Thursday, July 31, 2008

Do You Believe In Coincidences?

Hey, wanna feel conflicted?

In response to my ticking puppy clock, several of you have commented and e-mailed that I can take your pooches for an afternoon. The question is, are you going to let me pay $50 a month for the privilege? Because...

Coming mid 2008, it's FLEXPETZ!

It's caused me more inner conflict than Google. It's all kinds of awful, but I could benefit in a very self-serving way, namely by having a puppy whenever I want.

So the question is, does instant gratification drive me more than the empathy that makes me break down in wracking sobs every time I see that Humane Society commercial with Sarah McLaughlin?

Let's find out!

I'm sure there are several lawsuits pending, but it seems like FLEXPETZ isn't animal cruelty, just really, really inhumane treatment. I'm sure pretty sure maybe sure hoping they're not kicking puppies or anything.

But is it really fair to a dog to prevent him from having a forever home and one human to love and snuggle and play alpha dog? No. On the other hand, it is fair that the Object won't let me have a puppy? No, it is not.

But then there's the part where the CEO has a sordid past.

Then there's the glaring lack of discourse on some pretty basic subjects - where the dogs live and how they're kept; where they get the dogs from; what happens to the dogs when they're not being shilled out for the day -- just to name a few. And what if anything happens to the dogs? It takes a dedicated and loving owner (and a giant wad of cash) to take care of an unhealthy dog - what happens when the dog doesn't have an owner? How many FLEXPETZ dogs are going to end up in Sarah McLaughlin commercials of their own?

Despite the site's silence on the basics, they take great care to address GPS tracking of the dogs. "All FLEXPETZ dogs are fitted with a GPS tracking collar that allows for immediate location detection in the event that a FLEXPETZ dog and a member become separated. The device also incorporates an environmental temperature sensor that alerts FLEXPETZ instantly if the dog's surroundings fall outside of a predetermined safety range."

Is there no screening process? Just who is getting these dogs? Do they give them to any Paris Hilton who walks in off the street and says I have money, gimme a chihuahua; maybe I won't kill it this time! Inadequate! Dogs are pack animals; unless they're getting eaten by bears, they're pretty good at following orders when they're well-trained. They come; they sit. Game over. (Sort of.) At the point where GPS needs to become involved, isn't that a little blinking light of its own, guiding you out of some awfully murky waters?

To be fair, "FLEXPETZ dogs are fed holistic KUMPI Dog Food, which we at FLEXPETZ consider to be the best on the market." Well, that's a relief. But not really. Because what do FLEXPETZ members feed the dogs? Chocolate bon-bons would be my guess. I would probably give the dog endless treats to make him love me -- hey, I'm not the one who has to suffer the consequences.

Finally, there's the part where the people who would actually go through this kind of service are looking more for accessories than dogs. The dogs all look designer-y and the website's portraits of people with the dogs seem to suggest Fido would love nothing more than to spend an afternoon with you sitting at GlamorShots. Pooch as accessory? I thought we were past that fad. Maybe when Project Runway 3 was on, but this is season 5, people. Have we seen no progress as a civil society? And does it irritate anyone else that they spell PETZ with a Z and only refer to themselves in capital letters?

So now that we've ascertained that it is completely and fully shady and/or sordid, unethical, inhumane, bad fashion and bad style, is it wrong that the puppy-snatcher in me still kind of wants a membership?

Oddly enough, the site is having trouble with pre-registration for the DC area.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Good Idea, Bad Idea

Good Idea:Trying to cheer yourself up when in a funk.
Bad Idea: Cheering yourself up by perusing the pets in your area that you're not allowed to adopt on

Good Idea: Having a backup pair of sunglasses, in case you accidentally smoosh your regular ones.
Bad Idea: Realizing too late (i.e., when someone else points it out) that your backup sunglasses are Joan Collins brand sunglasses -- distinctly feminine with defined shapes, delicate colors and decorative accents that appeal to the mature woman.

Good Idea: Campfire activities, like roasting campfire eclairs!
Bad Idea: Campfire activities, like singing songs and inadvertently inventing the world's shortest blues song:
I got a good woman
But she's got a big dick.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Fishy Pedi

I looked down at my goat hooves the other day, calloused and rough from trapissing aroudn town alternating between heels, flip-flops, and climbing shoes. As a toenail turned angry purple from a bruise under the nail waggled up at me, I remarked to the Object, "I'm thinking of getting a pedicure."

"Why not a mani-pedi?" He asked, less out of curiosity and more out of the desire to use one of his favorite words.

Since I heard this report, however, I've revisited that decision. There is no way in hell I'm letting fish eat my toesies. People can just deal with my ugly clompers.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to the beach this weekend, where there are no creatures that live in the ocean. Except dolphins. And maybe ponies. But that's it.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Further Signs of a Bum Economy

After being forced to postpone the match against the Houston Dynamo not once, but twice, last night's game featured a two-hour rain/lightning/power outage delay/other power outage delay. Last night was the third (and fourth) time in as many weeks that the power has gone out at RFK Stadium, making the team's "Blackout" PR push more literal than the front office would like.

With Mayor Fenty's tacit refusal to commit to building a soccer-specific stadium, I'm starting to think that keeping DC United playing at RFK is an innovative new jobs-for-the homeless measure.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The New South

My coworker - let's call him Maxwell - and I are in the process of picking a caterer for our annual summer event, a process that involves skipping breakfast to gorge ourselves on the wares of caterers hungry to impress us. We fell in love with the first place we went to, Clare and Don's Beach Shack in East Falls Church. With surfboards for tables, walls adorned with flip-flops, and a surfing competition on the bar t.v., the place exuded the same atmosphere we wanted to project at our picnic: laid-back, cool, summery fun.

The food more than lived up to the expectations. Rebecca, the owner, was passionate about her food, clearly taking pride in having a primary role in what came out of her kitchen. Equally happy to please carnivores and vegetarians, she was ready to accommodate our staff, a group that tends toward the extremes of that spectrum. Somewhere between blackened tofu, barbecue grilled baby ribs and shrimp with hot-DAMN-this-is-delicious homemade sauce, and key lime pie with real graham cracker crust, we knew we were sold. Maxwell, who eyes tofu with the same trepidation I reserve for Rocky Mountain Oysters, ate an entire serving, exclaiming, "I didn't know this stuff actually tastes delicious!"

And yet, we still had other tastings to attend. We went to our last one yesterday, arriving after literally driving in circles to get there - only to find that there was no parking. While my co-worker waited in the car, I ran inside to ask about parking. A blast of steamy air hotter than the 95 degree soup outside greeted me when I opened the door, followed by the pungent smell of a kitchen in the midst of washing dishes. The smell of old dishtowels followed me up a dingy, ill-lit stairwell, where I found our hostess in a in the middle of lunch. A pasty woman with hair the color of blighted wheat, she directed me to just park where we were and come on up. I went outside to tell my co-worker where to park, adding, "Keep an open mind."

We tentatively sat down in the tasting room, our place setting prepared for a state dinner. Before we could introduce ourselves, our hostess offered us iced tea. "I have sweet tea and unsweetened, or you could just have water," she said."

"I'll take the unsweetened," I replied, while Maxwell said, "I'll take the sweet tea, thanks."

"I knew it!" Our hostess exclaimed. "I could tell you'd go for it - because you're from the South."

Here's something you should know: Maxwell is not from the South. Maxwell does not speak with a southern accent, have a Virginia flag tattooed to his face, or give any other outward impression that might lead one to believe he is from the South. When the woman said that Maxwell was from the South, we assume she meant that Maxwell was black.

It went downhill from there.

Maxwell and I introduced ourselves. Turning to me, our hostess said, "So you're planning this and he's your helper?"

"No, he's my partner," I replied firmly. We made smalltalk while we waited for the food, and somehow the woman launched into a lengthy explanation of how she hired her executive chef from some old building that used to make box meals for the predecessor of McDonald's and she found this woman cooking chitlins and collard greens. "You like collard greens, right?" she asked Maxwell.

"Yep! Because I'm from the South!" Maxwell exclaimed a little too brightly with a tight smile. "I like collard greens," I piped up. Our hostess seemed taken aback. "Oh, are you from the South, too?"

"No," I replied, "Chicago."

"I didn't realize they ate collard greens there," she responded. It took every ounce of willpower not to remark that Chicago had black people, too. After nattering on some more about collard greens, our hostess left the room to check on the progress of our food. I looked around the room furtively and turned to Maxwell to quietly ask, "Do you think there's a hidden camera in here?"

"I was thinking the same thing," he murmured. "It's the only explanation, right? We're getting punk'd? Maybe my new boss set this all up?" Our hostess came back in the room, followed by a member of her kitchen staff. He set the tray of food down and Maxwell poked my leg to draw my attention to our server, whose nails were filthy with layers of grime that would have fetched a fine price to display at the Natural History Museum, but just made us shudder.

I looked over the platters before us, a series of side dishes and a plate of assorted red meats. As casually as I could muster, I inquired about veggie burgers, which I had asked for when scheduling our tasting, noting that about twenty percent of our attendees had requested a vegetarian option.

"Oh, I didn't make any, since those are expensive and we usually only bring a few with us." I passed the plate o' meat to Maxwell. " I hope you're hungry!" I said a little too brightly with a tight smile. I dipped my fork in a little of the barbecue sauce on the side of the plate, hoping for a mouthful of something redeeming, but tasting only the tinny sweetness of corn syrup.

"Can't you eat the chicken?" Our hostess asked.

"No, as I said on the phone, I'm a vegetarian," I replied. "I'll eat fish for special events like this, but otherwise, I avoid meat."

"Well, at the picnic, we'll have a few veggie burgers that people can request if they want them - or they can just eat the side dishes," she said, pointing to the tepid, unseasoned potato salad and pasta salad that could most charitably be described as flaccid.

"Can't you just serve them on a different plate and serve them along with everything else? We'd be happy to work that into the pricing," asked Maxwell.

"It's just not the way we do things," our hostess responded curtly.

"What about gluten-free options we asked about?" I asked. The hostess responded, "We can make a plate of steamed vegetables, but if you want anything more than that, you'll have to provide us with a list or bring it yourselves."

Our smiles got tighter and our tones got brighter. I wiped my mouth on the polyester napkin and almost gagged. The napkin reeked. It took me a moment to place the smell - it was the same stench that emanates from the bowels of the Object's frat house around three in the morning. I don't know how she managed to replicate the blending stanks of gonad sweat, pork ring farts, cheap beer, and Axe body spray, but it was precisely the same.

Our hostess asked, "How are the collard greens? Or are they mustard greens?"

"You're not sure?" Maxwell asked. "What do you mean?"

"Oh, I haven't had collard greens in years," she responded.

"You don't taste the food yourself?" I asked, trying to keep the incredulity out of my voice.

"No, I own the business, I don't work with the food side," she responded.

We made it through dessert and more agonizing small talk about the South, then politely hightailed it out of there. We sat quietly in the car for a minute, and I asked Maxwell, "So tell me, what's it like, living in the South?"

I got back to the office at 2:01 p.m. and had confirmed with Rebecca by 2:06 p.m.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My Almost K-Fed-Ex

I used to make my former roommate's cat sing about her lovely kitty humps. An obese, bossy, and extremely chatty princess of a cat, she was the creature in nature most closely related to Fergie. Recently, the Object has taken to singing the Alanis Morrisette cover, flaunting the invisible junk hanging off of his 6'3", 165 lb. trunk and casting vague threats that if I don't treat him right, he will start some drama.

Somebody's gonna lose a braid.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It Could Also Be Seen as an Invitation

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Learning Differences?

Well, this is pretty damn cool. You enter your info into the search engine and you get to find out how walkable your neighborhood is, measured by how easy it is to get to local amenities. The higher your score, the higher level of eco-smugness you get to feel over your peers. It's the latest and greatest in social status!

My neighborhood got a score of 88, which gives me a very high percentile of eco-smugness to cash in on. That said, it counted the H & R Block across the street from my house as my local school. I don't think I need to mention that in casual conversation, though.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ticking Time Bomb

I've been told by many a wise woman that once you hit your late twenties, its ticking becomes quite pronounced, reminding you of your evolutionary obligation. What no one is able to tell me is where to return my biological clock, insofar as it seems to be defective. Mine ticks incessantly, growing increasing louder - but not for a baby.

I want a puppy. I reallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreallyreally want a puppy.

I can't have a puppy. Well, more specifically, I have been forbidden by the Object to get a puppy. Apparently we don't have the time to train it, don't have time to care for it, don't have room for it, don't have a lease that permits pets; puppies grow up into doggies, which are not quite as cute, puppies do not use a litter box, puppies require one not to be completely averse to getting out of bed before 8 a.m. and also smickedy smackedy blah blah blah.

"But those are just obstacles, not walls," I interrupt when the Object gets to his twelfth or thirteenth reason why I can't have a puppy. "If we really committed to having a puppy, we could overcome those things."

He'll ask, "And just how to you propose overcoming these obstacles?"

"You're missing the point," I counter. "Puppies are cute. And snuggly. You would LOVE having a puppy! You'd be so great at training it! And it would mess with the cat's mind, which you would enjoy!"

This is usually the point where the Object leaves the room in search of beer.

It's getting to be a problem, this puppy fever. It started innocuously enough - I'd see a puppy and exclaim, "PUPPY! Oh, can we get a puppy? Please?" It wasn't long until I started following puppy owners. On more than one occasion, the Object had to point out that we had long since passed our original location. At first, I would discreetly follow for a few yards. Yards turned into blocks; blocks turned into miles, and it wasn't long until I was following puppies all the way home - not unlike a puppy, but without the same warm welcome. I started compiling a mental map of all wiggly balls of snuffly cuteness in a three-mile radius.

And then, one sunny afternoon, I was following a puppy with soft and lustrous silvery short hair and slightly floppy ears (about a six on the floppiness scale) when I walked smack into a pole.

"BONK," my head exclaimed loudly. The puppy owners turned around. "Are you ok," they asked.

"No," I responded. "Can I have your puppy?"

When conventional methods of puppy finagling failed, I started to get desperate. I bought a giant new tote bag, ostensibly for the purpose of carrying documents around to business meetings out of the office. Because the bag was perfectly puppy-sized, I had a tendency to "forget" my documents and follow puppy owners uncomfortably close, waiting for the right moment to make my move.

All that changed today when my biological clock malfunctioned yet again.

I want a lion cub.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My Boss Is Back and You're Gonna Be In Trouble

HEY LA, HEY-LAAAA, my boss is coming back today!

Hooraaaaay; I can have a life again! I missed you all, too; thanks for the e-mails and the phone calls and the comments and the threats telling me I'd better start blogging again soon.

In retrospect, it was probably a bad idea to come back from a long business trip only to start my GRE class, become certified in proofreading as well as first aid/CPR/defib (not the same course) and take on the work of a woman who generally does the work of four people while also supervising three people.

I've been losing a lot of hair lately.

Part Most of the reason is due to math. I haven't touched the stuff since I quit it way back in 1998. That was the time I was introduced to the concept of the imaginary number, which only confirmed my suspicions that math was completely made up. Imaginary number my ass; you can't just make shit up and call it logic! I entered a twelve-step program called Liberal Arts College, and with a lot of therapy and history courses, I made it through some dark times. But now that I have decided to go to grad school next year, I have to take the GRE, which means I have to spend eight weeks learning math, take a test, and then promptly forget the math- again.

I don't remember the math I learned in school at all, which is a good indicator that I never needed it in the first place. What my brain has retained over all these years is math anxiety. Between the fracternators and denominations and radimexponals and quadrelbra and don't forget to reduce, for the love of all that is good and holy in the universe! my heart rate hasn't gone below 192 bpm in three weeks. The math I'm learning is inexplicably divorced from logic - we're just taught a series of random functions to get a specific answer, not the logic behind it. If I have to perform perform tricks, I'd better be getting some peanuts, a funny red hat, and the opportunity to dance on an organ. I would also take a scholarship in lieu of the peanuts, but the funny red hat is essential.

Soon, I'll be able to knit a sweater from all the hair I've lost.

Math makes a good foundation to build a giant ball of nervous stress. At one point, the Object interrupted my studying to tell me that his mom (who is awesome) watched a show on t.v. and decided that we need to buy a house. Happily, the Object has the reflexes of a cat, which come in pretty handy when a real, live cat is being thrown at you. He escaped with most of his limbs intact. That was the point at which he insisted that we buy a new vacuum to deal with the new accumulation of hair around the house.

Work has provided little respite. Here's a sample sentence from a report I asked someone to prepare:
While it is not based on strict criteria, economic or otherwise, he analytical criterion taken into consideration to define developing countries are composition of export earning and other income from abroad, a distinction between net creditor and net debtor countries, and, for the net debtor countries, financial criteria based on external financing source and experience with external debt servicing.
Apparently, math isn't these only thing these days that is incomprehensible. Another tuft of hair, gone. Now that my boss will be back, I can focus my efforts on constructive things, like growing that hair back. I'm going to need some Rogaine, some deep-conditioning treatments, and some candy.

I dare the IRS to tell me it's not a work-related expense.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

It's Going to Take More Than Nelson Mandela

One of the best and most important points I've heard on the subject of the sham elections/inauguration of a thug in Zimbabwe:


I know I said I was back, but then my boss left for two and a half weeks and left me in charge.

Then I started a GRE course. Remember math? I don't. Remember math anxiety? I do! My heart rate hasn't been below 186 bpm in a week.

I seem to be losing a lot of hair.

But I still have stories to tell you! Good ones! About CRIME! Stay tuned...