Sunday, September 30, 2012

Mr. Tastee's Awesometastic Ice Cream Club

Imagine, if you will, the following scenario: it's the middle of July, and the temperatures have been over one hundred degrees for the last week or so. You have spent every afternoon out in this heat, with little relief from the elements. Within your neighborhood, you hear a rumor that the ice cream man will come down your street next week. After so long in the heat, ice cream is the very thing you need. The buzz grows and grows, and talk spreads like wildfire.
"But he never comes 'round here. Are you sure?"
"Positive. I'd bet good money on it."
"Save that money for the best ice cream you can get! With as infrequently as he's in these here parts, that treat will have to last you a while."

The gossip flies all through the weekend that he'll be here next Friday. Anticipation grows as you and your neighbors talk about strategies for hailing the truck, what to order, how to order, back-up orders, and the possibility that Mr. Tastee will run out of ice cream before you get to the head of the line. As chatter continues to float in the air, your neighbors talk about how fortunate they are to be members of Mr. Tastee's Awesometastic Ice Cream Club; as a member of this elite institution, you are entitled to ice cream from the Sub-Zero Super-Dee-Duper Freezer at the back of the truck. These treats are made from the finest ingredients Mr. Tastee can offer, using the best recipes Mr. Tastee can create. Since you are also a member, you look forward to your Friday treat with relish, trudging through Monday and Tuesday, feeling like Friday might never come. And then, as Wednesday morning dawns hot and sticky, you hear the ice cream truck nearby. You rush to your front door, look out, and see the truck drive right past your house as he heads toward the far end of the street. As fast as your legs can carry you, you're running behind the truck, waving your membership card in the air, shouting bloody murder in the hopes that Mr. Tastee will notice one of his loyal followers. Just when you think all hope is lost, Mr. Tastee stops the truck, comes over to the order window, and asks you what flavor you want from the special freezer.
"You mean, I can choose what flavor I get?"
"Why, of course you do, Loyal Follower," Mr. Tastee tells you, gently.
"Wow! I've never been able to do that before!"
He laughs kindly as he tells you what delectable goodies are left in his special freezer, and you pick the absolute tastiest of them all. You feel like you could just wrap your arms around the sweet little bugger as you thank him for his wonderfulness. And, as Mr. Tastee pulls away from your street, you stand in the middle of the road in utter disbelief, unwrapping the rare delicacy. When the reality of the situation settles in, since everything had happened so suddenly, you begin the ritual of Mr. Tastee Ice Cream excitement, breaking down right there in the middle of the road. After a few minutes of uncontrollable emotion, you gather yourself up just long enough to carry yourself back to your house, collapse on the sofa, and enjoy your treasure.
End scene.

So, you have this picture in your mind, right?
Now, let me tweak the scenario into something a little more believable:

We're goin' to Houston, baby!

The reason I wrote out the Mr. Tastee story is because that's exactly what happened, except with tickets instead of ice cream. It's been two weeks since we bought the tickets, and I still can't believe it. Oh, my precious Paulie-pants, if only you knew the lengths to which we extend ourselves just to spend three hours in your presence. I'm sure he has no idea what strings have to be pulled in order to show up in the same place he's at. It really doesn't matter, because it's always ten thousand percent worth it. I mean, just look at that face. How can you not want to see this?

Also, I'm hoping we get to see the Olympic bass.

And, if any of you are wondering, I got the Mr. Tastee name from a character on The Adventures of Pete and Pete...

Friday, September 28, 2012

Joe Trohman And The Smoking Microwave

Life is in busy autumn mode at Fusspot Farm; the trees have just started turning, the weather is finally cooling off to a bearable temperature, and I only just glanced at the calendar long enough to realize it's almost October. That, and I looked out my window today and saw this...

When did this happen? What was I so busy doing that September just flew past me like my sister at a shoe sale? We'll get to that later. For now, let's talk about slivers.
Yes, slivers.
I know with my favorite bloggers and vloggers, I try to remember that whatever appears on their page is only a sliver of their everyday life; mind you, some slivers are bigger and more detailed than others, but the fact remains that there's an entire world behind the posts or the videos that viewers and readers never see.
Welcome to a behind the scenes sliver, staring yours truly! No, I'm not taking you through my daily drudgery, or showing you my vacation slides (that will come in due course, on another sliver); I'm talking about guilt, people. Guilt. I know about guilt, I was raised Catholic.

Being that I am one of Earth's more awkward creatures, I tend to feel guilty about a lot of things: "was I nice enough?"; "was the bitchy comment just a little too bitchy?"; or, "did I pay enough attention to this/that/him/her/it/them/whatever?". Most of the time, these mini guilt trips pass within a few minutes, and I'm back to making the bitchy comment.

There are times, though, when the guilt just keeps on comin'. Take, for example, last Tuesday. My in-person class is Tuesday and Thursday nights; the general routine is that my mother will drop me off, spend some time tending to her dad/errands, and pick me up. As such, we have an elaborate system of calls set up, since we're too bloody cheap to add texting to our phone plan.
Imagine the scene: I'm sitting on a bench underneath a tree, enjoying the cool breezes. No one is there, but the elaborate call system is 2/3 complete, and I've still got my cell in my lap. I'm just minding my own business, reading a pamphlet I picked up from the English department; there were poems and short stories in it, and I had forgotten my favorite poetry anthology at home, so I was strapped for interesting reading material. As I'm trying to figure out a particular poetaster's style and methods, I hear loud singing and the shuff-scuffing of dancing feet on the pathway in front of me. I didn't pay much attention to it, because I figured the singer assumed he was alone -- and, let's be honest, don't we all sing when we're alone (I can't mention dancing, because I do that in front of people)? Especially if there is a space where echo-y acoustics pick up your voice? It wasn't until he snapped his fingers, ending in a clap, and said "that just happened" that I realized things had escalated to awkward in 0.29 seconds. This awkwardness was driven home by the pure coincidence that he looked exactly like Joe Trohman, tattoos and all.
"Yes, it did," I replied.
"Write it down, get it out, share it with the world," he said, his hands fidgeting and wringing, and trepidation showing through the heaps of hair.
"Put it on the Internet, it's good publicity," I told him, erring on the side of making the snarky comment (odds are always about 80% that I'll make the snarky comment).
"Yeah, that's true," he said, adding, "what'cha readin'?"
And -- as the story of my life has always gone -- just as I was about to speak...

...which is odd, because my phone still shows that it's set to silent mode. Regardless, phase three of three was in effect.
And this is what happens when two awkward people try to interact.

Fast forward two hours.
I am one of those people that has to be reminded to partake in regular meals. "You need to eat, dear" has been the anthem of my life. I'm fortunate that I don't have any body issues, and that it's simple forgetfulness. At any rate, it was nearing ten o'clock, and the familiar battle cry was sounding from every angle.
"I'll just have a doughnut. I loves me some doughnuts. Them there doughnuts need eatin', and I'm just the girl for the job."
"You need more than just a doughnut."
To appease my keepers, I stuck a sandwich in the microwave, and patiently waited. That is, until I saw thick clouds of clay colored smoke billowing out of the edges of the microwave.
In reality, it was probably like this...
...but in the moment I ran to stop the machine, it looked like this to me...
Long story short, I blew up the bloody microwave. What didn't fry left a permanent smell of burnt pretzel bread in the microwave, the cubby it used to sit in, the cabinet behind it, and the majority of our house. I'm just glad the smoke didn't kill Nigel, because it was so thick that the three of us, said canary, and our girls were standing near the open back door just to get a breath of fresh air.
So, for the last two days, our microwave has lived in the back garden...
...and this wax burner thing stays at the scene of the incident...

We bought a new microwave today, but there's been a touch of trouble, and we need to return it for a different one.

Now, I can hear you asking yourselves "what the hell did I just read all of that piffle for?"
And I can tell you that I really don't know. On one count, they were both fun stories for me to tell with a common theme -- and we all know I like a good theme. On the other, it's a public atonement to settle my mind. For example, I've been apologizing about the microwave about three times an hour since the blowing up occurred. In that vein, I have come to realize that I have no technology etiquette, and I feel just horrible about the Joe Trohman-alike incident; I should very much have enjoyed where that crazy train was headed -- particularly since the last time I was chatted up can be measured in years (I would say how long, but that makes it look like I've been counting) -- but modern technology provides us with improper timing, and several unexplained glitches.
So, Trohman-alike, I am sorry I lack tech couth. And, to my family, I'm sorry everything smells like charred pretzel and swiss cheese.
I can say I learned something from these guilt trips, though. For starters, if you know a microwave is on its last leg, keep a close eye on it when it's working.

For another, if Tuesday's outfit is any indication, I really need to rethink what I'm wearing to All Time Low in November.

Is It A Subscription Box, Or Something More Sinister? (It's A Subscription Box. Maybe.)