Oct 31, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now?

This is Karen's latest entry for a Halloween costume. I must say it's pretty clever and took alot of work to put together. One of her friends did alot of the sewing, but it was Karen who bought the materials including glow sticks, velcro, material, plastic and a Build-A-Bear recordable voice box to wire herself for sound. Sometimes coming up with a good costume idea is the hardest part.

She told me yesterday that she won 3rd prize in a Halloween costume contest that took place in Weymouth. Of course, the prize was a $25 gift certificate to a restaurant out in Weymouth which will probably cost her more in gas to get there again...but she did win something.

I admire Karen for always chasing the golden carrot. This year marks the first year that her inventiveness paid off and I wish her the best of luck tonight in her final Cactus Pete's costume contest taking place on Park Ave in Worcester.


You go, Girl! Posted by Picasa

Oct 28, 2005

Staple Remover

Today was my last day working for Staples. As I was walking down the stairway from the third floor, I thought it was appropriate that I was following a little boy dressed in a fireman's outfit down to the first floor.

We had our annual Halloween party today at the office and I was happy to disappear off into the sunset hidden amongst all the families of Staples employees with their children for trick or treats. Our cafeteria was abuzz with over 500 registered children running around like crazy little people going from activity to activity hyped up large doses of sugar.

It was a good last day. I walked into my cube to a beautiful FTD basket of Autumn flowers and a lovely warm-hearted Good-Luck card from the woman who had been my manager twice in my career at Staples. As I move on to my new job at Bose Corporation, I'll always remember that she hired me and was consistently my biggest fan no matter where I landed in the company. Thank you Bonnie!

I formed so many great friendships over the years. My good friend Ginny saw me off over coffee with two great gifts. A non-descript Staple Remover (pun intended) and the much sought after Stooples book along with the understood hope that she would be next to walk out the door. Hang in there Ginny. You'll be next, but you've got to get that resume updated!

I went out to McDonald's with Rich for the last time, but we promised to meet up for future trips to fast food nations since I'll only be working across Route 9. I'll miss my work husband.

My friends Cheryl and Dan came down for a visit to wish me luck and I playfully made sure I was still invited to their wedding. After all, I knew both of them back when he was crushing on her even though he thought she had 'googly eyes'. I also am proud to know that I discovered their secret dating when she tried to hide their flirtatious emails between one another from everyone in the office, but inadvertently revealed their secret when I saw just how big her Sent folder was in Outlook.

It wasn't too difficult having today be my last day. Aside from being overwhelmed with well-wishes and knowing that in a few days it will truly hit me that I'll miss many of the people I've worked with over the years...I know that they are only an email away. I'm good at keeping in touch with people and I won't let them slip past me as I move on to another company.

I thought I would be emotional when I gave my manager Laura my security badge, but really the only thing I was thinking was that I was happy to be rid of a terrible ID picture that's haunted me for five years. I hope for my next security badge that Bose lets me do-over my photo if it doesn't come out good. But it will feel weird to be without a security badge for a while.

It is bittersweet when you decide to leave a job-especially one that you've been doing for a long time. 5 years at Staples must translate into dog years somehow because it feels like I worked there longer just reflecting back over all the experiences I've had, the many things I've learned and the friendships I've made there. I've always been proud to say that I worked at Staples. I love office supplies and I got to work for the best company that sold them.

That was Easy!

Oct 25, 2005

Happy Halloween


Happy Halloween Everyone!

Just a quick note that the new 2006 Halloween Smurfs have been announced!

I know it's amazing to know that these little guys (and gal) are still being produced, but wonders never cease when there's a strong fan base.

So if you want in and you have $30.99 to spare for decorating next October-why not Smurf on over to MushroomVillage.com to place your pre-order today.

These new 2006 Smurfs will be shipping next April! And that's no April Fool's Joke.

Oct 22, 2005

No Waiting


Jiffy Lube must be hurting for business because I saw a man standing on the outside of Jiffy Lube, on the corner of Rte 9 holding a big sign with bold red letters saying "NO WAITING". I was going by a little too quickly to look at this human billboard closely, but I would imagine him having the same blank dead stare as the homeless woman I see every day holding a similar sign begging for money.

Imagine having a job like that. Imagine having to fill out a job application at Jiffy Lube so payroll taxes can be deducted from your meager minimum wage paycheck. You'd probably like to think this was just an oil lube technician caught hanging around the oil-changing pit not doing much and his boss decided to make him useful. But that's probably not the case.

What was more likely the case is this man applied for a job sweeping up the floors at Jiffy Lube and he just didn't have what it took to get an entry level job so they decided to give him a trial period standing outside their business hawking a 'No Waiting' sign as commuters on their way to work sped by gripping cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee or talking incessantly on their cell phones about things that don't matter.

As I start a new job with a new company, it's moments like these that make me really appreciate just how fortunate I am to have the opportunity to do a responsible job and be of value to a corporation. Sitting in a cube is just so much nicer than standing on the corner holding a sign.

Oct 12, 2005

Fred is Dead

Mom called me at work this past Monday to ask if I remembered who did the song called "Freddie's Dead." Of course I immediately knew what song she was referring to because it was from the SuperFly soundtrack back in the 70's. She and my dad were big fans of the movie back in their day.

I happily told her that I had the CD and she asked if I could bring it up to her because she wanted to have someone at the nursing home listen to this particular song. I shouldn't have asked her why.

Turns out one of the residents has this goldfish named Fred and well...Fred Is Dead.

Mom thought it would be real funny to have this lady listen to the song from the Superfly movie soundtrack. Never mind that this song is about a drug user named Fred and in no way related to a goldfish or this person's grief over the loss of her pet. In the mind of my mother, it's just a funny coincidence that she knows a song called Fred Is Dead and also knows someone
who had a fish named Fred.

I can't find the CD. I've looked through my collection and know it's there somewhere, but I can't lay my hands on it. I hate it when that happens. My Mom has this infuriating skill of remembering things from a long time ago with stunning clarity, but her illness doesn't allow for her to recall if she asked me to bring up a bag of potato chips or a box of Equal on Tuesday
night.

Finding the Superfly soundtrack is just another task added to the list of things that my mother needs or wants, but sometimes it's how she comes up with the need that's pretty funny. Dead goldfish = dead druggie song from the 70's. Go figure.

Oct 8, 2005

Can't Get Enough Of...

I go through these periods where I'll discover something and I become obsessed about it. I have to learn all that there is to know about it. If it's an actor, I've got watch every single movie they've ever been in. Example: my infamous Mel Gibson obsession. If it's an object, I start collecting everything related to that object. Example: Rubber Ducks. If it's a taste, I have to try every version of it. Example: French Onion Soup and Black Licorice.

Television shows are also a classic example. My dad watched The X-Files when it premiered and I had no interest whatsoever. Then about half way into the season I actually gave the show a cursory glance while my dad was watching it and then WHAM--Hello David Duchovny and the proposed sexual tension between Mulder and Scully...and the aliens, of course. Can't forget about the aliens. I became obsessed with all things X-Files. I started out slow by taping each show on Friday night and then started surfing the net hoping for spoilers for the next episode. It ruined the surprises sometimes but who cared? I was on a mission to know before everyone else what was going to happen next. I was so desperate in my obsession for this show that I began reading fan fiction just to get anything related to the X-Files.

But the weird thing is how I handle music obsessions. Most of the times I'll know either the artist or the band in some backward sort of way. I might have heard a few of their songs and thought they were average, but then one song will just POP for me and it sets me off. It happened with Gwen Stefani recently. Sure I enjoyed the success of No Doubt, but when I heard her solo CD I just became a huge fan. Jack Johnson is another example. I heard one song in passing, spoke to a guy that I work with who loved him and then it began.

Sometimes the obsession slowly builds. I started watching LOST mid-season last year soley on the recommendation of a cube-mate at work and really got into the show. I knew that I had seen Matthew Fox somewhere on TV before, but couldn't place it. So I did a search online and found out he was one of the stars of Party of Five. Yup. You guessed it. I had to rent the first season of Party of Five to see Matthew Fox play Charlie.

It's a happy sickness these obsessions.

So what's my lastest obsession? What is it that I can't get enough of right now? OK, I'll tell you.

The White Stripes. Spencer borrowed their latest CD from the library called "Get Behind Me Satan" and so it began. I gave a listen to it once and it sounded ok. I downloaded the CD onto my iPod figuring that I would listen to it when I had more time. Eventually I got around to it and then it happened. I touched upon one of their songs, Little Ghost and I was hooked. I began to listen to the CD over and over and over again. Then I remembered that I had copied their last CD Elephant so I pulled that one out and threw it in the car to really give it a good listen to. Once again, pure excellence.

Why The White Stripes? I love Jack White's voice and I love the fact that all their music is simply and purely vocals, drum and guitar. I listen to their songs and cannot believe they can make such amazing music with so little instruments. Jack White's voice reminds me of early Robert Plant from Led Zepplin and Meg White's attempts to sing are just hilarious. But she belts it out with such gusto and how can you not love someone who doesn't care how she sounds?

I started researching the band a little bit. Their last two CD's were recorded in the span of two weeks. Then there is the whole controversy about how Jack and Meg claim they are brother and sister, but really they're ex husband and wife (married 1996 and divorced in 2000). It's like an in-joke that nobody really cares about. I love it. And recently Jack White got married to some model in the Amazon with Meg White serving as bride's maid. How funny.

Their videos are really cool, too. Brilliant to serve up a video created with Leggo's and they're latest video My Doorbell shows them playing to a whole bunch of children in a vaudeville-type stage.

I just love everything about The White Stripes. They are my latest obsession and I love that they POPPED for me.

Oct 7, 2005

I Did Deserve A Break Today!

My pal Rich and I went to McDonalds this afternoon for lunch. I haven't been to McDonalds in quite awhile so today was really both a fast food treat as well as a pleasant surprise. Did everyone out there realize that McDonalds has gotten a much needed makeover except me? I don't know if I have Super Size Me Morgan Spurlock to thank for this, but I suspect his little documentary had something to do with it.

I ordered a Number 2 (Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Large Fries and Large Coke) for $5.13. Before I was able to zip up my purse my order was ready. Jeez that was fast.

In my opinion, the whole notion of fast food these past few years has really taken a nose dive. Fast Food convenience had turned into the quickest way to be irritated rather than serviced whenever I ordered McDonalds food. What was once a simple cheeseburger and fries turned into a five minute wait during the checkout coupled with long lines of people waiting on the sidelines for their own orders. Not anymore. I simply couldn't believe how fast my food was ready.

As we were standing there, Rich happened to notice they had a makeover of sorts at this location because our usual section off to the left was moved around since the booths were facing out into the ordering area instead of away from it.

After he got his two plain hamburgers and super-sized fries/drink, we really started to get excited because this location now just gives you an empty cup that you get to fill up with the beverage of your choice. AND they had those little ketchup pumps with the pill-size paper cups to put the ketchup in AND more sauce choices than you can shake a stick at: Honey Mustard and BBQ to name just two.

F-A-N-C-Y

We sat down in the newly furnished section and began giggling because we could have sat down at their little rounded bistro table with the bar stools over near the bathrooms. Talk about Puttin' On The Ritz!! Aside from the new paintings on the wall with the trendy splashes of paint and the decorative lighting above us, most people still go to McDonalds for the food.

My Quarter Pounder with Cheese was packaged in a bio-degradable box and honest to god I nearly passed out in shock when I removed the sandwich to hold it up to Rich for his inspection. Remember the old days when you'd compare the size of your cheeseburger to the size of a burger in a McDonalds tv ad? There simply wasn't any comparison. Whatever burger you were eating was consistently a shell of its advertised self. But not anymore. My Quarter Pounder with Cheese was made to perfection. It was picture perfect. Gosh, even the slices of onions sprayed on top of my cheeseburger looked like they were freshly sliced and diced moments before.

There's not much to say about Rich's two plain hamburgers except that he got just what he ordered: two sesame seed buns and two all beef patties - no lettuce, no pickles, no cheese, no mustard, no ketchup and certainly no special sauce, tomatoes and onions. Nothing more and nothing less. But I can't tell you how many times he's gone to order such a simple burger only to get unwanted surprises when he cracked open the bun. And between you and I, my friend Rich is a bit strange when it comes to condiments touching his hamburger. He won't put up with it and puts new meaning to being considered a finicky eater.

Not only was the food tremendous, but I noticed their latest Monopoly promotion with the peel-off pieces was in full effect again. But here's the best thing about it. I actually saw at this location a little section near the straws and napkins where you could get the folded-up game board for your Monopoly pieces. How many times in the past have I gotten these annoying little game pieces only to toss them away when I didn't win a small fry? Talk about attention to detail.

If you've been a really healthy little eater and have dutifully stayed away from McDonalds...might I offer up the suggestion of revisiting a location today? Have the salad with the pine nuts and the low fat dressing if you really want to continue your healthy eating habits.

It's OK. But run to McDonalds because I'll guarantee you'll leave thinking to yourself:

"My God. Look what they've done with the place."



This Is Not A Drill

Yesterday I had a bit of excitement at work. I nearly got blown up.

I was sitting at my computer working on some number-related activities and the fire alarm on our floor went off. The pre-programmed voice alerted us to a potential emergency saying that should our floor be affected (a.k.a. You're All Gonna Die), we would hear a special sound after the announcement. No sound came so I put my headphone back on and continued to groove on.

The fire alarm sounded again. It's a really loud, annoying sound. This time I removed the headphones, unplugged my iPod and retrieved my purse from the desk so that I would be ready for evacuation because surely it would come this time.

Nope.

I also thought that the building couldn't be on fire because my computer was still working. The servers must be located somewhere in this building and if Windows 98 was still cranking then everything was fine. There was no need to panic.

Except the silly alarm just kept blazing. One of the product managers in my area actually called out from his office: "This is really getting annoying because it's screwing up my sports-radio." If you knew the fury around me with the guys and the stupid Red Sox...you'd really appreciate just how funny it was.

About ten minutes go by and I was back working with the headphones on. All of a sudden this man started running down our aisle shouting at everyone to "GET OUT! GET OUT! "

I grabbed my purse and headed for the exit. In the excitement, I was watching him methodically run in and out of each and every office shouting at everyone to exit. It was pretty funny that some people were actually questioning why we had to leave since our floor's special alarm didn't go off.

The poor security guard actually began multi-tasking by both yelling at people to leave and answering the stupid question. Apparently our floor's fire alarm wasn't working so that's why he had the unlucky task of getting everyone out of the building. This man was sweating.

We all safely gathered outside along with the rest of the building that had already been evacuated about 20 minutes prior. Thankfully it was an Indian-Summer day and not raining. There were a few news helicopters circling above, but otherwise nothing was going on. No fire engines or sirens blazing.

Eventually we were let back into the building. About two hours later we received an internal announcement that a construction worker had hit a gas line down the street and that's why we were evacuated.

This isn't really that exciting of an entry, but I did like the opening like about me nearly being blown up.

After all, it could have happened.

Starbucks Maple Latte Review

I met my friend Mark at Starbucks in Southborough this morning for some coffee talk before work. (We really were meeting so he could get the last episode of LOST I taped for him from my DVD because he fell asleep Wednesday night at 11:30 when it was on later because
of the hated Red Sox baseball game.) He was given specific instructions to order me a Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte with whipped cream.

Upon arriving five minutes late, there he was standing in line unshaven in
an old Hanes t-shirt about five people deep waiting to place our order. He
greeted me and asked if I had tried their new Maple Latte because his son
Zach thought I should try it. Mmmmm....Maple Latte. Sure-sign me up for a
drink of that.

The young kid running the front end was simply amazing. He was ON! He was
in total command of the ordering area. He seemed to know every single
person by name and was confidently calling out orders while madly scribbling
on coffee cups and continuing to take orders from the next person in the
queue. In fact, he was so loud and happy doing his thang that when Mark was
trying to tell me something, it was all I could do to pay attention to him
because the snappy young man kept rolling over our conversation with
background shout-outs and hellos to approaching customers in line. This kid
had his flair on in a big way.

We eventually got our drinks and took a table to enjoy our drinks. The only
highlight aside from the good conversation between two friends was Mark's
observation of a man wearing black cowboy boots: "Oooh, cowboy boots in
New England." They were nice boots, but the man was wearing a burgundy
sweater while my companion was wearing flip-flops and shorts. Only in New
England.

Here is my succinct review of their new Maple Latte: It tasted like a
blended pancake.

It wasn't terrible, but I should have went with my original choice of
Pumpkin Spice. The Maple Latte left an after-taste in my mouth, sort of
like what you would imagine burnt maple syrup might taste like if you left
it on the burner too long.

I think I'll hold out for their infamous Eggnog Latte. Mmmmm...Eggnog
latte. Let It Snow and all that happy crap. Bring on the deliciousness.