I’m bout ready to scream

So last night me and The Man got into over the phone. Partially it was my fault. I should have been more clear on where I was going and what I was doing (I was going to a local restaurant for a get together for a local group I’m sort of involved with). I had also forgotten to talk to him about it last week, mostly because I was dealing with the start of The Kid’s school year (and needing to get clothes for her), and burying my aunt and all that would come along with that. Add to that the fact that me and Mo got into it at work because the drawer was short $15 (it was short $11 when I came in that day) and I wasn’t sure that I was going to still have a job by the end of the week; yeah I was a little stressed.

Not only that, but I’ve been neglecting things that I really want to do. Me and my bestfriend decided to start up our own book review blog. Well, it was sort of my idea and I talked her into doing it with me. I was going to come up with the basic review format and do the ratings, but now that The Man is home and using the comp more, I rarely actually get ON the bloody thing except late at night. By then I’m too damn tired to do much of anything, certainly not to sit in front of photoshop and piece together images.

Then there’s Second Life where I’m an assistant manager at a shop (yeah crazy right, I’ve been employed more on Second Life since last October than I have in the year and some months that I was actively looking for real life work). I’m basically the main person she counts on to do their job and I’m barely on for more than a few minutes to delete and answer messages. And as weird as it may sound, being that I’m talking about a virtual world, I feel bad that I just don’t have the time to do the simple work she needs me to do.

Speaking of The Job. I’m getting paid off the books. I don’t really get this, but apparently ALL the staff is getting paid off the books. How in the hell do you run a restaurant, with all its expenditures, and not have staff on the books? Dish washers? Ok, I can see that. Maybe even a cook or two. But we’re open 7 days a week for pretty much 12 hours a day. You gotta have at least one cook and one waitress on file. That place is a massive IRS audit waiting to happen. And The Boss is insanely cheap. I got yelled at yesterday because a table ordered a large Greek salad, but the two people there ran out of time, so I gave them two boxes. They were splitting the salad (which was obvious if you saw the fact that the salad was in the middle of the table between the two people). The Boss waits for them to leave and goes off.

“Why did you give them two boxes?”

“Because they are splitting the salad.”

“No. It’s one salad, one box.”

“No. It’s two people, who were both eating the salad, they had to go so they get two boxes to split the salad.”

“One salad, one box. She called here, order to go, but eats here (note: she called ahead because she was going to be between classes and didn’t have a lot of time, I put her order in as to go but told Cook, in front of Boss, that it was to eat in).”

“You were standing right there when she called the order in. She’s at school right now (there’s a university right down the street) and had a break between classes so she and her friend came in to eat. They ran out of time and wanted to take the salad with them. They were splitting the salad to begin with, so of course I’m going to give them two boxes. She paid for her food, and tipped me ($5 on a $14 bill…36% tip, I’ll ride and die for that chick). What’s the problem?”

Boss just huffed after that. He really couldn’t justify being cheap about two people splitting a large salad (our large salads can easily feed two people, or be a full meal for one). We’ve also gotten into it about bread (only with hummus, but not with baba ganouj [WTF?] and only two packages for a medium order, no matter how many people are eating it; if they want more, charge them), and refills on drinks (anything besides water, wait until they ask, don’t refill it automatically). I ignore most of these rules. Because of the way waitstaff wages are caculated (restaurants are only obligated to pay at least $2.65 an hour because we get tips that are supposed to make up the difference and add up to minimum wage; legally we’re supposed to declare our tips and log them and if our tips that day don’t make up for the loss then we get paid extra by the owner…but then again this isn’t exactly a totally legit operation) I can make more in tips than I would from my check.

Just FYI: Waitstaff don’t make living wages. They have to bust their hump extra special hard to make ends meet. Don’t be an asshat and not tip at least 20% (unless your waiter/tress was just THAT bad). We don’t live in Europe where being waitstaff isn’t looked at as badly as it is here and they get paid decently. And if you’re one of those fuckers who go “Well you knew what you got paid when you took the job, should have found one that paid better.” remember that shit when your boss passes your ass up for a promotion or denies your request for a raise.

Some folks honestly do enjoy working waitstaff. It’s hard (especially on the back, legs and feet), but you meet new people everyday, no two days are ever exactly the same. You can’t say that for cubicle life. Me, personally, I love being waitstaff, but I can’t work big restaurants. I learned that at the last place I worked. It’s too much stress for me to handle (well I wasn’t on anti-deps then so who knows). I’ve been working food service in one way or another since I was 15. I love food and all that it represents. I once considered going into culinary arts, but, again, the stress…I don’t think I could hack it.

The problem with me is that I take too much on. I have no clue how to leave well enough alone and become invested in things. Then life takes its course and I find that I’m over my head and struggling to stay afloat.


The First Week of The Job + Sometimes life really sucks

So I started my new job on the 18th. Because my boss is amazingly cheap, training days are unpaid (yes, that’s legal). I had worked there before, I only really needed a refresher on the cash register. Monday and Wednesday were my official “training days” not that I needed training on Wednesday, but like I said my boss is a cheap bastard (the man knows how much each individual napkin costs, he’s that cheap) and nothing is cheaper than free labor.

Noe before I get into anything, let me give you the cast of characters:

There’s S1. A cute little 16 year old girl who acts like a cute little 16 year old girl, which makes me ever so happy that she normally works the second shift because I’d have to strangle her happy peppy ass one day.

S2 is her sister. S2 is older than S1 by a year, however she seemed to have missed the happy peppy train that S1 caught. She’s also not quite as cute.

Cook. He’s the cook. He’s also a pretty good singer. Or at least he can carry a tune while singing in Arabic. I have no clue what any of what he’s singing translates to. It could well be some Arabic version of Baa Baa Black Sheep and you have to really suck to fuck that song up.

The Amazing Beulah, or TAB for short. She’s a dishwasher. I gave her that name because she looks like she could well have been some middle eastern female wrestler at some point in her life. She’s bulky (not fat, but very square) and she scares the hell out of me. Plus I don’t think she likes me too much.

Boss. This should be pretty obvious. He’s the boss. He’s also the owner of the restaurant and a tight fisted penny pincher. I defy his miserliness with no problem because I need my damn tips. Screw his overhead, I got bills.

Mo. A waiter/cook/manager. He’s a bit younger than me. S1 has a crush on him and flirts with him as often as possible. He happily flirts back. Apparently no one has made clear to him just year that here in the US, a 26 year old guy can go to jail for messing with a 16 year old girl. I wonder if I should tell him….NAH!

Mel. A waitress. I’ve met her once. She mostly works night shift on days that I don’t work at all. She probably won’t get much mention.

Ok, I should also state that besides me, S1, S2, and Mel, everyone there is Arab and speaks Arabic as their native language.  This means most days it’s just me and a gang of Arabs, and when they don’t want me to know something, they start chatting away in Arabic. I’m not yet convinced that they’re talking about me, but then again you never know. My conversational Arabic is limited to a few…impolite words.

Anyway, back to my story.

S1 “trained” me my first day, though I figured out more by myself the second day (working with Mo) than I did with her. Day one’s tips were ok. S1 and I split the tables so I would have made more if we hadn’t. Day two’s tips…meh. Again, table splitting with Mo.

Thursday and Friday I had off. My legs and feet were thankful. By the end of Wedsnesday I felt like my legs had been beaten and not in the fun way. Adidas are definitely NOT waitressing shoes.

Saturday was the worst fucking day of waitressing I’ve ever had. Ever. And I’ve done a lot of waitressing. In the course of 7 hours, I made $4. From take out orders. We had not one sit down order. I worked with S2 that day. Four hours after opening, Boss came in bitching at us because we were sitting around (what did he expect us to do). I came pretty close to telling him to kiss my ass, but held back. S2 had to leave early, which she discussed with Mo, but Mo failed to discuss this with Boss. Mo also failed to call me or leave me a note saying that I was supposed to be training S2. Apparently S2 didn’t know this either. I didn’t find out until after S2 had left for the day. Fucking yay.

Sunday, day off. Yep. I only work three days a week for now. I’ll probably pick up more days after The Kid starts school.

Monday, it was just me. Well, me and the health inspector that showed up two weeks early. I called Boss to let him know, and he got there quick (why he doesn’t get his ass in that fast any other time is beyond me). She pointed out some stuff that I had a feeling she was going to point out, large containers of hummus and baba ganoush were dumped for being 5º to warm, cooked chicken had heat turned up under it for being 5º too cold. But beyond all that it was a pretty good day. Pulled a little under $40 in tips and was one damn happy camper (my tank and wallet were both on E thanks to Saturday’s bullshit). I treated myself to an Epsom salt bath soak. All was right with the world.

Tuesday I woke up with a phone call from my sister. She didn’t really want anything.  Just to chat. I hung up with her to go potty, if I had waited for her to decide to hang up first I’d have wet the damn bed. That woman doesn’t stop talking.

I got up, did my usual morning routine of coffee and some half assed breakfast along with checking email and RSS feeds.  Around noon my sister called, but my phone had been in the basement with me which meant I was roaming (an extra $2 if you’re with sprint). I took the phone upstairs and left it. She hadn’t left a message so it must not have been very important. I was quite mistaken.

I called her back 15 minutes later to hear her say “Aunt N*** died.”

I did a mental double take, “Wait…what?”

“Aunt N*** died.” she sniffled.

I still wasn’t really comprehending what she was telling me, “What? When? What happened?”

“They found her this morning. Grandma B**** talked to her last night before going to bed, this morning they found her dead.”

I was stunned. Completely blown back. This was my grandfather’s sister.

My greatgrandparents had 11 kids. My grandfather is oldest of them all. The youngest is younger than my 50 year old father. My greatgrandma (Grandma B****) just turned 88 this year, so yeah she was pretty young when she started (but that was about WW II, so it was pretty common). The aunt that died was one of the younger children. About mid-50s.

After I got my head together I drove to my sister’s house where I was greeted with hugs and kisses from The Kid (who is staying there until school starts, or until after xmas -which we don’t celebrate- if she has anything to say about it…she doesn’t). I instantly felt better. My sister and I watch novelas, munched on home made cookies and chatted while we waited for my mom to finish up her vet appointment so we could all go to visit my greatgrandma together (GGM and Aunt N lived next door to each other).

When we pulled up, we heard the most miraculous thing coming from the house: laughter. A few of my other aunts and uncles were there helping to get things set out (clothes for Aunt N, pictures so the mortuary would know how she looked). GGM was on the porch with some family friends (and family) chatting. It took me a bit to realise that she was the reason there was laughter and some lightness.

GGM is from Mississippi, she grew up during Jim Crow, and God only knows what she was subjected to as a black woman of the deep south. She’s nothing if not stoic. When I was 11, she watched her husband wither away to near nothing as pancreatic cancer slowly took his life. No doubt she cried, and cried hard. But she never asked for pity, or sympathy. She never used her husband’s disease or her widowhood to get something. She accepted his disease and death as being God’s will. And what struggles she had with God and that will privately, I don’t think we’ll ever know.

While at her house I watched her. She laughed and smiled and chatted like it was a normal day. But it wasn’t denial. It was acceptance. She told someone over the phone “Ain’t no use getting upset and beatin yourself up over it. God takes what’s His. Ain’t a thang we can do bout it.” Thus the family matriarch sets the tone for the next week until my Aunt’s funeral. And if my greatgrandfather’s funeral was any example, there will be no loss of dignity, no melodramatic moaning and wailing, no flinging of ones self over the body, no hollaring or carrying on. There will be mourning, dignified and quiet, but nothing to cause embarrassment. GGM will be the rule by which we measure ourselves that day.

After leaving there we went to an italian restaurant and indulged in desserts that are most fitting for three women in a state of mourning: rich, sweet and chocolate.

I eventually went to bed around 1am. How I managed to actually sleep is beyond me, but I did.

Today I refused to call off. I was going to go to work and stay there come hell or high water. Unfortunately it went down hill pretty fast. After the second cash paying customer I was completely out of 1s, 5s and 10s and Boss was nowhere to be found. Add to that the fact that I had four tables, all of whom would want to pay eventually, and the stress began to build. Then the credit card machine gave off an error message. Still no Boss. Still no change. More stress. Then I had a table that wanted a carrot juice. I’ve never made carrot juice. I had no idea how to hook up the juicer, neither did Cook. Once we got it together, there was no where that I could plug it up AND use it. After fighting with it, failing and having two people walk out unserved, I cracked. I went to the table and apologised profusely. Trying really hard not to cry. I did though. I had to explain to her that it wasn’t just the juice, but the juice on top of other problems plus the death of an aunt and I was sort of having a plainly crappy day.

Yes I looked like a flake, but at that moment I really didn’t care. I hurried back into the kitchen and composed myself (after crying a little more). Cook knew what was going on with me and called Mo to come in early to take over for me. Mo didn’t come in early (I kinda didn’t want to), but after that cry I felt a lot better. Carrot juice table paid and I gave them change out of my own wallet (oh, don’t worry I got my damn money back). I took care of my remaining tables (who had, fortunately, come in post-breakdown). I then snatch $40 from the till (all we had were 20s), ran to another pita joint down the street (which was doing more business than we were at the moment…and they were hiring…hmmmmm), got change and came back in time to find one table seated and a to go order that Cook had already started prepairing (God bless that man) I just had to ring it up.

After that, smooth sailing. I pulled in about $32 in tips. Eventually Boss showed up. He was mad about something having to do with the inspection. What exactly I don’t know. He was busy yelling at Cook at TAB in Arabic. After a while he cooled off a bit.

You know…now that I’m employed I can’t use the tag Unemployment Blues. I need a new one. But I can’t think of one. Dammit.

NKA4MT and Religion: a simple breakdown

Let me start by saying this: I respect your right to believe whatever you want to believe. If you want to believe there is no God or if you want to believe there are a hundred Gods, that’s fine by me. Why? Because it’s your life, not mine.

Now here is where I become a completely intolerant bitch: When you decide that I need to believe what you believe.

If you recall, I got a tad pissed off last week when someone decided that it was her duty to tell me how to raise my child. This person responded to a post in the local freecycle group (freecycle, btw, pwns craigslist when it comes to getting stuff you need, and crap you really don’t need but want anyway, for free) where I asked to borrow someone’s cake pans to make a cake for my daughter’s birthday. Her response was to basically tell me that I shouldn’t make a cake for my daughter just because it was her birthday (honestly, I wasn’t making it because it was her birthday, I was making it because she’s been asking since about May to have a red cake with chocolate icing and chocolate strawberries and red candles on top -we skipped the chocolate strawberries and I couldn’t find red candles so she got a number 5 candle instead and didn’t complain one bit). I nearly bled to death biting my tongue so as not to tell this woman where to shove her “example of our Lord, Jesus Christ”.

So let me break it down for folks: I’m not Christian. Do I have a faith and/or belief system? Yes. What is it? None of your damn business. Why is it none of your damn business? Because it’s my blog and I said so and of you don’t like it then you can just sod off. But, most importantly, I don’t talk about my faith because I don’t want people using me as an example of what such-and-such people are “really like”, nor do I want people making judgments on my fellow coreligionists based on what I say. My thoughts are my own, and while, yes, some of what I say may be a bit tinged with what I believe, for the most part I don’t used my faith to base my opinions on.

Was I ever a christian? Yes. I did quite a bit of sampling at the spiritual buffet table. When I was born I was baptised Unitarian. Of course I didn’t know this until I was about 13, and by then I had been Catholic for three years. However my reasons for being Catholic were decidedly less than spiritual. Keep in mind that I was ten when I made the decision, my priorities were not my eternal soul. I chose catholicism for that sip of (really bad) wine every sunday, and so I could be an alter server and go to Cedar Pointe every summer. See, that’s a 10 year old’s priorities. Imbibing things that are considered forbidden to us, and amusment parks.

In high school I took a more non-denominational turn when it came to christianity. A friend took me to her church’s youth night (a church I think is more like a cult considering how often the words “Pastor Butler said” comes out of the mouths of it’s parishoners and how they know more about the life of the Butler family than they do about the life of Jesus).

After high school (and quite a few VERY disappointing encounters with churches of varying denominations), I became more or less agnostic. I went to catholic church on easter and christmas, but that was like going to my grandparents house on those days: it was just something we did.

A very scary incident put me on the road to my current faith. If you know this story, then you me and you know what my faith is. If you don’t already know this story (or at least part of it), then chances are you’ll never really know. Suffice it to say, I’m not Christian.

That said, I hereby give fair warning: If you come on to my blog attempting to preach to me, I’ll cuss you out. Or delete your reply. Depends on how I feel that day. There is no free speech on my blog. You have no rights on my blog. This is a totalitarian dictatorship. China’s got nothing on me. NKA4M and ADOO15C are mine to do with whatever the hell I please so long as I don’t violate wordpress’s TOS. And, guess what, deleting your reply, TOTALLY within the bounds of TOS.

Oh, and, I delete links and URLs posted in replies. That pretty much goes for everyone. Don’t use my page to advertise your shit. If the link is in your name, it stays. If its in the reply, it gets deleted. Sorry, thems the breaks.



Can you tell I’m happy? Give me a week, I’ll be bitching.  I’m slinging shawarma at a local pita joint. I had worked there for a week once but, on the same day, my babysitter dropped out on me and my car stopped working.  What’s funny is that the cafe is sort of famous (fame being relative here).

They’ve remodeled the inside recently, a little less seating than before. And it seems they letting people smoke hookahs at the table (O.o) which I’m sure violates the Michigan ban against smoking in restaurants, but this could be on their outdoor patio so who knows. I guess I could start carrying a lighter just in case.

I won’t start until the 19th, that way I know everything is set and in place (babysitter, The Man, etc etc). Because the man doesn’t always work days (and I’ll be working days) babysitter won’t always be necessary, but it’s helpful to have.

Get the fuck out of here with this bullshit!

Tomorrow is The Kid’s 5th birthday and she told me weeks ago that she wanted to have a red cake with chocolate icing. I can do that. No problem. Except I don’t have a cake pan (I lent it to someone who moved). And I just found that bit of information out today. And I’m broke. So I shoot a message to the two local Free-Cycle groups asking to borrow cake pans.

No response, I can deal with. But this? This is too damn much

if i may make a suggestion………..if we give gifts throughout the year ….then we would be following our perfect model……Jesus …..because he talked about the traditions and doctrins of this system which are created be man and not by God himself………the question is: would you rather be doing things that come from your heart on any given day or by some one telling you…. it’s ony authorized on a certain day, the Bible tells us “A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s being born ” Ecclesiastes 7:1…..that’s why we don’t know the true birth day of Jesus because he said that was not important to one’s life………but what is……..what type of name did we make with God……..this wasn’t meant to offend you and if that is what you thought…….i’m truly sorry……..it was just a friendly suggestion to look real close at your Bible and see if you see the same thing……..do have a blessed day……vrsp kandi

Now, my knee jerk reaction was “Bitch, who the fuck do you think you’re talking to? You don’t know one damn thing about me and you presume to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do for my daughter on her birthday. Kiss the length and width of my ass.”

But I didn’t. I was a good girl.

1. I’m not Christian. My religion, or lack thereof, is not your business.
2. I just want to make a cake for my daughter. That’s all.
3. You have no idea what I do for my family on a day to day basis. So
you can keep all your self-righteous preaching. Until you LIVE my
life, you don’t COMMENT on it.

That was as civil as I could have gotten under the circumstances. I just wanted to make my kid a cake and you want to preach to me about Jesus? Yeah. No.

I know she said she didn’t mean for it to be offensive, but I find it VERY offensive. You know nothing about me, or my life and you want to tell me how to live it? Hell no.  Hell no and kiss my ass, fuck you very much.

Sorry for all the cussing but you have no idea how much stuff like this irks me. I asked to borrow a cake pan not for a fucking sunday school lesson.

I figured out how to share my google reader share list..dur hur hur

yeah yeah…laugh at the slow girl. Fine.

But I figured out how to share my google reader share list with people other than just Sumayyah. So…I’ll share it with you.

Yes, those are ninjas at the top.


And now for something completely different…

Are you right brained or left? Can you switch back and forth or is it pretty set in stone?

Skra linked me to this article from the Australian Hearld Sun website. I can’t say for certain that this is actually scientifically legit…but hell, this is the internet…since when do you have to have sound proof to actually say something on the internet?

Here’s the deal: watch the image, does the “dancer” go clockwise, or counter(anti) clockwise? Can you make her switch directions?

This is what the Herald Sun says

THE Right Brain vs Left Brain test … do you see the dancer turning clockwise or anti-clockwise?

If clockwise, then you use more of the right side of the brain and vice versa.

Most of us would see the dancer turning anti-clockwise though you can try to focus and change the direction; see if you can do it.

uses logic
detail oriented
facts rule
words and language
present and past
math and science
can comprehend
order/pattern perception
knows object name
reality based
forms strategies

uses feeling
“big picture” oriented
imagination rules
symbols and images
present and future
philosophy & religion
can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
spatial perception
knows object function
fantasy based
presents possibilities
risk taking

Me personally…at first glance she goes clockwise, but I am able to make her switch directions (I’m not telling how…you have to figure that out for yourself.

And while I acknowledge this whole thing could be a massive load…it’s still fun!

(btw…kudos to you if you know where the title of this post is from without googling it)

Mars Phoenix Rover makes science depressing

So I was looking through my latest Tweets on Twitterfox when I came across an entry for NASA’s Phoenix Rover (yes, I’m a nerd; know why I signed up for second life? SCIENCE FRIDAY DOES A LIVE SIMUCAST THERE AND YOU CAN ASK QUESTIONS TO THE GUESTS!) that sounded like a complete downer. There’s a point in every year when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of the sun, which means we’re a long flipping ways away from each other.

Now the reason that these Tweets from a robot seem like a downer is because those geniuses at NASA gave it a great personality (of sorts). This is a extra-planetary rover that you’d like to call your buddy. Until he hits you with the news that he only has a few more months to live.

Not sure how long I’ll last before I succumb to CO2 ice. September? October? Time will tell. Lots of work to do before then.

That entry was followed up with this one

In November, even if still alive, I’ll lose contact with Earth due to Solar Conjunction–when Earth and Mars are on opposite sides of Sun.

even if still alive” Oh dear God! Not functioning, not active, alive. If NASA isn’t careful people are going to start developing ideas that these robots are living things and deserve the same rights as humans and then all space and scientific exploration goes down the crapper. Hell, I’m developing something along the lines of feelings for this bloody machine. Who ever is updating their Twitter page is way too good and humanising the rover.

Then….THEN it hits you with the most optimistic, chin-up, stiff upper lip, the-show-must-go-on type message which, I have to say, sounds like it’s straight out of a movie (and if it’s not, would be a really great line in one…Wall-E 2 anyone?)

Knew about the freezing going in. It’s the only way to reach and study the ice. And I was the first touch it! No regrets.

NO REGRETS! Well, for one a machine doesn’t have regrets anyway but going beyond all that….don’t you just want to hug the damn thing now? Hug it and say “Oh my gawd…you’re so brave. That’s right you keep right on testing that soil and you prove you’re the best damn soil tester NASA every sent into space.” all the while sobbing because you know that in the end, the inevitable will occur.

NASA is turning awesome scifi movie fodder into a chick flick. A chick flick with robots, but a chick flick none the less.

I bet LIfetime is going to pick up this story and find some way to make all the men involved evil. Delta Burke will star as the Phoenix Rover, of course.

The Noggin Channel Scares Me A Bit

There. I’ve said it. And if you watched Nickelodian’s Noggin channel (it’s repository for Nick’s Nick Jr. content), you’d feel the same way.

While I do like Noggin much more than Sprout (PBS’s cable/satellite channel for children’s programming), the only show I like on Discovery Kids is Peep and The Big Wide World (I think I like the theme song, performed by Taj Mahal, most) and Toon Disney never finds its way onto my tv screen (Disney = Devil), there are a few shows that either scare me…or make me scratch my head.

I like a lot of Noggin’s programming. Backyardigans is my favorite (mostly because The Kid gets up and dances along with it), and I loooove Little Bill. Maggie and the Ferocious Beast; top marks. Oswald gets a vote from me too.

Then you have shows like Max and Ruby, which features two bunnies of the approximate ages of 3 and 7 (respectively) and their day to day adventures. What’s wrong with this? Max and Ruby have no parents. All their friends have parents, and there are adults who occasionally drop by, but Max and Ruby’s parents are never, ever, around. This leaves Ruby in charge of her little brother Max. They run errands together by catching the bus (I don’t even want to know how Ruby gets bus fare). They do have a grandmother, but she lives on the other side of town, which means taking the bus there too. Now and then Ruby mentions their mother, usually in reference to something else  to explain a situation (i.e. “Mother said we have to spend the day and Grandmother’s house.”). Beyond that, Max and Ruby are on their own. Don’t they have laws against that in their little bunny world?

Then you have shows like Franklin and Little Bear. For the most part, there’s nothing wrong with these shows. Maurice Sendak (Where The Wild Things Are) illustrated Little Bear so, really, you can’t put too much of a knock on it. And I actually do like these shows. The head scratching comes in when they start talking about pets. See, Franklin and Little Bear are largely centered around anthropomorphic animals, though Little Bear does feature two human characters.  I’ve never understood how animal cartoon characters can have pets. Isn’t that sort of akin to slavery? Franklin’s best friend is a snail, yet Franklin has been known to own a fish. Little Bear has a friend named Cat (who is a cat, duh), yet Emily, the human friend, owns a dog for a pet (the dog, unlike Little Bear and Cat, cannot talk).

Then there’s Yo Gabba Gabba. This show…it scares me. I can not express how much it scares me, but it does. If you have seen it, you’d be scared too. It’s like HR Pufnstuf toned down and without the (obvious) drug references.

It featurers five Pufnstuf-esque creatures that are meant to be like puppets manipulated by a “puppet master” named DJ Lance Rock, who is a skinny black guy in a bright orange, and very tight, jumpsuit, with an equally bright orange fuzzy hat and 80’s Run DMC style glasses. Part of me wanted to scream racism when I first saw the show. But I also knew that would be totally false. There’s nothing even minutely racist about the show. It’s just the fact that a skinny black guy clad, head to toe, in bright orange scares me for some inexplicable reason. The show features music, “dancing” (there are people in those suits, you really can’t call hopping from foot to foot while waving your arms wildly dancing…unless you’re white….KIDDING!), the occasional “guest” (Elijah Wood [HOBBITSES!] and Biz Markee have made appearances) and life lessons for the 3-5 year old set (like sharing, and not biting others).

One of their more disturbing skits deals with eating. One or all of the creatures gather around for meal time and start singing “There’s a party in my tummy!” and, out of nowhere, the food on the plate grow faces and respond “SO YUMMY! SO YUMMY!” They then call out the name of each food (or drink) before “eating” it. Once eaten you get an inside view of the creature’s stomach so you can see the food “partying”. I should mention that the food is completely intact, which means it was swallowed whole with no chewing involved. This includes items like chicken legs. The other day, while watching this show (actually I was walking by the tv while The Kid was watching it and was forced to stop and stare…there’s something about that show that makes you do that) I disovered one of the creatures actuall has THREE stomachs.

Inevitably, the creatures leave some bit of their food on the plate, and as they walk away the food begins to cry. The creatures walk back and ask the food why it’s crying only to get the reply “We want to go to the party! The party in your tummy!” (suicidal food?), and they are rewarded by being gulped down in the same fashion as all the other food was.

Don’t believe me? Watch this:

See what I mean? SCARY STUFF! Honestly, who the hell thought this was a good idea?

So, yeah…Noggin programming is scary stuff man.

Birthday and forced labor

Last monday was my birthday. I am now the disturbingly close to 30 age of 27. I always said I wouldn’t be one of those people who over analyzes everything on their birthday, but the older I get the harder that becomes.

Tuesday I dropped H off at the airport for a trip to…erm…somewhere. Who the hell knows. Then headed out to Detroit. The week before I got a call from my mom, “What are you doing from the 1st to the 7th?” Um…nothing I think. Why? “Good, you’re coming down here to help me clean up the house.” *pause* O…k…

This is my mom. What am I going to say? “No clean your own damn house”? That whole giving birth and raising me thing sort of makes it hard to say that.

So I spent the last week cleaning my mom’s house, hanging out with a childhood friend, and shuttling between my sister’s house and my parent’s (which sucked up a LOT of gas). It took us the better part of two days to clean my mom’s kitchen. This included cleaning out the cabinets, removing their handles and shelves, washing EVERYTHING (including walls and ceiling), sorting though dishes, glasses, mugs, sliverware, and cooking utensils, hauling bag after bag after bag after bag of garbage to the big dumpster they rented when they had the siding on their house redone. Not to mention cleaning out their refigerator (which REALLY needed it), washing the floor, soaking and scrubbing the cabinet handles in a mix of LA’s Totally Awesome All Purpose Cleaner (the ONLY cleaner I absolutely SWEAR by…even though I’m certain the fumes have erased a few much needed braincells) and water; which removed not only years of grease and oil and dirt, but also the finish from the handles.

Thursday we took care of most of the dining and living rooms, Friday we finished so my parents could bbq and have company over. I also cleaned their bathroom, moving all unnecessary items from the back of the toilet to a shelf in their linen closet. Saturday a few of those items were back on the back of the toilet and I gave up. Sunday I went over to my sister’s house to help her prepare for a bbq. This mostly entailed running errands. More gas guzzling.

Today I’m supposed to get H from the airport…though I don’t know what time. I’m exhausted but I still have things to do before I can lay down and rest.

I need a vacation.

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