Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Have Some Candy

I might be the teensiest bit anal retentive.

I work at the front desk in my office, which puts me in charge of the candy jar. I have plenty of prior training for this job responsibility, thanks to my lifelong social skills compensation technique of offering people sweets as an inducement to like me.

I am also thoroughly provisioned because the nearby yuppie grocery store sells saltwater taffy in individual bins, so I can count out an equal number of each flavor.

It’s important to ensure proper flavor distribution in the jar, so I sort out all the taffy into little piles on the desk and then layer them in. One of my coworkers caught me in the middle of this process last week.

You can’t let all the strawberry ones end up on the bottom.

Come to think of it, this compulsion toward order is probably behind my inability to appreciate the “shuffle” feature of my MP3 player.

When I finally get tired of listening to the Muppet Movie album on repeat, shuffle always sounds like a great option. But then every song that plays reminds me of two or three more I want to hear. The buildup of music options is compounded by uncertainty: With 8 gigs of music, it could be weeks before I get around to “Uptown Girl.” Worse yet, what if I change my settings in a moment of weakness and disrupt the shuffle cycle? Then it’ll start replaying stuff I’ve already listened to, and my thirst for '80s falsetto will lie unquenched amid the horde of other songs stabbing at me all over.

It’s a lot of pressure.

TANGENT: I also get anxious around comic strips that repeat the same word a lot of times for effect, because I have to read it all thirty times even though I’m aware that that’s stupid. Panels like this take me ten minutes in case I missed one:

Luckily, I’ve discovered a solution to the music attack problem. My player lets me run through all the songs in alphabetical order, irrespective of artist or album. The effect is a lot like shuffle because “Babylon” is followed by “Back in the USSR,” but I can feel secure in the knowledge that I will eventually get to everything that’s on there.

This method is also good for discovering that I have three different copies of “Hakuna Matata.” The only down side is that now I want to make graphs of which letters are most common for starting song titles.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Parking Lots

This is me in the wee hours of Saturday morning, running laps around my car in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

From what I hear, the party I had just left continued for three or four more hours, though I can’t imagine why because the cheese crisps had run out. My ability to sit still without falling asleep had also run out, which is why I pulled in to Wal-Mart for some crash-prevention calisthenics.

This negligible energy boost did not last me all the way home, though, and I ended up mumbling memory drills out loud like Hawkeye Pierce with a concussion.


This is me on Saturday evening, dashing furtively across the dark grocery store parking lot with a glass bottle of amber liquid stuffed in my coat.

I had rushed into the store for something legitimate like orange juice and emerged with a bottle of hazelnut flavoring syrup instead. Plastic bags will likely play into the coming apocalypse, so I just swept out the door clutching my prize. I really wanted to taste it on the way home, but I really didn’t want to explain to the cops that my big weekend plans featured an instant Folger’s latte and four hours of sci-fi TV on NetFlix in my kitchen.


This is me after work on Wednesday, flattening other people’s moist cardboard boxes to make room in my apartment complex’s recycling bin for more than just a single-family supply of Orange Crush cases.

This is the concerned citizen who pulled up behind me to monitor my suspicious activity.


NOTE: Those of you who follow me on Facebook may recall a statement I made about this week’s post not containing butts. Looks like I was wrong on that one.

Monday, April 11, 2011

You can't pass inspection with pieces left behind

Do you ever stop and realize that somewhere in this country there are rooms full of people discussing which euphemisms it's okay to use in toilet paper commercials?
Marketer: "How about 'breakthrough'? Can we say 'This product reduces breakthrough'?"

Other Marketer: "Sounds better than 'streaks.' Go try it on the Squirm Panel and see if they can handle hearing that in the middle of Dancing with the Stars."

Marketing Intern: "Does this run before or after that fungus commercial where they lift off the toenails?"
Anyway, I'm sorry if you're eating or something. This might help.

Friday, April 8, 2011


I took French in high school and again in college. This decision showed great foresight and career-mindedness for a person living in New Mexico, where nearly 30% of the population speaks Spanish at home. That’s just how prepared I am.

Speaking of foresight, I forgot about the language requirement in my high school until my junior year, which made me the only upperclassman in a French I course with a bunch of 14-year-olds. If you’re thinking that being older made me cool in any way, please take a look at the rest of my blog.

Still, I was holding on to my dignity pretty well until Rico came through the door one morning and announced, “I hear you used to bark at people.”

The trouble with truth is that it’s difficult to refute convincingly, particularly if the witnesses survive.

The witness in this instance was a girl from my middle school who I didn’t previously realize had something against me. She had clearly been squealing, but I couldn’t picture how the topic had come up.

I should point out that it was perfectly reasonable to bark at the people in question because they already thought I was possessed. They never mentioned how they got the idea, but it might have been the amount of time I spent talking to a stump in the cafeteria courtyard. Or the day I wore plastic grocery bags in my hair. Or maybe my homemade respirator mask with built-in windshield from the year they re-roofed the school.

It wasn’t the invisible birds I used to chase; that definitely came after they had started throwing M&Ms at me.

I kind of liked attention.

(Aside: Believe it or not, I maintained an entire friendship through all three years of middle school.)

Here’s the thing, though: I definitely still bark on occasion. I also lick dessert plates, pretend that I’m invisible, and slide down carpeted stairs on my butt. Dorky stuff is fun. Just don’t let 14-year-olds catch you.

(P.S. You want to go for a full-bodied woof, like a German Shepherd or Rottweiler. Any animal that bounces when it barks doesn’t count.)

Monday, April 4, 2011

Time Management

So, I procrastinate pretty badly. That's why I used to post on Fridays, and then maybe Saturday night for a while, and now in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, unless I forgot my jump drive in the car and I can't go get it because then I'd forget which '80s commercial I was going to look up next on YouTube.

This habit was bad enough in college when I had external deadlines and tangible connections between finishing papers and keeping my scholarship or avoiding professor-induced guilt. Now that I make up my own time frame for things like blogging, I'm sliding slowly into the Well of Darkness with the pile of unanswered letters and blank tax forms under my desk.

What I'm saying here is that I really do mean to post this week, but I haven't written anything past "I like to take Oreos apart." On the positive side, in the time I've spent on these three paragraphs, I've also found two new recipes using Velveeta and learned the Lite Brite jingle.

Anyway, maybe come back here in a couple of days? Thanks!

P.S. It turns out there are two jingles. I can't believe they didn't stick with "Makin' things with light!"

UPDATE: I just noticed that I've had two links to the same Lite Brite jingle up here for weeks. It's a real tragedy because the other one is a lot more...1970. Anyway, I fixed the link, so you don't have to feel cruelly taunted and deprived anymore.