Thursday, May 25, 2006

Job Perks

I just started a new part-time job. It's with a company called The Run-A-Ton Group, Inc. Among the several brands they have, Wholly Wholesome is the one I do the most work on as their Marketing Assistant. Tonight I got to bring home one of their bake at home cherry pies. I baked it, and it's really yummy. :) Sometimes we also have to bake cookies for donating to various charity and community events. The rule is if you bake cookies for an event, you have to bake some extra for the staff. I think that's a pretty cool job perk.

At Crate and Barrel, of course there is the employee discount on their merchandise. Also, if I make a single sale of $1K or more, I get to pick out one item valued up to $10 to take home. This perk is a perk offered by our particular store, rather than a corporate-wide perk.

When I worked for HTDC, I think my favorite perk was getting to ride in a black hawk helicopter that one time. That was way cool. Then I also got to meet ambassadors and other dignitaries from small southeast Asian nations. The vacation days weren't bad either. Plus working in Manoa was nice. But most of all the people were super cool.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Olives Olives

I forgot to blog about the olives I bought on our last two trips to Wegman's. A few weeks ago, I picked up some Maddalena olives, and last week French Picholine.

The two varieties are very different from one another. Maddalena olives are large and dark purple, and the meat almost falls off the stone, which makes it easy to eat. The flavor is ok but not as fun as the other olives I've tried so far.

Now that I know that Spammy likes olives, I gave a little piece of the Maddalenas to him. He sniffed it a whole bunch, licked it once or twice, and then tried to bury it with his paw. I think the sweeping paw motion is the kitty cat version of two thumbs down.

Picholine olives are small and green. Their meat doesn't fall off the stone, but it's by no means difficult to eat. Both Spammy and I agree that Picholine olives are the yummiest we've tried so far. No sweeping paw for Picholine. Perhaps the kitty cat version of two thumbs up is when Spammy tries to climb up my leg to get an olive from me. :)

Friday, May 19, 2006

From the Martyzone: Who's on First Zone

I haven't even read the rest of the newsletter yet, but I got a kick out of this:

After having dug to a depth of 1,000 meters last year, Korean scientists found traces of copper wire dating back 1,500 years and came to the conclusion that their ancestors had a telephone network all those centuries ago.

Not to be outdone. Chinese scientists dug to a depth of 2,000 meters and shortly after headlines in Chinese newspapers read: "Chinese archeologists have found traces of 3,000-year-old fiber-optic cable and have concluded that their ancestors had an advanced high-tech digital communications network a thousand years earlier than the Koreans."

One week later, Portuguese newspapers reported the following: "After digging as deep as 3,000 meters in a Lisbon marketplace, scientists had found absolutely nothing. They therefore concluded, that 4,500 years ago, the Portuguese were already using wireless technology."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Coffee Table Anniversary

Today is our Coffee Table Anniversary. I'm not sure what other couples call their 2nd anniversary, but ours is Coffee Table. That's because we finally bought ourselves a coffee table - the one we've been eyeing at Crate and Barrel from before I started working there. Indeed, it is one of the reasons I decided to work there.

Oh, and did I mention that I somehow won part time employee of the quarter this quarter? I'm thinking it must be because they give that award out to employees in alphabetical order by first name. The last part time employee to win it was Manahz (I think that's how she spells her name). Either that or it's because I proudly wear the "Marsha Marsha Marsha" name tag they made for me. ;)

Right so getting back to our anniversary... Kenji took us out for nice dinner at Chart House, right on the Hudson river across from Manhattan. As you can see, we had a very nice view of the city.

Dinner was very nice. The only thing detracting from the experience was the couple that was seated right next to us - the woman suffers from a terrible condition - diarrhea of the mouth! But the food was really yummy. For starters, we shared the seared ahi; Kenji had the fillet mignon for his main course and I had coconut crunchy shrimp; and for dessert we shared hot lava chocolate cake, covered with vanilla ice cream and bits of Heath Bar candy. Yum!

Oh yeah, so anyway I just thought I'd add that photo of us from two years ago today.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Gone to a Go-Go

I managed to get some free tickets for Kenji and I to go see the Go-Go's perform at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ. We just got home - it was a lot of fun! Well, the Go-Go's performing was fun - of course they played all kinds of songs that I haven't heard in twenty years. I'd listen to them again right now, except all those songs are on vinyl, hiding in the top of my old closet in Massachusetts. Yep, so even if they wern't in Massachusetts, I still wouldn't be able to listen to them. And no I'm not about to go download them all. Why not? Because I'm lazy. And cheap.

The part of the concert that was not fun was...

The opening act! Some loud whiny acoustic guitar strumming chick named April something or other. She was so depressing to listen to. She made me just want to plug my ears. I would gladly have kept listening to recorded 80s music instead of her, thank you very much.

But the Go-Go's rock! You'd never know they are middle aged, except they do look a little like really cool moms rockin' out on stage.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Harriman Hike

Ok so it took a while for me to post about it, but a couple Saturdays ago, Kenji and I went hiking with some of the same folks I've gone hiking with before, and also some new people. This time we went to Harriman State Park, which is just across the border in New York.

Our friend and hike leader, Jason, says that Harriman has many different trails - the one he chose for us that day was in the Seven Hills Area of the park. I didn't count how many hills we went up and down, but it was hilly. And we were all complaining about it by the time we were halfway through the hike. ;) I'm not sure we ever really officially got onto the seven hills trail, as we never followed the path indicated by the arrow painted on the rock in this photo of Kenji.

As proof that we did manage to climb at least one hill along our way, here's a picture I took of the distant and hazy NYC skyline:

Here's the whole group of us, after we finished lunch.

We met some cool new people on this hike. In particular was Nancy, who when she was twenty-six, decided to fly off to Ghana just for the heck of it and see what she could do to help out over there. She said when she got off the plane, one of the first things she did was go to a bar and talk to some of the people who happened to be there. They ended up showing her around some. Since then, she's gone back every summer. She even started a rural school, which she helps to fund through a non-profit organization she founded, Global Youth Empowerment.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mission Impossible, Day I Dunno

I could go back and figure out how many days it's been since I started my kitty-cat potty-training project, but I'm too lazy.

Today I learned I must have at least six people who have read at least parts of my blog, because I got a message from peace chik'n (peace chik'n actually posted a comment on my blog, which automatically emails me a copy of the comment) saying that s/he'd like an update on how Spammy is doing with the CitiKitty.

Well, he's doing about the same as he has been, which is to say that he's pretty good with doing #1 on the potty but not #2. A couple of weeks ago I witnessed him actually doing #2 on the potty, so I know there is hope. However, I think I may have stymied the process a bit because I had to change the brand of litter we were using. Well, to tell the truth, I didn't have to change it... but the store I usually go to for it was all out of flushable litter altogether, and the other store I tried didn't have our kind, but at least they had some.

So anyway, here's an obvious tip to you CitiKitty users out there - don't change kitty's litter while you are in potty training process. Spammy still uses it, but I can tell he's not as comfortable with it. Musubi, of course, is not phased by it in the least. I'm still considering whether to go back to the old brand, or still give the new brand a chance for Spammy to get used to. I'm also considering abandoning the whole potty training process, but dammit, I'm determined! Especially since I know Musubi would be totally trained by now if we weren't waiting for Spammy!

Friday, May 05, 2006

From the Martyzone: Self-medicating sheep

My favorite from this week's newsletter from Marty Plotnick:

Self-medicating sheep shake off the 'stupid' label

Maybe in another few centuries sheep will be starting their own pharma companies. ;)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Our king-size down comforter needed a cleaning, so this morning I took it over to Laundryland... not the closest laundromat to our house, but much better than any of the others I've either seen or used already.

The one laundromat we used a few months ago the last time we washed the comforter was very noisy and uncomfortable, and the change machine short-changed us by 50 cents! When I complained to the staff, all they did was show me that the change machine worked fine for them. Anyway they can take their junk customer service and stick it where the sun don't shine.

Laundryland is much nicer. First of all, they have ample parking right out front. And they at least make an attempt to make going to the laundromat a pleasant experience. Nothing frilly like a cafe or anything like that. But on the walls they have painted murals - on one side is the African bush with lions, zebra, elephants, giraffe, impala and cheetahs. On the other wall is an underwater scape with a SCUBA diver swimming amongst bright-colored tropical fish, whales, dolphins, shark, turtles, jelly fish and a lively coral reef. Artificial potted plants hang from the ceiling alongside cardboard decorations leftover from Christmas. There is also a multitude of large televisions suspended from the ceiling to entertain patrons.

Sitting here almost captive (I suppose I could go do something somewhere else, but it's not the best neighborhood to go wandering around in, and I don't feel like driving anywhere), reminds me of the first time I ever was called up for jury duty, when I was held captive in a room for several hours with a television on that I really didn't feel like watching. The shows that are on at ten or eleven o'clock in the morning are so terrible. Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Judge so-and-so... they always show just about what is the worst and certainly most idiotic side of human beings. I don't say worst, because I suppose the talk show guests could be killing or maiming each other instead of just screaming at and verbally abusing each other.

Yet, I have a hard time not looking. It's like a car accident on the highway... you almost have to look. These kind of shows are so gawd-awful yet they persist. I mean, that time I had jury duty and had to watch (or at a minimum hear) these shows was probably ten to twelve years ago, yet the same shows are still on!

It must be because the networks either have no other content they can use fill up the late morning hours with, and the people who watch these shows do so because seeing such idiots on TV makes them feel better for a while. I mean, who couldn't feel like they have some redeeming qualities when comparing him or herself to a grandmother who pimps our her granddaughter and then goes on Jerry Springer?