Fame Association

“My all-time favorite movie would have to be Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” she told me.

“I love Charlie Kaufman!” I told her. “I went to see an advanced screening of Eternal Sunshine with my boyfriend and Kaufman and the director were there. It was really cool because the audience got to ask questions- though none of the questions offered enlightening answers.”

“You got to see the writer!?!” she screamed.

Inwardly, I straightened up, basking in the glow of free association with a respected famous person. “Yeah, he was on campus a month before the movie was released. Tyler and I even saw the limo leave when we were waiting for the bus. I assume it was both the director and Kaufman in there since it was the only car that drove by while we were waiting, but we couldn’t see anything. Someone flicked their cigarette out the window and the few college students that were walking around at 9 o�Clock at night all gawked at them. It was pretty funny.”


“Yeah, it was pretty cool,” I said nonchalantly as we crossed the street. “I even tried to take photos of them on stage. But you’re a photographer- you know how that goes in a dark room without a tripod.”

“Did they come out at all?” she asked.

“Um… they’re really blurry. It was kind of embarrassing, too, because we were right up in the front and he could see us taking a photo and gave us a funny look.”

a blurry Charlie Kaufman

“You were right in front? I can’t believe that. That is so totally cool!”

“Yeah, we were in the center aisle about three rows back. I really wanted a clear photo so I could post it on my website and say, ‘Here, see this. I saw this really cool movie written by Charlie Kaufman and he was there.’ But it was pointless because the movie hadn’t come out and not many people had seen it or were talking about it yet.”

“Oh my god. My friend Mike is going to freak out that Charlie Kaufman was fuckin’ here on campus and he didn�t get to see him!” She paused, and then added in a calmer voice, “I think that Jim Carrey is such a great actor. No one gives him credit, but he is so good!”

“I think he was best in The Truman Show. You know, I saw him a number of years back when I was on a Universal Studios bus tour,” I told her. “It was when they were filming The Grinch and I guess he was on break. He was dressed up as Norman Bates in a dress and wig and jumped out of the Bates’ house and ran on the bus brandishing a knife.

“Of course, he and Kaufman were the only two famous people I’ve really seen- not counting a couple of author readings that I’ve been to,” I added, starting to feel odd about the attention. “And it’s not like they actually interacted with me.”

“Yeah, but it’s still cool. These people are icons.”

It was then that we had reached our destination- a cafe specializing in sandwiches, fries and college hipsters. The conversation ended and ordering food took its place.

Ave Street Fair

It took me long enough, but I finally uploaded the photos from last weekend’s Ave Street Fair in the University District.

I ended up going both days as I had to spend a good portion of the weekend on campus. Like all Seattle fairs, the food was expensive (excepting China First and their awesome $1 deals), the wares were tacky and expensive, the street performers were few and far between and the people were too genial and docile. But I guess it wouldn’t be a Seattle fair without the above. My only real complaint is that there are never enough musicians and bands at Seattle fairs. But hey, it was still fun- especially after hitting up the $3 Margaritas at Ruby’s. Tequila’s my tonic, and margarita’s are my ambrosia, so not much could ruin the fair after being tipsy.

View album pages or view thumbnails.

Bagel Day

I was hungry and there was some strange kink in my stomach that hurt. All I wanted at that moment was to eat a fresh bagel with a little butter and wash it down with stomach-friendly Sprite. Cranky, I threw my school bag haphazardly under my desk where I maintain residency as Office Wench for some Jews. Mammoth books that compete with Middlemarch in size tumbled out of the stuffed bag, landing askew amongst twisted staples and microscopic paperclips. I ran into the kitchen- the kosher kitchen- and saw a paper Noah’s Bagels bag that tantalized me with the promised fulfillment of my desires. At that moment, I wanted a bagel, I craved a bagel, I needed a bagel. I wasn’t going to be choosy. Bring on the overpowering “everything” bagels, I cried to the Bagel Gods. Bring on the mutant salt bagels, I roared to the Bagel Gods. Hell, give me your deformed cock-sized bread loaves stuffed with every nut and fruit in existence. I don’t give a damn, but give me something to eat, I screamed, shaking a fist.

I dashed eagerly to the bag, peered over the fine-toothed edge and examined the two and a half bagels that had survived a prior onslaught of hungry students. They were… my god… they were good bagels. Good, fresh bagels that weren’t dry and hard or loaded with strange toppings. I plucked one up, salivating with eagerness. I then laid it on a paper plate. Pulling open the knife drawer, I gasped in horror at it�s emptiness. All carving knives, all butcher knives, all serrated tomato knives- all the random mismatched knives we used to prepare Friday night dinners were gone. How could this happen? Why would they vanish without a trace when we, the workers of the Jewish Center, still need them to cut our bagels? I looked around in a panic, realizing during my quick survey of the kitchen that there were boxes packed with random kitchen supplies- no doubt ready to be moved from our temporary facility and into our new facility. If I couldn’t use a real knife, I reasoned, I could certainly use a fake knife, and we had plenty of those. The next two minutes found me desperately hacking at my fresh, flexible bagel with a plastic knife, crumbs and chunks of bread sprinkling the counter. But it didn’t matter, because it was Wednesday.

Wednesday is Bagel Day for the students affiliated with my work. Every Wednesday, there might be bagels leftover that I can eat. Some days, there aren’t. Other days, they are donated from Noah’s Bagels and stale. But today, there was one fresh bagel waiting for me and my pained stomach. Satisfied with my prize, I crammed the uneven slices of bagel into the kosher Jewish Center toaster and leaned back against a wall to watch coils redden with heat. Now, all I needed to do was scavenge for some Sprite.

Ladro Della Foto

It has either happened or will happen to everyone who puts their photos on the web. Someone, somewhere decides that they either want to “borrow” your photo and steal it without your knowing, hotlink it without your permission, or- if they are a really good person- ask for your permission to borrow your photo for whatever reason.

I can’t speak for everyone who has experienced this, but whenever I find that someone hotlinked to a photo of mine- especially without permission- a red haze consumes my sight and my stomach knots up. I then spend the next hour or so changing the file name of my image, tweaking various lines of coding, and hunting for a suitable image to replace the stolen one with. I have yet to find any of my images actually stolen rather than hotlinked, but I’m sure my reaction would be even stronger if I were to discover someone took credit for an image of mine. “What’s the big deal?” hotlink perpetrators have asked me. Well, you’re fuckin’ stealing my photos, you assholes. That’s the big deal. And in most cases, you are stealing someone’s bandwidth and costing them more money. Really, at least link back to my website so that I can get a little more traffic.

It angers me to no end that people think it’s okay to just link your photo to their site and not even give you proper credit or spend the energy to click their mouse a couple of times and type out a quick e-mail asking for permission. It angers me even more when I find a hotlinked photo and read comments from others about how beautiful the photo in question is. I imagine the photo-thief basking in the congratulatory glow of their monitor while I quiver in the dank shadows of my apartment with a cloud of rage chilling the room. Is their need for attention so immediate that they can’t find a camera and take some of their own photos? One of the bastards was even a student at my school- the University of Washington- where there so happen to be numerous scanners available for free. Something about the internet gives people a false sense of “take now for free, suffer no consequences later”. It’s the same thing as pirating music, but different. When pirating music, it’s easy to brush it off by saying, “CDs cost too much. The music industry is ripping consumers off.” Even though we’re told piracy is a bad thing, it’s true- CDs do cost too much and the music industry is ripping consumers off and not giving artists a fair share of the profits. However, when stealing an image from a personal website, that justification doesn’t work. It may not damage the creator’s revenue since they aren’t a corporation, but the damage is far worse; it’s an insult on a personal level.

I’ve had at least one person hotlink one of my photos, and I’ve had many more ask for permission. I make it a point to grant permission to all those who ask- especially since every person who’s asked so far has wanted to use a photo for noncommercial reasons. For the hotlinkers, the first time I posted a HUGE nude picture that consumed a mass amount of screen space on the bulletin board where my picture had been hotlinked. The second time, I created this nifty little image. Thank whatever deity is listening to me right now that I didn’t use a porno or other offensive image, because the second perpetrator was a person who had asked for permission. Through a lack of information and really confusing circumstances (i.e. using a blog site rather than UW webspace, no name on their site, etc.), he had appeared to be yet another hotlinker.

I think I’ll make it into a poster- the image, that is. I seem to get pissed off at such stupid things so easily and then rant about them on this website that it only seems fitting to have a poster of this hanging next to my desk.

Mintron: Defender of the Phone System

While I mostly love my job, there is a downside to answering the phones. Sometimes, we get crazy people who try and tell us that pig shit is falling from the sky and want us to do something about it. Two years ago, I hung up on a rude telemarketer who had the nerve to call me back and bitch me out for hanging up on him while he was in mid-sentence (as if telemarketers deserve any respect for selling their souls). When I told him he better watch out or I’ll send Bun Bun after him, he said to me, “Fuck off you fucking BITCH. I don’t want to sell you anything but my ass. You deserve to eat the shit out of my toilet.”

We also had a marathon ordeal with one lunatic who called herself Liba (after her sign, Libra). She needed us to give her a free trip to Israel so she could move there and fulfill the mission her spirit guides assigned to her: setting up an electrolysis business that would offer palmistry and other psychic advice while hairy Israeli women were waiting for their appointments (or maybe it was during their electrolysis sessions- we never did piece together the story from all of her babblings).

But more often than I would like, we get really bitchy people who have no manners. Sometimes they’re hoary Orthodox Jews who are pissed at me because they believe it’s my fault there aren’t enough kosher eateries in Seattle. Other times, it’s people who are just generally condescending and rude, such as today:

It started off like any typical hour during work. The phone started to ring and one of our five lines lit up. With the phone answering reflexes one develops over time, I snatched up the receiver and answered with my typical, “Good afternoon, Place of Work

“Hi, is this Mindy?” a middle-aged woman asked.

“Yes, this is her.”

“Hi Mindy, how are you doing?” she said, rather than asked, with a condescending tone to her voice.

“I’m good, and you?”

“It’s ‘I’m doing well’, not ‘I’m good’.” She followed this immediately with raucous laughter that left me staring at the wall blankly wishing she was talking to me in person so I could deliver one of my perfected Ice Queen stares of doom.

“Excuse me?” I had to settle with an Ice Queen tone of doom.

She then stopped laughing and launched into a lecture on phone grammar. “Proper grammar is important when answering phones,” she said. I agreed with her, but I also didn’t want a condescending lecture by someone I didn’t know. Angered and insulted, I stopped listening at this point as she went on to explain the details of her phone etiquette and some nonsensical reasoning why I was in the wrong.

I decided to cut her off and try the even angrier Ice Queen tone of instant death. “Excuse me?” I repeated, sending waves of ice shards through the receiver.“You said that already.”I realized this woman was a tough bitch who probably possessed Ice Queen immunity based on her already shocking display of rudeness. I changed tactics, this time following the fight fire with fire philosophy. “Just who are you?” I asked her in my best mimic of the condescending tone possessed by rich people who think their importance to the world is directly related to the digits of their available sum at the bank.“Oh, I’m Sharon F. This is Mindy G., right?”“No, it’s not.” I said curtly.“But you said you were Mindy.”

“I am Mindy. The Mindy you’re looking for is a volunteer for Place of Work, but I’m employed here.” At this point, she had activated the “Mega Bitch” mode of my self-defense mood system. I couldn’t hold back any longer. “If you’re just going to ask for ‘Mindy’ then everyone will to assume you’re asking for me. Do you understand that there is more than one person by the name of Mindy in this world?”

“Well, we’re working on a program together, may I speak with her?” I was astounded.- it was as if she was immune to everything I attacked her with. How could a foe withstand my Ice Queen attacks and Mega Bitch vibes?

I decided a rapid bombardment of my special combo attack, MEGA BITCHY ICE QUEEN, would weaken her defenses and possibly leave a lingering and undetectable side effect that would ruin the rest of her work day, and hopefully last into the rush hour drive home, resulting in an accident which would hopefully severely damage the exterior of her car and result in substantial insurance hikes. “No, you may not. I can take a message for you.”

“Why can’t I speak with her?”

“Because she’s not here right now.” I said, continuing the bombardment of my special combo attack.

“Well, when will she be in?”

“Since she doesn’t work here, I have no idea when she’ll be around.” It was a direct hit!

“May I have her cell phone number?”

“I’m not allowed to give out student information, so no.” Another direct hit!

“Well that’s a dumb rule. Did you create that just because you don’t like me?” She was showing her emotions, indicating that I had penetrated her defense systems and all that was left was taking her out all the way.

“Ma’am, I can take down your name and number and contact her for you.” That would surely ruin the rest of her day. Ma’am. The horrible, most insulting term for a middle aged woman, especially if used in conjunction with the MEGA BITCHY ICE QUEEN attack. She gave me her number, clearly defeated by the tone of her voice. But I wasn’t satisfied, the defense system not fully deactivated. “Good bye,” I said, “and have a nice day.”

Sidewalk Peeves

While we�re on lists:

  1. Non-elderly people who walk really slow in the middle of a narrow sidewalk, thus hindering oncoming pedestrians and those wishing to pass.
  2. People who walk in a large gaggle, consuming the entire sidewalk and forcing everyone else to walk through mud. Hey, just because you wear Prada shoes doesn’t mean that everyone else has to ruin their shoes and pants, you cancer-ridden, wrinkle-infested sorority whores.
  3. People who walk shoulder-to-shoulder with two or three others and expect anyone walking towards them to jump in the bushes/mud. I grew up with five tortuous boys and survived an overcrowded high school with hallways thinner than a sidewalk, so don’t think I can’t and won’t shoulder by just because you can shove innocent old ladies and lost Japanese tourists out of your way.
  4. People who dart around someone and jump into the path of an oncoming pedestrian. As in driving, wait until oncoming traffic is clear before passing.
  5. People who shoulder someone while passing from behind, especially if they are carrying shopping bags stuffed with hardback books or other equally sturdy wares that tend to leave bruises.


Each summer, the full-time staff members where I work leave me to run the office while they go on a retreat somewhere nice, quiet and relaxing. During that time, they relax and have fun, but also do a bunch of boring team-building projects such as making shrinky-dink mobiles depicting objects and words that they feel define them. They also do other kindergarten-related projects such as creating a recipe for the workplace that contains a cup of respect and a tablespoon of good humor, etc. Meanwhile, I sit in a deserted building, drumming my fingers and cursing the internet for it’s inability to entertain me longer than an hour. Between curses, I answer phone calls from orthodox Jews planning a visit to Seattle from New York who expect me to be their travel agent and find the nearest synagogue within walking distance to their hotel downtown (there are none) and to also create a day-by-day itinerary of kosher eateries within walking distance from their downtown hotel (there are none). No, I’m not the least bit bitter that I don’t get to join spend two days in a quiet and relaxing vacation area such as Palm Springs and get paid to cut watermelons artistically and swim in a pool.

When the staff returns from their two days of peace, quiet, and camp activities, I inevitably end up with a large stack of paper scraps with encrypted short-term and long-term goals for each staff member. I am then expected to decrypt handwriting worse than a doctor’s and neatly type and organize various goals in a word document which I then save in each staff member’s respective folder on our shared network. It sounds like boring drudge work, but it’s much more interesting than sitting around for two eight hour days and finding that the only entertainment is scraping a year’s worth of dust from my computer- dust that started collecting after the last staff retreat. Besides, I get to pry into not only the career goals of my fellow workers, but also their personal goals. There ain’t nothin’ better about learning such juicy tidbits as who is planning to move, how many kids they plan on having and when, and the fact that So-and-so’s goal is to learn to relax and take more personal time off in the next few years.

I’m not really a goal setting person, and I didn’t learn the true business-clogged meaning of the words “Goal” and “Value” until the later years of Junior High when, much like a pop-quiz I wasn’t prepared for, I was expected to make a word cluster of my “Goals” and “Values”. When the teacher presented the class with this task, I went numb, caught in the headlights of confusion. Given the blank stares directed at the teacher and the overall silence of a typically obnoxious class, my fellow students apparently felt the same way. “Goal” was an easy word- it was like the goal line in tag soccer. But “Value” presented another problem. It was a word we were expected to know and comprehend, and although most of us knew the dictionary definition, the application into business terminology was on an entirely unattainable level. To make things worse, our Junior High was particularly vicious, and not knowing something so basic- something we all knew must be basic- was a death sentence. “Psst. What’s a ‘value’?” someone whispered nearby, not wanting to ask the teacher such a stupid question. Lucky for her, she was popular and was safe from loosing any shred of reputation by asking The Question. “Ummm… I think it’s- uh- like, things you care about. Religious things, and shit like that,” was the answer from a less popular student. It was then, for the first time in my life, that I learned what a “Value” was.

val-ue n.: something one cares about, often religious, or other important shit like that.

The words I would have chosen for my cluster would have been generic things like: family, friends, health and so on under “Values”. Improving my skill as a violinist, getting better grades, and surviving Junior High were probably what I had for goals. These days, my goals are much more obscure. Sometimes, especially when thinking about the general goals that most of the people around me seem to express (graduating college, going to graduate school or finding a job, getting married, having children), I realize that my goals are quite absurd. So, in case you cared, here’s a list of a few of my short-term goals.

  • Know not only the locations of all photo booths in Seattle, but also the quickest way to drive to each one and what buses to ride lest I need one more god-damned photo to “affix for identification purposes” on various visa/health insurance/affidavit paperwork
  • Survive the bureaucratic fire hoops of hell required to study in Rome
  • Survive Rome without having to curse at and chase after pickpockets
  • Survive Rome as a Vegetarian (and not eating only gelato for nutrition)
  • Become an editor for a literary erotica journal
  • Maintain the quality and integrity of said literary erotica journal
  • Read the thirty books on my “to-read” list
  • Obtain a Bartending license
  • Become the hottest female Bartender in Seattle
  • Start a bar brawl because someone grabbed my ass in my bar (“No Sex on the Beach for you, mister.” Bash. Crash. Crunch)
  • Become a Master Gardener and offend rich lawnophiles when I suggest environmentally friendly alternatives to a “greener and healthier lawn” ™
  • Drive on the remnants of Route 66 until my car can’t make it any farther
  • While driving on remnants of Route 66, make a detour to Dublin, TX and visit the only Dr. Pepper plant that still uses real cane sugar
  • Should car die, remove all paperwork and both license plates before pushing off a cliff
  • Should car make it back to Seattle, plan road trip to Moose Factory
  • Should car still make it back to Seattle, sell it to a desperate UW student for $100