Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ho-Ho Hobag

Well, friends, earlier today I made a flashpoint decision. I performed an action of what I thought would be little consequence. It wasn't one of those things that you think about so much while you're doing it, but immediately afterwards you get washed over by a huge tsunami of regret and it takes awhile for your conscience to settle down again. I didn't run a red light, I didn't have unprotected sex, I didn't even pay a hobo and a hooker to fight each other and then stuff their dead bodies in my trunk afterwards.

I ate a Ho-Ho.

Rachel and I were tired of shipping. We were working hard and decided that we'd like to grab some lunch. Pooling together a handful of coins that we gathered from under floor mats of our cars, hidden pants pockets, and cracks in the sidewalk, we headed out to Taco Bell. I had a bean burrito (89 cents) and Rachel had two soft tacos (1.49 or something like that.) It was all very economical.

We came back and I opened the fridge to put in a warm can of Dr. Pepper that was soupifying in my car from my late night trip to Franklin. And there they were. The package was opened, torn down the middle, revealing two sumptuous Hostess snack cakes nestled together like a pair of cream-filled baby bunnies--baby bunnies that begged to be consumed in the wake of cheap Americanized Mexican fast food.

My cohort and I took the Ho-ho's. I asked her whose they were and she mused that they were probably Chuck's (our boss, and the owner of the fine establishment that currently employs yours truly.) I said that they looked like they had been in the fridge for a while and somehow, in an unspoken agreement, we ended up noshing on the things before we could even make it down the stairs to our office. They were good--a little dry, but chilled to perfection. It wasn't until after we ate them that my companion started to frighten me a little bit. "Chuck's gonna be so pissed when he can't find his Ho-Ho's." She kept saying this. At first I was scared to the max but after things stayed quiet for awhile, I calmed down.

We didn't think much of our escapade until we heard a scream from upstairs. "Where are my Ho-Ho's?" a voice shouted out. And then without warning, "WHO ATE MY FREAKIN' HO-HOs? I'M CHECKING THE CAMERAS AND WHOEVER TOOK THEM IS GETTING FIRED!"

We were screwed.

Quickly, we composed ourselves and snuck out the back of the store and across the parking lot to the Sunoco, a place where everybody knows our name. Unfortunately, they only had the Little Debbie brand of chocolately snack roll and I was told that wouldn't do. We then ran across the street to Walgreen's where we found a large box of them for $3.69. Of course, considering the fact that we had to pool loose change together to be able to afford lunch, there was no way in hades we were going to be able to buy that box. We ran back across the street to the store where Rachel grabbed her debit card. On the way out, we were being hotly pursued. Or maybe it just seemed hot because it was a good 88 degrees outside and I was wearing a blazer. No matter. The point is that our boss and the victim of our gluttonous little scam was nothing less than shaking his fist at us as we ran back across four lanes of traffic. He screamed "Rachel!" from the curb the way Marlon Brando screamed "Stella!" in the rain in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Rachel charged the Ho-Ho's and while we waited in line we thought of excuses--how we were going to explain this to Chuck. In the end, we came back and returned him a box of Ho-Ho's, laying on a thick bold-faced lie so ridiculous that it was obvious that we stole the original Ho's, but charming and self-effacing enough that nobody could ever be angry with us. Because we're smooth like that.

I can't believe I was concerned about being fired over communally eating a Ho-Ho but I'm not the slightest bit worried about being canned for blogging on the job.

Monday, May 29, 2006

I wrote down a dream in invisible ink

Almost five months ago I documented an event in this journal that I saw as being a mere event, an occurance, a random and harmless mark on the timeline of my adulthood. A man kissed me in a bar. He made me feel desirable for one evening. I stared at the ceiling all night and wondered what it meant. And I tried to talk myself out of thinking too much. It wouldn't happen again. It was nice. He wouldn't visit. It was so nice. But you wouldn't hate him if he didn't call again.

But it was really nice.

And it's still really nice. Understatement. Everything is understatement these days. My vocabulary seems weak and unimpressive, my once agressive gait has turned to a lighter stroll, accented by bounces and flicks as my heels and my toes burst with excitement against the lining of my tennis shoes. I feel taller. I feel lighter.

He won't skip this entry because it's all about him.

I never would have been able to predict this. Happiness in the world is completely imbalanced tonight. It's all mine.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gimme Culture

Tonight I am hosting my very first Culture Night.

Last year my three surrogate sisters decided that they weren't brilliant enough by themselves and that they needed to share their own discoveries and insights and excitement with each other once a week during the summer.

Here was the template:

One person hosts. It is up to this person to choose a menu and to open her kitchen to the others. Once the menu is chosen and the ingredients are readied, the others join in helping to prepare the meal. The idea here is that everyone will now know how to prepare a different kind of meal from what they are accustomed to cooking. Usually this meal includes a salad, a main course, and dessert. It needn't be complicated or exotic, as long as it's tasty. And experimental cooking is also welcome.

One person chooses a book. A week in advance, a book is determined and each person obtains a copy of said book and reads it. This book becomes the heart of dinner table discussion.

The last person chooses a movie. After dinner and discussion of the week's book, the third person shows a film that she feels is important or just worth seeing.

Last year I was unable to participate most of the time because I was playing open mics almost three times a week and even if I was free on Wednesday nights (the usual time slot) I generally hadn't had enough time to read the book the week in advance.

This year it's different. I'm gonna share culture with my sisters and get some back.

I went above and beyond tonight. It's my first time hosting and I want to make a good impression.

Each place setting has a pair of chopsticks and a sachet of pomegranate oolong tea. My meal has a cantonese theme.

The first dish is a barbecue chicken lettuce wrap which is essentially chicken in hoisin sauce with water chestnuts and shitake mushrooms and ginger. This may be accompanied by slices of mandarin oranges if I have time to run back to the store.

The main course is chicken stir-fry with bamboo shoots, mung sprouts, water chestnuts, shitake mushrooms, and a traditional cantonese sauce that is incredibly sweet and tasty.

For dessert, homemade fortune cookies. I've never tried making them before but I hear it's fun. I'll serve them in a bowl of vanilla ice cream and garnish the dish with the chocolate-dipped pocky that I picked up at the Korean grocery last weekend.

Between each dish, I am serving some authentic Japanese sake. Last week I bought an antique wooden sake set and I've been dying to use it.

I don't know what the movie is tonight, but the book was "Freakonomics." I may comment on this book later. It did mention Stetson Kennedy in one chapter and although I was aware of him earlier because of his relationship with Woody Guthrie, I never looked into his history very much until after I read "Freakonomics." So now I'm reading his book "The Klan Unmasked."

See how much more cultured I am already?

Bring it on.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

This is not cohesive

I introduced some friends of mine to Rosati's Frozen Custard yesterday.

We were supposed to meet there at two o' clock. I left early because I had some errands to run--gas station, library. I ended up arriving there about ten minutes early.

As soon as I pulled in I saw two friends of mine in the rearview mirror--they were just leaving with their bowls full of birthday cake custard. He was wearing his Mets jacket which he always wears in this kind of weather but now he's got a reason to wear it with pride (even though now he spends a lot of time making sure that I remember how long he's been wearing it--he's definitely not a sheep.) I got out of my car and had a nice chat with them, a chat that was slightly interrupted by some more folks I know pulling into the driveway and saying hello.

Eventually they all left and I retired to my car to wait, as my friends were running a little bit behind. (I am generally obsessive about being a few minutes early for things though so it's not their fault.) I was leaning against the back bumper of my car when I felt a strong sense of belonging come over me. My feet are planted, my friends are here, my favorite custard flavor arrives like clockwork every summer. The girls behind the counter know me.

The only thing different is the price of the custard--it's up 30 cents. I don't know how I feel about that. I actually felt hardcore walking up to the counter with $1.60, all ready to pay, and then I totally got inflation'd. No matter. It's still delicious.

Later in the day I went to my favorite consignment shop and they remembered me there as well. It feels good to make an impression on people, even if that impression is "Why does this girl keep coming here every freakin' week? Is she honestly this pathetic?"


There's something about Chinese food. I see it, I smell it, it's mentioned, and I need it. I get insatiable cravings that won't be ignored. So last night when I was at the Giant Eagle and I passed a stack of cans of water chestnuts, the free-association gnomes that live in my head started screaming "Chinese! Chinese!" in a frighteningly shrill falsetto.

I drove to South China Wok first but SCW is expensive and I decided that I didn't necessarily need their white garlic sauce. So I went a few extra miles to Mom's Wok where the lo mein is $3.25 instead of $5.75. Actually, I opted for sauteed vegetables and a veggie spring roll for a grand total of $4.50. Take that, sucka! I went home, poured the contents onto a plate, dipped my fortune cookie in vanilla ice cream, and seeped some fresh Japanese Cherry tea.

I don't know why I feel the need to write about this actually. Last night it seemed more important. There was this formula that I considered:

1) House to myself
2) Nobody calling me back
3) Listening to Elliott Smith in the rain
4) Reading Dave Eggers whilst waiting for my Chinese
5) Entertaining the idea of being alone for the rest of the night eating Chinese food on the floor by myself like they do in the movies.

But then my friend came over to watch the new episode of Degrassi and anything that I could have written that would have any sort of merit just sort of took a holiday.

I think I just wanted to post in here again so I don't forget about it.