I should have trusted my instincts.

I said that McDonald’s wouldn’t be able to compete with Starbucks, and I should have believed myself. But they sent me a coupon for a free “premium iced coffee,” so I thought I’d give it a shot.

At McDonald’s, iced coffee means pre-sweetened latte. The drive-through guy asked if I wanted hazelnut or vanilla. I said, “Can I get it with just Splenda?” He said, “Yeah. Hazelnut, vanilla, or regular?” I said regular, with two Splendas.

They gave me a latte with I-don’t-know-what-kind of dairy product, obviously presweetened and then with two Splendas thrown on top. Annoying. Now I can resume my practice of avoiding McDonald’s entirely, though.

Uncharitable thought of the day: I told my boyfriend, afterwards, that the McDonald’s “premium iced coffees” are for people who can’t afford Starbucks and don’t know what espresso is, but want to pretend they’re drinking it, too. I predicted that, soon, McD’s drive-through customers will order like this, “Two Big Macs and two vanilla Starbuckses.” And McDonald’s will serve them that, and Starbucks’ market dominance will be complete.

Yes, I know that Starbucks is for middle-class people who don’t know what real espresso is. And that’s okay — I’m fine being that.

A sad, sad, sad, sad thing about my life.

A million years ago, when people were first going from “newsgroups” to “bulletin boards,” I used to hang out on a bulletin board called Mediarama, hosted by writer Daniel Drennan. And I used to love the living shit out of Mediarama and most of its posters.

While at Mediarama, I began to create web content, myself. Then, one day, I left Mediarama. Since then, I’ve tried various online forums and even started my own, but never found anything as good, smart, or fun. And, before you say it, I’m more than willing to admit that it’s me who’s changed, and not the Internets.

“Forums” have become blog-comment threads, for the most part. All the names for things change, but it’s all still people trying to hang out online, trying to find others they want to virtually get to know. Less and less frequently, I try to find an online hang-out. More and more frequently, I find myself bored with the repetitive interactions and personality types. And then I get disappointed. And then I sigh and feel sorry for myself.

The pattern I find lately, on boards that attract me, is that there’s a good mix of straight guys, gay guys, and straight women, most of whom I assume are white — maybe with a few non-white people clearly identified either by their names or constant reminders in their posts.

What always starts to turn me off (other than the possibly imaginary pressure to identify my ethnicity) is the way the straight chicks will fawn over the straight guys. Eventually, so many boards devolve into the female characters competing to sound sexy for the straight male characters. (Who knows what these people are in real life? Maybe they’re all neutered cats and dogs.)

I don’t know where other women like me go — women who like to talk to men and maybe sometimes like to joke about sex, but who don’t want to participate in a cyber-sex contest. And don’t want to talk about lip gloss or DHs. (Dear Hubbies. Barf. Just typing that makes me feel ill.)

This is not a request for suggestions. Please don’t tell me to visit your favorite forum, because I’m a very negative, judgmental person and therefore I won’t like it. But tell me your favorite forum if you want, keeping in mind that I’ll never visit it. Then it should be okay — no expectations or awkward excuse-making.

something different to do

Recently I’ve tried doing my rush-hour commute with my car windows open. At first it scared me a little, then I felt self-conscious, then I was puzzled as to how to deal with men who took open windows as a social invitation.

But now I like it. I like the breeze and the sun, and driving unenclosed makes me feel more human (like a herd animal, maybe?) and therefore, overall, less susceptible to road rage. Try it if your weather permits, and if your traffic is slow enough to keep the wind from messing up your hair.

A Puppet Show

Prudencia is a weathered wooden puppet in a checkered smock, with tangled orange vines on its head.
Hortensia is a big clay puppet made up of purple balls.
Griseld is a wiry leaning puppet all swathed in olive drab.

Prudencia and Hortensia are bobbing around two pyramids of fruit.

Prudencia: What is this you say? You’re taking three of my apples?
Hortensia: I say that you can have three oranges!
Prudencia: Did you say that you’re taking three of my apples for Griseld?
Hortensia: Did you say that Griseld is taking your apples?
Both: Yes!

Hortensia bobs away. Prudencia does a monologue.

Prudencia: For too long has Griseld coveted my fruit. This is the last straw!

Griseld comes onstage with a single leaf.

Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen the Anderson file?
Prudencia: Oh, I’ll teach you to covet, little monster!
Griseld: Uh, what?
Prudencia: Oh, I’ll smile sweet, as sweet as the fruit you covet. But soon you shall know the bitterness at the heart of it!
Griseld: Um. Okay.

Curtain closes. Curtain opens. Griseld and Hortensia are standing near a pile of leaves and a single cube of glass.

Griseld: Prudencia, have you seen my Anderson file? Also, do you know who deleted our entire database.
Hortensia: No.
Griseld: Hmm. I guess I should ask Prudencia. You know, I don’t think she likes me very much.
Hortensia: No! You’re imagining that!
Griseld: She keeps saying weird things to me about peels and pith and paring knives. In a really creepy, passive-aggressive way, too.
Hortensia: Oh! That makes sense, then!
Griseld: What does?
Hortensia: The other day I told Prudencia that you wanted all her apples, and she said you had obviously been plotting against her from the start.
Griseld: What? Why did you say that? I don’t want any of her apples!
Hortensia: You don’t? Oh, well. Hey, can I have that leaf?

Griseld faces audience with tragicomic puppet expression.

Griseld: Jesus freaking Christ.

Curtain closes.


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Posted in pop culture, venting on 03/03/2008 06:03 pm

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