Monday, August 25, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Has an Adventure in Retailing
It started. The job started. Was I up to the challenge? I think so. Overall, I think I did well. Burdick's, as I mentioned, is an upscale chocolatiers. That said, the interview asked nothing about my knowledge of chocolate or food in general. Rather it went a bit like this: "We're hiring." "I'd like a job then, please." "Ok, you're hired. Start Sunday for a training session. 4-8." They did ask, however, when I arrived if I knew anything about chocoalte. I confessed that I did a bit. Ok, first you have to be familiar with all the stock. People will ask you all kinds of questions about what it tastes like, what your favorite is, what flavours are predominant, etc. Thus one must eat the chocolate. And know it like the back of your hand. If you're behind the counter, the procedure for this is pretty simple. Pick a chocolate you feel like eating. Eat it. Ok, I can do that. The same procedure goes for the cakes, the pastries, the coffees, the teas, water, lemonade, and so on. If you're on shift, it is all free. Oh the humanity, how will I ever cope?

Since we get asked lots of questions, I wanted to be prepared to answer them, so when I was being shown the cocoa powder, I enquired whether it was Dutch process or natural process. No one knew. In fact, no one knew what the difference was, so I explained thusly:
"Ductch process cocoa powder uses an alkali process during manufacture. It is slightly darker than regular process, and should be used when baking something with baking powder as a levener, as the chemical process creates a lighter pastry. Natural process uses an older method and results in a lighter colour and should be used when baking with baking soda as a levener, as again the chemical reactions will create a lighter pastry." People were stunned. Just plain stunned. I was put behind the counter pretty quickly after that.

Behind the counter, I then had to explain to a customer what a tuile was. A tuile is a cookie shaped like an old roof tile (tuile is french for tile). They are very thin, and when still hot out of the oven they are draped over a rolling pin or some thing else round and left to cool. The result looks like a taco shell but tastes much better with tea or coffee. Again, the people around me were stunned that I knew this. Promotion seems imminent. They have not, however, seen me try to make coffee yet. That could get me fired. I still cannot make a decent cup of coffee to save my life. But hopefully I will learn the proper way soon!

Sunday, August 24, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets One of Them There Job Things
It had to happen sometime. Actually, given the current financial situation, it really had to happen soon. Law being a bit of a dead area at the moment, I started applying for some steady "everyone does it" retail work. Of course, since everyone does it, I worried there might not be enough jobs, what with all them students arriving, but it turns out that the students are at a bit of a losing edge since they don't stick around for the holidays. In the end, I just walked into the job I wanted. Literally. Rita and I were in one of my favorite stores, and she commented that she liked the way they wrapped everything up. The gal behind the counter commented that they were hiring. I asked for a job. I got one. I start today (Sunday) at four.

So what, you ask, am I retailing? What better, I reply, than hand made chocolates. The new job is at Burdick's. I'm terribly excited. My friends are terribly excited. All bow down and pay respects to my 50% staff discount and my ability to make better hot chocolate than you ever dreamed of in your wildest food fantasies.

Ah, chocolate.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

The Promulgation of the New Rules.
Courtesy of my friend Graham, I present to you here and now, a proposal to end the dating wars:
There should be the dating equivalent of the "penalty box" in hockey.

Here's my short list of dating reforms.

1. First dates should begin in a room like the rooms used for visitations in prison. The two people sit in little chairs on opposite sides of an impenetrable Plexiglas barrier and talk on those little prison phones. If they decide they like each other well enough, they then get to meet in person minus the Plexiglas. If they decide they don't really like each other, then no harm, no foul. (I stole this idea from Jerry Seinfeld.)

2. Dating should be strictly regulated by the Massachusetts Dating Commission (MDC), a highly-qualified, impartial body of seven women and five men (yes, it has to be uneven with men in the minority) chosen for their intelligence, attention to etiquette, and experience with dating.

3. Anyone who wants to get into the dating scene has to register with the MDC. Any unregistered daters will be summarily arrested if caught dating illegally. This ought to take care of all the married men out there who are trying to scam younger women, because married persons would not be able to legally register with the MDC.

4. All daters will be issued a guidebook containing dating rules, like "no fair saying you'll call and then not doing so," "no fair standing someone up," etc. Any dater can report any violation of the rules to the MDC. Bars, nightclubs, dance halls, etc. will also be patrolled by undercover, plainclothes dating cops.

5. An appropriate penalty scheme can be set up. Infractions of the more serious rules, result in harsher penalties such as a suspension of one's license to date. Infractions of the less serious rules result in the assignment of demerit points and minor penalties such as being in "the penalty box" and hence no dating for one weekend. Accumulation of enough demerit points in a certain period of time (say three months) results in harsher penalties such as the aforementioned ones. The slate is wiped clean annually, but the MDC will track repeat violators beyond the one-year mark.

6. Repeat offenders are assigned even harsher penalties such as having to dress up in old-fashioned Pilgrim clothing and wearing scarlet letters that denote the infractions involved, such as "CNC" for "chronic no caller" or "TR" for "terminally rude" or "MAG" guessed it..."Mennonite Ass Grabber." Many will be required to wear electronic ankle bracelets.

7. Although I am generally opposed to the death penalty, the MDC may, indeed, feel that certain dating infractions warrant it.

8. Those who are the victims of repeated violations will be treated to the "Dream Date" of their choice from the patented MDC Dream Date Resource Catalogue.

Whaddya think? I think this is a system that could work.

-from a future MDC Commissioner

In the spirit of public comment, a couple of interesting questions have already been raised. First, a need has been identified for a scarlet monogram of "HMW" for "high maintenence woman." Fair dinkum, I say. There have also been questions raised about the patented (patent pending?) MDC Dream Date Resource Catalogue of a more existential crisis nature - if they are such dream dates, then why are they available? The answer is that under the new rules, they are only worthy to date those who, having been abused, are worthy of such a dream date. A rather Garrison Keillior "you're never truly free until you've wandered around being repressed for a while" sort of concept.

Mennonite Ass Grabber, by the way, is a true story from the depths of the trenches, which continues to prove my rule about dating - that it is either a great time or a heck of a story.

If you have comments, please e-mail them to me at
A future MDC beneficiary

Saturday, August 16, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Eagerly Awaits Some Approval (alternate title: A Peace Treaty for the Dating Wars)
My friend Graham, having had to listen to both myself and Rita fight our battles in the dating wars of late (and indeed, going to one of the combatants on the other side, looking to give him a good old fashioned Clint Eastwood stare), and also being a lawyer, has e-mailed me a new proposal regarding the rules of the modern dating game. It is a profound concept, and I have enquired of him as to whether or not I can post it here. Seeing as he didn't know I had a website, this may take some doing. But such a proposal has been wanting for some time, and Graham is truly a revolutionary for putting it down on paper. He proposes himself as a future commissioner of enforcing the rules, but that sounds good to me. Graham, in addition to being a sensitive, caring, exceptionally smart sort of individual, is a big lad, and could well serve as an enforcer. A sort of Emily Post and Terminator all rolled into one.

The dating wars continue to take their toll around here. I've moved in with Rita for the week, and it has been somewhat of a re-birth of my female self. The lack of children has re-cast me into a single person role, and I have had tutelage from the masters. First, at major shock from both Rita and Liz that I had never seen "Pride and Predjudice" - the six hour long BBC/A&E miniseries, I was shown it on Monday. Well, most of it. I haven't seen the last hour and a half, and I confess to being completely addicted, and salivating at the thought of seeing the conclusion. You'd think I'd never read the book and didn't know what happened! Then, for further edification and amusement, Rita rented and we re-watched "Bridget Jones' Diary." a manoeuvre that culminated in poor Rita, the next night returning from what she describes as "the worst date ever in the history of dating." (Which to put into context, followed on from the date with a guy who was a fussy eater, and talked mostly about his being a fussy eater. To a woman who when you need a snack, whips out the manchego and membrilla with great abandon), wandered into the kitchen to fix a drink and began to belt out her own chorus of "All By Myself." Truly a great comic homage from the depth of the dating war trenches. One must keep a sense of humor. Particularly when so many of the opponents are such a joke!

Tomorrow I am supposed to be going to NYC to see my friend who is there on her honeymoon. The problem is, I don't know if she actually made it, seeing as there was the massive blackout yesterday and NYC shut down and is only now just returning to power. So I don't know if her flight actually came in. I think I should just go and meet her there at the Ritz. I mean, if you know where someone is staying then just go there!


Tuesday, August 12, 2003

In Which Our Heroine finally Remembers it is the Silly Season
In England, they actually have a name for it - the "Silly Season" in mid to late August where everyone is on holiday and it is too hot to do anything, so there is consquently minimal news to report. But since the papers have to fill up their pages somehow, things that people actually don't care about, or ordinarily wouldn't care about are suddenly front page news. For example, who knew or indeed worreid about the State of Maine's worm shortage? Certainly not hte worms of the state of Maine, who in the face of less competition I would presume to be fat and happy and chatting about all the cheap real estate about for raising little worms and things. But apparently in the worm wars, we United States people are at a serious shortfall. Thus, leave it to the Brits to save us. True, all true. Read about it here. Yes! Take me to the worm story! I think this also explains yesterday's major news story about the guy smashing shop windows dressed in his underpants. Maybe the heat made him snap. It is certainly making my friend Paul a little testy. Sheesh. One day over 100 degrees and he's insane. I referred him back to the "moving out of a fourth floor apartment" saga. He felt better that he didn't have to do that!

The heat and humidity here (it isn't so hot really, but it is massively humid and we keep having thunderstorms. They are predicted for all week.) has truly slowed things down. No one wants to do anything. Except eat ice cream, which is a booming business at the moment. And indeed, I don't want to do anything either. So I'm going to leave this and go do nothing at all! Ta!

Monday, August 11, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Notes the Obvious
You know, sometimes, the news is just the sheer reporting of the facts. No real journalistic ability involved. From today's BBC News:
A man who smashed more than 40 city centre shop windows, dressed only in his underpants has been sent to a secure institution for psychiatric tests.

Well, now that's a real relief and a half. I was worried he might have been teaching our preschoolers. I mean, really, what else do you do with the guy?

Saturday, August 09, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Braves the Dating Wars
It turns out that today has been a big day in the war between the sexes. I was supposed to have a lunch date. Up til about 10 this morning, the chappie seemed nice. In fact, he still seems nice, but he had to cancel due to a lab meeting. Now, this could in fact be completely 100% true. There are large parts of my psyche that do indeed hold this to be true, as I believe that people should be taken at their word on such matters. But since the cancellation, I have not had an e-mail or a call from him. Oh, these last few hours! (Hee hee, I am joking, folks.) This could be such a simple matter as the strains of the work day, or in best insecure Bridget Jones fashion, could be because am leper and will be found half eaten by alsatians one day. Of course, any quick physical exam shows immediatlely that I have no leprosy lesions, therefore, I shall chalk it up to strains of workday, and not even consider caddishness on an official basis until a couple of days of no contact have passed.

The only reason I am even considering caddishness is an actually completely unrelated event which happens to have occurred last night and today. I have a friend who is venturing forth on, with not unconsiderable success I might add. Last night, when we met for a movie, she enquired of me as to whether I knew a certain gentleman who happens to be a patent lawyer. I didn't recognize the name, but she wasn't 100% certain of it either. Of course, being a Boston patent lawyer means I can pretty much find out everything I need to know about him in three notes, I mean three phone calls. It turns out that he had called her up last night. Strange? You'd think not, you'd think it sounds like the standards of the dating dance, but she had not given him her phone number. And when she enquired of him about how he got it, he said "well, I know who you are." Creepy? Ra-ther!

Today, she e-mailed me about it, and said she was increasingly uncomfrotable about what had happened. It turned out, when she e-mailed me the name, I did indeed know the chap, and fired off an e-mail to him enquiring as to what this was all about. His response was that she was easy to find on Google, and that everyone did it. This, I concede, is true. In fact, I did the same thing with my date (undate?) for safety and sheer curiosity reasons. But I maintain that it is what you then do with that information that determines whether or not you cross a line of privacy. I ran the same search. To get her last name, you'd have to read through about three reports, and then go to another source to track down her phone number. His defense was that he did it for his own protection, and that "any rational person wouldn't think it uncommon." Further, he stated that if she didn't want to be called, she should get an unlisted phone number. Whaaaaaaat? He also asserted that it would have been easy, and acceptable for him to run searches on other databases to see if she had a criminal record. I agree with her assertion - he should be trying to sweep her off her feet, not determine whether or not she is a cereal killer. Although she has been known to polish off the odd bowl of Fruit Loops................ Needless to say, he ain't getting his first desired date with her, and in fact she is now out on a date with someone else. For which she is following all the standard safety rules: let someone know where you're going, have someone check in to make sure you're ok, and when you'll be back, as well as leave the information you have about who you're meeting. She seems to be having a very good time!
Dateless in Boston

Sunday, August 03, 2003

In Which Our Heroine Gets Interviewed
My friend Elenarda has been taking part in an interview challenge. The nuts and bolts of it are someone asks you five questions, you answer them in your blog, then other people can either e-mail you to ask you five questions to post, or ask for five questions from you for them to post. My five questions as put to me are (I've put in my answers):
And Anne... Oh my! What don't I know about you...?

1. What's the first thing you're going to do when you stop being nomadic in a month's time?

I suppose that in typical lawyer fashion it will depend on when you define my no longer being nomadic. The process goes a little like this: paint (I have a colour picked out.), hang curtains to not flash the neighbours, unpack, fetch kitty from Susan's, keep unpacking, then make a great big dinner in my new big kitchen and eat it on my new big dining room table. Menu to be determined based on weather.

2. What's your favourite joke of the moment?

Well, George W. Bush's presidency is certainly the biggest joke of this moment and any moment of the last couple of years, but it is so tragic, expensive and utterly bizzarre that I can't say it is my *favorite* joke of the moment. So instead I will have to go with Gavin Esler's statement that "If at first you don't succeed, skydiving isn't for you."

3. If you could have anyone's baby you wanted, whose would it be and why? (Guess who wanted to know THAT one LOL)

I'd have my baby. What a bizzarre question. You could get arrested for taking someone else's baby, you know.

4. Give us an inside tip onto how you manage to do so well on the Daq!

Given my current ranking at 101 on the Daq I guess I am doing pretty well. Top trading tips: have far too much time on your hand, so that you can absorb enough tittle tattle to deal in celebrity shares. Then go on news, not hunches. If Arnie is going to spend days dithering about whether he wants to be governor of California at the same time T3 opens, that's pretty much a sure thing. And have more than one stock. Ranking is about percentage increase. If you own one stock, which is a common strategy, you and everyone else owning that one stock will increase at an identical rate. If you own two stocks, there is an extra variable which will permit you to move up. Or down, I guess, over the single stock owning people.

5. What are the advantages and disadvantages to having a 35 inch inside leg?

First off, it is actually a 38 inside leg.

Advantages: I can see over people, so I never get claustrophobic in crowds. I've got a huge edge in rowing. I look great in mini-skirts. People naturally line up behind me, and don't get as rude with me as they do with other people since I'm bigger than they are.

Disadvantages: As much as men say they want a really leggy babe with large ta-tas, they're fibbing. Because myself and the other leggy gals don't get asked out as much as we should as men can be a bit intimidated by the height thing. (Then again, who really wants such men?) Then there are the guys who ONLY want to go out with you because your'e taller than they are, who frankly are even worse. It is like I am Everest and they just want to climb me. And for some reason, shoes in my size are only made with high heels. What, I want to bump my head on stuff? And it is hard to get trousers to fit correctly. But all in all, I'm happy enough with it.

So the deal is:

1 -- Send an e-mail (see link above), saying you want to be interviewed.
2 -- I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 -- You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 -- You'll include this explanation.
5 -- You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.