Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How I Did Not Save Christmas

I didn’t draw anything this past week because of Christmas. I did get to climb in a dumpster at work today, though. If this sounds like fun, you need a more stimulating job.

See, a couple of weeks ago I borrowed my roommate’s plastic Christmas platter to take a bunch of cookies to work. The cookies lasted about three hours, and the platter got repurposed for a swanky executive event in another part of the building. I figured it would turn up eventually. A single fried chicken thigh can spend six months in our office fridge unmolested, so nothing terrible could happen to a heavy plastic tray in the ten days before Christmas.

As it turns out, that is not the correct answer.

This morning at work I remembered that I should retrieve that platter before my roommate gets back from her Christmas vacation, so after a cursory but fruitless search, I sent out an inquiry to the staff.

Ten minutes later, a coworker came over to inquire how much the platter cost and where it was purchased.

Apparently, in a pre-holiday cleaning frenzy, the tray was mistaken for a disposable one and purged. And then the trash went out.

Luckily for me, the garbage truck doesn’t hit our neighborhood until Tuesday. All I had to do was fish around a little in the dumpster we share with a few nearby buildings. I was even a little bit excited, since my job does not include a lot of field trips.

The good news is that now I know what the neighbors got for Christmas. The whole top layer of the dumpster was Barbie playset boxes and sacks of wrapping paper, all of which I could reach from the outside. Last week’s office trash was farther down, though, so I glanced at my open-backed shoes and jumped in.

I knew that one of our neighboring businesses dealt with large, feces-rich birds (it seems they board parrots). I did not know that Monday is cage-cleaning day. The shoulder-high mound of discolored, dribbling newspapers convinced me to get out of the dumpster and call my roommate to confess.

She says the tray is not emotionally irreplaceable, so I will not be returning in the wee hours of the morning with hip waders. And my pants should be okay after a couple more washings.

Ultimately, I have emerged with further validation for my policy of never throwing anything away without watertight evidence that I will never need it again. Also, I’m pretty sure I don’t want a parrot.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Popcorn and Stuff

I have spent the day eating day-glo orange cheese popcorn, which a vendor thoughtfully provided for my office. If every staff member were to eat as much of it as I have, we would need about 650% more popcorn.

It’s in one of those big cans with the cardboard divider, so there’s butter flavor and caramel corn as well, but those are clearly inferior products. We also have another can featuring white cheddar popcorn instead of the traditional atomic tangerine. That one is tasty too, but it cannot measure up to the full-on flavor magic chemical onslaught of the orange kind.

I do love Christmas for reasons other than the abundant food, like family and Jesus and hanging jingle bells on things. But it’s definitely the season that most reveals my level of self-control, which is roughly that of an attention-deficit hummingbird on crack. That’s why it only took me 32 hours to get through an entire bag of Reese’s peanut butter-filled chocolate bells, including the 15 hours when I left them at work.

The candy came from my excellent office Secret Santa, who had correctly divined that I am essentially a tall, well-educated eight-year-old. Thanks to her, I also have a new desktop collection of colored pens and things that light up. I acquired these items on a scavenger hunt through the building, featuring rhyming clues and the freezer. It was pretty much the best day ever.

She probably figured out my overall maturity level when she saw me eating a cupcake someone brought for the breakroom. This process requires attention to each of the elements involved.

There’s the frosting, which should be slurped off in one smooth swoop. The cake may be devoured in one bite for the very brave, or in up to five with breaks to lick up the crumbs. Then the paper remains, with its fine coating of concentrated delight. You should skin this off with your teeth, working around the circle and punctuating with noises of pleasure.

I do that last part in the copy room by myself.

In conclusion, here are some more shiny things.

UPDATE: Looking at it in the light of day, I see that this post doesn't make a lot of sense. It's like I just spit up the contents of my brain onto the web and pretended to connect the dots. Then again, that's pretty much what the internet is like as a whole, so I don't feel too bad.

Anyway, sorry about that. If you want, you can try not sleeping for a while and see if that helps. Actually, if you do that, just read the whole site and tell me how it goes. Preliminary research suggests that I get a lot funnier with decreasing brain function.

Monday, December 13, 2010


While checking out at my local yuppie grocery store, I realized that I was buying all the staples of New Age life: edamame, bulk raw seeds, something with tofu, and milk that isn’t milk.

Edamame and pumpkin seeds are delicious, the tofu thing was on sale, and the un-milk was part of an intensive scientific investigation. I am accustomed to drinking skim milk, and when I moved in with my staunchly 2% roommates, I decided to examine all the options since I was buying my own cereal whitener anyway.

I am almost dangerously willing to sample new foods. In my college cafeteria I served as the canary in the mineshaft, informing my friends which offerings were delicious and which might cause them to miss class for a week. That’s how I found out that, when it comes to falafel, texture is everything.

The gently steaming pile of dark tan nuggets did not invite dining so much as a little plastic bag and a trowel. I scooped one onto my plate, where it nestled between the breadcheeks of my emergency backup sandwich. With my tablemates looking on incredulously, I bit into the thing.

It might have tasted good—I couldn’t tell. Any flavor was completely overwhelmed by not only the precise color and shape resemblance to my childhood Basset Hound’s backyard deposits, but also the exact sun-brittle texture of old dog turds in the desert. I had never wondered what it would be like to bite into one of those, and I am not glad to know.

Anyway, the experience still didn’t scare me away from weird food, and the aforementioned yuppie grocery store has a lot of fake milk. I started with vanilla soymilk, which rocks because it’s lightly sweetened for when your chocolate Cheerios aren’t meeting your morning sugar needs.

Then I moved on to vanilla almond milk, which is even sweeter and kind of almond-y. It’s also slightly brown, but if you stick to a chocolate cereal regimen, the color is not too disturbing. This one was so yummy that I started drinking it for dessert, and I bought a second carton the day the first one ran out.

About ten ounces into the half gallon, the bleh threshold hit, and I had to get sweeter cereal to hide the taste.

Next was coconut milk—not the watery stuff inside a coconut, but a shockingly white milk imposter. It felt too thin to be that white, and it tasted more like the chilled spit of someone who had recently been eating coconut cream pie.

During the coconut period, thanks to another sale I picked up a half gallon of dark chocolate almond milk. Even I am not self-destructive enough to put this on cereal, but chocolate definitely goes on the Ice Cream List of foods I always want to be eating.

Apparently, I had conveniently forgotten about the bleh portion of my previous almond milk adventure.

There’s nothing wrong with the actual taste of this beverage, I’m pretty sure. The problem is the scent you notice right before it touches your lips—that whiff of protein that suggests you are not about to taste a refreshing beverage but rather bite into a nicely charred piece of chicken.

It’s the falafel all over again, really, with other senses beating out taste for a lasting impression.

I gave the rest of the carton to my mom. I did warn her beforehand. Also, she has a minimally effective sense of smell and has never even noticed a problem with powdered milk.

Mom says the chickenmilk tastes fine. Personally, I’m thinking of going back to cows.

(P.S. Does your regular, non-yuppie grocery store still have an aisle labeled “New Age Beverage” like mine does? Every time I see this I giggle a little.)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Boom De Yada

This is the latest artwork commissioned for my office.

I keep all this stuff on the network in a file labeled "I'm kind of a jerk," because that pretty well sums up the general tenor of my signs.

It's also why I enjoy making them.

*With apologies to my Girl Scout upbringing, xkcd, and The Discovery Channel