Friday, August 15, 2014

Wacky People I’ve Met: Tide Bottle Pee Man

I’ve traveled a lot – to 40 states and a dozen countries, to be exact – and in all that traveling, I’ve met lots of people. Lots and lots of people. Some of those people are nut jobs. I’m always telling my boring friends who stay at home stories about the nutty, nutty people I’ve met in my many travels. Then it occurred to me, when I was driving home from yoga class, that I should really be telling these stories to all of you! They’re probably wasted on my boring friends who no doubt see them as proof that they should never, ever go anywhere, ever. So for the first installment in my ongoing blog series, Wacky People I’ve Met, I’m going to tell you guys about the Tide Bottle Pee Man.

I met the Tide Bottle Pee Man in California in 2004. Can you guess where I met the Tide Bottle Pee Man? I’m sure none of you will be surprised to learn that it was Venice Beach.

To be honest, Tide Bottle Pee Man wasn’t the strangest person at Venice Beach, and he wasn’t even the strangest person I’ve ever met. I know lots of people even now who are probably crazier than Tide Bottle Pee Man. But Tide Bottle Pee Man sticks out in my memory because he peed in a Tide bottle.

Some background: I was traveling with my hippie boyfriend, the Redheaded Guitar Player (not to be confused with the Redheaded Banjo Player, a different hippie boyfriend who may or may not appear later on in the series), and when we met the Tide Bottle Pee Man, he was living out of a van on Venice Beach. I mean, he was basically doing the same thing we were doing, but with a much nicer van. The Redheaded Guitar Player’s van was a 1972 Dodge Something-or-Other held together with bubblegum, dreadlocks and duct tape. The Tide Bottle Pee Man’s van was a much newer model, and while it wasn’t as big or as well-appointed as the Redheaded Guitar Player’s, it had one thing the Redheaded Guitar Player’s van did not – a Tide bottle full of pee.

The Tide Bottle Pee Man was a totally normal-looking dude. His hair was a little long, but he cut it that way on purpose. He was clean shaven and wore normal clothes. If you’d met him in a bar or coffee shop or something you’d have never guessed that he lived in a van and peed in a Tide bottle. The only way we know was on account of him standing next to said van, pointing out said Tide bottle, and saying, “I live in this van and pee in this Tide bottle.”

“Why?” asked the Redheaded Guitar Player, who was just as baffled as I was.

“Well, because I see it, and I think, clean, you know?”

The Redheaded Guitar Player and I looked at each other. Neither one of us wanted to ask why he didn’t just pee outside, although we totally had that exact conversation the minute we were out of Tide Bottle Pee Man’s earshot. For the record, neither of us had any good ideas about why Tide Bottle Pee Man peed in a Tide bottle.

I guess he was concerned about his privacy, but I’m a woman, and I’d bare my snow-white ass and pee outside before keeping a bottle of urine in my van. It’s even easier for men to pee outside. I know this because they never shut up about it.

Tide Bottle Pee Man was lonely, too. “Yeah, you know, I just wanted to get this van, and enjoy this lifestyle, you know, man,” he said. “I had a girlfriend, but she didn’t want to live in the van with me. I don’t know why.”

“Women, man,” said the Redheaded Guitar Player, in solidarity. I didn’t say anything, but the Tide Bottle Pee Man looked wistfully out to sea like he really didn’t know why his ex-girlfriend didn’t want to live in a tiny van with a guy who pees in a Tide bottle. I just can't stop picturing her trying to wash their clothes.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Seeking a Professional Writer Who Is Also a Wizard

* The following is a PARODY of a Craigslist Writing Gigs job ad. THIS IS NOT A REAL JOB AD, DO NOT TRY TO APPLY TO IT. (You know who you are.) *

Hi there! We’re seeking an experienced, qualified, research-driven professional writer/blogger/editor who is an expert on a wide range of topics including shopping, fashion, travel, dentistry, underwater basket weaving and more. Ideally we’re looking for a writer/blogger/editor who is an expert in at least seventeen fields. If you have a Master’s degree or higher in one or more fields in addition to at least a BA in English, communications, journalism or a related field, that would be perfect.

Of course we realize that not everyone can be an expert in every field, so if you want to narrow your focus down to five or six fields, let us know.

We’re specifically looking for a writer who can develop 10 to 12 pages of original content per week in specific niches, while putting together a content development team of about 30 to 40 people and working with them to develop, edit, place and promote shareable blog content for our client base of several dozen businesses in a wide range of industries. You should also be able to source open-copyright images from the Web or, ideally, be a photographer.

Our perfect candidate also has experience in video development and production, although this is not required provided you are able to kidnap a film student (graduate level only) and hold them captive in our basement while compelling them to produce our YouTube videos for us. You will need to supply your own set of chef’s knives for this.

In addition you should also be adept in Javascript, C++ and HTML. If you’ve picked up any other programming languages along the way please let us know. We’re going to need you to do some light web design and app development from time to time, but nothing major. Please have experience building infographics and charts.

We need someone who can spearhead our social media marketing efforts, so we’re looking for a real social influencer who has really made a splash on social media. Please send links to all of your social media profiles for the past ten years, as well as your login information.

If you have any experience with witchcraft or magic that would be a big plus, but only if you can provide references who will verify that your spells and talismans actually work. Also, some of us here at the office are really getting into the local food movement, so if you could establish and singlehandedly nurture a rooftop garden capable of feeding all 20 of us and our families, that would awesome. Please give us an overview of your farming experience in your cover letter.

If you think you’d be a good fit for this position, please send a cover letter and resume along with:

  • Your areas of expertise
  • Links to your blogs, websites and published articles
  • A comprehensive portfolio showcasing your writing abilities
  • Links to your favorite websites and blogs
  • Any memories you may have of your first day of school
  • Your firstborn son, or if you’re childless or only have daughters, one of your feet

If you have any questions about the position, please don’t hesitate to ask. The chosen candidate will receive a competitive salary of $300 to $400 a month.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I Have a New Tenant

So, remember a couple of weeks ago when I mentioned that not cutting your grass attracts snakes? I wasn’t joking. About a month ago, after not cutting my grass for like a month because my lawnmower broke down and I had to take it into Sears for repairs (Long story short: the Sears guy had to remove a large rock from inside the mower. No, I don’t understand it either.), I string-trimmed a snake. Don’t worry, I didn’t kill it. I think I stunned it though, because it just sat there and looked at me like – well, like I’d just walked up and shoved the business end of a string trimmer in its face, because that is exactly what I had done.

I stood there and stared at it like an idiot because that’s what I do when I see a snake. It stared back, because that’s what snakes do when they see a human.

I told you that so I could tell you this: about a week ago, despite having mowed my lawn at some point within the previous month, probably closer to the beginning than to the end of that month, I found a big damn snake in my garage. I mean, this snake was at least three or four feet long, although when I tell people about it, it was naturally forty feet long. I could tell it wasn’t venomous because of the shape of its head and because I have seen rat snakes before.

I spotted it slithering around in the corner of my garage when I was getting out of my car. My first reaction was, of course, to get out my phone and snap several pictures of the snake to post to Facebook. Not a lot goes on around here, you see. When you ask me what I’ve been up to lately and I just get real quiet instead of responding, it’s because I don’t want to say, “Well, the other day I saw a big damn snake in my garage,” but it’s either that, or nothing.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a really good photo of the snake because several of my possessions were in the way, damn them, and I didn’t want to scare it by moving the wheelbarrow and everything.

It's the thing with the head.

Then I got worried that maybe I shouldn’t leave the snake in my garage, like maybe it would crawl up into my car somehow and surprise me while I’m driving, so I texted my friend to find out what I should do with the snake. He advised me to pick it up with a snow shovel and remove it from the garage. But by the time I could get out my show shovel, I couldn’t really get at the snake anymore, because it had crawled back into its hole and was doing this:

I know this photo is kinda fuzzy, but I didn't want to get too close to the big damn snake.

When the snake saw me coming with the snow shovel, it bared its fangs at me. I texted my friend, “It just yawned at me is that a threat” to which he replied, “It mocks you.”


So in the end I just stood there and stared at the snake for several minutes, and it stared at me back. Then I realized I was in a Mexican standoff with a snake, so I put my snow shovel away and went back in the house. I haven’t seen the snake since. But I know it's out there, somewhere, mocking me.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Embrace Your Geekness Day Is July 13th

A couple of weeks ago Sam Bowling over at SingleHop asked me (and a bunch of other bloggers) to join them in celebrating Embrace Your Geekness Day on July 13. It’s also Gruntled Workers Day, which is celebrated by complimenting fast food workers.  

If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll know that around this time last year I blogged about how I’m not sure I’m a geek at all, even though my grandmother was an honorary crew member of the USS Enterprise. I agreed to blog for Embrace Your Geekness Day anyway, because even though I don’t feel like much of a geek, I do have a cat whose confirmation name is Admiral James T. Kirk, so there’s that.

Shoe Fatty FatFat Admiral James T. Kirk Pocket Von Fittington III. Catholics have such long names.

I’m not really into video games or techy stuff, but I’ve been given to understand that my fondness for BBC programming is geeky. I don’t think it’s geeky at all, but I’ve probably just internalized the opinions of all the British people I know. I like to pretend that my love of the BBC stems from living in Chamonix around British people for all those years, but I loved to watch Dr. Who and Are You Being Served? and Keeping Up Appearances on PBS when I was a kid. I don’t watch Dr. Who anymore because no Doctor can replace the fourth Doctor in my heart. 

As I’ve discussed before, I come from a Star Trek family, and I don’t speak Klingon or anything, but the object of my first awkward childhood crush was Mr. Spock. Even as a girl, you see, I was into emotionally unavailable men.

Other things that probably make me a geek include:

  • I have read all of Terry Pratchett’s books, most multiple times. Terry Pratchett is the source of my all-time favorite quote, “Rules are there to make you think before you break them.”
  • As a teen, I was a big fan of the Beat Generation and Jack Kerouac in particular. His first language was French so, in order to really understand his frame of mind, man, I decided to start taking high school French when I was 16. That bizarrely-thought-out decision led to a French degree and a profoundly altered life. In retrospect I’m glad I decided to take up French instead of alcoholism. Good call, Proto-Marge.
  • I have been to the Louvre more than two dozen times. I still haven’t seen it all. Fucking thing is huge. I kept getting lost.
  • I have read The Hobbit over a dozen times. You’d think I’d have just bought another book, but no.
  • I read books about daily life in Europe during the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period for fun.
  • I have a zombie apocalypse preparedness plan. It involves getting torn to pieces because who am I fucking kidding.

Friday, July 4, 2014

My Next House Is Going to Be a Condo

So, it being the 4th of July and my having a rare weekend off from work, I had grand plans today of weeding the rockery. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s British for “rock garden.” Yes, I know I’m in America now. Thank you for asking.

Anyway, I’m not even sure it really is a rockery. For a long time I thought it was a French drain, but it doesn’t seem to have a pipe of any kind in it and it’s not actually draining anything. It just sits there, looking rocky, growing weeds, and collecting insects and dead grass clippings. It is the ugliest fucking thing ever.

So, I thought I was going to pull all the weeds out of this thing, remove the rocks, lay down some gardening fabric to prevent the re-growth of said weeds, and then replace the rocks. All in one day. Because, after 31 years of life, I not only don’t know myself at all, but also lack a fundamental grasp of reality. Needless to say, I did not weed the rockery. I weeded about half of it, before I was like “Fuck this, it’s a holiday, I’m getting sunburnt, I’m hungry, and why the fuck do I have a rock garden anyway? GOD HAS PUT THIS ROCK GARDEN HERE TO SPITE ME FOR NOT BELIEVING IN HIM.”


But seriously though, why do I even have a rock garden? It doesn’t serve a purpose. It just sits there like an asshole, requiring me to spend entirely too much time pulling weeds out of it and getting glared at by big-ass spiders and stuff. For that matter, why even have a lawn at all? Whose idea was that? I’ll tell you who – some English lord with a bajillion serfs to do all the mowing and weeding and rockery-spider-wrangling for him. “I say, old chap, this gardening business is smashing. Let’s go throw some peasants in the haha.” Fuck that.

If I had known how much of a pain the ass home ownership was going to turn out to be, I’d never have purchased one. No one said anything because misery loves company.

When I was house-shopping, I was all into my “outdoor space.” I was all, “I want some nice outdoor space!” And yes, going outside is lovely. I do it at least once a week. In any case I have two porches and if you’re not good with numbers, that’s more porches than I can use at one time. I could have gotten a condo with a balcony or one of those gardens that somebody else mows. At least, I could have gotten a home on a smaller lot. I could have gotten a home on a flat lot. I mean, my home isn’t exactly clinging to the side of a cliff or anything, but even a small incline is a bit much when you’re pushing a mower and it’s hotter than 40 hells outside. How am I supposed to mow the lawn when it’s hotter than a stainless steel toilet seat in the Sahara? It’s madness, I tell you, madness. I mean, no one’s going to fine me because I live in the middle of nowhere, but not mowing the lawn attracts snakes and ground wasps and one of my neighbors, so I have to do it. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

If You Can't Say Something Nice...

As you’re no doubt aware, today the Supreme Court ruled that corporations can deny women health insurance coverage for contraception on the grounds that women as a group don’t know any better than to not go straight to Hell. I mean, of course, the actual Christian Hell, because if another religion tried this crap they would get shot down so hard. Yes, there are other religions. I KNOW, RIGHT?

We all continue to have high expectations of the Supreme Court in spite of the fact that they recently gutted the Voting Rights Act and not-so-recently upheld segregation. My point is that the Supreme Court cannot be trusted to make the right decision. They also have been known to change their minds. Remember that whilst you’re strutting around feeling vindicated and forcing your semi-coherent opinions down the throats of anyone who wanders within range.

Naturally, I’m talking about assholes on Facebook. I have, of course, already deleted everyone who rants at me, both from my friends list and my life. I am not fucking around.

But that doesn’t stop me from seeing my friends’ friends rant about how said friends are immoral sluts. Nor does it stop me from getting upset on their behalf.

I will never understand why so many people who disagree so strongly with you (or me, or anyone for that matter) feel such a deep and burning desperate need that aches to the very pits of their souls to come along and pick a fight for no good goddamn reason. Did your mother raise you to be nasty and argumentative with every rando who expresses an opinion that differs from your own? Because mine did, and yet I STILL MANAGE TO BE A NICE PERSON, FUCKWAD.

Yes, I know you are entitled to your opinion, and I know that only an arrogant asshole refuses even to try and understand an opposing opinion. But, two things:

  • First of all, I am one hundred and ten percent certain that none of that crossed your mind before you barfed up your poorly-spelled beliefs in someone else’s personal space. In fact, I’m one hundred and ten percent certain that NOTHING crossed your mind before you chose to show the hot chick from your sophomore English class exactly why you’ve been married four times. You just saw an opinion you didn’t agree with and couldn’t stop yourself from smacking it right the fuck down. Look, you’re nurturing relationships, not playing Whack-a-Mole. Before you say something on somebody’s Facebook, imagine walking into their living room, where they’re sitting there knitting and watching Blue’s Clues with their two-year-old, and saying it to their face. If that imaginary scenario ends with an imaginary knitting needle in your imaginary eye, keep your real opinions to yourself.
  • Secondly, I’M supposed to consider YOUR opinion, but you don’t have to consider mine? I may very well be an asshole, but at least I’m not using my powers to pick fights and ruin people’s days, again, FOR NO GOOD GODDAMN REASON. You’re not going to convince anyone by angrily enumerating the reasons why they’re an ignorant wrong stupid slut. 

You catch more flies with HONEY, not ASSHATTERY, ASSHAT.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

My College Reunion Was Better Than Yours

Some of you will remember that, the last time I blogged, all the way back in the mists of ancient history (April, was it?) I blogged about how much I was looking forward to my 10th college reunion. Some of you totally agreed with me that reunions are an awful idea and college sucked and so the people you went to college with also sucked and your real grown-up friends are heaps cooler anyway. Some of you really need to work on your reading comprehension.

I have now been and gone from that reunion (like, TWO WEEKS AGO, geez) and I’m back to give you an update. I bet you thought I was never coming back. Ha ha ha, I’m totes like that ex of yours who dumped you for somebody else (regular exercise and a sleep schedule) only turn up like 10 years later when his life didn’t work out as well as he planned. Please take me back. I miss your laugh.

ANYHOO, if you’re still with us, my college reunion ROCKED SO HARD THAT I MIGHT HAVE TO WRITE THE REST OF THIS POST IN CAPSLOCK. Kidding, that would suck. But just know that it rocked super hard. Here are some highlights:

I arrived late on the first day, because of course I did, and missed lunch, and I kept meaning to go and get something to eat in the afternoon but that never happened because somebody handed me a drink and I just decided to go with that, because of course I did. One of the great things about Hollins University’s reunions is that they like to keep us pretty liquored up, so we’ll donate more to alumnae fund. So I had beer for lunch, wine for dessert, and of course there was an open bar at dinner. Don’t worry, I ate dinner – it will reappear later in the story.

There was a class party after dinner and of course, I had to drink some more. My class’s reunion co-chair bought us enough booze to kill an elephant. Not even a small elephant – a full-sized elephant. I had planned to sleep on campus, and I was supposed to join my class for the parade of classes on the front quad right outside my dorm room the next morning.

This area right here.
I overslept. I woke up, heard the parade going on, threw on clothes, and raced outside, where I barely managed to meet up with my class at the actual end of the fucking parade. I was standing there talking to my friend, Page, who lived across the hall from me when we were young and dinosaurs walked the Earth, and she said to me, “Dare I ask what’s on your name tag?”

And that’s when I looked down, and saw for the first time that my reunion badge was drenched in vomit.

I was able to clean the ribbon. The tag itself didn't fare so well.

So this conversation happened repeatedly throughout the rest of the day:

“What happened to your nametag?”

“I vomited on it.”


This conversation also happened:

“At least you didn’t get any on your meal ticket, right?”

“Um…” *looks at meal ticket* “A little bit.”




My former professor, Richard Dillard, didn’t even have to ask. He just looked at my nametag and cracked up. “You had a wild night last night, didn’t you?”

Yes, Richard, I did. For the record – and this will probably cost me a really good job someday – I actually vomited in my dorm room, INTO A PLASTIC BAG, LIKE I WAS 19 YEARS OLD. That is what I call recapturing your youth.

Later the next day, one of the bartenders asked me how far along I am in my pregnancy. I AM NOT PREGNANT. Also, she was handing me a beer at the time. I don’t know if her next step was to harangue me for drinking whilst pregnant, or what. I mean, I get asked about my (non-existent) pregnancy at least four to six times a year, but this is the first time it’s happened while I was actively drinking an alcoholic beverage. I guess there’s first time for everything. I didn’t say anything at first. I just clutched at my fat little stomach with my non-beer-holding hand and gaped at her for a second until I mustered up the courage to explain that I am, in fact, just fat.

The really awkward thing about people asking about your pregnancy when you’re not pregnant is that, having realized their mistake, they never just let it go. They always go on about it. Instead of saying “Oh, I’m sorry” and shutting up or changing the subject, they stand there and yammer on for five minutes about how really, really pregnant you look and how the elastic waistband on those khakis makes them look like maternity trousers. It’s a gruesome train wreck of a conversation – body parts and pools of blood are lying everywhere, but you just can’t look away.

Of course, my classmates spent the rest of the day assuring me that I don’t look pregnant, because they’re true friends, but I do kind of look a little bit pregnant.

Also, this is a pretty great outfit I managed to throw together in literally 15 seconds.

Later that night, someone handed me a bottle of cinnamon whiskey, which I had never had before, and which I apparently drank most of. What can I say, it was delicious.

I have some vague memory of wandering the campus in the night, begging random alumnae I didn’t recognize to drink it with me. So people are going to be talking about that at the next reunion probably. (At this point I just don’t know what I’d do with myself if people weren’t gossiping about me.) Against all odds – I mean, MOTHERFUCKING MIRACULOUSLY – I managed to make it to breakfast the next morning, (at 8:00am, which is earlier than I wake up on some –okay, most – days when I’m sober) in my pyjamas, and discovered that everyone else is getting dressed to go to breakfast now. I’m not sure when they started doing that, but I bet it was around the time they stopped drinking entire bottles of whiskey by themselves.

Well, okay. They probably never started doing that in the first place. It's probably just me that does that, actually.