Monthly Archives: February 2011

Weekly photo challenge: refuge.


 

Sandhill cranes look like pterodactyls.

I shot this with my long lens and a filter which I pulled out of my bag and put back without looking at it. The weekly photo challenge on the Daily Post was a photo epitomizing “refuge.”

This would be it for me. I love this natural area. It’s relatively close to my house, and fairly new as well, but there are a ton of birds. Photographing birds is one of my favorite hobbies. Birds don’t cry and scream and tell you that they could take a better picture — they just wade and fly and make amazing noises.

After the last weekly photo challenge, “curiosity,” I wasn’t sure I would participate, but I knew I had the perfect photo this week.

Welcome to Florida. These are sandhill cranes, and yes, they do look like dinosaurs. No, they do not eat alligators … they’re not quite that large. However, their poop could possibly incapacitate a small child.

So here’s the deal: I didn’t want to write anything today. In fact, I seriously considered not writing anything. That of course would break this whole Post a Day thing, so here I am.

Perhaps the best thing I can say about today is that I fit into a pair of capris I haven’t fit into in over two years. When I moved, I considered throwing them away, but I’m glad I kept them. They’re super comfortable, and it gives me something to brag about. Heh.

Maybe the funniest thing I can say about today is that I saw one greyhound throw her toy to another greyhound. I’m watching them while their mom is out of town, and these two girls are such a hoot. When I got there this morning, I let them into their back yard for some playtime and Lucy grabbed a toy and started running in big loops around the yard. Lola, being the serious competitor of the two, darted after Lucy and a grand chase commenced.

The thing about Lucy is that she really enjoys a good run, but I think she equally enjoys playing with her toys. She’ll take a toy and throw it up in the air for herself to catch. I couldn’t believe it today when she tossed it for herself, as she usually does, and instead of throwing it too far and getting the confused “WHERE DID IT GO?!” look that I’m oh-so-familiar with, Lola caught the damn toy. I laughed for a good five minutes, until Lucy came over to have me scratch her butt and knocked me over doing what I call “The Lucy Butt Scratch Happy Hop.” On the ground, I laughed for another five minutes. Good times with greyhounds.

Eggplant panties.


I opened my blog up for topic suggestions again.

The first came from Whitney: “going broke buying organic food because it’s ‘better.'”

The second is from Tori: “Underwear.”

The third came from me: “Using organic food as underwear?”

If there are two things I think are too expensive, it’s underwear and organic food.

But I can’t really seem to make these things work together, at least not in terms of a productive post. I do, however, have a story for you about underwear. So sit back (Tori) and enjoy. Your request is granted.

I don’t buy a lot of expensive underwear. I have a price limit set in my head for certain things so I don’t spend too much or go over my budget for each month. Most of these price limits are set on clothes, but it extends out to food, drinks, movies, CDs, memberships to organizations, and more things of which I probably haven’t even thought yet.

I broke my underwear price limit right before Christmas, and in return that item broke yesterday.

I hadn’t shopped at Victoria’s Secret in a long time, and I went with my friend Kelsay (suggester of this post) when she needed some new underroos. When I walked into the store I promised myself that I wouldn’t buy anything.

The last thing I purchased there was a strapless bra that turned out to be a total nightmare because it was — get ready for this — just a giant sticker. Girls with boobs over a B cup should not be wearing sticker bras. Sorry.

As I walked through the store and helped her pick out a couple of things, I saw a really cute bra that really seemed to fit my style. It was adorable, with stars and black straps and a satin-y fabric. The only problem seemed to be that it cost $52. However, after walking around a bit and looking at several other bras, I decided that I deserved it. It was my graduation present to myself.

Since purchasing the bra, I’ve worn it maybe five times. I’m terrified to wash it, and it’s the only bra I’ve ever owned that I don’t put in the dryer; I hang it up instead.

So you can imagine my dismay when I pulled the damn thing from the washer yesterday, hung it up to dry, went to put it on and found that one of the hooks is bent. In fact, it’s so badly bent that I can no longer wear the bra.

Thanks for nothing, Victoria’s Secret. Thanks for a bra I wore about five times before it broke. Thanks for making adorable, $52 underwear that isn’t as durable as my $35 bra from Lane Bryant. Most of all, thanks for proving to me that my budgeting works.

I’m super careful when it comes to money, and as a result I like to be especially careful with how I spend it. Every purchase is precious when you have $22 in your checking account, so that bra just kind of made me go off the deep end.

I have resolved to question every purchase I make with the kind of care I use when editing an article.

I bought a new type of deodorant, Dove Smoothing Effects or some such nonsense, and it makes my armpits smell like dry cat food by the end of the day, so I’m not going to buy it anymore.

I bought a new type of shampoo — actually, a shampoo/conditioner combo. It’s Herbal Essences, so I thought it would be of pretty high quality. I was wrong. It’s not of high quality. It leaves my hair flat and lifeless, which is odd considering it should be adding volume. My hair is flat and lifeless without the shampoo. I paid about $5 for that at Target, then went and bought a $1.50 bottle of Suave instead. The Suave works better. Go figure.

So now we come to the organic foods. Contrary to what we talked about on Facebook, I cannot condone using organic foods as underwear. Sometimes I have to take a stand, and right now I’m going to take a stand against organic edible panties. If anything wearable is going to be made organic, it should be candy necklaces. If you pay $7 for one eggplant, you should eat it in a grand way, not slice it up to use as pasties.

Any way you slice it — har har — I just can’t rationalize paying more money for something that essentially is the same as something else. And I don’t think I’m wrong. If you can prove to me that organic foods are worth the money Whole Foods wants me to spend on them, then by all means give me your proof. Until then, I will continue to buy locally-grown produce over something “organic” that’s grown in another state.

Wow … this post really is all over the place, isn’t it?

So what say you, readers? What’s the worst purchase you’ve ever made?

No one can say Wal-Mart doesn’t have Klass.


I found the Klass at Wal-Mart.

Once in awhile, it’s fun to go to Wal-Mart to just look around and see what weird products one can find. Last night was one of these times. I went to Wal-Mart with my boyfriend and we walked around for a good hour or so. Probably the best thing we found was a Blu Ray combo pack with Groundhog Day and So I Married an Axe Murderer. That came home with us.

This is my version of People of Wal-Mart, but with less butt cheeks and mullets and more oddly named products.

Caution: These photos aren’t the greatest. I took them with my phone.

Is it too much to ask to have the word “cleanse” spelled properly? I just don’t feel comfortable using a product that feels it has to take shortcuts.

Hobbit name or extract? You make the call.

That’s right folks, it’s Mrs. Leeper’s Last Chance Chicken Alfredo. Before you jump off that ledge, make sure you try Mrs. Leeper’s Pass the Pills Penne Pasta. You’ll die, it’s so good!

How they got the chicken in the “biskit,” I will never know. How they got their adorable chicken mascot into my heart, I don’t care … but I will be eternally grateful. (Doesn’t that chicken look so jubilant? Sometimes I imagine it’s the Grand Queen Chicken, and she’s showing the world her wares. She’s saying, “Look at my biskets! I made them for you!”)

And I thought Wal-Mart was family friendly. Hmph. If Big John can flaunt his pickled sausage, I’m going to start selling my fried breasts. (What? They’re chicken breasts.)

Clever marketing here: this cat pad company has me convinced that if I use their product, my roommate’s cat will be able to control the litter scoop with its mind, thereby eliminating the need for us to scoop poop. Although, I hope this is the only thing the cat will be able to control with its mind … that kitty is weird enough as is.

Microfiber car wash mitts, so you can give your car the sensual massage it deserves.

Creepy Pokemon character stare down … GO!

This puppy is absolutely begging for your kids to run their greasy fingers through his soft chest hair.

Am I doing this wrong? It’s okay, you can tell me.

I love this card for so many reasons.

Look, I know it’s a bad pun. Irish Setter, “Sniff Me, I’m Irish,” har har har. But you don’t have to stick your gum on it.

So tell me: what’s the weirdest thing you’ve found at Wal-Mart?

Five tips sure to get you hired.


As promised in yesterday’s post, today I’m going to tell you my top five tips for a successful job interview. These wise words have been gleaned from several years on both sides of the table. I have interviewed people for jobs and newspaper articles, and I’ve been interviewed for many different kinds of jobs.

Let’s start at number five and work our way down.

5. You must make yourself memorable. Obviously, you shouldn’t come right out and start swearing. That’s a very bad idea — unless you’re 17 and can get away with it. Then it’s hilarious. I would suggest wearing something interesting or telling a funny story. Always try to incorporate humor into the interview.

Example: A couple summers ago I did an internship with a local weekly newspaper. Before going in for the interview, I carefully selected the articles I included in my portfolio. I made sure to give prominent placement to an April Fools Day article I wrote about my university sending admissions counselors to other planets.

The interviewer scanned over that article, scoffed a bit as he read it, and moved on to the very last article in my portfolio detailing the number of sex offenders in the area around my school.

Him: scoffs. I hate these kinds of articles.

Me: Oh…

Him: They’re just people trying to live their lives.

Me: Well, I didn’t include any names. Besides, it was assigned to me. I wasn’t going to pass it up. It turned out well, I think.

Him: I know, I just don’t agree with posting the names of new sex offenders in the area in a newspaper.

Of course, for the rest of the interview I was thinking, That’s not what I did. However, he remembered me as the girl who wrote about sex offenders. So there’s that.

4. Dress well. Don’t wear jeans ever. It doesn’t matter what job you’re going for, how casual the position is, or how well you know the interviewer. Working as a manager as a portrait studio, I met a lot of people who were looking for jobs. I always made mental note of the people who seemed serious about their job search by dressing well.

Example: As I sat at our front counter one afternoon confirming appointments for the next day, a man walked into the studio. We had a session going with a mother and two kids, and the man walked in as though he was looking for them. When I asked if he was with them, he gave me a confused look. I pointed around the corner to where the lovely mother and her two darling children *cough*LIES*cough* were being photographed, and he turned to me and said, “No way, man. I ain’t got kids. I’m looking for a job.”

Now let me tell you what this guy looked like: shaggy, dirty hair. Ripped jorts. Birkenstock sandals with socks pulled up to his shins. A dirty white shirt with yellow armpits and a hole in the back. One dangling silver earring with a feather at the end. A hippie.

So listen up, hippies. Don’t dress like you’re going to Burning Man when you’re going job hunting. You’ll get turned away, I promise. That guy could have been the next Ansel Adams, but Birkenstocks and socks? This isn’t 1994, buddy. Take off those jorts, put on a pair of slacks, and run over to Penney’s for a button-down. Then we’ll talk.

3. Be careful what you bring with you. This is specifically for those of you with portfolios. As you consider what to bring, make sure it’s appropriate for the job.

Example: Imagine the look on my face as I open the portfolio of a gentleman applying for a job with the portrait studio and right there, in my face, BOOBIES.

The guy had done freelance work as a photographer at strip clubs. There were photos of ladies crawling across the floor, ladies hanging upside down on stripper poles, ladies with their tatas hanging out, ladies with their legs wrapped around chairs … lots of ladies. I couldn’t look away. I was caught in this awkward situation of having this book in my lap, wanting to maintain my composure, and being completely flabbergasted that this guy brought it into a family portrait studio.

Me: You’re aware that we don’t do … this kind of photography here … right?

Him: Oh yes, of course. But this let’s you know that I do have experience working with women.

Me: I think your talent may be better suited for Glamour Shots.

2. Make sure you know that Mary Kay Place did the voice of Julie’s mother in Julie & Julia. This is of the utmost importance. You never know when someone might ask.

1. Let your personality show. Make sure you are at ease with what you say. If you’re nervous, employers can smell it. They’ll latch onto that and run with it, taking each question as an opportunity to make you feel less and less at ease. I know, because I did this.

Let this be my confession: I tried to use interviews as a way to make people come out of their shells. Photographers at the portrait studio for which I worked had to be “performers.” They had to be able to entertain and have a great time with kids while being respectful of parents’ wishes. We were told to think of interviews for new employees not as interviews but as auditions.

There were so many times I would get a shy kid looking for his first job. I would ask the routine questions: Why do you want to work here? What are your qualifications? Did you bring a portfolio?

Then I would get weird, and I would do it on purpose.

“If you’re in a sitting with three children ages 3, 5, and 19, and the 3-year-old won’t stop picking his nose, what do you do?”

“If a pregnant woman comes in wanting photos of her in lingerie, how do you turn her away?”

“If you see someone stealing a sheet of portraits while they’re viewing their images, how efficiently do you hit them?”

“If a father is hitting his child, which prop would you smash into his head?”

“What’s the most efficient use of these props: alphabet blocks, rose petals, blue blanket, ball point pen?”

“What’s your favorite cartoon, and how many lines from it can you quote?”

To all of those people I may have made extremely uncomfortable, I’m sorry. But these all were actual experiences I encountered while working as portrait photographer.

Oh, and the ball point pen? The kid wouldn’t let go of it without crying, so I gave him a yellow steno pad and a pair of another photographer’s glasses. He looked so fricking snazzy, like a little businessman.

Hopefully these help. As one last note on making yourself memorable, it helps to say ridiculous things, too. Here’s a good one: if you see a person eating a brownie, say, “A brownie is a wish my mouth eats.”

Interviewing, or How I Told a Prospective Employer I’m a Slave.


There was a suggestion on the Daily Post today that actually intrigued me for once: interview another Post a Day participant. I thought it might be fun to exchange questions with another blogger, then video ourselves answering each other’s questions. It would be my first vlog, and probably pretty rough, but I really think it would be great fun.

Comment below if you’d like to trade questions. Since I don’t have many readers, I’ll do this with anyone who comments. And no question is off limits! That’s kind of what makes this a bit more intriguing. Oh, one last thing before we get into the meaty part of this post: you also must have a blog. I want to be able to see your response on your site.

So here’s the fun stuff: a humiliating story about my first job interview ever. I was 17 and looking for a job so I could get a car and start making my own way in the world. While scanning through the newspaper classified section (I’ve always been old school that way), I found an ad for a mass interview for Cold Stone Creamery.

This was the first job for which I applied, so I was really excited. I filled out an online application and soon heard from the manager. He asked me to come in for the interview, told me where to meet, and told me to bring a sheet with some references.

The day of the interview, I realized exactly how terrified I was. Not yet able to drive by myself, I had to have my sister take me to the community center where everyone was meeting. She seemed pretty compliant, and even came inside with me while I waited. The room wasn’t packed, but there were quite a few kids there looking to get jobs.

When it was my turn to talk with the managers, I turned to my sister and said, God as my witness, “I got this, bitch.”

I walked over like I owned the place, sat down, and proceeded to learn why some people remain unemployed by choice: they must hate the interview process as much as I do. There are just some people who should not interview others for jobs. Throughout my time in the wild world of work, I’ve had bad interviews where I control the whole thing, bad interviews where I try to decode what the employer is asking me, bad interviews where I seem to just sit there and smile and nod because I don’t understand a thing the employer is asking me … and this one, which was a combination of all three.

I wanted to work at Cold Stone because I like people, and I told them that when they asked me the very clichĂ©, “Why do you want to work for Cold Stone Creamery?” The next question was, “Do you think you’re qualified to work here?”

Now, this was after the two men explained to me what I would be doing at the store. As they explained it to me (and they could have just said “serving ice cream,” but that would be too easy), I have to admit I wasn’t listening. I first scanned over the two of them. The one on the left was short with no neck, blond hair, muscles, and a propensity for sweating. He sweat through the entire interview.

On the right we had a short, thin, dark haired man who spoke really fast but always seemed to be making a concerted effort to slow himself down. Instantly I was amused, and I couldn’t stop trying to think of nicknames as they talked.

I always go for really obvious nicknames first, so the one on the left was Sweaty MuscleFace McGinty, and the one on the right was Brownie Talks-a-lot. I remember laughing out loud as they explained the variety of flavors offered at Cold Stone Creamery. They exchanged a look between them and I knew it from years of public school: “What the hell does she think she’s laughing at?”

So when Sweaty MuscleFace McGinty asked me if I thought I was qualified to serve ice cream to his precious snowflake customers, I replied, “Of course. I get my dad ice cream all the time. He says, ‘Kristina, go get me some ice cream!’ And sometimes he wants sprinkles and hot fudge and junk, and I put that on there when he wants it. I’m basically his ice cream slave. … And if you hire me, I can be your ice cream slave, too!”

Hire me, losers.

I looked over to my sister for approval. She was just shaking her head. I smiled, because I knew from what everyone says that you want to stand out in an interview. Swearing seemed like the best way to do that. I had to figure out how to casually slip in a “damn” or “hell.” They’d better remember me, or I’d slash their damn tires on their hellish little pickup truck. Ugh. Men, am I right?

The next question: “Do you have your driver’s license?”

My response: “Not yet, but see that girl over there? The one who kind of looks like me but older and wiser, because she is older than me and has way more life experience? That’s my sister, and she’s my chauffeur. She drives me anywhere I need to go. So getting to work won’t be a damn problem.” (See how I slipped in that expletive? Hold your applause, please.)

Throughout the entire interview, I kept sneaking in swear words, then glancing over to my sister and giving her the thumbs up like I was champion of the world. She looked mortified, but I knew that meant I was being memorable like everyone suggested. If I thought flashing them would cement me in their memories even more, I would have done it. I wanted to serve ice cream for them, and dammit, I would do whatever it took.

At the end of the interview, I was told I would get a call if I got the job, and, lo and behold, I did. Who would have thought that the awkward, swearing girl in that interview would blossom into the lovely flower you see before you today?

Tomorrow, tips on interviewing. Seriously. I’m going to give you my top five interview tips. I went on a lot of interviews this past winter, and now that I had a great one with great people and I landed a great job, I want to pass along my knowledge to you.

Sneak peek: If there was a number six, it would be: “Always make sure you say something memorable. For example, in my successful interview, I told the interviewer that I look like Mick Jagger when I try to walk down a flight of stairs in heels. Now you give it a try!”

 

Fun in public bathrooms.


Yesterday, my boyfriend took me to the Rainforest CafĂ© for an early Valentine’s Day lunch. As usual, part of the day included a visit to a public ladies room.

The idea of public bathrooms confuses me. Whether or not you get a clean stall is basically a crap shoot (pun only slightly intended). Depending on how busy the bathroom is and how bad you have to go, you might get stuck going into a stall with a toilet seat covered in, oh, let’s say five different bodily fluids.

Even with that knowledge, I understand I’m there for a purpose. I lay down some toilet paper on the seat and get to work. Still, there’s something that happens in public bathrooms that absolutely makes my skin crawl, and it takes place while you’re sitting in the stall.

Sorry, this isn’t about glory holes … and I probably shouldn’t have written that in this post. God knows I already get some weird people floating in from Google searches. (Remember the exploding possums?) Who knows. Maybe I’m going to reach an entirely new level of readership because of that.

Here’s where I’m going with this:

Probably the worst thing to happen to me when I’m sitting on the toilet in a public restroom is that I go to get some toilet paper and the roll goes crazy. Then it happens.

The toilet paper hits the floor.

No matter how big of an environmentalist you are, when you see that toilet paper touch the floor you immediately rip it off and throw it away. And then it gets worse, because sometimes you’re only leaving yourself with a few squares.

Honestly, who would use floor toilet paper? I don’t even like to think about the bottom of my pants leg touching the floor in a public restroom. There’s no way I’m going to use toilet paper that touches it.

Probably the worst part is that as it’s unrolling and you begin to realize the toilet paper is going to touch the filthy, germ-laden floor, you experience one of those horrific slow-motion NOOOOOOO moments.

What’s even worse is when you catch yourself yelling out loud, “Nooooooooooooooooooo!” Can you imagine what the person next to you is thinking? Actually, hold that … the person next to you probably isn’t thinking. They’re probably just focusing on trying not to let their toilet paper touch the floor.

Someone needs to figure out some kind of toilet paper allotment system that can help with this problem.

Let’s go over this once more: the floor in a public bathroom is extremely dirty. When people say, “That floor is so clean you could eat off it,” they are not talking about the floor in a public bathroom.

I once saw a woman letting her toddler walk around and put its hands all over the floor in a public bathroom, and had to stop to think if I was on one of those “What Would You Do?” segments on ABC. Should I tell her that her kid is probably contracting smallpox, or should I just walk away and let her learn a hard lesson in parenting?

The Daily Post suggestion for today inquires as to one thing I’ve learned recently. In response to that I would like to say,

Fool, I ain’t done no learnin’! I graduated in December! I’m finished with that crap (for now)!

Randall wins.


I’m having another sleepless night, as I’m wont to do. Patrick of course is sleeping soundly in front of the television with his cow. Yes, seriously. We’re watching An Idiot Abroad.

Patrick loves his cow.

And of course, what would a late night/early morning post be without a picture of me looking sleepless and forlorn?

Sweet kiss of sleep, rain your blessings down upon me.

Ugh. That caption makes no sense.

In an effort to make my brain work and try to get a bit tired, I opened up the blog for suggestions again via Facebook. Randall suggested I start a petition to bring back old cartoons. I definitely dig this idea, but I know there are a lot of places online with these petitions already, so I’m going to tell you about my favorite cartoons from when I was a kid.

**cheerleader arms** Ready? Okay!

Let’s start with Rocko’s Modern Life, since it’s basically the epitome of Nickelodeon shows. The first time I watched Rocko and his pals farting around their hometown, I was hooked.

However, it was only watching it later and with a bit of life experience that I began to really notice all the veiled humor. RML (yeah, we abbreviate greatness ’round these parts) makes constant references to masturbation. And it’s not like you really have to think about it, either. Let’s examine one.

What always stands out in my mind is Heffer’s favorite restaurant, the Chokey Chicken. It’s just wrong when you think about it. The best part is that you know behind the scenes, the writers and animators were all snickering and elbowing each other. I picture the pitch meeting for the first episode where the restaurant is introduced as including a lot of effort to not just laugh in the faces of the Nickelodeon execs.

The Chokey Chicken was renamed the Chewy Chicken sometime later in the series. I’m sure this happened because parents were sending in letters (this was before e-mail) saying how inappropriate it was, and whatever genius from Nick that gave that name the green light was probably thoroughly flogged (unfortunately; in my opinion a statue should be erected in his or her honor).

Check out this scene I found that was later cut from the episode.

“You want room whole night?” Hah! Totally a reference to prostitution and one night stands. That Rocko, he just slays me.

I also love Conglom-O, the great corporate overlords of Rocko’s life. Their motto was “We Own You” or something crazy and very 1984 like that. And does anyone remember the martini glass on top of the Conglom-O building? I didn’t get that until I was 14.

Next favorite cartoon from when I was a kid: Animaniacs. Can I get a one-handed clap for my friends Yakko, Wakko and Dot? Are you clapping? … Okay, you can stop now, you look ridiculous.

I watched that show every day in elementary school. The entire show was built around puns and stereotypes, but laughing at animated pain never felt so incredible. The Goodfeathers were so awesome. Those pigeons could pull off anything.

That bit taught me the countries of the world. If only my brain weren’t fried from college I could actually remember them all. I can’t even remember the nine Supreme Court Justices. I can’t even remember to take a garbage bag out of my room … seriously, it’s been sitting there for about a week and a half now.

I’m actually starting to get tired, so we’re going to wrap this up with one last favorite: The Simpsons. I shouldn’t even have to include a link to the Wikipedia page. You should just know.

And please understand that I’m not talking about the Simpsons as they are today. Our favorite American family isn’t at their peak now. The best episodes are in the first decade, back when I would sit with my sister and watch the show while my mom yelled at us from the other room to do something more productive with our time.

There was a point in my life where it was a life goal to voice a character on the Simpsons. When we first started watching it, my mom saw the adult themes and humor and tried to occupy our thoughts with other things. She would usually ask us to finish our homework, but she had to start getting more creative when we got smarter, so the distractions started to get more fun.

“Hey girls, let’s make our own play doh!”

“Who wants to make ice cream sundaes?!”

“How would you guys like to go outside and make a snowman?!”

Eventually, I think she just kind of gave up when she realized that the Simpsons is a classically great show. Or at least it was. Sometimes it’s still funny, but ever since they put out the movie I’ve been disappointed. I’m just a Simpsons purist.

Here’s an added bonus, since I was starting to feel tired but I’m not anymore:

One of the first commercials for Family Guy featured Peter pulling up to a fast food place and ordering “six thousand chicken fa-gitas.”

My mom was outraged. She didn’t want us to watch … but we did. That’s right, young’uns, I watched the first episode of Family Guy when it aired, before it was resurrected by Adult Swim.