Monthly Archives: December 2010

How The West Coast Storm Screwed The Country – Part Three

9pm, flight now scheduled to leave at midnight. Things are not looking good for our heroine. But I have hope. Pure, shining hope. JetBlue SAID they had a fresh crew. So what if I don’t get home until 4:30 in the morning. The cat will be happy to see me after she figures out who I am again. I start talking with my fellow passengers, trying to keep our spirits up and full of hope. It’s all we have left.

We don’t have long to wait. Around 9:45pm the Supervisor announces the flight is cancelled. Was the pilot timed out? Nope, both pilots could fly. It was the stewardess. One couldn’t fly so the cabin crew of 3 was now 2. Hey, I’ll volunteer to pass our coffee and chips! Honestly, during a red eye all the attendants do is talk in the galleys. But the UNIONS say you have to have 3 or you don’t fly. You don’t know how badly I want to punch those Union Leaders in the junk right now.

I also want to punch the President of JetBlue in the junk. Why? Because if the company didn’t can so many employees, they would have extra crew! If they had more routes and planes, this mess could be diminished. I did the math and just the customers on our plane have already paid approx. $47,250 to the company. What do we get for that? Well, let’s see shall we as we descend into Hell.

We were told we could stand in line up here on the concourse (already 40 people deep at each of the three counters due to the other two cancelled flights) or go downstairs to the ticket counter. They would then “take care of us” and re-book us. Okay, what about our checked bags? We could pick them up at baggage claim. So off I slogged. I needed to get my checked bag because not only is it heavy, it also contains meat. Elk and prime rib – don’t judge me. It’s cold now but it wont stay that way for long. I head down to the deserted baggage claim. My bag is the second one out. A bitter Christmas miracle that is.

So pulling 52.5 pounds of suitcase and carrying 40 pounds of books and another 10 pounds of vintage porn, I head back upstairs to the ticket counter. The line is long. There are about 30 people in front of me and I estimate it will take me about 1 1/2 hours to make it to the counter based on how slow it’s going. The only thing that makes my heart slightly happy are the 50 people behind me.

Everyone in line pulls out their iphones, ipads, laptops and other devices and tried to get other flights. It was looking grim. I was hearing there are no flights into Oakland or SFO until January 5th at the earliest. Fine. I’ll take San Jose, Long Beach, San Diego, LAX, Sacramento, Seattle, Las Vegas, Phoenix. If I could just get to this side of the continent, I could then hop on a Southwest flight to Oakland. My dear friends from Monterey, LA and San Diego offered to pick me up at the airport or give me crash space or both. In that I feel blessed. We move a whole three feet every eight minutes or so. I was starting to lose my grip on hope.

Finally I am four people away from the counter when a fussy little man is walking the line, quietly informing people that the agents will only be booking flights after the 5th. Ummm, well what about other cities? Nope, no planes at all anywhere until the 5th or later. Ummmm, how do you know? He just knows. Okay then WHY have I been standing in this frackin line for over an hour. He says “I informed everyone earlier that was the case. I walked by and told people in line.”
“No dude, you didn’t tell me nor the people around me.”
“Yes I did, I made a loud announcement.”
“No you didn’t. I’m not deaf. I would have heard that.”
“I’m not lying.”

Yes, yes you are and you are a douche. But it would change nothing to say that. Do we get our money back? Sure! You can go on-line and do that. How about rebooking? You can call the 800 number. No, no I can’t. I tried that when I first got into line and you know what JetBlue does? They hang up on you! You get a recording saying they are experiencing high call volume, say they are trying the line again, it’s busy, thank you and good bye. click. I will bet a million dollars the President of JetBlue didn’t cut his salary or that of other execs to keep those flight crews. He doesn’t care that all these people are stuck. JetBlue has my Dad’s money and that’s the bottom line for 95% of American business nowadays. “Your business is important to us. Fuck you and have a nice day.” click.

At this point I was too tired to even fight with him. My parents were not picking me up so I need to find a cab at this late hour to take me back to Virginia. There was not much of a selection at this point since the airport was pretty much closed. I have to pay the national debt to get back to my parents house, all the while wondering if this guys is a serial killer who is going to chop my body up and leave me in the snow. He wasn’t but at that hour and traveling alone. You never know. My Dad is all frustrated with the state of American business, government and JetBlue right now. Canada is starting to look kinda good as a country to move to. Problem is, they just don’t let you in. They are pretty pissy about their borders as are most countries. Great.

I go downstairs and find out the earliest flight I can get is Southwest out of Dulles on New Years Day at eight in the morning. Fabulous, first the pricey cab ride, then I realize my car will cost $50 more to get out of car jail and rent is due. This sucks. I need a job something awful. At least I will have elk and beef to eat. I also took 2 cans of ice tea, 2 cans of OJ, a bottle of water, a bag of nasty animal crackers, a bag of Terra Blue potato chips and a bag of cashews from JetBlue. I figured they owed me.

So here I sit, back East, no snow, no wifi for my laptop – until New Years Day. New Years Eve? LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!! whew. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!! If my sister is feeling better, currently she is sick in bed, she will be going to a beautiful party with her husband at a grand, fancy hotel and spending the night there. I, on the other hand, will be babysitting her kids with my parents and trying to find a way to ferment Otter Pops because there is no bar in that house. If my sister is still sick, then I guess I go to bed at 9pm and try to forget the past few days.

On a similar note, my friends were stranded in London during the Great Ash Cloud of ’10. They spent their time pub hopping and finding new coffee bars in London. I’m not in London, I’m in a suburb of Annandale, Virginia. I have no car. There isn’t even a Starbucks in walking distance. I have no kittah. Just the grey squirrels who live in the trees and mock my misfortune. If my flight is on-time, I will be back at the house by 3pm on the 1st. Oh, did I mention we have one stop (no change of planes) in O’Hare? If they get New Years Eve snow and we can’t take off, I just might do something drastic.

How The West Coast Storm Screwed The Country – Part Two

My plane is delayed for an hour and a half. That’s not bad. I figure since I now have PLENTY of time, I will do something civilized like sit down at the wine bar. I can plug my laptop in, have some Italian white wine and chill out. I can also people watch. My, there are a lot of characters. There is the hippie walking by who must be very secure in his sexuality. Why else would he wear a silky jacket with roses and panda heads on it? There is the fabulous gay couple sitting next to me, wearing matching winter scarves and deciding between the smoked salmon rolls or the diligently assorted cheeses. I look up and see the First Class lounge of American Airlines hovering over the concourse on the second floor. Silver-haired rich men read the Wall Street Journal, sip their cocktails and nibble on free bickies. How am I suppose to get a husband down here in steerage when all the good ones are so far above me. Literally. I’ll bet Alan Rickman is up there, sipping cocktails right now. I’m sure of it!

I go back to my latest writing project. I feel like a juggler in a demented writing circus. I now have six balls in the air. Final edits on “The Squirrel Stole My Thong And Other Reasons I’m Still Single”, still need to write another 40 pages or so on “Deirdre Does Disney” so I can start the first round of edits on that and NOW I am starting a whole series of Disney travel books, broken out into the various parks starting with Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Studios and Magic Kingdom that will go directly to E for a low, low price! (Ginsu knives not included). Downtown Disney, Resorts, Complete Dining, Disneyland and DCA will follow. I had planned on spending all my time until January 3rd writing – writing like the wind. My wind is faltering. But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself.

I am setting up my first four Disney guide books in Scrivener and playing the waiting game. A cute gal sits down opposite me at another table. I swear she is giving me the eye. I could do worse. Who am I kidding, I HAVE done worse! However I no longer trust my judgement. I spend an hour and a half here, then mosey over — fine — slog over to the counter next door to check on my plane. They are still showing a departure of 8:15pm. It is 7pm now. I ask the blond, gay boy named Villie (I swear to God) where the plane is coming from and if they are in the air. He checks, cheerily, all the while chewing and popping gum like his perky life depended on it. It seems our plane isn’t even in the air. Ummmm…. what? It’s in Ft. Lauderdale. Okay. It takes 2 1/2 hours to fly from there to DC. The math isn’t working out. You don’t have to be a hooker to figure that doesn’t add up. Why a hooker? Because they are hella smart with math, that’s why!

My plane has now been pushed back again. It is scheduled to land at 10pm which would put us in the air at 10:30 or 10:45pm. Fine, I settle in to read a new book on Kindle. Then the riot breaks out. It seems there is another flight at my gate going to Boston. They were suppose to leave at 2pm and are now told the flight is cancelled. Their plane is here. At the gate. But the pilots have timed out and they were unable to find any other pilots for Jet Blue in the Washington area who could fly that night. A few people have been waiting to get out for days. My solution – let them take your bags and send them ahead, rent a car and DRIVE! Boston is not that far. Maybe six hours tops. It’s like driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The snow has stopped. Get your ass in a car and drive. I can’t do that. It would take me 3-4 days to drive, by myself, across the country.

The screaming is reaching a fever pitch. I open my gatorade, pull out a $2 wee bag of Popchips and watch the show. Hey, you have to get your entertainment somewhere! All these people are now standing in line at the desks to rebook, stomping around or in the case of three old Yentas, yammering the Supervisors ear off. You really don’t want to be on the receiving end of three pissed off old Jewish ladies. I thought one of them would hit the guy with her cane.

Now my gate is changed. Fortunately it’s just next door so I am in no hurry to move. There is one guy playing guitar softly and singing which is soothing and nice. There is also the bearded, Birkenstock wearing, Know-It-All UC Berkeley hippie working on his 12th year at that school (yes, it’s a 4 year school) on an engineering degree with a minor in philosophy. I have an overwhelming urge to punch him in the junk but go back to my book instead. 45 minutes later, the flight to Ft. Lauderdale next to me is cancelled due to the crew timing out. This isn’t looking good.

Well it’s 9pm and I decide to get my butt over to my gate and check on the plane. I ask the nice lady if our plane has even left Ft. Lauderdale. Remember, it was suppose to land at 10pm? Ummm, nope. It’s still on the ground in Florida. I ask if the crew is going to time out because if that is the case, tell us now while it’s still a decent hour. She assures me they are getting a fresh crew, they won’t time out and we will now be leaving at midnight. Ummm, that just gives you half an hour to get that bird in the air. She assures me it’s fine.


Tomorrow – the wrap up (thus far)

Merry F’in Christmas – How The Great West Coast Storm Screwed The Country (Part 1)

Well, I’ve been out of town since the 19th of December traveling to Los Angeles and then to Washington DC to visit with my family for Christmas. As a result of this abundance of holiday cheer my blog has been on hiatus, due more to the fact that my parents have no idea what a wifi router is, why it has a key or what that key is. As a result, no wifi for me upstairs on my laptop where I have all my writing tools in a row. I have now braved the basement to type on my parents standalone while my laptop sits in the case mocking me.

So, anyway I was suppose to be home today. Relaxing in the bosom of my family, drinking and comforting my now neurotic cat who hasn’t seen me in 10 days and wont see me for 4 more. Over two weeks is a life time to a cat. I’m sure she will ignore me, then stick to my side like glue and then possibly pee on me while I’m sleeping just to show how annoyed she is.

Well, I’m not home. I’m back in Virginia at my parents house and will be here until the New Year. How did this happen? I blame it on the hippies. A huge winter storm sweeped into California on the 19th (the day I started this traveling nightmare), pounded Southern California with rain for days and then moved on. Northern California wasn’t too badly hit. Mainly due to the fact that we are too smart to build our houses on toothpick stilts or build houses in secluded canyons that regularly catch fire without a quick way to get a fire truck to them, which in turn causes these houses to slide down the canyon in a river of mud.

I thought, big deal, so we walk around in the pouring rain at Disneyland. No biggie. The crowds will be less. But the storm moved on and moved across the country. You would think moving over land would dissipate the storm. Nope. It built and put a big hitch in everyones plans. It gets to the East Coast and newscasters are warning there could be a blizzard on Christmas Day in the District. Great. I figure I will never be able to get out because my plane will be mired in snow. Nope.

Christmas Day dawns with light flurries of snow that dump a grand total of 1/2″ on DC and Northern Virginia. Yay! I’m saved! There is no snow. I realize it sucks to be you if you are stuck in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts or any of the other Eastern states that had to deal with the huge dump truck load of snow. Parts of New Jersey were buried with 4 ft. of the stuff in a day. New York airports and Boston Logan were at a standstill. It was as bad as Heathrow although we have snow plows and snow melting machines to help clean up. London just has fortitude. I wondered why they didn’t pay some their unemployed to shovel the runways but that is a blog for another time.

I figured I was home free. No snow, clear skies. I arrived at the airport at around 4:45pm for a 6:45 flight. I check my bag. It is 2 pounds over the 50 pound weight limit. I offer to take things out rather than pay the freight. They let it go. A Christmas miracle! I skip (fine – slog) to the security line. Hey, when you are carrying a laptop bag full of tech toys and 3 Playboys from 1965 and a tote bag with 40 pounds of books – it’s heavy!

I get my ID checked. They either don’t notice or don’t care that my drivers license is expired. Yes, I have the temporary paper but I have no idea where it is at the moment. I am waved into another line by…. a maitre’d? A marching band conductor? It seems some TSA agents at Dulles are sporting thick, looping braid that attaches to their shoulder, goes under their arm and back to the shoulder again in a loop. WTF? They look like demented doormen. Is this a special badge of honor for grabbing the most junk in a month? I have no idea.

I take off my shoes, step up to the belt and start putting my things in bins. Again I am prepared to opt out of Rapiscan and am going commando. Hey, it’s my only means of protest! The guy in front of me starts for the metal detector with a backpack and a rolling bag. ummm Dude! What? Are you new? What are you doing? So he gets called back, puts his shit on the belt and then he doesn’t have his laptop in its own bin. Dude! Finally he goes through. I am waved to the metal detector so no groping for me. I feel a little sad. As I am waiting for my bags I notice the TSA agents looking at something in the Xray machine. You know when they stop the belt, reverse it, look again, point, look again? The prison matron Helga, I mean the TSA agent Helga glances at me. I immediately point to Mr. Clueless. Yeah, it’s his bag. She pulls him aside and proceeds to rifle through his bag like a demented squirrel. I get my things and go. However, curiosity gets the best of me. As I laced up my tennies, I watch to see what Mr. Clueless has in his bag. Ready?

A full sized bottle of Pepto Bismol. Dude! Are you new! Is that a 3 oz container, sealed into its own quart baggie, that was declared before hand? No. No, it’s not. The potentially lethal Pepto goes in the trash while Matron Helga roots around for more contraband liquid meds. I move on to my gate. Dulles has been renovated and it’s lovely. They now have high speed trains instead of the plodding “Star Wars – Moon of Endor” trams that use to play Frogger on the tarmac with the planes. I check the board. My flight is delayed. I was suppose to leave at 6:45pm, now I’m scheduled for 8:15pm. Not too bad. There is a wine bar. I can wait.

If I had only known……

Twilight Invades Our Lives & Still Won’t Die

So the other day I was in Lucky’s looking for a reasonable price on Mach 3 razor blades because men’s razors are so much better than women’s. It annoys me. They make the good, long-lasting, quality razors for men and make ladies razors second-rate in pretty colors like pink and lavender. But that wasn’t enough. Oh no, it wasn’t bad enough to infantalize us, now they have to insult us as well.

See? Now you can shave your cootch with Bella blades! Isn’t that sexy? Doesn’t that make you feel like a woman? Think this is just a coincidence? Here is the other razor they make:

See? I’m not high! These Twilight razors have lavender-scented handles. Really? Is that necessary? But wait! It gets better!

The Bella razors have “exotic scented handles.” This is ridiculous. I need to shave my bits with smelly handles on my razor? Do the men have exotic smelling handles on THEIR razors? I’m thinking, no. And what scent exactly is “exotic”? Is it musk or plumeria or sandlewood or goat?

The price for these douchey Twilight razors is $6.99 while the regular razors are $5.99. Do you really want to pay an extra dollar for an exotic scented razor for shaving your peesh? Think about it. Personally, I would rather just use my matte black Mach 3.

Naked Ghost Hunters And Vampires And Drunk Bears, O My!

So today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday, I thought I would give you a few strange news stories to ease the fact that the country is in the financial crapper, Billionaires are whining they aren’t rich enough while I look for a new box to live in and some government cheese to eat.

First up: It seems a man was nabbed in a southern Mississippi cemetery buck ass naked where he says he was trying to take pictures of ghosts. Mr. Nature Boy claims that bare skin is “the best canvas to show spirits’ orbs of energy.” Really? I don’t recall the Ghost Hunters on TV doing this.

Evidently, at first he thought taking off his shirt would be sufficient but hey, why just a shirt when the full monty affords much more of a painting surface? He now calls this idea “stupid.” You think?!

Now I’ve had some interesting times in graveyards, one involves a night where I broke eight laws and didn’t get caught (because God protects animals, children and morons). Evidently he was either not moronic enough or God found his stunt displeasing.

How did he get busted? It seems he set off a motion-activated camera that had been installed to try to catch vandals. Shane Tucker, the chief deputy in Pearl River County, said Hurst was not accused of vandalism, but the camera caught an unexpected image of Hurst naked. My, that must have been an eye-opener down at the station. I guess it was a slow night, units were dispatched and the photog was arrested for indecent exposure.

Next up on the hit parade, some wanna-be “Satanist Vampire” who decided to brand the letter V into the forehead of some idiot teen he tricked into “playing a game” where he tied him up then proceeded to burn him with cigarettes, heat a spoon and sear a V into the kids forehead. The only thing this whack job is being charged with is second degree assault. I guess kidnapping is out since his victim went along with the stupid parade until things got a little too weird. How about paying for the plastic surgery? That would be a start.

Let this be a lesson to you lame Twilight teens. There are scary people out there, Vampires don’t sparkle and if someone wants to tie you up for Vampire initiation fun, you say “NO!”, boot them in the junk and run. Don’t kids have common sense anymore?

In Baker Lake, Washington, it seems a black bear discovered to joys of living cheap and fast in the human world. He broke into a cooler, drank near four dozen Rainier beers and passed out. The bear was fine after he slept it off. Rangers trapped him for relocation using donuts, honey and more Rainier beer as lures. It worked. He is now roaming the mountain wilds in search of another party. At least he was a semi-discernible bear. The rangers reported the cans of Bud when untouched.

In the immortal words of the “Bad Idea Bears” from “Avenue Q”:

Bad Idea Bear 1: “Hey Princeton, what are you doing tonight?”
Princeton: “Probably just watching tv.”
Bad Idea Bear 2: “You know what goes great with tv? Beer!”
Princeton: “I’m unemployed, I can’t afford beer.”
Bear 1: “You can afford a six-pack.”
Princeton: “Well, maybe a six-pack.”
Bear 2: “You know what’s better than a six-pack? A whole case!”
Princeton: “A case of beers? No, I can’t get a whole case.”
Bear 1: “But you’re on a budget! You’re wasting money in the long run if you don’t buy in bulk!”
Princeton: “Well I guess that makes sense.”
– Avenue Q

I think we can learn something from those bears. I’m not sure what but there’s a lesson in there somewhere.

Stupid Boy Tricks

The other day, I came home from a job fair that was a colossal waste of time, I might add, to find a gem of happiness in my email. A job offer? I wish! No, my father sent me an AP news article from the Nevada Appeal that was right out of A Christmas Story:

Indiana Boy Licks Light Pole, Gets Stuck

HAMMOND, Ind. — In a scene straight out of the movie “A Christmas Story,” a 10-year-old Indiana boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole.

Hammond police say the unidentified fourth-grader was able to tell them that a friend dared him to lick the pole Wednesday night. Temperatures in the Chicago suburb were around 10 degrees at the time.

By the time an ambulance arrived, the boy was able to yank his tongue off the frozen pole. Police say ambulance personnel explained to the boy’s mother how to care for his bleeding tongue.

The 1983 movie is set in a fictional city based on Hammond, the hometown of author Jean Shepherd.

This got me thinking of “Stupid Boy Tricks” or SBT for short. This kinda sounds like a social disease doesn’t it? I can see it now, we can have fundraisers for SBT, raise a ton of money and help eliminate SBT in our lifetime. Of course if we do, our random entertainment quotient will drop considerably.

Here is the thing, while stupidity is gender neutral, I feel there are certain behaviors which are more likely to be performed predominantly by one sex or the other. Sticking your tongue to a metal pole in the winter is a male one.

Other boy tricks veer from the innocuous (jumping up to hit low hanging awnings), to the gross (belching or farting words or tunes) to the insane (emergency room visits because you “sat” on various objects by mistake. Wow! How did THAT get there?!). I really don’t see very many girls doing these things.

Other tricks I have seen that are uniquely male are lighting things on fire, especially farts, being obsessed with Fantasy Football and writing their name in the snow. Don’t tell me about the one gal in the comfy shoes who you saw do it. I am sure there are a handful of capable sisters but on the whole it doesn’t work. Hey! I tried this when I was 7 and you know what happened? Yup, a mess all over the floor that I had to clean up. It never really connected in my brain at that age that there was a REASON boys could stand up while doing their business and gals didn’t and it isn’t because they are lazy. Lazy for men is sitting down to do your light housekeeping as opposed to your heavy lifting if you know what I mean.

So what causes the Stupid Boy Trick behavior? Is it testosterone? Is it a compulsion? A need to exhibit, preen or mark territory? I have no idea but if it wasn’t for SBT, there would be 12,850 less “kicked in the balls/nuts” videos on YouTube so I suppose you could make an argument banning SBT’s would be to the betterment of society.

But I’m not so sure. I mean after Midnight Margarita Madness parties, if you didn’t have these videos to look at, what would you do? Stop traffic with your cutting wit?

Bah Humbug Macy*s!

You may or may not have heard this but the movie “The Miracle on 34th Street” just became real. Sort of.

I’m sure everyone has seen that classic movie or at least the remake. Here are the cliff notes: Santa Claus gets a job as the holiday Santa at Coles Department store in New York City. Smart, mouthy child doesn’t believe. Santa loses job on trumped up charges. Lawyers have to prove Santa is real. They do, kid believes, happiness ensues. The end.”

I think we all know that the fictional Cole’s Department store is Macy’s. They are the one with the huge Thanksgiving parade in New York City each year. Well, in our very own city of San Francisco, Macy’s is at it again. They fired Santa. Santa John has been the Macy’s Santa at their Union Square store for twenty years and they canned him. Why? Because a couple of old people with no sense of humor complained about a joke he told.

What was this joke? Well first, let me say they were sitting on his lap at the time. Not that there is anything wrong with that but Santa wasn’t yelling “PENIS!” or “WHORE” at the top of his lungs to passers by. Santa wasn’t flashing. Santa wasn’t drunk. Santa was doing his job. A pair of adults in their seventies, sat on Santa’s lap of their own volition.

When asked about his patter to adults, Santa John replied “When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they’ve been good and they say, ‘Yes,’ I say, ‘Gee, that’s too bad.’ Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it’s because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live.”

Well Mr. and Mrs. Grinch asked the jolly question and got the jolly answer. They were incensed. Umm, what was so bad with what he said? They COMPLAINED about THAT?! These people should be beaten with a fruitcake and never be allowed to talk to Santa again. Honestly, it’s bad enough these people are so mean-spirited but what is worse is that Macy’s would fire their employee of twenty years (who has been using these same adult jokes that long) over one annoying couples whining.

I am pleased to say that the awesome pub, Lefty O’Doul’s, has offered Santa John a job. I say everyone should go there to see Santa and while you’re at it, if you have any spare change to spend on presents, do NOT spend them at Macy’s. There are other stores that are far more deserving of your hard earned dollar.

The Reason The People In The Midwest Are Going To Die Before The Rest Of Us

Today for Whack-A-Doodle Wednesday I thought I would talk about food. Why? Why not. The holidays are here and it’s near impossible to avoid the egg nog lattes, boxes of Sees candy and my personal favorite, Beef Stick from Hickory Farms. Mmmmmmmmm beeeeffff stiiiiccckkkkkk.

As I was ruminating on the state of holiday food, I started thinking about American eating habits in general. I know that America is fat. Face it, Americans love their food. Now there is nothing wrong with food. I love food but what I have a problem with is crap. Processed, sugar laden, chemical coasted stuff that disguises itself as food. No wonder people are getting larger and larger. Look what they are eating!

To be fair, Minnesota ranked 30 out of the 50 states for Fattest people in the US of A. The largest state is Mississippi. However, the South and the Mid-west still have the big people. When I came upon this list, courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair website, it gave me pause and also made me a little queezy. These are not all the food offerings, these are just the ones that come on a stick. And an artery cloggin’ stick it is.. deep fried, with mayo. And CHEESE!

Alligator sausage on-a-stick
Batter dipped deep fried fruit on-a-stick
Batter dipped deep fried hot dogs on-a-stick
Batter dipped, deep fried candy bars on-a-stick (Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeer),
Battered deep fried cheese curds on-a-stick
Blackened cajun steak-on-a-stick
Bull Bites (blackened tenderloin tips with horseradish sauce) on-a-stick
Butterscotch cake (cream filled dipped in butterscotch) on-a-stick
Caramel apples on-a-stick
Catfish on-a-stick
Chicken on-a-stick
Chocolate chip cookie batter dipped, deep fried and served on-a-stick
Chocolate covered cheesecake on-a-stick
Cotton candy on-a-stick
Deep fried pickles on-a-stick
Deep fried Spudsters on-a-stick
Deep fried twinkies on-a-stick
Dixie wings on-a-stick
Expresso on-a-stick cookies
Fried Swiss cheese on-a-stick
Frozen grapes on-a-stick
Frozen key lime pie dipped in chocolate on-a-stick
Fudge puppies (a Belgium waffle on-a-stick dipped in swiss chocolate)
Grilled pork chop on-a-stick
Hot dago on-a-stick
Ice cream on-a-stick
Leg of lamb (marinated on-a-stick)
Macaroni and cheese on a stick
Meatball on-a-stick
Nut rolls made on site (peanut, pecan, cashew) may be dipped in chocolate and served on-a-stick
Oriental lemon chicken on-a-stick
Pancake wrapped around sausage on-a-stick
Pizza on-a-stick
Porcupine meatballs on-a-stick (wild rice and ground pork)
Pretzels on-a-stick with cheese
Puff Daddy on a stick
Rocky Road scones on-a-stick (caramel, chocolate, marshmallow)
Rueben on-a-stick
Scotch Eggs on-a-stick (hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, deep fried),
Sloppy Joes on-a-stick
Spaghetti and meat balls on-a-stick
Taffy pop on-a-stick
Tater tot hot dish on-a-stick with cream of mushroom dipping sauce
Veggies deep fried on-a-stick
Walleye on-a-stick
Wild game on-a-stick

After reading that list of artery clogging death, I didn’t feel so bad about that cup of holiday cheer. I thought it was fine to have a couple pieces of candy or a slice of pie. I can even put a dollop of whipped cream on that pie as long as I promise to stay away from deep fried taffy pop on a stick.

Oh, and Denny’s Fried Cheese Melt on the $4 menu. What’s that? It’s four breaded cheese sticks stuffed inside a grilled American cheese sandwich served with french fries and red sauce for “dipping”. Listed calorie counts are 895 for the sandwich, 1,400 if you eat the fries as well. Yeah, as a Christmas gift to yourself, stay out of Denny’s and eat those cookies at the office. You will be better off in the long run.

Is it Open Season on Bikers Yet?

(In the aftermath of NaNoWriMo, I have been doing final edits on my book from last year. This Monday I am featuring a classic column from last year. It’s a topic that still gives me facial twitches.)

Yesterday I was cleaning and playing Rock Band because that’s what you do when you don’t go outside. Today I am doing some editing, learning some new software packages to make myself more attractive to a potential employer, worshipping Steve Jobs as the God he is and drinking a Raspberry Woodchuck Cider. So life is good.

My Mom called. She heard what I said about birthdays as a kid and wanted to let everyone know that we weren’t destitute when I was growing up and she didn’t make my sister and I share a birthday cake. Here is the conversation:

Mom: Your sister and I have a correction. You never had to share a birthday cake.
Me: Yes we did.
Mom: No you didn’t. Your sister doesn’t remember that and neither do I. You did have a combination cake for graduation.
Me: No, we were on Heather Drive. It was chocolate cake with chocolate frosting and white lettering.
Mom: You are making it up.
Me: I am not. I remember it. It was in the kitchen.
Mom: How old were you?
Me: I don’t know. 2nd or 3rd grade.
Mom: Nadine doesn’t remember. 3rd grade? Your sister wasn’t even born then!
Me: YES SHE WAS! She is 4 years younger than me. If I was in 3rd grade, she would have been in Kindergarten. Look I don’t care if you don’t remember it, I do.
Mom: Why do you have to tell everyone?
Me (in my head) Wait till the book comes out. (out loud) It’s what I do.

Welcome to my family.

My family is great, honestly. They have been very supportive, honestly. The fact that my Mom is not reading this because I have the mouth of a sailor on shore leave is perfectly fine with me. In fact I chewed her ear off for nearly an hour ranting about my latest pet peeve, obnoxious bikers.

First let me say I am not talking about motorcycles, so all the Hells Angels, leather clad weekend warriors and other bike enthusiasts can stand down. Nor am I talking about professional cyclists such as the ones I follow during the Amgen Bike Tour. I am talking about the Bay Area, Self-Important, Holier than Thou, Entitlement Minded, Selfish, A-Hole bike riders. You know which ones I am talking about.

You see them every day in the City. They are the ones full of the self-important, too-cool-for-school vibe. They refuse to obey any of the rules of the road. They speed through red lights at intersections, they cut off cars and pedestrians alike, they ride on the sidewalk, they run into your vehicle and assault your property because it’s your fault your “fossil fuel, pollution spewing assault on Mother Nature” car has the audacity to be on the same street they are on let alone be in the place they want to ride. Yeah, it’s my fault that you ran into my car and you won’t pay for any damage you caused. You will just scream, spit, harass and then try to arrest ME?! Did I just fall down a rabbit hole?

You did if you are in San Francisco. You see, there is a monthly event dedicated to insanity called Critical Mass and it gives the rest of the nation another reason to laugh at us. Critical Mass is a leaderless, awareness protest the last Friday of every month. While other cities seem to be able to deal with this type of event due in part to considerate cyclists, the event in San Francisco is pure anarchy. A great many cyclists refuse to obey traffic rules, hit cars, pedestrians, cause damage, curse and behave like a bunch of buffoons and of course, the police don’t do a thing. Even if the offense happens right in front of them. I can’t blame the San Francisco Police Department really, they have the lowest case resolution rate in the State, have been plagued with corruption issues and just don’t seem to have the energy or balls to actually apprehend law breakers. If you think it’s just me being a pill, let’s hear from someone else.

Matthew posted this on the new SFCriticalMass blog: “Friday was the first time that I actually encountered Critical Mass. I was leaving work and I tried unsuccessfully many times to simply cross the street (I was walking). I finally just went for it, when I was knocked by a cyclist. I yelled “excuse me, pedestrians have the right away!” Four cyclists stopped and proceeded to yell “F%$K YOU.” over and over again. One got off his bike and said “what are you going to do?” He got back on his bike and called me a “F%$king Pu$$y”. I managed to cross the street and see several of the cyclists kicking cars that were trying to cross the street with the light. These people should not be allowed to break traffic laws and disrupt traffic the way they do. I was assaulted physically and verbally. Something needs to be done.”

Something needs to be done indeed Matthew. I’m all for supporting bike riding and driving less but this is a totally different animal. These bikers need to learn some manners and this self-entitlement attitude just needs to stop.

Hell, I can’t even go to a wine tasting without running into them, literally. You see them all over the wine country. The lanes of Sonoma are full of them. They take up the entire road, forcing you to poke along at 10 miles an hour. They do this on roads that were designed for automobiles and paid for with my tax dollars. I don’t mind sharing the road but I resent them taking up the entire thing and daring me to run them down. Guess what? I just might do that. Open Season doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea right now. It’s a way of culling the herd. We are overpopulated anyway.

I know there are considerate bikers out there just like there are considerate smokers but this is frustrating. These bikers are the equivalent of PETA or the people that protest shit and have no idea what they are protesting like the ones who protested water.

Haven’t heard of that? Oh, this is a doozy! Penn & Teller had a pretty girl circulate a petition to ban DiHydrogen Monoxide. This garnered hundreds of signatures without one person knowing exactly what it was they wanted to ban. They were told, truthfully, the side effects from mass ingestion of DHMO include excessive sweating, excessive urination, and vomiting among other things. Nuclear plants use this, as do chemical plants, Styrofoam companies and farmers spray this in your food. Your babies ingest this for crying out loud! What is it? Di (two) Hydrogen and Monoxide (1 oxygen) is what? Yes, H2O. Water. They signed a petition to ban water!

This started in 1989 at UC Santa Cruz as a joke to illustrate how if something sounds scary, people will think It is regardless of the facts. Are we dumbasses? Sort of but also I think a lot of “socially conscious” people are joiners instead of informed participants. When people just join things without any kind of intellectual buy in, they can turn into dupes at best and rude, invasive, annoying and dangerous asshats at worse. Just like my bikers!

So here is the bottom line, you have no right to damage my property, assault my person or impede my egress on lawful byways that I have paid for. If you cannot share and abide by the same rules I do, you need to have your bike melted down, used for scrap and will have to walk or take public transportation to your destinations. You don’t get a car because if you are that annoying on a bike, I shudder to think what you are like in a Prius.

NaNoWriMo Winner – Extreme Mickey!

So after thirty days of writing, I have assembled over my required 50,000 words to win NaNoWriMo for the second year. This time, I have a first draft in excess of 60,000 words titled “Deirdre Does Disney – An Irreverent Look At The House Of Mouse”. It’s a working title just like this book is a work in progress.

This has now become my November addiction. For me it’s not just “writing the same word 50,000 times or the art of writing total dreck. True, there are some people who can’t write just like there are some people who can’t sing or play a piano or train badgers to do the hula. However the lessons you learn in perseverance, discipline, and the accomplishment you get from reaching your goal or just trying is heads and shoulders over those who just make excuses and give up with no effort.

Will the Mickey book be as interesting as the Squirrel book? Only time will tell. Right now it is pretty rough. There was a time five days into NaNo when I hated everything about it and threw my baby right off a bridge. I just discarded what I wrote and started over from another direction and guess what? I was able to come back to that first section with a new perspective. Do certain things not work? Yup. Are there boring bits or bits that don’t make sense? Sure. Will some of the things I tossed get tossed again? Possibly or they will be re-written. That is the beauty of writing, you have the opportunity to redeem something that was hopeless.

Now what do I do? I finish the last few pages of my draft and put it away. I pick up the Squirrel book and finish the final draft on it. I also start sending out query letters (the bane of my existence because I suck at it) and see if I can get anyone interested in it.

The work never ends but hopefully the reward will be worth it.

Next up – the new look for Mickey in the gaming industry and why I’m excited!