Currently Reading: The Corrections, Jonathan Franzen (yea, I know I know ... after all that ranting, I got curious -- what can I say?); Mondo Desperado, Patrick McCabe; The Pushcart Prize 2001 (an anthology of short stories, essays, and poems selected by various editors as "the best of the small presses").

I really have to laugh; I'm not all that far into the Pushcart Prize book but the second piece is an essay by Bret Lott all about -- guess what? -- having a book of his selected to be the Oprah (referred to only as "The Force" throughout the essay) book-of-the-month. Hee. I get the impression Lott wasn't bowled over by the whole experience of being a guest on the show, but at least he seemed genuinely grateful that his book was selected rather than getting all conflicted about his ahhhht.

Currently Listening To: Rammstein, Mutter.

Recently Watched: The Simpsons Season 1 DVD. It's fun to have all these episodes unedited and unbroken-up by commercials, but the extras are a bit of a letdown. I was hoping to see more of the "Tracey Ullman Show" bumpers.

Oh, and Emergency Vets on Friday while I was home sick. This episode was all about an adorable puppy who was born with some kind of life-threatening problem with her esophagus that the vets tried desperately to fix. She died at the end of the program.

I'm never watching that damn show again.

Currently Talking About: Random reasons why we suck; not much else at the moment (where the hell is everyone?).



Ugly Moon Rising.

full moon on Halloween.

I had to put this picture here. I took it Halloween night while I was stranded waiting for a bus that was a half-hour late.

A full moon on Halloween? How wonderfully fitting is that? Even though it was chilly and windy out and the bus was extremely late and I probably shouldn't have been waving a digital camera around in a dark and rather deserted corner of the Reston Town Center, I was having too much fun. This made me so happy.

The rest of the week went downhill from Halloween night. On Thursday I started feeling sort of scratchy and achy and bone-chilled and flu-ey. In another more innocent era I'd have merely thought "Ah, crap," but not now. One morning last week I sat on the bus across from a row of fellow commuters. Three people were reading the front section of the Washington Post, headlined with something like "N.Y. Woman's Anthrax Death Brings Toll to Four," and a fourth guy was reading a book with the large and very stark title GERMS.

"Anthrax Anthrax Anthrax GERMS," staring at me all the way to the Metro. You could practically chant along and skip rope to it.

As much as I like to think I'm keeping up a brave front against the US media's "All Anthrax All The Time" coverage, when I started getting sick I had a nasty, panicky little voice way in the back in my head going "ohmigod ohno whatif whatif whatiiiifff?" Yes, it's stupid. Feel free to laugh at me.

I stayed home from work on Friday and slept and drank tea and gulped Advil, and by Saturday the illness pretty much cleared up.

On Saturday night Bill and I decided to drive out for a nice dinner at Duangrat's, our (formerly) favorite Thai restaurant. Big mistake. As much of a skeptic as I usually am, I sincerely believe in that whole "The full moon makes people act looney" thing. Well, the full moon had a delayed effect that didn't go into full swing until Saturday night.

Bill and I were tooling along on the stretch of road between the Dulles Toll Road and Rt. 66 when I saw red brake lights in front of us getting closer, closer, way too close too fast. And then I heard honking and saw headlights in my side mirror getting too close way too fast. Bill managed to swerve onto the shoulder and save us from becoming a human-vehicular accordion. We pulled by two cars, one in front of the other, just stopped on the road. Just stopped. In the middle of the goddamn road. And as we passed by, the asshole in the front car got out and headed back to the other car bellowing "You want to start something? Do you?"

Bill had spotted them earlier, fucking around with each other on the highway. In fact, Bill was pretty sure the asshole in the first car had tried to start something with us; he'd gotten on Bill's tail back near Herndon and didn't drive on right away when Bill changed lanes to allow him to pass, as if he'd been hoping for some sort of provocation.

It was a textbook example of Road Rage, and Bill and I experienced our own Road Rage as we continued to the restaurant ranting and raving about what kind of a stupid, miserable ignorant cockroach fuckhead would decide that satisfying his macho pride gave him a reason -- nay, a fucking right -- to just stop traffic in the middle of a highway and damn any innocent motorists that might be injured or killed in the process.

After a stop at the CD Cellar in Falls Church, it was on to Duangrat's. Which was mobbed, even for a Saturday night. While waiting for our table, we had a drink in the downstairs bar. We were finally led to the snazzier upstairs dining room and seated on a table up on a little platform by the back wall and I thought "Well, this won't be so bad." Ha ha. Wrong.

The place was, as I said before, unbelievably crowded. We were seated a few tables away from one long banquet table occupied by lots of loud, noisy twentysomethings celebrating someone's birthday. They yelled a lot and drank a lot and clung to each other and swayed drunkenly in the aisles, blocking the waiters from getting to other tables.

So we knew from the start that we weren't going to get stellar service and really, we were fully prepared to deal. We were never rude to our waitress. We made only one polite inquiry about the drinks -- one margarita and one beer -- we'd ordered 25 minutes earlier and were told that despite the presence of a fully-stocked bar on the second-floor dining area the waiter would have to go all the way to the downstairs bar to get our drinks, in a tone that indicated that the downstairs bar had been relocated to, oh, Russia or thereabouts. We got the drinks when we got our food, about 20 minutes after that.

Bill, who'd overheard someone at the next table saying that he'd been charged for two drinks when he'd only ordered one, looked over our check carefully and found that sure enough, we'd been charged for two margaritas instead of the one that I'd waited for 45 minutes to get.

The waitress blew right by our table several times without even glancing at us, and now we were really getting steamed. Bill finally headed to the bar with the check to point out the mistake. Incredibly, the waitress had the gall to look at him and say "Oh, no. You had two margaritas. I remember bringing them to your table."

I wasn't back there with him, but even across the crowded and noisy room I heard Bill's voice rise in volume and turned to see him stabbing an index finger in the air. As stupid and buttheaded Bad Customer Service moves go, accusing your customer of lying about the bill has really got to be right up there at the top of the list. She did take the extra drink off the check, but the damage was done.

If I've ever recommended Duangrat's to you in real life, I take it back.


The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville...

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