Wednesday, October 31, 2007

To host a ghost.

As today is Halloween, I thought it was appropriate to discuss hauntings. Specifically, hauntings in the workplace involving the scariest ghost of all: the Ghost of Penises Past.

Today I received a frantic message from a friend of mine. Apparently Sarah had been in a meeting with the CFO when the new guy from accounting popped his head in to drop something off. The CFO quickly asked Dan if he'd met my friend yet, at which point he quickly said yes (in an attempt not to further disrupt their meeting) and left the room.

Sarah had not yet been introduced to Dan from accounting. This would make Dan a liar. However, as fate would have it, Dan was actually (perhaps unknowingly) telling the truth. About eight years ago, Dan and Sarah had a brief, week-long fling and hadn't spoken since.

It is worth noting that Sarah has, by no means, been "around the block". She did, however, recently get out of a relationship with a co-worker that she kept very secretive. Currently, there are three single guys in her office. She has now hooked up with two of them. Of course, she's the only one that knows this, but she's disturbed by it nonetheless. It is always awkward to be around people you've dated in the past. But there is nothing worse than the Ghost of Penises Past haunting you in the workplace, particularly if it's unexpected.

First, I should admit to being a Class A offender when it comes to dating guys I work with. Despite my best efforts to avoid this route, I have dated someone at the three ad agencies I've worked for. (Note to potential future employers: I chalk that up to extreme dedication to my craft, requiring hours upon hours of work therefore limiting my social life and only exposing me to the men I work with.) But at one point when I was dating a guy at work, The Ghost of Penises Past paid me a visit as well when a guy I was friendly with in college started working at my company.

I should be honest when I say my "history" with this Ghost consisted of a few dates and a couple of drunken makeout sessions. But it was haunting nonetheless, as I had really liked him at the time. Things got even more complicated when my Ghost and the guy I was dating joined the same team and began working together. Eventually the truth spilled out to everyone involved, after which began a ridiculous dick dance between my now-happily-married Ghost and the guy I was seeing, with me quite unhappily wedged in the middle.

And not unlike Sarah, I haven't dated a ton of guys, as my mother reminded me this weekend at another friend's baby shower. She first probed around trying to get confirmation on my sexuality, then proceeded to express her concerns about the fact I haven't found anyone, that I rarely like the guys I date, and when I do like them, I seem to hold them to ridiculous standards. Personally, I think my overall standards are abysmally low - tall, funny, must have opposable thumbs- but she is right that I have yet to find someone that meets these. Nonetheless, two of my ghosts ended up in the same office on the same team despite all odds.

Even more remarkable is another recent story from a different friend. While engaged to a wonderful guy, Karen started a new job. The first day of work, she went to get a cup of coffee. In the kitchen, she ran into a co-worker who paid her no mind at all, got his coffee and left.

Two years prior to this encounter, she and this co-worker, Eric, had met for coffee - the first actual meeting after a month or so of talking on an online dating site. Prior to coffee, she had been very excited about this guy. Everything seemed to be going wonderfully. Great conversations, lots in common, etc. But once she arrived at coffee, all chemistry was gone. She e-mailed him to thank him the next day and never heard from him again. Now, despite being married she continues to do her very best to avoid her Ghost.

It is by pure coincidence that a year prior to Karen's coffee date, some friends of mine tried to set me up with Eric. We had one painful date during which he made clear that despite being tall and smart, he most definitely was not funny.

He also had weird hair.

Robet Goulet died.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Wild gone wild.

This week, on opposite sides of the planet, animals were making news. In Boston, wild turkeys have apparently taken over the city. Not only are these things showing up everywhere, but they’re actually chasing people. And they’re BIG. My God, I had no idea wild turkeys were so large. Some of them grow to be four feet tall. I sat next to a little person on a plane the other day that was about that height, and I was completely unnerved by him. I get uncomfortable around any men I tower over, but this guy was adjusting himself the whole flight which didn’t help my discomfort. But had this guy been a turkey of the same size (particularly if it spent three hours adjusting his tiny turkey gherkin) I would have completely freaked.

The article in The Boston Globe featured this picture (which I edited for my own amusement), but it gives you an idea of the craziness of this situation.
Meanwhile, as the turkeys were running loose in Boston this week, six drunk elephants were being electrocuted in India. Apparently forty of them came into a village looking for food. They like the rice beer brewed by the local tribesmen, got wasted off it, and proceeded to uproot a utility pole.

First, I’d like to extend my condolences to their elephamilies. Second, I would like to place the blame for this situation solely on the rice farmers who made the beer. According to the news, the beer the elephants drank was being stored in drums in the farmers’ huts.

Let’s pretend I live in a three-story brick home. Let’s also pretend I’m sitting on the third floor with headphones on. And say I have a keg on the first floor. This might be a bold statement, but I’m fairly certain I’d notice if an elephant came in looking for drink. These dumbasses, though, somehow MISSED elephants coming into their straw huts and drinking beer out of large drums that were sitting right next to their beds.

I had some fratty friends in college that tried to get a guy’s dog drunk one night. I’d assume maybe the same thing happened here, except I have to believe that for impoverished rice farmers beer is next to gold and they’re not going to take their fake IDs to the Party Barn to pick up another keg in the event the elephants drink them dry.

But I’ve never been to India, so that could be a very uneducated statement.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


I am truly one of the most embarrassing people I know, and one of my more embarrassing moments occurred when I was in fifth grade. I absolutely had to pee, but like most elementary schools we were only allowed to have one student out of the room at a time on a bathroom run. David, the class hooligan, had asked to go to the restroom and had been gone long enough that if I didn't know he was probably covering the side of the building with graffiti, I would have assumed he'd actually drowned in the restroom.

I finally took matters into my own hands and begged Miss Basigner to make an exception. "Please," I pleaded, "I really, really have to go."

"When David comes back you can leave," she kept saying without even looking up from her paperwork.

I wanted to tell her she was an idiot and should know David was most likely not ever coming back, when I simply couldn't hold it anymore. I stood there at the front of the classroom, right by Miss Basinger's desk, and pissed myself. I would say I was embarrassed, but at that exact moment any feelings of mortification were completely overwhelmed by the warm - very warm - feeling of relief.

I have to imagine this was not the case with Marie Fodale, who had essentially the exact same thing happen...only on national television. Ms. Fodale was a recent contestant on "The Price is Right". Like many contestants, when her name was called she ran up to Drew Carey, jumping up and down and screaming. But unlike most contestants, after learning she'd be playing Plinko, she confessed to Mr. Carey through screams of joy, "I gotta go potty."

And here's where Drew Carey made the same error in judgment as Miss Basinger. He told her she'd have to wait. That she'd have to play Plinko first. Everyone knows that Plinko is the greatest game on TPIR, maybe the greatest game ever invented. As such, people freak the hell out when they get to play it. That, of course, is exactly what this woman did. She stood at the top of the Plinko board screaming and jumping around (a terrible idea I thought, given her state) continuing to say she needed to pee. But Drew insisted she'd have to get through the rest of her Plinko chips, and the excitement just kept coming for poor Marie. Her first chip earned her $100. The next two, however, earned $10,000 each, and Marie jumped and screamed with the final clink of each chip.

Marie ended up with a handsome sum of cash. She also ended up covered in piss, and had to be blown dry with hairdryers backstage.

Today Marie was invited on the "Ellen" show to discuss her ordeal and was given a brand new washer and dryer. So I'd say between the Plinko prize money and a new washer and dryer, it was ultimately a net net situation for ol' Marie. Granted, pissing yourself on national television is horrifying. But she didn't have to sit in her teacher's chair for the rest of afternoon with a classroom of 10 year olds staring at her only to have her mom bring her clean clothes, but FORGET to bring underwear thus forcing her to spend the next two hours running errands with her mom in clean jeans only.

I'm not sayin', I'm just sayin'.

How not to sell a car.

This weekend I flew up to North Carolina to visit my friend Patrick. We were reviewing the plans for the weekend, when he asked if I would go test drive a car with him. The car he was interested in was the new C30 from Volvo. This car was essentially created to compete with the Mini Cooper, thus it is exactly the size you would expect: mini.

My friend is 6’4”. Why he was considering this car to begin with was beyond me, but I agreed to go along. He’d been e-mailing with a salesman at the dealership named Herbert. We got to the dealership, asked for Herbert, and I scooted off to the restroom while Patrick waited for him. When I returned, Patrick whispered, “He’s German,” and Herbert who was several feet ahead turned around to see me.

“Hallo! I am Herbert,” he announced in a thick German accent that was muddied by his even thicker German moustache. He looked sort of like Teddy Roosevelt, only shorter. “Let’s head ovah to zee little blue von,” he said, and gestured to this blue car with a dork-tastic Swedish flag painted on top. Clearly Herb wanted to sit in the front seat, which left me sitting in the back. As Patrick is so tall, he had to have his seat pushed all the way back leaving exactly three inches between his seat and the backseat.

I am not a small person. I’m 6’ tall, most of which is made up of my legs. I have few enemies in life, but ceiling fans and the back seats of cars are definitely two of them. So when I was finally able to crawl into the car, saw there was no room behind the driver’s seat and limited room behind Herbert, I knew this was going to be a very long drive.

As we drove along, Herbert explained all the benefits of the car. Safety features, gas mileage, how Vovlos are made. Meanwhile, in the backseat, I tried to admire the fall foliage but my knees were obstructing my view. I sat there getting increasingly annoyed that Patrick was even considering this vehicle as he looked like a total idiot in it, and obviously having passengers wasn’t going to be an option. The impracticality of this situation combined with Herb’s ramblings about the car’s benefits finally got the best of me, so I interrupted his safety speech to ask how long he’d worked for Volvo. He’d been there four months. He was married to an American, and she had wanted to move home. Apparently he had been a nurse in Germany, but his credentials hadn’t gone through yet in the States.

I explained I was in town just visiting, and Herbert asked what I was planning on doing while I was there. I mentioned I wanted to go to the state fair, as I’d heard they had a legitimate freak show. (I typically jump at any opportunity to boost my own ego, and if staring at the 27 inch woman with her five-legged goat won’t do the trick, nothing will.) Herbert mentioned he too, wanted to go to the fair but was waiting until Tuesday.

“Why Tuesday?” Patrick inquired.

“Because on Toosday, zay geev avay zee free things because it is zee last day. And I am German, and so I love zee free things. My vife hates it ven I haggle, because I LOVE to haggle. But at zee fair on Toosday, zay vill just geev me things for free!”

I consider myself a worldly person familiar with many cultures. I knew haggling was common in lots of countries, but I will be honest that Germany isn’t a country I automatically associate with haggling. Jamaica, yes. Germany, no. So I asked Herbert how he haggles in the U.S., as that’s not something typically done here in the States.

“Oh I haggle everyzing here. Zee other day, I haggled a pair ov jeans at zee Val-Mart.”

Now I was really interested. Wal-Mart has everyday low prices, afterall. But he had managed to talk them down?? Fascinating. I had to know more.

Vell you see, I took zee jeans to zee till. And I said to zee lady, ‘This says recommended retail price ees $72.'”

After I got over my shock that Wal-Mart was peddling $72 jeans, I let Herbert continue on with his story.

“Yes, so zee lady at zee till says I have to pay $72. And I said, ‘Noooo, zis is the recommended price. But zat is not vat I vould like to pay.”

Oh my God, I'm glad I live halfway across the country as I would never leave the house if I knew that man lived in my town for fear I'd get stuck behind him at a checkout line.

Zee line to zee till kept getting longah and longah, and finally I say, ‘May I please speak to zee managah,’ and zis Black American lady comes ovah and asks me vat zee problem is. I say, ‘This says recommended retail price is $72, but zat is not vat I vould like to pay.’ She said I had to pay zat and I told her no. 'Zis is only zee recommended price and it is my consumer right to not agree vith zis price.' So I told her I vould give her $55 in cash, and as it had been ten minutes since I had been standing zere, she said okay, and I gave her zee $55 and met my vife who vas standing very far away from me.”

No shit his wife was standing far away. I would be standing in the next county if i were her. With divorce papers in-hand.

“But you zee, I saved $17 in TEN MINUTES! You can’t make money like that!” and then Herbert erupted into laughter at his own brilliance.

“Herbert. I cannot imagine how horrifying it is being married to you,” I said with the utmost sincerity.

“Oh yes, vell my vife is horrified too, all zee time. Vee vent to zee Outback, and zay brought me a steak and I say, ‘Is this steak nine ounces? Because I’m not sure it is.’ So, zay brought me a much bigger steak, but I only paid for zee nine ounces!!” Again, he erupted.

I wanted to tell Herbert that he probably shouldn’t be telling stories like this to potential customers, since car sales is one of the few areas where haggling is actually acceptable in the States. I can’t imagine Herbert has sold a single car since coming to the U.S., but then again, he’s a nurse masquerading as a car salesman, so I guess you can’t hold that against him.

I’m just thankful he was able to surgically remove my knees from my chin following our ride.

Friday, October 19, 2007

One man's trash is Gigi's treasure.

A friend of mine IM'ed me last night about the ordeal that has been moving her mother out of her home and in with my friend and her husband. She gave me a heads up that when I reach that life stage, I should prepare for the fact elderly people don't like throwing things away. They start seeing everything as keepsakes and memories.

I was quite happy to say I'd already learned this lesson a couple of years ago when we moved my grandmother out of her home. But in my grandmother's case, everything aligned to create the perfect storm of the most useless crap imaginable. First, her home was quite large, thus there was plenty of room to store plenty of junk. Second, my grandmother is in her eighties, so she's definitely at the everything's-a-keepsake stage. But what really made all this the perfect storm is that my mother's side of the family (my mother strangely excluded) has an inability to recognize what is trash. It's like a severely mutated form of the packrat gene.

So it was no surprise that my grandmother came to me last year with two treasures she thought I might like. The first were little plastic cake toppers (a clown, a little girl, etc.) that by the looks of them, had been on someone's cake in...1976, maybe?

"Gigi, what are these."

"Oh, well, I thought you might know someone that would like these."

"I'm pretty sure the trash can would like them."

"Ohhhhh, no!" she cried, "They're so cute! Maybe James or Catherine would like to have them?"

James and Catherine are my youngest siblings, and both are teenagers. I was fairly certain they would rather have, oh I don't know, an iPod over cake toppers from the 1970s. But I appreciated the gesture so took them and told her I'd check and see. She then proceeded to give me a bottle of Breck shampoo, that was probably retired the same day the cake toppers were. It was half full, and what was in there had separated out into different layers. I was familiar with this phenomenon with salad dressings, but was concerned to see the same thing happens to shampoo with enough time. In an attempt to see if the layers would actually mix, I turned the bottle upside down. The shampoo barely moved, and I was shocked to see the layers actually stayed in tact.

"And what, exactly, am I supposed to do with this?" I asked, watching the shampoo carefully.

"Well, it's shampoo, silly. We shouldn't just let it go to waste."

"If I put this in my hair, it most definitely won't clean it. In fact, I'm fairly certain it will preserve it, like sap does with insects."

After realizing the shampoo had moved about a centimeter in the time I'd had it upside down, she finally resigned it might be time to throw the shampoo away.

It would be easy to blame both of these gifts on the nostalgia of the elderly. But again, this isn't really a new thing for her, or anyone related to my mother. The summer after my freshman year of college, I lived with my grandparents. One morning, I was having a quiet cup of coffee with them. My grandmother was putzing around and suddenly said, "Honey, do you know what I found in the freezer yesterday?"

"What's that?" my grandfather responded.

"A turkey."

"A turkey?"

"Yes. Isn't that strange? I guess it was one Robert gave us for Christmas."

"Ah, yup. Bet that's it."

As it was July, I was somewhat horrified they had a turkey in their freezer leftover from Christmas. But before I could settle into this idea, my grandfather said, "Honey, how long has Robert been dead?"

Needless to say, I spewed my coffee across the table. "How long has Robert been dead??" I shrieked.

"Well, I really can't remember," my grandfather responded, clearly perplexed.

"You have a TURKEY in your freezer, that was given to you by a man that's been dead so long you can't even REMEMBER how long it's been?!?"

"Oh. Well, I guess that is a good point. Honey, maybe we should throw that out."


Given the situation with the Breck, I guess I'm just happy they didn't eat it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How to snake a toilet.

Yesterday in Brooklyn, a women went to the bathroom early in the morning and saw a couple of shiny things in her toilet. She turned on the light and learned the shiny things were eyes. They belonged to a SEVEN-foot python. She screamed, shut the lid, put a box on top of the lid and ran out of the room.

I have several issues with this story, not the least of which is the fact this woman had a kitchy toilet seat with coins suspended in lucite. (There's a place for creativity, kids, and it's not on your shitter.)

Here's another problem I have with this. After seeing a large snake head in her toilet, she closed her coin-filled lid, put something on top, and then ran. If I found a snake in my toilet, you better believe my ass would skip steps one and two and go straight to the running. A few years ago, I saw a tiny pink tail slip under the door of my bathroom linen closet. I screamed bloody murder, ran out of my apartment, called my boyfriend and wouldn't return to my apartment until after he'd removed what turned out to be a three-inch gecko from my closet.

Obviously this thing was someone's pet. Not surprisingly, the python-as-pet mentality is something quite foreign for me. But what kills me, is that this thing had been hanging out in the basement of this woman's apartment building for awhile. Um, seems to me that some phone calls should have been made.

"Hi, animal control? I have a seven-foot python that seems to have gone missing. Can you help?"

Or maybe, "Hi, pet store? I have a seven-foot python I don't want anymore. Would you be interested in it?

Or how about, "Yeah, we appear to have a seven-foot python living in our basement. Can you send someone out?"

At what point does a monstrous snake have NO other option than to crawl through pipelines and into someone's TOILET?! The craziest thing is this isn't the first time this has happened. In looking for additional information about this story on-line, I found FIVE other stories almost identical to this one.

Thank god she was simply washing her hands. How horrifying if she'd actually needed to use the restroom and received a little "kiss". Or worse, if she had been a he, and a snake of a python variety had met a snake of a completely different variety.

The only part of this story that made any sense to me is this lady's been using her daughter's training toilet since her run-in with Monty Python.

Here's hoping it's not covered in coins, too.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


My friend Jill forwarded me a picture of a One Tree Hill script she has that was signed by Kevin Federline. On it, he wrote, "To Jill, Thanks for all your support!" and signed his name with a heart and his scribbled name.

At that, I demanded to know what, exactly, Jill was doing to support Kevin Federline. I knew Britney was supporting him, but Jill, too? I was relieved and highly amused to learn she'd lied and told him she owned his album.

To quote Cowboy Mouth, "Everybody loves Jill," and this is a great example of why I especially do.

Doin' the doo.

First, my apologizes for not having updated this recently. I've been working my ass off lately. Actually, my ass hasn't gone anywhere. If anything it's grown due to stress-induced junk food binges, which is the real bitch of the matter. But I digress.

When you spend excessive amounts of time at the office, inevitably times will come when you need to go to the bathroom. Like, GO go to the bathroom. (Particularly if you've spent the afternoon downing Doritos.)

And here's something I absolutely hate doing: THAT.

My friend Rachel has no problem whatsoever taking dumps at work. (Which is curious because we went toobing once and she absolutely refused to piss in the river, preferring instead to hop out and squat against a tree in front 200 drunken rednecks that make up the floating Wal-Mart that is the Guadalupe River in August.) But I've always been jealous of people that can do that. And why should we be embarassed? As Taro Gomi's book teaches us, "Everyone Poops."

Everyone poops, that is, except me when I'm at the office. Now, that's not to say there haven't been exceptions to this rule. But those exceptions typically involve me covered in chills, clenching the arms of my chair and sweating profusely for about an hour before that exception is made. Even then, I'm lucky to live close enough that if I'm not parked on the fourth floor of our parking garage, I usually pretend I have something at home that HAS to be mailed TODAY, jump in my car, and break every traffic law I can in the mile or so drive home.

But I don't always have that luxury. Historically, this has never been a problem. Every office I've worked in to date has had a "secret restroom", ideal for that sort of thing. My last office had one in the basement. The one before that had one way down this hall no one ever visited. My current office, however, has no such thing. Most people travel to the third floor of our office, as there are less people on that floor. But there are still plenty of people working on the third floor, and why should we subject them to the anal atrocities of the rest of the building just because their floor only has 150 or so people working on it?

Adding insult to the injury that is this scenario, we have polished concrete floors in our bathrooms. While very much in keeping with the hipster vibe of our office, they are not only prone to echoes, but - much to my horror my first week here - also reflective. So, theoretically, if one was left with no choice but to take a dump at work, not only would every sound be amplified, but theoretically someone in the next stall could actually witness one's agony in a very muddled, shadowy sort of way.

I should acknowledge this scenario would require working with complete and total sickos, which is thankfully not the case here. But I do think perhaps those shaggy rugs that wrap around the base of Me-maw's toilets would be a comforting investment.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mylannah Spice.

This week, two concerts sold out in a matter of minutes. The first was the Spice Girls, who sold out 20,000 seats in 38 seconds. So in the time it takes me to pee, 20,000 people simultaneously decided they HAD to see a bunch of middle-aged women with names like Posh, Baby, Sporty, Scary, and Ginger sing their two (yes, TWO) ten-year old hits along with a slew of other over-produced sugary-sweet pop songs off their new album. Who are these people???

And who are the promoters billing this as a "reunion" tour? This is the SPICE GIRLS, people, not the Police. And again, who wants these five reunited anyway? This is the cast of "Spice World", after all. It's like Mariah launching a "Glitter" tour and it selling out in record time. All of this makes me question England as a nation, really. But perhaps there's an undiscovered link between bad teeth and bad taste in music, so maybe they can't help it.

The other concert that caused mass hysteria this week was Hannah Montana. She sold out cities in mere minutes with tickets going for prices as high as $2,000. I (gracias a Dios) don't have children, so I don't pretend to know what the appeal of this kid is. From my perspective, she seems to have some sort of multiple personality disorder, at times calling herself Hannah and other times, Mylie. It was explained to me that Hannah Montana is the name of her character on the show of the same name, Mylie Cyrus is the name of the actress. But as obsessed as I once was with Mark-Paul Gosslear, I wouldn't have bum rushed Ticketmaster in an attempt to see Zack Attack sing "Friends Forever".

So in an attempt to understand this phenomenon, I've done some research. This girl, let's call her "Mylannah" is apparently Billy Ray Cyrus's kid. So the man that put the "mullet" in "mullet" has spawned a hit-making Cybil whose real name is Mylie Cyrus, character's name is Mylie Stewart, unless of course she's being her "secret" alter-ego, pop superstar Hannah Montana. Alright, so perhaps she doesn't have MPD, but if this bitch doesn't have an identity crisis by the time she's twenty, I'll eat a parakeet.

And am I the only one who thinks the premise of this show is absurd? A "normal" girl who happens to also be one of the biggest pop superstars around, and only her close friends know? Everyone knows kids can't keep their mouths shut with shit like that. My 14 year-old sister has a kid in her grade whose celebrity amounts to being in a local play once and having a head shot, and the whole class knows he's "an actor". And the man keeping a lid on this big secret , ol' Billy Ray (who plays her dad on the show, too!), is the same man who hasn't had a career as much as a handful of 15-minutes of fame moments strung together with all the finesse of a macaroni necklace.

I also feel compelled to mention that one of Mylannah's close friends includes her ex-boyfriend, "Jake Ryan". Oh Disney. Has the creative well run so dry that we're having to recycle boyfriend names from 80's films?

I'm no closer to understanding the appeal of Hannah Mylannah, but I am closer to believing a world in which the Spice Girls are a reunion tour, Billy Ray Cyrus's kid is a singing sensation and the first Jenga block has been removed from the empire Mickey built (JAKE RYAN, people!) is a (spice) world I'm afraid to live in.