Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Roommate Wanted

I confess to not knowing a whole lot about McSweeney’s (including what it’s all about. I visit it so infrequently, and the material on there appears so bizarre and random at times, that I don’t quite get it) but this post struck a chord with me. You see, I too am looking for a roommate, and while I have a lead or two that I’m REALLY hoping will work out, I might end up having to go the Craigslist route in the end, which I am loathe to do (the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t, and anyone I might encounter via Craigslist is almost certainly a devil you don’t. Granted, I’m good at making friends with devils and other various hell spawn, but I’d rather avoid the unnecessary step, if possible.)

So, inspired by this most recent of McSweeney’s postings, I decided to craft my own want ad, and post it here. With any luck, I can avoid the devils entirely and get someone a bit nicer – like maybe a soul suffering in purgatory. On we go:

ROOMMATE WANTED – to fill a one bedroom vacancy in a two bedroom apartment in Jamaica Plain. Nice view of two other triple-deckers on either side (one of which continuously plays salsa music), an alley in the rear, and a street corner on the front. All modern conveniences included.

ME: 31 year old, professional male who works the usual 9 to 5 as a Support Analyst (HR speak for computer doofus.) Is generally an all-around nice person, though one who usually expresses said niceness in grunts. Has been known to throw Hot Pockets when they are undercooked. Occasionally, coat hangers too (for various other reasons having nothing to do with cook temperature.) Likes to attempt to cook (food other than Hot Pockets), watch movies (loudly), listen to music (loudly), and play video games in the apartment (in isolation, so no one will see how childish a hobby it is.) In otherwords, enjoys indulging in hobbies that are, for the most part, not useful.

YOU: Tough to say, because you’ll be taking the place of someone who served as an excellent roommate, however since specifics are necessary, I’ll give it a shot…

Preferably male (my girlfriend would be most displeased if you were either female or hermaphrodite) and preferably over 30. You must work full time, and have excellent bill paying skills, as you may be asked to occasionally pay mine in addition to your own (to which you must answer in the affirmative or risk termination of your lease.)

You must have good hygiene. Deodorant is a must. Farts are a must not. So is excessive mucous, body hair, and spittle.

You must not be from New York. If you sound like Fran Drescher, Billy Crystal, or Tony Soprano you will not be considered. If you are a Yankee fan, your application will be mailed to the Boston police along with a note that says, "I steal from 92 year old women who collect Social Security." Charges will be brought forth.

Referring to the above mentioned requirement, you must be mute - not physically, but voluntarily. You are not allowed to speak while I'm at home unless it's to say, "Your shoes have been shined, sir." Speaking while I am not at home is allowed, provided you ensure the sound wave's dissipation by the time I return.

You are not allowed to shower before me, even if I wake up late. Shower and bathroom must be cleaned after each use.

You must provide your own furniture, which ideally would be enough for the entire apartment (except for my bedroom, which you are absolutely not allowed in.) I look forward to settling in on your couch, and would thank you for the privilege.

Cooking is allowed as long as you clean up after yourself and the meal is for me. You are, of course, welcome to any leftovers. Feel free to use my cookware. If you find I don't have any, feel free to purchase some.

Any mice (or other rodents), or cockroaches (or other larvae) are your fault. It is your responsibility to have them exterminated, ideally at great expense (so the job is done right.) Failure to act within 30 seconds of the first sighting of one of the aforementioned creatures will result in immediate termination of your lease upon completion of your eventual call to the exterminator.

Laughter at my jokes regularly will entitle you to special privileges (ex. heat in your bedroom) provided it is genuine, and you don't overdo it.

Lastly, you must be nice. Mean people suck.

Interested (and how could you not be)? Leave a message in the comments with a preferred method of contacting you, and we'll get the ball rolling! Good Luck! I look forward to our potential new relationship together!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Oh, Bother...

Know what I did instead of posting tonight? Mopped the floor. Really. This is getting absurd. Mind you, the floor REALLY needed mopping, and as I have guests coming soon, it wouldn't do to leave it dirty. But still, it's typical. Sit down to write a blog post and then get sidetracked. I DID update the music on the sidebar, though...


New post coming tomorrow (Wednesday.) I'll be all sneaky like that at work (I can do that now. THEY MOVED MY CUBE... but more on that later...) In the meantime, feel free to peruse this list of 101 Great Posting Ideas and lemme know which if any you'd like to see here. I might even consider it. Sizzle, eh? See you soon.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Four and Twenty Blackbirds Baked In A Pi

A rare day indeed, is that which is comprised of not one, but TWO holidays. Yet, such is the case today… and for some reason, I’m still at work. This is a borderline outrage but, when considering that everyone else is also at work, the sting is somewhat lessened, I suppose.

Further lessening the sting is the fact that I didn't even know either holiday existed until I checked my Inbox this morning. It was there that the good folks at Mental Floss sent their random update informing me that today was both Albert Einstein’s birthday (OK… not a holiday, but maybe it should be) and International Pi Day (Get it? Pi=3.14blahblahblah? Today is 3/14? How cool is that?)

(Note: I have subscribed to many magazines over the years, but Mental Floss is the only one I have read consistently since subscribing. Other magazines would often sit on the coffee table until I “had time to read them” which, of course, never came. I make time to read Mental Floss. It’s ridiculously addictive, despite being a magazine which contains tons of trivia facts and detailed articles on subjects you’d never think to bother reading about on your own (such as Gary Larson, the Louvre museum, various art movements, etc…) I have often been accused of having a mind full of nothing but facts that are only useful when playing Trivial Pursuit or watching Jeopardy. Mental Floss is a big reason why. So are Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers and any music related website I can find.)

Anyway, math and physics have NEVER been my forte. In fact, I flat out sucked in both subjects in high school. However, there are others I know who both love and adore them, and it is to those people that I raise my mug of tea and say, “Happy Pi Day, chum… oh, and Happy Birthday, Albert!” And, if I may be so bold as to copy and paste from my Mental Floss newsletter (I really can’t believe I’m this much of a geek) I offer you some pie to digest in celebration. What better way to celebrate? Yummy stuff. Scarf it down.

HUMBLE PIE - While it's now an idiom for a humiliating apology, humble pie was actually eaten at one time. It was originally called "umble pie" - "umbles" being organ meat.

AMERICAN PIE - A Don McLean song. He said the title was simply a combination of "Miss America" and the phrase "as American as apple pie." Some sources say that American Pie was the name of the plane in which Ritchie Valens, Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper perished, but that's an urban legend. The plane had no name.

COW PIE - Sounds cute, but it's really a name for a pile of cow dung. Icky.

CHRISTMAS PIE - Mentioned in the nursery rhyme "Little Jack Horner." According to a likely untrue legend that surfaced about 300 years after the supposed event, the Abbot of Glastonbury, in an effort to gain favor with Henry VIII, sent a messenger named Horner with some property deeds hidden in a pie. (They were placed there to foil would-be thieves.)

BOSTON CREAM PIE – It's not really pie, but cake. Back when the recipe was first devised, cake pans were unheard of. So instead, the dessert was baked in two pie tins. The contents were then stacked and filled with custard or cream.

SHEPHERD'S PIE - Made of diced meat, mixed with vegetables and gravy, and covered on top with mashed potatoes. When baked in the oven, the potatoes turn hard and brown, but the pie itself doesn't have a real "crust." Why shepherd's pie? It was originally made with lamb.

ESKIMO PIE - Devised in 1920 by confectionary store owner Christian Nelson. A youngster came into his shop to buy an ice cream, then changed his mind and purchased a chocolate bar instead. Asked why he didn't get both, the youngster said, "I only got a nickel!" Nelson worked to find ways to make chocolate stick to ice cream, and his invention, first called the "I-Scream Bar," was later renamed Eskimo Pie.

PORKPIE HATS - Named because they physically resemble pork pie, a traditional British dish. It's made of pork and pork jelly baked inside a crust. Porkpie hats became common in America after vaudeville actors began wearing them. Jazz musicians further popularized them, as did actor Buster Keaton.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, March 08, 2007


I hate my desk.

Er… sorry, the desk is fine. It’s functional, and it works, but I hate my cube. It sucks, which is a shame because when I first started this job I was so looking forward to making its acquaintance and maybe becoming friends. I was prepared to embark on a slow, steady period of learning, discovery and growth with it – together, as comrades-in-arms.

Not anymore. Not with this hell spawn of a cube. It has betrayed me, utterly and completely, every single day.

Prior to taking my current job, I’d worked in environments where cubes were discouraged. “They’re isolating” the decision makers said. “They decrease productivity by cutting you off from your co-workers. They extinguish the free exchange of ideas!” True enough, but their lack, while perhaps making for a more efficient workplace, also makes for a more resentful one. I can exchange ideas with my co-workers in normal conversational manner, but I can also get hit by their sneezes, hear their intimate phone conversations, and smell their farts. My co-workers are also more apt to open up about things like “how Edgar and I shopped for Rolex’s this weekend,” and “oh, did you SEE what he was wearing?” And, the reverse is true too. You think my co-workers want to feel closer to me as I’m blowing my nose into a snot rag for the umpteenth time? Of course not. That’s repugnant. So why expose people to all that? Isolation – that’s the way to go!

You can, therefore, imagine my delight while being given the initial tour of my new workplace and seeing cubicles, cubicles everywhere. “We treat our cubicles with the respect and dignity they deserve”, said the anonymous HR person showing me around. “Love yours as you would one of your own offspring.” I told her I didn’t have any. She frowned, then shrugged, then faded slowly into the mist to await the next new hire in hopes of providing needed guidance. Indeed, the oracle had spoken – but not before bringing me to my own cubicle and telling me to get settled.

My initial excitement quickly turned to shock, and then dismay. Surely there must be some mistake. The cube - MY cube, was, and is, in the middle of an open area, snuggled nicely at the intersection of two hallways – the cubes entrance at their vertex. How could they have placed a cubicle here? Moreover, how could they have given it to me? ME, who had been waiting all my adult working life for this moment! This wasn’t privacy. This was exhibitionism! People walking up the hallway from twenty feet away can see inside! They can read my email! They can see what I’m surfing! THEY KNOW WHEN I’M WASTING TIME!!!

“Settle down” said the anonymous HR rep while reappearing out of the mist, “it’s only temporary. The area where you would normally be sitting is under renovation so we’ve had to place you here for now.”

That was four months ago. Nothing has changed. I’m still in this godforsaken dog box of a cube and, true to form, it broadcasts everything I do to the people passing by outside. Check my personal email? They know. They can read it, in fact. Surf on over to They tut-tut in derision, while studying Manny Ramirez’s OPS. How do I know they’re there? I can hear them as they walk up the hallway (in fact, I’ve learned to identify individuals by the sound they make when they walk. A person’s weight, gait, and shoe clunk can give their identity away – no joke), and I can see them looking in as I turn around to give them an icy glare. Oh, they’re there alright, and they’re paying attention. Even the quickest of alt-tabs into Excel or PowerPoint can’t escape their prying eyes. Hell, two days ago, the participants in the company sponsored Weight Watchers program had their weigh-in ten feet away. What do you think they did while waiting in line? One of them went so far as to comment on the incoming cold front after I checked the weather on All this, thanks to my cube who says nicely to passerby, “Come! Look what my occupant is doing! Come see how he wastes away the day!”

My cube’s just as evil twin brother lives on the other side of the hall. Its occupant has resided there for far longer than I’ve been in mine, and she’s subject to the same absurd lack of privacy. Lately, I’ve been paying close attention to her to see if I might learn some techniques to counteract the brazen trickery of my own cube. No luck. The rest of the company is destined to know what we’re up to. Lately, she’s taken to removing her laptop from the docking station and using it directly, in the hopes that its monitor is small enough and that her body would act as a shield big enough to prohibit passersby from seeing its display. I planted myself several feet away from her cube’s entrance and, much to her surprise, told her that her efforts were in vain; that she wasn’t fooling anyone and that I could still read her Yahoo mail, and that if anything she looked guiltier than before. I then wished her luck in clearing up her bad credit.

And so, for the moment, I’m reduced to a boring life of actually doing work, toeing the company line, and being an efficient little worker bee. I long for the day, though, when this cubicle that I’m in will be torn asunder, and cast to the four winds; when I can surf the Internet without fear of being caught or having my work ethic called into question; when my personal email is MY business and no one else’s. Then, my friends, will be a day to rejoice. Until then, I wait in joyful hope for the coming of my savior, New Cube That’s Out Of The Way… and I weigh in at 150 pounds.


Labels: ,