Friday, July 31, 2015

Stream of Semiconsciousness: The Amish Files

Next week we are going to see Weird Al Yankovic in concert. The closer we get to the date, the more I find myself singing "Amish Paradise" and wondering if he'll perform it here, in North Amishlandia.
Today I went to a grocery store near an Amish community. To give you an idea of what this means, the store has Amish parking. It's an open-sided shed where they can park their buggies and have shade for the horses. Apparently Friday is also Amish market day, from the numbers of them in the store and on the roads nearby. As I was leaving, and repeatedly passing these buggies, I came upon one that made me hang back a minute just to look at it.

This was a blinged-out buggy. It had a chrome-trimmed mudflap on the back, chrome studs along the cab seams, and chrome hubs on the traditional spoked wheels. When I finally passed, I was fully expecting to see a spiked biker helmet on the horse but alas, the horse had (thus far) escaped decoration. I believe this was the young Amish couple I'd seen leaving the store with a case of Orange Crush. You go, you rebels.

Speaking of, last summer we hired a couple of very nice, proper young Amish ladies. Although I live near N. Amishlandia, I haven't had much opportunity to talk to the Amish and learn more about their lifestyles. They stay rather private among us "English" anyway. However these two ladies gave me a lesson and a few laughs.

They don't use zippers or snaps, so every morning they pinned their clothes and came to work in full standard Amish uniform: jacket, long dress, underskirt, long sleeves, apron, hat, hair pulled up, black shoes. I'd have had to get up 2 hours early just to dress myself for work - I can pull on shorts and a t-shirt and (most of the time) remember to wear a bra and be out the door in 5 minutes - but I imagine these girls have done it so often it's routine. Anyway by noon they had usually shed their jackets and pinned up their overskirts due to the high temperatures in the greenhouse but this was the most "alteration" I had seen. Until one day I saw the two ladies walking down towards me and both were wearing black sunglasses with rhinestones on the sides. I commented "Nice shades! Strike a pose!" and rather than give me the Vogue fashion model look I expected, they both stopped, put their backs together, and crossed their arms in a "'Yeah we bad" thug pose. Imagine these two very proper Amish girls in full dress with their blinged-out Ray-Bans and add the pose and it was just... I lost it. I still laugh thinking about it.

One of the ladies, Sara, was a schoolteacher. She spoke in textbook English with perfect, though slightly accented, enunciation. One morning I gave her the wrong instruction, and immediately corrected myself with the added comment "Sorry, didn't have my coffee today, my brain isn't awake yet."

Sara replied "Oh my, I cannot get going without my coffee!"

At some prior point in my life I confused Amish with Muslims, apparently. I said "I didn't know you were allowed to have caffeine!"

Sara: "Oh yes, we can. Coffee and tea and even colas. I have to have a cup of coffee every morning. But I do not like those energy drinks."

Me: *raises eyebrow*

Sara: "I had a Red Bull one time and I felt so hyped up! It was crazy! I couldn't calm down at all."

Me: "Now I know how you all build barns so fast."

Red Bull: It even gives the Amish wings.

I was in Wal-Mart one day and passed by the video arcade on the way out. There were two older bearded Amish men in full dress playing Big Game Hunter, the one with the plastic guns you shoot at the screen. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that, or of any of the things mentioned above, but due to their beliefs photos aren't allowed. So you'll just have to imagine it and by the way, welcome to 1992, Amish folk! You're catching up!

Amish-made wet-bottom shoofly pies rock. That is all.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Twits for Twat

So there I was, just wandering around the internet, randomly clicking stuff like you're not supposed to do and risking getting a virus or a Trojan or spam, although I have a pretty good antivirus program that I found clicking on some other stuff back before I had an antivirus, well I did have one but it was a free Norton trial which doesn't count because it took over my computer and ended up costing me $100 to get rid of, which means the damn antivirus was a virus or maybe a Trojan and spam too because it invaded everything and locked me out of my computer and gave me popups telling me to buy the paid version to fix what the free one screwed up, and then the geek at the computer store tried to sell me Norton because I needed an antivirus, since he'd just removed the only one I had, never mind that it WAS Norton, dumbass, anyway I have a good one now and I know it's good because if I accidentally click on Internet Explorer it won't let it open, which proves my antivirus program is smarter than most of the people on Facebook, who still use it and complain about it and HELLO, people, get with the current decade already.

Anyway, I was clicking those news bits at the top of the Yahoo homepage, you know, the puff pieces about the worst fashion trends of the year or things chicken processors don't want you to know or how Oprah is still richer and fatter than you are, and at the bottom of one of those articles from the L.A. Times, I think it was the one about the mudslides, I remember that because it made me wonder if we had any Kahlua left and I had to go check, I saw this other link to this article that I thought was a joke, but it's not April Fool's Day yet which made me go hmmm like the song says only not really because this didn't have a catchy riff, just a picture of some pregnant woman and an article about how she was getting her vagina steamed and WHAAAAA?

Hold up a sec.

OK, yeah, I read that right. Apparently hovering your lady bits over a pot of mugwort tea is a thing. I suspect everything is a thing in Los Angeles, at one point or another, but this is a new one on me. The Koreans have imported something new for vapid SoCal bimbos to take over and make trendy and feel smug about. I wonder if they'll be adding gift cards for twat-steaming to swag bags and giving them as hostess gifts. "It's all the rage!" Yeah, so was Zima. And the XFL. And Betamax. Those sure caught on, didn't they?

On the other hand, "Steamtwats" would be a great band name.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Biting the Big Apple (Pie)

Yesterday, I decided I was going to New York City. Totally spontaneous decision. By the end of the day I had it mapped, knew where to park, which ferry and which bus to take where, and had the car fueled up. This morning I set off, by myself, for my first-ever trip to NYC.

Other than getting temporarily off-track trying to find the ferry terminal in New Jersey, the trip went well. When I saw the city skyline, I was overcome by the sheer scope of it and the nearly-surreal feeling that comes with seeing it with one's own eyes for the first time.

I completely expected to get lost, or at the very least, on the wrong bus. But no... once I stepped off the bus, I walked up a few blocks and wound up exactly where I wanted to be. So far, so good. There was a movie being filmed, so I hung out a while watching that and chatting up security and photographers and policemen, all of whom were alternately hilarious, snarky and surprisingly friendly. Actually, everyone I spoke to, passersby and officials alike, were much more polite and friendly than I'd expected. I'd always believed what everyone said about New Yorkers having bad attitudes and it was a shock to learn that wasn't always the case.

Unless, of course, the attitudes referred to were those of people behind the wheel of a vehicle. Holy clusterfuck, Batman! Anyone who drives in the city has to be a schizo. One personality when outside a car, and a psycho-seething-roadrage-suicidal personality when inside one. People really DO drive on the sidewalks. Street signs, traffic lights and lane markers are arbitrary, apparently. And forget anything you've heard about crazy cabbies... the real lunatics are the bus drivers. I felt safer on the bus than I did anywhere else, because it was huge, had battle scars down the sides, and the driver didn't stop for any twit blocking an intersection. He just kept moving and expected everyone else to get the hell out of the way. Which they did. The gods of NYC are bus drivers, says me.

I met up with a friend who took me around to Grand Central Station and Times Square. At one point we passed a pie shop. Okay, wrong, it is impossible for me to PASS a pie shop. I bought pie. And why wouldn't I buy a pie on my first trip to NYC? Because, obviously. It's PIE. (Apple, natch.)

En route to a diner to meet up with my friend's lady, we passed the Sondheim Theater, where the Pee-Wee Herman Show was just letting out. We joined a group near the stage door and then Pee-Wee came out (in character) and talked to everyone for a bit. PEE-WEE FUCKIN' HERMAN. My inner child was delirious. Can a first impression of New York get any better?

Yes. Yes, it can. My friend and his lady were the best part of the trip. I won't name names, but I can say I felt a bit star-struck. I could just sit and absorb the character and aura of those two for hours. They're legends in their fields, accomplished and intelligent and insanely funny. Deadpan humor reigned. One of them was someone whose work I admired going back a good twenty years or more and the other... I can't even describe her. Simply fabulous. I was in awe. Yeah, I saw Sam Worthington and Kyra Sedgwick on the movie set. Big mofokin' deal. I was more impressed by my companions at the diner. Amazing people and I'm thrilled to have met them.

  • Went to NYC for 1st time
  • Saw famous people
  • Met friends
  • Got pie
  • Didn't get run over
  • Reaffirmed hatred of New Jersey
NYC rocks. That is all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Use the Schwarz!

Why isn't John Schwarz famous on this side of the pond? Guy's got a good look, great accent, and a lot of character. And not enough publicity photos. Up for a shoot?

The Stink world lacks my presence. Hmph.

*wanders off in search of a lightsaber*

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Down Under, Up Over

Australians and Americans have a long-running attempt to out-snark each other. Aussies love to make fun of Americans, preferably without the Americans getting the joke (see Foster's beer commercials and Crocodile Dundee) while Americans are more straightforward with their insults (Yeah, that mullet haircut? You're welcome.)

Aussies speak a different sort of English, derived from so-called "proper English" and the influence of beer. I've suspected that Aussies are really descendants of Brits who got drunk enough to forget to be pompous and boring, decided they liked it, then were banished to Oz to avoid embarrassing the rest of Britain. The Irish portion of Australia just came over for the party and never left. (History claims otherwise. I like my version better.)

The language is, indeed, a barrier to understanding people from either place. Here's an example:

Aussie bloke: "He was wearin' thongs and a singlet. What a bogan."

What an American thinks: "Thong underwear and one-piece spandex wrestling tights? A bogan must be some sort of circus performer or aerobics instructor." (Then memories of Olivia Newton-John from that Physical video come to mind unbidden, to those of us unfortunately old enough to remember it.)

Aussie translation: thongs = flip-flops, singlet = tank top/wifebeater, American = fokkin' idiot!

Stateside, Macca = Paul McCartney. Down under, it means pretty much anything with a name beginning with Mc- or Mac-, but most often refers to McDonald's. Beatleburgers, anyone? There's two left... (goin' to hell for that, brb)

People in the USA make fun of Australian speech, but anyone who has ever been to the southern United States knows who has the funnier accent. (And they say Aussies talk weird? Pfft!) Conversely, Aussies use America as a running punchline, but the ones who want to be famous aspire to come here as proof they've made it big. And then they try to lose their accent to get better gigs. To that I say NOOOO! We actually love the way they talk. How about finding a gig that calls for an Aussie lead? Anyone ever think of that? Oh right, Crocodile Dundee. Nevermind then.

I have to touch on that for a moment. All most Americans know about Australia they learned from Paul Hogan, "Crocodile Hunter" Steve Irwin, and those damn Foster's beer ads. It's no wonder Aussies think we're idiots. Granted, some of the Dundee stereotypes were true, just like some of the ones in "My Name Is Earl" are also true. But it's not the big picture, of course. Not all Aussies are safari guides on crack, and not all Americans are trailer-trash hicks.

Going back to the Aussie culture collectively known as "bogans." Apparently they're a mix of American metalheads circa the 80's and rednecks. In the USA, these are/were two distinct groups, since most rednecks prefer country music, although the line often blurred with AC/DC-loving trailer trash as a subgroup. Here, rednecks can be great, salt-of-the-earth people, or they can be the stereotypical hicks portrayed by the media. For some of us, being a redneck is a source of pride and we resent the jabs from those who assume the title equates to dimwitted slackers with half a dozen kids and welfare checks spent on cheap beer. I suspect some Aussie bogans feel the same way. (Google "Sam Worthington" for an example of a cashed-up bogan, one of the better ones to be sure.)

This could easily turn into a "You Might Be a Bogan If..." series of one-liners, but we'd need the Aussie version of Jeff Foxworthy to pull it off. I hear Paul Hogan could use some extra cash.

I think the only way to really "get" Australia is to go there, submerse oneself in the culture, make friends with some dinkum Aussies and drink several beers. Apparently there's something in beer that triggers enlightenment, though for an American this might take several attempts. I'm willing to try. Anybody want to sponsor me on this educational expedition?

Monday, October 04, 2010

Monday, Buggy Monday

Most people hate Mondays. I have a love/hate relationship with them. For many years, Monday was my day off from work, so I didn't have the typical dread like most nine-to-fivers do of dragging myself away from the weekend to face the beginning of another workweek.

Lately I've been working every other Monday. Still not too bad, but I do get that drag-butt syndrome on the days I have to get up and go in. The off days are still great; in fact I really enjoy Mondays when I have the day to myself. The downside, of course, is that Tuesday becomes my Monday and brings all the stereotypical Monday crap along with it.

I've always wondered why Garfield the cat despised Mondays. It's not like he had to get up early and go to work. He's a cat. His Monday hatred was an excuse to sleep all day and be grouchy to everyone, which he did no matter what day it was anyway. (I sometimes adopt a Garfield attitude, and much like the cat, my attitude can be quickly reversed with the consumption of coffee and/or lasagna.)

I worked all weekend, so today is my Monday off. I had an early doctor's appointment, so no sleeping in. Strike one. I had to dress somewhat respectably and fix myself up a bit, so no lazing around in my jammies with my hair all askew. Strike two. Have to go visit the vampires at the lab for bloodwork. Strike three, I'm out.

It's raining today, but to me that's not a strike against Monday. I like rainy days. Unfortunately I have to go drive in it again instead of sitting by the window with a book and a cup of tea. The groceries won't shop themselves. And the bloodwork... ugh. If I see anyone sparkling at the lab I'm totally Team GTFO.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Hold the Mayo

Hubbo, reading Burger King advert for new burger: "It's what woohoo tastes like."
Me: "I thought woohoo tasted like pussy."
Him: "That's two different tastes."
Me: "God, I hope so."
Him: "Why? What's wrong with beef and cheddar?"
Me: *flat stare*