Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tales of the absurd, part deux.

I thought every Wal-Mart sold fish. How could I have been so horribly wrong? Apparently they don't, and despite the fact there already 3 living creatures in my 1100 sq ft. apartment, I desperately want a fish.

My roommate, of course, does not. I told her I wanted one and she went on a ten minute diatribe about how she doesn't particularly want a fish, because she thinks fish should be swimming freely, and when she sees fish in home aquariums it stresses her out, and then said something about Darwin, but I'd kinda tuned her out by that point, but she seemed very impassioned about whatever she was saying.

"So could we maybe just go look at a fish?" I asked an hour later at dinner.

She paused. "Um, perhaps I wasn't clear earlier..."

But she took one for the team and agreed to go with me, and although the pet stores were closed, I was convinced Wal-Mart would have them because I've actually bought several fish at Wal-Mart over the years.

They didn't have fish, but they did have a dual package of Sister Acts 1 & 2 on DVD, which I'm somewhat mortified to admit has provided an evening of entertainment in the form of a sing-a-long of our favorite scenes in both movies.

Tales of the absurd.

An actual conversation my roommate and I had this evening en route to an unsuccessful trip to Wal-Mart to buy a goldfish:

Alexandra: "So you see that Goodwill over there? I was at the gas station next to it and noticed they have a sign that actually warned you that if you left things there after hours, your donations would likely be stolen."

Me: "Well, because naturally you'd be upset if things you didn't want anyway were stolen."

"Exactly. Not only that, but you're giving things to people in need. If someone steals a pair of my high heels, clearly they need them. Or at least want to wear them for awhile. Either way, I don't care what they do with them. If they'd like to steal my Hello Kitty alarm clock? Fine with me."

"WHAT? You Goodwill'ed the Hello Kitty alarm clock?"


"And the reason I wasn't conferenced into this decision was...?"

"Well, because I didn't think you'd care. You didn't even notice it was gone. But you could probably buy it back, if you'd like."

"Oh, because I'm gonna just go to the Goodwill and say, 'Hi, I'd like to purchase my roommate's old Hello Kitty alarm clock.'??"

"Yes, and they'll probably say, 'I'm sorry, ma'am. That was stolen.'"

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When life hands you lemons...or wood rosin.

I noticed recently at a local soda machine that Minute Maid ® Lemonade now has 0% juice. ZERO PERCENT. I had always thought "Contains 10% juice" was a horrifying admission. But to not contain any juice? I mean, at that point, I think it's false advertising to still include the name of a fruit in your product.

So I used the power of the interweb and looked up the ingredients of Minute Maid® Lemonade. There was a laundry list of very scientific sounding chemicals, including something called “esters of wood rosins”. Huh? Naturally, I then looked that up. According to Wikipedia it is “a food additive used as an emulsifier and stabiliser, to keep oils in suspension in water”.

At this point, I was completely grossed out. Oily “lemonade”? Needless to say, I never plan on drinking this again. If I'm going to ingest something that unnatural, I'd rather eat nacho cheese. This is all very sad because I’ve always loved lemonade. What I don’t love, however, is the idea Minute Maid® Nasty Concoction of Chemical Shit*.

*inspired by lemons

Monday, January 7, 2008

A tree by any other name.

Here's a basic truth about me: I love contests. More specifically, I love winning contests. So I was beyond thrilled when three weeks ago, I came home to a note on my apartment door. It explained that two of the six oldest oak trees in Austin were on our apartment complex property, and the local arbor foundation wanted to commemorate them with plaques. Therefore, the management at our complex was holding a naming contest and asking residents to submit entries.

I. was. STOKED. I spent a week or so coming up with the perfect entry. I googled synonyms for strength. Looked up Latin and Greek words that might be fitting. But in the end, the perfect names weren't anything high-brow. And with my entry ready to go, I headed to the front office.

"Hi, I'd like to submit names for the tree-naming contest."

"Ohhh!" our manager said, laughing and seemingly surprised that anyone was actually bothering to enter, "Great! What are they?"

"Pancho and Lefty," I said while beaming with pride at my own brilliance.
She erupted into laughter. "Lefty? That's so funny!" She continued to laugh, then started to look confused. "I don't understand the Pancho part, though?"

Instantly, I was annoyed. I had come up with the perfect entry, and she didn't get it?

"Well, it's like the famous country song. You know, 'Pancho and Lefty'. It was a big hit for Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard."

She stared at me blankly, smiling.

"And it was actually written by Townes Van Zandt."

More blank looks.

"The famous singer-songwriter? One of Texas' greatest troubadours?"


"Which is why I think it's perfect. I mean, given Austin is the 'Live Music Capital of the World'," I continued in defense of my entry.

"Okay," she said, still clearly confused, "I'll write down 'Willie Nelson song'."

I was completely deflated. As I returned to my apartment though, I began to feel better. Surely, when it was time for residents to vote, they would appreciate my idea. And, surely I was the only resident nerdy enough to enter the contest to begin with. So by the time I arrived on my doorstep, I was convinced I'd win.

You can imagine my excitement when I found another note on my door several days later. The first line explained the office had received some great entries for the tree-naming contest. (Hooray! Victory was about to be mine!) It went on to say there had been three rounds of voting. (What? Voting? I didn't remember voting. Had other residents voted? Suddenly my title didn't seem so secure.)

"And although it was tough," the letter continued, "the winning names selected are: Treeana and Treeanon. Thanks to everyone that participated!"

WHAT?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Treeana and Treeanon???????????? Was this a joke? How in the HELL did that beat "Pancho and Lefty"? "Pancho and Lefty" was the perfect entry! And it was beat out by some Klingon-tastic bullshit like Treeana and Treeanon?

My roommate was out of town, and although it was quite late, this was an emergency.

"Treeana! and Treeanon!!! They named the trees, TREEANA AND TREEANON" I roared.

"Wow. That's definitely bad," she said, clearly sound asleep. "Did we even vote?"

"No! Because if we had, I can tell you what WOULDN'T have won!" I was completely irate.

"I mean, Treeana isn't horrible but Treeanon just sucks. Maybe if they had submitted 'Treeana and Acorn-nana' it would have been better," she said sleepily.

"Um, I'm sorry, Treeana and Acorn-nana? THAT'S your better alternative? I submitted 'Pancho and Lefty'! It was the PERFECT. ENTRY!"

"Yeah, that's much better. Definitely. I'm just saying if these names are going on plaques, I think Acorn-nana would be preferable to Treeanon."

I gave up, hung up, and went to bed trying to think of something...anything...that would rescue my ego from the crushing blow of losing the lamest contest I've ever entered.

The next day I received the following photo in an e-mail from my roommate.

Subject line: "Treeana, Treeanon, and little Acorn-nana"

Sunday, January 6, 2008

People are lazy.

I guess at this point in my life, I shouldn't be shocked by the laziness of Americans. But I feel that in the past few weeks, I've seen things that have astounded me.

For starters, I ordered new checks from Washington Mutual. I have ordered checks for thirteen of my 29 years on this planet. They arrive in a box that looks like it contains four pads of checks, and a register. However, this was not the case last week. The package I received was flat and contained a box that I had to build myself, and was surprisingly difficult to assemble. The thought occurred to me that perhaps they did this to thwart identity theft. But my package still looked like it contained everything it did, so I'm not sure they're fooling anyone with their new packaging. So I'm chalking that up to WaMu not wanting to waste time and money on check box development.

I also saw a commercial for a pair of scissors that cut things electrically. You just hold them, and there's absolutely no moving of your hands whatsoever. Seriously? They're SCISSORS, people. "But I'm arthritic," you say. And I say, use an exacto. The thing that killed me was that the demonstration in the commercial showcased the brilliance of wonder-scissors, by showing how quickly they cut...wrapping paper. Last time I checked, there's not really any cutting involved with wrapping paper. You just put it in the crux of your scissors and slide them along, right?

Then I went to Linens & Things, and there was a girl wandering around without any pants on, and a shirt that just BARELY covered her ass. I should mention it was quite cold outside, which probably explains her leg warmers.

And we all know leg warmers are just a lazy excuse for pants.

Who knew.

Apparently Walgreen's sells telescopes. They're on the shelf above the face creams, naturally.