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August 24, 2007

I got it from my mama

Following is a piece of electronic communication I received today from Ma Nugget. The subject line was "Nugget, where you at?"

Whassup, boo?

I don’t wanna get all up in you grill, but shoo man—I need to hear from you!

OOOOh, that was ridiculous.

Let me know what your plans are.

Love,

Yo mamma

I responded with this piece of music from Will.I.Am: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APHm8DbYkL0

August 19, 2007

Chicken + waffles = crazy delicious

I had a guest in town this weekend so my local friend took us to Los Angeles. We did the normal things, i.e. ate some burritos, cruised down Santa Monica Boulevard singing the eponymous Sheryl Crow song, went celebrity hunting (mission: unsuccessful), checked out the Walk of Fame and tried not to get shot.

But we also did something extraordinary. We went to an eatery that had culinary delights beyond our wildest dreams. I have but three and a half words for you: Roscoe's Chicken 'n Waffles.

Before we entered this gastronomical mecca, I tried to imagine what was in store for us. Chicken-flavored waffles? Waffle-stuffed chicken? Chicken-shaped waffles? As the waitress passed out menus she scootched us down the ratty leather booth with her sizable derrière and asked, "What's poppin' babies?" The name stitched on her uniform read Mama Ella.

I ordered the obvious choice. One piece of chicken. One waffle. Stat.

I tucked into my treat and felt as if joy fireworks were erupting in my mouth. What a supreme idea. Breakfast and dinner. Grains and meat. Carbs and protein. Sweet and savory. Delicious and nutritious. It was, by far, the best part of LA and the only reason I will return if given the chance.

August 16, 2007

Dude Ranch

When I was making moving arrangements this spring I foolishly chose a place where the lease ended Aug. 15. I would use the end date as a negotiating chip to weasel myself into a job, I figured—something in the vein of, “Why don’t you make it worth it for me to find a new, long-term lease?” Or, if I had decided I didn’t want to stay (as ended up being the case) I figured I could just crash with one of my adoring coworkers for the balance of the summer.

Finding myself with neither a desire to stay nor a bevy of couch offers, I hesitantly returned to the services of that loathsome man Craig and his list, who was the arbitrator of my horrid living situation with the two ladies on whom I’ve expended much binary code. To my delight, however, it didn’t take me long to find a furnished place in a nice part of town that would charge me but $10 per diem. Perfect.

Yesterday I rushed home (as much as one can rush when reliant on public transportation) to hastily finish lobbing my worldly possessions in any container I could find. When I walked in the door I saw a piece of paper on the table that usually hosts my mail. “Awww!” I thought to myself. “They’ve put all our differences aside and written me a goodbye note!”

“Leave a check for $41.50 to cover the electricity and cable bill,” it read.

My one friend came to pick me up, and two trips later I was installed in my new abode. Well, sort of. Everything I own is currently piled in a corner of the living room because the room I was supposed to occupy currently holds three men. There are two others sharing another bedroom. I’m living in a dude ranch.

But I’m more than OK with camping out on the futon because they’re all exceptionally nice (and attractive) young gentlemen. It was quite bizarre to have conversation with real, live human beings in my home after so many months of all my social interaction occurring via phone. I might just enjoy my last week here. Fancy that.

August 9, 2007

Bite me

Every morning for the past week I’ve awoken with a new bite somewhere on my vast expanse of skin. These painful, itchy red welts the size of a raindrop always show up in the most infuriating places: in the middle of my wrist where my palm meets my arm, on my big toe joint bone, on my shoulder where it’s impossible to reach, right below my right eye, etc.

I want to know two things.

  1. nightmaring?

It’s probably a spider or fruit fly, but I’ve been amusing myself during this slow news day by imagining my new enemy is this or this.

August 7, 2007

As seen on the trolley:

The man seated across the aisle was wearing a gray cotton shin-length house coat with a high collar and gray skinny jeans, pink flip flops and a fake rose nestled at his neck. His dirty hands were tipped with long fingernails painted slightly silver and held a pair of heeled sandals. His dreadlocks were piled and pinned atop his head.

His hands twirled and gestured like a flamenco dancer’s as he conducted imaginary conversations. The ferrety woman seated across from him huddled in the corner, determinedly avoiding the awkwardness of a wayward glance being construed as proffered friendship.

Trolley police boarded to check that everyone had paid. The man held out a tattered Metro card, which had clearly expired—perhaps months ago. The police must have said something to this effect (I had my earbuds in) because he launched into an explanation of how he was on his way to court to stand trial for the same offense.

Then it made sense: his imagined soliloquy had been him practicing the testimony he would give to the judge. The skeptical officers decided it wasn’t worth a fight and let it slide. The man joined his hands as if in prayer and bowed deeply to them. As they walked on he could hardly contain himself, fluttering his arms and stroking his face with those long nails, struggling for composure.

Suddenly he took a crocheted, cream-colored sweatshirt from his messenger bag and held it up as he turned to me, asking, “Do you shop at Bebe?”

“No, I’ve never been there.”

“They’re having a sale right now.”

He then got up, exiting the train at the stop before mine. I watched him as he switched to the heeled sandals, walking primly down the street with all the delicacy of a debutante.

August 6, 2007

Defeat is mine

She won.

I broke the silence.

I returned from an afternoon at the beach and the grocery store yesterday and headed to the kitchen to unload my booty (get it? Because I’m a Truth Pirate?) even though rustling and clanging announced her presence in the very room. Bolstered by a conversation I had just had with my chauffer to these locales, I went into the fiery gates of the kitchen thinking, “This is getting a wee bit ridiculous. I think about this all the time. Why don’t I just ask her the reason for all this beeyotchery?”

I had to walk past her to get into the narrow corridor that is home to my sole cupboard. With a friendly smile plastered to my face I shyly said, “excuse me,” expecting at least a little bit of eye contact. Instead she flattened her girth against the wall and looked determinedly to the ground, violently returning to whatever organizational task she had commenced before I had upset the chi of the house by entering.

I started unloading my plastic bags (themselves an egregious offense—my roommates had told me emphatically at the beginning of my stay that they only used cloth grocery bags so as to do their part for the environment), steeling myself for a confrontation. Then a note tacked to the wall above the sink caught my eye. I read it with the uncomfortable knowledge of her knowledge that I was reading it.

“Please squeeze out the sponge when you are done using it,” it read. “Leaving it wet will result in mold. Also return it to the cup, as leaving it in the sink results in the same problem.”

The note defeated any courage I had had in commencing my verbal affront. I retreated to my room and began chatting with my co-Truth Pirate, Wink, about the latest battle in Roommate Wars 2007. She convinced me that it was not too late; the time was now. She also offered the brilliant suggestion that I record the conversation.

My mp3 player tucked surreptitiously into the right pocket of my hooded sweatshirt, I gathered my courage and knocked on the door.

Apparently the reason she has not spoken to me for the past 41 days is because I didn’t clean the bathroom. Apparently I was supposed to guess that this was what she wanted. Apparently when she told me in mid-June that she was starting a new job and wouldn’t be able to “clean up after me” anymore when I left one bowl in the sink while the dishwasher ran was the extent of her maturity when it came to household manners. Henceforth I was supposed to have relied on clairvoyance.

After she told me about how hurt she was I never inquired about her new job (with which I countered her silence on such subjects as my birthday, an illness in my family, um… a gigantic BRIDGE collapsing two blocks away from my old apartment), she turned to friendly banter, quizzing me with a quickfire obnoxiousness about my next job I had forgotten she possessed in this month and a half of silence. I backed slowly out of her room before escaping back into my cave.

I have a feeling I’m going to look back on my quiet time with fondness.

Eavesdropping

In response to this article (an excerpt of which is reprinted below)...
TIJUANA, Mexico (AP) -- Jorge Hank Rhon brags about drinking tequila mixed with bear bile and steeped with the penises of tigers, lions and dogs. He has weathered allegations of ties to drug trafficking, money laundering and murder-for-hire.
...the following conversation ensued in my office:

"I would never brag about that, about drinking tequila laced with snake penis."

"Snakes don’t have penises."

"Of course they do. The eggs drop down like with birds. And then they get fertilized."

"Birds don’t have penises."

"Birds and bees have to have penises. Otherwise why would there be that song?"

(murmurs of assent)

"Do fish have penises?"

August 3, 2007

Popularity comes with a price

For the past two months I’ve been bemoaning my lack of companionship since I moved. Since Tuesday, however, it seems my luck has changed. And I don’t know how I feel about it.

It all started when I was in the airport waiting for my flight to take me back to this cursed place. The businessman sitting next to me asked me to watch his luggage whilst he relieved himself (I know, I know… he could have had a bomb in it and then I would have been an accomplice to terrorism), and when he got back he struck up a conversation with me about the media.

Then he segued into a story about how he was flying home to see his father on his deathbed before he “passed on.” And yet, he offered to give me a ride home, 20 or so minutes out of his way. Along with the fact that I would hate to prevent him from catching his father’s life force in a jar, his head smelled funny and he wore socks with sandals so I decided I couldn’t trust him.

I moved on to my next friend, Mark, who was seated next to me in Row 30. Mark is a Jostens sales rep. He got married a year ago and his wife is nine months pregnant with a girl they will name McKenzie Rose. He’s the oldest of seven children and his next-oldest brother is his best friend. He lives in a condo he bought with his uncle. He had to buy an aisle seat because he’s 6’5 and most of his height is in his legs. Want to know how he proposed? Where he went to school? Where he’s been on vacation? His feelings about button-down shirts? I am now a Mark-pert and I can answer anything you’d ever want to know about it.

After the plane landed I bid Mark farewell and scurried out of the terminal as to avoid Monsieur Creepy and hopped into an airport shuttle filled with ladies from all over the country in town for a mothers of twins convention. The woman next to me, a local artist named Therese, was not part of this bunch. She has just been in Oakland to visit some friends. She took pity on my “alone in this godforsaken place” life story and told me she’d take me to some art galleries, slipping me her card before she de-shuttled. She called my office yesterday, telling my coworker she had met me on Cloud 9 (the name of the shuttle service). So this coworker has no choice but to assume I’ve fallen in love with an older lady I just met.

I thought perhaps the plane had created some sort of friend-attracting aura around my being that would wear off once I was no longer officially in transit, but my trolley ride home the next night proved me wrong. Three strapping Italian students sat in the empty seats around me, engaging me in conversation about a trick they were playing on one of their friends. They were switching out a green-colored gum for wasabi they had pilfered from a sushi restaurant. “You can’t eat it,” they said with glee. “It hurt. Much pain.”

When they departed they were replaced by a 60-something-year-old man with a handlebar mustache wearing a USS Nevada cap and holding what looked very much like a gun in orange packaging. He caught me staring at it. “It’s a gun,” he said, patting the plastic packaging. “It’s a small one, but it can do some damage. It’s not cheap.” I avoided eye contact has he stroked the firearm, positioning it so everyone on the train could see his new toy. I fled the train when it reached my stop, only to bump into a 6-foot transvestite, his muscles bulging in his tanktop, his ass hanging out of his skirt and a crappy blonde wig perched atop his head.

Tired of my newfound popularity, I sped home, trying not to look anyone in the eye.