Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Kool Kids Rock, As Always

Last night, half of the Kool Kids got together to assuage some of our stress.

Poor Ann has been suffering from Man Woes, and she wrote me an email complaining about something awful her ex had done, and she used the F-word. I was aghast! Of course, she didn’t actually utter the word, but putting it into an email was still far beyond anything I’d ever experienced with her, so I made plans to get together with her, because she clearly was distraught.

As news of my Mom Woes got out, Marina emailed me and wanted to see me for hugs, so I mentioned that I was meeting Ann late that night and invited her along. But I warned her that The New Ann was going, and she had a potty mouth.

Marina immediately shot back that this was not OUR Ann, but a pod person, and Marina insisted on accompanying us because I was surely in need of backup dealing with this impostor.

It’s always good to have friends who know how to make me laugh when I’m putting my mom in an asylum.

So we three went to Applebee’s for a late meal before they closed.

After unloading our Woes, both Man and Mom, Ann announced that she was doing a storytime about ice cream, to the tune of “On Top of Old Smokey.”

To show us how the song would go, she sang the substituted lyrics to us.

    ♫ On top of my ice cream,
    All covered with fudge,
    I lost my first cherry-- ♫

And before she got the entire line out of her mouth, Marina’s head turned into a beet and began to shake. She was laughing so hard that she actually turned redder than when she sunburned herself into a lobster.

Dude, the only thing funnier than Ann dropping the F-bomb, is Ann singing about losing her cherry.

Of course, she threw something at Marina and insisted that this program was for little kids, so there would be no laughing and snickering at her lyrics, but I reminded her that parents would be in the room too, and I wished her luck not putting them into vomiting laughter.

She suggested that maybe she’d change “cherry” to “sprinkle”.

Uh-huh. Maybe that’s a good idea.

Hopefully Ann didn’t walk away feeling worse after we made fun of her. I sure hope not. Because, seriously, the only reason we laughed is because she’s our golden child and it was completely insane to imagine her doing these things.

Perhaps the only thing that might have cheered me up after my mom tried to kill herself with 76 Xanax was exactly what happened last night, and for that I’m forever grateful to Ann and Marina.

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Learning Vacation

I learned some things while on vacation. Things I never would’ve guessed my vacation would reveal.

    First of all, my name is Nikki and I am a restaurant addict. Even if I’m not hungry, I want to go to restaurants. I’m happy taking home so many doggie bags from the food I couldn’t eat at all the restaurants I insisted we go to, that our Styrofoam containers completely filled my fridge by the end of the week. I don’t WANT to go to restaurants. I NEED to go to restaurants. Boyfriend Extraordinaire is trying to get to the bottom of my love of restaurants, but we can’t get past my inability to stop grinning from ear to ear while sitting in a booth and having bottomless drinks brought to us. C’mon! What’s NOT to love about restaurants? Well, yeah, aside from the price.

    Boyfriend Extraordinaire is worthy of his name. Let me count the ways. He fixed my hubcaps, which wouldn’t stay on my car and the dealership had no idea what to tell me. He fixed my garage door lock so that my home isn’t completely vulnerable with an unlockable garage door. He also fixed the lightswitch in my garage so that I don’t have to feel around in the pitch-black darkness for the floodlight that plugs in, because my flashlight broke. He bought me a new flashlight. The remote control that my dog ate had a missing chunk out of the circuit board, and B.E. not only found a soldering iron and solder in my myriad of a garage, but he soldered two wires to the circuit board and now my remote control works for the first time in three years. He bought me a treadmill. He bought me a wireless weather station so that I don’t have to spend the first moments after I wake up checking the Weather Channel and for weather conditions, which I’m a tiny bit obsessed with. He made fun of me and told countless strangers in a loud, announcing fashion that I peed my pants (well, no, just my underwear, because when I finally got to the toilet, I got my shorts off at the last second but ended up sacrificing the undies) when we were out last week, after I drank four glasses of beverage and found myself in a public setting with no washrooms anywhere nearby. Hey, wait, that’s not nice! Scratch that! Okay, so he laughs at all my stupid jokes, like when I farted in bed and told him I was giving him butt-to-butt resuscitation. He cracks me up, too, in the embarrassing, uncontrollable way that makes me snort and choke and I have to beg for mercy. And above all else, he still yells out “Woo, woo!” when I change clothes in front of him. Truly, he’s extraordinary.

    We watched television. We watched shows I didn’t know existed. I found a show called “Burn Notice” and I have one thing to ask. HOW the HELL did Bruce Campbell get to be so old?! OH! MY! FSM! He doesn’t look bad, but WHAT the FUCK? Is this some scary/funny trick by Sam Raimi? And why the hell did Jim Carrey become famous doing a bad impersonation of Bruce all these years, too? How did Bruce drop off my radar for so long that he looks like he could be his own dad? My head hurts.

    Earplugs work well against noise like someone snoring a foot away, and an aggressive dog who barks at the garbage men, the lawn care guys, and any noise or movement that occurs in the house. Earplugs are great. But they can also guard your sensitive ears against the necessary blaring of your alarm clock, so be wary.

    Planes make Schwee sick. Every time. Every flight. Cesspools!

    My sunglasses broke – my favorite sunglasses – and shopping for sunglasses revealed something very bizarre about our society. We want the tiniest lenses for our eyeglasses so as not to be able to see clearly except for a pinprick straight ahead of us, without any peripheral vision or up and down. We seem to want to fall down stairs and hit our head on things. Fashion is stupid. YET! Yet, the trendy sunglasses look like Charles Nelson Reilly glasses. Last year it was Elton John, but it’s progressed to these unbelievable Harry Carry frames that need only some feathered hair, a tacky fur coat and Charlie perfume to make the ensemble complete. Why? Just why?

    Work email should never ever be checked from home when you’re on vacation. I’ve said it before but I never take my own advice. I will in the future.

Now I’m back in my usual schedule and trying desperately to adjust back to ordinary life. It sucks. I want to hang with my Schwee, visit animals, walk through the woods, take pictures, and eat at restaurants everyday. Dammit, why isn’t this possible?!

He's No Swan!

Hans Christian Anderson was a dildo.

We’re all familiar with the story The Ugly Duckling and the moral it preached about how ugly kids can grow up to be beautiful adults, or some such nonsense. There are some fairy tales that I think are beautiful and timeless, and there are some, like this one, that I think are garbage. This tale is about the equivalent of saying that if you’re flat-chested as a kid, you could grow up and have naturally huge knockers, so don’t fret about being an AA.

C’mon, you self-deprecating, pre-emo dork! Can’t you do better than that? Perhaps teach that there are more important things in the world than being a size 3, having bee-stung lips or a six-pack of abs you could crush a beer can with when you do a sit-up. Gee, maybe it would be nice for a kid to know that being smart and having courage are two traits far rarer and more precious than having big blue eyes and long lashes to bat at your mommy. Maybe it would be nice if the little cygnet got his revenge on the ducklings by saving them from habitat loss or leading them to food during a famine. Maybe it would be better if the entire story recognized that the ugly duckling was not only never a duckling, but he was never ugly, either!

HELLO! Have you seen what a cygnet looks like?! They are the cutest little off-white fuzzballs I’ve ever seen, with pastel-pink bills and big, dark eyes. What a stupid fairy tale that is when you consider how fucking adorable cygnets are!

Okay, Mr. Anderson, let’s look a little closer here. If that was supposed to be semi-autobiographical, with the “ugly” bird representing you and how ugly you thought you were, but it grew up to be the most beautiful bird around, perhaps this self-pity fest needs to be crashed. This “ugly” critter you saw as yourself is actually one of the cutest animals in nature. What’s that about? You want people to think that you’re self-conscious about how ugly you feel, but you really believe you’re a cute, fuzzy cygnet about to grow up into a gorgeous swan? I’m supposed to feel sorry for that? I’m supposed to find comfort in what you perceive as a turn of luck that means you will be stunningly gorgeous, so no one should tell you how ugly they think you are? Oh no, Mr. Anderson. Go cry on someone else’s shoulder! We are not that gullible. And if you think you’re a baby swan, then you’re a shallow braggart anyway.


And to help prove it, here are my pictures of a family of swans I met at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Tell me these things aren’t adorable! Mr. Anderson WISHES he was this cute!!

Tabblo: Five Swans A-Swimming

And, if you’re so inclined, I have more pics of peacocks, mountain goats, bears, lions and pelicans.

Tabblo: Racine Zoo: 6/13/08

I swear I'll write actual posts again now that my vacation is over.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


If you've ever watched the show "Meerkat Manor" on Animal Planet and fell in love with a meerkat only to have your heart broken, allow me to invite you to my newest Tabblo of some meerkat pups at the Racine Zoo, who are all the tiniest bundles of cuteness I've ever seen and there is no bad ending! It's all good!

Tabblo: Meerkat Pups!

It is with regret that I cannot add any audio of this encounter, because if you have never encountered meerkats in person, you just don't know how adorable their constant tiny, little moaning noises are. You're just going to have to go see them for yourselves.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Pass the Pizza, Please

Lately, I’ve been trying to eat healthy and live a better life.

I’m very good about vegetables and fruit. They are a part of every meal and if I go without, I start craving things so intensely I’ve been known to run to Wendy’s in the middle of the night to get a salad and baked potato. But some of my other choices are not so good, and with summer here, I’m grilling burgers and hot dogs more often than I should. So, I’ve been making some changes.

First I started trying to eat fish, despite my fears of mercury and pollutants, and what I’m finding is that I just cannot consume food that smells like a yeast infection. Call me crazy. Every time hold my nose and scoop a bit of something fishy into my mouth, my gag reflex kicks in and I feel the need to wash my mouth out with Monistat. I think I’m done with fish.

Then I committed myself to whole grains, incorporating delectable grass seeds into usually bland and unfulfilling foods like spaghetti and meatballs and banana bread. Who knew all this time that couscous was the tasty flavor of mud that’s long been missing from my meatloaf recipe? Have you ever had quinoa? If you haven’t, you really should. It’s somewhere between hay and unsweetened, dry cereal, which is exactly what I want to replace 50% of the meat in my meatballs with. Add a little Parmesan, roll in flour, cook in a skillet and add to your spaghetti and suddenly you’ll find that one of your favorite dishes is now improved to taste like bird food. I wonder if you can grow grass in your tummy with the right conditions. Oh, and who likes sweet banana bread? That’s right: NO ONE! Put some whole grain flour in that recipe instead and you’ll find that the essence of banana added to a gritty yet moist cracker is just what you’re looking for. Trust me, whole grains are great! And if that wasn’t enough of a sermon to run out and fill your foods with barley and brown rice, consider how happy you’ll be when you have to poop 15 minutes after every meal thanks to all that fiber. Oh, your butt will thank you! Your butt will thank you to the tune of constant tenderness. You’ll love it! Trust me.

So, tomorrow is my last day of work until the 19th, and Boyfriend Extraordinaire is flying in tomorrow night so we can be on vacation together. For this week, we’re likely going to eat out most days, and I’m stepping back from grass seeds and vaginal-discharge-flavored meats. When he’s gone and I’m back at work, I’ll probably give it another try, but I get this week to eat pizza and fajitas again.

Oh, and I’ll enjoy the luxury of maybe cutting back to one bowel movement a day. And when you consider how much toilet paper and toilet flushes this will save, I think the earth will thank me.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Blue

About six months ago I happened to be in Kenosha, Wisconsin (I say “happened” even though I spend an abundance of time there) and waltzed into a hair salon to get a trim. My former, long-time stylist had, six months prior, given me a Mrs. Brady shag hair-do that I hated-hated-hated, and I waited a half-year before I was willing to let anyone else touch my locks. Finally I was so frustrated with the overgrown bush that sat atop my head that I didn’t care who cut it, but I needed it cut. And what happened? I fell a little in love with the lady who cut my hair. Now she’s the only one I’ll allow to touch my noggin and I have to go all the way to f’ing Kenosha whenever I need my hair cut or dyed.

If you live anywhere in Illinois or Wisconsin (perhaps even Iowa or Michigan), you are aware that there was psychotic weather that blasted through Kenosha today, with three tornados that had been spotted around 3 pm.

At about 3 pm, I was leaning back in the chair at the sink, having the blue dye rinsed out so that she could finally give me her artistic cut, when someone came running into the building and announced that the tornado sirens were going off.

I fully expected her to stop what she was doing and assume whatever position she was trained to assume during an emergency, but she just shrugged and said, “I’m busy.”

Have I mentioned that I love my stylist?

No one stopped doing hair. No one ran out into the street to check out the sky. No one turned on a radio or checked the weather. It was business as usual.

I said, “I’m so glad the storm held off until my hair was blue again. I don’t care what happens now, if I’m flying through the air for miles, as long as I have blue hair again.” I was kidding, of course, but I was relieved that I was blue before any tragedy would hit. Is that vanity or is that just good time management?

She said, “See? That’s why you’re one of my favorite people!”

Really? Oh gee!

I thought she only liked me because I tip her $20 whenever she does my hair. I feel so awful for her because I watch the schmucks who go in and get a $30 haircut and tip her a few singles. Even the women who get elaborate dye jobs tip $5. It makes me a little sick. I did the math and realized that in the three hours it takes her to bleach, dye, cut and style my hair, she likely could have cut and shampooed six people, and if they each tipped her $3 (which is low, but typical), she’d have gotten $18 in tips in the time it took to do my hair, and for me to give her $5-10 seemed unfair. She always acts like I hand her a diamond tennis bracelet when I give her the twenty, but it only seems right to me. Even if the entire cost charged to me for the three hours of work only totaled $60, I don’t base it on a percentage of the total charge but what I think her time should have been worth, and then I feel guilty for only giving her $20.

While I was there, I witnessed a slew of personal tragedies, without even considering that we were working through a tornado warning.

There was a terrible car accident where a deliveryman had crashed into the car of one of the stylists, so the police were called and a huge to-do was ongoing because this was the second time this deliveryman had hit a car belonging to one of the stylist’s, and he continually blamed them for parking in the parking spaces where they were supposed to. Uh-huh. That made no sense to the police, either.

A teenage girl came in and there was a collective gasp when the stylists saw her. She had that horrendous orange tan that announced loudly to the world that she spends an abundance of time in a tanning bed or swimming in sweet potatoes. But the most shocking thing was that she had clearly bleached her own hair, which was naturally dark, and it had taken on that nauseating orange-yellow color that’s as unnatural as her tan. Her hair looked downright scary. And what was even worse was the bleach hadn’t been evenly applied, so she had dark spots like a jaguar all over her head.

I’ve seen some freakish people before. Hell, some I see almost everyday, but I could not stop myself from gawking at this mess. The stylist who drew the short straw and was responsible for giving her a real hair color again was so terrified of this girl’s hair that they had to have a mini-meeting in the back to discuss what could be done and what colors might actually give her the blonde hair she was looking for.

Once we were out of earshot, my stylist, who is probably only about 25 herself, laughed quietly at the teenager and said that her friends liked to call people like her a rotisserie chicken because of the all-over orange look they seem to think looks good. I giggled. What is it about the beta-carotene look that is appealing to them? I liked the rotisserie chicken reference, too, but it made me hungry.

A family came in and I realized something quickly: it’s summer. Part of why I hate summer is because there are more kids out and about, raising hell and wreaking havoc wherever I go.

There were two boys between 6 and 8 years old, a younger girl of about 4 or 5, and an older girl of about 9 or 10. The girls got their hair cut first, and the guy cutting their hair was not having any of their nonsense. The boys grew impatient and began running around the salon side-kicking things, including hair dryers, women’s purses, chairs, and their own mother’s legs. She, of course, did nothing.

My entire body was tensing up, and I glared at the boys as if my Librarian Stare of Death had any kind of strength this far from my power source. It did not. They ignored me.

Finally, the stylist who was working on their sisters had enough. After the boys grew bored kicking things, they began bombarding him with rapid-fire personal questions and I think this was just too much.

He said, “HEY! You don’t get to talk! I get to do all the talking. You’re paying for my time – I’m not paying for your time. You don’t get to ask questions. You don’t get to do anything. You’re here to get your hair cut and that requires you to sit still and shut up.”

Dude! If he wasn’t gay, I’d kidnap him, marry him, and have no children with him for many happy years.

The mom took the boys out to the car to wait their turn and the girls didn’t make a peep for the entire rest of the time they were in there.

Usually this is a busy but quiet salon and I’m not sure that summer is going to be good to them.

My intention when I went there today was to get blue hair again and sorrowfully announce that this would be my last blue. The cost is just too much, and I have been unsuccessful doing the re-dye between seeing my stylist every 6 - 8 weeks. It was going to be sad, but I need to pay some bills off rather than make my hair blue.

But, as with all my good intentions, I not only didn’t make this announcement to my stylist, but I committed to a future appointment. AND, as if that’s not enough, we totally bonded today and I actually think we’re friends now. We laughed, we cried, we shared deep, dark secrets, and when I left, there was this awkward thanking of one another for being so wonderful, and I thought she was going to hug me. I probably would’ve hugged her back, too. I almost invited her to our Kool Kids gathering this evening, but it was a long drive for her and she worked until 9. It’s too bad. I think the girls would’ve liked her. She’s this extremely tall, extremely thin, absolutely drop-dead gorgeous girl who spends her time reading and hanging out with friends. Sounds familiar. You know, because we’re all tall, thin, drop-dead gorgeous chicks. (Ahem! *cough* *gag*) Whatever. We read, too! So, now that we’ve bonded and made plans for my next visit, I couldn’t bear to tell her that I can’t afford her anymore.

Eh, what’s more important? Having awesomely blue hair and a stylist who makes me cry, or paying my car insurance? CLEARLY the car insurance will be sacrificed! I mean, really, was that a choice at all?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Dirty Old Men Should Not Bother Dirty Young Women

Most things sexual don’t offend me save for a few really heinous proclivities that involve scat, urine, pain, blood or other such extreme. I don’t pretend to understand many of the fetishes out there, such as feet or shemales, but I don’t judge, and wish everyone well in the exploration of their sexuality, as long as it’s legal and harms no one else. There haven’t been all that many mainstream movies rated R or weaker that I’ve found to be gratuitous unless it was violent or overly cheesy. Pretty much, unless it’s a rape scene (which I don’t consider sexual, though it has sexual parts involved) or something so outrageous as to be laughed at, it’s pretty difficult to make me uncomfortable watching a sex scene in a conventional movie.

Today, when I was speaking with someone who went off a little on a rant about the sexuality in movies today, I was offended. He didn’t describe any scenes and he didn’t say any words that upset me, but it was the way he spoke that made me sick. First there was the lisp, which in and of itself isn’t offensive in any way, but when spoken by this man in a despicable kind of way, it came off as nasty. Second, he drew out the words he was trying to emphasize in a way that made it seem torturous to be waiting so long for the word to finish. Then there was the fact that he was about 80 years old and had just spent quite a while telling me about all the hot women in Hollywood, like Denise Richards, Sarah Michele Gellar, and Michelle Pfeifer.

He told me about nice movies I should watch, like Simply Irresistible, One Fine Day. (Gag.)

“You know, without all that NAAAAASTY SEXXXXXY stuff.” I just knew spittle was everywhere, and that was more unnerving than any movie he might have been referring to.

He said, “Have you ever seen the movie Wild Things?”

I thought to myself, oh no, that’s the movie with Neve Campbell and Denise Richards making out. Here we go! He’s going to tell me about how his god doesn’t allow two women to kiss, or some such anti-gay sentiment.


He loved it. He also liked Unfaithful, which I found surprising how intensely sexual it was. Then he started talking about how you could see up Michelle Pfeifer’s dress in the Fabulous Baker Boys, and she wasn’t wearing underwear. Also, he liked the movie Inventing the Abbotts, because there was a scene in it where Jennifer Connelly showed her white panties to someone under a table.

Suddenly I was feeling a lot like actual sex scenes were far more sterile than some panty-flashing that this man was describing. He was like a horny teenager who could list 50 years worth of movies that included nudity.

Then he really offended me by starting to list all the actresses he thought were beautiful, and all the ones he thought were ugly. What bothered me most was that this man was grossing me out on a level I haven’t experienced in a long period of time, and he had the nerve to think that his opinion about what women he thought were ugly were somehow thoughts worthy of sharing. The ones he didn’t like are ones who’d never flashed breast or buttock, coincidentally. Yet, he would continually interject certain movies that he thought were too sexual and offensive to him.

This is when I realized that overt sexuality doesn’t bother me. It’s when some dirty old man gets a kinky thrill out of seeing Sandra Bullock’s breast and then telling me about it, and then I’m ready to spit.

Give me the foot fetishists, men in drag, boys with toys, chicken-fuckers and gang-bangers any day of the week as long as I don’t have to talk to the dirty old man who likes to talk about his softcore fetish.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go sandblast myself until I’m clean again.