Friday, November 28, 2008

black friday

Wal-Mart worker dies after shoppers knock him down
as if we already didn't have reason to hate wal-mart. on the other side of that, sometimes i don't have a lot of hope for the human race. or america, at least - does thanksgiving mean anything besides being the day where you eat a lot and being before the day of big sales?

much less the attacks in mumbai, and the protests in thailand, and crisis in zimbabwe, and the fighting in the DR of congo, or that even more people are hungry in san francisco.


seems a fitting way to begin advent, as creation groans, and we wait even more expectantly for jesus.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

12 steps

i might as well admit it on the internet. that makes it official and all. about a year ago, i gave up caffeine. it made me anxious and crazy. i mean, more than usual.

so it was good to take a hiatus. but i have returned. i have surreptitiously been drinking coke or diet coke (shout out: jane!) here and there. may as well go whole hog. plus the place i'm housesitting has a cool espresso machine and i can make myself a cup of coffee at the push of a button. it's amazing that i have held out this long. plus it energizes me to blog. so it can't be that bad. next post: how i started smoking weed. just kidding.

Monday, November 24, 2008

i have made ... pie!

i know, this isn't such a big deal to some of you out there. but i'm usually too lazy to whip stuff up in the kitchen. but i have been urged by the family i am housesitting for to use up the stuff in their freezer. and there were some pie crusts. so i made apple blackberry pie. on a saturday night, no less. i am old.


if you've spent any length of time with me, chance are you've seen me make this cheesy facial expression just to be weird in photographs. i guess it's my version of what those models do on the price is right gameshow when they flog the merchandise. the expression changes depending on how excited i am about whatever item is involved. and i don't know why it makes me laugh, but it just does. so you've had to put up with it - thankfully in the digital age, wasting film is not such an issue.

today i bring to you the very image that inspired this bizarre habit - just because i thought you might like to know. behold, the kronos product gyro food model.this poster was up in a greasy spoon diner in georgetown i'd always grab food from on the way home from an evening shift scooping ice cream at ben and jerry's. after all the sugar, i needed the salt. strangely, i never got a gyro there, usually a cheeseburger and fries - this was when i was working out 6 days a week for crew and had the metabolism of an 18 year old. but let us turn our attention back to the poster - it always drew my attention when i walked by it - who gets this excited about a gyro? the filling is scraped off a rotating cylinder of meat. it's not like this is a refined and highbrow product. now that i think about it though, i'm having trouble coming up with what a more fitting facial expression would be. i'd also like to point about that this lady does not look greek at all. look at the greeks reach out to other cultures! and she's holding it with only one hand, which is clearly improper technique that will lead to the filling ending up all over her lap. also note the popped shirt collar.

i've probably analyzed this far too much. but i do have the time on my hands. when i looked through the photos on my computer, i realized just how influential this image has been. for good and for ill i suppose. but to semi-hilarious ends.

beignets at the cafe du monde in new orleans are definitely worth getting this excited over.

i don't know why i was so happy to try this because it was so sweet it hurt my teeth. however, the company is quite exciting.

it runs in the family. my brother shows off the wonder of a fried twinkie.

fudgsicles after playing whiffle ball on a long summer evening in vancouver. this was my last night living in this fine city before i returned to california.

upon further reflection, man, i eat a lot of unhealthy food.

Monday, November 17, 2008


i can't stop laughing. at least one skit on snl was funny after the election.

*sadly snl and nbc do not see fit to allow this video of the skit to be viewable online. try googling for it, there might be holdouts somewhere but that is doubtful. here's a still from the video...

Sunday, November 09, 2008

talk of the weather will do

it has finally shifted into fall here. daylight "savings" time has kicked in - someday we should just abolish this practice, as it seems to serve little purpose. indian summer has given way to "chillier" temperatures (it's all relative to what you are accustomed to - me, i kind of miss the vancouver drizzle days - which means that i have been away from vancouver long enough for my memory to be rose-tinted). people here complain about a slight rain shower as if it is a typhoon.

the grey days that make you want to stay in pajamas all day and hibernate. i slept in, lazed around, took a nap, and see where it gets me? wide awake at 1:30 am. i have never known how to use this time. read a book, do some writing - not activities conducive to lulling me to sleep. nor is being online or blogging. alas. insomnia wouldn't be so bad if it weren't so boring, i say.

the season of waiting in my life drags on. however i am on new tenterhooks, with a new job prospect. something that could really pan out to an occupation, one that i'd be willing to give a shot for a good length of time. i hesitate to share the details, not wanting to jinx things. but if you really want to know, just email or call. prayer friends, activate!

it will be some time for the decision to be made, and in the meantime i contemplate holiday retail employment. you could probably just drop a cash register on my head and it would feel about the same. if you have any tips as to how i could speed this employment process up and convince them to hire me now, let me know. i need to go to the dentist for a check up.

in other news, even in the boredom of unemployment, amusing things keep happening. somehow i work myself into a right state of grumpiness, but when i got to see my spiritual director, funny stories just spill out of me and we end up laughing really hard. i think that at the time, i was not so amused, but in the story-telling, in the recollection, i find the humor. i guess it's just a part of my dna. i think i can almost HEAR my friends roll their eyes reading that last sentence, and say "well, duh." i'm a little slow. anyway, this is what i was for halloween. beekeeper outfit courtesy of my housesitting gig; the giant bee courtesy of my brother who bought the thing at a garage sale for a dollar about 11 years ago and this is the first time we ever found a use for it. the humor is not so subtle on this day, yes? neither is the sugar intake. somehow i thought it would be fun to volunteer at the little carnival for kids at church, and i would be the bouncer of the bounce house.

it will not be soon when i do this again, if ever. EVERYONE loves the bounce house - that is the problem. the most difficult part was how the kids waiting for their turn would just stare at you, closely followed by the kids who would try to sneak past me through the small entrance. by sneak i mean, just plow right past me. subtle is not a word applied to 2-9 year olds, either. at one point, a little girl was in there crying because she had basically been tackled by another kid. i went in to retrieve her; quite forgetting that my beekeeper costume was not comforting at all, but quite terrifying. she would have probably curled up into a ball if she could move in the bounce house when i loomed over her. i pulled off the mask, apologized and gathered her up to hand off the her waiting mom. i told the kids that i lived IN the bounce house, and when the carnival was over, i crawled in there to lie down as people left. i needed the quiet.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

no atheists in foxholes

i like to think i'm a pretty articulate person.

i had a job interview today. whenever i start to pray about it, all that comes into my head is "please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please..."

Monday, November 03, 2008

the nitty gritty

with all this time on my hands, it's easy to feel like i'm going in circles, or not moving at all. my mind is racing (visualize the cartoon image of hamster running on its wheel in my skull), but i can tell that i feel a little stuck because i've fallen off calling friends, not to mention blogging. but when i get a chance to clear my head, to chat with friends, somehow these funny yarns spill out of me. they laugh, i laugh and i wonder, where the heck did that come from?

the highlight lately has been volunteering in the tenderloin for the past month and a half now. Just 9 years and 10 1/2 months until i get an apron with my name stitched on it! something to shoot for.

when i was done for the day, i was walking back to the bart station, and passed a man who waved at me and said "hey thanks! i remember you from lunch!" in the city, where it is crowded and you have to fight for privacy, it is easy to close yourself off to what is going around you - a skill i had acquired from my time of living in different cities. this friendly greeting from a complete stranger snapped me out of my reverie. i ducked my head and shyly mumbled a "you're welcome."

i have enjoyed my times there, for the most part (more on that later). i've started to recognize different faces, and become familiar with the regulars - the woman who comes back for seconds and thirds on dessert and thanks us for the "diet cakes." i laugh every time.

bussing tables is when i get to interact with people the most. so far this has meant that men try out odd pick up lines on me. it kind of startled me at first, but then i figured out how to brush these aside humorously and move on. i suppose it is good practice for brushing off all of my actual would-be suitors (i mean the other option is beating them off with a stick. i mean, really!).

first conversation went like this:
before i picked up a tray, i said to the people sitting there, "does anyone want these leftover cookies before i take this tray?" one guy gruffly replies, "i want you!"
i blinked and said, "uh... well, i'm not on the menu."

last week:
me: hey, how was your lunch? (as i stack meal trays on the table)
dude: it was good, but it would have tasted a lot better if you had cooked it. (i didn't really follow this logic. a nice sentiment, i suppose)
me: well... thanks, but i can tell you for a fact that would not be true.

as for the the "for the most part" comment i made earlier. i thought the hard thing about volunteering would be in dealing with people different from me. and i was right about that. the part that i was wrong about was exactly who the different people would be. not the people i am serving - but the other volunteers. it kind of makes me laugh when i think about it. the age distribution is such: 1/2 of the volunteers are senior citizens, then there's me, my new friend who is in college, and then there are different groups of high school kids that come in everyday to volunteer. i have been mistaken for a high schooler several times, which is sort of flattering but mostly perplexing to me. i'd make a joke about 21 jump street if anyone there would know what i was talking about!

anyway, the seniors are a wonderfully quirky bunch, but it has taken me some time to get used to them. when the dining room coordinator is waving at us to bring out more meal trays, they are often chitchatting about timeshares, or software to view pictures of grandchildren and then saunter out like they have all the time in the world. i mean, i know we're not mcdonald's or operating at fine dining speed, but still - we are there to serve. my college friend and i have to bite our tongues sometimes, but even then have brusquely told people to get a move on. i'm not sure those with name-embroidered aprons appreciate us young whippersnappers.

conversely, a tiny woman who moves at the speed of a glacier and whose height is about chest high on me (and i'm 5'4" so that's pretty small) has snapped at me a few times and then mumbled something in spanish that i guessed was not complimentary but hey, maybe i'm being paranoid.

inwardly exasperated, i tried to avoid her but something made me look at her again (maybe because she cut in front of me in line). i saw that she was dressed rather nicely; wearing somewhat impractical dress shoes, she had taken the time to put on makeup, no matter how wonky she had pencilled about her eyebrows. and i guessed that maybe this time meant something to her, just like it did to me - we were there to serve. and i got the message: LIGHTEN THE HELL UP. now i suppose that's what i could have told her, but i didn't know how to say that in spanish. i figured i'd just take it to heart myself and then see what happened from there.

i don't know what i expected when i started volunteering, that we'd all be happy and holding hands and singing happy songs, and then we'd all spontaneously break out into a choreographed dance. we human being are far too odd a collection of people to really get along like that. but that doesn't me we don't try to get along as best we can.