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Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior – Part Two

Image result for sloths  Les Sloth, Guest Contributor

Conventions are very strange things. For example, they are very boring. At least this one is. The beautiful, talented people are actually competing against each other. But they don’t talk to each other or fight. It’s not like those people on TV who are competing to be President; whatever that it. I guess those people are not beautiful and talented.

Mainly we have been sitting in a room and watching people walk and talk. Everyone is dressed very nicely. I wonder what they do with all of those nice clothes when they are home. Particularly some of the people on the runway. I have never seen Cat or B in anything like that.

B only walked one time. I thought she was very pretty. She was wearing jeans and looked really normal compared to some of the other people I saw. I guess she did OK. She didn’t fall in front of everyone and that was important she said.

She talked a lot though. A few times she sounded like she was trying to sell things to the other people. The other times she just sounded like she was just rambling about something. She sounded most normal then. She sang one time too.

There were a few people who watched and wrote things down. Some of the other beautiful, talented people watched too. The people B knew all watched each other. They told each other how great they were. The people who wrote things down never told anyone they were great. They didn’t smile at anyone either.

I think Cat will be very happy with the job that C has done. B has not been crazy at all the entire trip. C does interesting things during the day while B watches people walk and talk. I think she has actually been outside the building.

I think I have done a good job too. No strange people have come near except the ones she wants to talk to. The other night the lady with the black hair who is in charge of B’s group lost her phone. While they we looking for the phone, one of the guys had his wallet stolen. That wouldn’t have happened if he had a sloth bodyguard.

The PR part is working too. Already a couple of people have asked for B’s picture and wanted a private audition. It’s a good thing that they wanted pictures. The lady with the black hair wanted B to take at least 50 or 60 pictures with her. She also had to take resumes. They took up a lot of space in her bag. So did the clothes and shoes, but I don’t think she’s supposed to give those to anyone.

The only things left to do are callbacks and the awards dinner. I’m not really sure what a callback is. B says they don’t have anything to do with phones or people calling out her name. I don’t know what kind of awards they are giving out. I really hope they only talk after we eat. I think they will have a salad so I can eat too. Then I can sleep while they talk.

We are going home the day after that. I have to lay on one of those machines again so they can make sure I’m not going to blow up the plane. I hope Cat is there to meet us. This trip has been the longest six days of my life.

 

 

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3

Slothly Ruminations on Human Behavior

Image result for sloths  Les Sloth, Guest Contributor

I really didn’t have to ruminate much to come to my conclusion:

Humans are crazy!

Cat assigned me to accompany B to Los Angeles for her modeling/talent convention. I joined her and her friend C while they finished packing for the trip. I don’t think C was going there to be beautiful; I think she was supposed to keep B from being crazy while she was being beautiful. I hope Cat’s paying her more than she’s paying me.

Apparently it takes a lot of stuff to be beautiful and talented. B had two overflowing suitcases before C arrived. C helped her repack so all that stuff fit. Unfortunately, B still had a lot of stuff. Fortunately, it doesn’t take as much stuff to prevent craziness so C could share some of her space.

Cat drove us to the airport in the dark. We had to get in a line where all the humans had to take off their shoes. Humans have ugly feet – no fur or claws. They made me lie down on a belt that went through a big box. B said they were looking for explosives. Why would I eat explosives? I’m a vegetarian.

The plane ride was awful. The airplane people said that animals ride under the seat. They also said that I really should be in a cage in cargo. I showed them my ticket. They finally said that I could have the seat but that if I made a mess on the seat I had to leave. Can you believe that?! People can be so rude.

We finally got to the LA airport. I was really sorry I’m not an insectivore. There were a lot of big black beetles on the floor. B carried me. She said it was too dirty for me to walk and that someone might step on me.

We had to wait for the luggage. That’s a really scary place. There were a lot of people pushing each other trying to get their stuff. I think I would have left some of that stuff there and bought something better looking. C was really good at making sure no one got our stuff. That probably helped B not be crazy.

We got to the hotel pretty quickly. I think everyone in LA must be late getting somewhere. All they do is run around.

After we got there, B had a message that she had to go to a meeting. Of course, I went with her. There were four people there besides B. A lady with black hair was really excited and told them everything that they needed to do. The lady seemed pretty stressed out and was making B and her friends annoyed. Luckily, the lady didn’t have a problem with me being there so B didn’t get really upset.

B had to go to some kind of singing practice. I don’t know how humans are supposed to sound when they sing, but they didn’t sound anything at all like the songbirds where I come from. I guess B did OK. No one threw anything at her or walked out.

The last thing she did was to put on a lot of makeup and have someone take pictures of her. I think that went pretty well. I don’t understand why all of the pretty girls there had to put stuff on their faces to have their pictures taken. Sloths look good the way we are. And none of them looked as good as a lady sloth when they were done.

That was the end of the stuff B had to do on the first day. She went to eat with her friends. I went back to the room to try and figure out whether the people were having a good time there or not. I fell asleep before I could decide.

More to come.

8

Is December Over Yet?

As we get older, the months are supposed to sneak past us so quickly that we don’t even see them going by. December didn’t get the memo. It’s not like I really accomplished anything; it just feels like it took forever not to.

December showed off some pretty quirky human behavior. And some amazing first-world stupidity.

I always do a lot of baking for the holidays. It takes about a week and I generally make the same things. Unfortunately my week was interrupted by cranberry bread for my husband to take to work, breakfast breads for my daughter’s fundraiser, and putting together a gingerbread reindeer and sleigh. (Not really difficult if you have four hands.) Luckily for my family I was still in my holiday daze when they remarked that I had not made fudge this year.

I went to an interfaith peace kick-off meeting on December 22. The timing was significant because it was the season of Christmas, Hanukah, and The Prophet’s birth. And because those of us who work in retail are in a perpetual haze. I hope the woman sitting next to me won’t be offended if we meet again and I have no clue who she is.

Someone left an empty tube of acrylic paint on a shelf at work. There was no mess, so it wasn’t vandalism. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just put the tube in your pocket than empty the contents into it?

Somebody took a small-sized safe. The empty ones we sell. If you can’t afford a safe, what are you going to put in it?

We had a new employee for a few weeks. She was hired as a stocker. After a couple of weeks she could stock five cases of toys in eight hours. (That’s approximately 30 toys.) Turns out that a large part of the problem was that she spent the night shopping – picking out items, looking them over, deciding what she really wanted, replacing what she didn’t, and paying for her purchases.

When the company had documented enough to fire her, she was highly offended. She called the store director to complain about unfair termination. Complain very loudly. He asked her if she was challenging the reports of shopping on company time and inability to perform the job. No, she agreed that it was true. It just wasn’t fair to fire her.

Last night four bored young men came into the store. I heard this tremendous “music” and went to investigate. They had turned on all the dancing Christmas bears and were taping them on a phone. I tried not to laugh when I asked them to please not do it again.

You may recall that my daughter B was invited to L.A. for a modeling/talent convention. They are leaving this coming Tuesday (1/4). Last Sunday (12/27), her agency wanted to see all of the clothes she was bringing to L.A. They told her that her dress for the award dinner was way too loose and needed to be tailored. She was lucky. A couple of the other people had to make major wardrobe adjustments. In a week.

This week the agency told B that she did need a portfolio after all of 6 to 8 pictures. She could get the perfect display album for just $45 from them. But they were out of stock. She bought an $18 presentation portfolio from Staples that displays the photos beautifully. Good thing since last night the agency said she needs 10 copies each of 3 other pictures.

B needed to purchase the pictures from Costco/CVS/Walgreen’s/Staples. It seemed simple enough. Download the picture file, enter the dimensions and quantity, and place the order. The pictures were professionally taken to be printed as 8×10. However to order them as 8×10 online she needed to crop them as if they were taken as 8.5×11. For one of them, she had to choose between taking off part of an arm or her head.

I thought I was going to be a huge favorite with the cats. I bought a water fountain and a huge fleece bed for them. They are finally getting over their fear of running water and using the fountain. The bed is used on rare occasion by one or the other of them. Next year it’s back to special food.

And now that December is finally going away –

Image result for new year 2016 animalsGoogle Images

Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2016!

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Never Thought I’d Live to See the Day

It’s not like I have to look a long way to feel old. My kids have somehow morphed from being small, cute little people to fully grown, attractive people. I really don’t understand it. It’s not like I’ve gotten any older.

Even my husband has a smart phone. I have sat at dinner where he spends more time on his phone than the kids. Actually, he’s worse than the kids. My daughter uses the phone as a timer for some medications she has to take, and my son uses it to look up information we don’t know during discussions.

But my family is pretty traditional. You might have noticed that the paragraph above mentions both family dinners and discussions. We discuss politics, always a challenge (2 conservatives, 1 traditional liberal, and one populist). We also talk about religion, world events, literature, and history. I don’t discuss the dinners in public; it seems a little retro.

And (of course) the kids rarely swear in front of me. When I was young, someone told me that using too many “bad” words wasn’t sophisticated. It just showed a lack of vocabulary. I agreed, and over the years and have found various vegetables and animals effective substitutes for most things. Since it wasn’t a hot button for me, the kids respected my point of view. (I’ve come to find out that’s kind of weird too.)

There was also the issue of my mother swearing a fair amount. Who wanted to do it if their mother did?

But I have started a new job. You may remember that I am now working midnights. To stereotype, there are two groups of people there: Millennials and bitter people waiting to retire. Of course, there are a couple of people who fall outsides those groups, but they aren’t any fun to talk about.

Everyone is friendly and welcomed me into the group. I like them all. But I have never been with a group of Millennials who are relaxing with their peers. Some of them seem to be incapable of saying a complete sentence without using a word that used to be a vulgar term for sexual intercourse.

I went home and asked my Millennial son why some of his peers seemed to use the word as noun, verb, adjective, and (incorrectly) adverb. He joked and told me that if I hadn’t heard it used as a preposition, I had not heard everything. He then told me that people only used it when they were relaxing with their friends. Okay. I guess I’m flattered.

So I asked my Millennial daughter why. She said that people liked to use it because it was a “forbidden” word. She said that there were only two words that were now forbidden in “polite company.” (A term showing my age.) The other word is one that refers to female genitalia in a particularly vulgar way. Apparently that one is still more common on social media than general conversation.

I stock in an area that includes condoms and other personal items for a large chain store. I am totally in favor of condoms. Preventing pregnancy is good. Spreading disease is bad. And I’m sure that moving them out from behind the counter has been nothing but good.

However, I pity the poor teenager looking for something for his first experience. Gone are the days of choosing between three or four types of Trojans. I guess the variety in deodorant and toothpaste has come to personal protection.

There are three racks of choices, plus the selection on the shelf below and hanging on the display nearby. They pretty much all promise a more sensitive experience for him and a more sensual experience for her. You can now buy them in boxes of up to 40 which I hope are purchased by people in committed relationships. I guess the other option would be a guy with really high hopes.

The more surprising thing is that you can now buy items that go over the condom to give the female additional stimulation. I’m not sure, but I don’t think those things existed when I was young. At least they were not available on a rack in plain view of everyone, right next to the vibrators that could remove the male from the picture entirely. I wonder what the parents say when their child wanders down the aisle while they are looking at razors.

I kind of miss the days when s*** was still uncommon and the most embarrassing thing to explain to a child in a grocery store was the sanitary napkins.

 

0

Beauty and the New Chic

As you may have assumed, my children are just like your children. Perhaps a few minor quirks, but otherwise beautiful, intelligent, and overall wonderful people. 😉

Nevertheless, it came as somewhat of a pleasant surprise to me that my daughter (the cats call her Blondie, so I’ll use “B”) went to an audition for a talent agency and was immediately picked to represent them at a talent convention in LA (Los Angeles, not Louisiana) after the first of the year.

All that I know about this type of thing comes from America’s Next Top Model (which I watched with B) and my cousin trying to get her toddler into some beauty pageants back in the ‘80s. Every once in a while I would wander in and see part of Dance Moms.

Needless to say, as happy as I was for B, I was a little anxious to see how it was going to work out. I figured it had to be good that they were going to give her a scholarship for the classes she needed to take before the trip and for part of the trip. Apparently it helps to also be wealthy if you want to show the world how beautiful/talented you are.

B is going for photography, commercials and singing. I guess another 6 inches would have been beneficial for the runway part. She wears her own clothes which isn’t bad, but a little strange. They had a photo shoot the other day. (I guess the people in LA need to know that they really are only accepting beautiful people.)

She had a “casual” look which included something they called “army boots.” In black (of course.) No, not the ones that lace up to your ankles; the ones that come up to your ankles with heels and pointed toes. B had a pair, but she needed to get another pair because hers did not have a zipper on the side. The ones she got have zippers on both sides, but apparently that’s acceptable.

Before she went to the photo shoot, B went to the salon. I went with her because it was a ways from home and she didn’t know how to get there. It was in a chic neighborhood, so I knew exactly what to expect. The front would be quiet with extremely well-groomed young women who would ask you why you were there. An assistant would take you to the back where there were innumerable people walking around with good haircuts and casual (expensive) clothes. It would all be a little overwhelming. At least that was my experience from my days as a consultant when I frequented such places.

Times have changed. We walked in the front door and it was loud. Not loud music, just loud. She had to speak over the noise to be heard. They had her go to the “face salon” first; they pointed. They took a “before” picture, waxed her eyebrows, and did the final decision-making on her hair.,

The salon had a leather bench across from the reception desk where I waited. Apparently the salon caters to a clientele that is somewhere between chic and shabby-chic. I was expecting cutting-edge; I got suburban instead. How disappointing – it was all regular people with regular clothes and hair. There was a manager person in a mauve silky dress to her knees, ruffled maroon knee socks and black pumps. I knew the look she was going for. Unfortunately she didn’t get there.

On the other hand, B was stunning. In place of her wavy dark blonde, shoulder-length hair, she had a chocolate brown short bob with a chocolate glaze (kind of sounds like a pastry). She has dark blue eyes and high cheekbones, so the short hair really worked. I hardly recognized the exhausted barista I had brought in.

Before we could leave, B had to have her “after” picture taken and a final color consult for the actual shoot. Apparently she passed.

As we left, I had one thought: Thank goodness the agency paid for this out of the money we gave them.

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Peace in Our Time**

**A reference to World War One. Remember: I told you that one of the hazards of reading this blog was the possibility of learning something.

I wanted to remind you that this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI. (Yes, we count the part before the U.S. entered.) Those of you with school-age children may want to be prepared for macaroni U-boats. I can also see a debate on the futility of trench warfare vs congressional debate. Maybe Congress could debate the futility of trench warfare. Would they see the irony?

Back to reality.This this post could have been subtitled “Technology Strikes Back Part, Part 2: Going Global.” Last week we lost all electronic connectivity.

That’s right. No Internet. No TV. No land-based telephone. If we wanted news, we had to read it. Which would have been a lot easier if the Internet had not caused the papers to either shut down or only print a few days a week.

As you may recall, I am not a huge user/lover of technology. When my husband came upstairs on Friday to tell me that Comcast was out, I don’t think I showed the proper level of distress. That really shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise. I’m the only one in the family who could have been home from work for three hours without noticing it.

My reaction was more along the lines of a sigh of relief. No Judge Judy (a family member’s secret addiction). No shouts of triumph at 2a because someone’s team had finally breached the wall and was attacking their arch-nemesis. No pieces of candy, marbles, flying pigs or whatever mesmerizing for hours. No more hour-by-hour updates of someone’s family (not mine) reunion.

Best of all, no solicitation calls at dinner-time. Admittedly we eat early (about 4p), but the timing is amazing. I’m told that non-profits were not impacted by the No Call rule. There seems to be some sort of team-tag going on. I will just get rid of one, when another one finds our number. Considering that it usually takes 3-4 repetitions of “I’ve told you not to call x times” before it gets through, I’m thinking that maybe my own pre-recorded response is the answer.

I probably could have been a little more sympathetic. My husband does use home email for work since the email at work is down for upgrade. I figure if they can use the excuse that their email server is down, so can he. He’s worried about a breakdown in communication. As if anything has been able to fix that problem since the beginning of time.

My son’s friends took pity on him and invited him to the modern equivalent of socializing: sitting in the same room and each person facing a screen instead of the other people. I had heard about it, but the first time it happened in our house it was a little unnerving. Back in the dark ages, if two or more people were in the same room and not talking they were either fighting or bored. Unless it was mixed male and female.

My daughter turned to cleaning her room. It was wonderful. She’s been promising to do it for some time. She’s going away to college in the fall. It’s going to be really nice to be able to leave the door open and not worry about losing the cats.

In a way, the timing was a little unfortunate. Edgar (my computer) and I had finally come to a meeting of the minds (so to speak). I realized what a sensitive personality he really is. And he realized that I could permanently disconnect his power source. We can generally get through an entire session without angst. It probably helps that my son taught me how to move around the screen rather than having the screen move around on me.

Nevertheless, I probably suffered disproportionately little. Even one of the cats was put out. She spends a lot of time with my husband while’s he’s on the computer. In his lap, not the keyboard (she’s a little non-technical too). No computer, no sitting, no warm-blooded furniture.

I guess we’ve all become creatures of the 21st century.

Update: It is now Wednesday afternoon (5.5 days later) and the connectivity has finally been restored (they did something in the backyard.) Maybe Comcast is right – their customer service couldn’t possibly be any worse after a merger with TimeWarner.

2

You Think it’s About You?

Many of us follow the same cycle through life. High School graduation. College graduation. Marriage. Kids. Kids’ high school graduation, college graduation, marriage, kids. It seems to go on forever (particularly some parts). And there are often parties associated with each step.

Interesting thing about those parties. The person who has achieved the milestone thinks the party is about them. I have never gone to a high school graduation party and not seen the graduate disappointed by how few friends showed up.

The graduate thinks the party is to congratulate him for finishing school (and reward him with lots of money). It’s the kid’s first introduction to the idea that we’d really like to get together sometime other than funerals. As a rule, the adults see these parties as a chance to catch up with relatives, friends, neighbors. It’s the reunion they’ve been meaning to put together but never got around to.

It starts with the invitation. Oh look, we got invited to Tony’s graduation party. I can’t believe he’s old enough to be graduating already. He’s Vivian’s son, right? I love that side of the family. They’re always so much fun to be around. Remember Gloria’s wedding? I have to write this down so I don’t forget.

Moves on to the gift. How much should we give? I don’t remember what we gave Amy two years ago. I guess it doesn’t matter. Amy’s my cousin and Tony’s my cousin’s son. Or do you give the same to everyone? Honey, do you remember how much Aunt Viv gave you last year for graduation? Maybe $50? Too much? OK, $25.

Then the accessories: I have to remember to take the pictures of Sheila in Scotland. I don’t think anyone has seen them. And that picture of grandpa I found in the attic. I wonder if Sandy is going to have her genealogy charts there. I guess it’s a good idea, but I forgot to see if I could find great-uncle Earl’s birthplace.

Finally, the day of the party arrives. The graduate has been chatting with his friends. They all say they’ll make an appearance. (The appearance turns out to be 10 minutes after the party ends. Smart kids.)

The first person to arrive is an elderly woman Tony doesn’t recognize. His mother rushes out to greet her and introduces her to Tony. Mom then disappears into the kitchen to finish up the food. Tony gets her a chair and asks how she’s doing. She proceeds to give him a rundown of her health, her neighbors, the weather, and her dead husband.

Finally Tony gets away to greet some other guests. It’s his aunt, uncle, and evil cousin who once tried to drown Tony. Turns out Jack is planning to become a lawyer. The adults leave to let the “kids” remember old times. Tony begins to wonder if anyone will miss him if he goes upstairs.

Some neighbors come by and Tony relaxes with them. His mother makes him get up to greet each person as they arrive. He talks to each for a few minutes. Hello. Thank you for coming. Yes, I’m glad to be out of school. I’m going to Wilderness U to study forestry. Yes it is an unusual major. Yes, there are actually jobs in that field.  Begins to wonder why anyone has a graduation party.

There is a good turnout for the party. People are complimenting his mother on the food. Except for the woman who says that she was at a graduation party the weekend before and it was catered.

The usual compliments and stories were told by the guests.

You can also overhear: I can’t believe her mother let her come wearing that. Of course Doris was the same way at that age. Or: Can you believe Eve is still dating him? He doesn’t even have a real job. Well at least he’s better than Jerry, remember him?”

Is that really the last impression you would want to make on your friends before you all go off to college?