December 29, 2004

a memo to the bug(s) in my apartment

To: The Bug(s) in My Apartment
CC: Any Bug(s) or Rodent(s) Considering Inhabiting My Apartment
From: Curly McDimple
Date: 12.29.2004
Re: Your Most Unwelcome Squatting

First order of business -- for the sake of my mental health, I'm going to gloss over all obvious indicators that place you squarely in the roach family. I'm going to continue to let myself believe that the species that just paid me a visit is of the waterbug variety. For whatever fucked up reason, it just makes me feel better to think so. Mind you, I don't like them either but they are at least a rung or two lower than roaches on the gross-out scale. Silly and delusional of me, I know, but kindly indulge me.

Secondly, I fully realize that I live in New York City, an old city rife with vermin and other disgusting pests, and I shouldn't be too shocked when said vermin decides to drop in on my wee studio. But I still am. I choose to reside in a clean, tidy living space ALONE and I'd like to keep it that way. I eschew vermin for the same reason I eschew roommates... they're dirty and always getting into my shit.

Now perhaps your recent intrusion was due to the fact that you got worried about a comrade who only last week decided to explore the small confines of my studio. When a waterbug doesn't return to the nest, perhaps it is your duty and obligation to form a search party. Um yeah, while I mostly respect social norms and mores, I have to discourage you from continuing this practice. Particularly in this case as it's a hopeless cause. I caught one glimpse of your friend and in one fell swoop lunged for a can of Raid and gassed that mofo into oblivion. I nearly had an asthma attack from the fumes but seeing his motionless corpse was more than worth the pair of scorched lungs I suffered.

Do I need to spell it out for you? My apartment is not a safe haven for your ilk. Just ask the mouse that dared rear its head in here two years ago. Granted, I did not kill it directly. It's rather hard to perform such an execution while stricken with fear standing atop one's coffee table. While I screamed bloody murder, I couldn't quite carry it out, you see. It wasn't for lack of trying though. I realize it's rather incongruous but I took the smooth stones from the meditation garden on my coffee table and fired them with ferocious strength in the direction of the rodent. It matters not that I missed. What matters is that the mouse ran back into the hole it came from and then most likely shit twice and died (knock wood). An hour and a pair of sweat-soaked pajamas later, I summoned the courage to dismount the coffee table and call the super, who plugged up the hole and set traps to take care of that little fucker and all others for good.

The same super has been notified of your recent activity and mark my words, your days are numbered. In fact, one of your brethren is already dead. I spotted the bugger when I got home from work tonight and sprung into action. Granted, the closest thing at hand was a glass of water but it still surprised him! I bet he was expecting bug spray or loud shrieking but that sudden dousing of Poland Spring caught him off guard and sent him into a tailspin. Shock and awe, indeed.

To his credit, he tried faking me out by hiding behind the garbage but a series of swift kicks to the can and squirts of Raid smoked him out and sent him fleeing towards the fridge. He then deftly dodged my stomping feet causing me to retreat and compose myself. And then in a sneak attack, he dropped from the ceiling behind me. Now, that could very well have been a second bug entirely but again, for the sake of my nerves, I'm choosing to believe that the first bug made himself invisible and flew past me undetected. Regardless if it was the same bug or not, its dive-bombing tactic proved to be a miserable failure as was its subsequent fast-break for the closet. I cut him off at the pass with another quick kick-and-spray combo. He turned tail and headed through an open field towards the bathroom. After a couple more evasive maneuvers on his part, I came at him with a surprise left foot and smashed him but good. The force at which I stomped even drowned out the disgusting crunching noise that normally has me gagging.

So let this be a lesson to you. It wasn't an easy battle, I'll admit, but I'm ready for round two. Sure, I'm twitching now with a perpetual case of the heebie-jeebies and I fully plan on wrapping myself in a blanket cocoon and sleeping with my shoes on tonight... but victory will STILL be mine. Or at the very least, the super's.

on abandoned trees and auld lang syne

My heart grew heavy this morning as trees stripped bare of their decorations awaiting the wood chipper littered my path to the subway. I expect more of the same in the coming days and frankly, it depresses me. Sometimes a lone bit of tinsel still clings to a branch further eliciting my pity. What once contributed to a cozy, comforting and festive display now seems sad, lonely and pathetic. I genuinely adore the Christmas blitz but the post-holiday schrapnel, the bombed-out looking store aisles and barren shelves sporting those yellow and red half-price tags make me sad and wistful. Don't even get me started on the premature stocking of Valentine's Day crap. It makes me absolutely cranky.

However, in an effort to extend the shelf-life of my holiday spirit and make this blog somewhat educational, I'm going to give you a wee lesson in how the Scottish folk celebrate the New Year (also known as Hogmanay). By singing "Auld Lang Syne," you're already gettin' your Scottish on somewhat but here are a few more tidbits in case you want to inject some more of my people's traditions into your festivities.

After the clock strikes 12, people throughout Scotland visit family and friends bearing gifts of food and drink in a tradition called "first footing." Ah, but there's a catch... not just anyone is welcome to pass through the threshold. I mean, everyone is welcome to visit but ideally, the "first foot" through the door should belong to that of a dark-haired man. Anything less is considered bad luck. My father, in his younger days, had hair as black as pitch and was promptly ordered by my Granny to exit and enter the house at midnight. Feel free to shove your favorite brunette or raven-haired fella out into the cold to keep up the tradition. If he complains, I got your back.

So, to you and yours, I wish you a very Happy New Year. And remember... if it's not Scottish, it's CRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRAP!



December 27, 2004

10 things I can be sure of over the holidays

No matter the year, the circumstances, the new additions or any other changes, the following are McDimple family holiday traditions I can count on yearly:

10. A book of stamps, shaving gel, razors and Snickers in my Christmas stocking

9. The Mother will inevitably use the word "carcass" when referring to the remnants of the turkey or ham. The rest of the McDimples, particularly me, will be grossed out and will loudly protest her use of that term. However, the rest of them are not grossed out enough to refrain from eating the soup she makes with said carcass. I, on the other hand, am.

8. The Father will pontificate that "Alastair Sim is the best Scrooge ever." He will then scoff at all other comers. That's right, Kelsey Grammar... He's talking about you!

7. The McDimples must pussyfoot around the house while the Mother's sultana cake is in the oven. Loud noises or slamming doors are the bane of the sultana cake's existence, you see. My mother has been known to say, "If you ruin my good cake, I'll flatten ya." It's actually quite charming and not at all violent-sounding when said in a soft Scottish accent.

6. The Father will cram several pieces of candy into his mouth while trying to avoid the watchful eye of the Mother. His hunting and gathering moves are quite stealth but his unnaturally sensitive gullet gives him away each and every time. Peanut M&Ms in particular set off violent coughing fits in this man. After the choking scare has been averted, The Mother scolds him and hides the candy dish while the rest of us mutter under our breath and shoot him dirty looks. Group punishment blows.

5. The Mother will say, "This is too much!! A nice wee box of chocolates or some Licorice Allsorts would have been plenty!" as she opens the many gifts from her children. The Father's favored standard phrase is: "What'nerth are yae doin'?" While we're all moved at their humility, each kid takes a turn issuing an "Oh, shaddup!" or some other variation. Lovingly, of course.

4. I will be tasked with quietly rearranging the Christmas decorations the Father haphazardly places in the family room. When it comes to illuminated ceramics, the man knows no restraint. Mind you, he's a brilliant artisan when it comes to making furniture and other decorative pieces but arranging them is a whole other matter.

3. At 7:00pm EST on Christmas Eve, my parents will wish each other a "Happy Christmas" since by then it's technically Christmas in Scotland. After that, they give us the usual stump speech that goes a little something like this: "In our day, we were happy to get a piece of chocolate and an orange in our stockings. After dinner, we had dumpling and that was our big treat. That was our Christmas and we were glad to have it. It was a simpler time then..." Their storytelling both warms our hearts and shames us simultaneously.

2. The mere mention of Nestor the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey will bring all four McDimple girls close to tears. The one who brought it up will be soundly shushed and the memory of the persecuted wee donkey will be repressed for another year.

1. Diarrhea and regret

December 19, 2004

don't tell mom the babysitter's dumb

To earn me a bit o' extra Christmas scratch, I babysat for my Two Favorite Wee Boys this afternoon. I should note that these kids (ages 7 and 10) attend a very well-to-do academy with a curriculum far more advanced than most universities. In a word, these boys are BRILLIANT.

To better illustrate my point, let's just say that after a baffling round of Hang Man where my strangled stick-figure corpse was swinging from the rafters in record time, I had to set forth a rule banning the use of Latin. Yes, Latin. In Hang Man. Um, like, whatever happened to trying to stump your opponent with dirty words and shit? Next time, I'm going to arm myself with this. And won't their little highfalutin-know-it-all asses be surprised?

December 16, 2004

olfactory onomatopoeia

During today's meandering IM session with Jess, I expressed my displeasure with the bad smell that consistently haunts all Subway sandwich shops I've visited. I like Subway (mmm... 6-inch Veggie Delight) but the odor that greets me each time makes me crinkle up my nose in disgust. I grossed out Jess when I told her the smell was "yeasty." Hell, I grossed out myself when I said the word "yeasty."

To me, that word is a sense memory trigger. I reflexively sniff when I hear it and I instantly and vividly remember the stank. There are several words/terms that provide the same effect:
:: Scummy
:: Belch
:: Beefy
:: Musty
:: Dung
:: Cockey
:: Manure
:: Björk (LOVE LOVE LOVE her but I've always thought that her name sounded like a "milk burp." P.U.)
:: Bill O'Reilly (Suck on it, O'Reilly!)
:: Bated breath (I know it means something altogether different but I can't help but think of the smell of my Dad's tackle box combined with someone's kickin' halitosis.)
Speaking of bad breath, I feel like there are certain people that just have that look about them as if something crawled in their mouth and died. Don't know what it is exactly. For example, I've never met the following celebrities but I can't help but think that they could benefit from a tin of Altoids:
:: Michael Bloomberg
:: Bill O'Reilly (oooooooooooooh, double burn!)
:: Hugh Down
:: Jeff Goldblum
:: Frances Sternhagen
:: Charles Nelson Reilly
:: Carly Simon
:: The Guy Who Used to Play Sean Donely on General Hospital
:: Freddie Mercury (I know I shouldn't speak ill of a deceased legend but still, those teeth! I bet he did a lot of breathing through his mouth at night, which, as you may or may not know, is a leading culprit when it comes to morning breath.)
I'll add more to the list as they come to me. And I know you'll all be waiting with... bated breath. ::sniff:: Ew.

UPDATE: The list of smelly celebs is growing! Check out the comments and add your own!

December 13, 2004

from the home office in provincetown, massachusetts

In the past week or two I've gotten several responses to my online dating profile. Admittedly, it hasn't exactly been a bumper crop so I haven't replied to any of them. Here are some reasons why certain emails and profiles have since been banished from my in-box:

10) Headline: Strong, silent type looking for her lady
Not silent enough if you ask moi. I equally resent those women who fancy themselves "tall, dark and handsome." Uh yeah, while you're out getting a grip, please be sure to pick up some updated phrasing.

9) Headlines using any sort of play on the word "cat"
Seriously, girls, every possible double entendre involving the words "pussy" or "kitty" has already been done AD FUCKING NAUSEUM. In fact, you may want to accompany Strong, Silent Type and Tall, Dark and Handsome on their new terminology shopping spree. I bet they'll even offer to drive.

8) A combination of the words "Sappho" and "lover" in the user's member name
Excuse me but I just dry-heaved.

7) Use of the word "womyn" in the same user's profile
See above.

6) Use of the term "greasy chicken" in yet another headline
Exactly what, pray tell, is appealing about oily poultry? Allow me to rid you of the notion that there's some titillating similarity to 9-1/2 Weeks. I already checked and there isn't one.

5) Favorite on-screen sex scene: Better Than Chocolate
Now that's original. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this person's runners-up are: Gia, Bound, Personal Best, Desert Hearts, The Hunger and If These Walls Could Talk 2. Just a hunch.

4) Non-descript short hair with dangly old-lady earrings
I'm willing to bet good money that this woman wears long, bouncy skeleton earrings on Halloween and Christmas balls this time of year. Overly festive accessorizing sickens me.

3) Age: 22
I'm a shallow asshole in many respects but I do have some limits.

2) "Gender politics" listed as a hobby
As an interest, it's fine. As a hobby, not so much.

And the number one reason for banishment from my in-box...

1) Red Sox fan
Need I say more?

December 12, 2004

a small hot chocolate and a bowtie

I went on a marathon walk with a good friend of mine yesterday. We're both fed up with the drooping and sagging that has plagued our bodies in recent months so we've decided to counteract the flab while exploring our fine city. Yesterday we zig-zagged through Central Park talking a blue streak and burning calories all the while. We ooohed and aaahed over the windows at Bergdorf's, played with Jack Russell terriers by Wollman Rink, ate a crepe near the Boat House, directed tourists towards Belvedere Castle, took a lap around the Great Lawn and then finally left the park when it grew dark and the paths seemed "too Fisher King" for our liking. I already feel like I've got a little less jiggle. Good stuff.

Before meeting my friend, I wanted to fortify myself with a large Dunkin Donuts coffee. While waiting on line, a homeless woman stinking of booze approached me for "99 cents." Something about that specific amount touched me. I felt like George Bailey when Mrs. Davis asked for a meager $17.50 during the bank run in It's a Wonderful Life. I only had a twenty on me so I couldn't make change but I offered to buy her something to eat instead. Her eyes lit up when I said, "Anything you want." I was expecting and even hoping that she'd want something filling and more substantial like one of those croissant things with egg, sausage and cheese on it. Instead, she wanted a small hot chocolate and a bowtie.

I suggested she get more but she was more than happy with her original request. Mind you, she was so drunk that it took her about 10 minutes to relay her simple order to me (good thing the line was long). However, I could hardly grow impatient with her post-binge brain lag. That very morning, I woke up sitting upright on my couch with a sleeve of crackers in one hand, the remote in the other with the TV on, face unwashed, teeth unbrushed wearing only a t-shirt and my Hello Kitty undies. The night before, I arrived home a bit drunk courtesy of some Jack Daniels shots that Jess' Tall Guy generously bought us. I decided I needed to restore some sobriety so I turned on The Daily Show and got stuck into the saltines. I do believe I fell asleep mid-chew. I was the picture of drunken sloth so I was in no position to criticize someone else half in the bag. At least she had pants on.

December 08, 2004

coming soon to a small-screen near you?

Um, I'm not sure but I think I may have landed me a part in an upcoming episode of Newlyweds. I was walking through Rockefeller Center and who walked by me with a camera crew but one Mr. Nick Lachey? I wouldn't have even known it was him but my coworker pointed him out. So there I stood craning my neck to get a look just as the camera man panned in my direction. Somehow I don't think I was captured in the most flattering pose. Here's hoping I'm banished to the cutting room floor. Seriously, edit me out.

This won't be the first time I've made it onto cable TV. When I was youngster, I stuck my hand in front of a SportsChannel camera at the Meadowlands Racetrack as the horses were in the final stretch. Yup, this here left mitt of mine made the evening news.

In case you're wondering why I was at the track at such a young age, well... my best friend's father was rather fond o' the ponies. The deal was we looked through the racing forms and he placed our bets. Simple. I knew nothing about odds or handicaps but I made my selections based on funny-sounding names and pretty harness colors. That method won me 25 smackers, folks. That was back in 1983, so don't scoff at the amount. I went back a couple of years ago and tried using the odds strategy and I didn't win shit. If I go again, I'm going back to the funny names and pretty colors technique.

And not to be outdone, my right hand once made it onto a broadcast of a now-defunct CNBC nightly program. I was an intern back in college, you see. On one particular episode, we were waiting for details on breaking news. Once it came over the wire, my pale, quivering hand reached out from behind the half-wall on the right side of the set and passed the notes to The Well-Known Host during a live broadcast.

As a journalist I think The Host is a tool but I will say this: He was a rather affable fella. Except for the time he wanted to send me outside in the dead of winter to track down an executive producer who stepped out to an undisclosed location for a sandwich. When informed that the EP would be back shortly, I overheard him snap, "Send the kid to find him!" The kid??!? Ew, muthafucka, ew! In other words, I found that dismissive remark to be the height of bad manners.

But I got back at him... passive-aggressively of course but really, is there a better way to give someone the old F.U.?

One of my jobs was to buy food for the green room as well as beer for the mini-fridge in The Host's office. You know, like, when I wasn't cleaning his office with Fantastik or defrosting the miniscule freezer with a plastic knife and a hair dryer borrowed from the makeup department. Safety and good sense be damned! The Host needs ice! In fairness, it was the sycophantic associate producer with the gnarly perm who made me do these ridiculous things. I can't in good conscience blame The Host for my close encounter with Freon.

Anyhoo, I accompanied the production assistant on a shopping run on my first day. She showed me what to buy and how to charge things to the account. After we hit the supermarket, we went to the liquor store to pick up the aforementioned suds. Much to my dismay, the PA reached into the refrigerator case to buy two six-packs of cold Sam Adams. I had to intervene. Yup, there's me on my first day in the middle of a liquor store giving my superior a quick tutorial on why she shouldn't buy cold beer if there wasn't room for it in the fridge. Girlfriend maybe knew how to book guests and cue up tapes but she was utterly clueless about the scourge of skunky beer.

After that, I became solely responsible for the shopping. It sucked but being the conscientious and diligent intern that I was, I made sure to buy good shit for the green room to keep the guests happy and room-temperature six-packs to ensure a good-tasting beer supply for The Host. Needless to say, that goodwill policy ended the day after he sent me out in the snow on a wild goose chase. Hope you liked those store-brand ginger snaps and your funky-tasting, smelly beer, asswipes!