Thursday, September 29, 2011

Guest post!

I am sick with some god awful infectious disease that I probably picked up from one of the rotten children that come into my place of business on a daily basis and touch things they should keep their grubby, dirty, germ-infested paws off of but don't because parents today have no inclination or legal right to properly discipline their children.

So, until I feel better have a guest post from Choo Choo.

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We interrupt this post to apologize for Choo Choo's guest post. Apparently she's having technical difficulties typing with her paws. There will be no further guest posts from her. Thank you for your patience. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Guess who had reservations for the opening night of the Salvador Dali Exhibit that's in Austin at the Russell Collection?


Guess who didn't go.


And Padawan.


Reservations can be made for another day.  It's here for a while, and I'm not worried! So I missed opening what? The pieces will be as beautiful on Wednesday as they were tonight. 

Why do I want to go to this Exhibit?

Well, it's frankly not just to get Padawan exposed to art outside of the computer animated world. (Though really that's a big one. Never even went to a zoo before he went with my family, poor thing. He's never been in an art museum ever.)

Dali resides in the same compartment in my head as sharks. Really fascinating, but utterly creepy and maybe a little terrifying. Seriously. I tried reading his autobiography a couple of years ago. (Yes, I said tried and not did read.) Couldn't finish it.

I mean, aside from the obvious lack of chronological order in his random passages, it was creepy. Like, he was creepy. From childhood through adulthood, just...utterly strange. There's the thing about biting the head off of the bat that was covered in ants just to freak out his babysitter because he saw her peeing on the ground. (I don't understand the connection either, I swear it.) There's also the bit about how he was running to watch something and saw his baby sister crawling in the hallway and just decided to kick her head like a soccer ball. He didn't understand why he was in trouble. Or the way he freaked out when the woman he loved (and presumably married) had to go to the hospital and he worried and by the time he found out she was fine he was so frustrated with his worry he said he could kill her for it.

You understand why I think he's a creepy dude. But some of his's stunning. The things he could create with watercolors...some of them vibrant (though nothing you could ever call cheerful) and some of them darker and haunting...I'd love to be in a room full of Dali. (So long as Dali himself isn't hanging around. Like a shark, I like him better with the glass between us.) I don't love all of his work, of course. Some of it is just straight up sinister, screwed up, and revolting. And if that's was the reaction he wanted then I imagine he's pretty pleased with himself.

I frankly can't bring myself to read any interviews of him. I got the distinct impression he's extremely proud. Arrogant even. And a coworker did say that he said he's not the best artist of our age because he's too good to be the best artist of the age. Or something. I can't really remember what he said because I didn't read it myself and it's hard for me to remember when people talk about little things that don't particularly interest me. And interview with Dali...not interesting. I've been inside of his mind with that autobiography and I felt a little crazier for the little bit I read. (Couldn't have been more than sixty pages or so.)


To be in the room with some of my favorite pieces though...

It will be amazing. I will go.

I swear I will. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Oh, the party...was awesome.

You wanted to know about the party...

Have some pictures.

The only thing big enough to hold all of the beer...was the bathtub. Beers from Around the World, indeed.

Surprise! And this was before she saw the bathtub...

Jazz's birthday meant a skull cake. And there were candles that looked suspiciously like joints. I'm pleased to say there was NO illegal activity at this party, though. Everyone was legal and no illegal recreational controlled substances to speak of. 

It started out just us girls wearing crowns (mine was fabulous, by the way), but you know it's a good party when EVERYBODY winds up with a crown.

Even Padawan wore a crown after several imported beers and an order from the birthday girl.

This was a special picture: Alamo Drafthouse Gang! (You remember my thoughts on the Drafthouse, right? The only right way to see a movie!)
I did my very best, I'll have you know, to avoid the cameras. And I know there were a few cameras that caught pictures of me slinking away. But MY camera didn't get turned on me. These pictures are all from my perspective. (And just so you guys know, I did try the blueberry beer...but I didn't like it. I drank Mike's Hard Pink Lemonade.)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Lessons from a Four Year Old

Meet my nephews...

Little "L"

Big "L"
I can't decide if they're little terrors or absolute angels.

I suppose it depends on the day. And whether or not they're throwing themselves on the floor and screaming in the middle of the place I work because they want to play with the drums.

They can't say "Chanel" so they either call me "Neh-wee" or "Neh-wl." 

Sometimes Relly will encourage them to throw in a spiteful "Aunt" before whatever name they use.

I glower at her.

I am not Aunt anything. I'm too young to be an aunt.

I don't have toys, but they like coming over to my apartment. They liked to watch Finding Nemo, and when TV fails to entertain them properly, they find amusement in Choo Choo's toy basket. What they find so entertaining about dog toys, I have no idea. But they get hours of enjoyment out of it. 

They are scared of Choo Choo, a little bit. They like to pet her. But when she sits on their laps they scream. I think it scares them when they can feel her nails. (Fear of a five pound dog is tolerable in children. Not in my neighbor, who is still a spiteful, stupid Dog Kicking Bitch.)

We went out to lunch one day, and Uncle Padawan joined us. (I take a perverse pleasure in reminding them to call him Uncle. It makes me giggle to hear it.) Big L decided to sing his new favorite song.

"Doooo the funky lady! Doooo the funky lady!"


Well, it's hard without the tune.

Dude looks like a lady.

So I helpfully sang part of the song for him, so he could have the right words.

"Do me, do me, do me, do me,
Ooh, what a funky lady!
She like it, like it, like it, like that,
Ooh, he was a lady!
That! That! Dude looks like a lady!"

And he looked thoughtful for a moment, considering what I said, then turned to me and said, with great conviction, "No, I don't think that's right."

We couldn't help laughing. Could you keep a straight face? Of course you couldn't.

Then they (Double L) starting singing their absolute favorite of all time song. 

"My first kiss went a little this! *smooch* And twist! *smooch smooch* And twist!"

Apparently it's a Ke$ha song. I like the "ooo-wee-ooo" parts best. They're kind of catchy. Like "D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R a dinosaur! And O-L-D M-A-N you're just an old man, hittin' on me what? You need a CAT Scan!"

I don't approve of Ke$ha, of course. Most of her music is awful. But I like the catchy songs. 

Especially that one about brushing her teeth with a bottle of Jack. Cracks me up every time.

And speaking of booze...

Tomorrow night, Padawan and I are going to my friend's surprise birthday party. I'm telling you this because it's a themed party. 

Beers from Around the World. 

Don't tell anyone I said this, but somebody has seen way too many episodes of Mad Men. And it's the man I work with who happens to be throwing the party because she's his girlfriend. But don't tell anybody.

Anyway, we all got assigned countries to bring beer from. I was assigned Austria for some god-awful reason. So I traded someone else for England and then took a trip to Specs. Ever been in there? It's like a Temple of Booze. I've never see so much alcohol under one roof.

Of course, I really feel sorry for the two people who got assigned Korea and Vietnam. Specs didn't have any imported beers from either of them. Of course, there's more than one Specs in Austin (and if that doesn't tell you something about this city you should consider that the store we went to is the smallest location of several) so there's probably some at one of them. Still, I had a much easier time with England. (Didn't see any from Austria but did find some from Belgium. That's kind of similar, right?)

Good lord I am tired. I'm going to go to bed. Have to make sure I wake up on time because Clueless will be dropped off bright and early tomorrow morning to Padawan can shuttle her home. (Still no license. And by the way, it's a crime that she didn't get sent to jail and just got stuck in mandatory alcoholism classes. She should be punished, not pitied.)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

I've been gone, but I'm back with a bang!

I have to hand it to my new neighbors underneath me: they certainly know how to treat the people they live near. The respect for the lives of everyone outside of their own little world is an example to the whole world. I strive to be as caring, considerate, and polite as the people who replaced the uptight  asshole who lived below us until a month ago.


By the way.

That was completely and utterly sarcastic. 

I may have despised the pretentious asshole who lived below us, but for all of his faults (and he had several) at least he didn't think he owned the whole damn world.

Let me just break it down: I graduated at the ripe old age of seventeen and proceeded to move into a dorm. And from the time I was dorm bound until the present day, I've had neighbors who have been...a little less than perfect from time to time. But, I have never before today had to file a formal and angry complaint against a neighbor.

They've been here one single month, and they have managed to do everything wrong. 

Starting with the fact that the man parks his bike on the bike rack in such a way that a rack that should easily hold three bikes can only hold two. And he's always using his bike to block the second bike from being able to lock up properly. This follows the fact that they NEVER leave their trash in the can like they're supposed to and it's always sitting out there in the bag, oozing something foul. Then there's the fact that when Padawan and I are laying together and haven't moved a muscle for hours, they randomly bang on their ceiling, which is our floor, like we're being too loud...IN OUR SLEEP. They even did it once while I was soaking in the bathtub because I had an intense migraine and sitting in a hot bath in darkness and utter silence helps. Having that interrupted suddenly by loud banging directly beneath when I couldn't have been making ANY FUCKING NOISE was beyond forgivable. 

But the thing that pushed me over the edge was something that never should have been a problem.

Their dogs.

They've got two beautiful boxers that I just want to pick up and hug, they're so cute. They're always wagging their tails and just begging for love and affection. My problem is not with the dogs. The dogs are adorable. They are poorly trained. How? 

Well, since you asked so nicely...

Every morning they release their dogs into their yard (they rent an apartment with a yard) at seven thirty where they stay for two hours, barking incessantly. And I do mean that. They bark from the time they leave the apartment until they are pulled back inside. Without pause. 

No, I'm a dog owner. I know that all dogs barks sometimes. It happens. But to actually take your dogs, leave them outside at ungodly hours in the morning, and to let them bark without an attempt at restraining them EVERY SINGLE MORNING?????

That's not only fucking rude, that's bad dog ownership. Dogs should be taught proper manners, and while Choo Choo still gives a little woof at the occasional passerby, she has never been left to bark outside for hours on end.

And maybe if it was just the morning routine, I really wouldn't care. But it's also the fact that they release the dogs every night AT MIDNIGHT for a similar routine. Except that when the dogs to get quiet at night, as they do sometimes, the stupid woman pulls out squeaky toys and makes goblin noises and roaring sounds and barking sounds at the dogs to get them started again! And let me just say that the sound ordinance goes into effect at ten, so egging them on outside at midnight is not only absolutely fucking rude to the nth degree, it's illegal as well.

So after a particularly hellish week I went to bed last night at ten and got woken up, as usual, at midnight by the woman and her dogs. And when I finally fell asleep, they fucking started it all over again at seven thirty, like always. But I was pissed. 

So I stuck my head out of the door and yelled, "WILL YOU BE QUIET, PLEASE?" My voice was shrill, cracking, and as polite as I could make it after a month of Band Season and sleep deprivation. They took the dogs inside immediately.

Only to let them back out ten minutes later. 

And then the man ABOVE us yelled, "Shut those damn dogs up!"

To which they yelled something beyond rude back. 

Now, I know for a fact that people have taped notes on the door of this couple. I have seen and read them myself. They've been warned plenty. And I just had enough.

So I was at the Office first thing this morning to see the Manager, and I was ready to let it all out. 

Only to hear, upon hearing that I was complaining about a neighbor, "Is this about 5108?"


"Is this about the dogs?"


"About seven thirty this morning?"


"Yeah, you're the third one this morning. I had two voicemails when I came in."

Oh. Guess I wasn't the only one completely fed up.

But I had walked all the way down there, so I let it all out. The banging. The midnight barking and egging on. The early mornings. How they'd sworn vilely at the neighbor who yelled after me. How they were just rude and disgusting and how I wanted them warned.

So. This time they got a polite note.

But next time...They get a fine and a lease violation notice.

Third time?


What do you think my reaction to this was?

Why, I went to work and demoed a really awesome recorder with which to record the next incident so that the Office employees can understand EXACTLY why this is so frustrating for us. I'm a musician, damn it. I'm laid back. I have a dog. I totally get it. And they pushed me too far. I work too hard and deal with too many children and frustrated parents all day to have to deal with being kept from sleep because two ignorant dog owners can't figure out that dogs, like children, need to be taught proper behavior. 

All I need is one slip up...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

You're about to have to take in a lot of information.

Alrighty, so to catch you guys up.

We have a new efficiency expert hired by the owner. We are no longer allowed to wear hats, shorts, or skirts above the knee. I don't see how shorts and hats interfere with efficiency, but I totally get the skirt thing. At least as far as my coworker Raver is concerned. That little rule was added after an unfortunate day when Raver wore a decent length chiffon skirt with tulle under it. It was long enough, but so stiff from the tulle that when she bent over (and she never bends any way except straight over) the skirt showed everything. I was completely horrified to look up as she bent over a box to see her black thong and her butt cheeks. Three young boys were amused, my other coworkers where nonplussed, but Bones Buddy actually had to say something to Manager Man. So, because Raver doesn't know how to bend over like a lady in a skirt, the rest of us are being punished.

As for nearly going down for something Raver did at work...we both happened to be working behind the counter one Saturday when it was busy. We both happened to intercept customers looking to drop off student model flutes for repair while talking about upgrading to YFL461 models for concert band. The difference was my customer was a man, left his flute for repair, and left with a price quote, a flute on hold, and a smile on his face. Raver's customer left with the flute needing repair, with no desire to come back, and with an experience so unpleasant she felt the need to send an e-mail complaining about the rude girl who had "helped" her. Well, Manager Man had heard me talking to someone about a 461. It's not a commonly asked for flute. Most people prefer to go inline at the pro flute level. Finding someone wanting an offset G key on a pro level solid silver flute is rare. He thought it was impossible that two different customers came in. But after he read the e-mail to me I insisted it couldn't have been me. My customer left with my card and name, he would have said my name. I also said his flute was still in for repair. And it turned out that it was Raver that had done it. The woman had been so mad she took her flute to another store for repair and bought the 461 elsewhere. That was an eighteen hundred dollar instrument we didn't get to sell. The reaction? If Raver EVER gets another customer complaint, she's fired. (Manager Man had to arrange that with the boss. He wanted to fire her immediately.)

As for me costing the store fourteen hundred dollars? A woman and her daughter came into the store with a rental return, and when I looked at the clarinet in question I was confused because it wasn't one I'd ever seen us carry, let alone rent. It was plastic, for one. But she said it was the instrument we'd given to replace her stolen wooden clarinet. I thought the store had just been cheap and replaced a nice clarinet with a plastic one. I conferred with Manager Man, who said just to take it and make a note. Turned out that woman had NEVER filed a police report for a stolen instrument and we have NEVER carried the plastic model she claimed we gave her. The instrument she kept was a fourteen hundred dollar wooden Yamaha. The instrument she gave was a five hundred dollar plastic POS. Technically, she'd rented the Yamaha long enough to buy it outright at a sale price. But we lost the ability to rerent or sell the used one we gave her.

Then there was my near drowning. Well, against my better judgement I went back to Schlitterbahn for a second attempt at family fun. It was hot, there was no rain, and the power stayed on the whole time. But Master Plo Koon decided he wanted to go in the wave pool. It's a big circular pool where great floods of water are released every so often to make waves. If you wait by the alley that lets the gushes of water out, you can ride the flood of water all the way around. I jumped into that. I'm actually a very good swimmer. Unfortunately, the kid who decided to leap in with me was not. He went under and, I'm assuming, got some water in his lungs for his troubles. When he came back up he was groping for something, anything, and found me. And my head. And he pushed MY head down so that he could stay afloat as we were both being swept away. I was surprised and got a lungful of water. Whoever said drowning is painless lied. Sucking in that water was immediately painful to my nose, my throat, and my chest. When I got myself back up the stupid fucker had his hands in my hair. I had to fight him off of me, then fight the urge to sock him in the nose. But I got out after that. 

Now I get to tell you guys about my biking experiences. Let me tell you, I've only got an eight minute bike right to work, and that includes a stop for coffee (unless the line is long), but it never fails that someone almost ALWAYS hits me. The number of people who make illegal left turns when I'm in the middle of the crosswalk is astounding! And then these bastards have the nerve, the audacity, the gall to honk at me and give me the finger! Let me just clarify something for you assholes who almost hit me: THE FUCKING RED LIGHT MEANS YOU CAN'T TURN LEFT AND THE CROSSWALK SIGN WITH THE WHITE STICKMAN FLASHING MEANS I HAVE THE FUCKING RIGHT OF WAY! The redlight ALSO means you have to YIELD TO ME when I'm crossing, even when you're turning right on a red light, because I HAVE THE RIGHT OF WAY! The funny thing about this is I don't even drive, ever, but I have a better understanding of the laws of the road than these people. 

I know you guys are only still reading because you want to find out about my head injury at this point. Am I right? Of course I am.

Well, the week before my birthday was my coworker Dizzy's birthday, and since we're good friends and I adore his fiance, Padawan and I accepted the invitation to his birthday party. Dizzy's fiance is in her third year of medical school and she's a licensed Pharmacist, but she's playful. She has a lot of silly hats and toys, a giant air puff gun among the latter. 

This is what it looks like, exactly. 

Now, in the normal way of things, these things are not in and of themselves dangerous. It literally just shoots a big puff of air into you with a slightly loud noise that, when unexpected, can make you jump. I was talking to Jelly and Fun Fiance with my back turned to Padawan and Dizzy when I heard a loud noise as I felt a puff of air hit my head. It didn't hurt, but it surprised me. I jumped and turned around and saw what caused the noise. I laughed and turned back around, warning Dizzy not to do it again. (The gun was in his hand.) 

A moment later I felt a sharp stabbing pain in the back of my head as I heard the noise of the puff gun. I felt the puff of air, too, but it I can't remember which registered first. I do remember the pain, though. Sudden, red hot and angry, my head throbbed. I screamed and clamped my hands to my head, turning to give Dizzy a verbal tongue lashing. This time, however, the gun was in Padawan's hand. 

I laughed and said, "Hey! That hurt!"

And everybody laughed and tried to figure out what exactly had hurt about it. I was trying not to cry as I kept my hands clamped to the spot that was still throbbing. And then something started to feel warm on my hands. I said, "Guys, I think I'm bleeding."

And this resulted in another round of drunken laughter followed by, "Chanel, it's an air gun. There's nothing in there to hurt you, let alone make you bleed!" 

Then I made the simple mistake of taking my hands away from my head and looking at them.

Instant tunnel vision. My eyes focused on the blood that was covering my palms and finger tips. I manged to get out one, "Oh my god!" before the hysterics and hyperventilating kicked in. Tears and sobs choked their way out between huge gasps of air. Faintly I heard Jelly turn to her husband and say, "Jesus Christ, she's going to faint! Get a pillow!"

And suddenly there was a voice, loud and controlled. "Chanel, breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Somebody get me a wet washcloth. For god's sake, Chanel, stop looking at your hands! Somebody, put her hands down so she can't see the blood!" Something cold and wet pressed down on my head, someone pulled my face up and my hands out of my sight. I managed to start breathing through my nose and out of my mouth, slowly. The tunnel vision returned to normal vision, but I was still crying.

I looked to my left, and there was Fun Fiance, all medical student and fully trained to deal with an emergency, keeping my wound from bleeding. She said, "It's okay. I can see it. It's not deep, but it's pretty big. It's shaped like a triangle. I don't know what hit you, but something definitely got you good. No, I promise it's not deep and you don't need stitches, stop looking at me like that. Head wounds bleed a lot, but it's not dangerous. I promise."

Well, I've had stitches in my head before and I happen to know that for a head wound to need stitches there would need to be a LOT more blood than that, so I calmed down a little more and finally stopped sobbing, though I was still breathing carefully. They finally got me up to go into the bathroom, and I heard Dizzy, baffled, saying "'s an air puff gun! How do you get a bloody head wound from a puff of air?" as the other guys teasingly congratulated Padawan on "trying to get rid of her" and gave him playful shoulder punches.

Jelly helped me wipe the mascara tracks off of my face. (Well how the hell was I supposed to know I needed waterproof? I hadn't intended to cry! It was a party for crying out loud, and I was sober!) She asked, "Are you mad at Padawan for doing this?"

I looked up, surprised. "What? No! It was an accident! Besides, you just wait and see. I'm getting an ice cream out of this at the very least!"

Everybody in the other room heard me and laughed. Dizzy said, "See, dude, she's not even mad! Just buy her some ice cream and she might not even bring up in a fight six months from now!"

Of course I had to get up and shower the next day. Not fun. And brushing my hair? Even worse. Dizzy, however, had the brilliant idea of getting the camera scope and using it to show me on the big screen at work what my injury looked like the next day. 

From the picture he showed me of the wound and my own study of the offending weapon, I have decided that the following situation took place. Use the below picture for visual aide. 

On either side of the rounded barrel where the air shoots out is a spike from the lightning design. (What lightning has to do with puffs of air, I have no idea.) When Padawan attempted to shoot the air at me, he was too close, and the gun jerked forward with the release of the part that shoots forward when let go. It hammered me right in the head.

Padawan tried to act offended when we left because I cried. I quickly set him straight on that account. I was the victim of his childish pranks! 

And all I have the energy for right now.

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