The Engineer Guy.
was a real challenge coming up with somebody from The Totem Pole
Company worthy of the HVPT Award this year, frankly ... MAINLY
because most of my favorite co-workers have all been fired/been
transferred/taken extended "leaves of absence"/entered the Federal
Witness Protection Program since the last time I handed out the awards.
Still, Bob The Engineer Guy probably deserves a HVPTA as much as anyone.
is one of a tiny handful of people who were there when I started
working at the TPC, two and a half years ago. He didn't bet against me
in the *How Long Will She Last With Franz?* pool. He has never dumped a
last-minute bazillion-page typing project on me, badgered me about
joining the company softball team or engaged in a conversation with my
chest. He's pleasant, he's funny, he's good at his job, and he doesn't
get upset when I accidentally mix him up him Bob The Other Engineer
Guy, or Bob The OTHER-Other Engineer Guy, or Bob The Auxiliary
Engineer Guy (Just So We've Always Got An Extra *Bob* Around, If We
cool. He deserves this award. Way to go, Bob.
course, now that I've singled him out for attention and praise, BOB
will probably be transferred to the Milpitas office
Danny The Executive Ass Guy. My *partner* in the fourth floor
Admin Department, and undoubtedly the only Executive Ass ever in Totem
Pole Company history to wear an earring and a
moustache. (On purpose, I mean.)
* * * * * *
... have you had enough of her yet?
Are you burned out on her
relentlessly self-serving media presence? Are you sick of seeing her
face every time you turn on the TV/leaf through a magazine/open a web
because the winner of the second "Survivor" competition -- unlike her
nauseatingly ubiquitous predecessor -- has taken the high road,
publicity-wise, and has chosen to maintain a lower (and classier)
may all change, of course, the moment "Survivor III" kicks in. That's
when they'll probably start trotting her out to provide *color
commentary* on the latest batch of contestants.
in the meantime I, for one, am impressed not only by her victory ...
but by her restraint.
* * * * * *
invented A&W Diet Cream Soda.
may not be able to dive-bomb into a bucket of Dreyer's Triple Chocolate
Thunder every night after dinner, anymore ... but, by God, I can have a
frosty cold can of A&W Diet Cream Soda or three, once in a while.
an observant and concerned *FootNotes* reader recently wrote to
point out that A&W Diet Cream Soda actually contains caffeine, a fact that had somehow escaped my notice. "Do you think that may
have something to do with your sleep problems?" she innocently
inquired. And I'm sure it probably does ... although not because of the
caffeine. See: 36 ounces of A&W Diet Cream Soda right before
bedtime/iffy middle-aged bladder.)
don't care. A&W Diet Cream Soda -- like ice cream before it,
and cranberry juice before that, and big boxes of cheap chablis before that
-- is often the centerpiece of my evening's *entertainment.* And I
think it's worth a middle-of-the-night trip to the bathroom.
* * * * * *
two *other* favorite Northern California Internet journalers, Bev
of "Funny the World" and Sunny
of "Sunshyn's Daydreams."
know what you're thinking.
just a cotton-picking minute!" you're thinking. "You're
giving Bev & Sunny 'Happy Voodoo Panda Toaster Awards' because
you met them in person this past year!"
of course you're absolutely right. I am giving them
Happy Voodoo Panda Toaster Awards because I met them in person this
past year. Buy me lunch, and I'll give YOU a Happy
Voodoo Panda Toaster Award next year, too.
I'm also giving them HVPT Awards because they write about stuff I'm
interested in: health issues and recovery issues and *comfortable shoe
issues* ... because they know how to spell the big words (and how to punctuate
them) ... and because they're good people and good writers who make me
laugh and make me cry and make me think, on a
* * * * * *
I'll admit it. Going into the record store and buying "Thirteen Tales
From Urban Bohemia" made me feel like I was still riding the hip curve.
course, I was ALSO buying Tommy Roe and The
Kingston Trio. Shut up.)
* * * * * *
Counter Ladies at the Marina Village Subway.
are two Subway restaurants in Alameda: one at the South Shore Mall, the
other one in the Marina Village Shopping Center. This spring, David and
I have spent a considerable amount of time in both of them. Or, more
accurately, we've spent a "considerable amount of time" at the South
Shore location. We've spent almost no time at all at the
Marina Village location. That's because the counter ladies at the
Marina Village Subway 1.) recognize you after your second or third
visit, 2.) remember that you habitually order the low-fat no cheese/no
mayo/extra jalapeños turkey sub and 2.) are able to
construct your low-fat no cheese/no mayo/extra jalapeños
turkey sub in less time than it takes the surly counterperson at the
South Shore location to finish her cell phone conversation, stub out
her cigarette and pull on her little plastic gloves.
* * * * * *
high school pal (turned Catering-Advisor Extraordinaire), Kevin Lanning.
of the benefits of bravely/stoopidly posting the link to *FootNotes* on
website is that I often hear from former classmates with whom I have
had absolutely no contact whatsoever in almost three decades.
course this is also one of the drawbacks,
occasionally. See: "It's Twenty-Six Years Later and I'm Still
All Pissed Off About Those 'Guess Who' Tickets.")
the case of my old friend Kevin, however, re-establishing contact after
so many years has been a delight, a discovery, and -- for reasons I
could not have predicted when we began corresponding again -- a
godsend. With twenty-plus years' experience in the restaurant
industry, he has sort of singlehandedly rescued my wedding buffet.
In the Long Ago & Far Away of high school, Kevin was the first boy
I ever knew who wrote poetry ... and who didn't care if people knew
about it. He was also the first person to turn me on to Kahlil Gibran.
In the mid-70's, that was some pretty heavy-duty grooviness.
the 00's, he's "writing" the menu for my post-wedding-ceremony
dinner, which he and his lovely wife will be sharing with us and with
the rest of our honored wedding guests.
have no idea what "Fresh Basil Chiffonade" is, exactly ... but it
sounds pretty damn groovy, if you ask me.
* * * * * *
very special Happy Voodoo Panda Toaster Award to Matt Lauer, who
recently became a father for the first time.
yes, I suppose that if you want to get technical about it, there were
other people nominally involved in the process: God ... the
obstetrician ... the nurses ... Annette what's-her-name. But when THEY
are able to travel from Peru to the North Sea to Paris to Thailand to
Greece in five days, without shaving, and still look as hot as Matt
Lauer does ... then THEY can have a Happy Voodoo
Panda Toaster Award, too.
* * * * * *
Donna and Rebecca, my three favorite *FootNotes* readers this week.
love all of my loyal *FootNotes* readers equally
and unconditionally, with a deep and enduring love that
transcends the boundaries of time and space and bandwidth and Zip Codes
said that ... sometimes I love some readers more than I love others.
I write about recovery issues, for instance, I love the readers who
write to tell me I remind them of their mothers/their spouses/their
daughters/themselves ... or to relate their own tales of vomiting into
metal wastebaskets and fringed suede purses ... or to thank me for
sharing my experiences in such revealing and unflinching fashion.
I write about weight loss and bike riding, I love the readers who write
to say that I've inspired them to climb onto a Schwinn for the first
time in twenty years.
when I write about how I'm probably not going to have a computer with
me on the honeymoon,
I love the readers who immediately write to troubleshoot ("Are
you sure you're inserting the modem into the correct slot?")
... or to offer to administrate the website in my absence ("If
you get someone to e-mail me the wedding .jpgs, I can upload them for
you") ... or to offer to send me their old unused laptop ("I'm
sure it would be much happier with you.").
to the combined smarts and generosity of Teri, Donna and Rebecca -- a
team effort if ever there was one -- there probably will
be a *FootNotes Honeymoon Update* or two, after all. And you have
Teri, Donna and Rebecca to thank!
"Yeah. Thanks a heap.")
* * * * * *
just raised our rent another 15%, she refuses to evict Upstairs
Neighbor Guy for us, and we've got ducks pooping in the swimming pool
again this summer ... but David and I love our landlady anyway.
only is Alma cute as a button -- when you look at her, you either want
to kiss her or adopt her -- but she also takes very good care of us,
her favorite tenants. When I accidentally put my arm through the bedroom window,
last summer, she called around and got us the best price on replacement
glass. When our bathroom sink was backed up last week, she had a
plumber out to fix it the very next day.
when the mailman deposits another Bed, Bath & Beyond delivery
on her doorstep, while David and I are at work, she uncomplainingly
signs for it and adds it to the pile in the middle of her living
sure she's going to be just as relieved as *we* are when all of this
wedding stuff is over with.)
* * * * * *
nice people at Lancôme
your waterproof mascara costs more than a Jumbo Roundtable Chicken
ordering your waterproof mascara from your incredibly slow,
ridiculously Java-intensive website takes longer than the wedding
ceremony, the reception AND the honeymoon put together.
it's a pain-in-the-butt to remember to put that little inverted-V
thingy above the "o" in Lancôme, every time I write about
your waterproof mascara on my website.)
here's why you're receiving a Happy Voodoo Panda Toaster Award this
year, Lancôme Paris: because your waterproof mascara is the
waterproof mascara that won't be melting into my
bridal bouquet, two weeks from now. You passed extensive and rigorous
Boo-Hoo Tests, right here in the *FootNotes* laboratories ... you
competed against every other brand of waterproof mascara on the market
... and you won, fair and square.
The Official Waterproof Mascara of The *2001
* * * * * *
AC Transit Bus Driver last Friday.
watched in horror, last week, as an elderly Asian-American woman
tumbled from the doorway of the #51, as she was attempting to pull her
handcart up the stairs of the bus. She fell with a sickening crash,
landing on the sidewalk on her hands and knees. As my fellow passengers
and I gathered up her scattered belongings, the bus driver leapt from
his seat and literally carried her onto the bus, seating her gently in
the spot directly behind him. He checked her thoroughly for injuries
before starting up the bus again -- she was remarkably unscathed, all
things considered: just a few bumps and bruises -- and as we drove from
downtown Oakland to Alameda he maintained a constant, reassuring
dialogue with her. ("Now let's see you move the fingers on
your right hand.")
it didn't stop there. When we got to her stop in Alameda, the bus
driver parked the bus, helped her down the stairs and stood with her on
the sidewalk for a few minutes, speaking to her softly. At one point he
removed a business card from his coat pocket, scribbled something on
the back of it and pressed the card into her hands. He tapped on the
horn and waved to her as we drove away.
usually exit the bus from the rear door, whenever possible, but that
afternoon I made a point of pushing through the crowd of passengers,
towards the front of the bus, and saying "Thank you" to the driver.
think he knew I was thanking him for more than a ride home.
* * * * * *
And last but not least, this year's winner(s) of the Happy Voodoo
Panda Toaster Award With An Extra-Dollop-of-*Grooviness-Molecules* On
family in TicTac, especially my mother, my sister, and Daughter #1.
(Or as I refer to them when they're not looking,"The Staff.")
would not be getting married two weeks from
tomorrow if it weren't for these people.
(That's mainly because I would
already BE married: David and I would have decided
that a wedding was too damn much trouble, and we would have run down to
the local courthouse and gotten it over with on our lunch hour.)
they're doing, basically, is building my childhood dream for me, layer
by layer ... rose petal by rose petal ... painstaking detail by
they're doing it from a distance of 1,000 miles.
the sort of *grooviness,* my friends, that money can't buy.