Thursday, July 28, 2011

How to Set Fires in the Workplace: A step-by-step guide for morons like me

Just to clarify, this isn't necessarily a step-by-step guide for crazies. I mean, crazies can definitely consult this guide find it useful. My suggestions are definitely effective. It's just that they're specifically tailored for absent-minded dummies, such as myself. If you're a crazy, don't end your fire-starting research here. The Internet is a magical place. I'm sure you can find an appropriate guide for lunatics and arsonists. Probably not on this blog, though.

Moving on, then.

1. Set the stage: allow for maximum distraction. If you can, stop by the animal shelter on your way to work and pick up some sort of wild creature. Make sure the creature is larger than you can handle, riddled with worry, and reeking of urine. (This last point will come into play later).

2. Embrace your anxiety. Trust me—nervousness and self-consciousness are friends of yours if what you're trying to do is torch your place of business. Make sure your mind is anywhere other than the present place and time.

3. Take advantage of the scented candle testers. If you've successfully picked out a wild creature that is urine-soaked and then, appropriately, taken him to the (dog-friendly) boutique that is your workplace, you'll want to mask the eau de pound for customers who don't appreciate the smell of animal butts interrupting their shopping experience.

4. Carefully place the candle next to flammable items. A wrapping station complete with tissue, packing materials, and wrapping paper is ideal.

5. Begin packing a shipping order. At this point, it's best if you forget about the lit candle on the wrap station. And don't scrimp on the packing materials. Jam 'em in that box like you're stuffing hundred dollar bills into a duffel bag for one of George Clooney's casino robberies. Go ahead and waft the tissue directly over the candle while you're packing. It's the best way for it know...burst into flames.

6. Panic. Freeze. Watch the paper ignite as if life suddenly switched to slow motion. Try to blow it out. Watch the flames expand and rise. Scream. Throw the flaming tissue on the floor and try to stomp it out with your Saltwater sandals. Realize you're wearing sandals. Stop. Watch—like an idiot—as a brave regular customer runs to your rescue and smothers the burning paper on the floor with the shipping box you were about to fill with valuable merchandise.

7. Try to disappear. You're going to want to hide from the inevitable shame of your jackassery. Remember the rule of infants: if you can't see people, people can't see you. Go ahead and just close your eyes. Trust me. You're invisible now. But before you evaporate into thin air, thank your hero, Julian. (Thank you Julian!)

Good luck! And happy blazing!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Meet Fritz

You may have heard of Fritz. He's a dog. Some people say he's a fox terrier and he weighs 30 lbs. Do not believe these people. His breed is Terrius Mysterius and he weighs a big fat 39 lbs. His full name is F. Scott Fritzgerald (not to be confused with the great American novelist of a similar name). He has a big, black, beautiful nose and scabby elbows. He is a giant crybaby. He is difficult to catch when slippery and covered with dog shampoo bubbles. 

Would you like to know more?

Of course you would.

His favorite foods are grass, dog food, garbage, elk horns, fingers, string cheese, and wine corks that look suspiciously like dog turds. He also enjoys the corners of coffee tables. 

His hobbies include nibbling, whining, tail-wagging, lunging at cats, and trying to peek into extremely hot ovens. 

He has an ear infection, giardia, and a jacked-up tooth. 

His favorite toys are garbage, fingers, and Yolk store merchandise (gifted, luckily, by Auntie Maria).

Upon coming home, his first order of business was to find the bathtub and pee in it.

His tongue is the size of a surfboard. But it is soft and slippery and sweet.

His best friend is Rob.

His biggest fan is me.

If you meet him on the street, pat him on his melon and tell him he's handsome. Unless he starts to get a big head from all the attention. Then you can tell him his owners are handsome. Because they are, after all. And maybe they're just getting tired of playing second fiddle to adorable, slobbery furballs? 

Just a thought.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sometimes, on a Wednesday morning, you adopt a puppy.

I should know. I did it last Wednesday. Like a crazy person.

Somehow, we thought we could go to the pound in South Central LA and come home without a dog. We promised each other we would walk away if none of them were right for us. As we left the house at 8 am, Rob even said, "I am totally prepared to leave the shelter without getting a dog." I didn't say it at the time, but in my head I said, Baby. It's a good thing you're so cute, because you are not so smart. I'm so desperate for an animal that I've thought long and hard about catching one of our neighborhood coyotes and forcing domestication on it. We are so coming home with a dog.

We heard about Fritz from two different people and on paper, he was all sorts of wrong for us. Too big, first of all. Thirty pounds. And at 8 months, a little too old. But we're suckers with bleeding, oozing,  bloody hearts, so we had to give the mutt a chance. Even as we drove to the shelter, Rob had a lady with another, smaller, younger puppy prospect on the phone. He explained to her that there was a sad sack at the pound we just had to see first.

Fast forward to right now. I'm sitting on the futon, resting my feet on a wire-haired mound. We're both exhausted (both me and the mound) since we've been walking for at least two hours every damn day this week. Rob and I now wake up earlier than the people who go through our garbage can for recyclables. We pick. up. feces. It's bizarre.

But in all seriousity, could you say no to this face?

Either of these faces?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

When you buy your stuff downtown...

You sometimes end up with super awkward instructions.

I have my theories as to what this cryptic nonsense is trying to say. But whosoever comes up with the best translation (meaning a translation back into useful English) will get a prize. Cliff, our Costco is out of Hichew for now, but that doesn't mean I won't come through for you surprise-wise. I guess what I'm saying is, I want you to amuse me. OK, Ready? Go!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

How to Grift Your Way to a Happy 4th of July

I'm not a summer holiday person. I think I used to be, but I would just get way too excited for things that ended up being lame. For example, in high school someone would usually throw a Memorial/Labor/Independence Day party. I'd get it in my head that I'd look uncharacteristically hot that day, get a sweet tan, and fall in love with a super sexy dude from some other high school. None of these things would happen. Instead, I'd just try to stay out of the boys' way while they attempted to tear each others' boardshorts off, the way I assume all normal, heterosexual, teenage males do. Inevitably, I'd spend the rest of the night nursing my sunburn and swearing I didn't see Chris VanWagoner's penis.

This disappointment must have followed me into adulthood, because on Monday morning, the most exciting thing I could think of to do was sleep until 3pm. Which I totally did. I didn't even get out of bed to take off my sweaty jammies. I just kept sleeping in them, despite the fact that it was a balmy 94 degrees inside my house and my clothes were sticking to me.  Rob must have almost seen some guy's weiner in high school, too, because he was 100% OK with not doing anything for the 4th of July. Apparently, sleeping and sweating is what we Whalens do best!

As anyone who has ever tried to sleep all day knows, you have to wake up for a few hours if you want to be able to go back to sleep. So Rob and I decided to tackle the mountain of junk mail that we'd amassed during a week of being out of town. Somewhere in the stack, Rob found a mailer from the downtown Nissan dealership advertising free movie tickets for anyone who came down to take a test drive over the holiday weekend. Wait...what?! Free movie tickets? Done. I don't care if I have to change a hobo's dirty diaper. There is almost nothing I won't do for free movie tickets.

So down to the dealership we drove. The car looked exceptionally disgusting, too, which I figured could only make the situation look more authentic. A young couple, looking dirty and disheveled, arriving in a car that appears to be cobbled together with bird excrement...there is no way these people aren't driving out of here in a new Maxima!

Twenty minutes later, we were back on the 110, free movie tickets in hand, speeding away like bandits. We were like Bonnie and Clyde in there—a well-oiled machine—asking questions and engaging as if we could actually afford to buy a new car. It was my spontaneous stroke of genius that got us out of there smoothly. "We just haven't decided if we're going to go with another sedan or if we're going to buckle and get a minivan. Right, honey?"

After a quick stop at the dollar store for delicious contraband, we were in the theater enjoying Super 8. Cheapest movie date ever. All it cost was about $6 for candy and all of our integrity. But the way I see it, our forefathers fought for my right to swindle a car dealership into giving me free stuff instead of watching fireworks. Thank you, forefathers. And thank you, America!