait. Don’t you see how that trumps any and all other logical courses of action?”

So, it turns out that this useless last-ditch attempt to get on a train really is an involuntary human reaction to just missing it. And like in the movies, the train usually doesn’t stop. When an individual feels, the community (or as they call it at NI, commununity) reels.

It would have been really cool if it was the 40s and I could just run alongside the moving train while a couple of strong-armed dudes with goofy mustaches pull me onto it. It would have been even cooler if the Caltrain was like the commuter trains in Chicago where you can just buy your dang ticket on the train!

I ended up waiting an hour for the next train, but not before trying and failing to catch another one at the other Mountain View stop.

I made it to the 4th and King stop where Tamara (bless her soul) was waiting for me. We saw the second half of Ben Folds’ show. Some chick tried to rush the stage while Ben was playing the piano and a security guard yanked her off before she even knew what was happening. I don’t know what she was planning to do if she made it to the piano, but I’m thinking it’s better that she didn’t. Rufus was flaming gay and consequently, quite conversational. The show was kinda boring except for the parts where his sister sang with him, which I thought sounded nice.

Then I wolfed down a reuben at Mel’s Diner and, having missed enough trains for one day, took a cab to the 12:01 to San Jose. Missing that train meant hanging out in SF for another 5 hours so I made sure I got there with time to spare. Good thing I did because I got the wrong day-pass ticket and had to go back into the station and buy an add-on.

As an aside, while I was waiting for the doors to the platform to open, some guy asked me, “Is this the train to San Jose?” As it was the only train leaving the station for the rest of the night, I bluntly replied, “I hope so” and went back to instant messaging on my Sidekick. One of his buddies immediately said, “Man, you got zinged!”

So that was a pickup line. I saw that the guy was in a small group of young men and I found it highly unlikely that they’d be standing in a train station at midnight, all three of them unsure which train was theirs.

Flash back to my wait for the next train to SF. Some guy asked me when the next train was, even though I was sitting next to a giant sign containing the schedule. I passed it off thinking he may just not know how to read a train schedule. I don’t think it’s hard, but after watching my ex struggle with the posted bus schedule when we went to Portland, I keep my expectations for the knowledge of the common man very low.

When another commuter train passed without stopping, the guy asked, “That’s not our train is it?” I said, “I think it would have stopped if it were.”

Since when do the intricacies of the public transportation system constitute as pickup lines? Even if I were a “responsive” target and actually wanted to be picked up by Mr. Illiterate or Boy Wigger, where is the conversation supposed to go from there?

The last conversation I had about trains that lasted longer than “Has it come yet?” was with my cousin. He was 3 and PBS’s Shining Time Station had hit its ratings peak.

Gentlemen, it’s time to think outside the station.

I could go home and watch this:

“Duck Tales” was one of the best cartoons ever. Even though Uncle Scrooge was the stingiest duck in Duckburg, he still loved his nephews and took them on his adventures. If Scrooge was my uncle, I’d be like, “Hey, let’s see what’s burnin’ at the Temple of Doom! And then let’s look for those Nazis who want to raid the Lost Ark!” Cause if we did that, I’m pretty sure I’d run into Indiana Jones. And then I could make it look like an accident and say, “Oh! I didn’t know you’d be here. So what’s up?” I mean, I could have just gone to Boston and taken one of his classes, but I ain’t like those flighty hoes. Besides, I’d probably run into “good” Will and he’d ask me if I liked apples and I’d be like, “Shut up and mop the floor you loser!” And then he’d grow wings and fly up to heaven and Alanis Morrisette would be like “I’m God” and I’d be like “No you’re not. You’re a has-been marginally talented singer who got her start on ‘Star Search.'” Then Ed McMahon would come in panicking and crying, “One of our talents cancelled at the last minute! We need a replacement!” And I’d go, “Hey! I’m 9 years old and wearing an American flag t-shirt. I can sing ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.'” After belting out my own powerful version of the song, the judges would give me 5 stars and I’d beat the hell out of everyone, but only because my opponent was Roseanne Barr-Arnold-Whatever-Useless-Moron-She’s-With-Now and she damn near killed everyone else with her grackle throat spackle. But at least she got revenge on her jerk husband that cheated on her with that rich romance novelist. Everyone knows she’s a witch. And when I was 9, I burned witches… when I wasn’t watching “Duck Tales.”

I found a Fantastic Four mechanical pencil on the ground while I was walking home today. Since Fantastic Four is a relatively new movie, that means there’s a ton of lead in this sucker and it’s gonna last me a good, long time. I think I’m having the Best Week Ever.

Hello, viewers. My name is Kat Taylor, and I’m here today to talk about a very important issue that affects millions of people across the US: ice cream addiction. If you’ve never had ice cream, you may think this problem doesn’t affect you. However, according to heavily researched statistics that I’m about to make up, if you’re not an ice cream addict, there’s a 1-in-3 chance that someone very close to you is. And 9 times out of 10, they are keeping it a secret and need your help.

I’ve been off the pint for almost a week now, and believe me, it hasn’t been easy. It was easier to quit smoking than to go through the rigorous process of fighting ice cream addiction. I just hope I can use my experiences to teach others not to give into the temptation of the spoon and lead a healthy, ice cream-free life.

I started using ice cream when I was a kid. I was mostly a social user then. I’d get it at bithday parties and on holidays. Sometimes I’d go out and have it with my friends. One time I even scored some at a church picnic!

“Hey, I can stop whenever I want,” I told everyone. I had even convinced myself that I was eating copious amounts of ice cream “just for fun” and I wasn’t “seriously addicted.”

“I’m having a party,” I’d tell the cashier as he scanned my cartful of pints of Ben & Jerry’s (the best ice cream ever made). I would often visit several stores a week to buy ice cream, hoping no one could tell I was helplessly addicted.

Ben & Jerry’s was my brand of choice. I tried switching to the less potent stuff: Haagen-Daaz, Blue Bonnet, Breyer’s, even store brands. But nothing could match the hardcore fix I got from Ben & Jerry’s.

Pigging out on ice cream and catching a buzz felt great, but it took a drastic toll on my body. At first, I was pleased to find the extra calories were putting some much-needed junk in my trunk. But as my addiction spiraled out of control, I went from “hottie” to “fattie” in less than a year.

Before
After

Being a designer ice cream, Ben & Jerry’s had a negative effect on my wallet as well as my body. But I needed a fix so bad, I didn’t care what other areas of my life suffered. I look back now and think of all the money I spent on that stuff, and how I could have spent it on the finer things in life: a nice car, a new house, the Pink Floyd box set, travel-sized versions of popular board games… I could have collected all 107 Pokemon trading cards! But I didn’t give myself a chance to buy these things. All my money went to two men—Ben and Jerry.

One day, I finally cracked under the pressure of my own choatic addiction. After finishing my last pint of B&J; in the house, I ran out to buy more, only to discover that both Safeway AND Albertson’s were closed for the night. I had sold my bitchin’ Camaro months before so I could buy more ice cream, and every store within walking distance was closed. The last thing I remember is rummaging through the contents of my freezer, searching for any traces of ice cream to pacify me until morning. After dumping every tray of ice cubes on the kitchen floor, I blacked out and woke up in the hospital several hours later. I’m eternally grateful that roommate found me unconscious on the ground shortly after I fell. I almost died that night. That’s when I realized that I needed to make a change.

Ice cream addiction doesn’t just happen in big cities. In fact, many rural and suburban communities face a growing trend of ice cream addicts. If you think a loved one is an ice cream addict, look for warning signs like cracked lips, developed knowledge of ice cream brands and flavors, increased happiness followed by discontent, and constant possession of spoons.

Remember everyone, it’s up to all of us to stop this growing addiction from spreading. Learn to spot the signs of popular confections that are dangerous to you and your family, and just say “No!”

I was playing poker online tonight and saw that someone at my table was from Naperville, a sterile, corporate-controlled gene pool in which I was trapped for 17 hellish years. In this new-money Chicago suburb, nearly everyone is rich, gorgeous (by midwestern standards), way better than you, and if over 23, pushing a baby carriage.

I said hello and introduced myself as a fellow Napervillian. The player was silent and did not return my greeting.

Yep, Naperville hasn’t changed a bit!

He created IT people.

I spent the first 30 minutes of my morning on the phone, 28 of which were on hold. All I needed was a password reset, but the guy I was talking to had never heard of Perforce, an application used by everyone. I had to repeat my problem several times, even though I had specifically chosen that I need a password reset. When he asked me to spell “Perforce”, I knew we were going nowhere.

I can understand his not being able to help me due to lack of training, but he didn’t even try to troubleshoot. (Although I appreciated not being asked the standard, just-shoot-me-in-the-face-now questions: “Did you restart your machine?” and “Is Caps Lock on?”) He put me on hold for 10 minutes and when he came back, the most brilliant question he could muster was, “Is this a company-wide application or something you downloaded yourself?” He also said he’d been trying “left and right” to help me with my problem, but I guarantee, if he talked to at least one other person, they could at least give him the lowdown on what Perforce is. I asked if there was someone else I could call that might have more knowledge in this area, and he put me on hold again. He ended up filing a web request ticket, which I could have done myself in 3 minutes.

We might as well have outsourced our help desk to India. Giving good tech support seems difficult for most people, so why do we let just anyone do it? Same reason we let just anyone teach in public schools…

*Continues bemoaning the ails of society internally*