Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dark Clothes Horse

I'm about to do a load of darks, and the bottle of detergent I just bought tells me to pour its dark blue liquid up to the second line of this cup.

Idiots run the world.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lebowski at Top of Stairs

I've always kind of liked this one.

I guess there's probably some sort of art snob name for this exercise, but I just call it a-picture-of-my-dog-that-I-drew-without-looking-at-the-paper- or-lifting-my-pencil-off-the-page. Come to think of it, the art snob name might have been a bit more practical. In all honesty, I think I ended up lifting my pencil off the page once. I'm not Pablo friggin' Picasso, after all.

Somebody Wind Me Up

I've got nothing to say.

I have drawn some rather nice chattering teeth, though. Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm too Stupid to Use My Own Scanner

I recently figured out how to scan my drawings in a way that doesn't make them look like they've been run through a defective matter transmitter. It only took me about three years to do this, and then it was only because my friend Susan, who knows about these things, told me how.

In my defense, the process is completely counterintuitive. When I fire up the old Canon, it asks me what type of material I want to scan. I'd always chosen the "black and white line art" option, because, 1.) my drawings are in black and white, and, 2.) they are mostly made up of lines. It seems that this little test is precisely how Canon separates the smart kids from the ass-backward stupid ones. When I explained to my friend how I'd been scanning my drawings in the past, she responded "Oh, no. Don't use that line art setting. Scan your drawings as color photos." Well, that was just about the dumbest thing I'd ever heard and I wondered vaguely whether Susan had taken to hitting the sauce in the afternoon. I was desperate enough to give it a shot, however, and I'll be darned if she wasn't right.

That there's an exercise I did for a Drawing 1 class I took last fall. (Clicking on the picture will bring up a much larger version, by the way.) The assignment was to stuff a bunch of miscellaneous crap in a shoe box and draw it. There were slots in the sides of the box so some of the stuff was sticking out the side. The depth of the box is not readily apparent in this scan, since my scanner is smaller than the actual drawing and there were no 8-year-olds around to show me how to use Canon's foolproof "stitch assist" feature.

If Susan looks closely, she will notice a very poor rendering of a very nice piece of pottery that she made for me many years ago.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Wawa, You've Given Me a Wah-wah

Take a good look at this picture. What do you see?

“A gas station,” you say? “A convenience store,” you say? Apparently, only the idiot offspring of Mr. Magoo are reading my blog today. Hell, anyone with one good eye and a metal plate in his head would recognize the above Wawa establishment as an oasis of gourmet specialty items for weary travelers with the most highly refined of palates.

Okay, I can tell that you need me to spell this out for you. The below advertisement is proof that my assessment of the above photo is entirely accurate.

Now do you believe me? For those of you not familiar with this gourmet taste treat, “ciabatta” is the Italian word for “slipper” and is used to describe a type of bread with a slightly wrinkled, crisp crust and delightfully airy center. While ciabatta loaves are largely shapeless, they often have a bit of a pointy end that resembles the toe of a lady’s slipper. Thus the name. Here is a ciabatta loaf that I baked recently.

As this was my first attempt at ciabatta, it resembles something more of a circus geek’s clubfoot than the shoe of a dainty Italian maiden, but you get the idea.

The observant reader may notice that Wawa’s ciabatta looks nothing like the traditional Italian loaf I’ve just described. For one thing, it is split down the center like a loaf of Sara Lee* split-top bread. For another, it has a distinct shape not unlike that of a weenie bun suffering from gastric bloat. In fact, it would seem that the ciabatta’s comparative pallor is the only quality that sets it apart from Wawa’s standard hoagie roll.

We should all congratulate the Wawa on its impressive display of inventive epicureanism. It takes a tanker truck full of balls to shatter a stale, centuries-old bread baking tradition in effort to create a ground-breaking new taste sensation that will satisfy no one and everyone simultaneously.

In its infinite wisdom, Wawa realized that not every one of its potential customers is a culinary expert. There were bound to be a few poor slobs stumbling into Wawa who wouldn't know a boulangerie from a pair of crotchless underpants. So, Wawa was kind enough to lend these folks a guiding hand by providing a beverage suggestion that would compliment the ciabatta’s flavor rather than overpower the complexity of its yeasty wang.

Thanks to Wawa, culinary rubes now know that a fountain beverage the size of an oil drum provides the best accompaniment to ciabatta, and that pairing ciabatta with an ICEE is nothing shy of gauche.

Since Wawa’s business practices had so deeply moved me, I decided to visit the company’s website so I could learn all there is to know about this Gourmet Good Citizen. I was thrilled to find that Wawa has posted its mission statement online for all to see. Among the many high standards that the company strives to uphold, I found these to be the most poignant and relevant to its obvious devotion to artisan bread baking:

Our Core Purpose. . .
To Simplify Our Customers’ Daily Lives

Our Core Values. . .
Delight People
Embrace Change

I, for one, am delighted by how much simpler my life has become due to Wawa’s commitment to embracing change. Gone are the days I once spent toiling in the kitchen, kneading bread by hand while a hot oven singed my sagging derriere. I’m off to the Wawa to git me some of that $3.99 ciabatta action. Hot-damn!

* Sara Lee Food and Beverage, incidentally, has just recalled several of its whole wheat bread products because they “might” contain metal fragments. While it’s true that nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee, apparently there is at least one Nitpicky Dick out there who doesn’t like metal shavings in his whole wheat.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Beach Baby

I spent some time at the beach last week. It was a very nice beach, with lots of sand and water and colorful sailboats. It was very sunny and there were lots of pretty umbrellas to keep the sun from frying the crap out of all the nice people who were on the beach. Hundreds of people, there were. The place was crawling with them. Oh, how I looked forward to taking nice pictures of all the nice people and things I saw at the nice beach. So, what do I do instead?


Well, it's a good thing I took all those photos when I was in Manhattan last winter, or folks might begin to think I'm some sort of recluse with a mental problem.

What's that you say? There are no people in any of those photos either?


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Props to Me!

Having come to fully appreciate the genius that is Storchy's Swingin' Hullaba-log, my friend Chuck (shown here in his natural habitat). . .


. . . was inspired to write a poem about it. I shall post it here for all to enjoy.

Storchy Street
by Rod McKuen

Oh, Storchy Street is a magical place
where ravenous insects bite off your face
And Arbor Day lasts all the year 'round
And toast comes up thru' a hole in the ground.
It's just at the end of Daisy Dog Road
Come along with me, and thence shall we go!
We'll eat quail eggs from a can, with a spoon
'til our big blue bellies turn round as the moon!
Then we'll dance to the Bee Gees and shout "Holy
'Til Sweet Lizzie Borden puts an end to us all.

Ain't that a beaut? I weep every time I read it.

Would that I had the time to spend gushing about Chuck's many excellent qualities. In the interest of brevity, however, I will just point out that, 1.) Chuck and Rod McKuen are actually the same person (you heard it here first!), and, 2.) Chuck is a fan of Terry Anderson and the Olympic Ass-Kickin Team.

Those two things alone make Chuck cooler than Elvis. Hell . . . props to Chuck, too!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


Today I had to get up at 5:30 AM to make it to a 7:30 trigonometry test. Do you know what else is up at 5:30 in the morning? The fucking moon, that's what.

I'm going back to bed.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

12 Things I Learned From An Evening of Watching "The Kids Are Alright" and Led Zep's "How the West Was Won" Back-To-Back

1. Keith Moon was by far the coolest member of The Who.

2. Keith Moon and John Bonham were both crazy-phenomenal drummers. If I had to choose between them, though, I'd pick John Bonham. Keith Moon's constant reliance on cymbal crashing makes him a tad more busy than I like, though his style was an integral part of The Who's sound. There's a real art to Bonham's instinct to keep it simple. What he chooses not to play is just as important as what he plays.

3. Les Pauls are wonderful guitars that really shouldn't oughta be smashed.

4. Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant both shopped at at Vulgar Trouser World.

5. Roger Daltrey wore Garanimals shirts, but Robert Plant wore his mum's blouses.

6. Roger Daltrey and Robert Plant are both equally annoying, yet equally necessary.

7. At times, both Roger Daltrey and John Paul Jones wore outfits frightfully similar to 1970s ladies' office fashions that were inspired by "Little House on the Prairie".

8. Pete Townshend's guitar playing seems cute and amusing compared to that of Jimmy Page.

9. Led Zeppelin's lyrics are best ignored. The Who's lyrics, on the other hand, could be quite pithy on occasion.

10. Jimmy Page had fabulous taste in footwear.

11. The young Robert Plant was really just a big nerd who liked Tolkien way too much. If Led Zeppelin had formed in the '70s instead of the '60s, all of their songs would've been about Star Wars.

12. I'd like The Who a whole lot more if they had broken up in 1968.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Blow It Out Your Ass, Kid.

Jeez, you’d think this poor bastard would’ve taken his aversion to play into consideration prior to choosing a career as a giant toy. A little vocational counseling would do him a world of good, as he's clearly not a hopeless case. For example, his passive-aggressive smile would be well suited to a career as a Bergdorf Goodman retail sales representative.

"I'm sorry, sir, but I'm afraid your credit card has been declined."

And his 5'5" height would make him a shoe-in as a jockey, although he'd have to work on his flexibility some. Of course, that cold, hard stare could set him up for a highly successful career in interrogation, or perhaps hypnotism.

"Resistance is futile!"

It pains me to see people wasting their lives in dead-end jobs. The world is your oyster, little man. Follow your dreams.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

National Arbor Day Foundation Helps Planet by Distributing Recycled Paper Products Like There’s No Friggin’ Tomorrow

Yesterday I received the following solicitation from the National Arbor Day Foundation:

Note the words “STATEMENT ENCLOSED” and the block of X-ray-specs-proof squiggles that make the envelope appear all official-like. Now, I am not a member of the National Arbor Day Foundation (nor have I ever been), but my knee-jerk reaction to the “STATEMENT ENCLOSED” label was to wonder whether some identity-thieving jackass was running up my charge account with membership dues for do-goodery organizations such as this one. Upon examining the STATEMENT that was indeed ENCLOSED, I noticed that I, Storchy, was listed as a “Member,” and that the organization wanted me (a lousy deadbeat member, apparently) to cough up my “Annual Membership Dues” of $10. Having dismissed my initial identity theft theory as asinine, I fretted that I might in fact have purchased a National Arbor Day Foundation membership the previous year, after getting shit-faced on Mad Dog at my annual Arbor Day cookout and tire-burning party. I get a little emotional at those things, especially when I’m hammered.

However, I forgot my worries once I explored the contents of the envelope.

Holy balls! There’s enough recycled paper in that pile to constipate a large goatherd. It seems the National Arbor Day Foundation wishes to show its gratitude for my nonexistent support by showering me with the following gifts:

1.) Two Give-a-Tree greeting cards, with envelopes
2.) An 11 x 17 Rainforest Rescue Wall Calendar
3.) A book about planting and caring for trees
4.) Return address labels
5.) A bimonthly newsletter

A recycled paper product, another recycled paper product, yet another recycled paper product, a sticky recycled paper product, and a bimonthly recycled paper product. But wait! There’s more!

6.) A dozen 10-ounce bags (recycled paper bags, presumably) of their Arbor Day Specialty Coffee “that matures slowly in the shade of tall rain forest trees . . . and is produced without burning the forest to grow sun-loving commercial coffee.”

A nice idea on the surface, granted. However, I suspect the description neglects to mention that Arbor Day Specialty Coffee trees are fertilized with the freshly squeezed blood of baby lemurs, and the coffee tastes like bonobo ass with a hint of powdery mildew.

As part of my member benefits, the swell folks of the National Arbor Day Foundation will plant two trees for me free of charge. They kind of have to, really. When the world runs out of recycled paper, the National Arbor Day Foundation will need to use those trees to make more paper products that will eventually be recycled and distributed across the globe in bulk mail.

Ah, but I kid the National Arbor Day Foundation. Truth is, I’m glad I received this solicitation from such a fine, fine organization. It has taught me a great deal about protecting our environment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Props to Donald Trump!

Donald Trump is a big, important business tycoon. He is very busy. I am not a big, important business tycoon. I am not as busy as Donald Trump.

The View is a show on television. It is on during the day when most people work. It is a show for ladies. I am a lady. Donald Trump is not a lady. He is a man. A very, very busy man, who runs casinos and stars in his own TV show and has affairs and builds shiny, pink marble skyscrapers that blot out the sun. So busy.

I have only watched The View once for about ten minutes. It was because Little Richard was on. He played a song and then he showed us everything that was in his makeup bag. Oh, Little Richard, you loveable freak show. There were many ladies on the program, but I could not tell you who they were except for Barbara Walters, who has been on television since the days when TVs only had one channel and were powered by raw potatoes.

Today, Donald Trump was on CNN. He was talking about The View. He knew the names of all the ladies on The View. He knew about each lady’s personality foibles. He knew that one of the ladies had been in a relationship for twenty-five years. He knew details about a disagreement that two of the ladies had recently.

I can only name two of the ladies who are currently on The View. One of them is Barbara Walters. The other is Rosie O’Donnell. I only know that Rosie O'Donnell is on The View because Donald Trump said so on the TV a few weeks ago. Plus, you can hear her yelling even when the TV is off and your head is in a bucket of wet sand. I do not know anything about any of the ladies’ private lives. There are many, many things that I do not know about The View.

But Donald Trump knows everything about The View even though he is very busy and is not a lady. It is nice that he can still find the time to watch a television program he enjoys. If I were a big, important business tycoon and I had a favorite TV show, I would also want to tell the world about it on CNN. MSNBC and Fox, too.

Thank you, Donald Trump, for keeping me abreast of what’s happening on a TV show that I can’t seem to find time to watch. You go, girl!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Excess Body Fat is Pissing on My Good Time

No, that isn’t Mars. The above is a satellite photo of my gut. A team of NASA scientists has gleefully classified my gut as the newest dwarf planet in our solar system. Not just another one of those puny, half-assed Category-3 “small solar-system bodies,” Storchygut (as NASA has dubbed the new dwarf planet) is in orbit around the sun and has enough self-gravity to maintain its nearly round shape. The new dwarf planet even has its own moon, which was mercifully omitted from the above photo.

In light of my gut’s new dwarf planet status, I can no longer ignore the fact that I’ve gained several hundred pounds over the winter. As I sit here, the seams of last year’s summer clothes are stretched so tightly around my torso that my own mother would readily mistake me for the Michelin Man. Over the past few months, part of me (the part of me that likes to eat, which is most of me)has been tickled by a sort of morbid curiosity every time I step on the scale and find that I’ve gained another couple of pounds. We have little conversations, that part of me and I:

ME: [steps on scale] HO-ly CRAP!
ME: [steps off the scale and back on again, peering over her gut] Shit! . . . . Shit! Shit! Shit!
TPOMTLTE: HOO-doggie! Now, ain’t that somethin’?
ME: But . . . I . . . how?
TPOMTLTE: Eh. What difference does it make? Hey, do you want a bacon sandwich?
ME: Hell, yeah.

So, after a months-long hiatus, I got back on the exercise wagon. Since I do not wish to become the target of my neighbors' ridicule, I generally do all of my exercising after dark. I load up my iPod and walk/run (mostly walk) until I get tired, which on a good day is usually around the 5-mile mark. However, because I’m in the worst shape of my whole life, I don’t have good days just yet. In fact, I currently have all the aerobic stamina of septuagenarian coal miner (which might actually be a slight overestimation of my abilities).

This past Saturday, on my maiden voyage, I strapped on the wrist weights and walked a little over two and a half miles before I started getting shin splints and a knot in my shoulder. I’d forgotten the part about muscles and the stretching of them, you see. I woke up on Sunday feeling like I’d been bludgeoned repeatedly with a sack full of grapefruits, but that did not deter me from taking another walk that evening. Apparently, once I finally manage to peel my dusty old carcass off the couch, I’m practically bionic. So, Sunday night I was feeling great. It was a beautiful night, I had walked half a mile, and a particularly good NRBQ song (“Green Lights”) that popped up on the iPod had spurred me into a sprint. Whee! But, then . . .bzZZzzzzZZT! THWACK! Something flew straight into the corner of my eye and stuck there. I couldn’t exactly see what it was, the thing being in my eye and all, but the telltale buzzing and rapid-fire stinging that occurred during my desperate attempts to swat it away have lead me to positively identify the perpetrator:

What a stroke of luck it was that the offender’s mug shot was on file due to his previous criminal record. The result of this dipteran brute’s handiwork is shown below.

Note the painful, debilitating swelling and redness just below the tear duct area. Tragic.

Your average person would probably come away from such a traumatic experience having learned rudimentary lessons like these:

1.) There are a lot of bugs out at night.
2.) When there are a lot of bugs out, it’s maybe not the best time to run.
3.) If nighttime running is necessary, maybe some kind of eye protection would be nice.

While the validity of these conclusions is arguable, I feel they are frightfully shortsighted. Having completed nearly two years of part-time study at Durham Technical Community College, my insight into such matters is far more fine-tuned and forward-thinking than that of Joe Q. Schlub’s. Therefore, it is my duty to share the valuable life lessons that I, Storchy, have gleaned from this experience so that others may benefit from them as well. These lessons are as follows (ahem):

1.) Giant insects are after me (and perhaps all of us).
2.) Giant insects want to eat your head, and they will, too, unless their god calls them away suddenly, in which case they will just leave a big sting-y mark under your eye that seems really conspicuous to you even though nobody else probably notices it.
3.) Giant insects do not want me (and perhaps all of us) to exercise.
4.) Exercise must be avoided at all costs or giant insects will eat your head, and what’s the point of having a washboard stomach and buttcheeks like two ripe cantaloupes if you don’t have a head? (Hint: No point. No point at all.)

Be safe out there, people.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Mountains Rock

Just spent a long weekend in the mountains of western North Carolina. I can't write worth a damn these days, but my shutter button finger still works. Apparently, its muscles are the rare few in my body that have not entirely atrophied due to lack of physical activity. It's amazing, really, that I am still able to hold my head upright. Ah, but I digress. Behold . . . the mountains.

Kind of purty, ain't they?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Note to Those of You With Mothers

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
And when she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

For those of you who feel a bit challenged when it comes to gift giving, I'd just like to point out to that "forty whacks" is never an appropriate Mother's Day gift. No, not even for the mother who has everything. Consider instead a nice pair of Isotoner slippers, or a coffee mug with your photo on it, or some leather chaps, or an economy-sized container of Metamucil, or a set of metric socket wrenches. Any one of these things would be a far better gift for Mom than forty whacks. Trust me on this one.

Stay tuned for my installment on Father's Day gift giving.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

She's Still in School . . . .

Ah, yes. . . . a glimpse back at the days when Storchy had nothing better to do than to take photos of her feet next to random household objects. But those days are gone, now, as I find myself sloshing about in the cesspool that is midterm season. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I decided two years ago enroll in the university transfer program at the local community college, but I now know better than to make decisions like that when I’m drunk.

Since I don’t have a lot of time to fool around today, I’ll just update you on a couple of things:

1.) Trigonometry blows. I don’t know what Poindexter at UNC decided to make trig a requirement for all liberal arts majors, but it was obviously someone who strangles bunnies and slaps the elderly just for shits and giggles. I’m majoring in history, not science. The only time I’ll ever use information about sine waves again is during the opening credits of Outer Limits reruns.

2.) I recently wrote this sentence for a midterm paper in my American lit class:

“By repeatedly using realism to shatter romantic notions in The Awakening, Kate Chopin parallels the manner in which realistic literature thrust aside romanticism in the late 19th century.”

When I say things like this, I don’t really mean them. I pulled every word of that sentence out of my ass. I will continue to write wretched drivel like this as long as my instructor rewards me for doing so. This, I feel, is teaching me the wrong lesson.

3.) I love nuts. Especially pecans and cashews.

4.) I love the Bee Gees. Especially the late-'60s albums.

5.) Lately, when I'm not working or studying, I am usually listening to the Bee Gees with my mouth full of nuts.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Oi! Check Out Me Bloomin' Orchid!

Darn thing looks like a stick with flippers 9 months out of the year, but then it goes and does this . . . .

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Miracle on Hound's Ear Road

I have some very good news. I, Lisa, have found the answer to the world’s hunger problem. “How?” you may ask.

Go on . . . . ask.

Excellent question. Well, it’s like this, see? Me and my two dogs, Daisy and Lebowski (shown below), take regular constitutionals up and down Hound's Ear Road.

Lebowski is the indignant-looking one, and Daisy is the pretty one who looks a little D-U-M.

So, I’m out with Daisy last Tuesday afternoon when she trots onto my neighbor’s lawn, sticks her nose deep into some hole, and drags a mystery item out of it. I am well familiar with such occurrences, so I ready myself for the worst. Is it a cat turd? Is it a dead vole? Is it one of those tiny, crunchy gray lobster-looking things that are sometimes for eating and sometimes for rolling in? Panic ensues as I envision myself having to fish a mouse carcass out of Daisy’s clenched teeth with my bare hands. “Drop! Drop!” I yell. As do this, I notice with dismay that I really do sound like a chihuahua when I shout, just like my good friend Jeff pointed out about fifteen years ago at the Los Lobos show, the bastard.

“Drop!” I yell again, while knocking on the top of Daisy’s bowling-pin-shaped head. Something rattles between her eyes, like a BB in a tin can. Having at last processed the command, her ears flatten grudgingly. Her jaw goes slack, and out falls . . .


It's a perfectly good piece of toast, too -- lightly golden brown with nary a hint of char. Why, I almost want to pick it up and eat it myself. But, since consistency is the key to dog training, I stand my ground and pull Daisy down the block while trying to ignore the “But. . . but . . .” look in her eyes and the growl of my own stomach.

A day passes and this time I’m out walking Lebowski. I’ve got some Randy Newman going on the iPod and I’m singing along, “We’re reeeeed-necks, we’re reeeeeed-necks . . . don’t know our ass from a hole in the ground . . . .” I suddenly remember that Storchy Street is located well below the Mason-Dixon Line, and make a mental note to avoid singing that song aloud anymore, at least not where anyone can hear me. Just then I turn around and see that Lebowski, with his back to me, is sticking his head into a hole in my neighbor’s lawn. Crap. Having forgotten about the toast incident, I truly think that he has found actual crap and I yell, “Drop! Drop!”

Lebowski never drops, though. He never chews, either; he swallows everything whole like a bulimic hyena, so I have to be quick. As I run up behind him his head swings around and I expect to see the dangling legs of a dead frog slapping him in the face. What I see instead, however, is toast -- a golden wheat-bread slice that has been uniformly browned to perfection.

“What the fuck?” I say, abandoning Southern etiquette entirely. I yank the toast out of Lebowski’s mouth and fling it far into the woods. Or at least I attempt to. Apparently there’s a good reason why the outer hulls of aeroplanes and rocketships are not fashioned of toast.

The rest of our walk is uneventful, but for the fact that I’ve begun to sing Todd Rundgren’s song “Slut,” replacing the word “slut” with “toast.”

“T-O-A-S-T! You may be some toast, but you look good to me . . . .”

Not a perfect fit, but it worked well in a pinch with a forced syllable squeezed in here and there. I defy you to get that song out of your head now.

Well, I surely thought I’d seen the end of the Lawn Toast at that point, but later that day Daisy pulled some more of the stuff out of that same damn hole. At this point, it became obvious that the Lawn Toast Hole was a modern day miracle -- a small rift in the space-time continuum that produced an endless supply of delightfully crispy, golden-brown toast.

After all, it certainly wasn’t the first time a miracle had presented itself in toasted form.

The more I think of it, the more obvious it seems that the Miraculous Lawn Toast Hole is Version 2.0 of the Miracle of the Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich.

It’s just like that old saying: “If you give a man a Virgin Mary Cheese Sandwich, you'll feed him for a day. But if you guide a man to the Miraculous Lawn Toast Hole, you'll feed him for life.”

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Quail Eggs

One does not want to eat quail eggs straight out of a can.

I'm not sure when or how one does want to eat quail eggs. But straight out of a can ain't it.

That is all . . . .

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Area Woman Declares Durham Fire and Rescue Worker a Fire Hazard

An area woman had planned to make a quick stop at the North Pointe Kroger grocery store for a few winter storm necessities on Wednesday, when she encountered an unexpected obstacle. The woman, who would only give the name "Storchy," claimed that a Durham fire and rescue worker of unknown identity insisted on getting in her way everywhere she went.

“At first I thought he was deliberately harassing me,” said Storchy. “But then I realized that he just had his head up his ass.”

Storchy, 36, first encountered the fire and rescue worker in the soup aisle. “He was just standing there in the middle of the aisle, staring at the top shelf with his mouth hanging open. Then he calls out to his buddy, he says, ‘Hey, where’s the chicken noodle at?’” said Storchy.

“If he’d been any closer to that chicken noodle it would have poked him in the eye,” Storchy added.

Storchy attempted to walk past the fire and rescue worker, but could not. “He just kept wandering from one side of the aisle to the other, and he was swinging his arms all over the place,” Storchy said. “I was like, what is with this guy?”

Storchy said that she gave up trying to walk around the fire and rescue worker, and instead walked back down the aisle the way she had come.

“It took longer to get to the pickles that way, but I figured it was faster than waiting for the guy to realize that he wasn’t the only person in the store.”

Storchy had a near miss with the fire and rescue worker in the baking/spice aisle. “I’d just started walking down there when I saw the guy wandering around in circles near the cupcake sprinkles,” Storchy said. “I decided I didn’t need popcorn salt that bad and I high-tailed it on out of there.”

Storchy later collided with the fire and rescue worker when she turned down the cereal aisle. “You know how the aisles sort of have those traffic flow lanes like when you’re driving? Except in the grocery store you can’t see them but you know they’re there, right? Well, he was coming down the up side when I came around the corner and we just smacked right into each other,” Storchy said. “There was no way I could have avoided him.”

Several witnesses at the scene of the collision confirmed that the fire and rescue worker was entirely at fault.

Storchy later encountered the fire and rescue worker in the bread aisle. “I just wanted to grab some hot dog buns and go home. But there the guy was in the bread aisle,” Storchy said. “I thought about leaving the store right then, but I really needed those buns.”

Storchy tried to predict where the fire and rescue worker might walk next, but said it was impossible. “He just kept picking up random loaves of bread and squeezing them,” Storchy said. “He’d put a loaf of wheat bread in his basket, and then a few seconds later he’d put it back and grab rye instead.”

Storchy added, “He sniffed one of them. I don’t know what in the hell that was all about.”

At this point, Storchy decided she’d had enough. “I just remember saying, ‘Christ, this guy’s a fire hazard,’” Storchy said. “It was out of my mouth before I knew it.”

When asked whether she had the authority to declare someone a fire hazard, Storchy admitted that she did not.

“I felt so powerless. I guess I just panicked,” Storchy said. “I just wanted to get my hot dog buns and go home, you know? Something had to be done.”

“Anyhow, I don’t think anyone heard me,” Storchy added.

The Durham fire and rescue worker could not be located for comment.

Friday, January 05, 2007

I Am the Anti-Weegee

After spending a week knocking around Manhattan during the holidays, I came home to discover that almost none of the photos I took have any people in them. How in the hell does that happen? And what does that say about me? On second thought, never mind. I don’t want to know.

My relationship with NYC has always been a complicated one. If I’d taken up photography during the two and a half years that I’d lived in the city, I suspect that most of my photos would’ve featured hobos, crack whores, and suckers like this . . .

But if the latest batch of photos is any measure of my nostalgia level for my former home, it seems that a few years of living in the comparatively reasonable setting of Durham, NC have made me go all warm and fuzzy on New York City in retrospect. Heck, if anyone had told me eight years ago that I’d ever get all misty about NYC, I’d have told them that they were flat-out weasel-nuts.

Moving from my hometown of Milwaukee to NYC was a transition that was tantamount to whiplash. To me, life in New York seemed completely ass-backwards. Roaches were enormous, lived right in your house, and many folks acted as if they had a perfect right to be there. People insisted on calling them “water bugs” as if they were fat, chortling babies in bumble bee suits awaiting a Kodak moment in a wading pool. In contrast to the giant roaches were the shoebox-sized grocery stores, which were dirty and stank of armpits and rotten potatoes. Occasionally fresh produce from one of these stores would reveal unexpected bonuses, like the praying mantis that once rose up from a package of cilantro and began prancing about my cutting board like a Fosse dancer. Its tiny head was cocked coyly to one side and became even more so when I bashed it in with a meat hammer. This was an action that I immediately regretted, and one that was indicative of how big city life affected me. I’m not the type of person who kills tiny creatures just for shits and giggles. Since I’ve lived in North Carolina, I’ve cupped many a moth in my bare hands and shuttled it outside, away from the evil eye of my living room lamp. But, as Jackie Wilson once sang, “There’s no pity in the Naked City” and some poor bastards just have to learn that lesson the hard way.

The worst part about living in the city was that everything just seemed so damned complicated. There were no quick errands. If I wanted to shop for dinner, I had to walk 20 minutes to Astoria’s shopping district and spend two hours muscling my way through several different establishments (grocer, butcher, bakery, produce market, maybe another produce market if the first one didn’t have what I needed). Then there was another 20-minute walk back home with fifteen pounds of groceries. And laundry? Don’t get me started. Since the laundromat closest to my apartment consistently dirtied my clothes rather than cleaned them, I had to drag them to the laundromat eight blocks away and waste half a day sitting there, plugging quarters into machines that would either tie my delicates into sailor’s knots or incinerate them.

To the city’s credit, I found New York residents surprisingly friendly and helpful unless they were getting paid to be so. I had more than my share of pleasant conversations with folks on the subway platform or in grocery lines. All bets are off when New Yorkers are on the move, though. I was walking down Madison Avenue at rush hour once when someone bumped into me pretty hard from behind. I stumbled forward and accidentally caught the back of some woman’s shoe with my foot. The woman was in her late sixties, and obviously well-to-do. I apologized profusely to which she responded, “Why don’t you watch where you’re going, you idiot.” The Milwaukee Me probably would’ve slunk off into a dark alley and burst into tears, but new-improved New York Me replied, “Well, f*ck it -- I’m not sorry, you crazy old bat.” It’s a good thing there wasn’t a meat hammer handy, or I might’ve bashed her on the head with it.

But I spent this past week bopping around New York with the sugary optimism of a teenage girl who goes to see Christian rock bands for fun. When I walked down a block that smelled of urine and rotting trash, I grinned and said, “Ah, yes! That’s the New York I remember.” I turned on the shower to find that there was no hot water for the second morning in a row. “Ha! Good ol’ New York livin’,” I said, as I splashed ice-cold water from the sink onto my shivering torso. I made eye contact with homeless people. I accepted fliers from giant hot dogs on street corners. I sat right next to the stinky man on the train and didn’t budge.

New York City, I discovered, is quite a wonderful place when you know you don’t have to stay there. It’s kind of pretty, even.