I Scream

Dear Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc.:

One sure sign that a product of yours is not up to my high quality standards is if I mine. When I mine your bucket of ice cream, I chisel my spoon deep in the the frozen mass of fat and sugar in search of the elusive chunks of gooey, goodness advertised in excess on the front of your package. If a product is particularly lacking in gooey, goodness, then what’s left after my mining exhibition is merely a carton full of bland, boring ice cream.

If I had wanted just ice cream, rather than ice cream packed with cookie dough and chocolate chips, then I would have bought a carton of plain ol’ ice cream. But I didn’t want just ice cream. I wanted the falsified depiction of vanilla ice cream packed with not only cookie dough, but also free-floating chocolate chips that your “Nestle® Toll House® Cookie Swirl” flavor promised.

And you took your advertising ploy one step further; you stamped two golden seals on the package, suggesting that this worthless product won a “Best Taste Award” issued from the American Culinary Institute. And because your marketing ploy was that good, I purchased your product.

But I was horribly disappointed. After mining your carton, I found only one solitary chunk of cookie dough— a fraction of the amount found in the standard cookie dough ice cream that your company also produces.

My extreme disappointment in your product, coupled with the bold packaging made me feel cheated. Later, I researched the ACI’s Best Taste Awards and realized that you received a general award for all of your ice cream products rather than for this particular flavor. But you were sneaky, carefully choosing which packages to emblazon the award seal on so it appeared that those actual flavors received the award instead of your entire company.

So, this is why I will shy away from your products in the future. But also because I have always preferred Ben and Jerry’s ice cream over yours, and here’s why: they have mastered the art of gooey, goodness-filled ice cream and you have not. By skimping on the gooey goodness you advertised in excess on your packaging, you’re lying to your consumers and missing what’s most important. For Ben and Jerry’s, they follow a basic prinicpal; they regard ice cream as a mere lettuce leaf bed upon which the main course resides. With their philosophy, the ice cream is a base that the mouthwateringly gooey goodness of ingredients require as a glue to unify them into one food product. In other words, the base of ice cream is not the entire product.

Note: This is a draft of a letter written almost exactly one year ago that I still intend to mail to Dreyer’s. I’ll let you know if I actually get off my lazy ass and send it.

The Neverending Intestinal Saga

According to Tyler, drinking laxatives is like drinking pus.

Because he will have anesthetics during his “procedure” tomorrow, I have to pick him up from the hospital. I’m preparing for the worst. I remember the one time in my life I had anesthetics, and believe me when I say that I would never wish my worst enemy to have an encounter with me then. Fortunately, I had a mouth full of gauze that prevented my parents from understanding the profusion of obscenities targeted their way.

Well, I’m off to eat the remainder of today’s breakfast- a Gordito’s grande burrito. And if the hapless Tyler ever comes out of the bathroom alive and feels up to “eating”, it’s warmed vegetable stock and lime jello (if it ever solidifies) for him. Tomorrow, we’re going to a Taste of India for dinner, so he will hopefully regain some weight.

The Year in Review

Or: All of the things I was either too depressed to write about, too lazy to write about, or too scared to write about

I graduated and lost my cozy, fun, and completely awesome student administrative assistant job.

I was unemployed for 5 months. For the first week, it was like a vacation. After that, it was like running through Dante’s 9 circles of Hell. During this period, there were a lot of really awful interviews on the scale of the Texas Chain-saw Massacre. There were also not nearly enough interviews- you know, the normal kind that balance out the chain-saw hell kind. A job was offered and then retracted after a day of work, followed by an exchange of many poisonous words when my promised paycheck never arrived.

I became horribly depressed.

6 months after graduating, an envelope came in the mail. It had two diplomas in it, which made me feel rather prestigious. Sadly, the feeling only lasted for a minute or two.

I took a two-month contract job where I copied and pasted cell phone help articles for Verizon Wireless’ new website. I did a lot of re-coding of horrid HTML and some light editing and rewriting. Sometimes, I actually wrote an article from scratch, which made me happy. I had lots of nightmares about cell phones and Blackberries, but I was sad when the contract ended because I hadn’t managed to save much money. The job did make me much happier, despite the long commute out of Seattle, the nightmares, and the boring work. After 5 months, having a weekly paycheck was just that exciting.

I started an editorial certificate program, hoping that it would help me get a job. Instead, it became another expense that I can’t afford.

During my two-month contract job, I applied to over 140 jobs. Administrative, part-time, temporary- even a position that would clean up monkey poop at a research facility.

I went to New York, using a plane ticket I received as a graduation and going-away present from my awesome coworkers at my student job. While there, I stayed with my good friend, Dan. I had lots of fun, and spent some money. I also received a lot of calls for interviews while away. Then, I was so inspired by how good my friend’s and his girlfriend’s lives were, that I freaked out about my stale life.

I came home from New York and realized I was too poor to apply for graduate school this year. I also missed the deadline for the JET Program by one day.

I interviewed for a number of jobs- contract, part-time, full-time, temporary, and permanent. Only one of the many interviews went poorly, but it wasn’t on the scale of the Texas Chain-saw Massacre. I did, however, encounter a lazy recruiter for a dream job who squelched my chances at a second interview that had been offered- all thanks to her laziness.

I spent the holidays unemployed and trying in vain to receive unemployment benefits. I later found out that I couldn’t receive benefits because I didn’t earn enough work hours while a student.

I was offered a part-time, temporary position at the UW two weeks before Christmas. I took it, and had to wait until the New Year before I could start working.

My Cubicle is Orange and Smelly

Yesterday was my first day of work, but they weren’t ready for me to start working. “Not ready for me” as in the team I’ll be working with didn’t know I was starting that day. My manager was in two very long meetings that morning, so the other two team members walked me around the cubicle labyrinth, showed me where my desk was, and had me look at the horrid New Employee Online Orientation Website. After slogging through tons of information that doesn’t apply to me because I’m part-time and temporary, the website forced me to register for a mandatory sexual harassment prevention seminar. When my manager finally showed up, he handed me tons of paperwork and then decided the entire team should go to a bar and have “lunch”. After four hours total of working and going to a bar, I went home because there was nothing else for me to do. Then I took a nap, and followed that by bothering a sleeping Tyler periodically throughout the afternoon.

This morning started out with “training”, which consisted of my manager being in more meetings and the other two members of my team telling me tons of boring information about the entire financial system at the UW. Needless to say, I think I know more than Mason does about accounting right now. After learning about every single division within the entire department, my two co-workers finally showed me the website and help pages I will be in charge of. But because all my passwords and logins still aren’t setup, I can’t do anything but sit at my desk and play Urbandead.

And speaking of my desk, did I mention that I was exiled to a dank cubicle at the furthest possible end of the building from the rest of my team? I didn’t? Well, I am. And my cubicle walls are leftover rust-orange artifacts from the 70’s that have a faint and unpleasant odor. I’m not really sure what division of the Financial Management Department I have infiltrated, but it’s something like “Accounts Payable” or “Payroll”, while I’m technically in a division titled “Desktop Support Services” that isn’t even part of the Financial Management Department.

So, things have been really boring and slow, which I absolutely hate when it comes to working. And because of some of the things my co-workers told me about why my position was created, I have a sinking feeling that instead of being part-time, I will end up working full-time (and possibly over-time) sporadically during the next six months. That makes getting a second job really hard. Also, the sheer amount of things I’m expected to do for this position definitely makes it a full-time, permanent position. And I’d be really happy about that, if I was confident that the dark overlords would allow enough funding for my position to be full-time and permanent.

But despite the boring start and the foreboding horizon, the three people I will be working closely with all seem like fun and interesting co-workers.

Spread a Little Cheer

I keep thinking about how all I want for Christmas is a job. I’m not asking for anything great— just a decent job that will pay the bills, feed me, and help me take care of my aging dog. Actually, that’s all I wanted for my birthday six months ago, too. Fortunately, it seems like the power of my birthday and Christmas combined might just make that job appear. At the very least, my phone has been ringing off the hook with interview requests all day today. Indeed, very odd after nine months of scrimping and begging for the odd job and suffering through what may possibly be the worst (contract) job I will ever have.

But although it seems like this next year may be much better than this last year, it’s too early to tell. I do have about nine months of hell to keep me from getting too excited until that first pay check arrives.

In the meantime, I finally opened a “store” over at etsy.com, and am trying to sell some jewelry I made during my more unhappy moments earlier this year. It will be interesting to see if I actually sell my stuff or not. A lot of people are making a big fuss about how Etsy is the new Ebay— for crafty types, that is. However, I just think it’s pretty cool that someone like myself can sell all of the various stuff they create rather than having it acclimate into a giant pile of uselessness.

But, back to my creations. I’m pretty proud of said jewelry. Most all of it is stuff I think is incredibly awesome and would love to wear. However, I made what I’m selling mostly for cathartic reasons and it’s all just been sitting in a jewelry box since March. Definitely time to clean out my coffers and hope that my creations end up with someone who will wear them. And hey, a little extra money would be nice right now— if not for paying the bills, at least for refueling my craft supplies.

Drunken Delights

In honor of the upcoming holiday season, here are three drink concoctions from my very own bizarre collection. You most likely will not find these anywhere else. I’m too lazy to check, so think of this as a “Mikania exclusive, most likely”.

Raisin Shot*

1 shot vodka
1 chocolate covered raisin

Drop the raisin in a shot glass and fill the glass with vodka. Drink. The raisin should be the last thing down and serves to cut the sting of the vodka, assuming this is the first drink of the night.

The Turtle Tank

3/4 part citrus vodka
1/4 part lemonade
1 chocolate covered raisin

Prepare and down the drink in the same fashion as the Raisin Shot.

The Mighty Zoltar

1 chocolate covered raisin

Start with 1-2 shots vodka to a highball. Top off with lemonade, stir well, and add the raisin as a “garnish”.

*Credit for the Raisin Shot goes to John, a friend’s awesome roommate who continually inspires me to achieve new drunken heights.

New Entry

I really like the color blue. Actually, I really like green and purple, and red- then blue, and sometimes orange. But who’s keeping track?

In other news, I just noticed that I got my first comment troll on this website. Yeah! I’m moving up in the world.

How Not To Get Customers Into Your Bar

  1. Your first goal should be to own a sports bar frequented by sweaty, over-weight men there only to jeer at passing college coeds during commercial breaks.
  2. Next, ignore your clientele (the sweaty, over-weight men) and turn said bar into a “trendy night club” during the evenings. Don’t forget the colored dancing lights and disco ball.
  3. You could always name your bar “The American” and pick a prime location near a liberal university in one of the western-most states.
  4. Or, you could play “Hollaback Girl”, that horrendous song from Gewn Stefani’s latest and equally horrendous album. Yes, even remixes played during “night club” hours will chase customers away.
  5. If all else fails and you still find yourself with an occasional patron, then hire bouncers that beg on their knees to all passing by to enter your establishment. You get extra bounses- and less customers- by hiring extra-creepy bouncers who promise free drinks to anyone who even remotely resembles a female.

Sipping Poison

My former boss asked me how I felt today.

How do I feel? I feel like I was really thirsty. So thirsty, that I asked for a glass of water. A woman I didn’t know agreed, and soon returned with a glass of clear liquid that she set down in front of me. Grateful, I thanked her and gulped the liquid down. It was only then that I noticed the liquid smelled and tasted funny. The woman had brought me a glass of poison instead of water. And being so thirsty, I foolishly drank it before realizing.

That’s how I feel. That’s how I feel about working for one day, riding the bus for two hours to get home, only to walk in the door, answer the phone and have my newfound “employer” call to say that she found someone better. Someone who had a science background. Someone who could comprehend the chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar for a children’s rocket kit more than me. But it’s not about me, it’s because I, the creative writer, don’t know anything about science and they specialize in science kits for young children. I’m a wonderful writer and have amazing design skills, so it really isn’t me. It’s just that it won’t work out even though they originally asked for a creative writer with design skills. It’s because I’m a creative writer that I can’t possibly understand those kits, and therefore can’t possibly write the marketing materials for them.

I told my former boss that I was very bitter.

I’ll have that in a vente to go

It’s come to my attention lately that I have become well-known for angry, bitchy rants- at least, well-known in this way to Tyler’s entire family. But honestly, I know how to restrain myself during most confrontations with others. For example, below is what I would love more than anything to say to the people upstairs at this very moment. However, even though all hell has broken loose and they scream at me regularly, every time I knock on their door at three in the morning I continue to plaster a toothy (and hopefully creepy) smile on my face while I politely tell them to keep the noise down because I would really like to be sleeping rather than standing on their porch in my pajamas and slippers as it rains.

Sarah- I don’t like you. Even though I’ve never seen your face, I don’t like you. Why? Mostly because you scream a lot at ungodly hours of the night for no apparent reason. I guess your inner two year-old never left and you have an uncontrollable urge to scream. I, too, have mental problems. The kind where I’m supposed to be going to a counselor and popping pills that make me happy. However, I can’t sympathize with how you let the angry spirit of a two year-old infest your mind. Despite my mental problems, I’m uninsured and unemployed and not getting the help people have told me I need. However, I don’t let it bother my neighbors. I’m sorry, but if you had a real reason to scream, I’d be less inclined to hold it against you. I once had a neighbor who did have a reason to scream, and I hated her boyfriend, not her. Screaming just to hear the sound of your shrill, loud, unintelligible voice makes people hate you. Despite what you think, it’s not endearing. In reality, all those people who might laugh when you scream say mean and horrible things about you behind your back. Sometimes, they even say it on your porch.

And while we’re on the subject of your “friends” standing on your porch, which happens to be above my bedroom window; I also don’t like you because of those friends. You know, the ones who stand on your porch (above my bedroom window) after midnight and scream shrilly on their cellphones- sounding like sorority girls on crack. Yeah, those friends. The same people who say mean things about you behind your back, and often on your porch while talking on their cellphones.

But I’ll be honest with you, my strong dislike for you is not completely fair. A large portion of it is because of your husband. Every time I trudge up to your apartment in my pajamas to complain about the two in the morning frat party you’re hosting above my bedroom in your spacious, well-insulated, three bedroom, two-story apartment that just you and your husband live in, that pasty, weasel-faced clod has the amazing talent of giving me nasty vibes before he even opens the door. And to rub salt in the wound, he only opens the door so he can then slam it in my face. I also can’t forget that incident with his mother screaming at me from behind your pasty, weasel-faced significant other while he slammed the door in my face. Because she also had a weasel face, I know that woman was his mother, and not yours. But… you married the jerk, so you can’t be much better.

Anyway, by stomping around angrily just because I played music at 6 PM to blot out every painful word of your droll phone conversation, you just increased my hatred for you. Yeah, so what if my window was open, so was yours. Sorry to shatter your fragile conception of yourself, but my music was no louder then when you randomly scream well beyond a reasonable hour. Did you forget about that second story you have? You know, the one above your dinning room? The second story where you surely can’t hear my music because of the super high-quality insulation and the fact that the music wasn’t playing at even half the volume capacity of my boyfriend’s computer?

Sending the angry, paste weasel to complain was a low blow. Do you realize he didn’t bother to knock on my door? He stood in front of my window and glared at me with his demonic red-rimmed eyes before stomping away. The man didn’t even say a word. I sure hope you didn’t marry that ugly vampire weasel just so he could be your lackey. Really, if you have a problem with my music because it’s not Sarah McLachlan and I’m not blasting it above someone else’s bedroom at one in the morning on a weeknight, come down here and tell me yourself, bitch. Puh-lease!