Sunday, May 31, 2009

Kitsch? My Ass

When my in-laws sold their house a couple of years ago, they moved into an extended stay facility while their new house was being completed. Because we live in the same area, they brought some items to store at our house during this time -- things like house plants, some glassware, and (naturally) a concrete dog lawn ornament.

We thought it would be funny to put this in our yard near the front door for a couple of months until my in-laws got settled and took it back -- and were sure that our friends would see it, mock it, and that hilarity would ensue over our attempt at kitschiness.

I guess we just got used to it (and never received any comments on it) because two years went by and we had pretty much forgotten it was out there. (And my in-laws had "forgotten" to claim it.) Occasionally, I'd see it and think, "we really need to get rid of that thing before people think we're serious" and then I'd get involved in something else and forget all about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I finally remembered to ask Canetto to move the thing into the back yard. The next day when I was walking with my friend, Amanda, I asked her, "Did you ever notice that concrete dog by our front door?" and she said, "I always meant to ask you about that...because you're not really dog people."

To which I replied, "I was kinda hoping you'd say that we're not really concrete lawn ornament people."

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Site stats tell me that two new readers recently became part of the Brutalism family -- one by googling "tap dancing meth addicts" (Brutalism pops up as the first result) and one by googling "Mandrell Sisters."

New tagline: Brutalism -- a little something for everyone.

I aim to please,

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Come Hear Uncle John's Band

You know what you get when you are two relatively uptight, white bread parents with no rhythm? You get a kid who feels the music and who must jump into a drum circle in the middle of downtown Asheville because she just has to move. How long do you think we have until she starts with the dreads and the patchouli?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What It All Means

Not that I need another reason to love Urban Dictionary (or Dilettante07), but I do have one.

(See definition #1. The tags are particularly inspired.)

Please make like my doctor and give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.

You're welcome,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Lost In Translation

When I was a single girl, I dated some pretty interesting characters. Like Greg. Who had a hyphenated last name and spent the better part of most years working as a ski instructor. He was a nice enough guy -- it's just that talking to him was like talking to a foreign exchange student and I got tired of having to bring a Righteous/English dictionary along on all of our dates.

Me: "How was your ski trip?"

Him: "The freshies were epic, bra."

Translation: The untouched fresh snow was rather magnificent, my friend.

Me: "Do I look okay in what I'm wearing?"

Him: "You are a buff nugg."

Translation: I find you to be somewhat attractive and that outfit is particularly fetching.

Last I heard, he was living in Southern California.

Translation: He found his homeland.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Epic Hunt

One time in an interview, someone asked me what were the most important things I had learned in business school. I replied, "That it's a great place to meet guys with jobs and that if I ever hear another person use the word "synergy" I shall be forced to throttle them." "How to negotiate effectively and the importance of surrounding myself with smart people."

Those lessons have helped me in many situations throughout the years -- most recently, the Post Hunt 2009 in which I participated yesterday as part of team Velvet Unitard. (After not winning, we amended our team name to Crushed Velvet Unitard, and no, it has not stopped being funny.)

Fellow VUs were Amanda and Leon (who faithful readers of Brutalism may know as Dilettante07 and Dilettard07, respectively). They share a combined IQ of somewhere in the infinity range, a life, and a ridiculous sense of humor. We trained separately by doing many word games and also studying clues from prior Tropic Hunts and last year's Post Hunt. We also drank a lot.

When we met up yesterday at Freedom Plaza in DC just before the Hunt began at noon, we were pretty excited. And not just because Gene Weingarten agreed to take a picture with us, although that was a huge part of it. (Aside: I reflected later that in the past few days I had touched three famous men -- Joe Frazier, Jeffrey Ross and Gene Weingarten. That is a famous-man-touching personal record for me. Well...if my mom is reading this, anyway.) It was total nerdvana.

Our first stop for clues (the human statues) just frustrated us. None of us had any idea what the answer was and we were beginning to wonder what we were doing there. However, we (and by "we", I mean "Amanda") solved the next two puzzles (failed monuments and the congressional debate) in mere moments and then we were addicted. The next couple of puzzles (the watch guy and commodities) were a total group effort -- it was amazing how helpful it was to have different perspectives on these things. Then, Leon came in for the big finish by doing the correct mathematical calculations (my eyes had glazed over at this point) and coming up with the solution to the statues puzzle.

We had the answers to the five puzzles by 2:15, so we took a break for lunch and a beer. At 3:00, we returned to the stage for the final clue and were halfway to solving it when we heard the winner being announced. Next year is ours.

(And you're welcome for the post title, fellow Unitards...)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Stand-Up Kinda Guy

Last night, we went to see Jeffrey Ross at the Improv in DC. He's the comedian that has done all those celebrity roasts for Hugh Hefner, Shaquille O'Neal, Drew Carey, Donald Trump and Pamela Anderson.

At one point during his set, he asked for volunteers from the audience to come up on stage to be part of an insta-roast, so I raised my hand.

Within moments of sizing me up, he mocked my sweater for looking like a doily in his grandma's house and then asked me if I beadazzled it myself. Then, he made a joke about my dark roots and finished with a few quips about swinging. Beadazzling, blonde jokes and swinging jokes? It's like he's known me all my life...

Friday, May 15, 2009


My friend, Hillary, got me on the list of her PR firm's anniversary party a few years ago, which means I've received invitations every year since. (I wrote about last year's party here.) She no longer works there, but that has not stopped me (or her) from attending these things. PR people can throw a party.

This year, my friend, Terri (who has also been to a few of these), and I got to the party a little late. We walked in and sat down with our drinks when all of the sudden Smokin' Joe Frazier himself came and sat right next to me. My purse was in his way, so he grabbed it and pretended he was going to steal it, so I said to him, "What? You think you're some kind of tough guy? Let's take this outside." "I wouldn't do that. It doesn't match your outfit." That made him laugh -- he was a really cool and nice guy -- he kidded around with us and let us take pictures with him before the "official" pictures started. (When he put his arm around Terri to take a photo, he asked her if her husband was black. She said "No, but hers is." and pointed to me.) I have no idea what any of that conversation has to do with anything, but Terri, Joe and I all seemed to find it very amusing at the time. I'm sure the beer had very little to do with it.

We network a lot at this thing and do a lot of mingling. Which is pretty hilarious, as we really have no right to be there. Whatevs...we now have friends we've made that we see every I'm actually beginning to consider us trespassing hooligans "inner circle."

Anyway...we're already wondering who the celeb will be for the 13th anniversary next year -- any ideas?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

That's A Plate Of Shrimp

During our weekly team meeting today, my boss mentioned that he had remembered me seamlessly weaving a reference to the movie "Repo Man" into a government client meeting a few months back. He said that he thought this was so inappropriate , disturbing amusing that he meant to bring it up in my annual review.

(With apologies to the original...)
Mrs. Maddox: Bring this up in your annual'll enjoy it more.
Otto Maddox: Couldn't enjoy it any more, Mom. Mmm Mmm Mmm

John Wayne was a fag,

Monday, May 11, 2009

Going Against The Grain

Mother's Day weekend was pretty phenomenal. I celebrated the usual way -- an eight-mile walk, a Japanese sword fighting class, and a day at Busch Gardens with my little family.

We had such a great day there - the weather was perfect and we even ran into my friends (and some of my very favorite people), Ira, his wife, Amy, and their kids. You may remember Ira from when I talked about him here and in one of my very first blog posts here.

I have not seen them or some other mutual (and equally hilarious) friends of ours from Virginia Beach in way too long, so Amy shared a story about the other friends because they had all just gone to dinner together. (Mutual friend will remain nameless in case he ever comes across this blog. Let's just say I've also known him since about 4th grade and that he went to a very good school and owns a very successful business. Let's also say that he is married and has two young kids, and that the following is pretty out of character -- because all of this information makes the story even funnier.)

When Ira and Amy met this friend and his wife for dinner, he was not drinking alcohol and they asked him why that was (with our women friends, we always assume pregnancy would be the only reason...with a guy gotta ask, because there is no good reason). He mentioned that he had been on the wagon after a particularly bad episode on Halloween...

The story goes that he had begun the evening with some grain alcohol (re-living your youth, nameless longtime friend?) and ended the evening by getting worried that he had drunk too much, and calling 911 on himself to report an over-imbibing emergency. You can imagine his wife's surprise when the police and an ambulance arrived at their door (you see, she was not privy to the fact that her drunken mess of a husband had called the authorities on himself) and she had to get up to speed on the situation while a) not having a heart attack and b) refraining from throttling him on the spot.

Said friend did go to the hospital where they found...(wait for it)...absolutely nothing wrong. I guess the utter humiliation of the episode (which, because he is awesome, does not prevent him from sharing the story) caused him to re-think his intake for several months.

(As an addendum to this story, Amy noted that when they went to dinner, they were instrumental in getting our friend back off the wagon, something that not even a recent class reunion was able to do.)

We need to get to Virginia Beach much more often.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Managing Expectations

Yesterday we read those two words that no parent ever wants to see on their kid's daily report from school. (No...not "developmentally challenged"...or "class biter"...or even "future Republican" was way worse than that....>cue creepy horror movie music<...under "nap time" the report stated simply, "relaxed quietly."

See, those two words determine the kind of evening we are going to have. "Slept well" means an evening full of fun and frivolity. "Relaxed quietly" means that a kid will find some kind of manic energy deep in her reserves that makes you want to disobey all traffic laws while speeding to the nearest urgent care center to have your ovaries removed.

She was on her turbo setting all night....getting into everything including a stick of butter that she proceeded to wipe all over her hands and legs in order to achieve the proper level of lubrication to begin touching things all over the house. Then, she put all the couch cushions and coasters on the floor and jumped back and forth on them like they were lily pads and she was a crack-addled frog.

Suddenly, her foot came down on one of the coasters and I heard a big ccrrraaccckk. I picked it up and saw that it had shattered. Exasperated, I asked her, "How many more things are you going to get into or break tonight?" She looked at me, then back at Canetto and then innocently (and honestly) held up two fingers.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

What The World Needs Now...Is Love, Sweet Love (Apparently)...

Shout out to a new friend in New Delhi, India, who found my blog by googling "I want faqing."

(I feel dirty again.)

Monday, May 04, 2009

Reflections On A Beta Test

All day today, we were evaluating an exercise we developed for (undisclosed government client) with a beta test for about 40 participants.

During the day, I could not have possibly heard the words "stool sample" or "bloody diarrhea" any more times.

Consequently, I could not have possibly enjoyed my working lunch any less.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Hopeless Romantic

At an engagement party last night, we were talking to several friends who were at our wedding ten years ago.

One of them told me a story I had shared with her when Canetto and I were planning our wedding (and that I had completely forgotten about).

Back when I was shopping for a wedding dress with my mom, we had different opinions on the style of dress I should get. She liked me in one dress that I just didn't care for, and tried to convince me that it should be a contender by saying, "but it is so feminine and so romantic..."

To which I replied, "Mom. There is no place for romance at my wedding."

Saturday, May 02, 2009


As I was leaving the restroom at my office yesterday, I saw that someone had printed a sign and taped it to the inside of the door which read, "Please wash your hands before leaving the bathroom!!!" Which begs the following:

Aren't we all getting a little cuckoo about this whole swine flu thing?

and much, much more importantly:

Who do I work with that needs a reminder to do this after using the bathroom?