Friday, December 24, 2010

Have yourself a merry one.

IT'S CHRISTMAS EVE!!! Few other things will reduce me to childlike wonder like Christmas Eve. I guess it has to do with my upbringing; leaving the music and the lights on all night, eating and laughing with friends and family, looking outside for Santa's sleigh, (shut up! Santa's out there!), it's just plain magic; the one day of the year when I'm hard pressed to think anything bad about anybody, and if I do, I feel bad. It's that feeling on the air-however many million kids out there waiting to see if their wishes come true; it's adults just sitting together, spending precious time with each other; it's every grandma baking cookies and getting the turkey ready; it's moms and dads trying to be quiet putting together toys, trying not to have too much fun playing with the G.I. Joe Command Center while the kiddies are asleep. It's lovers holding each other close against the cold, friends laughing away the midnight chimes, and then there's me, pressing my hands against the window, looking at the night sky, touching everyone I know and care about with a wish, a simple wish, be happy. If only for today, be happy. Merry Christmas, everybody.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Lost in the Mist

I was gnawing my way through a bag of Nacho Cheese Doritos last night, when my hand closed around something that wasn't right at all. I pulled my cheese-covered appendage from the depths of the bag, and what was lying in my palm but a rectangular, thumb-sized chunk of concentrated nacho cheeseyness. I hold in my hands something worth more than gold-I hold the power to turn mere water into savory, nacho-y soup of the Gods! I can rub the cheese hunk onto the other chips to impart more sacred cheese powder onto their bumpy tortilla flesh! I can run down the street, showing it to strangers! Or, I could call corporate and tell them that an unprocessed lump of cheese powder hindered my enjoyment of the Doritos, for I'd simply become too excited to eat any more of them, and get a free bag. Hmmmm...Nah, they'd probably want me to send in the cheese hunk, but I've got it vacuum sealed for posterity. I might make it part of the unruly collection on my computer desk, next to the Star Trek stuff. It would be cool to do sidewalk-chalk drawings, yes, out of nacho cheese. Feed the birds and all that. Do birds like nacho cheese? Tell me, ladies and gentlemen, what would you do if you had your own personal cheese hunk?

Ah well, on to business. With all this weird weather and global warming and kudzu, I knew it would happen one day. Johnson City has been invaded by Triffids. They're all over town; there's even one sprouting up in my back yard. I'll get a picture for proof soon, but they're spreading, and I don't know how long they'll wait until they strike. Too bad I don't have a marine biologist around, or we might just survive the onslaught (a high five for anyone who gets the reference!). I wish we could have been invaded by something a little cooler...does that sound vain? I mean, as Twilight Zone as this place is, why couldn't we have gotten aliens or big subterranean worms or even killer bees? We got Triffids. What do they do? They wiggle for a bit, make strange ferret sounds, trip people or tie them with vines, and shoot poison dart thorn thingies. Well, I guess that is pretty cool. I wish I shot poison dart thorn thingies, but I don't, and that is one of the banes of my existence. Oh, and they do hold the power of allergens. What wheezy, hay-feverish scallywag could be immune to Triffid pollen? No one, that's who. I get itchy thinking about it. Space hives...cool.

These are the things that keep me up at night. I can’t help but let my mind wander. I worry about the oddest things. Like the other night, I was asking myself if I'd like to go get more milk at 3:30am. Couldn’t I live without milk for another 6 or 7 hours? Or was it simply for my peace of mind, knowing that there will be milk in the fridge when I stumble through the house to make my coffee? This triggered a whole onslaught: Can I use the soymilk? Yes, but that's mainly for use in things; not as a beverage unto itself, though a glass of soymilk can be enjoyable sometimes. It's darn good in tea. Who am I trying to convince? I want some bumper stickers. Should I brew some tea? Why is it so cold in here?? Where is the stepstool? Who put the bomp in the bomp shoo bomp shoo bomp? Will I ever get done unpacking? Who moved my cheese? Where is the phone? How much change is in my mug? What should I have for dinner tomorrow? What was that noise? Ahh! A triffid!

What truly gets me late at night, though, are memories, like the one about my favorite Ninja Turtle, Raphael. I got to meet him after I had my appendix taken out. It's actually a heart-wrenching story; I had to have an emergency appendectomy, and before that I had had my heart set on meeting him at Wal-Mart; I had it scribbled on my little calendar, and I had a countdown going with my parents. I got released on the day, and mom and dad went ahead and took me, not realizing the enormity of the occasion. I was in a lot of pain, and my staples were really bothering me, so it was uncomfortable for me to stand and walk. We get there, and the line is almost out the door. At that point, I collapsed onto a stack of 25-lb bags of dog food, and began to weep. Not in the wahh I can't get what I want way, but in the heartbroken little girl way, because I knew I couldn't stand in that line, and I wouldn't get to meet one of my heroes. My parents felt bad, through my tears I heard my dad say to my mom, "we shouldn't have brought her," and mom agreed; and that made me cry harder. One of Raphael's bodyguards saw me, and came over and asked my parents what was wrong. All I could do was show her my well-loved Raphael TMNT trading card, and cry. Mom and dad explained my situation, and she told us to hang on a minute. Then, a Wal-Mart manager and two more bodyguards came over, and escorted me over to the ropes. I saw him. Raphael. Big as life, and every bit as cool as I ever could imagine. The bodyguards picked me up and lifted me over the barrier. I was trembling and excited; tear streaked, and he turned to me, and waved that glorious green three fingered hand. I shyly held out my card, and he signed it and gave it back to me. He hugged me gently, and the bodyguards picked me back up and the manager escorted us out. My parents thanking him the whole way. I hugged him at the door, and thanked him very much. I still have that card, it's in a zip lock baggie in my shoebox of not-so-secret stuff. I get it out every now and again and look at it, and smile at the kindness of strangers, and men in foam turtle shells and green tights.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A little fiction...Behind Closed Doors, Part 1

I remember the day this whole thing started.

I was up for promotion, and had just finished running the corporate gauntlet of interview-presentation-interview and I had to go to the bathroom. It never fails; any time my nerves get ramped up my bladder revolts as soon as the situation is handled, and that morning was indeed stressful.

I went into the blissfully empty bathroom-I've always hated being next to someone in a public restroom, but for now that wasn't a concern. Every stall door was closed, and I chose the one closest to the door. Out of habit, I knocked lightly, and began to push the door open.

A small, sinister thought whipped through my mind. What if there was something in there? Puzzled at the fact that I thought 'something' rather than someone, I shook my head and chuckled, and opened the door.

The stall was covered in gore. Blood streaked and ran down the walls, pooling on the floor, dripping from the handrail and the "treasure chest". A high heel lay in a puddle of blood in front of the toilet, and perched there on the seat was a creature that looked like Gollum, aside from the claws and fangs. It was chewing on what had been a woman's foot with apparent relish. I couldn't scream; all I could muster was a small, helpless, "Oh."

It's head snapped up, and it's black eyes narrowed. The thing dropped the foot, letting it thump to the floor. I saw the drops of blood fly as it splashed into the puddle. I was frozen until the creature hissed. I looked up at it, and tensed as if to pounce. I stumbled back, the heel of my shoe caught in the grout between the tiles and I went down hard. I raised up onto my elbows to try and scramble back onto my feet or just to scoot out of range, and I looked up. It was gone. I lay there, staring into the now pristine stall, shocked and about to wet my pants, and Shannon walked in.

She stopped when she saw me on the floor, and stared for a moment.

"Are you alright?"

I looked from her to the stall and back; everything was normal. There was no blood, no horrible foot, and no creature. The only things out of the ordinary were the stall door hanging open, and me lying on the gritty floor. I thought fast, put on a big grin and said, "Yeah, I'm fine. Damn these high heels!"

She cocked an eyebrow, and I got to my feet and brushed myself off. "Really, I'm fine."

"You sure?"

Another dazzling smile. "Absolutely."

She gave me a once-over and nodded. She went into a stall, leaving me standing at the sinks. I went into the stall and attended to myself, my mind reeling. I began to giggle, dismissing the whole thing, putting it down to brain dump from all the stress that morning.

Unfortunately, I was wrong.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Grape and I

I've never had more than a passing interest in wines. In fact, I'm purely a label/witty name vs. price shopper: If it has a cute label or one that catches my eye, (Most recently there's one with stickers that you dress the lady on the label with like a paper doll-I love it!), then I'll give it a swirl. (Did you catch that wine pun?)

The fanciest I've gotten with wine is the yearly women's retreat with the Unitarian Universalist church in my area; the festivities begin with a glorious wine and cheese tasting, and you get to write down your opinions of said wines and cheeses. I began the tradition of making your wine review as ridiculous as possible. A couple I can recall (no thanks to the copious amounts that were being poured) are "made my underpants jump three feet to the left," "has a kick like a soccer hooligan," and "Has a finish like a sweaty saddle that I would like to lick again." Sweaty saddle was not a descriptor that I came up with, it was one on the wine poster the ladies had put up for reference. Personally, I don't want to drink something that tastes like a sweaty saddle; I mean, I hate horses. There were other descriptors: leathery, mossy, oaky, woody...Not anything I want in my mouth, really. Wait, I take that back. Anyone who knows me knows that leather in my mouth is A-OK. Ahem.

I also have never paid any attention at all to vintage years. I haven't ever delved into the actual wine process except for that done by friends or family experimenting with making it. I didn't think the year on the bottle had any more significance than just letting you know this was made in 2006 or whatever, older ones being generally more expensive.

After a long conversation with someone more worldly than your humble writer, I realized that the year has a great deal more to do with the liquid itself than simply a measure of time. It takes into account the weather, the harvest, the casks used to age, the temperature...anything and everything that may add character or ruin the batch. Wine is so similar to bread in that way.

At any rate, I am now a more selective wine shopper, though that won't stop me from enjoying a box of "Chillable Red" with my friends while eating pizza, though I may check the box for a year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A Memorial

The Old Place burned down. Not a former home, or favorite bar or restaurant, but my family's homestead, for lack of a better word.

The Old Place was my Great Grandparent's land, and my uncle Jack had built a fantastic cabin where all of the family's important celebrations took place, or sometimes just because. We all called it The Old Place, because that's exactly what it was, where they were born, where they used to live, down a dusty red-dirt road in the back woods of Georgia.

My Papa taught me to fish there, and I helped provide the catch for many a fish fry. I knew that I was finally grown when I was allowed to help my mother, my Nini, and the aunts in the kitchen there. I snuck out onto the porch and listened to the uncles and cousins tell jokes, their laughter echoing off of the roof as their poles leaned lazily against the railing when the water was high enough to fish from there, the entire group springing into action if someone got a bite. I would sit inside with the ladies, listening to family gossip and that strange network that seems to belong only to Southern Ladies, whipping out pictures of distant relatives and new babies, my Nini whispering a litany of names in my ear explaining just how this one is related to me when she would catch my confused look when someone would introduce a new cousin.

When the cooking was done, everyone filed inside and held hands for grace, given by Brother Bill or uncle Jack, beautiful prayers that still touch me, blessing the food and the hands that prepared it and those who eat it. Then the room would be filled with conversation and the sounds of good people enjoying good food.

All that's left now is the gate with the sign, and the docks over the pond. The memories stay, though, we have that. For now, we mourn, but as always, we'll be back.

Friday, November 5, 2010

She's Baaaaaaaack!!

So this is the deal, I've been neglecting you. Not through any malice aforethought and not through any lack of drinking or snacking, but just plain ol' life. THAT WILL BE REMEDIED!

Why?

Because Christmas is coming, and yon Bones is brokeola.

Stay tuned for cookies, cakes, and adult beverages!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I promised you guys a snack!

Here is a recipe I whipped up one spring when in the mood for some good chocolate; it was still cool enough to want a little spice, not to mention it was around the Great Nookie Season of Beltane. Here you go, my recipe for Aztec Love Brownies:

Zee Ingredients:
8oz plus a lil' extra dark chocolate chips or good quality dark chocolate broken up in chunks
2 sticks room temperature butter
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups demerrara cane sugar or any other large crystal sugar (aka not granulated)(seriously, it's important)
generous teaspoon and a half chipotle chile powder
generous teaspoon cinnamon
2 caps vanilla extract
4 eggs
generous half cup of milk chocolate chips
Spray junk for your muffin tin
Mini muffin tin
Mid sized bowl
Mid-sized metal mixing bowl
a saucepan big enough you can fill with about a cup to 2 cups water and set the mixing bowl in without the mixing bowl coming into contact with the boiling water.
Wisk
Cooling rack or something these can rest on 'cause they'll be goopy for a hot minute.

Zee Cooking:
So you'll want to put your oven on 325 and let that preheat. Spray your muffin tin.

While that's doing it's business, put the saucepan on medium-medium high heat and get the water boiling.

In your regular bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, chipotle, and cinnamon.

When the water gets rolling, put the metal bowl on top of the saucepan to make a double boiler. Throw in the butter and dark chocolate, and whisk it constantly until everything is melted and shiny. Remove from the heat and for God's sake, turn off the boiling water, because a burn is the last thing you need.

Keep stirring, and add the flour mixture about a cup at a time, mixing thoroughly each time. You'll notice that the sugar isn't dissolving. That's ok, you want it that way. Once all the flour mixture is in, add the eggs and vanilla.

Mix thoroughly. Add the milk chocolate. Mix. Fill your mini muffin tin-mine holds 24 muffins and a single batch netted me 45 of these babies. Throw it in the oven and set the timer for about 10-12 minutes.

Check them-if they look goopy in the middle or when you lightly tap the top it's super mooshy, throw them back in for 3-5 minutes. Once they hold up to a nice tap, take them out of the oven. Remove from the muffin tin and cool.

Once they've cooled, you'll notice the outside is sort of crispy, but not burnt-that's the special sugar that's caramelized and made them extra good. Put them in a container and share. Spread the love.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cure for a summer cold

Yeah, you guessed it, I've got one of those nagging summer colds. The kind that make you feel puny enough not to want to do anything, but you'll be damned if you waste your time convalescing during the last remaining days of this crazy summer. I tried to bake it out of me in the sun today, but not a couple of hours after I had arrived at the lake a huge thunderstorm blew in and chased us merry sun-worshipers away.

I went to the pharmacy and wandered around, looking at the various medicines and such, then decided I'd rather not dope myself up and sleep away my precious few days off. I thought about it for a minute. What are two things your momma always said when you're sick? Drink lots of fluids, and take your vitamin C.

Thank you, momma! I had my solution. SCREWDRIVERS! A one-two punch of fluids and vitamin C, that will encourage rest and healing all at the same time.

Do I really have to give a recipe here? I suppose I should, but I'm not going to measure anything out, because I don't feel like it today. It's easy; two fingers of vodka and top it off with some freshly squeezed orange juice. If you don't have the gumption to squeeze your oranges, (for shame!), that newfangled 'simply orange' juice is the best, because that's all it is. If you insist on a little extra sugar, go ahead and use your minute maid.

Trivia time! Know why it's called a 'Screwdriver?' Apparently, the American engineers would sneak a little vodka into small cans of orange juice and stir the mixture with their screwdrivers. I'd say that canned orange juice could only be improved by the addition of vodka. Yeesh.

When times are tight, or oranges dear, you can make 'Electric Screwdrivers,' which is Tang and vodka. This is also called a 'Tang-Banger.' I'm also a fan of a good Gin and Orange, but today called for vodka.

For now, I'm relaxed, and about to drift off and see if my convoluted technique will indeed stave off this cold. If not, then I'm happy I at least had a good cocktail.


*It's come to my attention that there has been a lot of Rum and Buggery, but no talk of snacks. This shall change with the next installment. Patience, dear reader! Also, please comment! I don't know what you want to read about if you don't tell me, and questions or cocktail suggestions are more than welcome!*

Monday, August 2, 2010

This is why The Dude abides.

A dear friend visited from Florida and bestowed upon your humble writer a gift of home-made Kahlua, which called for something delicious. That's right, cats and kittens, White Russians.

Normally, especially in the summer, I'm not one for milk/cream based cocktails, because that can lead to some ugly gastric situations depending on what happens after you have the first one, but we were tired and just wanted something simple and tasty after a weekend of camping and hiking while we sat around and absorbed some air conditioning.

My friend asked, "Are those the ones that taste like chocolate milk?" I said, "Yes indeed, they are." The whole crew then stepped in, and we got to mixing.

I apologize for the lack of photo, but I've got another jar waiting to be cracked open, so I'll take a picture at another juncture. These were just too delicious, and we drank them rapidly and with aplomb.

Ingredients:

1 shot Vodka
2 shots Kahlua
1 shot Half and Half

We were out of ice, so the liquor went into a double old fashioned glass, followed by the half and half, and topped with a shot of milk. Stirred it up, tasted, and it was delicious. We finished those, and after a few minutes, another friend said, "That was good, but it needed more chocolate." The group concurred, and we made seconds, this time adding some chocolate syrup.

Oh. Oh dear. We sat around, sipping and laughing; the adults in us pleased with the slight sophistication of a cocktail lunch, and the kids in us reveling in the sweet chocolate flavor.

I regret not watching The Big Lebowski while we sipped, but we were in the mood for something funnier, so we watched An Officer and a Gentleman, throwing around Lou Gosset Jr. quotes and giggling at Richard Gere's daddy issues.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Say it 3-5 times in a mirror and you'll be cooking with gas

That's right, cats and kittens, we made a Bloody Mary. My earliest memories of this drink are scenes from Walk Like A Man and my ex's parents enjoying one with after-Mass brunch. They looked good, but I wasn't a huge fan of tomato juice at the time, and I was well underage.

This is definitely a "hair of the dog" kind of concoction for the mornings, but it's also a good one for happy hour or the evening if you don't want to eat any bar appetizers, because not only will it sufficiently get you feeling quite good, it is quite filling. I'm sure someone like Alton Brown could come up with reasoning as far as the fiber from the vegetables and reactions with the stomach and insulin and yadda yadda yadda, but I'm no Alton Brown, and I'm just here to share some tasty cocktails with you fine feathered fiends.

Basic rundown for this drink:

1-1 1/2 ozs Vodka
Fill the remainder of the glass with tomato juice (I used V-8, which would technically make this a "Bloody V or a Bloody 8," but there are so many variations of this drink I had to use what I had on hand. The bottled mix is essentially V-8 with all the extra stuff mixed in, so I'm actually being more of a purist here.)
2-4 Dashes of Worcestershire sauce
1 dash each Celery Salt, black pepper, lemon or lime juice, and Tabasco (I would use Texas Pete as well)
1/8 Tablespoon Horseradish (Eww, I skipped it. Sorry. If I had cocktail sauce on hand, I would have subbed that, alas, no. I just can't stand horseradish in the buff)

After reading what can only be said to be a buhjillion recipes, we have a surprise ingredient: 1 dash Liquid Smoke

Okay, okay, okay. I know what you're probably saying after reading my tirade about tradition and drink rules, but this drink is so much more fast and loose than the martini or margarita that I'm not going to nitpick this one to death. On the wiki for Bloody Mary cocktails, there are 41 variations on the recipe. So hush, and drink up.

There were two variations on the actual mixing, either pouring the whole shebang over ice in a highball glass and stirred, or shaken and strained. I went the shaker route, and I strained the ice out, because I don't want the melty tomato juice flavor happening. Mine is also in a double old-fashioned glass because I shamefully don't have a highball or a pint glass. Garnishes range from the simple celery stalk to skewers of vegetables, meats, cheeses, and seafood draped artfully over the rim. I didn't have any celery, and may retry when I do, so for now the toothpick has a couple of olives on it, because hey, I like olives. Here's the result:



I have a heavy hand when it comes to Tabasco, so mine is a trifle on the spicy side. Traditionally it's paired with a beer, so I'm chasing it with my standard Old Milwaukee to cool the burn. Let me tell you, it's good. Definitely for sipping, you don't want to pound this mother. Or maybe you do, it's up to you; I'm drinking this one a little faster than I probably should due to the heat I packed into this thing.

Wowza; I know why they serve these with breakfast now; eggs and toast belong with this. Unfortunately, it's not anywhere near breakfast here, and I'm a bit too tired to deal with cookery. I want to thank my ex's parents for truly introducing me to this after-church-with breakfast-before-the-serious-drinking-during-the-race cocktail. One's plenty for me, so for now, I'll just finish this beer.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cooking for One: How to Make a Pot Pie

1: Open freezer.
2: Say to yourself, "Wow, its cold in there."
3: Shift bags of freezer-burned vegetables around until you find something in a brightly colored box.
4: Wrench said brightly colored box out from behind the bags of freezer-burned vegetables and read the contents.
5: No, don't read it per se, just look at the picture on the box. If needed, scrape ice from what you think is the front. If that's not the front, scrape the ice from other side.
6: Decide that this brightly colored box is not the brightly colored box you were looking for.
7: Engage search and destroy mission for pot pie.
8: Repeatedly judo-chop the freezer door for not staying open on its own accord and hitting you in the kidneys.
9: Locate 2 variations on pot pie.
10: Internal debate as to whether you'd like chicken or turkey, what the differences may be, and decide that they're probably the same thing, just with different gravy, and put one back in freezer.
11: Close freezer.
12: Open freezer again and trade pot pie in hand for one in freezer, just in case there is a difference between the turkey and chicken.
13: Read directions on pot pie.
14: Upon reading that they are "Not for use in toaster oven," restrain urge to attempt to cram pot pie in toaster.
15: Turn oven on to 400 degrees.
16: After 10 minutes, open oven and try to gauge if it feels like its 400 degrees or not, since you can't find your oven thermometer.
17: Half-heartedly search for oven thermometer.
18: After 15 minutes decide that it's probably hot enough, because you keep hearing the *woomph* of the gas lighting.
19: Remove pot pie from box.
20: Throw box in trash can.
21: Place pot pie on cookie sheet and insert into oven.
22: Wait.
23: Peruse movie selection.
24: Flip through channels.
25: Realize you don't know how long the pot pie is supposed to cook.
26: Go to garbage, retrieve box.
27: Boggle at the cooking time. 35 minutes?!? Jeez.
28: Replace box in trash can.
29: Wash hands.
30: Check pie: Still frozen solid.
31: Realize you're really, really hungry.
32: Check pie: Crust is a little gooey, still solid inside.
33: Get Cheetos from pantry.
34: Eat Cheetos in front of the TV.
35: Give a Cheeto to the dog.
36: Give another Cheeto to the dog.
37: Dog now looks expectantly at you every time you reach into the bag.
38: Battle dog for control of Cheetos.
39: Win, because of opposable thumbs and use of squeaky ball.
40: Dog still looks expectantly every time you reach into the bag, but with the shame of defeat in his eyes.
41: Check pie: Outer crust ring light brown, still gooey on top and cold in center. It's been 30 minutes.
42: Answer phone, leaving Cheetos unattended on table.
43: End phone call.
44: Engage in Battle Royale with dog over absolute control of Cheetos.
45: Tie, because of massive bag tear and Cheeto spill. Dog is now content, due to abundance of Cheetos on the floor.
46: Check pie: Outer crust a darker brown, top crust bulging and bubbling, but still nowhere near golden brown. Watch for a second while giving imagination time to produce fantasy of an alien face hugger popping out of pot pie.
47: Close oven, increase temperature to 425 degrees, and watch dog enter kitchen with expectant look.
48: Explain to dog that there are no Cheetos in the oven.
49: Convince dog that you're not lying.
50: Dog leaves.
51: Dog barks at invisible burglars.
52: Let dog outside to defend his territory.
53: Return to regularly scheduled programming.
54: Smell something.
55: Something's burning.
56: POT PIE!!
57: Rescue pot pie from hot oven.
58: Ignore directions as to letting pie rest for 5 minutes.
59: Seriously burn tongue on bite of steamy lava gravy meat.
60: Cry a little.
61: Let dog back inside.
62: Convince dog that he really doesn't want my pot pie.
63: Eat half.
64: Realize it's really not that good, and that I've wasted an hour of my existence.
65: Place remaining pot pie in dog's dish.
66: Dog thinks he's totally super-fly because he's got pot pie now.
67: Make peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
68: Eat sandwich.
69: Eat remaining Cheetos from the bottom of the bag.
70: Sigh and wonder if you want to try making cookies for dessert.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I love my job.

I had to explain to a coworker once that pirates were indeed real, and do exist to this day.

She was doing some employee survey and God help her, she saw my pirate stuff and asked me if I liked pirates. I said, "Well yeah, I do; I've always liked pirates."

She said, and I quote, "Yeah, but are they real?"

"...what do you mean 'are they real'?"

"Are they real, are there pirates, or did you make them up?"

My face, I'm sure, was priceless. I said, "Well yes, there are still pirates to this day. There are stories all over the news!"

"But what do they do?"

Exasperated and just totally mind-blown, I said, "Murder and steal, of course; that's what pirates do!"

She was pleased with herself for learning something new, and I had a headache.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More! Tales from the Porn Store!

It was Halloween, and I was dressed as a zombie attack victim a la "Night of the Living Dead." I had a skirt I had ripped, torn hose, shirt with one sleeve ripped off, my collar torn like I had gotten away from a grasping hand, disheveled hair, bloody nose, scratches, black eye, I looked amazing. The night progressed with me starting out by scaring the bejesus out of my manager; the other girls had me lay down in the floor in the novelty room, and told her as she came in to the store to look at what someone did to the Jenna display, and she ran back there and saw me laying there all bloody, and screamed her head off. It was beautiful.

Later that night, a man came in, and he asked my opinion on a couple of S/M magazines, then asked me to escort him around the store and tell him about the merchandise, and what toys sold best. He bought everything I recommended. At the register as I was taking his money, he said, "I like your shirt...the way it's torn, it gives...a great view of your rack. You have wonderful tits, I mean, look at 'em!" I was speechless for a second, then went with being polite, and said, "Thank you," smiling all the while as I handed him his change. He then said, "I own a motorcycle shop here in town, here's my card. You come by if you ever need anything, and it'll be 15% off, 'cause of your tits." He left with his payload of erotic merchandise, disappearing into the night.

Another customer came in, and he was acting really, truly weird; stalking around the store, giving crazed head shakes when asked if he needed any help, and spending a lot of time gazing at the DVDs. Not looking at the DVDs, as if to select one, but gazing in wide-eyed wonder at the shelf itself. He finally selected a magazine and a movie, and brought them to the counter. I began to ring him up, and then said he wanted some lube. I pointed him towards the samples, and he picked one out.

As I was ringing him up, he asked, " Do you know what time it is?"
"Yes, it's 9:32."
"No...It's MASTURBATION TIME!!!"

It took everything within me not to lose it. I rang him out, he left, and I collapsed on the counter, laughing my ass off. To this day, when anyone asks me what time it is, I have to keep myself from screaming, "IT'S MASTURBATION TIME!!!"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's been a while...

Sorry for the delay between posts; I was sans computer for quite a while, and had my gallbladder ripped out. Doing fine now, and I'll get right back on the ball.

Thanks for reading!

Classy, classy lady

tonight I made a martini.

Damn, but this is good. 3 ingredients: Gin, dry vermouth, and green olives.

I went the classic method: 2 1/2 oz gin, 1/2 oz vermouth; poured over ice and stirred, then strained into a chilled martini glass, and garnished with 3 olives on a pick. (I like olives; most folks only use 1, but my glass is huge, and I was compensating.)

The flavor is interesting; I haven't ever been much of a gin drinker, and I have heard horror stories about vermouth, but together, they make magic, as far as I'm concerned. The gin is smooth and flowery, and the vermouth hits it with something I can't quite describe; makes it slightly sweeter, more like a wine from the way it feels in the mouth. The salt from the olives creates a very sexy undertone, like tasting your lover's sweat. I feel the gin blush rising, the heat flowing from my stomach up through my neck, resting in my ears. Wonderful.

Now I understand why the "martini lunch" was/is so popular; this drink is so smooth and makes you want to sit back and enjoy some jazz music and pleasant conversation. A perfect way to take a break during a hectic day at work, especially in the days before Prozac became a household name. I can't say how a martini would affect someone on Prozac; I'm sure it would make them care even less about their various issues.

I can also see why both men and women alike embraced this drink back in the great heyday of cocktails. Men can appreciate it because it is truly no-nonsense: three ingredients, one glass, beverage is prepared. This drink has rules you must follow, or you'll screw it up, and have to start again.

Women can appreciate it, because to make a good martini is to ensure that your man is happy when presented with a well-made, delicious drink after work or before dinner; or when hanging out with the girls, you can impress your friends with your mad drink-mixing skills. Its simplicity is also nice, again, 3 ingredients, and everyone is smiling. I, for one, welcome a simple way to condense sophistication, and the martini is that to a tee.

I know a lot of you are thinking about the 007 "shaken, not stirred" creation; but the difference is that is a vodka martini, and not at all what I am talking about. I have said it before, and I will say it again: just because it is served in a martini glass does not make it a martini. I'm looking at you, appletini, strawberrytini, mangotini...don't even mention a chocolate martini. Those do not even exist to me; I do not believe in them. They offend something deep within me. This is a classic, a standard, and needs no adulteration.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Tonight's Tale from the Porn Store: Poppers and the Po-Po

I'm not naive by any stretch of the imagination, but I am still fairly innocent in some respects. One of those respects are ways to get high. I am a D.A.R.E. graduate, but that doesn't mean very much aside from a snort of laughter from those of us who went through the program. Let's just say I know a lot of fucked up D.A.R.E. kids.

So, I knew about mainstream stuff-Marijuana, coke, smack, meth, reds, barbs, uppers, downers, and on and on; I knew about prescription drugs and which ones will mess you up or make you bank if you decide to go that route; but the street appeal of regular old everyday household items that could get you high were one thing I didn't know much about.

I mean, as a girl I would put together models (most memorable were the model rockets and the Visible Woman with my dad, learning every bone and internal organ at the dining room table), and I had to open a window or turn on the fan, because the glue gave me a headache. I didn't realize people wanted to smell that stuff. Glue, spraypaint, markers, all that jazz, nope, not me.

So, poppers were introduced to me at the Porn Store. The first time I unpacked a shipment, there was a small box full of little bottles of VHS head cleaner. I knew what that stuff was, my mom used to manage a video store when we lived in Dublin, GA, and I knew how to use it to clean a VCR that was having tracking or catching issues. I asked where I should put it, and was told to put some in the case, and some in the fridge. I was a little confused at that, because head cleaner doesn't go in the fridge! It was then explained that some customers like it cold. A raised eyebrow on my part got the whole story.

So, we sold several different brands, and they all were awful. One shipment came in, and the box had shifted and the bottles had all either leaked or broken. I had to clean it, and boy howdy was it awful. My eyes were streaming, I was dizzy and my head was pounding, and the whole time I was thinking, "people do this for fun???"**

**I am pretty open in my views on disgusting things people put into their bodies, so don't view that last bit as disapproval, just an honest opinion. People think the same thing about my occasional cigar. Just don't mess with me, don't sue someone if you're the one who does something stupid, and don't hurt anybody else while you're doing it and we'll get along fine.**


I did my job, though, and sold it to people that wanted it, which consisted of whip-thin, wild-eyed men who were all extremely polite and well spoken. Couldn't be doing much damage to the ol' brain cells, I thought; and they would not just buy them and run, but would stay and chat, getting rundowns on the latest movies or my opinions on whatever they happened to think up.

One evening, I was working and a couple of guys came in and were looking around. They were followed shortly by another man that reminded me of Tom Hanks' character in Dragnet when he was working undercover. It was that obvious: bandana on the head, denim jacket with patches and a red bandana knotted on his bicep, cut-off American flag and screaming eagle t-shirt, tight blue jeans with a big belt complete with a huge buckle, big leather biker boots, skull rings. All his clothes were immaculate-no tears, stains, or signs of wear. He made a beeline for the door to funland, and I stopped him. I had to see ID or nobody could go back there. I verified his age, and he went back and walked around for a few minutes, not looking at anything in particular. He came back out and looked in the case for a bit, then tapped on the glass above the bottles of head cleaner. He asked me, "What are those?"

I looked at him, and said, "Those are bottles of VHS head cleaner."

"Why do you have those here?"

Ah-ha; this could get interesting. I put on my A-#1 dazzling salesgirl customer service smile, and said, "Well, sir, we sell VHS tapes, and to optimize the quality of viewing, it is good to occasionally clean the heads on your VCR. Therefore, we sell head cleaner."

It was his turn to raise his eyebrow. "Can't you use these for something else?"
"I'm sorry, sir?"
"Can't you , you know, do other things with this? I hear people do other things with this."

At this point, the customers on the other side of the room wandered closer.

I fixed the man's eyes, and said, "Not that I am aware of, sir; after all, use of such chemicals outside of their stated purpose could be hazardous and is not recommended."

He got the most hateful look on his face and stormed out. The other guys came over and were freaking out. "Oh god, that was a cop! I can't belive it! That was a cop! Can I have a bottle of the blue label?"

And so it goes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tonight's Tale from the Porn Store: Strippers and me

I have to say, (even though if my dad ever catches wind of this little blog he will be highly disappointed), I have always wanted to be a stripper, if only for just one day. I have always been fascinated by the art of the striptease, from burlesque to the buck-naked lap dance. I'll freely admit that I do stripteases at home by myself when I'm feeling froggy, (hey, it's a benefit of being a single gal!), and own 2 pair of stripper heels. They make you look and feel AWESOME, however, I wouldn't recommend being highly intoxicated while walking in them.

I've also been to a strip club with boyfriends and their friends; in their minds it was some sort of test, but I ended up having a better time than they did. They bought me table dances (no touching in the all nude clubs), and the women all appreciated the fact that I was having a good time, and not sitting there scowling or pouting like the other women who had been brought by their menfolk. During one song I was sitting and just grooving in my seat, singing with the music, when one of the ladies came over to me, and said how much she loved this song, and asked if I wanted a dance. I politely declined, as I had just had one, but she threw us a free one. During another song, I used a Mac King trick to slide a tip to one of the dancers, making it look like I was using my mind, but really blowing the bill across the stage.

That being said, the strippers loved me. They loved me because I would always tell them when an outfit didn't work, or make sure we had plenty of G-strings that held to the "1-inch rule." (In Tennessee, dance establishments that allow the dancer to touch you require that the buttcrack be covered by no less than a 1 inch wide G-string, and must remain covered, and the pubic area be completely covered.), and helped them trim the adhesive pasties or the whirlybird kind for them. (In 1-inch establishments, they must also wear pasties that cover the entire nipple, including the areola. I know, ridiculous, right?)

I became friends with several of the girls from the two local clubs, and one day a one of them came in. She was very excited, and said, "Look, honey! I got nipple rings! What do you think?" and she whipped her shirt up over her head, displaying her cash and prizes. I complimented her choice on silver hoops, and she put her shirt down. She said, " I just wanted to stop in and show you; I'll be back later this week for some new shoes, bye!" and she biddy-bopped out of the store.

The only squicky stripper experience I had was when a girl came in with an elderly couple. She was looking at the dancewear, and was picking out pieces. She asked for help, since she was a new dancer at the place next door, and I found some things I thought would work for her, when she held something up, turned to the old man, and said, "Papaw, do you think I'll be sexy in this?"

Call me crazy, but your granddad shouldn't help you pick out your stripper wardrobe.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Tonight's Tale from the Porn Store- This one's a long one

Once I established myself as the resident "freak on a leash," that is, someone who wasn't ashamed/embarrassed/disgusted at the items/videos/magazines we sold, and who had made some awesome strides in creating repeat customers with product and technique knowledge, I was given some new duties.

New duty number 1: We sold a ton of DVDs, many of them 2-6 hour marathon clip DVDs. A problem with these tends to be that the studios try to sneak in some questionable-if not illegal- content. Someone had to verify that no actual sex with the dog or horse or donkey on the cover occured. Guess who got to watch these? That's right, me. Let me just tell you, this was horrible. I would get compensated for my time, but nothing can erase some of the images from my brain. So, I would come home and unwind, then throw in a dvd, most of the time fast forwarding through the scenes, but some of them I had to seriously watch.

A note on the Tri-Cities: A lot more people than you would think want to see people having sex with animals. I swear I was asked several times a week if we had anything like that. The worst day for these inquiries, funnily enough, was Sunday, when they would release the men from the VA, and they would storm the store like the beaches of Normandy. Trust me when I say watch yourself around dapper looking gentlemen in bow ties, because they may do something horrible to the family pet.

Back to the story at hand: Not only was the content of these DVDs awful, but so was the actual quality; skipping video, and erratic sound. This was problematic for me, because I lived in a crappy little apartment close to the college that was one of three in a renovated house.

Our walls were so thin that when I would be getting ready in the morning, I could hear the dude next door cursing at his computer as if we were in the same room, and sometimes if the light was right, you could see light from next door seeping through the paneling.

This was also during the high summer, and the windows were open since there was no air conditioning. Needless to say, I would have the volume as low as possible, but then the sound would dip. I would turn it up a little so I could keep track of what was going on, but invariably when the next door neighbor would come onto the porch to check his mail, which was right next to the living room window, the sound would blare, and I would panic, and mute the damn thing. Not fun, especially when he would meet me outside sometimes, and give me creepy grins and nods. Thankfully, I never did see any illegal activities, because I don't think I'd be here if I had.

New duty number 2: Home parties! I was selected to be the exhibitor at the home parties. You all know what these are like; basically they're perverted tupperware parties. Lots of fun, especially when you can get the ladies to relax and have fun, I mean come on, we're tasting flavored lubes and I'm showing you the 88 different speeds and variations of the super dildo deluxe, let your hair down a little!

The last home party I did was a bachelorette party. Those ladies had an absolute blast. We made tons of sales and the bride-to-be and her friends thanked me profusely, and invited my manager and I to stay and have supper. The maid of honor took me aside and said that she had hired a male stripper, and we were welcome to stay and watch the show as well. Naturally, we agreed.

Oh, but we shouldn't have.

Firstly, he was late, and when he finally arrived, we were all taken somewhat aback, as he didn't look like a male stripper should look. He looked like Riff-Raff from Rocky Horror minus the hunchback; tall, whip-thin, long greasy hair, hawk nose, bad teeth...it was bad. Of course, I had to see this. We all piled into the room, and he had a pizza box. He handed it to the bride-to-be, and she opened it. Not only was it a used pizza box, with remnants of the pizza clinging to the bottom and the roof, but he had scrawled some message on it in ballpoint pen to the effect of, "I ate your pizza, so here's your pie" or something ridiculous like that.

Then, he started his music. Kid Rock. Then, he started trying to dance. I say trying to dance, because with all the clothes he was wearing, he couldn't do much more than stand there and wiggle a little until he shed some layers. He had on a pleather duster, a button up flannel shirt, black jeans, and hiking boots. This was only the beginning, though. He got rid of the coat and shirt quickly, and he had on a paisley vest under the shirt. Ew. He had to kneel down to take off his hiking boots, then he got his jeans off. Underneath the jeans? Long johns. I wish I was making this up. So now, he's down to the vest, the long johns, and his socks. He whips off the vest, and pulls down his long johns to reveal his posing pouch.

I couldn't help it, I burst out laughing and couldn't stop. I had to leave the room. The man was wearing a silk posing pouch that had been airbrushed with a jungle scene featuring a leopard. I have never seen such fear and dejection in a creature's eyes before, and doubt I ever will again. As I was trying to leave, he turned around and wiggled his butt at me. His butt was worse than the pouch; it was as if someone had hurled two handfuls of biscuit dough onto a 2x4 and let them sag there.

The maid of honor followed me out, and she was on the phone to the agency immediately, and was using language unbecoming of a lady while expressing her displeasure with the entire scene. We're in the dining room, and he comes out, asking if we want another set. "NO!!" we scream, and he leaves, and we lock the door behind. My manager and I stayed behind until the taxi came and took him away.

We drove back to Johnson City in silence, put away all the unsold product, and I went home. Sadly, I didn't have enough alcohol in the house to wash away the night.

I suppose that's lucky, because if I had, you wouldn't be laughing now.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tonight's tale from the Porn Store

I was, and still am, an excellent salesperson. What I pitch, I do my best to understand and if possible, have some experience with so that I can provide my customers with as much product knowledge as I can, and give recommendations that fit my customer's needs.

However, it is possible to be too good.

One fine day, I was rocking out, selling videos and magazines and toys by the handful, when a younger gentleman comes in. He is flustered and embarrassed, and didn't want to show his ID to get into the wonderland. I convinced him it was alright, we just needed to verify age, we don't take names. He gave in, and I invited him through the pearly gate. He stared agog at the walls covered in merchandise, and came back over to the counter. He told me he was completely embarrassed to have to ask, but he needed some help with something. Long story short, he was having some problems with "equipment failure," and wanted to know what a cock ring was, what it did, and how you'd use one.

If you don't know what a cock ring is, I'll wait while you look it up.

Done? The internet is a wonderful thing, huh?

Well, I explained the mechanics of them, and took him over to the "man wall" as I called it, and showed him some varieties that were good for beginners. He selected a couple, and wanted to check them out. I took them out of the packaging, and showed him the various ways of placement on a lifelike dildo. I told you, I was good. Hey, I worked on commission, I had to do something to boost sales!

He decided on a leather model with snaps (for quick release), and paid. I even gave him a discount card for the next time he came in. The entire time he had been in the store, he had been polite and charming, almost shy. This all changed the moment he hit the door to the outside world.

He turned around, and gave me this...grin. I'm sure in his head it made him look like James Bond, but in reality it made him look like his IQ had dropped 30 points all at once. He Crip-walked back over to the counter, and gave me The Lean. He said, "You're totally cute. What time do you get off?"

I had to stifle a laugh, and was as polite as I could be as I turned him down and shooed him away. When he got outside, though, I collapsed. Fellows, if you buy something for E.D., don't hit on the gal who sold it to you, ok? Even if she is totally cute.

More tales from the Porn Store

Well, one morning I was opening, and I stopped to get some breakfast on the way in. The ever-cheerful and oh-so-helpful Burger King staff gave me an unsweet tea instead of the sugary goodness I ordered, but I didn't discover this until I had already opened the shop and couldn't leave. There weren't any sugar/splenda/sweet-n-low packs around the store like there would be any other morning, so I was at a loss.

Until my tired eyes happened upon the little sample packets of flavored lube. My thought process:

1. It's flavored, and I like flavored teas.
2. It's edible, and it tastes pretty good.
3. It's pretty sweet, in fact, sweet enough to take on my tea. It's nutrasweet, even better! More bang for my buck!
4. I'm this desperate!

So, I bought a sample packet of blueberry, my sleep deprived brain going, "mmm, blueberries!" I cut it open, dumped it in my tea, and stirred it up. It turned grey. My tea was grey. The top had a pretty rainbow sheen of floating glycerin, like the creature from "The Raft," which gave me pause, but I went ahead and stuck my straw in, and tasted.

Oh God, what had I done.

It was an abomination. A greasy, bitter, grey abomination. I'm suprised a representative from Lipton didn't pull into the parking lot, come into the store, and slap me. But, it was all I had to drink for the entire 8 hour shift. So, I decided that I had made my bed, and I'd sleep in it, dammit, even though it was absolutely miserable.

Moral of the story: Flavored lube tastes good by itself, or on another person. Don't use it to sweeten a beverage. Ever.

Tales from the Porn Store

I have been jotting down random memories, and here are a choice couple from when I worked at the porn store.

It was Halloween, and I was dressed as a zombie attack victim a la "Night of the Living Dead." I had a skirt I had ripped, torn hose, shirt with one sleeve ripped off, my collar torn like I had gotten away from a grasping hand, disheveled hair, bloody nose, scratches, black eye, I looked amazing. The night progressed with me starting out by scaring the bejesus out of my manager; the other girls had me lay down in the floor in the novelty room, and told her as she came in to the store to look at what someone did to the Jenna display, and she ran back there and saw me laying there all bloody, and screamed her head off. It was beautiful.
Later that night, a man came in, and he asked my opinion on a couple of S/M magazines, asked me to escort him around the store and tell him about the merchandise, and what toys sold best. He bought everything I recommended. At the register as I was taking his money, he said, "I like your shirt...the way it's torn, it gives...a great view of your rack. You have wonderful tits, I mean, look at 'em!" I was speechless for a second, then went with being polite, and said, "Thank you," smiling all the while I handed him his change. He then said, "I own a motorcycle shop here in town, here's my card. You come by if you ever need anything, and it'll be 15% off, 'cause of your tits." He left with his payload of erotic merchandise, disappearing into the night.

Another night, a customer came in, and he was acting really, truly weird. He brought up a magazine and a movie, then said he wanted some lube. I pointed him towards the samples, and he picked one out. As I was ringing him up, he asked, " Do you know what time it is?"
"Yes, it's 9:32."
"No...It's masturbation time!"

It took everything within me not to laugh in his face. I rang him out, he left, and I collapsed on the counter, laughing my ass off. Now, when anyone asks me what time it is, I have to keep myself from screaming, "IT'S MASTURBATION TIME!!!"