Thursday, August 26, 2004

these dreams

This is the major peril of falling asleep on the couch with the television on all night. It's not that you won't get a decent sleep, what with the sound and the lights and the uncomfortable couch. It's because you will have funky dreams that will haunt you all day.

Last night I had a dream that Deion Sanders was on an infomercial hawking his revolutionary hot dog cooker. It was such a realistic dream that I spent a chunk of the day looking this up (try to google "Deion Sanders" and "hot dog"...useless bloody search engine!) - part of the dream was about how Deion was all giving it, "You can't just boil a dog. You can't just nuke a dog. You can't just grill a dog. This is the way you need to do it if you want that authentic ball park experience."

Trouble is, I have no idea how else you would cook a hot dog. I believe I've had a vision here. If I can figure out an alternate way to cook a hot dog, and construct a machine that will do so, then I will become rich and star on infomercials and have sex with Deion Sanders. (The sex stuff came into the dream later, but I shan't elaborate.)

There ya go - that's my new direction in life. Hot dogs and Deion.

Aw crap. Let's just kill ourselves now, shall we?

Deion only wants me because I bring in the big butts, I'm sure. ()

there is nothing funny about strokes. there is nothing funny about strokes. there is nothing...well, except for aphasia, sometimes.

So my boss had a stroke and is recovering quite nicely, except for a mean bout of aphasia, which messes up the language thought process. He gets confused on words and doesn't pronounce things properly sometimes, which is aggravated if he's excited or upset about something.

It doesn't really stop him from speaking - he was born with the gift of gab - but sometimes when he messes something up I can't help but laugh. One day he was trying to say "weed whacker" and he spent a good twenty seconds saying, "whack a woo woo whackaweed a whack". I laughed, so did his daughter, then he did, too. He realizes, sometimes, that's he's just said something silly. Other times...

Like today, for example. We were having a meeting about fund raising and my boss was going on and on about how great I am (as usual) but he was too excited. Damn aphasia.

"You should be like Natalie - she brings us in BIG BUTTS. Oh yeah, Natalie with the BIG BUTTS! I say, 'We need BIG BUTTS' and she says, 'Are these BUTTS big enough for you?' and I say, 'Yes, but MORE! MORE BIG BUTTS! And she does it!"

Yep, that's right - I bring in the big butts. So on top of being the most bad ass non-profit manager in the history of non-profit management, I'm also a pimp.

Oh, and I'm pretty good at bringing in the big bucks. We should really have a meeting about that at some point.

Yes, I'm a pimp - a pimp for JESUS. ()

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

this post is brought to you by the unqualified candidate that's not from minnesota who walked in for an interview for a non-existent job

Hi! I'm the unqualified candidate that's not from Minnesota who walked in for an interview for a non-existent job! Pleased to meet you.

Uh, hi there. Nice to meet you, too, but we're not hiring.

That's fine - just sit there for a while so I can make asinine observations about Minnesota because I'm Not From Around Here so I'm sure you'll find my observations - as an outsider - to be particularly clever and engaging!

No, really, that's fine...I'm not originally from Minnesota either, so anything you'd point out I'd -

Say, have you heard that new radio station, MPR? It's an acronym for Minnesota Public Radio. It's great! It's news, then on the weekends there's Car Talk, Wait Wait, Prairie Home, Splendid Ta-

Listen, I know all about that stuff. Now if you'll excuse me...

Have you ever noticed how 494 circles the whole of the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs? If you miss your turn on 494 you can just carry on driving until you get back to it! Isn't that brilliant?

Yeah, if you want to spend two hours circling to hit your exit, I suppose.

Have you seen that IKEA store? Wow, is that amazing or what? It's no Mall of America, but I guess the Dutch don't 'do' indoor water slides, a ha ha ha!

IKEA's not Dutch, it's Swedish.

So are you guys hiring? I've mostly worked in fast food but I spent a summer bagging groceries at Jewel Osco. You don't have Jewel Oscos in Minnesota, have you noticed that?

So what makes you think that fast food qualifies you to work here?

I dunno. I've always been interested in what people eat. How they eat it. Watching them eat. Taking pictures.


Hey, did you look outside? That's some crazy weather! I suppose you're used to it, being from Minnesota and all.

Look, guy, you're from North Dakota, so shut up about Minnesota, eh?

A HA HA HA! Ooh, that was funny! Say something all Minnesotan again!

I do not have time for this!

Oh, so you're pretty busy then? Say, you wouldn't happen to be hiring, are you? I could help take care of some of this stuff.

Then volunteer!

What's the point in that?

And how about that intersection of 169 and 81, huh? Who puts stop lights on interstates, anyway? Okay, I'll grant you that one. ()

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

now i know my allah, brahman, cow - next time won't me how

Okay guys, true story - not very funny but weird.

So I'm trying to arrange transportation for this container to Liberia. We're set up as an NGO in Monrovia so we get blanket approval for shipments there (otherwise we have to reapply for all of the necessary paperwork on a shipment-by-shipment basis, which is a pain in the butt) but not everything we want to send can be sent via the Department of Defense (who does our shipping). When we have vehicles, school supplies, office equipment, whatever, we have to arrange private shipping.

Guess what? No one wants to ship to west Africa. NO one. Whassamattah, anyway? What, you're afraid of a little civil war? Oooh, those big scary rebels with machetes and no regard for human life scare ya? Wussies.

Needless to say, it's been tough. But today someone came through with...Gandhi Shipping. No lie. Gandhi Shipping.

This totally Indian woman calls me to confirm the details and I tell her I'll send the deposit check, but could she please spell out the name of the company because I'm pretty sure I misheard it as "Gandhi". She says this:

G as in Gandhi
A as in Allah
N as in Nirvana
D as in Delhi
H as in Hindu
I as in India

Funny - that's not how I learned it...but I guess "international" doesn't actually mean what you might think it means.

I'm going to start doing that. Just making my own stuff up as I go. A is for awesomer. B is for bad ass. C is for constantly an awesomer bad ass.

Okay, so it needs some work, but I'm D for determined.

It's a good thing Gandhi is dead so that he can roll over in his grave about being associated with an international shipping agency. L for lucky bastard. ()

Monday, August 23, 2004

blurb blurb gurgle garl blurb

That's my current tonality, but for no real reason. It's not like a "mergh" - this is just straight-up tired and inarticulate. So what do common citizens do when they're feeling inarticulate? They blog, of course!

That puts me in mind of something my dear departed granny used to say. She'd tell me, "Princess, if you don't have anything nice to say, say it under a pseudonym on your blog." Wise words, indeed.

I am back from visiting my folks in Illinois...what's that, you say? I didn't mention I was going to Illinois? That's because I was a basket case about it. It's been over a year since we'd had our knock-down, drag-out, "We all hate each other!" fight so I was freaked about it. Here's how I handled it: I arrived, unannounced, around nine p.m. with two little "Awful Nana hasn't seen you in a year so look really adorable and pathetic" children and one "Nana kicked us out when you were born so make sure you look really mature and well-adjusted so she feels bad for missing out on so much" young adult. Visit for an hour, then sleep. Wake up late and then take mom shopping for an hour because she can't drive and none of her other "rotten daughters or worthless husband" drives her anywhere. Let her buy you stuff. Then leave.

It was pretty okay - shocked the hell out of her when I walked through the door, which was nice. One weird thing was that my father wasn't won over so easily. He took me to the side and said, rather darkly, "I've been saving state quarters for all of your sisters but not for you. I even bought the cardboard maps to hold the quarters. Maybe if you start calling me more often, I'll do the same for you." And with that toss of the gauntlet, he left to go golfing. I really don't understand that man, but I have a sudden urge to have him collect quarters for me.

I hate that drive. On my way out I drive through Minneapolis and St. Paul and traverse along some lovely four-lane freeways. But by the end of the trip, I've spent most of the seven hours busting up my shocks on single-lane dirt roads in Iowa that are there primarily for tractors and trucks transporting livestock.

And what's up with you anyway, Iowa? All of your stations are honkey tonk except for that one that plays "Free Bird" constantly. See, this is why I think Iowa is such a hotbed for political campaigning - none of them even get NPR! There I was, merrily zipping south, listening to "This American Life". I come to the turn where I begin heading east toward Iowa City, and blam! I'm assulted by some pseudo-rocking country song with the refrain, "Save a horse - ride a cowboy". (Okay, admittedly I was kinda getting into that song and was fighting the urge to ride a mechanical bull while wearing nothing but a ten gallon hat and some spurs, but that's another story for another day.)

I had the windows down and Zoe said, "Eww, what's that smell!" I said, "It's Iowa, dear." She said, "Iowa needs to take a bath - it smells like cow poop or something!" That's exactly right. So wash up, Iowa, because you just never know when company may be passing through.

I'd actually be interested in taking some time to explore what Iowa has to offer. There are only so many times you can pass the signs for the "Grout Museum" and "Czech Square" before it'll break you down and suck you right in. Then there are the signs that always intrigue me, like "Politicians take note - hogs don't vote!" and "Our dogs shoot back". Oh, how I wish I knew the back-stories to what prompted those sweet middle-American farmers to put paint to plywood! Ah, how the mysteries of Iowa yet elude me. It's bittersweet and kinda tragic, if you don't think about it too hard.

But now I'm home. One thing I never really appreciated before was that the sight of the Minneapolis skyline lit up against the dark can be very comforting. The tallest thing I'd seen through Iowa was the sign for the I-80 truckstop in Walcott, and that's just not the same.

You know you can drive all the way through Iowa and not have to pass through a single tunnel? Who the hell are these people?!? ()

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


That's my word today to describe how I feel: mergh.

Do you ever try to trick yourself into thinking you're late for work by setting your clock, say, forty minutes fast? Then the alarm goes off and you freak out, thinking you're just days and days late and you wake right up? I try that. But I'm too smart for myself - or I just don't care about being late.

I mean, once I'm up I rush around like you're supposed to, which means that on many days I miss out on my morning coffee. Like today. So I'm trying to surrogate with Diet Mountain Dew (why not Diet Coke? Because it wasn't on sale, that's why!) and it's not working. So I'm totally disjointed today.

That was a really, really long explanation of the word "mergh". Sorry 'bout that. And now I am going to give you some examples of what it's like to live your day as a mergh.

Today I was talking to this woman and I popped out with this phrase - and I totally meant it when I said it - "sooner or later, love is gonna getcha". We stood in awkward silence for a second until I realized what I'd said, then I popped her on the arm and said, "Dude, I'm just fucking with ya!" Was this appropriate? IT WAS NOT. Oh my dearie goodness me, how it wasn't.

Then there's guy on the fork lift doing a tricky maneuver. I'm supervising, because I'm wearing a dress, and dresses and fork lifts simply do not mix. So I say, "Hey, you look good" - meaning, "You have plenty of room - well done on your grasp of spatial relations!" He looked at me with these really soft eyes and goes, "Yeah, you do to." He then realized what I had meant, and I realized what he had meant and I blurted out a very Wayne's World "pshaaaw". He then turned bright red and I walked away. Supervise yourself - I ain't no eye candy for no stinking fork lift operator.

I absentmindedly ran my fingers through my hair and blurted, "Aw man, does my hair feel like Charlize Theron or what?" Blank stares. Because, of course, what I'd meant to say was, "My hair feels as dry as Charlize Theron's was in 'Monster'." It's topical to me because I saw it for the first time this weekend. But still, it's a dated reference and an unnecessarily complicated way of saying my hair was dry today - which is something that didn't need to be said in the first place.

This is kind of an odd thing to me - I have this dress, the one I'm wearing today, that I don't really wear on any regular basis. A lot of the time I have to dress kinda scrudgy because I never know when I may have to do something in the warehouse. But I clean up real purdy when I wantsta. So anyway, weird thing - every time I wear this particular dress, the same dude from Togo comes into the office. No kidding - every single time. And it's not even like I get a "what are you wearing?" phone call before hand. He just always happens to be in the neighborhood and stops in. (Maybe he drives by every day to check what I'm wearing and only comes in when I'm in this dress, I don't know.) So he walks in with some guy and I laugh and say, "I knew you'd be in - I'm wearing my Togo Togs!" Um, no. Shouldn't have said that. Then I had to explain the whole paragraph above to him, as well as the definition of the word "togs". Very awkward. But not as awkward as when he introduced me to his friend, saying, "He is from Botswana." I burst out laughing and said, "What? No one is from Botswana!" Yes, my words came out both bold and italicized.

But honestly! How many people have you ever met that are from Botswana?!? See, that's what I thought.

The pinnacle of my "mergh" came when I said to the gentleman from Togo, "Hey, did you know that Togo used to be called French Togoland? Crazy, huh?" Yeah, it was called that in his lifetime. It's not some ancient name that was dropped centuries ago - this happened in, like, '72. But my mergh collided with my didyouknow-itis so I made an ass of myself. Again.

So there you go - "mergh". Mergh is me, me is mergh.

And now, I need to find a closet to lock myself in because the day's not even half-over yet.

Stupid lack of caffeine. ()

Saturday, August 14, 2004

where's waldo? why, he's over here with me!

I only today realized how long it's been since I posted when Andy started to type up an entry and I was giving it, "It's about damn time that you posted!" Turns out I've been more of a slacker than he has, if you could imagine that.

So what have I been doing? Well, most of my days have been consumed by fighting with Zimbabwe. Not all of Zimbabwe, of course - primarily Elizabeth Matare. Man, is she one pushy broad or what?!? Seriously, I had to give it, "You know what, Liz? You're not the boss of me, okay?" It takes a lot out of you when you spend so much of your time shouting down the phone at old Zim Bob. The first time I did it I was all shaky and panicked - is Zimbabwe a nuclear power? - but after that I lightened up and had fun with it. Then it started to bore me. Thankfully, a fight cropped up with our soy provider so I was distracted.

They're jerking us around. Our margins are razor thin as it is and with the price of rice having spiked (you do keep up on your commodities, don't you?) we simply can't afford another price increase. I told my boss my problem and he sighed and said, "They just don't like us anymore." So I sent our soy rep a note that said:

Do you still like us? Check one: (_) yes (_) no

He came back with this:

(X) maybe

Oh, you're a funny one, Josh. Now discount our soy, you bastard.

In other news, I spent roughly ten hours being more butch than most men. I loaded two containers to be shipped to Liberia on Monday. I'd expected a huge crew to show up to help but they didn't. Thankfully one of our satellite directors showed up. This is us, after finishing loading the second container around 8 p.m. - I'm sure I'd just said something I considered to be terribly clever, and he is laughing at me. The look on my face is the look I give when I realize I am being an idiot. Thanks, boss, for capturing the moment!

We're a couple of dorks, right there. But I was so thrilled to get that shipment out - I've been working on it practically since I first walked through the door.

In other news, I was recently featured (featured!!) on a regional cable news channel. Whoo hoo! And the best part? On the text wrap-up for the website not only was my name misspelled but I was misquoted...twice! Check it out:

Local food relief agency feeds hurricane victims in Florida

"We wanted to help the victims in some way, but we wanted it to be a big way," Natalie Yeats told us while standing next to a crate of food packs. "This is the biggest solution we could think of."

Natalie works with Feeding Children International, a nonprofit food relief agency in New Hope that is shipping more than 7,000 nonperishable food packs to Tallahassee's emergency management department this evening. The shipment is expected to arrive tomorrow where the food will be distributed to thousands of Floridians affected by Hurricane Charley in the Port Charlotte-Fort Myers area.

This afternoon winds are as high as 145 miles per hour. There are no flights in or out of the St. Petersburg-Tampa Bay area which means that transportation and distribution of the food will be tricky. Natalie says the shipments are going by truck however, and that aid is steadily entering the disaster areas. "Worst case scenario," Natalie says, "it would go to shelters further inland and not flooded by the storm."

(blah, blah, blah, bunch of boring crap about the hurricane...)

Meanwhile, the staff and volunteers at Feeding Children International work to get additional food packs ready for international crises. Just this past Monday, two containers of food were shipped to Liberia, where hunger related illnesses and deaths continue to grow by epic proportions. Those packs, along with others donated, will benefit nearly half a million people.

My favorite part is that whole, "Worst case scenario, it would go to shelters further inland and not flooded by the storm." YES! That's the worst case scenario right there - that the food will go to shelters that are INLAND and NOT FLOODED. That surely would suck, wouldn't it?

I totally love the phrase, "This is the biggest solution we could think of." Give that woman the Pulitzer, post haste!

Since that report I've been totally hounded. I went out to get my mail and some squealing teenager grabbed me by the arm and said, "Ohmygod, aren't you the woman I saw on the mid-day regional cable news yesterday? You are so awesome. Can I get your autograph? Seriously, I, like, totally want to be you when I grow up!" I'm all giving it, "Yeah, I'll give you an autograph as long as you don't tell anyone where I live. I'd hate to end up on one of those 'Maps of the Stars' Homes' things that they sell to tourists of Anoka County. Here you go, 'Never give up on your dreams. Love, Your Hero.' There's your autograph, now scoot. I'm a Very Important Woman. I have some Zim Bobs to go shout at now."

So next down the pipeline is three containers to Zimbabwe, then we have a container that we're shipping into Nairobi via the Red Cross of Kenya. I'm still diligently working on getting things together for Sudan - that's taking some effort right there. We will basically have to sneak the stuff in via a complex underground railroad of sorts from Ethiopia. Thankfully, I'm about half-way to my goal of reaching $100,000 by September 1st, which is okay because I'm only about half-way through the month, right? This makes me bad ass.

By the way, for those of you who have contributed to the charity during Project Blog, would you please drop me an email if you haven't done so already? We're having some, shall we say, staff performance issues at the moment and I want to make sure that everyone is properly acknowledged.

Oh, one more thing - see, I don't post in forever and then you get this long-winded missive about a bunch of boring stuff - for all you locals, I wanted to let you know that our downtown Minneapolis satellite is going to be having a fund raising event mid-September. We're doing a rummage sale, bake sale, potluck and all-day packaging event, so if you want to help out and/or donate some rummage sale/bake sale stuff please drop an email to headquarters and we'll work out the details. I'll post the date and time of the event when it gets a little bit closer so all of you Twin Cities people can have a chance to come package food or whatever. It's a lot of fun.

Now I have to go get a stack of 8x10 glossies ready because the regional cable news channel is in the process of doing their weekend recap of their top stories, and you don't get any topper than me, yo. I'm expecting people to begin beating down my door any second.

Rock Star. ()

Monday, August 02, 2004

it was all a wonderful, ketchup-soaked dream

So my car was broken down on I-80 and who should pick me up but John and Theresa Kerry! They were driving a new Prelude and I told them stories about my own Prelude - about the little-girl fingernail stickers which adorned my steering wheel...of my Bauhaus and Clockwork Orange stickers on the I sand-blasted "girls kick ass" in my back windshield and received many a ticket for my troubles...and John says to me, "That's so boss." I didn't make fun of him for it. In fact, I made a vow right then to incorporate "boss" into my vocabulary right along with "rock star", "bad ass" and "heavy".

We went to Dairy Queen and John bought me a double-dip cherry cone. He wore mittens I had knitted for him, because I have this weird knitted mitten fetish and everyone I love should wear a pair of my mittens. He held my hand and bumped into me more than he should have. He ran ahead to get the car and Theresa told me that I should be with John because I was "so much better for him" than she was. She wasn't mad.

Your Auntie Picklejuice then said something to John that I can't believe I would ever say, but I guess I was self-sacrificing in my dream. I wasn't burdened with gender-equality or feminism or anything, and I asked John if he could give me a job "fetching his coffee or something". He laughed and said he'd see what he could do.

Last night in my dream I fell a little bit in love with Uncle Johnny. And guess what, boys and girls? I'm pretty sure that Uncle Johnny fell a little bit in love, too.

I've always had a thing for high foreheads. ()