Friday, January 27, 2006

Starburst Shenanigans

Place: Long John Silver's
Lunch: Two chicken planks, one fish, clam chowder, Dr Pepper

If there was such a thing as Hot Dog Chowder, this is probably what it would taste like.

I was walking through the office when I noticed a collection of Starburst fruit chews in a cubicle, organized by flavor.

Cube Dweller wasn't around. I pointed this out to Neighboring Cube Dweller.

Neighboring Cube Dweller took a look, then suggested "We should move them around."

I didn't even hesitate.

I put a couple of orange ones in the yellow rows, a couple of yellow ones in the red rows, a couple staggered off the pattern completely. It was lovely.

A little while later, Neighboring Cube Dweller e-mails me.

"They are back in an organized pattern…"

I later heard Neighboring Cube Dweller fessing up to Cube Dweller about the switch. Cube Dweller apparently didn't know what to think when she saw them, and considered accusing Neighboring Cube Dweller of ruining her pattern, but "didn't want to come off as a crazy person". Alas, Cube Dweller's crazy status was only confirmed afterward.

(me) "I heard you fessing up. What REALLY would have been funny is if we could have figured out a way to change them while she was SITTING there."

(ncd) "Yeah, she started messing with them while I was talking to her and (I) couldn’t help it. What we need to do is get into the bag she has in her drawer of even quantity flavors and mess with that since she hand counted to make sure they were equal – like take her favorite Strawberry out…she has some issues…"


(ncd) "Yep…hand counted. The ones on her desk were the odd numbers in each color that she was eating first. She could be a case study for someone I’m sure."

Neighboring Cube Dweller took the joke one step further today by swapping the Starbursts on the desk for the "Sour Starburst" equivalents, which are packaged identically.

Cube Dweller ate them and didn't notice the difference.

Which was probably the saddest possible outcome.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dave and Rick's Inner Baja

Place: Taco Del Mar
Lunch: Fish burrito, crispy taco

Taco Del Mar has come to Nebraska, and I'm passing through Lincoln. It's a good thing I've been to Taco Del Mar before out West and know better, because if this was my first experience, it would probably be my last.

Before I start, I'll note that the names "Dave" and "Rick" may or may not be correct. That's just what I remember at this time.

Our story starts as I walk into a shiny new Taco Del Mar, where three people are working behind the counter, two people are talking at a table, and a couple of people are in the order line. I enter the order line.

I place my order for a fish burrito. Counter Guy takes my choice of tortilla (they have four different types of tortillas to choose from) and puts it in the tortilla steamer. A magical whoosh of steam and noise happens, the tortilla is removed, and I am asked what kind of beans I want. A pile of black beans is heaped on the tortilla. He then gets out a taco shell for my taco and work basically stops.

"Rick, we need you over here!"

Rick is this skinny kid who sounds a lot like Woody Allen. He's sitting at a table talking to some guy. Rick says in a condescending voice "Hey Dave? I'm going to need you to handle the register for awhile, okay? Great."

Rick is apparently the boss. Dave's mad. He looks like he wants to smack Rick upside the head. As do I, actually.

One of the two girls working the assembly line has put my taco together and wrapped it. She's confused about the flour tortilla with the beans on it that's just sitting there. "We're waiting on fish", says Dave.

Dave has problems at the cash register and needs Rick's assistance. Rick FINALLY gets up, comes over, shows him whatever, then says to the two girls "You need to stay at your stations. You have stations. We have a system here!" Then he opens the door to the back and says "You guys need to come out here and help. There's people out here. You need to stop prep work and get out here!" Whoever is back there never does.

Several minutes, customers, and confusion later, Rick comes out with the fish. There's two empty bins in the assembly area. One is for fish, and one is for shrimp. Rick dumps the shrimp into one and part of the fish pieces into the other...but one piece goes into the queso. Rick says aloud "...Aaaand the fish is in the queso", LEAVES it there, and wanders off.

There's other people waiting for fish items, and the girls make their food. My burrito shell with the long-since cold beans still sits. One of the girls takes a piece of fish from the fish bin and puts it in my burrito. "Are these supposed to have two or three pieces of fish?" she shouts to anybody listening. Dave notes "Two". She looks in the queso bin and says "Well we can't use that."

Dave is getting really frustrated. "Throw that out. We'll start over", he says regarding my sitting pile of cold beans on a tortilla. Then Rick says "Well did you ask him if he minded if the queso was on the fish?" The girl says "No." Then Rick says to me (as if I wasn't standing there watching all of this the whole time) "Sir, one of the pieces of fish fell into the queso. Would you mind if there were some queso on your fish?" At which point I pointed at the queso where the almost completely obscured piece of fish was and said "That piece of fish?"

"Yes", Rick said.

"Well what about that piece of fish?" I said, pointing to the other piece of fish that was in the fish bin that nobody but me noticed.

Rick sees the other piece of fish and exclaims "You guys need to look before you start a crisis!" Girl says "But I didn't see that!" And I'm just like, Whatever.

So of course I get the cold beans and burrito with the fish. They finally finish the assembly process and bag my stuff. Dave doesn't apologize outright, but he says it with his eyes as he rings me up. He rang up the burrito and NOT the taco, and he gave me a drink cup. And chips. Dave's the man.

Naturally, everything (included the just heated fish) was cold. The taco had so little meat in it that it may as well have come from Taco Bell. The fish tasted like freezer burn.


I was correct about me jinxing the Avalanche. Their winning streak is over.


Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Stupid Goalies

Place: Costco
Lunch: Hot dog, slice of pizza, soda water

Soda water. On tap.

The have soda water. ON TAP.

This should be mandatory everywhere.

The Avalanche are moving up in the NHL standings after a dismal start to the season where they'd score like five goals per game, but their opponents would score like seven.

Stupid goalies.

Anyway, they've won like eight games in a row and lead their division today.

I've probably jinxed them now.

You couldn't possibly care less, could you.

Well, poop.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Little White Pills

Place: Century Theatres
Lunch: Nathan's Famous hot dog, cherry ICEE

I've been walking around with minor sinus blockage and a headache for about a week now. The cold finally hit full-on over the weekend. So before I went to work, I found a package of store-brand cold/allergy relief stuff in the bathroom. Little white pills. I took one and headed to work.

It sinuses cleared up and the headache was gone...but the pill had some freaky side effects. The front of my face was numb, I was feeling kind of paranoid, and I just sort of started moving around in slow motion. I could also feel where the sinus problems went to. They were all in a tiny little ball just above the bridge of my nose. All compacted and numb. The feeling is probably similar to Chinese water torture.

Two hours later, I walked into my boss's office and said "I need to leave." She said "Feel better". I went home and took another pill. Then I slept for three hours and had some seriously messed up dreams.

I woke up and sat in my chair with my eyes shut. My mind is a complete void. I'm moving very slowly. verrrrry slooooly. And suddenly the solution to my problem becomes clear! I need to go see "Hostel". Perhaps a horror flick will be just the thing to cure me. I take ANOTHER pill and head for the cinema. WHY DO I KEEP TAKING THESE PILLS?!?

The ticket seller said "Flahhb lahhb flur flom flaahhb?" and I just stared. Because I couldn't remember why I was there, mostly. Oh yeah. "One for Hostel".

Then I went to the snack bar. The SELF-SERVE snack bar. Which is confusing enough when I'm coherent. I somehow ended up with a hot dog and an ICEE. Mmmm. ICEE.

The trailers started, the sound immersed me, I sort of closed my eyes periodically, and suddenly everything was better. Except that the trailers that played before the feature all seemed like the most awesome movies ever. I'm pretty sure they weren't. One of them is from "WWE Films". Those guys need to hire a new sound mixer. That trailer has NO punch to it at all.

"Hostel" opens with "California Dreaming" playing in the background. About a minute into the intro, I realized I was singing along out loud. Oops.

Somewhere in the movie, characters in the movie take little white pills that look just like MY little white pills. And I'm thinking "NO! DON'T TAKE THE LITTLE WHITE PILLS!"

Then I went home and slept some more.

I'm pretty sure "Hostel" was awesome.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Thunderstorms in January

Place: Hardee's
Lunch: 1/3 lb Thickburger (no tomato), "Red Burrito" taco salad

Oh look! Hardee's has a new logo. THAT'LL solve all their problems...

The help here is overwhelmed. They can't keep up with the orders. They're reviewing and double-reviewing everything to make sure they're putting the right stuff on the right trays. They're confused. And there's probably four sets of customers in the whole place. Maybe three at the drive-thru...two of which haven't ordered. I count five working staffers, but two of them are on break.

Almost everybody who goes through the drive-thru while I'm there wants the same thing...the 2 for $3 quarter pound cheeseburger special advertised on big posters in the windows. They all get the same response from the help..."We're out of those." Some of them just leave, some of them order something else. And some who order drive off after waiting at the window for what I'm sure seemed like an eternity.

I suppose I could wonder aloud why a chain is offering a quarter-pound cheeseburger special when they don't offer quarter-pound burgers on the regular menu in the first place, but I won't.

When the food DID arrive, it was the correct order. The burger was hot and delicious. The taco salad could use some improvement. The taco meat was stale and dry. It was still pretty good, I guess. And the front line girls are SUPER nice and very apologetic to everybody about the wait. Most of the customers are visibly, if not verbally, annoyed. Except me. I have nothing going on today. I can take a nap. Do you have any pillows? Of course, not silly. You don't even have any quarter-pound burger patties.

You expect thunderstorms in the Midwest, but you expect them in the summer. At 11:30pm on January 1, we had a thunderstorm that rumbled for more than a half hour. Thunder, lightning, and rain. The first thunderstorm of 2006 happened on New Year's Day.

This is going to be one strange year.