And then some…

While at the grocery store, I picked up a little pamphlet from our friends at Kraft. The front boasts, “Counting Carbs? Count on Kraft.” Inside are supposedly “delicious recipes”.

The very first page has a compare-and-contrast chart between a “counting carbs” diet and “counting calories” diet. And it’s pretty obvious that Kraft doesn’t really cotton to this whole low-carb thing, even though they’re making products to specifically cater to it.

Per Kraft:
“Carbohydrate fuels our brain and muscles; 130g a day is the minimum required for brain function (aim for 45-65% of calories).”
“Health experts also raise concerns over nutritional inadequacies and potential long-term negative health effects, such as kidney problems and bone loss, if carbs are severely limited.”

Interesting. Also, here’s a recipe for “Saturday Morning Skillet”, a kind of skillet pie made with eggs and bacon which wouldn’t be too bad except for the whole cubed potato in it. Oh, and here’s the “Ultimate 7-Layer Dip”, which uses a full can of refried beans. However, they can say these are low-carb recipes because they make the serving size so very small — the dip is made up of 48 servings.

Heaving sigh … Kraft just doesn’t get it.

Open Letter

Dear Guy Who Lives Across the Hall:

Funny thing, I wasn’t aware I was living in some sort of dormitory. I thought this was an apartment building. As such, perhaps it’s not that great an idea to just leave your door hanging wide open while you’re slumped on your futon watching TV. And if you have to have the door open, how about turning that TV volume down? An also, if you have to have the door open, how about cleaning up that fetid pigsty in which you live? And on that note, if you have to have the door open, then I’m going to be royally pissed at you for the rancid body odor wafting out and filling the hallway.

In conclusion, you would appear to be one of the most disgusting persons I’ve ever seen and/or smelled. So please, keep your crappiness to yourself.

Thanks,
Me

Nooooo!

I love the musical The Fantasticks.

However, I now have to wash the taste of the movie version out of my mouth.

They deleted songs. They rewrote songs. They hacked chunks out of songs. The acting was so-so at best, as was the singing. Joey McIntyre as the boy-in-love was atrocious. Not only is his voice reedy and weak, he looks like the dumbest person ever to crawl the earth. All of the simplicity, the beauty, the magic of this play have been sucked out.

I’ve seen the play several times, own the soundtrack on CD and on original vinyl, and know all of the songs by heart. And I can honestly say the 1995 movie version of this musical sucks ass.

Memories of the holidays

So I read a couple of retail workers’ communities. Reading the Blockbuster community has reminded me of one thrilling holiday season when I was an Assistant Manager with BBV.

There were three AMs all told, and one Store Manager, a guy we’ll call Joe. The holiday season was fast approaching, and we had to figure out management schedules for the “big 5” — Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Joe made the proclamation that we would each work three of the five big holidays, and each have two off. Sounds fair, right?

So the schedule for Thanksgiving week comes out, and I’m scheduled for the opening shift (9am-5pm) on Thanksgiving. I’m also scheduled for the day after Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t count toward the 3 out of 5, since that day is not an official time-and-a-half holiday. I don’t terribly mind, since it gives me something to do on Thanksgiving.

Fast forward a month. We get the schedule for Christmas week. I’m scheduled for both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Again, not that huge a deal because I’m not that into Xmas, and I’m glad at the time because it means I’ll have both NYE and NYD off from work. As always at BBV, both days are hugely busy and stressful. I also made note at that time that Joe had given himself Thanksgiving day off, as well as Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. So there’s no possible way for him to work three of the big 5 holidays, since there are only two left.

The next week the schedule comes out, and I’m pissed. Because Joe has scheduled me for both NYE and NYD, and he has both of those days off. Giving me five out of five of the big holidays, while he will have to work NONE. I get him into the office and ask him what the hell’s going on. He gives me the following excuse: “It’s better for you to work the holidays, because you get time-and-a-half. Since I’m salary, I don’t get anything extra for working the holidays.” I call bullshit on him, and tell him that I absolutely, positively will not work on New Year’s Day. And I’ll only do the opening shift on NYE, because I already have a party to go to that night.

Joe gives in and takes my NYD shift. End tally for the “big 5” holidays: Me – 4, AM#2 – 3, AM#2 – 2, Joe – 1. Of the ten shifts over those five days, I worked ALMOST HALF. And if he’d had his way, I would have worked exactly half of those shifts. What a bastard.

Now, another story of Joe. In October of that same year, corporate made the decision to stop renting out DVD players, and that at some point in the future, we would sell those DVD players used just like the used videos and DVDs. We had two rental units in the store. Joe immediately went to the computer system and saw that the used DVD player price was listed in the system as $14.99. So of course, he bought both of them himself to give to his siblings as Xmas gifts. I made a very conscious point to tell him that I didn’t think that was right, and he should ask the district manager about the price. Of course he didn’t.

Come December, we get the notice that the used DVD players will go on sale at … $149.99. Joe saw this and didn’t say a word to anyone about it. I already had a list of things about Joe to discuss with the district manager (including the night where we had to change those “2-day rental” inserts in every single 2-day rental on the new release wall, because we changed the return time from midnight to noon … and he spent that entire overnight shift locked in the office talking to his girlfriend on the phone) so I added the DVD player situation to the list. I talked to the district manager, and the next day Joe let us know that he would be having deductions taken from his paychecks until the balance of the DVD players were paid for.

Joe also had the habit of not remembering stuff he didn’t want to hear. I let him know I’d be moving, and that I was going to transfer to another store in another district. I offered to deal with all of the paperwork for my transfer, and he seemed relieved at that. So I filled everything out, got the district manager to sign off on it, checked out my new store and met the staff there. Everything was good. On the calendar up in the office of Joe’s store, I marked what would be my last day, and put a note that “Missy is gone” from then on.

One week before my transfer, Joe was making out the schedule, and called me into the office. He got very loud, wondering what the hell was going on, he knew nothing of this transfer, why did I go over his head, why didn’t I have the simple courtesy to let him know, now he was going to be short-staffed and it was all my fault. I kept my cool and told him that I’d let him know about the transfer over a month before. Of course, he had no memory of me ever having let him know. Looking back, he was lazy and crappy enough that I think he just chose to ignore the situation, in the hopes that it would just go away. That way he wouldn’t have to interview or hire anyone. What an asshat.

After I left that store, my old district manager asked for a meeting, and she wanted a complete laundry list of Joe’s indiscretions. A few months later, I learned that he was no longer with the company. I don’t know which bit of stupidity exactly did him in, but I know that he had his sights set on a career with BBV corporate, so I seriously doubt he left of his own accord.

Someday I should also write up the story of Mindy the Store Manger, who stole candy and pop on a daily basis, then adjusted the inventory every month to cover her tracks. It won’t surprise you to know that several of us reported her for that.

oh. my. stars.

Last night, coming home from poker night at a friend’s house, Scott and I heard something on the radio for the first time.

It was a little something called The Christmas Shoes.

You may note, I don’t refer to this as a song. I won’t even refer to it as a “tune.” Because to compare this piece of offal to music would only cheapen actual music. It was the most disgusting piece of crapulence ever to assault my ears. I absolutely cannot believe there are people who “love” that hunk of garbage.

Strangely, if I’d first heard the song under the auspices that it was a mocking parody of Xmas tunes, I would applaud it. Scott wondered if it was written by Trey Parker.

Sunglasses, Take Two

So the optical place at the Fred Meyer called the other day — my sunglasses are in again.

First time, they tinted them gray, which was what I ordered. They also polarized the lenses, which I definitely did not order. I tried to wear them for a week, but unfortunately the polarization didn’t quite jibe with the polarization of the rear windows of many cars. Meaning I couldn’t see through those rear windows.

So, back the glasses went. No problem, they can redo them without polarization. Just plain gray. Check.

The call came, so last night we went down to the Fred Meyer to tackle some grocery shopping. Scott headed off to the electronics section to kill some time, and I went to the optical shop. Waited for a couple of people ahead of me, then gave the girl my name. She gets the glasses, looks at them and proclaims them “cool,” then hands them to me so I can make sure they fit right.

I take one look at them and say, “um, these are really strange. Is it me, or are they a lot darker on the tops than they are on the bottoms?”

She looks at me strangely, then looks at the paperwork that accompanied the glasses. “No, they’re right, gradient gray #3.”

Blink. Blink. “I didn’t order gradient. I wanted them to just be plain, solid gray.”

And for some reason, that really flustered her. I had the feeling she was filling in at this location, and it wasn’t her usual store. She looked around her, muttering something about “tint.” She then apologized profusely, and told me that she couldn’t do a tint at this location. Which puzzled the hell out of me again, because I already had figured they’d have to send the glasses back to the lab again. She swore she’d order them correctly this time. I confirmed with her that they should be plain gray lenses, no gradient and no polarization.

So in a week to 10 days, we’ll see how else they manage to screw these suckers up.

So You Want to Learn?

I’ve had some people ask me if I would teach them certain HTML skills.

Well, they don’t necessarily ask. The one I’m thinking of is constantly telling me, “I really need to sit down with you for a couple of hours so I can learn Skill X.” Not that I’ve told them I’m willing to teach them Skill X, mind you.

So here, without further ado, is my HTML skills primer. It works equally well for learning Cascading StyleSheets, Server Side Includes, and any other HTML trick under the sun. And it’s how I learned every single trick you’re begging me to teach you.

1. Open up www.google.com in your internet browser.
2. Search for the skill you desire to learn, plus the word “tutorial.”
3. Read the tutorial.

Voila! You’ve now learned an HTML skill the Missy Way!

No, I won’t send you a link to a good tutorial. That would be taking away the thrilling experience of following steps one and two. And I don’t want you to miss out on a single joyous moment of the learning process.

Misanthropy

The last two days have been absolute heaven as far as my morning walks are concerned. Not only has the weather been perfect, but I’ve changed my workout shirt. My regular one is waiting patiently in the laundry bin, so I’ve had to dig another one out of my t-shirt drawer. The one I selected was given to me by a buddy who does t-shirt design: it’s an eye-catching yellow with “BITE ME” prominently displayed across the boobs.

The reason I love this is because now the other exercisers leave me alone. I don’t understand what it is about someone speed-walking alone with headphones on that seems to scream “talk to me,” but that’s usually what happens. From a simple “hello” to a more involved “hey, how are you?” these other walkers/joggers/baby-stroller-pushers completely put aside the concept (immortalized by Rick Springfield) of “don’t talk to strangers” and feel it is their duty to make sure everyone else on that path is “doing OK.” Surely they must realize that even if I wanted to answer, by the point words could come out of my mouth, we’ve already passed each other and are, like two trains in a story problem, rapidly heading away from each other. To me, this intrusion into my personal bubble is just another part of the interpersonal buttinskyism that would have been considered rude in years gone by, but is now the norm in our society. But now… oh, now… with this shirt… I can see the smile start to appear on their faces as they approach (even the ones who don’t speak to you will always want to exchange a smile, because after all, we’re all walking on this sidewalk together!), but then as they get closer, their eyes dart down to the shirt. And the smile goes away. Hooray! It warms the cockles of this misanthrope’s heart.

I don’t think anyone has ever used the term “buttinskyism” before.

Shut Your Pie-Hole.

Well, it was a successful thrifting weekend for this Missy. Went out Saturday to my local Value Village and came away with just a top and a skirt. I thought my thrift karma was somehow off… usually I find more good stuff than that. Well, never fear, the karma is back. Today I went down south to the Renton Value Village and the Goodwill in Tukwila.

First stop, Renton VV. Found some great items, tried them on, many of them fit very nicely. So after leaving the fitting room, I found myself near the books, and decided to have a browse. I was barely into the books section when someone stepped up next to me. I didn’t pay the guy any attention… until he asked me very loudly, “what are YOOOUUUU doing here?”

Needless to say, I was a bit startled. I looked at the guy — probably mid-30s, very scruffy, with a big backpack over his shoulder and … the crazy eyes. I tried to figure out if I knew him from somewhere, because at least that would be a somewhat acceptable reason for this stranger to come talk to me. He asked again, “what are YOUUUU doing here?” I, being the witty wordsmith, replied with, “what?”

“I mean, what’s YOUR point in being here, sir? Just to look at cookbooks? What are YOUUU doing here?”

“Sir?” I queried. This asshat called me sir. And he’s totally inching closer to me. I realized a hearty “fuck off, buddy” might just gain me an injury of some sort. So I brought out the big guns with a “whatever, dude,” and walked out of the aisle. At the end of the aisle was a very nice guy who asked me if I was OK, he’d been watching and hadn’t been able to figure out if I knew the guy or not until I turned and stalked away. Nice Guy and I headed to the front, where we told the cashier what Crazy Eyes was doing. She looked over toward the books, and we all clearly heard the guy ask someone else, “what are YOOOUUU doing here?” She called security, and the guy was escorted to the doors, all the while protesting that he just wanted an application for employment. A short time later, as I was paying at the checkout, the Nice Guy came up to buy his stuff too. When he saw me in line, he grinned and asked me, “what are YOOUUU doing here?” We shared a chuckle.

The next, less eventful stop was the Goodwill. Not the best selection of pants, but they did have some nice dresses. Goodwill was having a 30% off sale on all women’s clothes in honor of today’s Hallmark Holiday, so I took full advantage. The exciting thing that happened at the Goodwill was an interaction I overheard between a father and child. The kid was in a cart, making standard kid noises. The father then came out with this gem:

“I am goddamn sick and tired of your whining! Now sit down,” and here’s where it got good… “and shut your pie-hole!”

Holy mother of pearl. I never thought people actually used the phrase “shut your pie-hole.” I just thought it was a comical phrase. But now I know the sick, sad truth. However, the kid was obedient, and his pie-hole remained closed the rest of the time I was there.

And so, the thrift haul for the weekend (which will be replacing a similar-sized pile of too-big items), for the low-low cost of $32 American: one halter top, one short-sleeved shirt, two long-sleeved shirts, two long skirts, two summer dresses (one of which is an incongruously labeled size 2), a pair of black loafers and a brand-new pair of black flip-flops (OK, those I got at Target, but they were only two bucks). So for what many people pay for one piece of clothing, I have acquired 8 garments and two pairs of footwear. Huzzah for thrift!

FedEx is My Bitch

I have defeated the evil FedEx software. We ended up having to dig out a second computer that was laying around. I loaded up the FedEx software, got not only the devious label printer set up, but I have also managed to get this PC to print full letter-size sheets to a printer attached to a Macintosh three rooms away. I’ve also managed to get the network to recognize the internet on that computer, so we can send the daily reports to FedEx using the DSL instead of dialing up. And the best part is that my office of Macintosh users think I’m some sort of computer genius.

I say to thee, FedEx software… EAT IT!