Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Cómo hace dice la tortuga?

I've dropped a few pounds lately, thanks to a diet more effective than partying with Bobby Brown, bulimia or black-market Mexican fen-phen. In a word: turtles.

I'll start by saying I heart my building and my neighborhood. I can't lug a suitcase up stairs without someone leaping to help me. My parents were in town last week and saw my place for the first time. There was a strategically placed young child on the stoop who chatted with and enchanted my mom.

I'm thankful they weren't here for the sign taped to the window in the lobby the next day:
"You lucky I don't have a gun, or I kill you. Come here again, and I call police."

Sounds like I missed a good party.

So there's the small detail of my neighbors completely forgoing English, even when speaking to me and my whitey-white roommates. There's some sign in Spanish in our trash area that may or may not say ''Don't put your trash here, or i kill you." One of the supers was trying to explain something along that line when I set my bag down there a few weeks ago. Between his no English, and my ascertaining that he was not asking directions to the library or stating his age or number of siblings, the conversation quickly devolved into pointing.

Some young hoodlum in the next building rounded up a half dozen big turtles from the park next door and abandoned them in a plastic wading pool in the next courtyard over. I think they were dead when I spotted them from the stairway window, drowned in rainwater. It was awful. And I don’t know if it was subconscious or just to toy with me, but I got home that night and my roommate had Turtle Soup ice cream in the freezer.

I wanted to Google a picture of turtles to add to this post, but I still can't relive it. So I'll tell my tale with this photo. This sums up mi barrio:

I caught up with the other super sweeping the lobby and tried to plead for the turtles.

ME: Hi there, I think there are some turtles in the courtyard that are in trouble.
HIM: Yes, there are two courtyards.
ME: It’s the one I don’t have a key for…
HIM: Courtyard there (points) and there (points)
ME: Right, and in that one there are some turtles in a little pool. Could someone help them?
HIM: Yes, me, you, someone can do it.
ME: I don’t have a key to get in there. Can you help?
HIM: Turtle. (Goes back to sweeping.)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Heh, he said ''duty''

Once again, it's time to play "What's going on with this e-mail?"

I wish I could add some context for you, but this is all I have to work with.

To: Kate
From: Bewildering coworker

Subject: "When duty calls"

Message: "electrons. thank you. speaking of duty, can you tell me how many vacation days i've taken this year?"

Also, I realized from writing this, that ''duty'' is one of those words that looks bizarre if you look at it enough. Although that's not my biggest concern with this e-mail.

Monday Morning Dance Party Vol. 1: The "Guys, you're making it too easy for Def Comedy Jam" edition

Know what's always funny? White people dancing. Inspiring comedians since 1974 and inspiring me to launch the first installment of Monday Morning Dance Party.

Pretty much every "White people dance like this _______" joke ends with stand-up artists to do justice to this vision. The soulless eyes, the awkward jerking, the hapless half-hearted flailing of limbs, the one guy who is waaaay too into it, and the one who is about to collapse under the weight of his own embarrassment.

See you for installment two next week, kids

Friday, September 22, 2006

A Post-It less yellow. A story in pictures.

I was sitting at my desk the other day, haplessly shrugging at all the work I had to do when...

a big important man in the office walked by...(not really him)

with a pad of yellow Post-It notes.

"Kate," he bellowed, "next time you order Post-It notes, can you get some that are less yellow? These are too bright."

First I did this......

Then I thought about doing this...

or this...

Followed, of course, by hiding under my desk with a dog for protection...

But instead I just screamed on the inside...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

An open letter to H&M

Dear H&M,

I love you.

When I realized I only wore solid-colored shirts ("dressed like a Rothko" if you want to be all freshman fall semester art history about it) you were there for me, offering a tempting array of stripes, polka-dots, and belts. Gap has been selling me the same black turtleneck/grey hoodie/green T-shirt combo since middle school, but you have more than picked up the slack.

You have supplied my work wardrobe in a variety of pleasing textures and colors. Thanks to you sweatpants are not on that list. When I need a T-shirt and wouldn't like to spend more than the reasonable sum of $5 for it, you are there for me. Sometimes it feels as though you've put your items in a box marked ''Free to a good home" or that you would be willing to barter for some zucchini bread.

Where else will I find a $14 purse that people have run down the street to ask me about? I even saw Beyonce at your store once, and stood next to her in line as she bought $600 worth of clothes. That buys a lot, because you are so generous with your pricing. Some jackass took a picture of her in line and got yelled at by her bodyguard, no doubt called ''Tiny." I would post that picture if I could figure out how.

Walking in your stores, I could almost be convinced that your mannequins are on to something. If they had their wiley Swedish way, we'd all dress like hobo clowns and live in a happy world. A Cosby sweater over a purple unitard and velour pants? Well, um, I don't know how that can look good...OH! add patent leather suspenders, a flapper hat and a two scarves... now we're on to something. All for $32.95? Have it gift wrapped, I'll pull the car around.

However, I have one tiny complaint. Like a squirrel storing acorns for the winter, I sense that I should be gathering supplies for the cold months ahead. When I turned to you for tights, nice thick ones, I felt betrayed. I was faced with a wall of leggings. Trendy, sure, but the tops of my feet don't want to be trendy. They want to be warm.

Don't worry, I'm not leaving you, but this is a red flag. Don't make me cheat on you with Target.



Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Is this a threat?


Is this a threat? Is someone going to hurt that baby?

I was googling my own name (what, like you're so cool) and this popped up.

Who has two thumbs and finally learned how to post pictures?

And a hearty congratulations to you, little buddy.

Office eve!

Do you know what tonight is????

It's Office eve, the blessed night before Dunder Mifflin returns to sell us paper products. The paper products of life. I think it's a metaphor.

My office ficus is decorated with Post-its and my in box is hung by the chimney with care. Will Michael cook his foot again on his George Foreman grill? Will Ryan dodge Kelly again? Will Dwight become a Lakawana County volunteer sheriff again? And Pam and Jim, OHMIGAH! PAM AND JIM!

It was a long summer of yelling at the TV and punching the wall whenever CSI: Flurbenville or Deal or No Deal came on. ("But you don't even have to answer a question!?!?" "Pick number 6!" "No deal, Wanda, no deal!!!")

I've been brushing up with the release of the Season 2 DVD last week. As my friend Jacob put it "...the second season of The Office DVD is the funniest thing in history, funnier than that bear falling out of a tree onto a trampoline." Until now, that bear had been the best thing of the year. He bounces so high.

DVD extras make life worth living. God help me, I love a good blooper real. I'm not sure why it's so appealing to watch actors crack themselves up, but it just doesn't get old. And commentaries! The Office is full of "it was so funny, because it was actually really hot that day but we had to pretend to be cold" and "the girl who plays Angela is nothing like that in real life." I was enraptured. I took notes.

And the fake PSAs are insanely funny, expounding on jellybeans and weddings with all the seriousness that the Law & Order and Scrubs casts talk about literacy and building racial tolerance.

It's almost enough to ease the pain of my dearly departed Arrested Development. (RIP, gone too soon). But that's just my brain playing tricks on me. Sorry, illusions.

You're with me, leather

(This is probably why I can't find a kid to borrow.)

Halloween rocks.

Allow me to elaborate on my argument: Halloween rocks so much.

We eat candy! We dress up! We go to parties! It's not even October 1st and I'm plotting and scheming my way to disguise greatness. I'm going to be, ahem, Angelina Jolie (the mother version). I'm getting a fake ponytail of lustrous hair, drawing on giant lips and tying three multi-cultural dolls to my back. (One with fauxhawk).

It was going to be two dolls and a real 5-month-old but apparently this friend of a friend isn't comfortable lending out her infant to a stranger. She "got a babysitter" and won't let me ''fauxhawk (her) daughter's hair" and is a "more responsible mother than (I'll) be someday."

I've actually got a few great baby costumes in mind for any future children smart enough to be born to this Halloween genius. These are public domain, so help yourself:

* Baby Donald Trump: Little baby suit and a hat with an impressive golden swoop of hair attached.
* Baby Pope: A little pope hat and robe. (comfy too!)
* Baby Charlie Brown: Yellow shirt with zig-zag and curly-cue drawn on the head with eyeliner pencil.
* Baby strongman: Flesh-colored long sleeve shirt under a red-and-white-striped old timey bathing suit. Handlebar moustache. Tuck socks in the shirt to make muscles. A dumbbell-shaped rattle.

Halloween allows me one day a year to wear my leather pants. Two years ago I wore them with a purple wig and was Jennifer Garner on Alias. Last year I was Newscaster Barbie. (They only had blonde bob wigs, so I gave Barbie a backstory. She and Ken had split, and she sold the Malibu mansion (her dreamhouse, so sad) and she moved to Minneapolis to join the 6 o'clock newsteam. (Bob Roberts and Barbie, with Chip Donaldson's Doppler weathercast and Mike Thomas with sports). She's happy. She says hi.

Last year I went down to the Halloween parade (I meant to write a recap at the time. I never said I was Kate McPromptBlogger) and there were two standout costumes: Tons of people rounded up groups of their friends and went as The Gates. Not Bill and Melinda (I'm hilarious) but those orange curtain things. I've laughed all year picturing how crushed they all must've been to realize that at least a half-dozen other groups had the same thought. They should have all teamed up like a giant, winding, "don't tread on me'' snake.

The best costume I saw among the political satire ("Heckufa job Brownie!" was their rallying cry) and bedazzled costumes of various sluttiness was a guy in street clothes and a box of M&M packs. When people heckled him from the sidelines (and they did) he started in with his spiel like the teenagers on the subway, "My name is Jamal and I'm raising money for my basketball team!"


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Hoagie of rage

There are those things we all agree are horrible: ethnic cleansing, puppies being kicked, Two-and-a-Half Men. Then there are those things that are only truly appreciated in all their horrific glory by the person it happens to. Yes, your friends will be empathetic when you tell them about someone shoving you out of the way on the subway, or about a dirty look from your coworker, but they'll never feel that rush of rage you get when you relive the story for their benefit. So yes, I understand you may never feel the wrath inside me, but I must share.

In this vein I present to you my work fridge. It's a solid 75% milk containers, as apparently there might be a Y2K7 we need to prepare for. Or a huge, thirsty, dairy-craving mob descending on the second floor.

In the name of not buying a $9 sandwich everyday, I bring in my humble spread of hoagie rolls, tofu "meat", cheese and mustard. I've learned to tune out the coos of "Oh what a cute idea" and "A little picnic!" from people wandering in the breakroom.

I stuff the remainders in the grocery bag and wad it on the bottom shelf. It's gone on like this for weeks. I don't bother them and they don't bother me. Until last week.

I put off lunch as long as possible so the afternoon seems shorter. So around 1:30 I go to assemble said sandwich and discover there has been a pillaging. Someone has helped himself to an entire packet of "meat" and a hoagie roll, and he ripped the bag open so the rest of the pack went stale.

Oh hells no.

I couldn't have felt more violated if I had been slipped a roofie in a frat house. I stomped off to my desk and composed my thoughts, then taped the following on the fridge:

"Dear Sir who took my lunch:

I just wanted to commend you for fitting and entire pack of my sandwich meat on a single roll. Kudos. I don't know how you did it, but that's not for me to understand.

I'm doubly excited that you ripped open the bag of bread, without regard to the twist-tie a mere inch away, thereby ruining the rest of the bread. I understand. When there's a free sandwich on the line, there's no time to lose with formalities.

I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my mustard sandwich."

Remember Wigurski? I think after I refused to clean out the fridge, he's taking matters into his own hands, one sandwich at a time.

Now with 20% less crying in public

My friend Becca came in this weekend from Boston, which was a welcome change from the abyss of coffee and crying that has become my weekend since TBTEAB (The Breakup To End All Breakups).

Thankfully, breaking up with someone you're so close to has its advantages. The boy has seen my weepyness in action (Hallmark ads, the Olympics, et al.) so he knew to handle it with the utmost respect for my feelings. By breaking up with me by email. At work. On a Monday morning.

It's been an ugly few weeks. The first week there was open weeping at work, in the bathroom stall, at Starbuckses citywide, on the subway. And one case of hives.

Now I have a cold and sound like Patty and Selma (more like Selma), which I discovered in the middle of the night with a test of my scratchy "hello? hello?" into the darkness (existential!).

Despite all this, it was a great weekend, beginning with this witty repartee:

Becca: So we're still on for this weekend?
Me: Oh yeah, we're on like a lighswitch. No wait, I can do better. We're on's on crack.
Becca: We're on like my TV when "Flavor of Love" is on.

Becca came to town (on an old people tour bus!) just to root for her Red Sox. Unfortunately for them, it got rained out. That's also the only way they weren't going to lose. (Snap!) Or not, since they won the other game. Whatevs. So Becca and her Red Sox cap and me in my Yankees cap go hunting for a bar in midtown and people are openly gawking and pointing. They cheer us on like we're at Camp David working on a Mideast peace deal. I was waiting for a slow clap from the people around us, or an ovation like Mighty Ducks 2 ("Quack attack is back!") when they all proudly stand up and say their names and where they're from. Ooh, 11-year-old me just got chills.

Alas, there was no ovation for our "ebony & ivory" outing. However, we were asked the score by two guys at Macy's getting facials at the Bliss counter. I tried and failed to tell if they were genuinely curious about the score or just trying to overcompensate that they were covered in blue mud while a girl rubbed lotion on their hands.

Either way, even with all the weeping lately, I felt more manly than them.