Sunday, December 2, 2012

Violent Peace-loving Hippies

So I had this exchange at work on Friday:

My co-worker (I’ll call her Ilene): Do you have any plans for the weekend?
Me: I’ll probably spend most of Saturday in Berkeley.
Ilene: Don’t get stabbed.
Me: I’m going to Berkeley, not Oakland.
Ilene: They don’t like the military in Berkeley.  Those hippies will stab you.
Me: …

Of course I relayed this exchange to the friends I was going to see.  About half of them went nearly apoplectic with laughter and another put that comment in the top 10 dumbest things he’s ever heard.  People in Berkeley are pretty dedicated to their “Live and Let Live” philosophy.  I could ride a tricycle down University Blvd dressed like a character from Rocky Horror while singing the best of Queen and receive nothing more threatening than an appreciative fist bump.  Possibly, if I went walking around in full service dress, I might attract a few protesters.  However, all I’d have to do is walk past an ethnic vegan restaurant and I’d be rid of them in no time.  “Get our troops out of Afghanistan!  Ooh look, that Himalayan place is all vegetarian and gluten-free.”

We demand that the Vegan Ethiopian Cafe also have a varied selection of craft beer.

(If you pictured Frank N. Furter singing Fat Bottomed Girls on that tricycle, you get a point.  You should probably keep track of those.  There might me more.)

Lesson 10: Those hippies will not stab you.

Monday, November 19, 2012

There's Nothing Like Free Bacon

Right now I am eating free take-out bacon in a Super 8 somewhere in Arizona half drunk with road fatigue.  So of course now is a good time to post a blog.  I'm not even sure where I am right now.  I can narrow it down to somewhere east of Phoenix and west of Tuscon.

This little 1200 mile excursion is just a practice run for my January cross-country tour.  I'll be driving from San Francisco to Nashville, visiting friends and family on the way and seeing part of the country before I move to England.  Oh, did I not mention that yet?  Yep, I'll be living in Suffolk, UK for about 4 years.  This may turn into a travelblog while I explore Europe.  Deal with it.  I'm going to drink Scotch in Scotland and Jameson in Ireland and wine in France and you're going to hear about it.

But back to my current road trip.  What the hell is wrong with people driving sports cars like they're geriatric stoners?  Drive your Corvette like it's a goddam Corvette!  I should not pass you in my 6 year old Focus.

And, yes, I checked my hotel room for bedbugs.  Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

Lesson 9: When your vision goes all wibbly wobbly, it's definitely time to go to sleep.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Comcast Hates Puppies!

I’m convinced that Comcast/Xfinity trains their customer service reps to be as unhelpful as possible.  I’m an expert on the subject…I spoke with three of them yesterday and two last week.
Thank you for calling Comcast!  How may I help you today?

Somehow I found myself paying more for cable and internet than I would pay for cable, internet, and a phone.  I called customer service and eventually found myself a supervisor who could make it happen.  End of story, or so I thought…

I arrived home from work yesterday to find a package on my porch.  Hmm…what is this? I didn’t order anything recently.  Is it a surprise?  I love surprizes!  Nope.  It was a new modem from Comcast.  I’m already suspicious of those weasels and now they’re sending me unexpected packages in the mail.  How much are they going to try and charge me for this modem?

I hop on the Comcast website hoping that I can have a quick chat with a rep and resolve everything before dinner.  Ha!  As if!  Though I did find out that the modem was triggered by upgrading my service to include a phone (which I told the original rep that I had no intention of using).  And then the shitty online rep signed off without actually fixing anything.

So now I get to call customer service.  In the dark.  Because it’s Halloween and I don’t want to give candy to my shitty neighbors who trick or treat well into their 30’s without costumes!  That’s called begging where I’m from.  At least try.  Wear a cape and call yourself a vampire.  Paint your face like a zombie.  Whatever.  Just don’t put a sheet over your head and go as a ghost.  That won’t fly in my neighborhood.  You might get shot.
Pictured: What not to do.

So I called customer service.  I spoke with a very very soft-spoken woman with a tremulous grasp of the English language who told me there was a $15 shipping fee for this modem.  Despite the fact that I neither want nor need a new modem, didn’t ask for a new modem, and wasn’t told I would be getting a new modem, the tiny (I imagine her tiny) Asian lady told me she couldn’t reverse the charge.   “That’s fine,” I said, still in the mood to be reasonable, “just connect me to a supervisor who can.”  Instead, she explained to me that I needed the new modem to use my new phone service.

“But I don’t want phone service!  I just want to stop getting violated every month when my cable bill comes.  I want to use my old modem and pay realistic fees for your services.”  Again, I suggested a supervisor might be the best option here.  So she continues asking me questions!  “I’m gonna go ahead and stop you right there to let you know that I’m only going to say the word ‘supervisor’ until you connect me with one.”

“Is there anything else I can do for you today?”


“How was my service?”


And so I get put on hold for way too long.  Because I’m not angry enough and they’d like to get me good and pissed off before completing the transfer.

Now the supervisor tells me the same nonsense about needing the modem for my new phone service.  BUT I DON’T WANT FRIGGIN PHONE SERVICE!!!!  I want cable and internet and I don’t want to get raped for it.”  He finally tells me that as a “one-time courtesy” he’ll reverse the delivery charge and I can return the modem.  Hell fucking no!  “You’ll reverse the charge this time and any other time you send me something without my authorization.  You can’t just send people things and charge them if they didn’t ask for you to send them things.”

So they did reverse the charge and take the modem back.  After I yelled at two people.
Comcast wants to kick these guys in their furry little heads.  And they hate America.

Lesson 7: Comcast is the best!  Tell your enemies.
Lesson 8: The Comcast customer service reps don’t have the ability to hang up the phone on you.  This could prove useful later.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Bye Awful August; Hello Serendipitous September

If you read my last post, you know August was kind of a bust.  September, however, is looking up.

This past Friday I went out for burgers and pie with a friend.  I usually get custard pie.  It’s one of the few places I’ve found where you can always get it.  Friday, though, I felt like changing it up a little and ordered coconut cream.  When I got to my table with my food, I looked and saw not coconut, but chocolate cream pie.  Oh no!  They got my order wrong!  I hate that.  But I took a second to think…what’s the worst that can happen if I don’t send the pie back?  I eat a slice of delicious chocolate pie?  Well fuck me, that sounds pretty damn good!  So I honeybadgered on and ate the fuck out of that chocolate pie.

And so started the trend of saying “to hell with it!” and going with the flow.

Next, after a weekend of camping, I suggested to my friend that we stop for food somewhere between the site and my house.  I actually was in the mood for In & Out Burger, but my friend suggested the Jack in the Box just down the road.  Fuck it!  Let’s go to Jack in the Box.  We wound up running in to a guy from the camping event and hung out for a while.  Now I have plans to go camping again next weekend.  (and he’s promised me craft beer and bourbon!)

But wait!  It gets better!

On Friday, my camping buddy asked about our plans for Sunday.  I just needed to deliver some cupcakes and pick up some brewing supplies, but otherwise just needed to make time to eat.  “My brother does sound for various touring musicians,” my friend said to me.  And so that’s how I wound up backstage at a Willie Nelson concert looking at nude pictures of the sound guy’s wife.  Yep, that happened.

Rule 6: Say yes like a honeybadger.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

I Call Do-Over on August

August was not kind to me.

First, a visit from my former best friend turned into an inferno of suck when he started acting like a giant douchecanoe so I put his ass back on a plane to Texas.  We haven’t spoken since.  He behaved like so much of a jerk that our friendship is beyond repair.  We’re not friends who are arguing; we’re no longer friends.

Right before I sent him packing, we were in Lake Tahoe for a couple of days where I apparently I laid down in the Unholy Lair of Bloodsucking Fiends.  Go do a quick Google image search for “bedbug bites.”  I’ll wait here.  Back?  I looked far worse than anything you just viewed.  Stress and anger kept the reaction down for a few days, but when it hit it was all at once and miserable.
This is what I imagine was happening while I slept

I painted my body with Caladryl and took 50mg of Benedryl before going to bed only to wake up four hours later itching like mad.  50 more of Benedryl and four and a half hours of sleep and I’m up again now with enough bites on my face that my right eyelid is swollen enough to partially obstruct my vision.  My doctor’s office offered to see me in two weeks.  Luckily I work in a clinic and they offered to see me in two hours.  I walked in and an ER Physician’s first words to me were, “You’re getting seen for that today, right?”  No one I worked with…doctors, nurses, EMTs, Public Health…had ever seen a case of bedbugs that bad.  I got a steroid injection on the spot and a bottle of Prednisone to take home.

My hands were so swollen I couldn’t even cook dinner for myself.  I had a filet mignon (that I was going to cook for the douchenugget) thawed out in the refrigerator but all I could manage to pull together was mac and cheese from a box.  It was a miserable several days until the itching subsided.
My friends yelled at me for not calling them to bring me real food.

A week later, my cat got sick.

Now I have to pay for cat ultrasounds and cat lab tests and cat antibiotics.  Super.  And it’s the shitty cat I don’t care about.  Awesome.  Three vet visits and $600 later, she’s all, “I don’t know what you were worried about.  I’m totes fine now.”  My cat’s a teenaged girl.  And kind of a bitch.
This is what my cat would look like as a person.

Shitty work drama ensues.  I won’t bore you with the details, but know that much obnoxiousness was afoot in my workplace.
Someone even came after my Rio Red Swingline stapler.  No lie.

Finally, August 31 was my birthday.  It’s been a horrid month.  Surely things will look up on my birthday.  It’s my birthday!  Nope.  My friends all bail on game night because they didn’t realize it was my birthday…understandable since I’d had my party three weeks earlier when my shitty ex-friend was in town.  No problem.  I’ll just walk to the Italian place around the corner and have a beer and some pasta…maybe some cheesecake for dessert, and then I’ll come home and watch some Dexter on my laptop.  But that was not to be…
That's probably every patrol car in town.

While I was waiting for my food, a dude came in acting erratically and going back and forth to the bathroom.  I thought about calling the cops but he came and sat down a few feet from me.  Instead, I scoped out the place to see who would be useful if we needed to subdue this guy.  Military training, HUA!  Meanwhile, my food comes and I take one delicious bite of my fettuccine alfredo before a half dozen police storm in, some with assault rifles, all with weapons drawn.  They yell, “Get out!  Get out!  Get out!” so I do.  Fuck.  All I wanted to do was to have a nice quiet dinner on my birthday.  Dammit.

So yeah, any month that starts with losing a friend and ends with a SWAT team interrupting my birthday dinner can suck it.
Happy Birthday!  Now get on the ground!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I just want you to want me; I don’t need you to need me.

…And if you need me to need you, you’re barking up the wrong damn tree. 

Years ago, I learned that if you rely too much on a man, one day you’ll find yourself out in the cold trying to build a life from scratch.  And it fucking sucks.  I stayed far too long with someone who was toxic largely because I was young and madly in love, but also partly because if I left, where would I go?
 I never wanted to find myself there again, so eventually I found myself on my current career trajectory.  And I’m good at it.  Promotions are coming faster than predicted and I’m damn good at what I do.  I’ve worked hard to get where I am and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.  I visited four motherfucking continents last year for work.  I have a two bedroom house with wood floors, a basement, and a washer and dryer.  I have investments bitches.
Trouble is, men like to see themselves in the rescuer/protector role.  They want to be the provider.  They want to ride in like Prince Charming to rescue the damsel in distress.  Above all else, they do NOT want to be rescued themselves.  No matter how dire their situation or how far a simple helping hand can help them reach their own goals.  Some men would rather go down in flames than accept help from a woman who was once in their shoes.

Well fuck those guys.  I’m not giving up my independence for a dude again and I'm not apologizing for being successful.  I like going to a restaurant or movie by myself.   I’ve had a great time in Vegas alone.  Maybe next time I’m due for a vacation, I’ll see New York, or London, or maybe I’ll run a marathon in Australia or Hawaii by myself.  Who knows?  Perhaps I’ll even brush up on my German and head to Berlin?  Achtung  baby!