Thursday, August 21, 2008

On elimination, or "The Metro parking lot is covered in poop"


I notice this when I park at the non-garage metro near my house, as it is unenclosed, and has a large flock of geese hanging out there. Large, incontinent geese.

You wouldn't think this, because it a giant horking parking lot, which takes 5-10 minutes to cross fully, can be seen from space, and has a large amount of very treeless space. A large percentage of which is spattered with poop.

Now I don't want to play a game that I once played with Queendweeb's mom (an incredibly surreal attempt at guessing the animal based on examination of a pile of poop, which remains one of my favorite memories of Queendweeb's mom), but there is a lot of poop on the ground at the parking lot. And even a casual inspection, which I make as I walk by and try not to step in any of it, seems to reveal that this poop is both copious in form and in variety. And much of it has been run over by cars. There's a whole lot of different poop. Yes, this is what I think of on the way to my job. Located in an actual office, where I work, using a post graduate degree. That was not gained for any sort of post-graduate poop analysis.

So, there's a lot of poop, and it occurs to me, that within my limited sample area (from the car to the station) there still seems to be such a variety of poop, that it could not possibly all have come from one type of animal. But the geese are the only animals in this geographically isolated giant parking lot. So how did the rest of it get there? Is it a dog walking spot? Is there a herd of ruminant animals, sporting a very high fiber diet, who traipse around the parking lot around lunchtime? There is a lot of grass...Perhaps there's a small group of buffalo, cows, llamas (llama? llamae?), and perhaps a Yak? Because some of this seems like large-gauge poop. And then, as I shift my course approximately 3 feet to the right, part of me thinks...human? Lord help me, that's a gross thought and I...four feet to the right...

So I wonder about this. It's the kind of thing that the Metro personnel might know, but I don't think I'll ask them. Not only would it be embarrassing, they obviously don't seem concerned about it. They do have a lot of heavy equipment, but I think it is meant to clean up after other airborne messes, like sleet. Otherwise, there would be less poop drying in the sun. And fewer Geese. And more people walking in straight paths. As I look up, for a moment I hear the stately honking call of one of the parking lot's chief decorators. Then I hurry forward, trying to make myself as small a target as possible.

I, like many people, have been pooped on by nature. But not today, nature, not today. Optimisticalcynical 1 - Nature 0. I win for now...But those geese will have an awful lot of time alone with my car.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Oh, how I love the sound of my own voice

We all know that Queen Dweeb lacks the "indoor voice." Hell, Queen Dweeb should likely just type her own voice out in caps lock a la Owen Meany style, for lo, it is that loud, and that distinctive. Or so she is told.

So it came as a bit of a shock the weekend before last when she found herself LOSING her voice. Her rich, expressive voice. How was she to festoon the world at large with expletives without it? How could she properly express her rage? A shaken fist lacks strength without the "HOODLUM PUNK KIDS" hurled in conjuction with it, you see...

By Monday, her voice a mere shred of its former glory, our faithful heroine arrived at work. Where they have an on-staff doctor (oh yes they do. seriously). And she tried CALLING the doctor. Have YOU tried calling someone with no voice? Let me tell you, it's not pleasant. After a halting, croaking attempt at a conversation, they just told me to get down there at 11. Because clearly, whoever I was, I was ill.

Did Queen Dweeb also mention she picked this weekend to fight with the boy? For yes, the new boy she had been dating had dared to irritate her while she fell ill. WITH NO VOICE. So hoarsely, much flailing and gesturing occurred. And crying, because, you know, THAT MAKES EVERYTHING BETTER. HERE, HAVE SOME CRAZIES WITH YOUR SCREECHY LACK OF EXPLANATIONS AND FLAILAGE. NOW I UNDERSTAND COMPLETELY WHY YOU ARE UPSET WITH ME.

Ahem. Yes.

So, Queen Dweeb is ushered off to the doctor, who at first tells her, Laryngitis, nothing we can do, it's a virus. But the lady doth protest, for a simple virus could never destroy the VOCAL CHORDS OF STEEL. Pointing at the throat, and then the sinuses and croaking "infection. ow," the point is made that a sinus infection might be in play, check the throat for drainage of repugnant green festerage. Of which there is PLENTY TO GO AROUND, WOULD YOU LIKE SOME?

Whoa nelly, here's some antibiotics for you. Stat.

Sent merrily along on her way, Queen Dweeb "talks" to everyone in her path, wearing out her voice, making no sense, and flailing the entire time, for what she lacks in volume she'll make up for in AIRPLANE ARMS.

And the fun begins for our trusty heroine as we go to the pharmacy to obtain our prescription, and they ask for a phone number, become annoyed when the voice is not there to provide one. Then, the insurance is incorrect, from the prior job, and the lack of voice cannot explain quickly enough, irritating everyone in line (WHO CAN ALL HEAR THERE IS A LACK OF VOICE GOING ON HERE) and the pharmacist. Then, while stopping in the Giant to buy groceries, the get pissy that there is not chatting with them (AFTER TRYING TO TELL THEM NO VOICE) and screw up an item so refunding must occur, ONLY THEY MAKE QUEEN DWEEB EXPLAIN TO MANAGER. WITH NO VOICE. All in the space of 15 minutes.

So shout out to you, Giant on Arlington Road, for making Queen Dweeb get into her car and cry.

And thank you to the old man who stopped me in the parking lot to apologize on the behalf of everyone and tell me that the day would get better.

He was a little off, because it took 48 hours for THE VOICE to return and there was a panic attack because there was no talking and it was like sitting still in school and Queen Dweeb doesn't do that so well.

Yeah. Sort of like that school assignment we fund of my brother's where he had to write "I will sit quietly and listen." over and over again. Apparently in runs in the family...

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

God help me, I miss real meetings.

For background information, I work in what is a very large company, with 6 offices, three within the United States, and three without. However, most of the business of the office is run out of the home office, in the home city (there are two offices here a few blocks apart), at which I work, or the largest satellite office (In New York.) And this is generally an okay arrangement. I function well with only minimal supervision. However, from time to time, meetings need to be held. And when I get assigned to a new case, more meetings need to be held. And this is where my working world turns into a molten cauldron of scalding hot suck.

It used to be that meetings were held in the big office, in the home office. This was fine by me, it's where I work anyway. Most cases tended to be run out of the big office, which is the largest one, and has the most people. And, since most people were in the large offices, if someone from NYC needed to have a meeting, they would take the train in for the day, and we'd have nice, face to face meeting. But, somewhere along the line, it was decided that having meetings in person was counterproductive.

And this decree was not only for interoffice meetings, but meetings in general. No longer do I need to actually speak with the supervising attorney on my case. No, much like The Great And Powerful OZ (updated for the information age), the man (or woman) gets to stay behind the curtain, and do all meetings by teleconference. Or email, if they're really uninclined to human contact. And telephone meetings suck worse than the unholy offspring of Paris Hilton and a Dirt devil. Not a classy vacuum, like a Dyson. For that, you probably get something from your better class of porn star.

Why do telephone meetings suck? Let me count the ways:

1. There is no human contact - On the surface, this is almost a positive. Safe in my hidey-hole, I do not have to see or interact with new people. I therefore don't have to comb my hair, appear interested, or even stay awake. Which can be hard. But no one else can see you, either. There is a complete lack of social cues, which leads us to...

2. Telephone Meetings are unclear, and last forever - The lack of any social cues lead to the inescapable fact that you cannot tell what the people that you work with are thinking through visual cues. Which in turn, means that you don't know when you are losing your audience. The only recourse that you can get is to occasionally bleat out "does anyone have any questions" which is greeted with the same sort of unenthusiastic, vaguely embarrassed mumbled "no" that you get in seventh grade, when your Gym teacher asks the health class if anyone has any more questions about the testicles. So, you get so bored, that you don't ask questions, because that will only prolong the meeting. Which, according to my personal calculations, was still as subjectively long as it would take to have my appendix removed via sharpened wooden spoon, without anasthetic. Actual time: 2 and 1/2 hours, or about as long as it would take to watch "The English Patient."

Because no one can see you getting bored, no one feels the need to move things along. This leads to making meetings much longer than they need to be. And this makes long teleconference meetings unbearably long; which in turn makes them about as useful as an unhousebroken Goldendoodle puppy. And, like an unhousebroken Goldendoodle puppy...

3. I had to pee - It was shortly after the meeting began that I realized I had made the tactical error of caffeinating myself in liquid form. Why, oh why didn't I buy those caffeine pills from the one-eyed guy at the bus station? Trucker's Choice sounded like a fine brand... But no. I had to do it the old fashioned way. And so, my back teeth were floating.

Anyway, when in bodily need of relief, you can't just leave these meetings. This is because some vital piece of information may be imparted somewhere, and you'd miss it. And, unlike a real meeting, in a real office, with real people who aren't all in another building (or, you know, state), you can't just excuse yourself quietly, tap the next person, and say "what did I miss". No, you have to wait for the meeting to be over. Unlike an unhousebroken Goldendoodle puppy, I'll get in trouble for relieving myself on the carpet. Plus, it's my desk, so I'd be sitting in my own pee. Which I hate. So I held it. For the approximate length of Starship Troopers (129 minutes. Thank you, IMDB). I was afraid of going out like Tycho Brahe (, which would have not only been highly embarrassing, but led to a stinky, stinky funeral. But, I guess, since I wasn't going to actually see anyone, I could have worn whatever I wanted, including adult diapers. Which leads me to the final point...

4. Meetings encourage people to dress properly, and yet with telephone meetings, it is so NOT required - And here we have a final point. I am required to wear business casual clothing at work. Which is fine. But these meetings are basically like telecommuting. If I wore adult diapers, a Beavis and butthead T-shirt, and a Mexican Luchadero Mask, no one at any of these meetings would know. The only reason I have to dress up at all is the fact that other people may see me outside of my file room. Which they only do when I leave to use the bathroom, or go get food or beverages, which also leads back to the bathroom. Within the file room, as long as my Shame is covered, I don't think my coworkers would have any issues.

This leads into a more general kvetch. Why do I have to dress up at all, if no one will ever see me? In the days of Face-to-face meetings, this was actually important. The partners at my office wear suits and ties most days. You want to dress up (at least a little), so that you don't look like a total schlemiel. There at least used to be a fear that behind each of those partners was a tiny gaggle of fashion critics,
(fashiionably dressed as neurtal-toned angels and devils) hanging out on a partner's shoulder, who would term you unfabulous and unprofessional, and sentence you to a queer-eye-for-the-lawyer-guy forced makeover. Wherein all of my normal pants would be replaced by pinstripes, and I would have to permanently dress like an '80s stockbroker. Which I would, but it's really expensive. I do like the suspenders, though.

But now, due to the fact that no one will ever, ever, see me, I just have to dress up enough as to not offend the office dress code. Which is ridiculous. No one will ever see me. Why, therefore, should I not be freed from the tyranny of pants? Seriously, pants are fine, but it's hot up in this piece. Can't I wear shorts and sandals? Maybe a Tuxedo T-shirt, just to preserve the image of formality? It's not like my bosses would ever know.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Manila Files, Episode 5: Bribes

Driving down the street with a couple of guys from work. Diplomatic tags, diplomat driving, we can do no wrong, right? The driver makes an illegal u-turn right in front of a bevy of traffic enforcement officers, and drives right by as they try to wave us down. All still good! Except that the light changes, and unlike most drivers in Manila, the driver actually stops. Thus begins 20 minutes of my life that I will never get back.

After scrambling for a vehicle, the traffic dudes pull up behind us and come to the window. Of course, at this moment, the light changes, and Manilans everywhere begin to honk is if they all had passengers about to give birth. We finally pull out of the way, and the "officers" pull IN FRONT of us, and back up close to our front bumper. The guy driving, trained in such things as evasive driving, doesn't like this, and begins to back up a bit, to leave room to get out if something crazy happens. "Cops" back up again. Oh well.

Thus begins 20 minutes of back and forth between the driver, the traffic cop, his supervisor, and the Embassy's security officer. We have been instructed never to give up a drivers' license, if, for some reason, you ever want to see it again. Apparently here if you get a ticket, it serves as your temporary license, and your permanent one is confiscated. You get your real license back when you pay the fine. It actually makes a kind of sense, as an incentive for you to pay the fine. However, we are having none of this. Unfortunately, the driver didn't have his diplomatic immunity card on him, or his embassy badge (because it was a SATURDAY), which would help prove his diplomatic status. No matter that he's driving a diplomatic vehicle, and the front passenger did have his diplomatic immunity card. The officer wanted the license, and he wasn't giving it up. The officer would not write the ticket without the license, despite constant entreaties to do so. Classic stalemate, between three Americans and one Filipino whose uniform was prettier than his English.

At some point during this proceeding, the traffic cop mentioned that the fine would be 500 pesos (about $11). I'm sure he knew he wasn't getting the license from us, especially since he could clearly see that we were diplomats. So I wonder, was he asking for a bribe? If we had just handed over 500 pesos, would have have walked away? Sadly, I didn't find out. Eventually, the driver showed the cop his car registration and license together (through the barely cracked window, so the guy couldn't grab anything), proving that he was the registered owner of the vehicle with diplomatic plates, and must therefore be a diplomat. With a stern warning to "always carry immunity card", we were on our way.

I want that 20 minutes back. More time to stare at the walls of my hotel room, waiting for Friday night and my flight to Hawaii...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

A Synergy of Suck: Wake Up and Smell the Gross Roast

We all know Queen Dweeb here loves her some coffee. We also know Queen Dweeb loves her a bargain. Naturally, we'd love to think these two go hand-in-hand. Sadly, they don't. When java is marked down, it's for a reason. TRUST ME.

Anyhow, Amazon often has beans on sale, and once in blue moon, they are drinkable, or even good. So Queen Dweeb merrily orders them. Especially when she has a coupon. For lo, the bargains, they are irresistable to her. Giant marks coffee down to half off for no one else in all the land would consider drinking it? SOLD.

Of course, this leads to many mornings of swearing at the coffee maker for producing less than stellar results. Also known as "swill." Which sends our faithful heroine to Caribou, Starbucks, or her favorite online Hawaiian retailer, Lion Coffee for the delicious Kona goodness that can be found for some actual cash.

Which leads us to the coffee cabinet. (Oh yes, did we mention? There is an ENTIRE CABINET devoted to coffee in Queen Dweeb's kitchen.) If you dare open it, you'll find about eleventy-twelve unfinished bags of coffee. Coffee so foul that no human could dare force it down their gullet. Queen Dweeb had made valiant efforts to finish these bags and cans of coffee, but had lost interest when new coffees had arrived, you see. For perhaps, just perhaps, Amazon had not let her down, and the coffee of cheapness was FULL OF DELICIOUSNESS instead of SUCK this time. Of course, one cup into the next bad, our naive little heroine realized she had been duped yet again by internet tards rating coffee as "highly drinkable" and "I wouldn't throw this away" and "maybe it doesn't suck THAT bad" and had to suffer through yet another bag o' suck.

So, casting an appraising eye on the eleventy-twelve bags o' suck, and the end bags of a few french roasts, and a nearly empty ginormous can of Alterra (Oh, the milquetoastery), and idea was formed. A GENIOUS idea. If all of the bags of suck are combined with the french roast, GOOD COFFEE will be produced, right?

So, in a frenzy, Queen Dweeb furiously begins pouring the eleventy-twelve bags of suck into the near empty can of milquetoastery, adding in the french roast dregs, grinding up the dregs of some deliciousness for good measure. And seals the can. And then THROTTLES THE CAN INTO SUBMISSION. DAMMIT. QUEEN DWEEB WILL MAKE YOU TASTE GOOD.

Pleased with her work, Queen Dweeb sets up her coffee maker for the next morning, awaiting the fruits of her labor.



Hints of deceny swirled in her mouth, only to be overpowered by the blandness from milquetoastery and bags of suck.

Confirmed by all who have had it, combining the bags of suck have only created a better, stronger, faster version of bad coffee. It's like the bionic coffee. Only craptacular.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Whereby my body proves it has the upper hand, yet again

Note to our readers: The overusage of capital letters in this post is apologized for in advance. Profusely. However, to anyone who knows Queen Dweeb and her migraines, one knows that the rage, OH THE RAGE, that comes along with them can only be express in terms of the capital letters. I now leave you to your scheduled reading.

So Queen Dweeb hath been suffering from the migraines. Again. Mainly due to the EVIL, TERRIBLE, NO-GOOD, VERY-BAD HORROR-MONES. Even after going off of them. After much whining, and dragging of the feet, and womiting, it was decided that NO ONE WAS EVER GOING TO SPEAK TO HER EVER AGAIN, for LO, the YARFING, WE DO NOT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT IT ONE MORE TIME MISSY, ESPECIALLY NOT OVER DINNER, DO YOU HEAR ME OR DO I NEED TO PULL THIS CAR OVER RIGHT NOW?

So, after some thought, and a cattle prod, Queen Dweeb reluctantly made an appointment with the neurologist, and told him only this: "I HAVE THE MIGRAINES. THEY MAKE ME BARF ALL THE TIME, MAKE THEM GO AWAY. FAR, FAR AWAY. BUT NO DRUGS. NO DRUGS. THEY WILL MAKE ME FAT. LIKE A SAUSAGE IN THE CASING! DID YOU HEAR ME? I LOOK LIKE A JIMMY DEAN BREAKFAST LINK!"

To which the response was: "Ah, but there is a drug on the market, one that has a very serious side effect that you might tolerate. This side effect is coveted by women across all of Potomac, far and near. It is called: ANOREXIA!"

Dr. Awesome then goes on to explain that the drug (Topamax) has very few side effects, but that the one thing it seems to do for everyone is make them lose weight.


Literally, at this point, Queen Dweeb is hearing the Charlie Brown teacher talk of wah-wah-wah-wah, and dreaming of ponies, leprechauns and FITTING INTO HER FREAKING PANTS AGAIN. AND NOT THE EXPANDABLE KIND.

So, I am given the Topamax, and it is special, and because it is a brain drug, you step up the dose. So they start you out on 25 mg pills. And once I get to 100 mg a day, I check back in with Dr. Awesome, and we decide that, yes, weight is going down, barfing=very much less, and we will switch it up to 50 mg pills.


Yeah.......until. DUH DUH DUH. What's this? Oh, let me go HORK UP MY LUNCH. Oh, hello vertigo. I hadn't realized that I had invited you for an extended stay in my brain. Oh, appetite. I see you're back. Craving for pork chops? I MISSED YOU SO. THANK YOU FOR COMING OVER UNANNOUNCED SO I CAN HORK YOU UP, TOO. ALONG WITH ALL OF THOSE PEZ I FOUND AT MY DESK.

So, in a panic, I think, this can't be, Topamax cannot be letting Queen Dweeb down, can it? Topamax=fail=JIMMY DEAN SAUSAGE ARMS=MURDEROUS RAMPAGE.

Frantically digging through the apothecary that is the kitchen cabinet, a lone bottle of 25 mg pills is spied. Timidly, Queen Dweeb starts a regimen of them, forlornly thinking it is a lost cause. The next morning, she awakens to sunshine, lollipops and rainbows. Birds trill, Jupiter has aligned with Mars, and all is right with the world. Two days later, the curious incident of the yakking in the day has been forgotten, and 50 mg pills are swallowed.



Half mad, Queen Dweeb calls Dr. Awesome, and has the lovely task of explaining why she needs mass doses of 25 mg pills called in, that her body can't metabolize the 50 mg pills, and for the LOVE OF GOD CAN WE GET THIS CALLED IN STAT?

Did we mention there is no generic of this drug? And a 90 day supply had been ordered via mail order? EVEN BETTER. Nothing like spending $160 on USELESS DRUGS!

Four days later, 25 mg pills are called in. Horking abated, life goes on.

So the moral of this story is do not taunt happy fun metabolism.

The Manila Files, Episode 4: Cheap S**t

OK, now that we're done with the boring history lesson, it's time to talk about the primary reason Americans care about Asia: these countries produce cheap shit for us to buy. Asia is famous for knockoff goods, as U.S. copyright and trademark laws aren't enforced here. As the producer of most of the original goods, we should be offended that our ideas are being ripped off. But in actuality, all we think is: Bonanza! After all, we are the ones who fell in love with Napster.

Yesterday I went to a mall here that specializes in knockoff DVDs, video games, cds, and even electronics. Due to the traffic nightmare that is this hellhole, I didn't have much time to fully explore. But I did leave with 10 new DVDs, all for about 13 bucks. There are apparently some guidelines for the purchase of knockoff DVDs: mainly, don't buy a movie if it hasn't actually been released on DVD yet. Why? Because it was probably made by some moron with a video camera in a theater near you. But if the movie is out on DVD, which is easily copied, then you should be all set. Except sometimes, the movie will be in Chinese, or may have the ending cut off. Caveat emptor. But seriously, when paying a buck, you take your chances.

There's not much anyone can do to those who sell these knockoffs. The women in the store we went to (my coworkers is well known there) said that the FBI had come to their store a few days before. Kind of useless, though, because they don't actually have any jurisdiction here! I'm a little surprised that the DVDs weren't "confiscated", and then repeatedly tested for quality by the families and friends of the agents. After all, there are a lot of DVDs to test.

There are also a couple of guys that accost me on my street every time I head to the mall, trying to sell me stuff. I never really paid attention to them until today, I guess now that my interested in cheap shit has been piqued. These guys seem to sell two things. The first, oddly, are silver dollars. Or what appear to be silver dollars. I'm not sure why they think I would want to buy shiny money with paper money, but they wouldn't do it if there weren't any takers. So there must be something in it for them.

The other thing they sell? Cialis. Little green boxes of ED meds. I've been trying to puzzle out their choice of product to peddle. Did a bunch of little asian guys manage to steal a shipping container of pills and silver dollars? Is there really a big market for ED pills on the streets of this slum? Or, even worse, do I look like I have trouble getting it up? These guys are pretty aggressive- acting as if I secretly needed the Cialis but was ashamed to admit it. Maybe it's for all the 60-year-old white guys dating 20-year-old Filipinas.

Shit, am I finally starting to look old? I'm going to go watch No Country for Old Men, to feel better about myself.