Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dora the Absurdity

Place: Cici's Pizza
Lunch: Pizza, soup, breadsticks, Dr. Pepper

I'm in a numbers coma.  I spent the morning comparing numbers.  It's not the numbers so much as trying to figure out why they don't sync up.  Stupid numbers.  So it only made sense that I'd pile on a pizza coma for the afternoon, right?

On the television at Cici's is the same thing that's always on when I eat lunch here...Dora the Explorer.  Dora the Explorer is the most implausible show in the history of television.  A little girl and her weird animal pal (who appears to have been cross-bred between a monkey and a hen) and occasionally her hottie non-boyfriend Diego (who's also her cousin...no wonder their keeping it under wraps) go on adventures and interact with their viewers to teach them stuff like how to wander out of your neighborhood and chase the ice cream truck you couldn't be bothered to visit in a timely fashion.  (That was actually the first episode I ever saw, and I can assure you that, in real life, it would have ended three minutes in with the children in question collapsing into a bawling fit.)

Today's adventure involves a train.  Actually, three trains.  Dora and Monkey Hen are standing at the train station making their viewers make "Choo Choo" noises to entice the trains...all living entities...to blow their whistles as they come into the station.  The green train buys into this.  The red train buys into this.  The blue train doesn't buy into this.  Why?  The blue train doesn't have a whistle.  OH NO!

Of course, by complete coincidence, a contest is announced...a race to the Big Yellow Station!  The winner gets a free whistle!  Hooray!  Because whistles must be FAR more expensive than the diesel it will cost to get to the other station, right?

The other trains think this is funny because there's no way the little blue train (who's name is Azul...get it? Spanish for 'blue'?) is going to beat them.  He's way too small and has the self-esteem of Eeyore.  But Dora and Monkey Hen are here to help.  By sitting in one of his cars and weighing him down even more, apparently.  Oh, and cheering.  Of course.

We see a map of the race course.  There's a mountain to climb over (you know...the grade of mountain the train company would have just blasted a tunnel through), a tunnel (huh? Why didn't they...oh forget it), and the Big Yellow Station, which is out in the middle of nowhere with no sustainable community to support in site. 

(BTW...Isn't the word 'sustainable' getting really overused these days?)

Aaand we're OFF!  Azul starts up the mountain, exerting lots of pressure, and not making it to the top.  Dora gets your kids to scream obnoxiously and encourage Azul to make it over.  He does.  Shocking.

Then there's the tunnel. "Oh no!  It's dark!  How will we see where we're going?"  What...you're planning to ride off the rails?  No worries, Dora has a flashlight in her back pack.  Off they go into the tunnel, which is WAY longer inside than it looks outside. 

Inside the tunnel, the gang is having an extended discussion about the ending of the Cowboys-Redskins game last Sunday, when one of them poses the question "What if there's another train coming right at us on Azul's blue track?"  Because even though all three trains thus far have had their own personal tracks all to themselves that matched their engine color, maybe Azul's not that special.  Well, you'd think Dora's flashlight would be visible, wouldn't you?  But noooo.  The kids at home have to help.  Sure enough, some old grey train almost collides with them until he's warned by children across the country watching via tape delay.  The old grey train backs out and lets them pass.

So we're out of obstacles and the other two trains are neck-and-neck with Azul.  (Really?  What the hell were THEY doing all this time?)  But an unexpected obstacle is approaching.  Squealer...no...Swiper, as Gilseppie later told me, is a fox who regularly targets Dora for random theft.  He has all the resources of Wile E. Coyote, is far more successful, and never falls off cliffs or otherwise maims himself.  Failing to get aboard the train, he somehow obtains a manual track car, pumps coincidentally by a side track at the perfect moment to pass them...MANUALLY PUMPING PAST A WORKING LOCOMOTIVE THAT IS ATTEMPTING TO WIN A RACE, gets ahead, and removes several pieces of track to stop them, throwing them randomly into the woods.  Then he takes off.  Spiteful little prick.

Dora gets the viewers to help find the track pieces and put them back in.  You'd think union reps would be protesting the shoddy non-union labor, but noooo.

And we're back in the race, once again neck-and-neck with the red and green trains.  WHAT are the red and green trains doing to not have won this race a half hour ago???

Azul wins.  Whatever.

SO glad I don't have kids.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


Place: Whataburger
Lunch: Bar-B-Que Cheddar Burger, onion rings, Dr. Pepper

Whataburger's LTO Bar-B-Que Cheddar Burger is easily the best barbecue-themed burger ever.  Two quarter-pound patties with a layer of cheddar in between, heartily topped with barbecue sauce, pickles, and onions on a toasted five-inch bun the way God intended.  FAR FAR FAR better than BK's Bacon Cheddar Steakhouse XT, which for some bizarre reason doesn't have pickles.  Whataburger's doesn't have bacon, though.  You could surely add that.  You could probably add pickles at BK too, but come on.  Pickles should be a given on any sandwich with barbecue sauce.

Anyway, as far as I'm concerned, Whataburger NEEDS to make this a permanent menu item.  Instead, it's gone September 20.  Get one if you can before then.

At some point last week while I wasn't looking (and as busy as work has been, that's not hard), September arrived.  College football is officially in gear.  The NFL will be next weekend.  Steak n Shake has busted out the caramel apple milkshake.  We've even had a few breezy days in the 60's and "open window" nights with temps in the 50's and 40's.  That pleased the cats terribly.

I really should be working this weekend.

(I'm not working this weekend.)