November 05, 2013

The Ice-ing on the Cake?

So I just broke one of the ice trays at work. This is somewhat interesting when you consider the fact that just this morning, a co-worker told me about the genesis of all 9 ice trays. I guess it all started when the original ice trays went missing. (Fact: They were later found in the pantry's closet just a few steps away from their rightful place.)

But before they were found, someone apparently took it upon herself—because let's face it, I highly doubt one of the males around here did it—bought a whole bunch of new ice trays. So yay.

I only use the ice trays when I'm too lazy to go down to the 17th floor or the basement to use the fun ice machines, and admittedly, I hate using the ice trays because the cubes are too darned hard to extract. (Case in point: I just broke an ice tray. Fortunately, no one was around to witness it. Unlike the mishap on Friday, when my tiny bucket of Chef Boyardee Mini Ravioli with Meatballs met its untimely demise in the microwave. There were two witnesses then, followed by a third. Not only did I lose my second lunch of the day, but I had to clean up the mess. On the upside, I was informed that someone had just cleaned the microwave tray, so at least I only had my own gook to contend with.)

Let me amend that. The Boyardee was not my second lunch, it was actually my third attempt to eat lunch on Friday.

I normally eat lunch around noon, noon-fifteen, maybe 12:30 if I'm meeting someone outside the building. But for reasons I'm not disclosing, lunch didn't happen til around 1:30 on Friday.

I didn't bring lunch, and on Fridays there is a "pop-up" restaurant in our lobby. It varies each week, but what doesn't vary is the fact that a bunch of eaters go downstairs and snarf ALL the [limited] food options so that folks who wander down, say, at 12:00 p.m., are often out of luck.

I didn't remember about the pop-up until 1:30. So I raced down to the lobby (as much as you can race when the elevator thwarts you by stopping on every other floor) and saw that the tables were barren. No more ravioli. No more pasta. Only flatbread chicken or turkey sandwiches, and plenty of portionettes full of red pepper or parmesan cheese. (Sadly, I have been informed that one should not make a meal out of parmesan cheese.) At least the lady behind the table seemed sympathetic and apologized as if it were her fault that they didn't have anything good left to eat.

Dismayed, I stepped over to the little bakery/sandwich counter that's also in the lobby. I was heartened to see that one of the soup choices was Chicken Noodle. I thought that was only a Monday soup (usually Fridays are bad for soup), and I like Chicken Noodle, so I was all, "yay!" But then I was told by the lady behind the counter that they were sold out of it, and that they had chili instead. Their chili is too hot for me, so that wasn't an option.

Disgruntled, I came back upstairs to check out my "Extreme Emergency" food stash. The "Extreme Emergency" stash consists of food I really don't want to eat, but somehow must have purchased at the grocery store at some point. There are soups in there I don't even want to try and have no idea why I bought them in the first place. In any case, The Chef was among the goods, so I popped him into the microwave and well, you know the rest.

If you're wondering what I ended up eating on Friday, it was a 2-piece dark KFC box of chicken, with some mashed potatoes and gravy, and a Dr. Pepper that had a citrus flavor profile to it. (Ugh.) There was also a biscuit.

Today, I am going to eat something that would normally go into the EE stash, it's a Velveeta cheesy skillet single, and I guess we'll see what happens with the microwave. I kind of don't want to go into the kitchen given today's earlier event, but what are you gonna do.

Btw, instead of tossing the trays, I refilled them both and stuck them back into the freezer. That may have been a mistake, seeing as how one of them has kind of a sharp edge sticking up. Oh well. Guess I'll be going downstairs for ice now.

August 02, 2013

Why Did They Kick the Bucket??

Oh good christ. It looks like yet another delicious food product from my childhood (and let's face it, my adulthood) has met its untimely demise.

The victim?

KFC's Little Bucket Parfaits.

What? You've never had a little bucket parfait? The shame. The sorrow. The sadness of missing out.

The bucket parfait was your basic three-tiered dessert. Some pie crusty crumbs on the bottom, then some pudding, then some whipped topping, with maybe a few sprinkles on it. That's if you got the chocolate one. They also had a strawberry one which contained some semblance of fruit, but that wasn't the one I liked.

Today when I went to the local KFC to pick up some tasty chicken lunch, I looked in the fridge and saw only cole slaw (not a great dessert option) and some stupid boxed pie slices (Oreo and Reese's). WTF. Because I had no better options, and because I wanted to prove to myself that yes, Oreo pie *is* as gross as I always think it is (apologies to my nephew, who really digs it), I took a slice.

I asked the cashier lady if they had any bucket parfaits, and she said no. Now, I had glanced at the menu board, and saw the word Parfait, but there was a block of the sign missing. Actually, maybe it said Dessert. I think it was parfait. But it's always a bad sign (surprisingly, no pun intended) when there is no price listed for the menu item you want.

I came back to the office to eat the tasty chicken lunch. I skillfully avoided the homeless man on the bridge who is friend to all things pigeon. I mean he's a nice guy, but come on, who wants to be near those flying rats?

When it came time to eat dessert, I did so with a heavy heart. (And probably some clogged arteries.) The Oreo pie was not very tasty. It just isn't a good dessert. For those who do enjoy it, I still bet you wouldn't call it the end-all, be-all of desserts. Because it just isn't.

Can I just say that KFC's website has the WORST customer comment form? And believe you me, I've been on many a website and filled out many a form.

On KFC's, they're only looking for comments from customers who REALLY want to speak their minds. Otherwise, they would just have a blank form ready and waiting for you. But no. First you have to fill in why you want to contact them. Then you have to do some drop-downs with more specific information. Then you have to do your name, email, blah blah, city/state, you also have to put the date and time of your visit, which KFC you visited, what color underwear you have on, and so on. By the time I got to the actual blank part, I was hopping annoyed.

But instead of ranting a lot, I only wrote the following:

---------------
What has happened to the Bucket Parfaits? I haven't seen them for a while, there are now only pie slices for dessert. I LOVED THE BUCKET PARFAITS and have enjoyed them for over 30 years. Why were they discontinued??? Can you please bring them back on the menu? Are they discontinued everywhere? I saw no mention of them on your website.

Please tell me if they can be put back on the menu, and why they were removed. Thank you. The parfait was always the most enjoyable dessert. Little pie slices that are too sweet aren't a great finish to a good chicken meal.
----------------

The future of the 'fait looks pretty grim. So this is me saying good-bye and farewell to my beloved Little Bucket Parfaits. Also, fuck you to the idiots in charge at KFC.

Love,

Flapjam

June 02, 2013

Flights of Fancy

I'm sitting here in the airport waiting for the plane. It's delayed a bit so I'm in some pain.

That's because I type with my thumb. So I'll keep this short while I chew some gum.

I'm sitting on the floor charging my phone. I'm way too tired to bitch and moan.

But I kinda wish I could get on my way so I can have a little bit of my day.

I ate a pepperoni roll but it had no cheese.
That's not the way I like them, if you please.

I didn't plan on writing in rhyme but I guess that's what happened here this time.

I should play a game but my hands will hurt if I persist in typing this curt.

(ly)

February 05, 2013

Bad apples!

A short post to note that due to the recent spate (well, two in as many weeks from the same robot, er, "person") of spammy comments, now comments will be moderated. Or at least until I grow tired of that. Btw, to all the folks who comment on the Spring Rain post, thank you very much! Perhaps our legion of spring rain enthusiasts will make Crabtree & Evelyn sell the full line again. :)

September 04, 2012

OMFG A NEW FLAPJAM RANT

So, I'm moving. Yay. Everybody rejoice. Only I'm staying in the same building, so don't rejoice too much.

I moved into Chez Flapjam in the fall of 1999.

It is now 2012.

That's what I call staying power, people.

Anyhoo. A lot is involved in a move.

There is packing.

There is dusting.

There is trying to fool yourself into thinking you'll be able to wear those old clothes again one day. But sometimes even a fool knows when to say when. (I've already collected two bags of donations for the Salvation Army, and I'm sure there are a few more coming.)

And of course, there is the changing of address for magazines and utilities. I did the magazines first because let's face it, they're more important. Also, they don't give you a lot of guff when you call.

Let me tell you something. I'm old school. I'm so old school I still have a landline, even though I really only use it for the DSL Internet connection and maybe some local calls.

My local phone provider is none other than AT&T. I can't think of another dirty word that starts with T so I'm just going to forego the whole "or as I like to call them, A-holes, Twats, and Twits." Oh wait, that worked. Okay then.

First I went to the AT&T website. I thought it would be pretty simple to change my service online.

Guess what?

It wasn't.

I can't remember everything that happened because, well, let's just say I've forgotten my reason for living over the past hour, but basically in order for me to do my thang online, I'd first need to create an account. No problem.

Except...they want to send you a confirmation code that you can use to log in to the account.

No problem.

Except...since you want to access your home landline, they want to send the code to your home landline.

No problem.

Except...I'm at work.

And I don't have voicemail.

Instead, being old school, I have a dilapidated, tapeless answering machine. And sure, I could call it and try to remember my passcode and then fast-forward through the 16 or so messages on there to try to get the code, but..

FUCK THAT!

It is 2012, and I want my damned confirmation code e-mailed to me, okay?

Grr.

Annoyed, I decided to go even more old school and call the Customer Service line. Surely they could help me with my simple request.

But since I'm posting on here, you probably surmised that that is not the case.

Anyhoo.

I called AT&T and listened to the a-hole automaton try to get info from me. Well, I don't like automatons and I don't like having to say things out loud at my desk. I do that all the time anyway but it's different when you're just saying stupid phrases in a monotone like, "Yes," "moving service," and the like. So I pushed zero and the automaton said something like, "It sounds like you want to speak to an agent. Is that correct?"

I thought about whispering, "YES, YOU ASSHOLE!!" but I didn't. Instead I just gritted my teeth and said, "Yes."

After I heard some musical interludes and a message saying that they were experiencing a heavy volume of calls, my wait time could be ten minutes, a man with some kind of accent picked up. I don't know what kind of accent. There was a ton of background noise (that I almost commented on, but didn't) and the guy struck me as maybe being from Senegal. Or some island in the Pacific. Eh.

It took forever for him to take the information I was giving him. I said I was moving, everything was going to be the same, I'd just have a new apartment number. 702 for those of you who know me in real life and want to send housewarming gifts. :D

He kept putting me on hold.

I kept answering work e-mails. Because I ain't no loafer.

He kept coming back and blah blah blah.

I told him my move date was September 15. For those of you who don't already know, that is a Saturday this year. And remember, I'm just moving into a different apartment in the same building. There is no need for a technician to come out. They just need to do a little flippy switcheroo. Or whatever.

But to make a long story short (because I need to visit the baño, I mean I was on hold for almost an hour, people), apparently AT&T doesn't do the flipping of switches on weekends.

The guy talked to his manager to see if he could do a manual override, but no dice.

I knew it wasn't Guy's fault. But I told Guy I wanted to speak to a manager so I could lodge a comment (that's right, I didn't say complaint). Because it is ridiculous that it took so long, that they can't do what I want, and when I mentioned the word "move" at the beginning, they should have said, "Hey just fyi, lady, we can't accommodate weekend dates." Like, just fucking tell me up front so I don't have to go through all the bullshit, k?

So, they are turning off my service on the 14th, and I'll get it back on the 17th.

In the meantime, I won't have Internet access via my computer. So there's that.

Also, I asked if they would prorate the dates I will be without service. I mean, right? I don't care if it's twelve cents, I'm not effing paying them for this crap.

WTF. It is 2012. WHY CAN'T THEY PROGRAM THEIR DAMNED COMPUTERS TO TURN MY PHONE OFF ON THE 14TH AND ON ON THE 15TH?

I looked at my electric company's website and fear the same thing will happen there, too. The weekend dates are blocked out. WTF. Are we living in the dark ages? (No pun intended.) Am I supposed to be in a place of worship all weekend? I dunno.

And, if that weren't enough, I'm still miffed about the attitude I got from pizza girl when I called for delivery last night. Maybe I'll bitch about that later. Right now, I gotta see a man about a horse. Or whatever ladies say when they go to water flowers.

In the meantime, I will seriously consider ditching my landline. :\

August 04, 2010

I'd write a suicide note, but

apparently they've stopped manufacturing my favorite pen!!!!!


FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKK!


If you're interested, my favorite pen is the Focus LX (gel, black, .7mm). It was originally manufactured under the brand of "Flying Colors" (owned by JakksPacific), then they began using the "Pentech" brand.

Apparently, Jakks bought Pentech some years ago, and I've just learned from the JP folks that they are moving away from their stationary (sic) line. Ok, I know they make toys and stuff, but people, if you're going to fucking PURCHASE a company that MANUFACTURES pens, goddammit, just stay the course. (I think they bought Pentech 10 years ago, but still.)

The customer service rep told me via email that limited quantities may still be available at the following places, but that they would indeed be hard to find. Oh hell, why don't you just read the sad sorry exchange for yourself:

--
To: Jakks Pacific Consumer Relations
Re: Focus LX pens still on the market?

Hi,

I've been having trouble locating my favorite pen, the Flying Colors Focus LX (.7mm retractable gel pen (with cushioning)).

The last time I bought it, the name on the clip switched from "Flying Colors" to "Pentech" but it is still the Focus LX gel pen. (Not the stick pen.)

Can you please tell me if it is still being produced, and if so, at what stores I might find it?

I didn't see this information on your website, and my attempts to find it on Google and Yahoo! have not yielded any results.

Thanks very much; I really hope you still manufacture this pen.

Flapjam




I received the following within an hour of my inquiry. Gotta give the devil his due--at least they have good customer service, despite the fact that their R&D or decisionmakers are morons.




From: Jakks People
To: Flapjam
Subject: RE: Focus LX pens still on the market?

Thank you for contacting Consumer Relations,

We actually are moving away from our stationary line so, it will be more difficult to find. Your best bet to finding the pen would be at a discount type store such as K-Mart, Big Lots, Rite Aid, and CVS. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me.

Thank you,

Customer Service Person




Well, she invited it, right? I DID have further questions. So I felt free and contacted her. This is what I wrote:

Thanks for your reply, I'm very upset to hear this news since the Focus LX pen is great for someone who has carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Do you know when the last shipment to stores went out?

And I don't suppose you have any for sale directly?

Lastly, I'm not sure what influenced the decision, but please tell your marketing or R&D folks that even in the computer age, people still want to use pens...maybe they can consider bringing it back.

Thanks again for the prompt reply,

Flapjam :(



Godfuckingdammit. I mean, really? REALLY??? On the heels of the Baskin Robbins French Vanilla retirement, this happens?

WTF.

Now I have to find a good replacement. It won't be easy. Of that I am sure.

scribbledy fuckity doo.

:(

PS: If any of my friends happens to be reading this - can you please check your local stores above and buy me these pens en masse? I will reimburse you! (Unless you want to call it a belated birthday present.) :)

July 17, 2010

So much for my eulogy...

"No good deed goes unpunished" could be the story of my life. I try to be a good person. Most of the time, anyway.

I say hello to people in the hallways at work. I say 'good morning' and 'good night' to the security guards in the building. I hold the elevator for folks.

I never cut in line.

And if I mutter an obscenity about someone (under my breath), it's probably because they've provoked it.

What's this got to do with anything?

I don't know.

What I do know is that when one of the co-founders of Baskin-Robbins passed away in 2008, I made mention of it here.

Which means I care, right?

It means I have a vested interest in the death of someone who's brought so much goodness and yumminess (??) into my life and the lives of countless others.

And maybe I'm naive, but I thought they cared about me, too.

BUT OBVIOUSLY THEY DON'T.*

Add this to my fricking list, I guess. (Which btw also includes this.)

:(

:`(

*I'm too upset to rant/vent/cry/moan about how this was my very favorite flavor for a hot fudge sundae. Effing jerks.

July 10, 2010

YES!

I don't usually revel in the misfortunes of others, but this one is just so greatly deserved. :D

If ya didn't click the title link, here you go: Click me, please

February 22, 2010

YAGGGGHHH!!! (The Scream)

I'm owning my emotions, okay - this MAKES ME MAD!

Pediatricians Want Redesign of Hot Dogs, Candy to Curb Kids' Choking

Let's see if any of your immediate knee-jerk responses match mine:

1. Hot dogs are an adult food.

2. Just don't feed your kids hot dogs.

3. If you're going to feed your kids hot dogs, how's about cutting them up into small bits to remove (or perhaps lessen) the choking hazard?

4. If you really want to choke your kids, there are better ways to do it.

5. Just ask Nancy Grace or any of her recent guests.

6. I'm not unsympathetic, but Jeebus Christ, what's next? Redesigning the donut? Because those effers are crumbly, and you know, powdered sugar can be dangerous if inhaled.

7. Are you effing kidding me??? Redesign the hot dog?? I already read last week that Sara Lee, maker of the tasty (and in my opinion, best) Ball Park hot dogs -- is going to be reducing sodium in its foods over the next few years. I believe Ball Park is on the list for sodium reduction. Now, I don't know if this means they're just going to offer a reduced-sodium version of el Ball Park hot dogs, or if they're just reducing the sodium across the board, but this worries me. Okay, I just found out more info on Sara Lee sodium reduction. It won't be 'heralded' on the labels and it will be done gradually so folks like me won't notice the change. Yeah right. I'm going to fucking notice the change. I noticed it when they changed the Rondele garlic & herbs cheese, and I could name a number of other foods that have been "improved" or "more healthfully designed with you and your family in mind" but this is the last f**king straw. Guess I better make sure to add more salt to the pot before I cook the hot dorgs.

8. My rant got interrupted.

9. If the physicians get their way, how is this going to affect Takeru Kobayashi and others like him?

10. The hot dog article above also says, "Other high-risk foods include hard candy, peanuts and nuts, even peanut butter." Hey - one of our former presidents choked on pretzels. Why aren't *they* on the list? Oh yeah, because he was an adult. (Discuss amongst yourselves.)

11. SERIOUSLY - WTF! Let's just fucking kid-proof life, okay? Hey Mikey, what do *you* think?

Grrrrrr.

P.S. Btw, what the fuck are people feeding their kids candy for? That's an adult food, too. ;)

April 11, 2009

Shake It

It's time for an update about stuff going on around the ever-lovin' apartment bldg! Yay!!!

Bldg. Manager Lady's just back from vacation. She wasn't here for my radiator problems--which I drafted, but never published, in a post called "I Should Be Steamed"--so good for her. (And good for me, after a few misfires, leaks, and a midnight visit from Johnny the maintenance guy.) Anyhoo she's really into her work, because when she ran into me and this other guy, we welcomed her back, and she thanked us and then asked us how our apartments were. Ya gotta love that kind of dedication.

Speaking of dedication, I recently (September) made my 10-year service anniversary at my place of work. Clap, clap, go me. That's staying power. The workplace always holds a service anniversary luncheon for those who've managed to last 5 years or more. The party's only for those anniversaries that occur in increments of 5 years--5, 10, 15, up to 35...I guess they figure by 40 you're out the door, dead, or you've been asked to retire so you can quit accruing or adding more to pension or 401k or whatever*--so tough luck to you folks who've put in 4 years, your time will come. Maybe.

Each time you have an anniversary, more pages get added to your gift catalog. For people like me (read: indecisive), that's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, yay, more gifts to choose from. On the other hand, crap, more gifts to choose from. It's not like all of the options are great, and there are always some I can mark off as a 'nope' right away, though I *did* consider getting the shop vac for my mom. (But we bought a bigger one over Xmas so that pretty much negated that.) I was also intrigued by some char-smoker grill thingy, but since I live in an apt with not much ventilation, it didn't seem like a realistic option. I can just imagine what sort of damage I would do to this place if I had the char-smoker. I mean, in my many years here, I've managed to ruin the stovetop--guess that stone scouring stick wasn't my brightest idea--chip the drywall (dang laundry basket banged into the corner) and, well, you get the idea. I don't want to be responsible for smoking out half the residents, especially given my past complaints about folks who smoke in the hallway. (They still sometimes do, btw.)

And I still haven't used my 5-year gift either, an electric sandwich maker. I don't really see the point. I like cold sandwiches usually (unless we're talking hamburgers or hot dogs, and even then I don't really think of those so much as sandwiches, though I guess technically they are) and I am not a fan of the whole panini craze. Gah. Paninis, flatbreads, focaccia. What's next? Matzoh sandwiches in your grocer's freezer? (Good pesach btw to all my compadres.)

Anyhoo my choices this time around are between the Hamilton Beach DrinkMaster and some speaker amplifier docking thing for the iPod. Truthfully, the DrinkMaster won my vote early on, but I'm nothing if not a waffler. (They didn't have a waffle maker, and even if they did, it wouldn't make my shortlist. Not when I can buy frozen ones from my Aunt Jemima, anyway.)

The DrinkMaster is one of those weird machines that allows you to enjoy milkshakes and soda fountain drinks from the comfort of your own home.

I love milkshakes.

One of my fave treats growing up was a grilled cheese sammich and vanilla shake at the local pharmacy. In fact, I raved about it so much that my bro used to make fun of me. He'd mock my excited voice, saying "Ooh, phaaaaaaarmaaaacy name..it's..it's.." until I felt kinda membarrassed. (That's mad and embarrassed.)
Fortunately the membarrassment didn't last. (I just happen to remember it, is all.)

But seriously, I gotta wonder, given the Electric Kool-Aid, I mean Electric Sammich Maker, and how I've had thoughts of regifting it....will I really *use* the DrinkMaster? Or will I maybe make one shake, let the novelty wear off, and then cram it into a cabinet to sit collecting dust? (Probably.)

Which brings us to the iLive docking thing. Now, I recently purchased a tiny speaker set I can use with my iPod. The set's maybe a few inches long, and really, in a studio, I don't need to be blasting my music. (Hint hint to neighbors.) Plus, I'm not WhoAmUsAnyway, and my music needs are sated. :D

Or...

Are they?

In the end, after pricing both options on the Internet and deciding what the hell, if I want the other later, I can buy it, I went for the DrinkMaster. I can play my 50s and 60s music, put my hair in a small ponytail (if there's any left after my cut on the 18th) and bop around my apt while drinking a vanilla shake through a blue-striped straw. Because for me, a service-anniversary gift is something I would like, but wouldn't normally buy for myself.

Speaking of things I wouldn't normally buy for myself...and back to the opening of the post, it seems my apt bldg is not feeling the effects of the recession. Or maybe we just have a funny way of showing it.

On Thursday, we got new washers and dryers! And they're front-loaders (yeah, yeah, good for the environment, but they don't seem to hold as much stuff) and oh yes, we have a new card system.

Instead of counting quarters and putting our pocket change to good use, now we're going to be bled dry courtesy of the new laundry machine card system.

What's the card system? Everyone's issued a card with a gold computer chip thing on it. We stick it into a machine and add money to it. Then we can do our laundry by inserting the card into the slot on the washer or dryer and watch as the money is deducted.

I'm sure this is probably good news for some -- not to mention we now have eight machines of each instead of six -- but my first thought was, "Aw shite, wtf am I gonna do with all my quarters now?!?"

I refuse to use Coinstar. I will NOT be charged money (8% last I checked) to convert my change into bucks. And I don't want their stupid, "We won't charge ya if you take your payment in the form of a gift certificate from Starbucks or Amazon."

FUCK YOU, COINSTAR! I don't need you to dictate how I'll spend my money.

And forget about going to my bank. They're closing my local branch on the 20th. And even if they weren't closing, they didn't have a coin counter last time I went. Note: I never did go to WaMu...good thing.

On the plus side (because let's face it, I'm not 100% negative), you can add money to the card by debit or credit or here's a twist, good ol' American cash!

I added 20 bucks to my card today and decided to do some laundry. Oh and by the way, they've upped the price. Used to be a buck twenny-five to wash and a buck to dry. Now it's a buck fifty to wash and a dollar twenty-five to dry.

Fuckers.

But I need to do my sheets and stuff so what can I do.

There's also a new way to add detergent. Instead of just putting it in the machine, there's a slot compartment that you pull out that has three recesses. Two small squares to the left and a big rectangle to the right. Each machine has a sign taped to it warning against using too much detergent.

I scanned the directions but didn't see which hole I should pour my liquid All Free & Clear into. Would it make a difference? They're all holes.

I poured it into one of the tiny squares.

Then I noticed the diagram on the machine that said where shite's supposed to go:

Compartment A (upper square) - fabric softener
Compartment B (lower square) - bleach
Compartment C (Big Rex-tangle) - detergent.

Well fuck. I'd put my detergent in the bleach square.

I wondered if it was too late to do anything about it, so I pulled out the compartment and saw a bunch of bubbles frothing.

I shut it right away. Last thing I need is to fuck up the new machines and get the floor wet, though maybe it would be justice in light of the radiator problem. Nah.

I stayed for a bit to see the new machines at work. They have glass doors so you can see stuff going on, i.e., if the water will become soapy. While I was hunched down peering into the machines, a girl came in and asked this guy if one of the machines was broken. He appeared to have knowledge, which kind of surprised me. I mean today is Saturday and we only got these machines on Thursday (or was it Wed), so how many fricking times has he done laundry anyway??

He wasn't super helpful.

He left, she left, and then she came back with Bldg Manager Lady.

Apparently the dryer deducted money from her card but the machine wouldn't work.

Being nosy (I mean helpful), I moved closer and inserted myself into their conversation in an effort to help troubleshoot the problem. I had maybe 5 minutes' experience down there with the new system, so I wasn't going to be much help, but whatever, global community, you know?

In the end, BML told Girl that she needed to contact Coinmach to get her money back. The girl basically said it wasn't worth it, and I have to agree with her. I mean I tried getting money back from the soda machine and the vending machine one time. I called their number, got some raspy recording -- and by that I mean, not the voice on the recording, but static on the machine -- and was like, "Wtf kind of operation are they running?" so I abandoned it. They want all this info, like machine number, place of residence, apartment number, last time you were body cavity searched, so I just hung up. Maybe 20 years ago I'd have persisted but not anymore.

I asked the chick if she had enough money to put on her card and she said yeah so I left.

Then I came back upstairs to download some songs for the iPod -- damn, maybe I should have ordered the speakers...oh well--and turn my mattress. The box springs have been super squeaky of late. I barely move and it sounds like a carousel out of Something Wicked This Way Comes, except without the eerie music and with more creaking.

My other post, should I decide to follow through, is your basic Flapjam-style rant. (More fun to write, but taxing on the spirit, etc., to relive. But I already have a title, and really, that's the part I like best!)

Flapjam extra: New stuff on my iPod
  • Here Comes My Baby - The Tremeloes

    A boppy dippy song, at least the way they do it, but I prefer it to the Cat Stevens original.


  • 1234 - Plain White T's

    I heard this song in a cab the other day and looked it up cos it was catchy. So catchy, in fact, that it merited my .99 on iTunes. Now I feel all hip.


  • A Well Respected Man - The Kinks

    I've always liked this song, but they used it recently in an ep of Supernatural and so I thought it about time to download.


  • I Go to Pieces - Peter and Gordon

    I caught part of one of those shows on PBS recently that shows oldies and the folks performing them. I mistakenly thought it was going to be more of a video jukebox, but I was wrong, and man, have a lot of these guys lost it. It was sad, so I turned it off after a while. They did, however, show a few old videos, which almost made it worth it. Anyhoo, I saw Peter and Gordon on there and figured I should get another song of theirs. I already have "A World Without Love" and this is a good complement. Maybe because it sounds almost exactly like it. Heh, just kidding.


Oh and Happy E to anyone who celebrates it. May the bunny's chocolates be edible and in great supply.

*I don't profess to know anything about the pension or 401k beyond the fact that I stick money towards/will get money from both or whatever.

March 22, 2009

Xanadon't

OH FUCK I HATE MY COMPUTER!

It just erased all my goddamned post. I hate rewriting. I hate my computer. HATE HATE HATE.

Ahem. Let's see if I can recall any of this, but I doubt it, since it's always stream-of-consciousness and I never remember what I say. Or what anyone else says for that matter. It's not because I don't listen to folks, it's just my retention has waned considerably over the past 10 years. I don't know why. I can't really blame drugs, unless it's the over-the-counter kind like Sleepinal. But I haven't had any lately so who knows. Anyhoo.

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I used to love the movie Xanadu back in the day. I don't know if it's because I saw it for free--my best friend's family owned/managed movie theaters--or if it was during my "I heart Olivia Newton-John" phase (thank you Grease) or if it was the soundtrack.

The soundtrack, at least the ELO part of it, was awesome. I remember buying the album at Heck's, a local discount house somewhat like K-Mart, only much better in my opinion. Heck's used to have a snack bar that served the best cheeseburgers ever. I loved those cheeseburgers. What a treat it was to order one, watch it fry on the grill, then hold it snug in its little wax-paper wrapper and savor each delicious bite. You could also buy a cup of ice for a nickel, too. Why bother buying a soda when you could chomp on ice for cheaper, right? Heck's closed many years ago, but before they did, they took out the snack bar. A little part of me died that day, and it wasn't as much fun to shop there anymore. I still can't drive by there without feeling sad. I think there's some stupid sporting goods store there now, but who knows.

So I saw Xanadu on ABC Family the other night. I hate ABC Family because they just canceled Kyle XY, and are populating the schedule with a bunch of crap that doesn't deserve to be on the airwaves, in my biased opinion. So fuck them.

If you haven't seen Xanadu, you may be better off for it. As a child, I loved the flick, and I could even bear watching it as recently as 11 or 12 years ago. But last night, as I got sucked in, I found myself wondering WTF was going on. The plot, if there is one, could be summed up as: Muse (Olivia Newton-John) drops down to Los Angeles to inspire suffering artist (Michael Beck) and help him realize another man's (Gene Kelly) dream of opening a club. She sort of falls in love with Michael Beck's Sonny (not sure why, he's kind of a jerk) but they can't be together because, well, she's a muse.

The movie is basically a musical that makes no sense. Or is that redundant. There's even a wacked-out scene where the Michael Beck and Olivia characters suddenly morph into crappy animated figures to the tune of "Don't Walk Away" (ELO). WTF? Seriously? Why?

Because it's 1980, there is a lot of roller skating, too. In fact, everyone roller skates, even Gene Kelly. (I have to admit he's better than I ever was.) The club Xanadu ends up being some weird place where people just roller-skate around a small stage. There's a bar, but I don't know if they serve food. They don't delve into those types of particulars. They don't really delve into anything. And heinous outfits abound.

Mainly, I feel bad for Gene Kelly. Sure, he's danced with cartoons before, but making the man endure this is just horrific. Try not to cringe when you watch it.

I'm usually fine with cheesetastic stuff--sometimes you gotta revel in cheese--but this movie is beyond craptastic. I don't really understand the ending of it, and I can't believe it even got greenlit. I wonder if the person responsible lost his job. (I also can't believe they recently staged a musical of it, either.)

Kenny Ortega, one of the choreographers, went on to better things, if High School Musical is any indication. I've never seen any of those HSM movies, but they can't possibly be as bad as Xanadu. A pleasure dome it ain't.

March 19, 2009

Be still my heart

Just a quick post to express my dismay, annoyance, and sadness at hearing that The Greenbrier is filing for bankruptcy.

It has long been my dream to go to the Greenbrier. Not only because it's in West Virginia and looks very pretty surrounded by rolling green hills, but also because it's darned fancy, has an interesting history, and used to be the hidey place of important government folks. When I think of the Greenbrier, I think of pleasant summer afternoons, cool breezes, lemonade, and cool marbled hallways. I think of ladies in hats holding parasols and gentlemen checking their pocketwatches. I think of times gone by and croquet and badminton. And sometimes I even think of what it might be like to get married there.

If the Greenbrier is sold to the Marriott Corporation, who's to say what will change, if anything. Maybe nothing will. But it won't seem independent, and it may be a while before I can let my pipedream go.

The Greenbrier: Defining Luxury Since 1778.

February 22, 2009

The so not Write Stuff

So, I just read this headline on Yahoo! -- my homepage of choice, so get off it, Googlefolk, you'll never convert me, never I say! -- that says learning cursive handwriting in schools is losing importance.

Now, I didn't read further than that -- mostly cos it was actually a video link, and if you think I'm going to tax my poor ol' computer trying to open that effer, well, you're just plain outta luck, but also becos, I don't need to read that damned story to know it's probably gonna say something like, "Yeah, cos kiddies are learning computer skillz at a way earlier age."

I could be wrong, but in the event I'm not, I'm going to continue my rant.

First of all, WTF. I'm sorry, but learning handwriting is a fucking -- oops, there's a form of fuck, which as you know = ire of Flapjam -- basic skill that every goddanged person needs to know. I mean, sure, we're all turning into 'bots and everything, but what about the day when we're all plunged into some kind of nuclear holocaust (ok, not nuclear, too extreme, but you get the idea) and we revert back to the days before the digital age was upon us? When we had to scrawl our math homework on the back of a shovel with a piece of chalk or talc or something? Or (gasp) use a number 2 pencil to color in a blob on a standardized test? What then? If all our kiddies know is how to get carpal tunnel syndrome by banging away on a fricking keyboard, whatever will they do?

Which brings me to point number 2, which, as you probably surmised, is personal.

My name is Flapjam, and I have carpal tunnel syndrome. We're not getting into the specifics of just how this occurred, but I gotta say, when I know that kiddies are being trained on computers uber-early, it irks me. Sure, sure, they're going to have to know how to use them at some point, but do we really want to send them down that road so soon? Well maybe we do. I dunno.

But the point is, all this fricking typing on keyboards is bad for everyone's health. I've said it before...sitting at a computer all day, staring at a monitor and typing away is going to cause some bumps in our evolution.

First off, we're paving the way to the compound eye. I mean, I never saw "The Fly" (not a bug fan), but I don't think any of us wants our descendants to look so damned wacky. How will they romance each other? It won't be, "Baby, I am losing myself in your blue eyes." It'll be more like, "Baby, I can't look deep into your soul, but damned if my reflection(s) ain't fiiiiiine!" Plus, can you imagine the glasses they'll have to wear?

Next, folks will have shortened torsos and realllly long arms, a la Plastic Man. (Or is that Plasticman.) Or Dhalsim from Street Fighter. (Except his torso didn't look that short to me and he was awesome at giving noogies.) Actually being like Dhalsim would rock. Beats Blanka, anyway.

I seem to have drifted away from my original thought. Hm.

Well, you get the idea. Teach the kids to write, goddammit. I'm miffed that I can barely hold a pen, and I am especially miffed that it hurts to write a note by hand. I used to enjoy scrawling notes and letters, and now it's painful. My hands cramp up and my handwriting, which was never *that* great, deteriorates the more I write. I know that some cultures don't even have written languages, so everything's passed down orally, but that ain't what we're talking about here. We're talking about my fear that handwriting is going bye-bye, and I just ain't down with that.

I could rant more about computers and spellcheck and shite like that, but why bother. And just cos I'm ranting doesn't mean I don't use computers. So don't call me a hypocrite.

Now, wouldn't it be funny if that video said they were straying from cursive to focus more on print lettering? :D This is what happens when you only read headlines. I don't recommend it, but it's not like I'm writing a thesis here. Besides, I need to take a nap. I will dream of classrooms where the Aa Bb Cc still frame the blackboard, and kiddies learn how to connect one letter to the next. I'll also ponder why the capital G and Z cursive letters are so weird (but kinda fun to make)!

Thoughts? It's ok if you type 'em. After all, we are blogging here...

February 06, 2009

George Washington Carver would not be pleased...

Mr. Peanut, how very dapper
The Peanut Corp. is a dirty, dirty company, in all senses of the word. Read about salmonella, how the company shipped tainted products knowingly, and other things that will make you gasp. Shameful.

Don't recall much about George Washington Carver (or as I like to call him, The Original Mr. Peanut)? Get some learnin' here!

Mr. Peanut says, "Don't blame me, this isn't my company. I belong to Kraft, and I'm still safe to eat!"

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

February 01, 2009

Caveat Emptor or This post brought to you by...

It's Superbowl Sunday. I hate football, and am not going to watch the game (Go Steelers!), but I'm reminded that this is the time of the year when the best commercials debut. I mean, really, isn't this when the Budweiser frogs came to light? And the Taco Bell lions? Let's take a peek, then, at some of my fave commercials, the kind that make me "shh!" folks because I want to see and hear them uninterrupted. (These may or may not have debuted during the football frenzy, but they're still fab.)

Taco Bell
Taco Bell rules. I mean, when I was younger, I was not a huge fan of Mexican food (yes, yes, it's Mexican), and I still enjoy tacos sans lettuce, but I gotta give Taco Bell its props when it comes to advertising. They have almost always come up with snappy ad campaigns, whether it's the little chihuahua proclaiming, "Yo quiero Taco Bell!" or the Taco Bell lions (a la Ricardo Montalban), or even the original song about Taco Bell. Check out these memorable spots:

From 2007:


From 1997:


McDonald's also scored big with me for their "Mac Tonight" commercials in the mid-80s. Granted, I am not a Big Mac person--I'll take a double cheese, plain, that way you know it's made fresh--but any ad that riffs off a Bobby Darin song and has a likely blind moon pianist gets my vote. The following is a compilation of a bunch of Mac Tonight ads. (I didn't watch them all, but the 2nd and 3rd ones are particularly enjoyable.) Those huge burgers are making me hungry for Mickey D's! (Ok, I just watched them all. Apparently the last one is a special ad for Singapore Mickey D's..they're open 24 hours, awesome!!)



You know, it seems to me that the most creative, fun ads are for beer, drinks, and food. Eat, drink, be merry and all that. Which brings me to my next faves for Dos Equis beer.

I don't drink beer, but I am a sucker for a hilarious ad with great voiceover. "The Most Interesting Man in the World" series gets a thumbs-up from me. I particularly enjoy what the guy says by way of promoting the beer. Now that's an endorsement.





And there are even more to be found, too, not to mention a nifty website.

That's my shortlist, mostly because I'm still sick and need to lie down. :(

In the meantime, do you have any fave ads? Let's hear about 'em!

Back by popular demand!
(One request = popular demand in my book, k?)

VW Jetta's ad "Synchronicity" - supercoolio, right?

January 28, 2009

Rebirth of the Deathblog: Kim Manners

I had some other tidbits to share, but when I learned of producer/director Kim Manners' passing (Sunday, January 25), I thought it took precedence.

You may not have heard of Kim Manners, but if you've ever seen X-Files or Supernatural (and scads of other shows), you've likely seen and enjoyed his work. (I mean, he even directed the pilot of 21 Jump Street. That one's not my bag, but it shows his range.) I have been a fan of Kim's for years, and was shocked to learn of his demise. He was only 58, after all, and I hadn't even known he was sick.

Read more about the life and works of Kim Manners here:

RIP, Mr. Manners. Your life's work will continue to inspire and entertain. (But I'm still very sad we've lost you.)