Thursday, November 30, 2006
Things Zombie Hates Thursday: Special Bathroom Edition
Apparently, while I wasn't paying attention, I turned into Suzy flippin' Creamcheese.
You see, this evening, after having dinner out with the kiddos and some friends, we stopped at The Holiest of Holies, Big Lots. And I got excited. About buying a garbage can.
Yes, it's sad.
If you don't have a Big Lots in your area, woe unto you. Closeout stores rule the earth, people. They rock my world. Because I am a cheap bastard. There's something deeply satisfying about buying namebrand items at closeout prices. I learned this from the Big Lots commercials featuring that large, angry-looking black woman and that white dude that looks mildly retarded. Shopping is therapy.
So, anyway, I bought a new garbage can. For my bathroom, which is now New and Improved.
When I moved into this house, my bathroom was (insert rending of the garments Old Testament-style here) carpeted. Carpeted bathrooms are a plague on humanity. You can't keep a carpeted bathroom clean. It's just not possible. No matter how much you vacuum the carpet, no matter how many bathmats you put down, no matter how often you wrap the children in Saran Wrap before they even step foot out of the tub after a scrubbing, it's going to be messy up in there.
When I first saw this carpeted horror of a bathroom, I was immediately reminded of a time shortly after I moved in with my foster parents. You see, they too were cursed with a carpeted bathroom. I am not sure what possesses people to put carpeting down in a bathroom, but some people do it. And then they sell/rent that monstrosity out to other people who are in need of housing.
So my foster parents had a carpeted bathroom. Both of them were horrified by it, but, as they told me, the time they attempted to rip it out turned out to be a bad idea, because as soon as they lifted up one corner of the evil carpeting, they found...bare plywood underneath. So the carpet had to stay for a while, because they couldn't, at the time, afford to fix the flooring and put tile or linoleum in.
And they were resigned to their fate. They accepted it with quiet grace and dignity. I was in awe of their fortitude and courage under such pressure. They did not complain.
Well, not until one morning, about three weeks after I moved in there, when I was sitting on the couch, staring blankly at the TV as I am wont to do, and I heard hideous shrieking coming from the bathroom.
"AHHHHHHHH! WHAT THE FUCK! AHHHHHHHH! I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS! MOTHERFUCKER!" came the anguished cries of my foster mother.
I trundled back to the bathroom to see what the problem was. She was standing in there, waving her arms around, screaming obscenities at my foster dad. "AHHHHHHHH!"
"What?" I asked. "What?"
She flung a hand out in the general direction of the wall. I looked over, trying to discern what evil had made itself known in the bathroom there. At first, I did not see it. And then...
There...in the corner the bathtub made where it met the wall...I saw...
A big one, too! At least 4 inches tall.
"I CAN'T LIVE LIKE THIS!" my foster mom continued shrieking. "A FUCKING MUSHROOM, ZOMBIE'S REAL NAME! DO YOU SEE IT?! THERE'S A FUCKING MUSHROOM."
"Yeah, I see it. Take a deep breath."
"Okay. Well, it wasn't there last night when I took a shower. It's awfully big. That's pretty neat."
"IT IS HUGE AND IT GREW OVERNIGHT AND IT IS IN MY BATHROOM AND I CANNOT LIVE LIKE THIS!"
My foster dad remained wisely silent throughout this debacle and eventually, a few days later, we were relieved of the evil carpet that grew mushrooms overnight and got some nice clean tile.
And this brings us back to my bathroom. My bathroom with the carpet. I had visions of mushrooms springing forth from its artificial fibers like insidious little mushroomy springing things.
It caused nightmares. I worried. I cursed whatever maniac put carpet down in the bathroom. Would I, too, end up with mushrooms growing in my bathroom because some deranged interior decorator from Hades thought cream-colored carpet added a certain special something to the bathroom's aesthetic?
I did not know.
Of course, this did not stop me from renting the house, because, as I've mentioned before, the rent is freakin' cheap. And I love me some cheap like a fat kid love cake.
At any rate, the other day, I decided to brave whatever might lie beneath the carpet in my bathroom. After all, it was possible there was acceptable flooring underneath the carpet, just waiting for me to find it and let it free from its captivity.
And it turns out there was linoleum under there! Perfectly fine, acceptable bathroom flooring, covered up by ridiculous, porous, inappropriate wall-to-wall carpeting. And the carpet was hardly even nailed down!
The lack of proper nailing leads me to believe that the aforementioned maniac was really, deep-down, hesitant about the whole bathroom carpet idea and not entirely ready to commit to it in a concrete way.
I tell myself that, anyway, because it is things like these that let me sleep at night.
Anyhoo, I ripped that shit out with fiendish glee and dragged it to the basement. I then scrubbed the crap out of that linoleum, and while it appears to be older than Moses and therefore somewhat shabby, it's clean and easy to keep clean and not goddamned carpet.
And all was then well in my peaceable kingdom. Which is what led me to buy a nice new wastebasket for the bathroom, because it deserves something new and pretty to make it feel better about itself and bolster its newly found, antiseptic, potential-mushroom-growth-free self-esteem.
Now, if I could just figure out what to do about the bizarre, angelfish-shaped non-skid thingies they put into the bottom of my bathtub...
I appreciate that someone was looking out for my well-being by putting things in the tub to help prevent me from falling down and breaking my ass in half, but still. Angelfish.
Oh, and the swans someone pasted to the top of the shower stall. Swans, I say. Swans fashioned from the same non-skid stuff as the angelfish, only the swans serve absolutely no discernable purpose in life other than to make me glower every time I see them. After all, it's not like I'm going to be standing on the shower wall, and therefore need the swans to save my life or anything. No, apparently, someone thought this was decorative.
And you wonder why I hate everything. Silly heads.
Labels: Things Zombie Hates Thursday
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
And Then This One Time, I Had a Blog...
...and I posted on it. I know. Freaky.
The past week-and-more has been rather busy for me. Work stuff has been slightly overwhelming, leaving me with not much patience for anything else except posting snotty comments at Trainwrecks.
You might think that I am effortlessly snotty, but no, sometimes it takes work to haughtily call someone a poser or poke fun at the mentally ill.
Either way, it's a grand way to pass the time in between curling up into the fetal position and translating approximately 5 gajillion websites into Japanese. Which I can't speak or read. Which is fun.
You'd think my devout adoration of all things Hello Kitty would make me something of an expert in the Japanese language (for instance, Badtz Maru is "bad penguin" or, alternately, "wrong-correct," which makes perfect sense if you think about it), but astonishingly, it does not. I know, I was surprised, too.
To add to the fun, I had to do a bunch of the work here at home and couldn't get my Japanese language packs to install correctly, which meant I was designing a gajillion websites full of blocks.
This caused a lot of angst until I remembered that I can't read Japanese anyway, so what does it matter if it's squiggly kanji I can't read or just a series of rectangles I can't read? None at all, as it happens! None at all!
And thus the day was saved, but not half of my hair, which I ate for a midnight snackie.
Then there was Thanksgiving. You know, the day we Americans set aside to celebrate that oh-so-special time of giving, and thanks, and commemorate the genocide of several sorts of indigenous peoples. I love that day.
I had a moment of panic when I realized that there would be so much food. And not food of the low-calorie, low-fat, cardboard variety that I have been feeding myself for the past year. No, my friends! Food of the chock-full of butter and greasy animal-parts variety!
While I admit to overeating a little, all in all, I think I did well.
I did not give in to the urge to dive face-first into a vat of gravy, slurping it all up with a straw, and I did not eat any pie. This makes me proud of myself in various ways.
You see, this time last year, I weighed about 80 pounds more than I do now. Since starting my dieting in earnest earlier this year, which I yapped about once or twice at the beginning before I got tired of myself, I have dropped the equivalent of about 3 of my daughter, or one and a half of my son.
That's a lot of weight! I surprise myself. For you ladies reading, you will know how cool this is - I went from a size 20 down to my current 12 (10, if I'm wearing Levi's! I love Levi's, even if they are too expensive for me most of the time, because their sizing allows me to say I am a 10, even if I am only a 10 in their jeans. Thank you, Levi's!).
This wasn't always easy, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, either. I had an epiphany, like, "Whoa...you know, I can say no to that donut. NO, DONUT! NO!" And I did. Repeatedly. Not every time, of course - a girl needs her baked goods, after all. But I did it.
And I look good. I am proud of myself. I will not allow the overabundance of tasty holiday fare to sway me too much, and I hope to maintain this weight for the forseeable future.
But that is enough about me and not eating 10 pounds of mashed potatoes and gravy, though I really, really wanted to.
I hope everyone had a nice holiday full of drunken family members insulting each other and at least one fistfight resulting in the cops being called.
I will now get back to my semi-regular posting of things that piss me off and/or make me giggle.
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Back in the ER. You Don't Know How Lucky You Are, Boy.
The past two weeks have seen we at Chez Zombie in the Emergency Room of the local hospital not once, but two times.
And that's fun.
The first illness to strike was an earache for my son. He woke up at 3 AM, shrieking his head off. I ran to see what the hell was going on, and he had all this...gunk...pouring out of his ear. Which is always something you want to see at 3 AM.
So, off to the hospital we went.
You may remember that my son is the one that's not very blessed when it comes to different facial expressions. He still has this problem going on, so unless you had been there to hear him shrieking when his eardrum actually ruptured, you wouldn't know he was in any kind of pain.
That's also why I didn't know he had an earache until said eardrum ruptured. But that's beside the point.
Anyway, when we got to triage, the nurse asked him all manner of questions and he sat there, passively answering them and blinking.
Nurse pulled out this little chart and said, "Okay, so this is a thing to help you tell me how much it hurts, okay? There are five faces there, and the first face is really happy because nothing hurts, and the last face is really sad because it hurts bad. So you point to the one that shows how much you hurt."
Asher regarded the chart for a moment and then pointed at the really sad face.
"So it hurts that bad?" said Nurse. "Really? You're not crying."
"I already cried," he said, blinking solemnly like an owl.
I tried to explain that he's just really stoic but I don't think Nurse bought it. She probably thinks I beat him all the time or something, so a little thing like a ruptured eardrum doesn't warrant too much emotion. I thought about showing her the blog, so she could see The Many Faces of Asher, but then I thought that was way too much effort.
So then we got to see a doctor and he said, "Oh, he has an earache and his eardrum ruptured," which, yeah, I already knew that, Mr. Fancy Medical Degree, just write out the prescription for the antibiotic and let us go home.
Which he did, and we went to the pharmacy to get it filled and then I saw how much it was going to cost me and I died.
Okay, I didn't die.
I paid for it, cursing all the while, and fed it to the boy, and now his earache is gone. Though we did have a day or two there where he couldn't hear me out of that ear, which was disturbing, but as the doctor had said that it would probably go away, I didn't worry too much. I took advantage of his hearing loss to sit on that side of him and say things like, "NYAH NYAH, I GOT COOKIES AND YOUUUU DON'T," because it's fun to taunt a hearing-impaired child without his knowledge.
Then Meredith got sick. It started out as sniffles and progressed to a cough. The cough then progressed to some manner of angst-causing bark which got her sent home from school, so off to the ER we went again.
She didn't have a fever and she said she didn't feel sick, so imagine my surprise when the ER doctor suggested it might be pneumonia.
I thought, "Help me, I am in hell."
So a nurse brought Meredith one of those hospital gowns, because she needed X-rays. Only, the first one she brought, child-size small, was waaaay too big, because my daughter is a midget. So she came back with an infant-sized one, which fit just fine.
I said, "I don't starve her or anything. She's not stunted. She's just short," to the nurse, but I don't know if she bought it.
Meanwhile, Meredith had taken all of her clothes off and put on the gown, which was covered in airplanes and duckies, and then put her boots back on. Her boots are little black leather knee-high ones, because she is fashion-forward like her mother.
I tied the strings on the gown and sat down to wait for X-ray to be ready for us.
My daughter proceeded to crawl around on the hospital bed like a demented monkey and jabber about the wallpaper border, which featured Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar in a repeating pattern.
"Mom, what's that worm on the wall for?"
"It's not a worm."
"Yeah, because worms don't have antennas, right?"
*few minutes of silence*
"Mom, what's that worm on the wall for?"
"I just said it's not a worm."
"Oh yeah. Because worms don't have antennas. Right?"
"Is it a caterpillar?"
"Yes, it's a caterpillar. You had that book when you were a baby. That's the Very Hungry Caterpillar."
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar That's Not a Worm Because Worms Don't Have Antennas, right?"
*few minutes of silence*
"Mom, why don't they have worms on the wall?"
Fortunately, the nurse chose just then to come get us for the X-ray, so Meredith turned her attention to the nurse.
"Did you know you don't have worms on the wall because worms don't have antennas?"
The nurse looked at me and I just shrugged. I don't know what's wrong with her. Sheesh.
And off we went down the hall to the X-ray room, Meredith tromping happily along in her infant-sized hospital gown with the Hello Kitty underwear peeking out of the back and her big black boots.
The X-ray techs were just enchanted by my small daughter and kept commenting to me about how cute she is. Yes, she is cute. I know. I wanted to tell them not to think that her cuteness did not mean she's isn't also bad. Because she is bad. She is short and bad. But I decided to let them keep their illusions, because, after all, I shouldn't ruin small dreams like that.
While they were getting the X-ray machine ready, the one tech turned to me and said, "Oh, wait! You're not pregnant, are you? If you're pregnant, you need to leave. Is there any chance of you being pregnant?"
Pregnant?! Speak not the word! AHHHHH!
"Unless it's the second coming of Christ, I'm not pregnant," I said. And then: "Ha ha!" nervously, because...she said the P Word, repeatedly, and everyone knows saying the P Word is like a jinx-type thing, so maybe...no, no, best not to think it.
If I do happen to be pregnant with the second coming of Christ, he may now be born with an arm coming out of his forehead. Sorry about that, y'all.
"Are you going to take pictures of my bones?" Meredith asked the tech, which thankfully drew her attention away from me and my potentially holy uterus.
"Well, honey, we're actually going to look at your lungs, but it can take pictures of your bones, too."
"Oh," said my daughter, thoughtfully. "If you do take pictures of my bones, I don't want to see them!"
And do you know why she didn't want to see them? Because she already knows what they look like:
At any rate, it turned out not to be pneumonia - it is bronchitis. So we got another scrip for an antibiotic and one for some of that cough syrup with the codeine. And we went to the pharmacy to get them filled and I saw how much it cost and then I died.
Okay, I didn't die. My uterus and I are just fine. And most definitely NOT PREGNANT.
But we are upset about the price of medicine these days and I have informed the children that they aren't allowed to get ill again until some time next year.
And hopefully, "some time next year" won't be in January.
Though, in preparation for our next (distant!) ER visit, I have decided to get one of those Infant of Prague statues and superglue a babydoll arm to its forehead and lug that along with us. That would allow me to say to all women I encounter, "Don't go in the X-ray room, because if you do, the tech will ask if you're pregnant. And that means you will get pregnant, immediately. And that is how I ended up with Wee Jesus, here. I'm told he looks like his father, but I can't see it, myself. What do you think?"
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Things Zombie Hates Thursday
1.) People That Mix Up "Phase" and "Faze."
Dear sweet bleedin' Jesus, I hate it when people mix those words up. Well, really it's that people don't seem to be aware that the word "faze" exists. Every time I see someone write something like, "He was unphased by the commotion," or, "The insults did not phase her," I just want to slap a fat kid.
And not in the good way, either.
Listen up, chumps!
Faze means to cause something to be disconcerted. In other words, to cause something to be disturbed or bothered.
Phase, however, has many definitions, but of the most common, I will give you two: a stage in a process, or an aspect or point of view.
Okay? Please fucking stop using "phase" when it should be "faze."
2.) People That Think They Can Somehow Keep Their Little Corner of the Interwebs Private.
The Interwebs is not a private place. If you put something on your blog, on a messageboard, in a chat room, on a profile, on your dumbass MySpace - it's public. (Unless you lock it, which you CAN do with some things - not that there aren't ways to get around that, probably.)
Do not post private information that you only want a select few people to see and then get all self-righteously indignant when a whole bunch of other people find it, read it, and possibly make fun of you.
For example, let's say you frequent a website with many messageboards. Let's say that, during a discussion, you disclose some private information about yourself. Then, let's say, someone you didn't want to know this information about you uses it to crack jokes. Then you're upset! How dare someone use private information you only meant for a select few individuals to be privy to against you?
Well, hello. You put it out there on the web. The web owns it now. So don't act all startled and start whining about it.
You see this sort of thing a lot in chat rooms, too. Two people are having a conversation in the open room. Someone else interjects an opinion and then OH NOEZ, this is a private conversation and you are not allowed to express your opinions on it! Even though it's taking place in the open room.
Fucking retards. Get over yourselves.
3.) The Holiday Season (Reason the First).
I say "Reason the First" because I just know there are going to be a bunch more to come.
I hate how the holiday season brings out all of the door-to-door religion salesmen. Last week, it was the damned Jehovah's Witnesses. This week, it was the damned Mormons.
I was feeling rather blighted the day they showed up. I am having an FMS flare-up right now and it's making me see everything through a grey haze of apathy. Except for when I'm seeing everything through a red haze of homicidal mania, of course.
Fortunately for Elders Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Fucktard, I was deep into the whole apathy portion of the evening when they knocked on my door, and even after hauling my half-dead carcass all the way across the living room, only to open the door to see two freakin' MORMONS on the porch, I could not summon up enough residual energy to yell at them or say anything blasphemous.
Instead, I said, "Oh. That's a very nice coat you have on," smiled vaguely, and promptly shut the door.
This did not stop them, though, from leaving a little glossy card with "JOY TO THE WORLD" written on it in flowing, ethereal script, accompanied by a picture of the Virgin Mary goggling at the Lil' Baby Jesus as he lay in his manger, and various men with rags on their heads, holding sticks, looking on in wide-eyed wonder.
On the back, it tells me I can order a free DVD of the Nativity story, complete with music by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. What it doesn't say, though, is that if you order that free DVD, then you've basically signed yourself over to the Mormons and they will come bang on your door and try to tell you about Jesus showing up in Harlem or whatever-the-fuck, every day, for the rest of your natural life.
You know how sometimes when you're outside of an apartment building and, in one of the windows, you catch a glimpse of someone discreetly lifting one bar of the Venetian blinds to peer out at you, and you instantly know it's a crackhead, because that is the one thing all crackheads do, because they're paranoid that you might be the heat or a space squid on the attack?
Well, that'll be you. Except instead of (only) being paranoid about cops or space squids, you'll be lifting that one bar of your Venetian blinds to check for young men in white shirts and little black ties, riding bicycles up and down the street, just yearning to get you into a set of magic underwear.
Oh, the fresh-faced menace that they present. The blinding-white, toothpaste-commercial-smile-worthy madness of it all. The horror. The horror.
Anyway, I was going to take a picture of the card for y'all to see, but I ate it instead.
You'll probably get one, anyway, because, after all, tis the season for bullshit to knock on your front door!
His coat was very nice, though.
4.) The Holiday Season (Reason the Second).
See? I told you there'd be more. And so quickly, too! I even amaze myself sometimes.
Holiday music drives me up a tree. Long ago, when this blog was still called Confessions of a One Hour Photo Girl and I worked the retail during the holiday season, I learned to loathe the very idea of holiday music. The store started playing it well before Thanksgiving. And there appeared to be only one CD, which they put on repeat, and it played all day, every day, until well after New Year's.
That's almost two solid months of "White Christmas" and "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree." That's enough to make any sane person crazy, don't you think? So now you know another reason why my heart is three sizes too small.
Christmas music did it.
And now, you see, every time I go into a store and I catch the tell-tale strains of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" wafting down from the PA speakers embedded in the ceiling, I am immediately consumed by a fiery rage heretofore only reserved for bicyclists and people that misuse apostrophes.
It makes me want to break stuff and yell at people and spout off overly long monologues about the miseries of abject materialism, the dangers of global warming, the plight of one-legged Mongolian Siamese twins working in the sweatshops of Saipan, and What I Did On My Summer Vacation.
And do you know what I did on my summer vacation? Well, I don't like to say in mixed company, but I can tell you that it did not involve Mannheim Steamroller, "Jingle Bell Rock," or Bing Crosby tapdancing with Danny fucking Kaye.
Labels: Things Zombie Hates Thursday
Monday, November 13, 2006
Oh, It Looks So...Shiny.
Well, I just gave in and switched over to the Blogger Beta.
It actually looks much better than the old Blogger, but we'll see how that goes. Not that there's anything I'll actually do if I happen to hate the Blogger Beta. Except, y'know, complain a lot.
The idea of switching over to something like TypePad or, gawd forbid, WordPress, makes me do a bit of the slanty eye.
Such things are too fancy for the likes of me. I'm goofy like that.
For instance, I am a caveman that still builds websites using NotePad. I know, I know. You'd think this would be a handicap, but it's actually one of the things that landed me my current job.
When Coworker #1 was interviewing me, she said, "So, you do web design."
Coworker #1: What editor do you use?
Me, mumbling: Uhm...NotePad.
Coworker #1: What? I couldn't hear you.
Me, clearing my throat: Note. Pad.
Coworker #1: Really?
Me: Well. Yes. Sorry.
Coworker #1: ME TOO.
And then we had a geeky moment of shared love where we disdainfully discussed WYSIWYGs and sanctimoniously spat on the specter of Dreamweaver and bonded over the wonders of NotePad and all of that.
You see, I first learned to fiddle with web design via NotePad, and that is what I am used to, and that is what I like. If you sit me down in front of Dreamweaver, I can maybe figure out how to do something, but it's not likely. All the bells and whistles tend to confuse me, and after about five minutes, I just want to lay down and cry until someone lets me have my NotePad back.
And so it is with Blogger. I started blogging on Blogger and it is with Blogger I shall stay.
I am fiercely loyal when it comes to things like this and therefore am unlikely to give up my death grip on it, as long as it remains available to me.
I still reserve the right to sneer at anyone that blogs on Xanga or LiveJournal, though. Plebes.
Now, hardware is another story. When it comes to hardware, I have no such caveman tendencies. I may be designing a website with NotePad, but I'll be damned well doing it on the best system I can afford at any given time.
The only loyalties I cling to when it comes to hardware are brand loyalties. For instance, I am an AMD CPU girl all the way. Oh, AMD, I love your CPUs so.
And so, it was with great pleasure that I made my latest acquisition:
I actually got this beast a couple of weeks ago, but I just now noticed I had a picture of it on my camera, so now I'm posting it.
Also, don't you LOVE my black and purple 'Roos? I'm so fashion-forward.
Anyway, back to the important things. This is my new laptop. His name is Bob. Bob is totally awesome.
He has not replaced my love for Frankencomp, though, of course. As it turns out, just as you end up having enough love for more than one child, you can also have enough love for more than one computer.
I didn't know that it was possible before Bob came to live with me, but it is true.
I am going to try really hard to prevent having one of them become the red-headed stepchild, though. I can see it in my head - Bob will get jealous that whenever Frankencomp throws a tantrum and shuts down without warning, I will talk to him soothingly and pat him for a while and tell him it's all right, but whenever Bob acts like a brat, I just yell at him because, HELLO, you are BRAND NEW, Bob. You can't be a brat yet. You haven't lived here long enough to prevent me kicking your dead ass out the door and back to the soulless factory you came from, where you might be shipped off to a less loving computer operator who won't bother to learn that your name is Bob. Or maybe Frankencomp gets jealous because I spend too much time lying on the floor with Bob, marvelling at his many fantastic features - features that Frankencomp does not currently possess.
We can't have that. I must be equally loving and understanding to both systems and their feelings.
Yeah, I know I'm nuts. Shut up.
Anyway, as you can see from the box, Bob has an AMD Turion 64 processor in him. This means I can upgrade him to the Longhorn, if I so desire. Or, I guess it's the Vista these days. Whatever they're calling it now. I don't think I desire to do this any time soon, but I love that I have the option. I am all about options, people.
He also has the DDR2 533 RAM. Even though he has only one 512 stick of said RAM, he is fast as all hell. Every time I boot him up, I want to cry a little. I am contemplating getting another 512 stick when my finances allow for it, but this might cause a seizure every time I boot Bob up, so I should maybe hold off.
Bob also has the XP Media Center, which I have decided does not suck at all and therefore may stay. And? I can hook Bob up to my TV and record stuff. His HDD is of a decent size for what I paid and his screen is most becoming to look at.
Yay for Bob!
Oddly enough, EB and I separately acquired the exact same laptop within like, a week or so of each other. Except my CPU is better (nyah nyah!). Obviously, we both have excellent taste.
So, welcome to Chez Zombie, Bob. We (and by "we," I mean "me," only more grammatically correct) are happy to have you.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Something very strange has happened.
Today, I can't hate.
You see, in light of this week's awesome elections here in the United States of Duhmerica, I'm just full of the happy. I know, I know. So odd!
I've decided that I will just post a short list of things that I love, in no particular order, instead of my usual constant stream of invective.
1.) Rummy resigned.
2.) Santorum is OUT, baby!
3.) Allen went DOWN, motherfucker!
4.) The look of pure anguish mixed with homicidal rage that Bush was trying to suppress while announcing Rumsfeld's resignation during the press conference yesterday afternoon.
5.) The following photo:
After all, where would we be without a little dog and pony show? That little girl looks too old to be clutching a dolly wearing a matching dress when her father trots her out on stage to publicly display her adolescent grief. Also, what do you think that boy is staring at with such terror? Did he just realize that his last name is now synonymous with an icky by-product of anal sex? Thanks, Dad!
6.) South Dakota voters overturned the abortion ban bill.
7.) I can't hear you over all the liberty.
And last, but not least...
8.) Stephen Colbert calling the election.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Great Housing Debacle of Ought 6
You may recall that I have recently relocated. I found a decent little house at the right price and I trucked the kids and (hardly any) of our belongings right on into it.
And that went well.
For about three weeks.
Then my new landlord - let's call him Jethro, as he seems to have a penchant towards plaid flannel shirts and would look right nice with a piece of straw hanging out of his mouth - showed up at my door one day while I was on the phone with EB and announced the following:
"Hi there. Well. Yeah. So, we've decided to sell the house. For financial reasons."
"I don't think it'll sell right away or anything, y'know. Prolly take six months, at least. At least. Hope you understand. Financial problems 'n all. Yeah."
"So, real estate agent will be here in a couple of days, look around 'n all of that...but still, I don't think it will sell right away. You're more than welcome to stay here 'til it does sell."
After I shut the door, I sat down on the floor and shouted, "MOTHERFUCKER!" or something similar into the phone, where EB was going, "What? What?"
It was right then that it dawned on me why Jethro had kept putting off my queries about a lease. Me, being the dimwit that I am, had moved in without signing the lease right away - mostly because I am a cheap bastard and I couldn't resist the lure of the rock-bottom rent on a three bedroom that wasn't infested with roaches and falling in. I can handle one or the other, but not both. I have standards, after all.
Anyway, the real estate agent, accompanied by Jethro, dropped by and took measurements of my new abode while I sat on my newly acquired couch and shot daggers at them with my eyes.
After they left, I started plotting. How could I make this house less attractive to potential buyers?
First, I immediately stopped unpacking things and left boxes around in a constant state of "Ack! Put Me Away!" Okay, I admit that part of me was pleased to have an excuse to quit unpacking - if there's anything I hate more than packing, it's got to be unpacking. This is also the part of me that revels gleefully in all of my myriad misfortunes. And the part of me that is on constant lookout for any and every excuse to be as lazy as possible. (Those are two parts of me that really shouldn't get together and go bowling, though they often do, anyway - but that's a post for another day.) I thought that if anyone mentioned the boxes, like, "Oh, are you already getting ready to move out, then?" I could then answer, sweetly, with a look of wide-eyed innocence, "Oh, no. Actually, we only just moved in here less than a month ago, and I hadn't had a chance to get everything sorted before I found out that Jethro was selling the ranch. It's okay, though...I'm sure the children and I will find...somewhere...to go. Oh, do you know of any good homeless shelters in the area? Or somewhere that frequently unloads appliance boxes? We don't need anything as fancy as a refrigerator box, of course...I'm sure a washer or dryer box would suit us just fine..."
I then proceeded to make a mental list of people I know that look at least slightly deranged. Excluding me. Ahem. I figured if I could get a decent-sized list of neurotic and/or psychotic folks to be on call, I'd always have someone available at the drop of a hat to show up on my front lawn and start acting insane. Then I could casually say to the potential buyer, "I don't know who that is. S/he's out there every day, though, just spinning around and mooing and eating dirt. Not sure what's up with that. Also can't figure out how to get rid of him/her. Isn't life funny? Ha ha! It's really no trouble, though, unless you count the piercing shrieks s/he emits rhythmically between the hours of 1 and 7 AM. Daily."
If all else failed, I figured I could just hurl myself to the floor in another fit of pique (I am prone to this - it's really rather relaxing, but the subsequent rugburn can get annoying) and sob relentlessly all over the potential buyer's shoes, appealing to his or her sense of pity for the weakest among us and thus rendering him or her incapable of buying this house, lest they condemn this sad excuse for a person (me) to a life of hard-scrabble begging on the streets or rent at a higher price elsewhere. I supposed that would work best on a female, since women are often subject to having their emotions played upon in sordid fashions such as that.
And if the potential buyer was male, I decided I'd just flash him my tits. After all, what man wants to bear the sole responsibility of having made some breasts homeless? I ask you.
My final step in this highly scientific process was to collapse, face-down and mouth open, into a large plastic bowl of raw cookie dough, consuming all of it in one fell swoop. Did you know mass quantities of sugar behave like Zoloft in a pinch? Well, now you do!
And thus, armed with these many strategies, I was ready to face whatever came my way. Y'know, in between the weeping.
But I wasn't quite in Full Panic Mode yet - after all, Jethro said he didn't figure that the house would sell for at least six months, and this was the beginning of October, which is not exactly prime real estate time.
And, also, the house is painted turquoise. Did I mention that? That I live in a turquoise house? This offends every sensibility I have, quite honestly. Except for the one that makes me a cheap bastard. Cheap rent trumps all. But the house is turquoise. I assume Jethro saw they were having a Semi-Annual Sale on Ugly Paint at the Tackiest Shit Ever store and took full advantage.
Who wants to trudge through bad weather to buy a house that's painted a glaring turquoise? Right?
Two days later, I get a call that someone wants to look at the house. It was a woman. I pulled out all the stops - explained the boxes and added a few carefully placed sniffles. Oh, and I said the furnace sucked, which isn't entirely true.
Never heard from her again. Whew.
Two days after that, another woman came to look at the house. She didn't seem all that enthused, either, so I figured I was safe.
And I heard nothing else until last week, when the real estate agent called.
"Did your new landlord call you about the new lease?"
Jigga say what?
"Er, no..." I said, delicately. "I wasn't aware that the house had sold."
"...oh," she said. "Jethro didn't call you?"
"No, no he didn't."
"Well...oh. Well. The house sold two weeks ago. It's closing on the 10th."
"O...kay," I said.
"But the new owner wants to keep you as a tenant! So you just need to sign the lease and it'll all be fine!"
"How much is the rent going up?"
"Well, I don't know about that...but you do want to sign the lease, right?"
"Depends on how much the rent is going up."
"Oh. Well. Right."
"I'm not made of money, you know. After all, I live in a turquoise house with dodgy wiring and Rooster Apple Orgy wallpaper that the landlord sold out from under me after only living here for less than a month."
"I'll just get back to you on that one, okay?"
"You do that."
Two days after that (Are you starting to see a pattern here? I know I am. Stuff happens to me every two days. This is proof that I should sleep for 24 hours straight on that second day, so that I can avoid whatever thing is going to happen), my new landlord called, and after much hemming and hawing, we decided that my rent should only go up 50 dollars.
So I still live here. In my turquoise house. And the rent is still really low. So that's okay.
But still, I think Jethro should be shot. Because I'm all about the vigilante justice like that.
And thus ends The Great Housing Debacle of Ought 6.
PS - If you're very good, I may post a picture of the turquoise paint, so you may all "oooooh" and "ahhhh" at the Overwhelming Display of Tacky. But not a full picture of the house, lest all (3) of you figure out my address and try to hunt me down like a dog. Stalkers.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Wherein Zombie Has Two Gentleman Callers
Yesterday, I heard a knock at the door.
"Wee!" I thought. "A visitor!"
I rarely have visitors, you see, on account of how I'm surly and a hermit.
This usually doesn't bother me. In fact, I think the last time it really bothered me was when my son was an infant and I'd have to go days and days without actual Adult Conversation. Consequently, I would casually waylay the mailman with clever witticisms like, "Nice weather we're having, isn't it?" and, "Oh, great! The electric bill!" and, "I'm so lonely. Please don't leave."
Yeah, sorry about that, Mailman From 6 Years Ago.
Anyway, I've recently decided to turn over a new leaf when it comes to social interaction. I've decided I should try to be less...how I am, and more like...a human.
Unfortunately, being more like a human means I have to engage my fellow man in pleasantries at some point or another. I've never been really good at pleasantries or any sort of small talk, so this is a difficult task I've set for myself.
Upon hearing the knock at my door, I thought, "Now's a perfect time to put my new resolution to the test! HOORAY!"
Then I, y'know, opened the door, and that nice resolution I made for myself crumbled to so much dust and blew away on a gentle breeze scented with raspberries and juniper.
Standing there on my front stoop were two Jehovah's Witnesses.
"GLRK!" I thought.
The first guy had shiny hair the likes of which no one outside of a carnauba wax factory has ever seen. Second guy was nondescript - but that might've just been because I was sort of blinded by the sun beaming down on Wax Guy's hair and couldn't really see all that well anymore.
"We'd like to talk to you about Jesus!" Wax Guy announced.
"Really," I said.
"Yes. Do you have a few minutes?"
"I have plenty of minutes."
"Well, can we just talk to you for a little bit, then?"
"No!" I said, stoutly, and shut the door.
Then I sat down on the couch to brood about how whenever I feel like bettering myself, something has to come along and ruin my good time. I mean, why can't cool people randomly knock on my door? Why does the first person I encounter after playing Existential Pinball have to be a Lunatic for Christ?
I watched the JWs walk away down the street, peering through my window, and then went back to doing dishes.
A few minutes later, I heard some scuffling on my stoop. I wandered out into the living room, thinking there must be a cat out there or something, and I should chase it away with a broom.
But no! I opened the door to see Wax Guy hightailing it down the sidewalk and a little pamphlet shoved into my screen door.
He snuck back to give me a Watchtower.
How kind of him.
Good thing, too, or I might never have learned that the end of false religion is near.
But what is "false religion," I wonder? I mean, from my perspective, all religion is false, but still...I am curious to know what the Jehovah's Witnesses think.
Wow! "A widely respected religious figure, Jesus Christ" said that? NO WAI. I love that, though, really. "A widely respected religious figure."
Oh, and the "worthless fruit" thing is good advice. Get rid of your mushy apples, people. Jesus said so.
Anyway, the crowning glory of this little pamphlet is the following:
Please excuse excess shiny at the top there. But hey, isn't my burgundy carpet tres chic? I like to think of it as being done in the Whorehouse Revival style, but that's just me.
Anyway, don't we just LOVE that multiple-headed sabre-tooth tiger thingie? Munching on some chick? It's so scary! And so...animalistic! And...so...head-y! And the horns! Wow. I love those horns. Those horns are graceful, like on a gazelle. It's a multiple-headed sabre-tooth tiger gazelle hybrid whatchamacallit. I'm pretty sure that's the technical nomenclature, too, mind you.
These Jehovah's Witnesses are crafty.
If I were ever inclined to take up a whackjob religious viewpoint, I think that this sabre-tooth-gazelle-jobby really might sway my opinion. It's a work of goddamned art, is what it is.
But if the multiple-headed-tiger-whatsit didn't do it, though, the caption beneath the portrait surely would.
"Get out of her, my people," indeed. That's some good advice right up there with the apples deal.
I think we've all learned something here today.
What that "something" is, I'll be fucked if I know...but still, I think that we're all a little better off than we were five minutes ago.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Things Zombie Hates Thursday
I got the abattoir blues, right down to my shoes.
Just...no. I am not even prepared for winter. So the snow can stop now and I'll be really happy. Really. I will.
Okay, I won't be happy, per se, but I might be less overwhelmingly angst-ridden.
2.) When You Throw Away a Receipt.
I am not the most organized person on the planet. If you look in my purse, you'll see that I don't even have one of those new-fangled devices that they call a "wallet" and just let cash and Visa cards just sort of float around of their own free will, hoping they'll surface readily when I need them.
Whenever I buy something, I just stuff the receipt into the recesses of my bag and forget about it. This means that if I need to return something, then I can just dig around until I find the appropriate receipt, which usually can be found crumpled up at the bottom, busy communing with stray Lifesavers and an inkless pen. Easy enough.
Except I rarely return things because I am lazy and this great abundance of tree products just lounging around in my bag really does me no good. So once in a great while, I will up-end the bag and throw everything out, en masse, during one of those times where I'm having a fit in which I think I will finally get organized and stop flailing about the earth in a constant state of disarray, unbrushed hair blowing the breeze and mismatched socks all sexily on parade.
Of course, that would also be the time when I really want to return something. A day after I've up-ended my bag and thrown everything out, en masse. Except for the inkless pen. Because you never know when you might need a useless writing utensil.
And this is how today found me rootling through the outside trashcan, desperately hunting for a receipt that I had thrown away. I am sure the neighbors were all very amused, especially when I sounded my barbaric yawp upon finding said receipt - which, as luck would have it, was still legible, despite having been soaked in stale Diet Coke and Hot Pocket sauce.
I know my kids were probably really impressed. It's not everyone that has a mother that digs through trashcans while muttering curse words under her breath with no shoes on. I figure I'm now just one step away from shouting at stop signs while wearing a fuzzy hat.
It's good to be me.
3.) Things with Pilot Lights.
You may find this hard to believe - knowing as you do that I am an International Spy/Ninja/Ass-Kicker - but I am afraid of gas.
In fact, I am terrified of it, in the way people are terrified when they discover there's a bomb strapped to that cute little kid that keeps trying to hug them or when they figure out that their plane is about to fall out of the sky. So, pretty terrified.
Unfortunately for yours truly, I live in a house that's approximately 120 years old and is possessed of a furnace that might be even older than that. It runs on gas, but once I got the pilot light lit there, I didn't care anymore. The problem is that it's one of those forced-air furnaces, which means that the upstairs of my humble abode stays freezing, no matter how snuggly it gets down here.
To combat this problem, someone installed two space heaters upstairs. One is in my bedroom, and it is electric and toasty-making and I would hug it if I didn't think it would thank me by burning my face off.
The other one is out in the hall, strategically placed between the other two bedrooms, to allow for maximum warmth distribution.
It is also the bane of my existence.
This space heater dates back to the time of Moses and runs on gas. You might know the one I'm talking about - it looks like a little box and makes blue fire inside a cage? Yeah.
Now, don't get me wrong, thing pumps out BTUs like nobody's business, and for that, I am thankful - buuuuut...I have to light it. And lighting it scares the pants off of me every time.
You see, there's this button for an ignition thing, and you have to hold this dial down to "pilot light" while pushing the button, and it makes this really loud BANG sound when you do it. Then, if you're lucky, the pilot light will get lit and then you can slooooooowly and carefully move the dial over to "low" or "high" depending on your warmth needs.
Except, if you're me, it never works on the first try. The pilot light will get lit and then when you try to move the dial over to get actual heat, the pilot light will say, "HAHAHA, FUCKER!" and go out. And then you have to do it again. 500 times in a row.
And by this time, if you're me, you're imagining that the entire upstairs hallway is full of noxious fumes that are just waiting for the appropriate push of the button to burst into blue flame and blow your dumb ass to Kingdom Come.
Obviously, this hasn't happened yet, but I am still exceedingly wary.
I figure I have two options:
Option the First: Keep doing it myself.
Option the Second: Devise some sort of protective suit made entirely of Hefty bags - with a white industrial bucket for a helmet and a wooden spoon for strategic defense purposes - stick it on one of the kids, and direct their actions from behind a fireproof shield that I have fashioned out of a leftover nuclear reactor, some duct tape and a ball of twine.
I'm thinking Option the Second sounds best because I always wanted to be MacGuyver when I grew up. Also, if one kid gets blowed up, there's still another one in reserve. You might think that sounds "selfish" or "abusive" or "less-than-caring," but I just like to think of it as "family planning."
I'm glad you could all be with me while I solved this Great Dilemma. I'll let you know how it goes.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
I Think I've Become Jaded
I read two memoirs this week. One was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls and the other was Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.
I hear they are making Running with Scissors into a movie now. Or it's already been made into one. Or something to that effect. I'm not sure how they're going to do that, mostly because nothing really happened in the book that was coherent enough to make a movie out of, but okay, Hollywood, maybe you're desperate.
Running with Scissors was not the worst book I've ever read. It wasn't great, either, though, as I was falsely led to believe by hordes of missives filled with multiple exclamation points posted by devoted Amazon reviewers. Mostly, when I finished it, I was filled with an overwhelming sense of "meh." I was also sort of vaguely ticked off that I spent 8 whole dollars on it. But that's neither here nor there.
My main problem is that it wasn't funny. Many critics, if I am to believe the little blurbs covering the back of this paperback, found this book to be funny. "Wickedly, ridiculously funny," The Boston Herald explains to me. "It is as funny as it is twisted," proclaims GQ. "A hilarious and horrifying memoir," trumpets The Los Angeles Times.
I'm not sure we all read the same book. Maybe there was a mix-up at the book-making place and the wrong pages got stuffed into this cover.
At any rate, Running with Scissors tells us of the crazy childhood/teenage years of one Augusten Burroughs, who is saddled with a lunatic mother who falls in with an equally lunatic shrink and much supposed hilarity ensues. There's quite a lot of living in squalor (at one point, we are regaled with several paragraphs' worth of description of a small child shitting on the carpet while his teenage aunts look on and applaud - and they leave it there) and non-psychedelic freakouts as presented to us by Augusten's aforementioned lunatic mother.
Stuff happens. Augusten ends up having to live with the crazy shrink and his disgusting family, because Mommy is unable to cope with having a child between psychotic breaks and therefore must be left alone to write poetry and engage in lesbian encounters. An "obsessive compulsive neurotic" lives in a room upstairs. Augusten worries about his hair a lot. Turkey carcasses make their way from room to room for months on end, never managing to find a garbage can. Augusten gets an older, possibly insane boyfriend. The Christmas tree stays up til May. Augusten tells us he will die if he does not get the Tony Orlando and Dawn record he so desperately wants. The boyfriend runs away, never to be seen again. Augusten continues to worry about his hair. The shrink has them tie balloons to themselves and parade around the town streets, shouting about World Father Day, or some shit. Augusten worries about his hair some more.
Basically, a whole lot of nonsense/nothing happens. Unless you count the over-emphasis on Augusten's preoccupation with hair as "something" and I don't. I mean, hello, you're gay. We understand. Being gay and writing about how you obsessively wanted to be a hairdresser when you were young is a very clever and astute social commentary on the difficulties of growing up homosexual in America, what with all those people out there perpetuating silly homo-hairdresser stereotypes. So poignant.
I think that this book was supposed to strike a chord in the reader - namely one of equal parts admiration and disgust. Disgust for the ridiculous living conditions, bizarre antics of the raving mother, and all-around way Augusten got shafted as a kid. Admiration for the way he was able to overcome all obstacles and write several best-selling books anyway.
Unfortunately, I couldn't summon either. I mean, sure, the shrink's house was gross and, sure, it was lame the way the mother was loony and pawned Augusten off on the loony shrink that was - in a (sarcasm) shocking (/sarcasm) turn of events - actually abusing the mother, but...meh.
I still don't know where the funny went. Where's the funny? Where are my belly laughs and wide-eyed chuckles? I am bereft of chuckles over here, people. There are no chuckles to be had.
"The anecdotes can be so flippant, and so insanely funny (quite literally), that the effect is that of a William Burroughs situation comedy," says The New York Times.
"SHUT YOUR MOUTH," says Zombie to The New York Times. The only way this book should possibly be mentioned in the same sentence as William Burroughs is if we're saying, "Wow, this is absolutely nothing like William Burroughs, even if the author conveniently has the same last name," or perhaps, "I can't believe The New York Times reviewer was so retarded as to say this is what a situation comedy would be like if William Burroughs wrote it, mostly because William Burroughs would tell you to fuck off and then eat some drugs and go write something worthwhile."
So, I'm sorry, Augusten Burroughs, that you had a ridiculous childhood filled with various homosexual experiences and squalid living conditions, but if there were jokes in here, I couldn't find them. Next time, try writing about a monkey smoking a cigarette. That is some funny shit, and also, I hear that monkeys with cigarettes will get you laid.
Now, about The Glass Castle. Here is another memoir filled with squalid living conditions and triumph over adversity, with an author that managed to overcome her silly childhood and end up a best-selling writer and such. The Walls family also has crazy authority figures in it and a mother that's an arteeeeest.
The Glass Castle is written better than Running with Scissors, but I still wasn't touched by the triumph or reduced to tears at the horrifying situations Jeannette and her family suffered through.
This is why I think I've become jaded. I read about a family living in a shack filled with mold in the Appalachian Mountains, with no running water and oft-interrupted electricity and no food and varied molesting-type adults, and I am like, "Where's the bad part?" I confess I kept waiting for something truly terrible to happen to these people so I could summon up some sympathy - like space squids attacked and killed all of the family members except for the drunken father and perky memoirist, which was quickly followed by a nuclear war that left them scrambling to feed themselves while worrying about limbs falling off due to radiation poisoning - but nothing like that happened. Mostly, there was a lot of going hungry and not bathing and living in filth and the drunken father not getting a job and the mother consumed with artisitc free-spiritedness that left her unable to get a job because she had to paint pictures all day and the drunken father drinking away what little money did come into the house and blah blah blah blah blah.
It was all so very American. And sort of boring. But not as boring as Running with Scissors. I'm not sure that's really a rousing endorsement, but there you have it. It's the best I can do.
Also, it would probably make a good Lifetime movie, and this might make me like it more, but I can't be sure.
If anyone is interested in reading a memoir about squalid living conditions and triumph over adversity that is actually funny and touching and inspiring, please ignore these two books and pick up a copy of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt instead.
THAT is a book worth reading.
But don't read the sequel, 'Tis, because it's not nearly as good and will make you sort of pissed off that you spent several whole dollars on it.
PS - It occurred to me, just now, while I was checking the back of the book again to make sure I had those review quotes right, that MAYBE the funny part of Running with Scissors is that Augusten spent an inordinate amount of time worrying about his hair - and wanting to become a hairdresser and worrying about his hair some more and doing other people's hair and hair hair hair hair shut up about the fucking hair already, dude - but his author photograph shows he is now completely bald. OH, IRONY! YOU SLAY ME THUSLY!