Elle Severe Presents

No Kids Allowed

In Bitch Please, Random, Rants, Uncategorized on May 3, 2013 by Elle Severe

To all the morons who think Vegas is a family destination: It’s NOT.

Not joking. Your children are not welcome here.

I’m moved to write this because every time I go to Vegas I see kids.  Everywhere.  I’m not sure why; absolutely NOTHING about Vegas screams “KIDS WELCOME”.    I apologize in advance for how judgmental this post will be, but the reality is that children do not belong everywhere and this is especially true of Vegas.  Before you get all over me about this, please note that I am both a parent and a Vegas lover.

I’m not saying you’re a terrible person if you bring your baby to Vegas, I’m just saying you’re a terrible parent if you bring your baby to Vegas.  Las Vegas is for adults, period.

In the early 90’s there was a push to make Las Vegas a family destination.  Three new hotel/casinos were built with  child-friendly themes: the pyramid shaped Luxor, the pirate-themed Treasure Island and the medieval castle, Excalibur.  The idea was to make it seem like children were welcome while drawing in the parents in the hopes that they would gamble, eat and drink.  It worked for a little while. Though both the Luxor and the Excalibur are still operating today, both have taken hard financial hits.  Because parents and children still flock there, they have lost out on other customers and clientele, so both hotels are suffering financially and are now a little more run-down than they should be.  This results in them charging lower prices and therefore attracting a lower economical class of hotel guest, thus ensuring the cycle of crappy hotel to continue.

You can hear The Sirens from a mile away…

Treasure Island threw in their cards pretty early and re-branded themselves as The TI.   They went from having a massive pirate show out front every hour, to having a Sirens of the Seas show.  The Sirens are scantily clad, obviously.  The only casino on the Strip that is full blown parent/ kid friendly that has survived long term is Circus Circus. I think this is because it’s further down the Strip away from the real action.  History lesson aside, the bottom line is that children of any and all ages do not belong in Las Vegas.  Ask yourself this, is it smart to take kids to a place known all over the world as the “Sin City”? At its most basic level, do you want your beloved progeny in place known for its debauchery? Las Vegas is called the City of Sin for a reason.  Several reasons.  Good reasons.

Believe it.

The first time I ever went to Vegas in the early 2000’s, 24 hours in I turned to my husband and said, “This is DisneyWorld for adults”.  Every vice you have, or want to have, or need to have satisfied, is at your fingertips.  Alcohol, drugs, gambling, food and sex are everywhere and for a price (both emotional and financial) you can have any of it, some of it, or all of it.  All you need to do is open up your wallet and you can eat at a buffet fit for kings, you can drink until you fall over, you can gamble until you are flat busted broke and you can watch naked girls dance on a pole until the sun comes up; in some cases you can do all of these things at once.  You can do this in moderation or in excess but believe me when I tell you it’s encouraged to do these things in excess.  Point blank:  Vegas is awesome – for adults.

Alaskan King Crab legs for days, son.

You will lose.

Personally I go to Vegas to get away from my kids.   I have found that there are times in my life when I need a break from them.  I love them, I want to be with them and pretty much everything I do in my life centers around them.  But sometimes I need a f*cking break.  I need to have adult time whether it’s alone with my husband or with a group of my girlfriends; the reality is that everybody needs a little time away, it’s that simple.  So when I see kids in Vegas I get annoyed for two reasons, number one, because they do not belong here and number two, because they are infringing on my grown-up time.  I will also be honest here and say that I am openly hostile to people with children in Vegas.  Yes I am.  Too bad.  Now if we’re at Storyland, I’m kind and patient and even try to pretend that other people’s kids are cute and charming (they aren’t), but in Vegas, you get the stink-eye.

 

This really happens; all day, everyday.

 

Let’s start at the very beginning: the flight to Vegas.

You’ll start out the evening classy, but you’ll end the evening a sloppy ho.

Since 2002 I have been to Vegas no less than 12 times, each and every time, without fail, no matter what time the flight is, there is always a gaggle of people, guys or girls, who already drunk or seriously buzzed before we even board the plane.  These people have already indulged and that’s fine by me because they’re adults and we’re on our way to Vegas.   I personally have been known to take a couple of happy pills on my way to Vegas, ostensibly to prevent anxiety or a migraine, so even myself, a responsible party-er, is under the influence.   And if people aren’t already drinking before boarding the plane, you bet your ass they’re getting drunk on the plane.  I have to believe that the flight attendants heading to Vegas know that they are going to be on their feet serving drinks pretty much the entire flight.  Now children on a flight to Vegas is unavoidable.  Maybe you have family out there, or friends you’re visiting.   I have friends in Vegas and at some point I will be bringing my children out to meet them, so kids on the plane to Vegas is fine, I get it.  But be warned, you may end up sandwiched between a group of awesome bros who just can’t wait to get their drink on if they haven’t started already.  So already the ride to Vegas is a dicey situation and once you arrive in Vegas, shit gets real, and fast.

This is just the beginning.

Once off the plane and in the airport, which is very clean and welcoming, there are slot machines and bars.  That’s fine.  That’s not an issue.  However, once you leave the confines of the terminal and are in your cab heading toward your hotel, the billboards start.  These billboards advertise everything from Vegas shows to the hottest strip clubs to the raciest lounges.  There are ads for magic shows and buffets too.  But if you’re a kid, guess which ones are going to catch your eye? This can’t be helped, human nature is such that we are naturally drawn to the naughty.   In the back of the cabs there are free booklets that advertise these same things and inevitably there is always an ad for the latest Vegas showgirl cabaret with a picture of the lead dancer in the least amount of clothing possible.  And that’s just the ride to the hotel.

I typically order two of these upon arrival.

Check in areas areas at the hotels are clean and classy and smell nice, everyone is cheerful and happy to help you out.  Once you’re checked in, it’s time to head to your room.  Because Vegas wants you to gamble, it’s a foregone conclusion that in order to get to your room, you must pass through the casino, and once in the casino area, all bets are off:

Just a regular Tuesday on the casino floor.

1. Vegas still allows smoking in the casinos.   You cannot smoke in restaurants or clubs, but smoking is still allowed in bars and designated sections of the casino floor.  The casinos do their best to combat the smoke and the smell, and most do a great job, but the bottom line is that people are still smoking; smoke floats and lingers and hovers in the air and swirls around….so is it a good idea to walk your brand new baby, toddler, 7 year old, 12 year old or 15 year old through that? Simply put, no.  It’s not 1972 people,  smoking around kids is not okay.  Sorry.  We are better informed about the dangers of second hand smoke and more importantly, do you want your kids reeking of that? I don’t.  It’s gross.  If YOU want to walk through a smokey casino, by all means, please do so.  But since your sweet little baby can’t voice his or her opinion, don’t you think it would be best to make a good parenting decision for them and just not do that? Do you really need to be in Vegas so badly that you’re willing to have your infant’s brand new pink lungs exposed to that garbage? And I’ll be perfectly honest with you, when I’m in Vegas, I’m part of the problem; I will absolutely indulge in a cigarette or two or 50.  Hey, I’m in Vegas, in keeping with the “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” mantra, my rule is that whatever damage you do to your body in Vegas stays in Vegas and doesn’t count in the real world.

Go Go dancers be dancin’.

2.  In the casinos, in an effort to draw you in, there are scantily clad women everywhere.  These women are cocktail waitresses serving drinks to the masses, go-go dancers dancing on the bars, showgirls and Cirque performers and regular women of all ages wearing less clothing than they should.  The fact is, most of Vegas is scantily women.  Vegas is built on scantily clad women and that’s fine, for adults.  I’m old enough to know that the objectification of women is wrong and inappropriate, but if you think it’s okay for your 7 year old son to see that shit, then fine, but please don’t act surprised when he becomes a hyper-sexual 12 year old, a perverted 15 year old and a date-raping 22 year old.  I have no evidence or back-up, but my parental instinct and my gut tell me that it’s not okay for little boys and little girls to see sexual imagery coming directly at them for prolonged periods of time.  I have to believe that won’t end well.

Drinking is sport.

3.  Other than war zones and South Central, Vegas is the most volatile place in the world.  Think about it, you have  thousands upon thousands of people in a condensed, overly populated area drinking and gambling and LOSING.  They are getting drunker and broker by the second.  I don’t know about you, but when I lose money, I get really mad, really quickly.  And if I’m drunk, forget it.  I will lose my mind.  Let me take a moment to tell you a quick side story: My first trip to Vegas I saved up a tidy little sum to gamble, I drank like a fish all day and at 2am decided it was time to gamble.  I got my quarters, settled into a slot machine and proceeded to lose every penny.  I was so angry and frustrated I hadn’t hit it big that I began crying so hard and for so long that security came over and asked my husband to immediately remove me or risk me being arrested.  My husband manhandled me back to my room where I continued to sob uncontrollably for two hours.  Then I ordered room service, ate a burger like I was David Hasselhoff and passed out in my own filth.  And I’m a nice, decent, fairly normal human being.  So imagine how everyone else is behaving.  I mean, you are relying on complete strangers to behave around your children.  That’s an awful big leap of faith.  I don’t even trust certain family members to behave around my children so if you think I’m going to chance it that people in Vegas are going to be mindful of them, guess again.  It’s about protecting your children, which is your duty.  Sure there is tons of security in the casinos, every corner and crevice of the casino is on camera and monitored, but anything can happen in a split second.  Think how good you’ll feel about yourself if your kid is hurt in a Vegas casino.  That will be a story for the ages…or DCF.

Ask yourself this, is everyone really getting out to pee? You already NO the answer.

You will get lost. And no one will give a crap.

4.  The pools.  At most hotels there are multiple pools with all kinds of people standing around either hungover or already drinking in the hot sun.  Do you know what it would take to set off a full scale bro brawl? I’ll tell you, not much.  Now clearly in the nicer, more upscale hotels that attract a high level clientele, your children will be more protected in the casino and pool areas, but they’re not anyone else’s responsibility.  No one is going to save your kid if he/she begins to drown while you’re off getting yourself a third Miami Vice (pina colada and strawberry daiquiri in one drink, delicious).  I’m a strong and avid swimmer, but if I’m drunk I’m not saving anyone.  Why the hell should I put myself at risk for your kid? I got my own, so no thanks.  Furthermore, don’t ruin my buzz, I’ve paid way too much for it. This past summer I celebrated my birthday in Vegas.  At the MGM pool with my husband and friends, two kids about 10 and 11, brother and sister, began fighting in the deep end.  At first everyone ignored them because we’re all too self-involved to give a shit, but as the screams got louder and louder, people started to take notice and get this, ready? Not one single solitary soul did anything.  Including myself.  On purpose.  Why you ask? Because those weren’t my f*cking kids and they don’t belong in Vegas.  More importantly, their mother was nowhere to be found.  When she returned, with her bikini top askew and carrying drinks, I had a brief thought that I should be calling some sort of protective services, then I remembered that I didn’t give a f*ck.  And that, my friends, is pretty much how everyone in Vegas feels. I should probably apologize for that but I’m not going to.

“I’ll trade you my TIffani for your Sabrina”

5.  The Strip.  On the Strip there are people hired to hand out what are essentially trading cards of hookers.  People grab them, look at them and either pocket them or drop them.  Take a second to think how cool that would be when little Timmy looks down at the ground and realizes that he can collect a full set of Vegas hookers to trade with his friends back home.  I’m not even going to expound on that.

Just because it’s a “dry” heat doesn’t make it less hot.

6.  The weather.  I’ve been to Vegas at all times of the year.  Here’s a real shocker for you, it’s hot most of the time.  And in August, it’s hot as Hell, as in actual Hell, as in Hades.  So no, I don’t think you should be carrying around your 3 month old baby up and down the Strip when it’s 110 degrees.  Last August my friend Claire and I saw a man holding his little baby in his arms, when I tell you that I couldn’t tell if the child was dead or sleeping I’m not exaggerating – the sight of that limp, sweaty little baby in his arms as he obliviously strolled down the Strip in the beating sun made my stomach sick.  Claire and I couldn’t even believe it.  What parent does that? There is NOTHING on the Strip so awesome that you need to have an infant with you.  That was not the only time we saw that.  We saw kids passed out in strollers and flung over shoulders and crying and hungry and tired.  It was sad.  All I could think of was, for what? I just don’t get it.  Is a visit to the M&M store worth the risk of of sun stroke?  All those poor kids needed rest, how about going back to your cool room and letting that baby sleep in comfort? I assure you that the cheap t-shirt vendors are not going anywhere.  I’m also not saying that you need to work your sightseeing around nap time, put the kid in a comfy stroller and just tour the hotels, inside,  where it’s cool and comfortable.  How about at least keep it off the Strip during the hottest part of the day?

All day long…

One one of my last trips there I was walking through the new Cosmopolitan at around 11pm when I noticed three young women dressed to the nines walking through the casino pushing a carriage.  These young ladies were decked out in club gear; 6 inch stilettos, full make up, coiffed hair… these girls were workin’ it.  The only thing throwing off their ferocious game was that pesky stroller with the infant in it.  So where the hell were they going with that baby?? Da club?  I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assign them the following back story: they, and the rest of their family and friends were in Vegas for a family wedding.  One of the girls just had a baby but still wanted to attend the wedding so she brought her baby with her.  This works out because her parents are also there for the wedding.  Having not drank or otherwise misbehaved for the last 11 months, New Mommy decides she just needs a night out with her girls.  She and her sister and girlfriend got all dolled up and were walking through the casino heading to Mom’s room to drop the baby for the night while she and the girls had some good old fashioned clean Vegas fun (which is an oxymoron).  That’s the story I have assigned her because nothing else is acceptable, nothing.

I have a friend who wants to bring her children to Vegas because she heard they have a nice aquarium at Mandalay Bay.  I had to gently tell her that firstly, that aquarium is busted and secondly, no.  You want a good aquarium especially for kids? SEA WORLD.

I allow for the fact there are times and situations where your child might have to be in Vegas.  The family wedding I mentioned up above, or maybe you’re there on a day trip as you head to the Hoover Dam, or you’re in town visiting friends and just wanted to bring the kids over to the see the pyramid or the Eiffel Tower…fine, so be it, that’s cool.  But anything longer than a day in Vegas and you are asking for trouble.  Not only will you not have a good time, but neither will they, and neither will I.  And be prepared to have to answer questions you had hoped to not hear until they were in their teens.  Kids grow up fast enough these days, I’d prefer they don’t do it on the Vegas Strip.

I’m sure you have your own opinion on this, and it may differ from mine, but I will tell you right now that I will not be swayed.  While I was writing and researching for this piece I came across an article that said “Vegas as a Fun Family Vacation!”, I didn’t even spend 2 seconds reading that nonsense; I stand firm in my belief that children do not belong in Vegas.  Bring them to DisneyWorld, that’s where children belong.


Survivor Recap: Beginning of the End

In TV Addict, Uncategorized on May 2, 2013 by Pabby MFNP

“This is the end.  My beautiful friend.  This is the end.”  -The Doors

 Whenever the end of each Survivor season rolls around, it always too early for me.  I always enjoy pretty much every minute of every episode and that has been the case this season, even if you consider the scenes with Shamar.  But as the title of the episode suggests, the end is near.  Also, it is already less exciting without Malcolm there.  I hate when my favorite players get voted out. 

I wish I were self-confident enough to wear a towel on my head like this. Anyway, good bye, Malcolm. You were no Ozzy but you were a reasonable facsimile.

Eddie speaks and dumb words come out.

Eddie remarks about how he’s still here and I think “Not for long, bro.”  Even if people keep him around, he doesn’t have much of a chance.  He reminds me of Soggy Mop Erik in that way.

Cochran continues to talk a big game.

In previous recaps, I mentioned how much I enjoyed Cochran’s bravado.  But today it seems to have started to wear on me.  When he said something like “I fear that I’m turning into something that would scare my mother,” I started to think that perhaps he’s pushing things a little too far.  I think he might have even said, “Whoever wants immunity has to go through Cochran” but I could have been dreaming.

Soggy Mop main contribution continues to be to make weird comments and to think he’s a player in this game.

When Soggy Mop found out that it would be an immunity challenge right away, he said, “I thought it was reward, maybe.”  Ok, Soggy Mop.  Go wring yourself out and mimick a coconut tree.

People drop out of the immunity challenge even though a million gd dollars are on the line.

Ok, so the immunity challenge consisted of balancing on a triangle type thing in the water while the wind and waves constantly threaten to knock you over and it gets progressively worse.  After a little while, Jeff offers donuts and milk to the first person to voluntarily leave the challenge.  Well, who should volunteer?  But Dumb Dumb Eddie!  WTF, Eddie!  You do realize how much money is on the line, right?  That’s one thing that gets my goat.  When people go on Survivor and don’t give it everything they have.  I understand people become starving but by giving their immediate hunger, they often nullify all of the sacrifices they made prior to that like assholes.  As for Eddie and the donuts, they weren’t even Boston Creme.

Oh baby, you’re worth a million. At least until after I’ve eaten you and you do a figure four leg lock on my intestines. Mmmm so good, though.

But back to Eddie, maybe Eddie is the smartest of them all.  Maybe he wanted everyone to think he was stupid enough to take donuts over a million bucks and he’s going to make a big power move next week?  Just kidding, Eddie’s a moron.  He and Sherry can say adios soon.

Then Cochran quits, too.

I hadn’t gotten over Eddie being a Dumb Dumb when Cochran does the same thing for hot dogs and soda.  He tries to get the blessing of his alliance but they look at him as if to say, “No, you can’t have our blessing, you tall lanky p*ssy!”  Cochran and Eddie would both later explain that they quite because couldn’t hold on for much longer.  Well if that is the case, you hold on until you can’t hold any more and then you fall off.  If you are going to go on Survivor, that is the only way to do it.  At least if you want to have any of my respect.  I don’t think anyone’s playing for that which is good because many of them ain’t getting it. 

Brenda returns to form.

The episode started with a recap and it mostly consisted of Brenda crying followed by other shots of Brenda crying.  So I was glad to see that she got her mojo back this episode and stopped crying and worked on making me fall in love again.  She was off to a good start because the way she was balancing, it looked like she was dancing.

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Survivor Recap: Come Over to the Dark Side

In TV Addict, Uncategorized on April 25, 2013 by Pabby MFNP
 
Precap.
 
I wrote this precap before last night’s episode to honor those that came before.
 
An Ode to the Specialist.
 
Last week Phillip “The Specialist” Sheppard was ousted from Survivor by the Three Amigos and Soggy Mop Erik.  It was probably the most shocking and exciting tribal council ever and that is what I focused on last week.  But I think I would be remiss if I didn’t point out how endlessly entertaining Phillip has been this season.
 
Let’s start with those “I want to rock down to Electric Avenue” shoes.  They are nothing short of magnificent.  Those are the kind of sneakers purchased by a crazy, eccentric person, so it was fitting that Phillip rocked those.
 
Next, Phillip had the look of someone who was currently living in another dimension and was constantly annoyed by the chattering coming from some of the people in this dimension.  I know because sometimes I see this same look in the mirror when I’m shaving or what have you.
 
Finally, Phillip constantly putting Boston Rob on a pedestal was hilarious.  Now, I’ve been a fan of the Robfather since 2001 when he first appeared on Survivor.  No one is a bigger fan of him than me.  Other than the Specialist.  He would often say things like, “Ok, when you’re going to bed tonight, picture yourself as Boston Rob because that is what I do.”  I thought I was the only one who did that.  It should be a relief that someone else does that too, but it isn’t.
 
But my favorite, favorite thing about the Specialist is when you see him talk strategy with someone and afterwards, they each invariably say, “Phillip is completely out of his tits but I just went along with everything he said and made him think he was in charge.”  Isn’t that how every one of us deals with a crazy person?  But Phillip maintains that he’s not crazy.  Also, he wrote a book:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20692725,00.html
 
The Three Amigos.
 
In the coming weeks the three amigos will in all likelihood be picked off one by one.  However, I have to give credit where it is due.   They made Survivor history by completely turning things upside down at tribal council and giving themselves one more week.  It was a Russel Hantz type move, except without pouring gasoline all over the place and playing with matches with a devilish look on your face. The power alliance had moseyed on up to Tribal Council without a care in the world and one minute in, they all collectively shit a brick.  Then it was captivating to see the mid-tribal council scrambling that was going on.  I don’t know if we’ll ever see a tribal council like that ever again so while they are all still alive, (for now) I give them my thanks for a season to remember.  I’ll always like these three amigos more though:

You shot the Invisible Swordsman!

Maybe, Phillip had some Boston Rob control over people after all.

The next day after Tribal Council, Erik also known has Soggy Mop because he has a long skinny body like a mop handle and because his hair resembles a soggy mop, says the following:  “The legs have been kicked out of the chair of Stealth R Us.  It opens me up to talking to people that Phillip didn’t want me talking to.  I can choose which option is better for Erik.”   Perhaps the Specialist did in fact have some pull over people because it sounds like Soggy Mop allowed Phillip to strong arm him into not talking to the Three Amigos.  But about Erik referring to himself in the third person, if you’re like me, you love it when people talk in the third person.  If you’re really like me, then you really love actually talking in the third person to yourself:  “Pabby doesn’t like all this traffic.  Pabby is getting hungry.  Now Pabby is getting very cranky!”.  Anyway, it appears that Soggy Mop is having some delusions of grandeur that he is actually a player in this game and not a walking, talking soppy wet mop.  However, his delusions of grandeur will pale in comparison to someone else later in this recap.  I’ll give you a hint:  She’s a franchisee.  Side note, have you ever noticed that franchisees never pass up an opportunity to tell you how they are franchisees?  Anyway, Sherry seems like the worst kind of franchisee.  One final comment about Soggy Mop, he looks like a younger, floppy haired version of Andy Dick.

Brenda breaks dawn.

I think it was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow who wrote, “The nearer the Dawn, the darker the night.”  Well in this case, he was right.  Being in such close proximity to Dawn has really done a number on poor Brenda and she was breaking dawn like crazy.  It was sad to see her like that.  I’m used to, and prefer, the good times.  Like that time she was sitting out a challenge and just decided to started to walk back and forth and balance herself on a log in the background like an adorable whimsical fairy.  But, poor Brenda!  If Dawn is more emotionally stable than you are, you have a problem.

An alliance of 6 fears the Three Amigos, an alliance of 3.

Cochran, Brenda, Andrea, Dawn and Sherry all make comments about how the Three Amigos are some kind of force to be reckoned with.  They are on Day 29 so I can understand some paranoia going on but get a hold of yourselves people!

Survivor Auction!

People love auctions but people really love Survivor food auctions.  Both the contestants and the audience were all salivating at the thought of a food auction.  Something interesting always happens and this time was no exception.

Malcolm disappoints.

Malcolm talks a big game about how there might be an opportunity for him to buy something that might help him in the game.  Some clue perhaps.  I was thinking, “Alright, this kid came to play.”   But then he immediately bids $20 on a beer and some nuts.  It didn’t work out that way but that $20 could have been the difference between winning and losing a clue that could get him an idol.  I can’t judge him too much because there’s a very good chance that I would do the same thing.  But I’m a recovering alcoholic.

Sherry Lizardface goes for broke.

Reynold buys a slice of pizza but he could have had a whole pizza had he listed to Cochran’s advice.  Instead, he didn’t, and even went so far as to say, “I don’t trust you, Cochran” , this opened the door for Sherry, the Franchisee, to offer to buy the whole rest of the pizza for $500.  Sherry is quite opportunistic and I don’t fault her for this move at all.  She saw what she wanted and she went for it.  But back to Reynold and the ‘I don’t trust you’ thing, that has to sting to be told you are not trusted by a used car salesman like Reynold.  It seems like Cochran has probably had more than his share of indignities but that has to be up there.

A cruel choice.

After some blubbering from Brenda, Andrea wins an auction and she is asked to make a Sophie’s Choice:  A beautiful spaghetti and meatball dinner with garlic bread, a glass of wine and an implied candlelit dinner with yourself, or a bag of rice and a bag of beans that can be brought back to camp and shared with the tribe.  I think there was some incoherent blubbering from Brenda and Andrea chose the rice and beans.  I would probably have felt compelled to choose the rice and beans, but I love me some spaghetti and meatballs, so unless my mother was going to be flown out to cook that rice and beans, I’m taking the spaghetti and meatballs.  I would tell everyone else on the tribe that they can all suck a bag of dicks.  I realize of course also that I would never win a million dollars.

Poor Brenda chooses poorly.  (Of course)

Poor Brenda was hesitant to bid because uh, she didn’t want to make a bad choice.  Well she bid and won herself some pig brain.  Jeff asked her if she wanted to try it and she didn’t want to compound her mistake so she tried it, only realizing after that she doesn’t eat pork!  Ruh roh!  I guess you eat pork now, Brenda.  Maybe, she can try bacon next.  It’s delicious!  My good friend Marcus said to me, “How am I supposed to stop eating pork?  I’m Puerto Rican!  I eat pork with every single meal.”

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There’s no such thing as a free Chinese Food Lunch.

In Musings, Random, Rants, Uncategorized on December 7, 2012 by Pabby MFNP

 

Hide yo ribs, hide yo rice, hide yo ribs, hide yo rice.
-Some unknown lyrical gangster

The first time a Chinese food injustice happened to us we were confused and depressed.  The second time it happened to us we got annoyed and a little angry. The third time it happened to us we were shocked and hurt and made rash public declarations; we swore it would never happen again.  We swore that we would never again be victimized.  Like so many promises in life, these were empty.  Once again, here we were smack dab in the middle of yet another Chinese Food Injustice.  So by the time the fourth and final time it happened to us, we were numb. Despite our many proclamations otherwise, being in this situation felt familiar, almost comfortable.  But how many times can people fall for the same mistake?  We had fallen into the very definition of insanity, being in the same situation but expecting a different result. In chronological order here is the detailed story of the Chinese food Injustices.

Incident 1: The Investment Company Outrage

Elle and I were working at an investment company and we didn’t get paid much but there some weird little perks that when added up, almost made it all worth it.  One of those perks was an occasional catered lunch.  When you live paycheck to paycheck like we did (and sometimes still do, thanks stupid economy and inflation), free food was gold.  And when it was Chinese food, it was platinum, assuming that is better than gold.  One Friday, whispers went through the office about free Chinese food coming for lunch.   Automatically, everyone was reminded of the last time there was free Chinese food and what an amazing feast it was.  That lunch was so good that even just the memory of it provided some sustenance.  It was so perfect that we’d spend the rest of our lives, trying to chase the feelings brought about by that free lunch but we would never get there.  I believe that’s called Chasing the Dragon in some circles. But back to that Friday, smiles were formed.  Spirits were lifted.  Suddenly life at a low salary didn’t seem so bad and what a great way to start the weekend!  But then more whispers went through the office again, this time bearing bad and startling news:  The Chinese food was not going to be for everyone.  And by “not for everyone”, I mean not for our group, specifically.  Our director couldn’t be talked into sharing the cost, so the department right next to us was going to be the only one to partake in the free Chinese food.  Oh and did I mention there weren’t any walls separating us from the other department because yeah, there weren’t any walls separating us from the other department.  With the evident lack of physical boundaries I couldn’t believe we would not be allowed to share the free food. So I checked in with our Director and he confirmed my worst fear.  He said he wanted to show his appreciation in “a different way.”  He had the look of a man that was going to continue on the path he had chosen no matter what:  no matter what the detractors say, no matter what the consequences were, no matter if he knows he could be wrong.  I know this look now that I am a father.  I see it every time I’m with my kids and I happen to look in the mirror.  So that was it.  Done deal.  No Chinese food for Elle and I and the rest of our team.

At around 11:30am the other teams began setting up for the Chinese food.  Long folding tables were set up end to end and the air was electric, people were excited and rightfully so.  When the Chinese food came, there was a sound of unabashed joy in the air.  It smelled delicious and it looked amazing.  Our whole department had to watch while ALL the other teams formed lines giddy with anticipation….this was easily in the top ten most cruel things to ever happen to us in life.  And we grew up in Dorchester. Then Elle and I said that we were not going to be victimized like this so we high-tailed it out of there, went over to the mall and got our own damn Chinese food.  It was a poor substitute.  When you are expecting to have good Chinese food from a real restaurant and for free, no less, only to end up at the mall eating Chinese in the food court out of a Styrofoam container, it’s like expecting to get laid but then having to spend your night watching Skinemax; we were devastated.  At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, it was one of the most traumatic food incidents of our lives, this is even counting Elle’s Ham and Cheese Sub Incident of the early 90’s which is not something I will go into right now because you can only deal with so much trauma in one day.  But I believe we changed that day.  Not unlike any of the attractive female leads in any given romantic comedy, we were burned and didn’t see it coming and from then on, we were scared to trust anything or anyone, pretty much ever again.

Incident 2: Schweta’d

Elle and I eventually moved on from the investment company.   We had healed from our previous Chinese Food Injustice and were enjoying a period of calm in our lives that can only be characterized by describing it as that innocent time right before something very bad happens to you.  That time you look back on and think “I was so happy, unafraid and carefree”.  And then in the blink of eye it happens again and you simply cannot believe you’re here in this place for a second time.

Now Elle and I were working for a large non-profit and enjoying decent paychecks and were finally at a point where if we wanted to, we could always buy our own Chinese food.  If health were not a concern, we could have Chinese at every meal.  But the idea of free Chinese food still really appealed to us.  We always wanted to recapture the glory of that first free Chinese food lunch but also overcome the emotional trauma over that other Chinese food lunch.  Almost like how you still drive by an old girlfriend’s house and look over at it, trying to remember what it felt like back then.  Then eventually you become a realtor and you have easy access to public record and you can see that her mother sold the house back in 1997 so maybe you should stop driving by there, you creep.

But anyway, even though we could afford our own Chinese food, we still liked free food and we still loved free Chinese food.  So when the idea was floated that this year’s holiday party would be catered by a coworker’s father and it turned out that he owned a Chinese food restaurant, it was icing on the cake.

On that day, a few coworkers went to get the food and bring it back to the conference room where we set up.  I remember being overwhelmed and delighted by the sheer number of trays and sternos being set up.  It was magical.  To this day, that Chinese food remains some of the most delicious Chinese food that any of us have ever had.  And there was so much of it.  People went back for seconds and thirds and still there were whole platters left over.  We all talked about it and then made a group decision to put it in the fridge and have it for lunch the next day.

The next day at work people were still cheerful and happy, basking in the afterglow of free delicious Chinese food from the day before and the promise of more that day for lunch. At 11:30am, promptly, the biggest guy in our group headed to the fridge to prep lunch for everyone.  He was graciously going to pull out all the Chinese food and set it up. Everyone was excited. Plates were grabbed, utensils distributed…and then disaster struck.  Our coworker opened the fridge, looked in, pulled out a massive tray of rice and one of lo mein…and that was it.  He yelled “Hey, uh, where’s the rest of it?”, ‘Where’s the rest of it? What does he mean? What does this mean? What’s going on? Where’s the rest of it?!’ Elle stepped up, took a look in the fridge and I could tell we were in trouble. “There’s nothing! It’s all gone! Oh my God! It’s all gone.” There was confusion and outrage.  Some were just saddened to the point of watery eyes.  What the hell happened to all of our leftovers?  Where were the crab rangoons?  Where was the General Gau’s?  Where were the chicken fingers?  What happened to our innocence?  Is that gone, too?

An investigation ensued.  There was a whole lot of she said, she said and then someone, who asked not to be named, remembered seeing a very small coworker named Schweta with several Tupperware containers…word spread like wildfire and by 3pm, in the court of public opinion, our co-worker named Schweta was found guilty of helping herself to trays of leftovers of all of the best stuff.  The chicken fingers, rangoons, spring rolls and General Gau’s.  She left the rice and lo mein.  Wow, thanks Schweta.  Thanks for that.  Schweta, in one fell swoop, had severely, egregiously violated Work Lunch Leftover Protocol. We had previously made a group decision to not touch the remaining Chinese food. A group of over 20 people agreed. And one person, a very small tiny person, no less, stole our food.

Schweta soon moved on to another employer and presumably other food theft opportunities.  No one was sorry to see her go.  However, we were delighted that we could use “Schweta” as verb to indicate some kind of food theft, as in, “I’m going to Schweta that last piece of cake and bring it home.”   Then “To Schweta”  was further defined as not just to steal food because leftovers by and large are fair game in work situations, but to pick and choose the best leftovers, making whatever you leave obsolete since it is useless without the other parts there were taken, even though it was decided that the group would have it the next day for lunch and you were there when it was discussed.  The offense was even more devastating because not only had she stolen food from an entire group of over 20 people, but now all of those 20 people had to go purchase food…through no fault of their own, they now had to spend money on lunch. She stole  AND cost us money. Some people laughed it off and thought it was funny,  Elle and I were not one of those people.

Elle and I had been burned again, but this time by a tiny little girl named Schweta and again, we said “never again”.  Then we were Chef Chang’d.

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What It’s Like To Quit Drinking

In Life, Musings, Random, Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 by Pabby MFNP

“It seems that you’ve been living two lives……One of these lives has a future and one of them does not.”   -Agent Smith in The Matrix.  Also, my wife on the morning after my last night of drinking.

I am creeping up on my 9th anniversary since I last had a Corona.  I can’t figure out what the exact date was that I had my last beer, even though I have repeatedly researched it and tried to piece it all together.  That’s a good indication of how much I drank that night.  But I know that it’s sometime around August 20th, 2003.  A day that will live forever in infamy.  Well, not really.  I like to think that this is the day that I was set free, even if a certain part of me was put under lock and key.

Many people have asked me what it’s like to quit drinking.  Well, here is a question and answer session that I had with myself.

Q:  How were you able to stop drinking?  It really is a magnificent feat for someone such as you from Dorchester.
A:  Thank you.  The twelve steps were a big help.  Also, I couldn’t have done it without all of the love and support from my family and friends.

Q:  Did you follow all 12 steps?
A:  No, unfortunately, I skipped some of the steps and created some of my own such as crying myself to sleep and scowling all the time.

Q:  What was the hardest part of quitting?
A:  I would have to say Corona commercials which seemed to be specially designed to mock me.  Also, the overwhelming feeling that I’m constantly on the outside looking in at everything.

Q:  Is there a commercial that you can relate to this?
A:  Yes, the one that went “He can’t play like the other kids, he has asthma.”

Q:  What is that you miss the most about drinking?
A:  Tailgate parties and being an absolute mess at sporting events.

Q:  What is the most rewarding part of it?
A:  That I’m a good role model for my kids in at least one but very important way.

Q:  Do you think your kids appreciate it?
A:  No, they are a-holes.  But maybe someday they will.

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Skinnamarink Lyrics

In Uncategorized on October 28, 2011 by Elle Severe

Skinnamarink e-dink e-dink
Skinnamarink e-doo
I love you.

Skinnamarink e-dink e-dink
Skinnamarink e-doo
I love you.

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