What money can’t buy

July 28th, 2009

Posted in Princess sayz, childhood, family, going back in time, learning, parentals, what I found when I went looking by Princess Pointful |

Reposted from here.

It never occurred to me until recently that my parents didn’t have a lot of money.

It wasn’t that we were ever poor, per se. We always had food on the table and clothes on our back. My dad always worked full-time, and my mom almost always was working most days of the week. In fact, my parents, in what I come to realize more and more each year is amazing kindness, often were offering support to those friends of our even worse off than us– like how they bought my best friend her prom dress after her father handed her a $20 bill.

These past holidays, my boyfriend and his brother drove me back to my home town on their way back to see their family, stopping to spend the night at my family home. It is not that I wasn’t aware that we grew up differently on the surface, they in a residential suburb of a big city, in a home with a big garage and soft carpets, me in a small town and smaller home filled with random antiques and curiosities. But, still, we’d grown up with the same morals, and the same sense of needing to work for your accomplishments, so the contrast never really stood out to me.

On their continued drive, my boyfriend’s brother remarked to him that he had a newfound respect for me, seeing that I had accomplished so much coming from such a different environment. At first, this seemed a little absurd to me. My parents were always wonderfully supportive of me, always believed in me. How was I at all disadvantaged? But, with a little thought, I realized that, unlike a good chunk of my peers in graduate school, I came from a family in which no one went to graduate school. In fact, no one in my family went to college. My mother never finished high school.

This same revelation hit me again while flipping through the program of the conference I recently attended. In the first section, there were several pages dedicated to the winners of the prestigious diversity awards, an award I had never considered applying to, since, as a Caucasian heterosexual woman of European background, I had never considered myself as fitting into the category of “population typically underrepresented in graduate school”. I then noticed that “first generation college student” was also lumped into this category. I think I actually commented to my friend about how I found this odd and incongruent for me, as despite technically fitting into this category, I didn’t feel as though I matched the label of “underrepresented population”. She told me that I should give myself more credit.

The thing is, I never thought of myself as having to bear a burden to go to university (well, except for financially, as I have paid for all nine years of university without help from anyone except scholarships, grants, and some student loans). It was just something I always wanted to do, and I did it. Nothing about my parents’ lack of university diplomas felt like it slowed me down at all.

The other day, I was reminiscing with my guy about how, at around the age of 9, I had desperately wanted to go to an autograph session with one of my favourite hockey players in a city an hour away on the weekend. I had been heartbroken when my parents had flat-out refused. He asked me why they had declined, and I told them that this question had perplexed me greatly for years to come, as it seemed so out of character, and I was never really given a point blank answer.

Suddenly, I had a bit of an epiphany– they didn’t have the money to take me there. Then, all the pieces started to fall into place. The truck that was always breaking down when I was little. My mom’s telling me that if I wanted Calvin Klein jeans, she couldn’t buy me any back to school apparel. The girl who asked if I was poor because of my clothing. My sadness at not being able to participate in the summer theatre programs due to the triple-figured fees required, and the fact that, at the age of 12, I knew better than to ask. My paying rent for living at home in my first two years of college. Having to leave our rental house behind, in part because it was being torn down for subdivisions. My mom coming home, distraught, saying she’d been laid off.

The fact that I only realized this at 27, to me, testifies to me the important aspect of all this, though– that it didn’t matter at all. My parents loved me unconditionally, supported even my most ridiculous phases, and made for a beautifully memorable childhood and adolescence. On top of that, they took in troubled foster kids, and let friends live in our basement or even in a tent in our backyard in tough times. They taught my about morality, kindness, empathy and self-sufficiency. All of these are infinitely more valuable than a college fund or those designer jeans.

Honesty vs. courtesy

July 21st, 2009

Posted in Princess sayz, audience participation required!, dilemma, girls will be girls by Princess Pointful |

Tell me, dear readers, which of the two is worse?

A person who dislikes you for exceedingly petty reasons, yet is overly nice to your face?

Or a person who dislikes you for exceedingly petty reasons and acts cold as ice towards you?

(And, why yes, this is related to my last post, thanks for asking.)

Too Much Is Never Enough

July 15th, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Maris |

Many of us live in a world of excess. We exploit ourselves for Sea World, our obesity rates are on the rise and our national debt is the worst its been since Truman.

Lately, I’ve been feeling unsettled. It isn’t because I’ve been stressed out, because I just got back from an amazing week on Kiawah Island (which explains my lack of posting for the past, er, two weeks) and I even have the sunburn to prove it.

It isn’t because I’m concerned about the economy - sure, stock prices are going down the tubes but the economy isn’t the reason I’m living paycheck to paycheck and running a never-ending race against my student loan and credit card bills.

Because I live in a world where bigger is better and more is not less, I tend to keep an eye over the fence. In all areas of life, I’m constantly taking on projects that feel overwhelming, but they’re only overwhelming because they don’t have my full concentration. I don’t bite off more than I can chew but sometimes, while I’m working on one project, be it personal or professional, I’m simultaneously planning my next bigger, better move.

On paper, my life is A-OK right now. I live close to my family and some of my closest friends, I am gainfully employed and through my blog I’ve rediscovered my passion for writing and realized that liking food doesn’t make you a pig, but it’s something to embrace and enjoy (Disclaimer: Unless you’re eating every meal at the 7-Eleven. Then I retract my previous statement). I mean, I wouldn’t complain if Jude Law appeared at my door to propose marriage but a girl can’t have it all.

Despite the fact that things are status quo right now, I can’t shake this feeling that I’m missing out on opportunities and that I could be reaching higher and further than I already am. Logically, I know that being in my mid-twenties, I still have plenty of time to reach my professional goals and to take trips, learn skills that will enrich my life, but emotionally, I’m having a hard time convincing myself to just stop and enjoy the now.

Does anyone else ever experience this feeling of “where-do-I-go-from-here?” How do you stop looking beyond the present and just be?

A bad influence?

July 14th, 2009

Posted in Princess sayz, dilemma, friendship, marriage and a baby carriage, parentals by Princess Pointful |

My friend Anna is getting married this weekend. In true Anna fashion, it is being held in a campsite, with s’mores replacing the more traditional wedding cake. By all accounts, it was stacking up to be a wonderful weekend.

That is, until things got complicated.

I was always aware that Anna came from an extremely religious background. It was something mentioned in conversations about growing up, something she laughed about when the rest of us girls would bust out into rapping Skeelo’s “I Wish” as she didn’t know the words, since she wasn’t permitted to listen to the bulk of the music on the radio growing up. We heard how her cousin offered to pay for the entirety of her wedding to Jacob when she heard the two of them were moving in together after many years, trying desperately to prevent them from living in sin. Anna graciously declined. She was open about her status as the “black sheep” in the family, which was really quite a relative concept, considering that she is successful by almost anyone else’s standards: a career that had her featured in a write-up in a local newspaper, marrying the love of her life, and just having bought her first home– a real house, at that, in a city where most first buys are shoebox studio apartments– and all at the age of 26.

I got a hint of it all at her bridal shower, when her mother made a few tongue-in-cheek comments about the silky nightgowns my friends and I had purchased for Anna (which I always assumed were shower standards), when her 23 year old cousin started getting harassed for her lack of a ring, when I realized that, at 27, myself and one of my girlfriends were the oldest unmarried women there.

But it all came to a head at Anna’s bachelorette party. There were two portions. One, the daily outdoor activity portion, was intended more for the family, and was a lot of fun. Most of her cousins chose to forego the second part, the more traditional nightly bachelorette; however, one of them, a seemingly bubbly 23 year old, the very same one who was harassed for her lack of marital ambitions, decided to take part.

Really, it was fairly tame by stagette standards. Sure, there were jello shots, a blow up doll and a prize bag full of flavoured condoms. But we kept her outfit tasteful, and left all the dirty paraphnelia at home when we later went bowling. Throughout the evening, her cousin seemed to be having a good time, taking part in the games, laughing, and consuming at least a six pack of beer.

Apparently I was wrong, as the very next day, she called Anna’s mother to inform her that we were horrible influences, and Anna had been engaging in all sorts of scandalous conversations and games, let alone her copious consumption of alcohol. Anna’s mother called her, in a rage, to inform her that she was a disgrace, that she had raised her better than this, that we were all awful human beings, and even threatened to make a call that could have a negative impact on Anna’s recently acquired mortgage.

It’s hard to even know how to react to a situation like this. I am outraged at her cousin, who backstabbed the very same woman she had earlier claimed to look up to, who acted like a high school style spy, and who likely was just seeking to assuage her own guilt over engaging in behaviour against her moral code, while her other relatives chose not to put themselves in that situation. I am even more furious at her mother, for being so blind to what a wonderful daughter she has, and to act so insensitively and unsupportively while Anna is preparing for the most important day in her life. And, I’ll admit, I’m personally offended- this woman knows nothing about my friends and I, our background, our lives, anything– and is blatantly ignoring that it has been us who have been helping with the wedding, be it planning events or putting together centrepieces and other crafts, rather than, say, a particular cousin.

But Anna’s the one who matters the most in the days to come, so my friend and I need to put on our fancy dresses and a smile, drink some wine, and try not to picture piercing glares being shot our way.

Ode to the South

July 10th, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Kurt |

So, this past Fourth of July found me in Wilmington, NC, enjoying a long, action-packed weekend of old friends, new friends, sun, sand, and of course—everyone’s favorite American tradition—booze.

First let me apologize for being remiss with last week’s post, although I see no one else has posted in the interim either. Regardless, I was otherwise engaged last week, and here’s why…

I have visited Wilmington (at the southern tip of North Carolina) for the past 3 Fourths of July, and it just keeps getting better. Several of my friends from high school have decided to make it their home, and I always enjoy spending time with them. But what makes it truly special for me is the new people I meet every time I go.

The South is just




I’m amazed by it every time I go. Suddenly what you’re wearing or what you do for a living no longer matter (a welcome respite from what I’m used to in my day-to-day), and all that matters is who you are and what you’re drinking (mostly so someone can buy you your next round).

Don’t get me wrong—I love where I live. There’s nothing like the pace of New York City, not to mention the night life. But the South has a certain charm that keeps drawing me back for more. So much, in fact, that it has started me thinking about whether I might want to end up there someday.

As one of my friends so aptly described it, “living [in Wilmington] is like one big vacation.” From what I’ve seen, I have to agree.

What is it about the South that makes people so friendly and cordial? Is it the slower pace of life? Are people socialized to actually care about one another, instead of seeing each other as simply obstacles and annoyances on the way to yet another subway ride? When I’m confronted with the alternative, I can’t help but wonder why people in the North are so unfriendly.

Although at the start of my trip I felt like an asshole Northerner, I was soon brought out of my shell. I started making friends at the drop of a hat, I picked up a nice little—albeit unnoticeable to anyone but me—southern drawl. I got some SUN, which anyone who lives in the mid-Atlantic region knows is a rarity this summer. And I had the time of my life.

Yes, I am continually drawn to the South and its charm. And I’m going back. I’ve already started planning my return trip.

An Unofficial Little Dating Poll

June 26th, 2009

Posted in because we should be giving advice, love, the dating pool by Kurt |

As you may have been able to tell from my first couple posts on UNW, I am very (perhaps excessively) interested in dating, relationships, and the general dynamics between the sexes. Having studied social science in college and grad school, I find few things more intriguing than the theories that govern human behavior. Plus, everyone can relate to social science on some level—it’s accessible, and you don’t have to be a scientist to understand it.

So, let’s do a casual little study. If everyone offers some input, we can all hopefully gain a little insight into what makes the other sex tick.

Our topic is one of the most common—and yet anxiety-inducing—social practices we engage in: The phone number exchange/first phone call.

Ready? Let’s get started!

Question 1: Guys, if you get a girl’s number, do you plan to use it? Girls, if you give your number to a guy, are you hoping he uses it?

I’m sure there are guys out there who just try to collect as many numbers as possible, but I see that as a waste of time. Almost as a rule, if I ask a girl for her number, I’m going to use it. And, for right or wrong, if a girl gives me her number, I’m assuming it’s because she wants me to use it.

Question 2:  Guys, have you ever given a girl your phone number? And girls, if a guy gave you his number, would you use it?

I personally tend to shy away from giving a girl my number for the simple reason that I doubt she’d actually call. By getting her number, I keep the ball in my court. That way I know there will be some sort of follow-through.

Question 3: What is more appropriate for the first contact, a call or a text?

This is an interesting one. If I’m going to ask a girl out on a first date, I’m absolutely calling. However, my friend Sarah says she thinks a text is more “official.” I couldn’t disagree more, since I could spend hours crafting a text or just have someone else tell me what to say. But if I’m picking up the phone to call, I’m committing to a conversation, meaning I’m going to be attentive and responsive for at least a minute or two. Definitely the right way to go, in my opinion.

Question 4: How long should a guy/girl wait before making contact?

I’m a little partial to this question, since I’m on a personal quest to end dating games. I personally believe the whole “wait 3 days” thing is garbage. If you like someone and you want to call them, call them. If they like you and they want you to call, it won’t matter how long you’ve waited. Or haven’t waited.

Question 5: If you call and get voicemail, do you leave a message? If someone leaves you a voicemail, do you call back?

I’ve had girls call back after I’ve left voicemails, and I’ve had my voicemails go unrequited. It’s a mixed bag. My personal policy is not to leave a message after the first call. If I wait and try again later and still get voicemail, then I’ll leave a message. If they call back, great! If not, I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

So, those are my questions. I’m sure everyone has an opinion on most of these, so let’s hear them. Feel free to answer all the questions or just one. Regardless, let’s get some feedback!

Life, Skills

June 24th, 2009

Posted in audience participation required!, childhood, lists, maris thinks by Maris |

In junior high school, everyone was required to take Home Economics class, which the oh-so-modernized school system referred to as Life Skills. In eighth grade, everyone took cooking class. I only vaguely remember learning how to make pancakes, but I remember Mike Duke, who sat behind me. He used to wear rock band T-shirts and corduroy pants.

I thought Mike was hot in that thirteen-year-old-way, though his family moved the following year and a mutual friend told me that he’d “decided to be bisexual.” I’ll never know if that was a polite “don’t waste your time on this one, Mar” or if he had realized that he actually did prefer men, but I digress.

In eighth grade, we cooked and in seventh grade, it was sewing. We learned how to sew buttons and patterns and as a final project, sewed a large, pink stuffed animal - choice between a pig and elephant that Mrs. Jinks (a lovely teacher in her thirties who wore floor length floral skirts and just looked like a sewing teacher, if that makes any sense) graded for precision and detail.

Now, Life Skills was fun and all; it was certainly a novelty to walk to your next class with your hands still mildly sticky from maple syrup and flour on your pants but really, we can hardly call the skills we picked up in these classes “Life Skills.”

Okay, cooking is important, yes. Clearly, we know that I think so. And I will never argue with any activity that merits mid-day pancakes. But to think that my parents tax dollars paid for the big yellow duck that my brother sewed and the big stuffed pink pig that I constructed as pre-teens just seems unnecessary and antiquated.

I have no idea if they still teach such skills in schools today or I’m really JUST THAT OLD but why not teach kids skills that they’ll actually use and might not discover inside the home?

Personally, I would have liked a class in high school or middle school that taught you how to read a map (and not one of those BS ones in your history textbooks but a real, genuine, oh-crap-I’m-stuck-on-the-side-of-the-road-where-am-I map). Or a class that teaches you how to deal with life after your heart is broken for the first time. How do you fight back tears when you have to go to school or work and put on a happy face? Where is the Life Skills class that teaches you how to hold your head up with pride in an uncomfortable situation? Or the class where you learn how to gently but firmly let someone know you disagree with them.

Superficially, I’ll always love that pink stuffed pig, but I certainly didn’t retain any of those skills and in the grand scheme of things, there are bigger fish out there to fry.

What do you wish you’d learned in school that you were never taught?

Hurting the one you love

June 23rd, 2009

Posted in Princess sayz, boys will be boys, girls will be girls, love by Princess Pointful |

Sometimes, I feel a little naive. I do really believe that part of this whole being in love thing is truly 100% believing that the other person will never do anything to intentionally hurt you. That safety is such an intrinsic part of it.

Yet, it can be so frightening to hear how just plain cruel people can be to the one person that you imagine should be exempt from such coldheartedness– the one they love.

This weekend, over dinner, we finally heard the story of how a couple we met last summer had split, out of the blue. At time we had come to know them, they were seemingly idyllic, having just bought a home, and in the dreaming phase about their upcoming marriage, swooning over the image of saying their I do’s in Tuscany.

And then he decided it was too much. And left. Really, just as simple as that. He didn’t even tell her of this sudden sense of being overwhelmed. He just gathered his things and left one afternoon while she was at work. She walked through the door, expecting a typical evening, only to discover that everything had changed in a sickening series of moments.

Over drinks, this Saturday night, another friend tells me of a recent break-up. Of how they both knew things were slowly inching towards their conclusion after many years together, but neither of them had yet gathered the courage to actually finalize things. Until she went to Vegas, met a guy, had an undisclosed amount of fun with said guy for a few nights, broke up with her boyfriend, and, in their attempts to stay friends, proceeded to giggle about drunken voicemails from new guy directly in front of him.

The one that always punctuates things for me, though, is the tale of my friend’s sister. Her and her fiance were seemingly happy as clams for years. She then became pregnant. Although not directly in the sequence of their plans for the future, they had been discussing children very soon after the wedding, so it wasn’t a full u-turn by any stretch of the imagination, and they, as a pair, decided that they were ready to become parents. Until he changed his mind right after she’d given birth. And let her know by drinking with the boys every day after work and yelling at her for not cooking elaborate enough dinner’s when he got home. And, after her and their little girl returned home from visiting her parents (with multiple messages from him about how badly he missed them sitting on her voicemail), she found several items in their home belonging to another woman– another woman who, it turned out, was not aware that the new man she’d been seeing was engaged, and thought that all the baby stuff in the home was for his new baby niece.

We’ve all heard these tales a billion times over– but what gets me is that I have met all three of these offenders, in some capacity or another. And all three of them were not so evidently mean or cruel as these tales would lead you to assume. All three of them seemed to love their partners very much. Yet, somewhere and somehow, they lost all empathy for the one person their feelings should be fundamentally intertwined with. It makes you wonder where the potential for selfishness hides itself. Because, while I know that love can die, I always expect there to be that remaining tenderness for that person you once held so dear.

I can’t see how falling out of love necessitates being so damn mean.

I dont have a good title for this

June 21st, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Matt |

My favorite part of getting to know someone is the beginning.

You know, when you are actually fun.

When you have SO many hilarious stories to tell.

When you’re not really sure if you are crossing a line by saying something- but you say it anyway because you have nothing to lose.

When you honestly don’t know what that person is going to say next.

When you are trying to impress her, fail horribly and laugh about it when she texts you to make fun.

When you’re driving in the car and learn she also knows the words to Bobby Browns “Every Little Step”.

After a while she’s heard all the stories. She knows how you feel about what Britney’s crotch looks like. You know what she is going to say. She expects you to fail at planning romantic nights. You start listening to talk radio together.

And eventhough things are still fun and interesting and pretty much wonderful, they will never be like they were in the very beginning.

A Taste of Summer

June 19th, 2009

Posted in altered states, beer just makes it better, city life, guilty pleasures by Kurt |

For me, this past Sunday was the perfect way to ring in the summer months. Although May and June have been unseasonably cool and rainy here on the east coast, Sunday was a good reminder that the best months of summer are still yet to come.

It was sunny and 75 with no noticeable humidity, and a couple friends and I chose to spend the afternoon on a grassy pier that extends out into the Hudson River with a killer view of middle and lower Manhattan.

Within minutes we had made friends with some people hanging out on an adjacent blanket, and before long we had combined groups. We shared some laughs and tossed around the football, and then came the beer. But not just any beer—the beer that is quickly becoming a staple summer beer among my group of friends: Bud Lite Lime.

I consider myself a bit of a beer aficionado… not quite a connoisseur, but a passionate and opinionated indulger in the fine nectar that is beer. I do not always go with the herd, and I had my share of doubts about the new trend towards lime-flavored beer. I’ve never been much a fan of Corona. I think Miller Chill is awful. But god damn do I love Bud Lite Lime.

My classic summer brews of the past have included the following:

-    Sam Adams Summer Ale:  Truly a classic, Sam Summer has a taste that to me is unmistakably summer.

-    Moosehead Lager:  This is undoubtedly due to the fact that I drank it constantly in April and May during college.

-    Leinenkugel Sunset Wheat:  For those of you who have never had this, you’re missing out. Think Blue Moon with even more of a blueberry twist.

-    Magic Hat Circus Boy:  My personal favorite, Circus Boy is by far the best white beer I’ve ever had.

Now, I’m not ashamed to say, Bud Lite Lime has climbed onto this list.

As the afternoon wore on, a couple more friends showed up and a trip for more Bud Lite Lime quickly followed. We spent the rest of the day laughing and drinking and enjoying all the reasons we love the summer months.

When it was time to leave, everyone agreed that we had started a new summer tradition. We’ll all be back next Sunday, Bud Lite Lime in tow.

So for all you beer drinkers out there, what is your favorite summer beer? In your mind, what are the classics? And if it’s not a beer you’re enjoying, what else are you drinking to stay cool during the hot summer months?

Rocking the Vote

June 17th, 2009

Posted in audience participation required!, maris thinks, playing professional, politicin' by Maris |

In 2004, I voted for John Kerry. I was twenty and proud to be voting in my first presidential election but when I checked the boxes on the absentee ballot that my parents had mailed to my college dorm room, I knew little more about the candidates than their first and last names. I voted for the Democrat ticket because, my parents did, and that’s just who we voted for. 

I am avid reader and news junkie sometimes find it hard to find the hours in the day to read everything there is I want to read. From the Op-Ed section to the latest headlines from Washington and reading for work to reading for pleasure, there aren’t enough hours in the day to take in everything I want to take in. Sometimes, I scan the headlines on my Google news page to know enough about the day’s events in case I get caught in a conversation in an elevator at work. 

Though I’ve never taken to a strong political leaning - and often considering myself an independent-vote-for-the-person-not-for-the-party type - I’m not going to dent the fact that I secretly enjoy controversy. I take great enthusiasm in a friendly debate and I like to argue about insignificant trivia, evident from the time in fifth grade when I gathered my neighborhood friends to hold a mock trial over whether or not Santa Claus was real (though I had known the truth for years, I thought I had a strong enough argument. Our parents testified; I lost the case).

I might not be a political pundit and I admit, it wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t even know who Rachel Maddow was or what she stood for but if the past presidential election taught me anything it’s that the most important politics to understand are your own. Reading headlines and watching CNN American Morning is an adequate, if not good way to stay informed abut what’s going on in your world – because we can’t be everywhere at once.

Even though I consider it impossible to know and agree with everything about every candidate, I’m confident that gone are the days when I vote for the guy (or gal! Go Hillary!) that the person next to me did. Might I have voted for John Kerry in 2004 if my parents hadn’t gently suggested that I did? Maybe I would have. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have.

How do you stay informed about politics? Is it an important part of your life? Do you vote for the same party as your parents or significant other by default? 

The top ten reasons your job is better than KFC

June 16th, 2009

Posted in Princess sayz, audience participation required!, going back in time, playing professional by Princess Pointful |

(Originally guest posted here.)

Lately, I’ve found myself complaining a lot about my job. Words like “understaffed” and “overworked” have been rolling off my tongue. However, when I find myself ruminating a little too much, I just whisper a sentence to myself to make it all seem sunny again.

“At least it’s not KFC.”

Yes, KFC, home of the grinning Colonel, greasy thick-skinned poultry, and my very first full-time job.

In a small town, decent jobs are hard to come by. Small businesses tend to rely on word of mouth, rather than the persistent showers of resumes, leaving only the chain businesses to hire those of us without such prestigious connections. Despite being a nearly decade long vegetarian at the time, the lack of options outside of the local wood mill began wearing me down, and I found myself being interviewed at a table-with-chair-attached at the local mall, stating such lies as “I think the fast food industry is a good fit for me because I love working with people in a fast paced environment.”

I can say, without a doubt, that my summer was one of the most dreadful of my life.

So, I present to you all, the Top 10 reasons your job is better than KFC:

1. You don’t have to wear a polyester uniform several sizes too big for you because your store is too cheap to carry anything other than a men’s large. Fitting with this, your pants aren’t so tapered that you can barely squeeze your feet through the holes, and have to bunch the several inches of extra fabric around your ankles. Did I mention that polyester doesn’t breathe? At all?

2. Your friends won’t be constantly making bad jokes about how you can never get the smell of chicken off you, or call you the Colonel’s Concubine (although they do get creativity points on that one).

3. Your always-blemish-free skin won’t suddenly develop zits from simply being in the midst of the greasy air (remember, I didn’t eat any of our wares).

4. You won’t have to deal with the PETA/militant vegetarian crowd telling you that you are horrible person for working for a company that is oppressive to animals (I believe, in fact, that my paltry minimum wage was pretty damn oppressive, too). You also won’t feel the need to debunk stupid rumours like the one that the company abbreviated their name from Kentucky Fried Chicken to KFC because what it was serving could no longer be legally declared chicken.

5. Two words– Twoonie Tuesday. Cheap chicken = huge line-ups of people wanting inhumane amounts of chicken for ridiculously cheap = hell on earth. People are serious about their budget poultry.

6. You won’t have to work with half the staff needed because everyone quits within two weeks of starting. You also won’t have an owner (who never once sets foot in the store) who sees that the franchise still technically runs with half the required staff (if you consider no days off and line-ups out of the store at all times “technically running”), and thus is reluctant to recruit more workers. I was incredibly jealous every time I set foot into McDonald’s– they operated like a well-oiled machine, with their workers at all their separate stations, while we ran about like proverbial headless chickens cooking, packaging, serving, cleaning.

7. As you likely work in a place with over 50% of its recommend staff, you also won’t have to ignore labour laws for the good of the franchise and work 15 days in a row, with every day off in the horizon being snatched away from you when yet another person calls in sick. I also guarantee that nothing but the food industry uses the dreaded split shift– because, yes, I do want to have a two hour break in the middle of my day to waste at the mall because you don’t want to have to pay me overtime to work 10 hours.

8. Your boss won’t be a 23-year old woman who alternates between bitter than she was shipped to a small town to take over a struggling KFC to overly dedicated to the philosophy of the Colonel. As such, you won’t have a boss who hates you for having a life and who shouts “You told me in your interview that you were flexible!” when you try to turn down an extra shift on your only day off in two weeks.

9. You won’t be subject to grease induced accidents, such as a clumsy coworker tripping and spilling an entire bucket of grease over the freshly cleaned kitchen floor, or spilling a pail of burning hot gravy over your right hand and having to just stick it in a paper cup full of ice and keep working.

10. The general public will treat you like a human being. The lame boys who hang out in the mall won’t mock you as you drag the garbage cart by them. Housewives won’t yell at you because of how long the hot wings take. Old men won’t grumble when you don’t have a fresh pot of coffee on at 3pm. You don’t need to smile while having random accusation about how you are in charge of every bad decision about the restaurant- from pricing to the menu to decor- thrown at you in shrill tones.

Honestly, I think you can tell a lot about people by how they treat those in the service industry– I get a kick out of the elitism I experienced while working there, as though I was a lesser human being because I had to work hard for my money. Still, it did sting a lot more at the time. Now, I just have fantasies about going back for a day, only to pull out my business card after being mistreated by some middle manager type, and inform him that I am actually completing my dissertation on the negative correlation between treatment of fast food workers and penis size.

How do I take back drunk text messages?

June 15th, 2009

Posted in Uncategorized by Matt |

You know how you know that you have been drinking too much?

This morning I spent a good twenty minutes in the shower making sure the day was actually Monday and not Sunday. I had to recall specific events and relate them to a day in order to figure out the date. If it was in fact Sunday, what the fuck was I doing in the shower at 5:00am?

After confirming my suspicions that it was, in fact, Monday, I finished my routine and sped off to work.

This weekend was like a binge-drinking-marathon and being the winner that I am, I came in first. With a record time even. I drank so much, the mosquitoes are all lining up to get a shot of my blood. My blood alcohol content sends them away buzzed so they can go home and make some bad mosquitoe decisions.

Looking at some of the text messages I sent makes me feel ashamed. I told the girl I am seeing via text that (and this is a direct quote taken from my phone) “If I was Zack Morris, I would definitely want you to be Kelly Kapowski”.

Yesterday I met my Father for a drink at a bar across the street from my house. He stood for a couple beers then left before the storm came in. I told him that I would finish off the pitcher and I would see him later. Well, as I was finishing off the pitcher, the storm came in. Rain, Hail, Tornados- you know, the stuff dreams are made of. So I decided to re-open my tab and furiously drink until the storm went away. Hours later I find myself having a conversation with two guys in their fourties, the bartender and a woman who had to be in her seventies about what a Dirty Sanchez was. This did not go over well at all.

How do I get myself in these akward situations? Oh yeah, thats right. Beer.

Tell me- the last time you drank, what embarassing things did you do?

Walking the Line: Pickup Attempts

June 12th, 2009

Posted in I can't believe I said that, boys will be boys, the dating pool by Kurt |

While I was talking to one of my friends recently, he related to me a story about a foiled pickup attempt he had experienced.

According to him, he had planned to approach the hostess of the restaurant where he was eating. Having just moved to a new city, he had conspired to tell her he was new in town and needed a good “tour guide” to show him around.

“It’s a total line,” he explained to me, “but it’s true. I do need someone to show me around.”

After our conversation, I got to thinking. Would it even matter if what he was telling her was true? Wouldn’t she recognize that he was feeding her a line?

I think conventional wisdom says that women don’t tend to go for “lines.” But as we all know, conventional wisdom is often based more on how things should be rather than how they really are. And besides, every situation is different… I’m sure there are plenty of scenarios in which a woman will respond positively, even if she knows she’s being fed a line.

I tend to shy away from using lines of any kind, whether they’re the corny pickup lines we all love to laugh at or the seemingly spontaneous and natural variety that were actually cooked up previously. It’s always been my experience that the best pickups happen naturally, with “material” that just pops into my head.

However, there are a few instances where I have used lines in the past:

-    Having made good eye contact with a girl across a bar, I approached her and dropped this gem: “Did you invite all these people? I thought it was just supposed to be you and me.” It went over like a fart in church. I retreated to my friends with my tail between my legs. (For the record, I don’t even think that’s a bad line. It’s funny, and I’ve no doubt some girls would respond to it.)

-    After I had established a good rapport with our waitress while out to dinner with some friends, she asked if she could get us anything else. I decided to go for it: “Your phone number,” I replied. Unfortunately she had a boyfriend (or at least that’s what she said), but she couldn’t have been nicer about it.

-    After my friends and I talked up a group of girls at a bar one night, I got to talking to one in particular. Feeling drunk and bold, I went with what can only be described as pickup gold: “So [name I have since forgotten], do you have a boyfriend?  Would you like one?” GAG. I don’t even need to tell you how that one ended.

No, it seems I’ve always done better with the stuff that is truly spontaneous—more of the conversational variety than the snappy and (supposedly) clever line variety. And I’d like to think that women appreciate that. After all, wouldn’t you rather be talked to than talked at?

What about you out there? Guys, have you used lines in the past? And were they met with success? Girls, what are some lines that have been used on you in the past? I’m sure we can all weigh in with some classics, so let’s hear it!

Dreams, Denise Richards & Dolphins

June 11th, 2009

Posted in from the desk of brandy by Brandy |



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