June 12, 1999
Help Me Send Junior To Europe
(And Win A Free Ham)
I have exactly eleven and a half minutes to write this entry ... and I just blew eight of 'em looking up the word "antimacassar."

Help. Help help help help HELP.

I've shot most of my precious Saturday Morning Computer Time today.  Problem is: now I'm out of time ... and I still have a bazillion and a half things to do. Including something that I need YOUR help with, Dear Reader.

[Dear Reader: "Uh-oh."]

Last night my new boss dumped a buttload of oddball assignments on me at the very last minute. This past week was every bit as grueling as I expected -- five full days of deciphering indecipherable handwriting, voicemail messages and facial expressions, without Catherine there to act as Interpreter/Safety Net/Human Shield -- and by 5:15 yesterday I was completely ready to go home and construct the voodoo doll. In fact, I was gathering up my jacket and my books and my little bag of dried mangoes and getting ready to slip out the back door when his latest voicemail message landed. ("Uh, Terri, this is Franz. I need you to do me another favor.") 

Clearly this was a *test* to see:

1.)  If I pitch a fit when asked to do something ridiculously complex, time-consuming and pointless at 4:59:48 p.m. on a f&$#*ng Friday afternoon


2.) If his groovy new cell phone works ... even when he's in the grocery store/on the freeway/dowstairs in the lobby/at the gas pump/in the Jack-in-the-Box drive-thru/standing right behind me/sitting on his patio drinking Chardonnay. (It does. Sigh.)

I managed to knock most of his last-minute requests off the list immediately -- a couple of bazillion-page reports to copy, a doctor's appointment cancellation, a quick letter to type -- but I brought one assignment home with me and it's been rattling around in my brain all morning. I have zero idea how to handle it or where to look for help ... and I only have two days to figure it out.

And that's why I'm turning to you.

(Seriously. How often have I asked you to do anything for me? Besides expecting you to read every excruciatingly boring detail of my life for the past twelve months, without being judgemental or correcting my spelling or pooping in my guestbook, I mean?)

Here's the assignment: his kid is graduating from college this week, and Franz wants to "present" him with a trip to Europe as a graduation gift. Which is really cool. I would have loved a trip to Europe as a college graduation present! (Of course, that would have meant I'd have to actually have gone to class and graduated and stuff ... but that's another story for another day.)  The problem, of course, is that Franz had this incredible *Light Bulb Moment* precisely six days before the kid is due to graduate ... and then dumped the assignment on me, via voicemail, without ANYTHING in the way of helpful details.  Like ... oh, say ... where in Europe, or when, or how much money he wants to spend. I'm just supposed to "get on the Internet" and come up with someoranother sort of instant package deal, something he can tuck into a Hallmark and hand over to Junior on the big night.

At the conclusion of his voicemail he said, "I'll look for your ideas on Monday morning."


Does anyone have any ideas? Suggestions? URLs? (Extra cyanide you're not planning to use?) Ideally, a site on the Internet where I can go and download some basic info to show him on Monday? (Caveat: he totally does NOT believe in travel agents, for some reason. I have been quite specifically instructed to never ever ever contact a travel agency for any reason whatsoever. If he so much as discovers the name of a travel agent in my Rolodex, I will be flogged.) If you've got any ideas at all, please -- I beg of you -- write to me.  Lead me gently towards the light. I'm desperate. I'm worn out from a long week of office nonsense. And I can't get anything else done until I figure this stoopid thing out ... including writing anything new for the website.

Anyone who actually supplies me with a useful suggestion wins their choice of fabulous prizes, including:
* A 10 lb. frozen ham from Lucky's (retail value: $17.62)

* A genuine 100% cotton Totem Pole Company T-shirt (size Extra Large -- tiny guacamole stain on the left front pocket)

* A lifetime supply of mewling, pathetic "thank you" e-mail from yours truly.

Anyway. I'm going to go poke around the Internet now and see if I can come up with something. In the meantime ... I'll be checking my mailbox.

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

And now for something completely different:

David's making me a new tape this weekend. We drive around a lot, on Sundays especially, and like to listen to the mix tapes that he and some of our cyber friends have made over the years. I still listen to the original Mr. & Mrs. Bo tapes, believeitornot ... and "All Bottlenekk All The Time," "Big Dog Songs" and "Mostly Joyful Noises" are in more or less regular rotation in the Subaru. The Irish Potato Famine Opera gets a spin, once in awhile. And "Shell Pile Beat" finally WORE OUT from repeated listenages. (Fortunately we still have "Kites Are Fun! And Other Smash Hits," "The Telephone Is Ringing" and "Six Degrees of Don Lonnie: America's #1 High School Assembly Speaker.")

Here's the list of songs I've requested for the new driving tape, in no particular order. Mostly this is just a lot of old/older/new stuff I've been listening to a lot this spring:

"Brimful of Asha" - Cornershop. I just discovered this song last WEEK. Where the hell have I been??

"Stand By The Jams" - KLF with Tammy Wynette.  I love what Rolling Stone says about this song in its Top Ten "Songs We Still Can't Believe Really Happened" section: "English art-school losers hire country legend to sing an unbelievably beautiful disco song about an ice cream van."

"Ready To Go" - Republica. (Now can somebody please tell me who does the Volkswagen commercial song?)

"Everywhere That I'm Not"  - Translator. David played this for me the first weekend I was here.

"Novocaine For The Soul" - eels

"I Can Hear Your Heartbeat" - The Patridge Family. (Yeah? So? Anything wrong with that?)

"Superman" - The Clique.  Vastly superior to the REM cover version, IMNHO.

"Nancy Boy" - Placebo.  I don't even wanna know what they're talking about, OK?

"He's on the Phone" - St. Etienne

"Lord of the Thighs" - The Breeders

"Sleeping With The Enemy" - Roger Hodgson. I bought this on a cassette at the Oakland Flea Market for fifty cents, a couple of weekends ago. There was gum stuck to the cover. I don't care.

"Tattva" - Kula Shaker

"Open Up Your Heart (And Let The Sun Shine In)" - Frente!  Vastly inferior to the Pebbles & BamBam version, IMNHO. But I like it anyway.

"Connection" - Elastica.  I've been known to listen to this one 43,897,621 ti,es in a row, as loud as my pukey little computer speakers will go. (I can't hear the phone ring for an hour after I take the headphones off.)

"Ca Plane Pour Moi" - Plastic Bertrand.  This is the best record ever made, according to David. Or maybe he was talking about "Sex Bomb." I can't remember.

"Country House" - Blur

"Mmmm Bop" - I Forget Who. Or Maybe I Don't Really "Forget." Maybe I Just Don't Wanna Admit I Like Hansen. [blush]

"Mystery Dance" - My Personal God, Mr. Costello!

"Sometimes" - James.  My favorite favorite favorite song of all time ... and now I finally *understand* what they're talking about.



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