Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Three Kinds of People

1. those who would look at a bowl of stale doughnuts and think nothing, 2. those who dream of throwing them and 3. those who would actually do it. (Source: A Czech humorist, name unknown because it didn't come up on the first couple of pages of Google hits.)

I think I'm the second kind of person. What kind are you?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

GI/BIGG 7: Last-Minute Shopping

Good Idea*:

The fanciest bottle of wine at the supermarket you can afford. At this point, you're making up for a lack of thoughtfulness with expense.

*Unless the intended recipient is a small child or recovering alcoholic. Or current alcoholic, for that matter. That's just mean. In these cases, admit defeat and give cash.

Bad Idea:

Anything else from the supermarket. Nothing says "I didn't think of you until about twelve hours ago" like a hastily assembled basket of deli products.

More Bad Ideas:
wiper fluid
a toothbrush you got from the dentist (especially if you have the same dentist)
handmade coupons "good for one free backrub", unless you usually charge
decorative rocks
anything that looks like it might have been picked out of the donation barrel at the Y
food stamps
hotel toiletries

Thursday, December 21, 2006

GI/BIGG 6: For the Cook

Good Idea:

A paring knife.

Of course, the person you are shopping for already has a paring knife. Or, at least, he or she is sure there is one around here somewhere, only people keep taking it to open packages or unscrew the back of the dvd player, because who knows where the screwdriver went, and yes there's that one but the tip got broken off when it was used to pry that silver dollar out of the toaster, and oh yeah, every once in a while it turns up in the garage because someone has been using it for whittling.
This person needs a paring knife.

Bad Idea:

A cupcake stand.

It's a stand. For cupcakes. I realize that cupcakes are having something of a renaissance these days, as evidenced by the fact that when I was in New York I went to a bakery I had heard of as being specifically famous for making cupcakes and I had to stand in line around the corner to get in and there was a bouncer. For cupcakes. And when I did get one it was perfectly nice, the kind of cupcake someone's mom might make for a bake sale if she had enough time not just to make a run to Safeway but not enough to bake a whole pie or something, but not what I would call wait-around-the-corner-and-get-past-the-bouncer exceptional. So, clearly, there is some kind of fashion thing going on here. But a cupcake stand? Seriously? I mean, can you imagine anything more useless? Okay, so maybe it's cute the first time you pull it out for a party and everyone is impressed by how fashionable you are, but then what? Are you going to use it every year, until your guests start to sigh inside every time they see it? Plus, when you aren't using it, you've got this big thing you have to store somewhere, and what else are you going to do with it? Decorate it with tinsel and set it in your living room? Hang your bras to dry on it?
In short: No one needs this item.

Surgery Is Not Awesome

But you know what is? Being able to see out of both eyes.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

GI/BIGG 6: For the Person You Don't Know What to Get For- Male

Good Idea:

Nerf Weaponry

You might think the guy you are buying a gift for is too mature for this kind of thing. You are wrong.

Bad Idea:


Most guys do not want to wear cologne. Those who do have one particular kind that they have been applying the exactly the same amount of in exactly the same way since they were seventeen and they are perfectly happy with it.

The only exception here is if the guy in question has taken to coating himself with a thick layer of Axe Body Spray, because he believes the ads that explicitly state that this will make all women, everywhere, want to have sex with him when in fact it makes him smell like a cheap bathroom deodorizer. In this case, just about anything will be an improvement.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Daisy's Big Gay Night Out: Music, Produce and People From Inside My TV

It was a really great time, right up until the bananas hit me in the head. Followed, of course, by the tangerines. At least I got one of those.

Perhaps I should start at the beginning. The beginning is a text message, received by me last Wednesday afternoon, asking if I wanted to go to the Soul Asylum/Scissor Sisters concert happenning that night. After briefly considering my obligations to my employer, I decided "Hell yeah" and replied with a text message to that effect. That I was mistaken as to who, exactly, was inviting me turned out to be a minor issue (it was David, whose boyfriend John got the tickets but couldn't go); more serious was the fact that I hadn't anticipating my day taking a turn for the fabulous and had come to work in a crummy old sweater. But, one emergency trip to Target later, I was ready to go.

The show was at Bimbo's, in the city, which turns out to be a really nice place, albeit with expensive drinks. On the way in, everybody got a blinking plastic Christmas tree necklace, which just makes any outfit cooler. Soul Asylum was opening and they were pretty good, except they played a few too many songs that weren't "Runaway Train" (including "Hava Nagila", which was odd). But it was worth it, because they did get around to playing their one-hit-wonder-qualifier and I was instantly transported back to high school, when I thought that song was just so deep, and held it as proof that I did like grunge.

But, as fun as that trip down the memory superhighway was, it was the act with the current hits that we came to see, so in the break between the sets we edged our way up closer in front of the stage, into a seriously primo position (which came with it's own downside, but more on that later). David wandered off to check out the place, and I happened to notice that the people standing in front of me looked awfully familiar. They were, in fact, Jamie and Bevis, two cast members of a show called 5Takes, a travel show that I find inexplicably fascinating. They were on the last leg of their trip, in San Francisco, so of course I had to go up and introduce myself and act like a total dork. But they were nice, less naive and better informed than they come across on TV, and it was just very odd and to see in person the people who typically live inside my television. Eventually, they managed to edge away from me, and a while after that the headliners finally took the stage. I knew some of their music from the radio, and I had heard that they were good live, and suffice it to say that they were not a dissapointment. The crowd was about 1200% more into than at the last couple of concerts I've been to, and at one point I was entirely surrounded by gay men, one of whom kept stepping on my foot. People kept pushing by me, pretending like they were going to join someone, and then stopping, sometimes directly in the spot I was at that moment occupying (perhaps they had confused orientation with spin, and believed the Pauli exclusion principle didn't apply). At times, I had to be rather firm with some of them.

Inconveniences, and potential violations of basic laws of physics, aside, it was an awsome concert, and totally worth not being exactly a hundred percent effective at work on Thursday.

*About the bananas: When they came out for their encore, the Scissor Sisters brought with them what I presume was the fruit basket from their dressing room and started pitching the contents into the crowd. Boxes of raisins were going off like squishy grenades on the floor, and what seemed like about half of the larger fruit somehow found its way to my head. But it was still a very good time.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

GI/BIGG 5: For the Person You Don't Know What to Get For- Female

Good Idea:


Actually a good idea, regardless of gender. Unless they're allergic, then not so much. Also, avoid the fruit-flavored filling, unless you know otherwise.

Bad Idea:


Nobody needs candles. It's the gift that says, "Here. I got you a gift."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Speaking of Holiday Music...

I have a bone to pick with the song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band-Aid (which, if you will recall, was one of those collections of famous singers who cut charity singles for Africa, back when it was a place you sent money to, rather than where you went baby shopping), and I feel the need to share.
"But, how can you have a problem with such a noble, worthy cause?" you ask. "Don't you have any heart at all?"
"No," I say. "I don't. But that's not the issue here. Let's take a look at the chorus, shall we?"

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life(Oooh)
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Now, breaking that down:

And there won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
Except in the Atlas Mountains and on Mount Kilimanjaro. And, of course, we are ignoring the fact that about half of the continent is south of the Equator, where it is, technically, summer. I hear there's some good skiing in South Africa in July, though.

The greatest gift they'll get this year is life(Oooh)
Isn't that true for all of us? (Oooh)

Where nothing ever grows
Principle agricultural products of selected African countries:
Kenya: tea, coffee, sugarcane, corn, wheat, rice, sisal, pineapples
Ghana: cocoa, pineapples, cashews,coconuts, pepper, shea nuts, cassava, yams, plantains, maize, rice, peanuts, millet, sorghum
Mail: Millet, sorgum, rice maize, peanuts, cotton
Republic of the Congo:cassava, sugar, rice, maize, peanuts, vegetables, coffee, cocoa
Democratic Republic of the Congo: coffee, palm oil, rubber, cotton, sugar, tea, cocoa, cassava, plantains, maize, groundnuts, rice
Chad: millet, sorghum, peanuts, rice, sweet potatoes, manioc, cassava, yams, cotton, gum arabic

No rain or rivers flow
Average annual rainfall in the Western Nile Basin: 390 in
Nile River: 4,160 mi
Niger River: 2500 mi
Congo River: 2,900 mi

Do they know it's Christmastime at all?
Well seeing as how Ethiopia is the second oldest Christian nation in the world, I'm guessing that at least a few of them do. For the forty percent of the population who are Muslim, a better question might be, do they care? And what is this, an evangelical thing?

Okay, so my point, which I have now made at length, is that whoever wrote the song failed sixth-grade geography and based their perception of an entire continent on that one picture of the skinny kid with the big eyes standing in front of the shack in a dusty field. But hey, is that so bad? They raised a lot of money, right? And who cares if you're a little bit condescending to people if you give them money?

Whew. Thanks. I feel better now.