Random Pet Peeve: Baked Lays

It’s like eating card stock. Have we seriously not reached the point in food evolution that we can’t produce a diet food that doesn’t taste like cardboard? GACK.

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Chico’s: I Just Don’t Get It

Anyone who knows me even a tiny iota can tell you that I am not what you would call “fashionable.” I wear what is comfortable, and what looks (to my eyes) “decent.” If I could get away with it, I would wear flannel pajama pants and long-sleeve t-shirts during every waking moment. I am not really interested in fashion, and I shop for clothes primarily at Goodwill and Salvation Army — especially for work clothes, which I otherwise would not be caught dead in, and which I shed in about 30 seconds after I walk in the door at 5:00.

I get tons of compliments on my outfits at the office, and I LOVE telling people I got it at Goodwill, when their idea of a good deal is a $75 shirt from J. Jill. In fact, just last week I looked down and realized that every article of clothing I was wearing — including my shoes — came from a thrift store.

I imagine it’s easier to get away with being a thrift store fashionista somewhere like Brooklyn. But here in the South, there are still clothing commandments, like Thou Shalt Not Offend the Almighty by Wearing White After Labor Day. So it’s not quite as easy to pull off. This is something I’m having to relearn too, after moving to a rather conservative Southern city with pockets of true affluence, from ten years in the Hippie Capital of the South, where the president of one company I worked for showed up for work pretty regularly in hiking gear, and the president of another could usually not be reached in the afternoons because she was out on the tractor mowing.

Today I went shopping with a friend at “real” stores for the first time in possibly years. We went to the mall, which I desperately try to avoid. It’s mainly because I think it’s ridiculous to pay high prices for things that are poorly made by sad, destitute people in third world countries, just because someone here figured out how to market it. I am not that gullible. I mean, I work in marketing. I get it. And I no longer fall for it. I think it’s actually a really interesting commentary on our society when you start examining exactly what marketing works on us best (collectively). Even politics nowadays is just about marketing the right image to the right audience. We are a superficial culture.

For example, today I saw UGGS of Australia, which I found out are the “in thing” right now. They are these (to me) hideously ugly boots with fur lining, which conjure up images of herding reindeer in Finland. Looking at them, I thought, “I wonder if it even gets cold enough in Australia to wear fur boots.” Then I looked a little closer at the label. These $120+ shoes are made in China, just like everything else. By contrast, last week I bought a sweater at Goodwill for less than a dollar that was 100% Alpaca, handmade in Peru. It kills me that people are desperate to spend that kind of money to look like poor farmers from Arctic climes.

Then there was the GAP. I used to actually like GAP clothes. When I was in high school, I lived in a tiny town where we had nothing but a J.C. Penney. So going to the GAP (and all the big, fancy malls) when visiting my grandmother in Atlanta, ending up with school clothes that actually were not available in our entire county, was the height of cool for a teenager.

But the GAP made me sad today. It’s full of 80’s era clothing. (Apparently this is back in style now?) And I LOATHE 80’s era styles. People, it was not cool in the 80’s. What could possibly make it cool now? Everything LITERALLY looks like the majority of stuff you can still find in thrift stores, because it’s still not cool. Eighties clothes are not flattering on any body type I can think of, and they make even the cutest people look like they need a makeover.

And let’s face it, the majority of America has a body type that needs as much help as it can get (myself included). We need clothing that helps us, that works with our flaws. Not clothing that accentuates our issues. As a short person, I hate how all these clothes are made for long-waisted people, and skinny leg jeans make even girls with skinny legs look…just bad.

I was a little happy that the flaming boy who checked us out was wearing eye makeup. Even though I typically despise that look (I’m talking to you, Pete Wentz), Matt at the GAP did it very well. Brought out his eyes and did not make him look like a douche (Pete). But anyway, folks, this is why I”m not “cool.” Because I find these things hideous and outdated. I get that things come back around. And other decades had styles I find worthy of a resurgence. The 1980’s do not.

This was funny: Over Christmas, some of my cousins were making fun of me for being a hippie (they think that’s funny because they’re farm kids) and because I didn’t know what Sperry’s are. Today at the mall, I saw some! And they are effing TOP-SIDERS. They must have needed some brand name to market to all the brand-conscious tweens.

But by far, the craziest experience of my day was when we ended up at Chico’s. My friend had received a gift card for Christmas that she wanted to cash in.

Now, I know people who wear Chico’s clothing and carry it off really well, looking insanely fabulous and stylish. (Granted, none of them are under 40.)  Both my aunt and my Nana (age 85) love the Chico’s and wear it well. And I definitely think of both of them as people who have good taste in general.

My Nana’s got some rad acid-washed jeans from there with rhinestones on the back pockets that she wears with her little sweater sets and kitten heels, and she is like the most fashionable 85 year old you will ever meet. Never without coordinating jewelry. Add a pair of cat-eye reading glasses (which she only puts on when ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY) and you have a picture of my awesome grandmother, whose one health issue in the last 20 years was falling and breaking her hip in the Atlanta airport on her way to Europe. And she still always covers her transparent coiffure with a scarf (specifically polyester and not silk — too slippery) when there is, as she calls it, “weather.”

But back to Chico’s. It’s like the strangest place on the planet. Okay, that might be a tad strong. But it is rather odd. It’s like their marketing plan is 1) Put sequins on it. 2) Jack up the price. and 3) Change the sizing so older females feel thin. There were a few things I saw that were…okay…but then you’d pull it out and it would be ruined by rhinestones. Or the $99 price tag. Or the fact that who the hell knows what size you wear when they only have 1, 2 and 3 (which doesn’t mean the same thing as 1, 2 and 3 at any other store). I finally figured out it must be their strange equivalent of S, M and L.

For the life of me, I couldn’t decide what their market niche was supposed to be. I couldn’t figure out any age group of people that their clothes seemed appropriate for. It was all a little too gaudy for really old people, but a little too matronly for middle aged people who were trying to be stylish. I was astounded to see 2 or 3 girls my age (or younger) shopping in there. Granted, they were with their moms, but they were looking at things like they were considering them personally. Everything seemed really chintzy, and even the jewelry was plasticky and yet $60 for a necklace.  Now I know why my Nana is continually sending me jewelry to repair. They had stuff hanging on mannequins that was broken already.

And most perplexing of all? The place was packed. At one point I caught my friend fanning herself and looking pained. I said to her, “Are you having a panic attack? Is it too crowded?” Not because she has them (that I know of) but because I recognized that look as stemming from true anxiety. She said, “No. It’s just that THESE CLOTHES ARE MAKING ME NERVOUS! They are so. Garish.”

And that, my friends, sums up Chico’s, I think. Oh, and the fact that “chico” means “little boy” in Spanish. I think I will leave it up to you to figure that one out. I am still working on it.  It’s a strange world we live in.

Random Awesomeness: Pineapple Express

In the movie Pineapple Express, check out the scenes in Saul’s apartment when he’s standing in front of the door to his bedroom. There is a toy village splayed out on the bed which includes a tee-pee, like he was in there five minutes ago playing cowboys and Indians. I was hoping to find a picture online to post, but instead I found the blog of someone who dressed as Saul for Halloween. I’m so doing that next year. Two points of random awesomeness! God, I love James Franco.

Random Survey

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…because I need something to do while I eat my lunch.

What’s bothering you right now?
The fact that my secret IM friend that I chat to while we’re at work off and on throughout the day just went offline to go to her company picnic. Boo.

What’s on your TV right now?
My TV at home is playing the movie Two Weeks Notice so my dog has something to listen to while she dozes.

Do you think the last person you kissed cares for you?
I guess.

Your backround on your phone ?
A picture of Birdy lounging in the hammock with me.

Where was your default picture taken?
At my house in Asheville that I miss very much.

Do you like phone calls or text messages better?
Depends on the person and the situation. I like it when my boss texts me, and I like it when I’m in a bad mood or in a hurry.

What is the last thing you drank today?
Ice water.

What are you doing this weekend?
Attending an Italian dinner hosted by my neighbors. Working on an art project I am making. Putting together an order of map stationery for a shop in Atlanta. And I dare say, drinking some beers.

What are you listening to?
Someone being trained in the next room. And my computer making “I’m working” noises.

Have you hit someone today?
No. Nor have I contemplated it. Yet.

Do you burn easily in the sun?
I’m half-Irish, half-Scottish. What do you think?

What/who do you miss?
I miss Asheville, or rather, living in a place like Asheville. I miss living in a house versus an apartment. I miss the mountains. I miss hippies. I miss my twenties. 🙂

What are you going to do after this?
Clean up my lunch dishes. Prepare for a meeting with a “consultant.” Try to figure out how to become a “consultant.”

Do you love Family Guy?
It might be my all-time favorite show. I have seen every episode more than once. It’s one of the only shows that makes me laugh out loud, even when I am alone.

Is there anything you would like to say to someone?
How come you never leave comments on my blog?

Doesn’t orange juice taste terrible after you brush your teeth?
Yes. Yes, it does.

Do you ever turn your cell phone off?
No. It turns itself off all the time, though, when the battery dies.

Who is currently in your house?
Birdy, sleeping in her pink recliner and barking at other dogs passing by.

Where would I have found you last night at 11:00 pm?
Asleep on the couch with the History Channel on TV.

Who was the last person to say “I love you” to you?
My friend Courtney. I have been having a bad week.

Do you care what people think of you?
I think everyone cares to some extent. But I think I probably care a lot less than most people.

Do you dislike anyone at this moment in time?
I seriously dislike Megan Fox.

Do you like water?
Love to drink it. Love to be in it. Love to look at it.

Are you wearing any socks?
Ew, no. I hate socks. I’ll be wearing flip flops (yes, even to the office – what?) until it’s cold enough to worry about losing feeling in my toes.

What’s the last piece of clothing someone borrowed from you?
People generally do not borrow clothing from me. I don’t know a lot of other short, pudgy hippies.

If someone liked you right now, would you want them to tell you?
That would depend on who it was. And in what way.

You kissed someone today, didn’t you?
Yep – Birdy! Oh, she’s not a person, you say? You know nothing of my world.

Have you ever had someone sing to you?
Yes, lots. But my favorite is Swamp, who sings when he plays guitar and belts it out so that the mountains echo it back and the deer scatter, even though he can’t carry a tune in a paper poke. His sister, a professional singer, says he compensates for pitch with volume. He puts his heart into it, though. And perhaps not surprisingly, he can sing Bob Dylan songs very well.

Any upcoming events you’re excited about?
I’m excited about hanging out with friends this weekend and getting to work on some art projects. I don’t look too much farther ahead than a couple days — some would say, to my own detriment.

What’s your plan for this Thursday?
Huh. See previous answer. That’s like 6 days from now.

Do you love someone you would give up anything for?
There is a limit to what I would give up for anyone.

Have you ever slept on the floor with someone you liked?
Yes, lots of times.

If you could go back in time and change things, would you?
I think it’s best to not live with regrets, because everything in the past worked together to bring you to the point you’re at now. But now that I am officially old, as of last Sunday, I am willing to admit that yes, there are a few things I would probably change, given the opportunity. I’m no longer sure that every bad choice is worth the learning experience.

Are you still going to do what you said you’d do at the end of this survey?
Yep. Off I go!

Some of Life’s Questions

Who wrote Sarah Palin’s memoir for her, since she can’t even form a coherent sentence? And why is it called Going Rogue? What has she “gone rogue” from, exactly? Earth?

Why do I only think Johnny Depp is hot when he’s dressed as a lunatic pirate with dreadlocks?

How come high school kids can still get someone to buy them wine coolers, and yet it is now illegal for me (considerably older than that) to buy myself a freaking pack of clove cigarettes?

If Britney Spears is apparently saving herself so much money by shopping at Target, can’t she hire a stylist already?

Why are the shaving razor refill cartridges locked up at the drug store? It’s not the most expensive thing in the store, nor can I see a particularly good reason for someone wanting to purchase (or steal) a whole bunch of them. “Sorry for the inconvenience?” The only purpose of that is to inconvenience me.

Wage Slave Anecdotes: The Oxygen Tank

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When: Early 2000’s.
Where: Video rental chain store.

Early one Sunday morning (okay, like 9:00 am, but I was in college then), I was scheduled to open the store. Came in, turned off the alarm. Took the deposit to the bank. Came back and was counting all the money in the safe and the drawers of cash so I could start up each “till” as we called it. The store didn’t open until 10:00 but it was not unusual to get about a billion phone calls before I had even turned on one computer. At that time, I didn’t understand it at all. Now that I get up early even on weekends, I can sort of understand feeling a little annoyed that the video store doesn’t open until later. Anyway, not surprisingly, the phone rang.

Me: “Blank Store on Merrimon. This is Maegan. How can I help you?”

Customer, obviously elderly: “Yes, I was calling to let someone know that my liquid oxygen tank is empty.”

Me: “Your what?”

Customer, annoyed: “My liquid. Oxygen. Tank.”

Me: “Are you sure you have the right number? This is the video store.”

Customer: “Shit.”

*Click*

Wage Slave Anecdotes: Conversations with Employees

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When: Early 2000’s.
Where: Retail video rental chain store.

Now that I’ve cracked on customers for a while, you need to hear some of the crazy things my employees said over the years.

Jennifer: “Well, I decided not to join the Army.”
Me: “Oh, really?” I said, genuinely surprised, as it was one of the only things she’d talked about for months. “Why is that?”
Jennifer: “I had bad experiences with all my recruiters. Basically they told me not to join. And all the bad things about being in the military.”

—@—

Customer, making small talk at register: “When you have a baby, you lose your mind.”
Robin: “I have a cat.”
No response, followed by uncomfortable silence.

—@—

“All I need is to wake up in the morning, see a soccer ball and lovely ladies, and then go eat breakfast.”
(He’s now a professional soccer player. Go, Paul!)

Other favorite Paul quotes:

When talking to a customer, “Late fee?? We’re not even talking about that. We’re talking about you finding your card. Let’s wait til the card gets here, and then we’ll go there. Right now, you got no card! You can’t even rent! Never mind late fees.”

While talking to a customer on the phone who was having trouble with their PS2, “Hang on one second.” Lays the phone down on the counter. Waits 30 seconds.
“Yeah, ah, our Playstation Specialist said the software could be terminated. Or it could be a defective game. Or system.”

—@—

“I’m tired of YOU, Mister Phone!” — Swamp
(Yep, he worked there in college, too, and he still hates the phone.)

—@—

What? She was a hot monkey!” — Scott on Helena Bonham Carter in “Planet of the Apes” remake

—@—

“Minnie Driver used to be a chunky girl, and then she started dating Matt Damon and he said he wouldn’t have sex with her until she lost weight so now she’s skinny. What? Don’t you read the Enquirer??” — Thomas

—@—

“This weekend? Oh, I was at home. Well, most of the time. And then out. And in. And out.” — Debbie talking to her dad on the phone

—@—

Britney: “Ow! You bit my ass!”
James: “Well, it was right there! What was I supposed to do with it?”

—@—

Singing Aerosmith, “Walk this way! Stroll this way! What? Don’t they say that?” — Terhan

—@—

“Yeah, you’re straight…Straight to bed!” — Robbie the Drag Queen

—@—

James (my gay roommate): “Hey, guess what I am for Halloween?”
Me: “What?”
James: “A flaming homosexual!”
Me: “Your eye makeup is so pretty!”

—@—

“This counter is here for a reason. It’s here to keep F—tards like this away from me.” — Ethan, now a filmmaker

—@—

Me, speaking to James about his desire for collagen injections: “Well, I guess it comes to down to…would you rather have a lip or a car?”

—@—

Customer: “Tehran? Did you know you were named after the capital of Iran?”
Terhan: “It is pronounced TER-HAN, and actually I am not.”

—@—

Me, when Swamp once brought me a pizza while I was working: “It’s got pineapple on it.”
Swamp: “Yeah. I like pineapple.”
Me: “Well, I like boys who are not self-absorbed, but it looks like we’re fresh out!”

Wage Slave Anecdotes: The Mouse Turd

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When: Early 2000’s.
Where: Video rental chain store.
What: Conversation overhead between a little girl and an adult woman accompanying her, relationship unknown.

Kid: “My daddy has a turd at his apartment.”

Lady, breathing out an uneasy laugh: “What?”

Kid: “My daddy has a turd at his apartment.”

Lady: “What does that word mean?”

Kid, rolling her eyes: “You know!…..Poo!”

Lady, now  genuinely confused: “What are you talking about?”

Kid: “He has a little turd — a little mouse turd! In his apartment!”

Lady: “Oh! A mouse turd! From a mouse! Okay.”

Wage Slave Anecdotes: Austin’s Little Sister

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When: Early 2000’s.
Where: Video rental chain store.

Some of our regular customers were a family of five who were both intriguing and hilarious. The dad in this family was very effeminate, and the mom just seemed like a normal mom. We frequently speculated that either she didn’t know he was gay or it was some kind of a marriage of convenience. Of their three children, the oldest one (Austin) had learned his dad’s speech pattern and spoke like a flaming homosexual trapped in the body of an 8-year-old. With an enormous Southern accent. He was your typical oldest child — bossy and controlling of the siblings, but also protective. There was a middle child, a boy, who never spoke. The youngest was a girl, maybe three or four years old. Old enough to walk. One day as I was checking out his mom, Austin exclaimed:

“EW!!!!!! Get your tongue off-a-that!!! It’s naaaasty!” He stood with his hands on his hips, eyes wide as bottle caps.

The little sister had slid back the door of the ice cream cooler and was standing there licking the frost build-up on the inside walls. Maybe she was too little to understand that that was not, in fact, ice cream. She looked up at me without removing her tongue from the frost and just grinned. I don’t know if she was proud for getting to the “ice cream” or proud for disobeying Austin. I guess both would be pretty good to a four-year-old.

Yellow Index Cards: The Male Reproductive System

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