Monday, October 11, 2004 is up

with a new story entitled Sweet Talker--revamped and cleaned up from a year or so ago. Enjoy

Monday, September 27, 2004


This blog, in its current incarnation, is officially done. I have put everything contained herein over on a real website that will be operational within a day or two. I think you can also get to it with as well but I'm not 100% positive yet.

Sorry I haven't updated in over a week, I've been busy. The new site will bring with it, fortunately, a somewhat regularized posting schedule...although I aspire to post as often as possible, not just twice a week.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

David Sedaris, California Pizza Kitchen, and Mexican Elves

I took the day off on Tuesday. It was a gorgeous day in San Francisco, I had absolutely nothing to do at work that day, and I wanted to see Bourne Supremacy before it left the theaters. So I sat down at the computer in the office at my house, emailed my boss to tell her I wasn't *cough*cough* feeling well, and immediately ordered tickets for the 1:05 Bourne Supremacy at the multiplex in the new mall in Emeryville.

The errands I had to run prior to the movie took less time than I expected, so I ended up at the mall a full hour fifteen before the movie was supposed to start. I decided to buy a book at Barnes & Noble (the one I was banned from a little over a year ago for filling in answers to questions in the LSAT prep books they were seliing and for making fun of a gaggle of ugly girls in the Self-Help section) and dive into it while I had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen.

Flying solo, I sat at the counter and grabbed a seat immediately to the left of the wait station where servers come up and collect the drinks for their tables. It afforded me a full view of the open kitchen and an opportunity to flirt with any cute waitresses--there was only one of those and she was a lesbian. I orderd a Corona from the girl unfortunate enough to draw counter duty that afternoon.

Her name was Julie and her nametag said she was from Dallas. I mentioned to her that I dated a girl from Dallas for a little while and had spent some time down there. She smiled awkwardly and sort of looked around hoping I would stop talking. I told her I went down to Lower Greenville last year after the OU/Texas game. She looked at me with a blank stare and finally said

J: I was only born in Dallas. I was raised in Kingman, Arizona and moved to Barstow when I was like 14 after my mom was run over and killed by a tractor-trailer outside the truck stop she worked at.

...How exactly do you respond to that?! Honestly, that's not the chit chat you expect from a the counter-person at your local nouveau fusion pizzeria. I tried to sympathize and move the conversation on

N: Wow, damn. I'm I'll have the Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza and a double vodka tonic.
J: Barbecue Chicken and a vodka tonic?
N: A double, yep. You have great lips by the way.
J: Excuse what?
N: Lips. Your lips. You have great lips. They like a thinner version of Stifler's mothers. Like if Stifler's mom and Daffy Duck had a girl and named her Julie. That is your name right? That's not bullshit too, like the whole Dallas thing?
J: What's your name?
N: Nils
J: Wow Nils, you're really suave.

Ouch. I guess not everyone can be on top of their game at noon on a Tuesday. She turned and went to the Squirrel Machine to place my order. I can only imagine what she punched in:

Original Barbecue Chicken Pizza. Add nasal discharge. Add rat feces. Add hepatitis. Wonderful. I slammed the rest of my Corona and opened my new book.

The book I bought is called "Holidays on Ice" by David Sedaris. It's a small collection of holiday-themed short stories and it's the only Sedaris book I hadn't read. The first story is called "SantaLand Diaries" and chronicles Sedaris' time as an elf in the SantaLand display at the Macy's in Manhanttan.

There is a point near the beginning of the story where Sedaris lists off the different types of elves in SantaLand:

"On any given day you can be an Entrance Elf, a Water Cooler Elf, a Bridge Elf, Train Elf, Maze Elf, Island Elf, Magic Window Elf, Emergency Exit Elf, Magic Tree Elf, Pointer Elf, Santa Elf, Photo Elf, Usher Elf, Cash Register Elf, Runner Elf, or Exit Elf."

As I read this passage, "Julie"--with her pouty pouty lips--stopped buy to replace my double vodka tonic and drop off my pizza . I looked up to thank her and realized I was surrounded by a kitchen full of Mexicans toiling in a dough-covered, summer wonderland. California Pizza Kitchen was just like SantaLand!...except instead of employing ex-felons, high school kids, and perverts as their elves, they employed an army of Mexicans. They had Mexican elves! MEXI-ELVES!! The only thing that could have made the scene better was a big fat Mexican guy with a mullet, wearing a Santa suit, sitting in a low-rider sleigh, and reciting from memory "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" by Cheech and Chong.

Peering around at the Mexi-elves working away, I was amazed at once with both the brilliant AdamSmithian division of pizza labor as well as how fitting this scene was in light of the elf-breakdown in the Sedaris' story I'd just read.

Over to the right,there was Flour, Dough and Sauce Mexi-Elf (or the FDS Mexi-Elf). He was very clearly the big Mexi-Elf on the Mexi-Elf Totempole. He dusted the pizza boards with aplomb. He tossed pizza rounds onto his worktable effortlessly and worked them into their 10" shape with the expertise of a mastercraftsman. He routinely barked curt and specific orders to the younger guy to his right...

The Toppings Mexi-Elf. FDS Mexi-Elf would finish stretching the rounds, slide them over on the boards along with their tickets showing what toppings to put on them, and the Toppings Mexi-Elf would quickly disappear from view, reaching into the small refrigerator at knee level that held all the immediately perishable toppings. Toppings Mexi-Elf would pop up in the next instance with a small Mexi-elf handful of plastic baggies that held pre-portioned amounts of the respective toppings he was to place atop the expertly stretched and prep'd pizza rounds. Once Toppings Mexi-Elf is satisfied with his pizza product, he slides it down the line one step further to...

Oven Mexi-Elf, who takes the board with the pizza on it and quickly and adroitly slides the pizza into an empty spot in the faux brick oven. Oven Mexi-Elf is a little older than everyone else...quite obviously calloused to bubbling cheese and the constant 300+ degree heatwaves blasting out of the open-front oven. Don't get me wrong, Oven Mexi-Elf is sweating like he's in the trunk of an early model Buick at a legal border crossing in the middle of summer. It doesn't seem to bother Oven Mexi-Elf though, as he periodically wipes his brow with the forearm length terri-wristbands he wears to protect from searing his flesh against the metal flashing along the mouth of the oven.

Oven Mexi-Elf was just gettin' goin' when I sat down--as the midday lunch crowd had just started to filter in. Each pizza was touched by Oven Mexi-Elf three times:

1) slide in the oven
2) pull out with large pizza spat, spin 180 degrees, re-insert
3. pull out and pan

Once Oven Mexi-Elf has the pizza out of the oven and onto the pan, he picks it up bare-handed and slides into onto the prep shelf where it is attended to by...

Slice and Garnish Mexi-Elf. This name is a bit of a misnomer however. He is not, in fact, a Mexi-Elf. Rather, he is El Salvadorian. How do I know this? Aside from the atrociously bad skin and the overbite so pronounced it would make one wonder how he hasn't, at some point in his life, bitten through his chin FROM THE OUTSIDE, I could tell he was El Salvadorian because the actual Mexi-Elves looked upon him with either pity or disdain (he was like a Central American Rudolph except without the red nose. Or the ability to fly. Or the whole quadripedal locomotion thing). Oven Mexi-Elf nearly flung the piping hot pizza at S&G "Mexi"-Elf. FDS Mexi-Elf rolled his eyes and cursed under his breath as he watched S&G "Mexi"-Elf run his slicer over the pizza a SECOND time in order to make the cut go all the way through.

Luckily, Slice and Garnish "Mexi"-Elf is the happy-go-lucky sort. He just kind of grins stupidly, slices the pizzas into 8 wedges, sprinkles some roughly chopped parsley over top, slides the pizza onto a lukewarm plate, and sets it up for the server to take to the table. He doesn't say much to anyone--smiling politely and nodding graciously when the English speaking servers thank him even though he still can't understand them after 11 years in the country. Slice and Garnish "Mexi"-Elf is plodding but efficient and will spend most of his time at California Pizza Kitchen alternating between Slice and Garnish Mexi-Elf and Dishwasher Mexi-Elf because the REAL Mexi-Elves won't endorse him for a promotion in either responsibility or pay.

I was captivated by this quartet of pizza-making Mexi-elves, until I looked farther to my left and saw another set of Mexi-Elves. Back around the corner in front of the double Viking range and the vats of boiling water were...

Sandwich and Entree Mexi-Elf and Pasta Mexi-Elf. They worked in tandem most of the least when I was watching. Pasta Mexi-Elf would flip something in a saute pan for S&E Mexi-Elf if S&E Mexi-Elf was busy garnishing a completeld entree. S&E Mexi-Elf would pull a portion of linguini from the vat of water if the timer sounded and Pasta Mexi-Elf was busy saucing an order of capellini and bringing it together in a large pan.

These two, I think, regularly work in tandem. Their English skills are far superior to the rest of the Mexi-elves and I saw both of them flirt with the English-speaking waitresses at least twice. Sandwich and Entree Mexi-Elf and Pasta Mexi-Elf carry themselves with a certain grace and panache that you don't see from the Pizza Quartet. They wear chefs pants and coats and cook with flair. They are definitely fun to watch. I'd be willing to bet that at least one of them has a huge cocaine habit and four kids--not all necessarily in this country.

Between them and the walled off drink station where the servers go to re-fill your fountain sodas and spit in your Arnold Palmers is the salad station. It is manned by a pair of super-quick, super-efficient Mexi-Elves called Entree Salad Mexi-Elf and Side-Salad Mexi-Elf. If you don't think there isn't a little salad-size Mexi-Elf penis envy in this duo, you're just kidding yourself my friend.

I can see the envy and the jealousy in the eyes of Side-Salad Mexi-Elf. HE could make the entree salads! HE knows how! They're easy! He learned them during California Pizza Kitchen's Mexi-Elf training seminars when he was first hired.

To make up for the obvious slight by management, Side-Salad Mexi-Elf pumps out side-Caesars and side-House salads like a fucking machine. I saw "Julie" order a side-Caesar to go for a patron who came up to the counter. She punched it into the Squirrel, it popped up on his machine, and it was done in 45 seconds flat. No shit. My mouth was agape.

Entree Salad Mexi-Elf, of course, pays no attention to SS Mexi-Elf and goes about his business quickly and artfully creating Entree salads for eager customers. He does everything with a Jackson Pollack-like flick of the wrist. The lettuce gets flipped into his stainless steel mixing bowl (oh and you just know the fact that his mixing bowl is 3 or 4 times the size of Side-Salad Mexi-Elf's stainless steel mixing bowl drives SS Mexi-Elf up the fucking wall). The fresh cut vegetables, the sliced Thai chicken, the manadarin oranges, the various mixed beans, all of it gets tossed gracefully into the bowl by Entree Salad Mexi-Elf. I dare say he's trying to create an edible work of art rather than just a pedestrian salad. He's the Diego Garcia of Entree Salad Mexi-Elves.

Watching this well-oiled Mexi-machine pump out high quality dishes, in a short period of time, at reasonable prices brought a smile to my face and, I'm sure, a knowing nod and a proud tear to the cheek of Adam Smith...looking down from above the factory floor we call Earth. From behind the one-way, mirrored glass of his office in the sky.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Asian Persuasion

I live 3 stops north of the Downtown Berkeley BART Station--or as one train operator calls it "The home of the University of California AT Berkeley." On my morning commute during the school year, I invariably end up riding in a traincar with at least one or two bleary-eyed students trying to make an 8 o'clock class. What I've discovered over the last couple years is that these students I commute with are predominantly Asian males.

Berkeley has so many Asian students it could probably support its own little Chinatown. When I was there from '96 to 2000, they were the largest ethnic group on campus by a good two or three percentage points. Most of the Asian kids I knew lived as close to campus as they could and squeezed 4, 5, 6 people into a two bedroom apartment (it sounds bad, I know, but it was the Four Fucking Seasons compared to the shipping container they came over in with THE REST OF THEIR PROVINCE!).

Because Berkeley suffers from a chronic shortage of student housing both as a city and as a school, it is not uncommon to see groups of friends find houses in adjoining towns like Oakland, El Cerrito, Kensington, Emeryville, and Albany. It is these kids that commute to and from campus on BART and, like the other day, sit across from me in the morning half-asleep. They fall into one of two categories:

A) short, skiddish, pale-skinned, Chinese or Korean super dorks with backpacks that weigh at least half as much as they do strapped to their backs like baby Howler monkeys. They are computer science or engineering majors and are getting to school so goddamn early either because they want to be at the library RIGHT when it opens or they have an 8am Chinese for Chinese speakers class that they are taking because it's an easy A that will help pad their GPA when it comes time to apply to Cal Tech and MIT for grad school.

They smell funny. I can't quite put my finger on exactly HOW they smell funny, but if I had to guess I would probably say it's a combination of $2 Chinese take-out, long sedentary hours in front of the computer, a less than regular shower schedule, and an oral hygiene regimen that consists of a 4yr old toothbrush, water, and Altoids.

They usually have glasses (because technology has not advanced to the point where scientists have invented contacts or Lasek procedures that could possibly help their vision problems) and wide,thin moustaches that they never trim because razors and shaving cream would require them to spend money that they are saving up for the next Final Fantasy release.

B) I see this second category of the Asian Persuasion much more often on my morning commute. These are the non-Chinese, non-Korean, first generation, Americanized Asian kids. Filipino, Vietnamese, Laotian, Thai, Myanmarese...who the fuck knows...these are the guys who want more than anything to be NBA point guards.

They play in every intramural basketball league on campus with team names like "Rice Rockets" and "Racin' Asians." They never win the league, of course, because they're all under 5'8" and insist on dribbling like Skip-to-my-fucking-Lou before they either hoist another in a long line of ill-advised three-point shots or try to slash to the hoop where they will, invariably, call a foul when they get brushed by a defender coming out to guard their ridiculous attempt at a layup.

They all have names like Danny or Ricky or John or Henry because they are easier to say than their ACTUAL names which are more like Kwok or Hyung or Hoa or (insert sound of silverware hitting the floor). Ricky(Hoa), like his Vietnamese fishermen uncles, loves to gamble even though he's horrible at it and should be saving to pay the fines he received for illegal street racing. If he's not playing poker at the local Indian casino, he's in any number of fantasy leagues with $100 entry fees. If he's not scouring and the Sports Guy's columns for fantasy sleepers, he's playing Madden or Streetfighter on his PS2 until 4am with the rest of his techno music-listening, Smirnoff Ice swilling Asian buddies.

I sat across from a Ricky(Hoa) on Friday morning. I didn't think much of him at first until he nodded off to sleep and hit his head against one of the poles that attaches to the ceiling.

Ricky(Hoa) was wearing a Michael Vick jersey because Vick was on the cover of Madden 2004 and led his Madden team to the Super Bowl. He wears the Vick jersey even though he throws like a girl, runs like a special olympian, and has no idea where Atlanta or Blacksburg, Virginia are on a map. His older brothers Danny(Kwok) and Henry(silverware hitting the floor) were the guys--10 years ago--wearing the Bo Jackson jerseys because he was the best Tecmo Bowl running back for Nintendo.

Ricky has blood shot, glazed-over eyes and crusty white build-up at the corners of his mouth. I think he might have a "condition" but it's more likely that he only got 2 hours of sleep before he had to get up for the 8am O-Chem class he was forced to take because it is required for Molecular Biology majors whose parents have been pushing them from birth to become "famous-a doctuh!"

Ricky(Hoa) doesn't want to go to med school though. He wants to open a high-end car audio store with his buddies Donny(Phan), Zach(Xia), and Ronny(sounds of swords clashing). It makes sense considering the thousands of dollars they've spent to pimp out their lowered Honda CRXs...they HAVE to be experts by now!

When Ricky(Hoa) hit his head I thought he would jolt from his slumber because of the pain. Surprisingly, he just leaned against the pole with his mouth slightly open and his stale Asian nose and mouth stench wafting at regular intervals in my direction. As he rested his head against the pole, I was taken by the fact that he hadn't reacted to slamming against it.

I noticed almost immediately that it might be due to the fact that his head was shaped like a Rolo...or the inside of a plastic bucket you can buy at Walgreens to use at the beach for making sand castles. The shape was almost perfectly symmetrical--like a Mayan temple but with rounded edges. I guess maybe that's the natural shape of a head when it is breach-birthed from a sideways vagina...

The other disturbing thing about Ricky(Hoa)'s head--if there weren't enough things already--was the goatee he felt compelled to grow. I've never seen such a spotty, wire-thin, unkempt goatee in my entire life. It looked like the hodge-podgge arrangement of metal filings you get when you throw the tiny pieces of metal randomly at a high-powered that display at the Exploratorium. I guess Ricky(Hoa) doesn't think to trim because at this point in his life he's just glad he has facial hair that's not the product of hair cut trimmings, commercial epoxy, and an industrial cooling fan.

Ricky(Hoa) was conscious enough to hear the call for the dowtown Berkeley station just minutes after he slammed his Rolo-head into the pole. He sort of rousted from his half-sleep, collected himself, wiped the sleep from his eyes, and rose to move toward the doors.

N: Hey man, nice jersey. I hope that Madden jinx has worn off
R(H): No kidding bro, he's my QB on all four of my fantasy teams.
N: Have fun in O-Chem. Hopefully all that Madden 2005 playing you did last night isn't going to take its toll
R(H): Yeah, thanks.

Ricky(Hoa), semi-confused, departed the train with a bit of a stumble and a stutter step. I watched him shuffle toward the escalator as the train pulled away from the station--assuredly on his way to get an iced espresso drink at Tully's and to pass out 15 minutes into lecture. Silly Asians.

The Pink Palace

I ran into my mother's bathroom--or at least what is now my mother's bathroom--slammed down the toilet seat, dropped my pajama pants, threw off the oversized Warriors parka I had just gotten for Christmas 5 days earlier and hadn't taken off since, and took the biggest crap of my 12yr old life. I'm not joking either. This thing began well down the drain, started up the bowl like Punxsutawney Phil and circled the bottom for nearly a full 360 degrees.

I sat there for what seemed like an hour with my eyes closed and my hands over my ears trying to shut out the insufferable sounds of dripping double faucets and the halogen bulbs above the vanity mirror. I kept my eyes tightly shut for as long as I could so as to avoid the visual assault of the cotton-candy pink walls closing in around me (shit, they were louder than either the bulbs or the faucets could ever hope to be). I was also trying desperately to avoid acknowledging the tears that had been building beneath my eyelids since my father called my sister and me upstairs to tell us he was leaving our mother.

Pink walls. Goddamn pink walls. To this day, my mother swears she can't stand the color pink. This is quite confusing considering she was the one who made the conscious decision to make the bathroom walls, the master bedroom walls, the hallway, the throw pillows, and the master bedroom carpet various shades of pink.

I'm convinced my mother believes this won't be held against her because she created her little pink palace upstairs, out of sight of those whose job it is to judge our social fitness by our material possessions and our bathroom color know, friends, neighbors, extended family, God.

Anyway, I did a pretty good job of keeping my eyes closed while I was on the toilet. Until, of course, I couldn't find any toilet paper. Groping helplessly in my self-imposed darkness and starting to itch, I could find no toilet paper on the dispenser, none on top of the tank, not even one roll in the basket where the Sports Illustrateds and the National Geographics sit to pass the time.

That's when I couldn't keep my eyes closed anymore and the waterworks started. Bandit--our Lab/Husky mix that we found on our front lawn the weekend we moved into this house just before the start of my 3rd grade year--heard me sobbing and nosed the sliding bathroom door open. He loped over, licked all the tears off both sides of my face, turned around and loped back out. I still remember that moment and when he died 4 or 5 years later on my birthday (we think from being poisoned by my bi-polar alcoholic next door neighbor), I broke down in tears amidst a flood of confused emotion.

My father passed Bandit as he entered the Pink Palace to help me. He tried to pat Bandit on the head, but Bandit ducked and went to sit with my sister.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

There is nothing wrong with love between a man and his dog

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

What are you lookin at FUCKER?!

Vehicular Manslaughter and the Problem with Lunchtime in San Francisco

Sometimes when I'm driving by myself I have to resist the urge to run over pedestrians in the crosswalk. I'll see them 60, 80, 100 yards down the road, but they won't see me...generally oblivious to my right foot getting heavier and heavier as I approach. They walk blissfully unaware, snug in the oh-so-false sense of security provided by the solid white lines painted on the road. These smug little street-walking bitches amble to and fro like they're starting quarterbacks and I'm some second-team linebacker in a 9-on-7 non-contact drill. Well guess what buddy, my Explorer isn't a second string linebacker, this ain't no fucking non-con drill, and if one of us is going to get cut, it's gonna be you. Fucker.

I can't say for certain from whence this urge comes. I can only say that it does, in fact, come. Maybe it's spending the last 8 years weaving through the dirt-surfers and street merchants that constitute Berkeley city traffic. Maybe it's the 4-foot Qin TerraCotta warrior look-alikes in Chinatown with complete disregard for traffic lights and stop signs who creep unfathomably slow into the intersection as I'M BARRELING DOWN A HILL IN A CAR WITH LESS THAN QUALITY BRAKES AND AN 800 lbs PAYLOAD OF DRUNKEN FRIENDS IN THE BACK!!!! Or maybe, it's just that I hate bipedal locomotion.

I had a roast beef sandwich for lunch today. It was lovingly prepared by a sweaty, 30 yr old Afghan who used the sliding glass of the display case to wipe off his mayonnaise-covered hands. When he turned his back to me while slicing off a disturbing amount of swiss cheese from the block he had just removed from its resting place amidst a small pool of roast beef blood on the top shelf of the display case, I noticed that the sweat had completely soaked through the back of his white t-shirt--making it translucent enough to see the thicket of back hair that would insulate him for the coming winter months like a free-range bison.

As he stood there lopping off a kilo of slices, I noticed that he kept tugging at his shirt collar and rubbing his neck. I could tell he was cursing to himself in Pashto because the number of phlegm-producing words increased the point where I left wondering how much of that was really mayonnaise. It dawned on me though, why this guy was always so pissed off.

When he was tugging at his shirt collar I saw the glimmer of a gold rope chain around his neck. He wasn't tugging at his collar after all. He was tugging at the back hair that was repeatedly getting caught in the chain. Mmmm mmmm mmmm, lunchtime! I'd be pissed all the time too if my PELT kept getting torn from by my flea market jewelry. So I left.

As I walked up Drumm St back to my office, my lunchtime train of thought was disrupted by a woman up ahead scream out "OH DEAR GOD!" I looked up with a start hoping a panhandling "disabled veteran" had tipped over in his wheelchair or something, when out of the corner of my eye I saw something much much better.

There, across the street, next to the planters on the north side of the Embarcadero Hyatt was a filthy stumbling homeless man. He was leaning precariously against one of the benches and one of the large planters and was mumbling incoherently to himself. Once he got his feet under him, he untied the rope keeping his pants up, dropped his pants around his ankles, semi-squatted, and started shitting all over the ground. Now I'm not sure if shit always looks more voluminous and viscous when it is streaming from the ass of a homeless man in the middle of a financial district, but based purely on puddle-size and elapsed time it looked like this man was in the final stages of bleeding out from the Ebola virus.

I couldn't take my eyes off this guy and neither could a handful of other people. I may have been the only one with a huge grin on my face, but I was certainly not the only one who was astonished by the sheer quantity of human fecal waste that had pooled around this homeless man's feet like the liquid Terminator after they blew him up in the steel smelting factory. He stood there for a few beats after the last drops had drained from his anus as if to catch his breath or shake out the cobwebs. When he was satisfied that he had his wits about him again, he decided against wiping or rubbing his ass along the ground like a Springer Spaniel. He simply pulled up his pants, tied off the rope belt, and stumbled on his way.

Everyone around was speechless. Part of me wanted to applaud this brazen-yet-virtuoso rectal symphony. Instead, I did the only thing I really could do and I threw away my sandwich.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Things I Learned Over the Labor Day Weekend

#1 It is not acceptable to walk into a Big Box Supermarket retailer in an upscale white suburb (sorry, that's redunant...I know) and yell out at a very high volume:


Despite the fact that this inquisitive plea was born out of true frustration and a desire to find a cold alcoholic beverage of my choosing, asking no one in particular where the goddamn beer is as loud as you can will only lead to conversations like this one with the supermarket manager:

SM: Sir, I would appreciate it if you would refrain from using that kind of derogatory language in my store.
NP: I'm sorry, so where's the goddamn beer?
SM: Sir, customers don't come to the San Ramon Alberstons to be sworn at or have the Lord's name so wantonly taken in vain. I, for one, know that I do not come to work everyday expecting to be sworn at. Now I understand your frustration with not being able to find what you are looking for. Our store is very big. One of the 6 biggest Albertsons in all of Northern California in fact--but that does not me
NP: So where's the damn beer?
SM: Sir, if you don't stop swearing at me I am going to ask you to leave and not return. I am giving you the respect you deserve as a customer and I expect that respect in return as the manager of this store.
NP: I'm not swearing. I haven't said 'shit' or 'fuck' or 'bitch' or anything like that. I'm sorry if I offended your Judeo-Christian morality. I'm just looking for the frickin' beer aisle and you are trying to give me a sermon.
SM: Sir, I am not trying to preach to you I assure you. What I am trying to do is instruct you about how we expect Albertsons customers to conduct themselves in our store around their fellow Alberstons customers.
NP: That's great. So can you instruct me about where the goddamn beer aisle is?
SM: You really are a horribly unhappy person aren't you?
NP: No, but I'm getting there. All I need from you is a number. We can even make this like a MadLibs. I will give you a sentence with a blank and ask you for the first number that pops into your head. Ready?...well, are you ready?
SM: Aisle 3.
NP: Thank you. Jesus fucking christ it's like pulling teeth around here.

#2 It is unwise to stand at the edge of a 150-foot, 65degree straw-covered hill while drunk and in flip-flops. It is unwise to stand at the edge of said hill while holding a wallet, keys, a cell-phone and a beer because your basketball shorts don't have pockets. Being distracted by the wind and by people talking to you while you are standing on the edge of said hill may result in losing your footing and sliding 150 feet to the bottom on your ass and your side. This, I have found, will lead to massive scratching along your legs and a softball sized welt on bruise on your right hip/ass cheek.

#3 I do not need a microphone when I sing karaoke.

#4 Doing 50 straight cannonballs will make every part of your body ache the next day...including your ass which you will hit on the bottom of the shallow end at least 4 times because you were too impatient to wait for people to clear out of the deep-end.

#5 Losing your wallet, your cell phone, your sunglasses, and your shoes after a long night of partying sucks.

#5a The best place to lose a wallet is in the gutter of a quiet upscale suburban street. You actually stand a chance of getting it back

#6 Telling the cute bartender who started flirting with you the minute you walked up to the bar that you prefer to drink with purpose and conviction will lead to you getting ridiculously drunk off gigantic shots of Patron

#7 Watcing an action film from the first row of the theater will make you incredibly ill...particularly if the reason you went to the movie was to spend a couple hours in a dark air-conditioned room where you didn't have to move in order to stave off the worst aspects of a hangover.

#8 Diner-style chain restaurants like Denny's and Carrows are the most depressing places in this history of depressing places (more on this later)

#9 45 yr old single women LOVE me.

#10 Breaking out in a rash on your ass doesn't mean you have herpes...necessarily. You might have just sat in poison ivy. LIKE AN IDIOT!

#11 Red Bull (and Vodka) is, by FAR, the best way to find me in the center of an incident in which police officers will be prominently involved.

There are more things I learned, I'm sure. I just can't remember any of them because I was too drunk when I learned them.