How to Have a Good Holiday Season When You’re the Niskayuna Town Court

So, a few weeks ago, when the proverbial $^&# was hitting my personal fan on what seemed a daily basis, I arrived home to discover a curious envelope addressed in my name, from none other than the illustrious Town Court of Niskayuna.

Now, my curiosity was certainly peaked, since I have never lived in that beautiful town, have no general reason to be within the confines of said town, and know only vaguely the direction in which it glamourously resides on local area maps.

It turns out that the ancient record keepers in the town of Niskayuna are cleaning out their cupboards and antique steamer trunks, because that curious envelope contained a delightful request that I appear in court, or suffer the dire consequences of having my driving license torn up and burned in a public square.

“WHAT!?” cried I, standing ready to accuse my darling son of illegal and nefarious doings in the town I barely know, likely with my vehicle, and with the hopes that he could intercept the envelope before it reached my hands.  Of course, it makes no sense that my license would be affected by something my kid did, but, as an upstanding and law abiding parent, generally, when something is amiss (like, 3 pairs of scissors, all of the drinking glasses, your sanity), a child is the first person in line for interrogation.

As I further investigated this document in my hand, I noted that I was being accused of a deadly crime which happened…..(cue firing squad drumroll, please)….in 2005.  Yes.  2005.

Now, I’m no mathematician, but 2005 is quite a ways back.  Back far enough to understand quickly that I could not accuse my son of getting me arrested at a time when he was still fairly innocent and possibly not yet able to reach the pedals in my car.

Damn.

This means that I alone, am to blame for this horrific crime that happened in the peace-loving and naturally beautiful town of Niskayuna.  What happened EIGHT YEARS AGO in Niskayuna?  Why was I in or even near Niskayuna?  Where exactly is Niskayuna, anyway?  ”This is bull%#$^,” I sputter.

After much anger, confusion, and investigation of my crime (of which, incidentally, the paperwork does not present the details, and when one calls the telephone number of the wise employees of Niskayuna Town Court, one receives a recording, with no option to leave a message) (so, thank you, Lori, for helping), I discover that I could very well likely be guilty.

It seems that I have no alternative but to appear in those hallowed halls of justice, with my head hung low, prepared to face judgment for my uninspected vehicle of eight years ago when I flagrantly trespassed the boundaries of that heavenly town.

Does it matter that I barely remember anything from eight years ago?  No.  Does it matter that I have no way to prove my innocence because my bank records are held electronically for five years and I, in my stupidity, do not keep ancient paperwork in lockboxes for eternity?  No.

They can lose track of something for EIGHT bloody years, and I must accept that somehow, there is no possibility, whatsoever, that they may have lost the receipt that I actually paid the #%A&**(@ thing?

Now, I’m guessing that the folks in the Niskayuna Town Court are having a lean year. Perhaps the Town Court King cannot justify another tax on his downtrodden citizens. Perhaps the heating bill is overdue, and the clerk’s son, Tiny Tim, is in need of some new crutches or an iPhone.  The holidays are approaching, after all.

I don’t know the exact reasons, but I have two small suggestions on how they can fatten their coffers, without digging up some old crap from eight years ago.

  1. Stop paying for the upkeep of that palace of a Town Hall with the vaulted ceiling, gigantic flowering plants and antique displays in the lobby.  You might also want to fire whoever is in charge of keeping the Community Activities Board up to date, because a zumba class for Seniors which is outdated by two weeks is hardly informative.  (Though I suppose two weeks is nothing, compared to eight years.)
  2. Pay your policeman to take one day per week (or hell, even two), and patrol the roads during rush hour.  It can even be a little earlier than rush hour, say, at 6:15 a.m.  I guarantee that they could find plenty of money-making infractions which are far more life-threatening than an inspection which is one month overdue.  In fact, I’d even volunteer my time to assist in pointing out the ones who are careening in and out of lanes, tailgating, talking/texting while drinking coffee and “driving,” speeding, or even driving 45 miles per hour under the speed limit in the left lane.

Anyway, in the end, the Holiday Season will be prosperous for the Niskayuna Town Court.  They’ve got my eighty dollars, in addition to the thousands of dollars from other poor suckers who had even older infractions (so said the extremely lovely and congenial court clerk lady) in the moldy box of random paperwork found in the Town Court attic.

I am glad that my money can assist the poor and naked of Niskayuna, it truly warms my heart.

So with that, I say, Happy Holidays, Niskayuna Town Court!

And, I’m sorry for being a bad criminal.

If You’re Gonna Blow it Up, Don’t Wear Hello Kitty Shoes

hello-kitty

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my adventures in the Ladies’ Room, and I’ve had this post brewing in my head for some time now.  It’s a little bizarre, but I could probably write daily about some Infamous Incident which occurs in that delightful tiled room, but I’m guessing that one can only hear so much on the matter.

Now I know that the title up there seems completely unrelated to the Ladies’ Room, and perhaps you were expecting something more politically or globally themed.  Apologies, but this has nothing to do with military functions nor atrocities suffered around the world (though, there is something to be said about the atrocities suffered in the Ladies’ Room in my particular workplace).

I am happy to say that my two coworkers share similar views regarding “business” functions which occur in the Ladies’ Room, and generally, our day is not complete without one of us shouting a warning of something nefarious going down in that delightful room down the hall.  One coworker has referred to the “business” as “blowing it up,” as in, “Don’t go in the bathroom, someone is blowin’ it up in the third stall!”

Now, I happen to think this is the funniest expression I’ve heard to describe that function which people should reserve for the privacy of their homes, and I’m laughing right now, just thinking about it.

In our particular bathroom, it seems that “blowin’ it up” occurs on a daily (multiple times, multiple participants… what the heck?) basis.  I’m not sure if it’s something in the food, the air, or what, but those three stalls see a lot of action.

Sadly, it seems that the stalls are unable to handle such daily excitement, which inevitably leads to toilet clogs, an occasionally flooded floor, and a real fear of opening the door when all you wanted to do was rinse your coffee cup.  I’ve found that a cringing facial expression, tip-toeing, and stealthy opening of stall doors does not save me from the carnage left behind by other business-doers.

Generally, the best thing to do in our Ladies’ Room is to get in, do your thing, and get out as quickly as possible, particularly if the handicapped stall is in use (the luxury “business” suite).  Sometimes, it is better to just leave and wait for an “all clear” signal from your coworkers.

I wrote something long ago, when I first started this blog, about the fact that if you are unlucky enough to have emergency business to do in the bathroom, pretty much everyone knows who you are.  Since our Ladies’ Room is a bit small, there is generally no way for you to avoid being discovered.  Particularly if your feet are easily identifiable.  If you’re wearing fluorescent green peep toe shoes, you’re screwed.  Or.  Hello Kitty shoes.

Now, I’m not exactly sure why an adult in a workplace would be wearing Hello Kitty shoes, and part of me considers that it might be a kind of cool, funky sort of thing, like, I don’t know, wearing a Bazooka Joe tee shirt and sporting a mohawk.  But, funky or not (sadly, there are no mohawk sporting workers in my building, so the cool factor is not there), wearing Hello Kitty shoes is going to get you noticed.  Wearing Hello Kitty shoes and blowin’ it up in the bathroom is a double no-no.

You should realize, Hello Kitty Shoe Wearer Who Blows it Up in the Ladies’ Room, that long, analytic discussions will be held at your expense, and perhaps you’ll even be mentioned in someone’s blog post.  My advice to you (apart from not wearing Hello Kitty shoes without a mohawk), if you should have another “emergency,” is to either switch to your plain, black, unidentifiable shoes beforehand, or go to another floor to do your business.

Blowing it up should be reserved for your bathroom at home.  And likely, so should your Hello Kitty shoes.

And that, my friends, is my sage advice for the day.

One Year of Bliss

Well, I don’t know if I’d exactly call it “bliss,” but it has been one year that I have been the “official” owner of this domain.  I remember feeling totally excited and grown up when I was on the verge of purchasing it, and I thought, “Well, we’ll see what happens, and if it’s interesting enough, I’ll renew it when it comes up…”  And now, here we are, a year later.

Anyway, it’s been ages since I’ve written, and I really should do something about that.  My friend Chris writes nearly every day, and I feel extreme guilt that I do not do the same.  I’m thinking my problem is many-fold, in that, I get too sidetracked with other ridiculous things (damn you, Facebook games), and generally, my blog-thinking time is when I’m in bed.  Since my main priority these months in respect to bed time actually is consumed with passing out or thinking about work-related items, I’m afraid I’ll have to start blog-thinking at other times of the day.

So, in honor of my year anniversary, rather than complaining or writing about the adventures in the Ladies’ Room (I’ve actually got a good post on that, floating in my head), I’m doing a post on things that I currently like.  And, since you know I’m a fan of lists, here it is:

Things I Like (For Now, At Least):

  1.  The fact that the guy in the grocery store called me “Miss.”  I don’t think I’ve been considered a “Miss” in quite some time now, apart from the fact that it puts me in Old Maid territory, so, this was a smile-inducing moment.
  2.  Autumn.  In addition to the fact that I can actually sleep at night since it is below 138 degrees, there’s also apples, foliage, running to the store at 9:30 at night to buy vanilla ice cream because the apple kuchen you’ve just made is warm and would be much better with the accoutrement, the forthcoming Holiday Season, and trying to figure out what to wear because it’s too cool for Summer clothing and too hot for sweaters.  Autumn is good.  And it sounds much better than “Fall.”
  3.  This guy in the gym.  Holy Jesus.  I don’t know if you’ve ever had one of those moments when you look at a person, and by golly, just like in the movies and storybooks, it’s like your heart stops.  This has only happened ONCE to me before, and this was a close second.  Maybe because it’s already happened once, it loses its charm the second time around, but, man oh man.  I’m guessing that this gentleman gets this sort of slack-jawed and dazed confusion type of reaction all the time, and I’m hoping that mine was not as un-cool as I suspect it was.
  4.  Now this one is a bit ridiculous, but I’ll say it anyway.  I think it’s going to be very temporarily a “thing I like”, but for now, it’s good.  I’ve finally gotten access to be able to work from home.  I am not against the general idea of staying late to finish work, but the fact is, I get up at the #$%@(!! crack of dawn just to get there early, so (let’s say it together) I can leave early.  It’s like a whole level of guilt has been removed from my shoulders, and, it has the added benefit of relieving some stress that my desk is becoming a Hell Hole of Disaster.
  5.  Cavatelli.  This will be on my list of Things I Like Forever, and I don’t think I need to explain my reasoning.  If you don’t know what it is, I’m sorry to say that your life is bereft of all meaning, and you should remedy this, immediately.
  6.  And lastly, this commercial.  It makes me laugh every time I see it, and, while I don’t really think I “feel” that the “transparency” link is quite right, I don’t care, because it’s damned funny.

Thanks to all who have supported me in this effort, and here’s to a new year of (hopefully more consisting posting in) pazzacate.com.  Cheers!

P.S.  Just thought I should add…. since the start of pazzacate.com, I’ve written 66 “glorious” posts (hmmm… that’s not such a great number), published one book, obtained an actual job (hence, the 66 posts…. damn you, needing money to survive!), and written another book, which I hope to publish before the year anniversary for my first book hits.  This all should have been in the opening paragraphs, but, oh well.

A Cow Ain’t a Woodchuck

Recently, on vacation, I think, I was participating in a conversation regarding the topic of “worst job in the world.”  I have generally maintained that being employed as a person who cleans port-a-potties must be a pretty (you know I’m going to say it) $hitty situation.  Because I’ve never been in a port-a-potty what smelled of wildflowers, had mosaic tiled floors, and involved “customers” who were sensitive and caring about the placement of any or all of their bodily excretions.  Alarmingly, there are no sacred nor forbidden areas in a port-a-potty, everything is up for grabs when it comes to the Art of Decorating With Poo/Pee/I don’t even want to know.

Anyway.

After having watched some episodes of the television series, “Under the Dome,” I have decided that the worst job I, personally, could ever have, would be that of turning a book into a movie or a television series.  Now, one would think this could be exciting and inventive; translating award-winning and brilliantly written books into something for the prefer-to-watch-rather-than-read crowd must have its challenges and exciting moments.  And, while sometimes I appreciate that license has to be taken at times (“okay, this is the part in the book where the main character is in a coma for 40 weeks, we gotta speed this up… we only got an hour to work with, people!”), most times, I find myself a little pissed on behalf of the author.

I’m quite sure that Stephen King has no need for earthlings like myself to be outraged on his behalf, and I’m guessing that he must have a (surely) creative way to numb his personal feelings when television/movie experts are completely screwing with meaningful (And I mean, meaningful.  How I love thee, Stephen King.) details during re-writing and production.  I have not discovered this talent, and I suppose, until I’ve been offered millions to produce some novel that I haven’t yet written, I likely never will.

I’ve discussed before that, in my experience, Mr. King is able to get down to the personal level when it comes to catastrophe/weird crap.  It’s the regular folk who, too, are affected, and it brings his stories closer in a delightful and often deeper way than if he had just written, “and so, the White House and DC were obliterated in three seconds.”

Anyway, back to the job of helping the public (are we really that dumb?  do we really need that much “#POW!#@!!” in everything we see?) to appreciate the bigness of things that happen in “Under the Dome”, when in fact, and here’s the real story here, it’s the smallness of things in this story which pack the mental punch.  Is the general viewing public unable to grasp subtle?  Is it really that impossible to translate subtle onto the screen?

Now, there are countless, and I mean COUNTLESS things I could say about how things are progressing in the television version of Chester’s Mill, but my first comment involves the first minutes of the first episode; you know, when the Dome comes down.

First, I’ll say that they did a fantastic job of showing the Dome “hitting” home.  I made a rhyme there.  I think it was probably necessary to show the line in the dirt, though I think the earthquake effect before hand was wrong.  But, not a big deal.

However.  (And this probably says something about Mr. King that I remember such details) I had a great sense of foreboding when I saw that they used a cow sliced cleanly in half rather than the image of a lowly woodchuck who was fat and old and bumbling and foraging, and enjoying the sun on his back, suffering the same fate, when the Dome descended.

I get it.  A woodchuck is small, and not visually stunning.

But.

Humanity is small, and not visually stunning.

And that’s how, in my humble opinion, Mr. King makes it personal.  That, and the fact that, while we be small, we are quite significant, in the whole scheme of things.  Quite.

We are significant to ourselves, our pets, our families, our friends, and sometimes, that causes a ripple effect:  in our small town, then in neighboring towns, then neighboring states, and then, whether we’re interesting or not, sometimes in another of Stephen’s books/worlds.

I realize that it must be a gargantuan task to attempt to translate onto the screen the bounty of smallness prevalent in Mr. King’s novels into something that moves us or makes us understand better the gravity of certain situations.  But sometimes, a woodchuck should stay a woodchuck.

And characters should be able to keep their wives who play significant roles in the outcome of the story.  And other characters shouldn’t be married.  And other characters shouldn’t be murderers or “collection agents”, at all.  And other characters do not seem as crazy when they haven’t committed a murder in the first 25 minutes/ don’t have a brain tumor*/don’t keeps their murder victim/s in a pantry.  And other characters should be younger.  And certain other characters who were never related before should remain unrelated.  Mainly because one of them is supposed to be dead within the first 25 minutes, but, who am I.

Anyway, that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and I haven’t even gotten into the further creative re-writing that happens past the first episode.

I honestly do try to “forget” that I’ve read the books that these things are based upon.  I admit that I can tolerate The Game of Thrones because, watching it on the screen, it saves me the time that I spent skimming through countless annoying chapters.  Perhaps a pre-requisite for these re-writing jobs is that you must absolutely hate everything you read.  I guess then, it might be rather fun.  ”I hated that guy and had to read about him for eight chapters.  Let’s cut him out.”

Overall, though, it’s a job that qualifies as “worst in the world” in my personal book (heh), and I suspect that the people holding these positions are fortunate that book lovers are not generally known as the overly violent or vengeful sort of crowd.

Will I keep watching?  Perhaps.  But my annoyance reached alarming levels with the viewing of the episode where the “kids” discover the “Dome Generator.”  I haven’t watched past that one, yet, I’m not sure I can handle what happens next.

So, if you haven’t read the book, by all means, enjoy the show.  It’s probably interesting enough to be worth it.  If you have, please link hands with me now, and join me in singing a dirge for the original one thousand and seventy two pages of pure poetry that has been turned into muck.

This one’s for you, Mr. Woodchuck.

*p.s.  I’m not up to date in my watching, so perhaps a tumor has been implanted into the brain of one or more of the characters in the “story.”  If so, I apologize for the spoiler.*

Eat, Pray, Blah.

So, I recently finished reading Eat, Pray, Love.

I admit I have wanted to read this book for some time, probably since seeing the trailer for the movie, years ago.  I know, I am very slow, behind the times, not very hip, and I’m not in Oprah’s will.  Whatevers!

Anyway, I thought it seemed an interesting book to muse upon, and waited to buy it so that I could get the most out of my whopping $9.99 (for an electronic book!!) (which is really exorbitant by my standards, since usually I won’t go much above 99 cents.  Or free).  I wanted to be sure that I was devoting my mind and soul to the reading of this acclaimed piece o’ literature.

So, since I feel it usually best to present the Bad Stuff first, and follow with the Nice Stuff, here we go.

I found myself disliking the narrator (well, the author, let’s be honest here) (but it feels less mean to dislike a disembodied voice) fairly early on.  Now granted, there were things she said which were absolutely brilliant and witty and award-winning, but we’re not on the Nice bit yet, so forget I said that.

So yes.  I disliked her for a few reasons.  Most of which fall under the umbrella of “feeling a  disconnect with the narrator.”  As in, “this lady is so far from what I am that I don’t even know if I can give this a fair chance.”

Now, I know this doesn’t make sense, completely, because I am utterly unlike most of the characters I read.  I mean, I’m not like any characters I read.  Hardly ever.  maybe some of them have blonde hair, but that may be the extent of it.  So perhaps I am misidentifying something here.

Part of the problem is likely due to the fact that the idea of the story, that of taking off a year from “normal” life, traveling to three countries, and finding oneself, sounds like a pretty good fantasy, in my book.  Add in something about a friendly dog and some horses, and that’s my perfect novel right there.  So perhaps part of me was hoping to identify with the author somehow, thinking that if we were similar, I, too, might soon travel to three countries and find myself.  Sounds reasonable, right?

When she mentions on the first page, that she hopes/doesn’t that her young, handsome, Italian tutor will/won’t kiss her (He can’t be fat?  Ugly?  Too hairy?  No.) and her reasoning that follows has me sighing in annoyance.  First page, people.

Annoyed.

When she further mentions her “passionate love affair” with a hot guy just after she had gotten separated/divorced, I am further displeased.  Still on the first page, and I’ve got some serious issues.

Who the hell has a “passionate love affair” with a “beautiful brown-eyed man” just as she is getting separated?  What about the time spent with eating gallons of ice cream while watching “Bridget Jones’ Diary”?  What about making ill choices during drunk occasions and waking up next to someone who resembles Dracula?  In the daylight?  While his skin is disintegrating?  What about the time spent feeling sorry for yourself/wondering if you’ll ever find love again/eating gallons of ice cream/drinking gallons of wine/making more bad choices/not getting out of bed/drinking more gallons of wine?  Did I miss a page?

No.

What’s even more excellent to discover is that this is the type of female who loses weight when she’s stressed.

Loses.

Weight.

What is that, like, .002% of the female population?

Anyway, I obviously had issues.

Apart from what I mentioned above, this superwoman also doesn’t have any self-image issues.  I’m not saying we all should have them, and frankly, we’re supposed to love ourselves for what we are (but change what we can, I think), and all that jazz, but, come on.

She mentions some small insecurities here and there, and I suppose that’s fine, but I’m feeling no sympathy when she discusses her hatred for a particularly long-winded song-chant, or any of the other inner problems which were barring her way to nirvana.

Now, there were some Nice Things happening with this book.  I loved her writing style.  I loved the entire “book” about Italy, and did feel connected to her reasons attached to learning the language and the food.  I identified (somewhat) with her attempts at “quieting the mind”, and, overall, her journey was a lovely and deep one.

In the end (but honestly, throughout), I came to realize that, while the tale was an interesting one, it was also disappointing.  For me.  I’m sure I’m not being fair in my assessment, and perhaps I exceedingly mind-hyped it beforehand, but, if this were a proper book with a cover and actual pages, it would not gain a coveted space on my “books to read over and over again” bookshelf.

Yes, I skimmed some bits, and yes, I read it to the end.  (It was $9.99, for Pete’s sake.)

I am guessing that I’m in the Minority with my opinion here, but, this is A Week of Critique, after all.  It would be no fun, whatsoever, if I just loved everything, right?