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[about the author]

i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish, eh?

i work crossword puzzles in ink.

i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie izzard. can't decide, really.

i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really good aunt.

i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.

i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.

i never play dumb. never.

i am way too hard on myself.

i am a change agent.

i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.

i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.

i am militantly pro-choice.

i am pro-adoption.

i know a little bit about alot of things.

i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.

i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it. hard.

i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.

i have been known to hold a grudge.

i have hips.

i am not my sister.

i am lousy at forgiving myself.

i am an indoor kind of gal.

i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.

i am 32 flavors. and then some.

 
[the ones people ask about]
Rittenhouse Review
Investment Banking Monkey
OOPS
Cheap Ticket News
iPhone News
Hotels and Travel News
Latest on Retirement Planning
Consumer News and Reviews
 

[in case you were wondering]

[the blogger behind the curtain]

[100 things about me]



[the old stuff]

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[all content copyright 2007 by tequila mockingbird. seriously.]


 
2.25.2004  

alas, poor norm. i knew him not.
these days i’m a bit of a gadget girl. typically, i am not a gadget girl. but, these days i’m forced into gadgetry as part of my job.

so, these days i’m a bit of a gadget girl. i’m toting around a shiny treo 600.

some of you just said one of the following things:

“man!”

“wow!”

“awesome!”

while others simply said “ahwhah?”

it’s a phone. it’s email. it’s the web. it’s a camera. it’s about $600 retail. and so, for me, i’m thinking that for $600 i should be able to use it like that thing on star trek where you just say what you want and it makes it appear, like “hot fudge sundae” and a hot fudge sundae magically appears on your desk. now that i’d pay $600 for. but, since it doesn’t make hot fudge sundaes…or pad kee mao…or vodka, i wouldn’t cough up $600 for it.

anyway, i was carrying it with me last week while i was in miami in case i had to field any support calls. i was on a break during training i was conducting for two legal assistants when my phone rang.

the number on the screen was a baltimore area code, so i assumed it was one of our baltimore attorneys who is a particularly frequent caller.

“hello?”

“hey, jules, what’s going on?”

“uh…just working…how about you?”

i have no idea who this is.

“wellllll, it’s not the best day.”

i’m thinking this sort of sounds like one of my friends, but i’m not really sure. and he just told me he’s having a bad day. so, i’m thinking it would not be the best time to say “i am very sorry to hear that. and also, i have no idea who you are.”

so, of course, i keep talking. my plan – if you can really call it a plan – is to keep him talking until i definitely recognize his voice, or until he gives me some descriptive detail that clearly identifies him.

“oh no, i’m sorry to hear that. what’s going on?”

“well, i guess my luck finally ran out. the feds finally showed up. this morning. it doesn’t look good, jules. i’m pretty sure i’m going to need your help in finding a good home for the dogs, because i’m pretty sure i’m going to be going away for a while. can you believe it?”

and, really, i can’t. i mean, aside from the whole feds/prison thing, this is awesome.

my internal struggle of “do i stop him now and tell him i have no idea who he is or do i let him keep talking so i can find out what he’s going away for” lasts a moment too long, and the decision is made for me.

“oh, and they got frank, too. i guess it was all too good to last, huh? i’m going to try and see i can maybe build some sort of defense that i was just growing it for distribution for medicinal use. i mean, with the quantities i have here, it’s definitely distribution, but maybe i can work out the medicinal use angle. maybe i can get a good deal. but, anyway, as for the dogs, you know i keep their shots up and everything like that, and they’re both really great dogs, i just don’t have any idea how long i’ll be gone, and i’d hate to ask someone to watch them while i was gone, so i think it would just be better if we found a new home for them, you know? so, maybe if you could just put them up on the board, i can get you a couple of pictures, and hopefully someone will take them because they’re really good dogs, you know?”

and now my internal struggle is “do i stop him now and tell him i have no idea who he is or do i ask him what kind of dogs they are because, hey, i like dogs.”

“man, i still just can’t believe this. and frank, too. it’s…man…it’s just a bad day, jules. i mean, can you believe this?”

and now my internal struggle is “do i think this guy is for real, or do i think this is one of my notorious practical joker friends yanking my chain.”

“jules?”

“yes, i’m here. it’s just…well…”

and now i’m giggling. i have no idea why i’m giggling. and i’m sure that this guy – whoever he is – doesn’t really appreciate his friend giggling in the face of the news that he is facing a prison term not to mention giving away his dogs.

clearly, i am a lousy friend to…this guy.

“i’m sorry, i really am…but, i have to tell you: i have no idea who this is.”

“it’s norm!"

[long pause]

"norman."

[long pause]

"norman s____."

[long pause]

“um, i’m sorry. i honestly think there’s some sort of mistake or confusion, or i’m just drawing a total blank but i’m afraid i really don’t know who this is.”

[long pause]

“is this 301.***.****?”

and i’m thinking, “man, that’s not even close to what this number is! distribution my ass, you must be smoking your profits if you think that’s the number you dialed.”

but, norm isn’t having the best day. and i don’t really know him well enough to tease him. even though i know him waaay better than he probably wishes i did.

“actually, no. this is 202.***.****.”

[long pause]

“is this julie r____ ?”

and now i’m thinking, “man, you are having a bad day! the feds show up, you’re going to prison, and now you have to give your dogs away. and then, to top it all off, you call your friend, julie r___ , inadvertently dial the wrong number and end up talking to someone who has the same name she does. dude…what are the chances?”

but, again…norm might not be seeing the humor in that cosmic twist of fate.

“i’m sorry, but this isn’t julie r____ .”

“oh man. i mean…shit. that’s weird. is this a joke or something?”

and i’m thinking, “you tell me, norm.”

“yeah. it’s crazy, i know. i’m sorry, norm. but, uh…you know…good luck with the feds and the dogs. and stuff.”

“thanks, man.”

“no problem.”
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.20.2004  

i always knew i was bootylicious, but this is ridiculous
you know how you watched the grammys and you were like, "man, beyonce needs to just shut up and sit down and give somebody else a chance already?"

okay, so i didn't watch the grammys either, but just play along.

anyway, i'm on the road for business [aha! so that explains why she hasn't been posting with her regular annoying frequency!] and don't have time to put together a "real" post today, so i thought i'd take this opportunity to pimp the diarist awards.

normally i find such behavior vulgar and offensive.

and by "normally" i mean when other people do it.

at any rate, i received some very nice emails from the folks over at the diarist awards and it turns out they went and made me the beyonce of the 2003 fourth quarter diarist awards [even though i'm flattered, i still have to say: "diarist" still makes me laugh.].

and again i ask: where is the gift basket, people? where?

so, open voting is until march 6th, so you should go check out the finalists. please note: this is not a diarist "actively seeking votes through others." no, this is more a diarist actively seeking votes through herself.

ahem, anyway, as i was saying, you should go and read the entries of all the finalists. i've found quite a few sites with outstanding writing by reading the entries that make it through to the finals at the diarist awards.

all i ask is that, when casting your vote, please do not hold it against me that i cannot do that beyonce-butt-shake thing. i've tried, people. oh, how i've tried.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.16.2004  

things i found in my car while looking for a pen that would write
1 pair full-size scissors with red plastic handle
1 piece of paper with the word "shwarma" written in what appears to be red sharpie
1 sock, white with "hottie" in red cursive sparkly writing
1 sock, white with "super girl" in blue cursive non-sparkly writing
1 sock, rainbow striped with individual toe-hole-pocket-things
1 cd case, empty, formerly containing 100% funk cd
approximately 15 miscellaneous cds without cases
approximately 18 receipts from target
approximately 7 receipts from ikea
1 polaroid photo of my bare ass
1 receipt from my therapist
miscellaneous pills
1 packet of saltine crackers
2 fortune cookies
1 barrel of monkeys game
1 half-full -- or half-empty, depending upon one's perspective -- bottle of port
1 nike tennis shoe
4 half-full -- or half-empty, depending upon one's perspective -- tubes of blistex
12 lip glosses, various shades
1 road atlas, circa 2000
1 electric bill, circa october 2003
1 issue instyle magazine, circa august 2003
1 gravy ladle
1 shuttlecock
3 croquet mallets
1 desk lamp
1 sample of creme de la mer lotion
1 set salt & pepper shakers originally intended as christmas gift for grandmother
12 pens that do not write
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.06.2004  

well, one thing i do know: tautology is not the study of all things related to that chick in amelie*

yesterday i was finally able to get out of my office for lunch. it’s been over a month since i’ve been able to do that. i was feeling sort of kicky, with new hair [cut and color…although nothing too wacky on either count] and my especially cute boots, so i thought i’d get out and enjoy the sunshine after weeks of slush and sleet and snow.

but where to walk? where to spend my precious 60 minutes? there are so many places to go near my office…i could shoe shop. book shop. designer brands at discount prices shop.

but when i have only a little time and even a littler money, no place is more fun to me than cvs. or walgreens. or any drugstore.

i can spend hours wandering around the aisles, amused at the vast array of sinus medications. and hair products. and snack foods. and…well, and everything.

i love picking up little tubes of $1.00 eye cream that promises to “erase time!” i’m a sucker for little travel-sized anythings. i can get lost reading the side of creams and lotions and potions all promising to smooth and brighten and lighten and lift and separate. i love lip glosses and nail polishes and....

i think you get the picture.

so, i headed down to cvs with a few dollars in my pocket, 60 minutes on my hands, and a rather-short-but-rather-important list of must-haves.

after sniffing and spraying and dabbing all sorts of new and exciting treasures, i glance at my watch and see that i’ve almost used up my 60 minutes of fun time. i dash over to pick up my must-haves and head to the front of the store.

the cvs near my office tends to get really busy at lunch. i think it’s because it’s such a cornucopia of delights. it's a one-stop shop for all of your lunch hour needs. of course there are all the girlie-things i enjoy, but there are also folding chairs. and girlie magazines. and flip flops. and cans of chef boyardee ravioli. and tool kits. and milk. and condoms. and greeting cards. why go anywhere else for lunch? you can't find this kind of stuff at subway.

so the line is pretty long. i’ve queued up, and am debating whether or not to reach over and pick up the mini-flashlight keychain, thinking i couldn’t love cvs any more than i already do, when the rather adorable guy behind me starts to talk to me.

thereby proving that i could love cvs more than i already do.

so we’re chatting for a minute or so, and i see his eyes dart down toward my hands.

and while i’m sure he was looking for a ring [or at least that’s what i’m hoping he was looking for] the look on his face says he didn’t find what he was hoping to see.

and as i look down, i see what he sees.

a box of ultra thin maxi pads and a box of certain dri…with big red letters across the front screaming “fights excessive perspiration!!”

the only way that could have been better was if i’d also been clutching some sort of facial hair waxing kit and a supersize tube of preparation h.

later, i’m lamenting my luck to my friend who reassures me thus:

me: i mean, he should have been excited when you think about it. i mean, at least he knows that this is a girl who isn’t going to stink up the place with sweat, you know? but, no. instead he just has this look on his face like “freak!”

cw: i think you’re off base.

me: really? you think it wasn’t that bad?

cw: he saw the maxi pads and blacked out. he never even saw the other stuff.

me: yes. well. that’s much better.

----
*yeah, so, this title has nothing to do with this post. but after the recent debate in the comments about the meaning of the word "tautology," i just couldn't resist. also, i'd just like to thank everyone for being the kind of people who can have an intelligent debate about the meaning of the word "tautology." also, "tautology" is kind of fun to say.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.03.2004  

still more conversations with dmv employees, or "how the internet makes everything easier" - part two in a seemingly endless series

“thank you for calling geico, this is rachel, how may i help you?”

“hi, rachel. i’m calling because i needed to provide you guys with additional information to process my new policy request and i’m having some problems.”

“okay, let me pull up your policy information.”

“thanks.”

“okay, so i see we needed to get your georgia driver’s license number.”

“right. and that doesn’t seem to be happening. at least not until i happen to be in the neighborhood of a georgia dmv office and have a minute to pop in. and since i’m living in maryland now, i’m not really sure when that might be. so, uh…until i can figure out how to get the information, i guess we sort of have to put things on hold. and i just wanted to let you guys know so you can update that on the system, or whatever you need to do.”

“yeah. okay...i'm making a note. okay. georgia can be a challenge.”

“well, at least i know it’s not just me then.”

“nope. not just you. you know…you could probably get the number from maryland. from the maryland dmv. when they ask you to surrender [note: even a level-headed gal like rachel can’t resist the allure of “surrender!”] your georgia license, they enter that number into their system. they can probably give it to you.”

“oh my gosh, rachel, thanks!”

“good luck. and just let us know when you get it.”

so, i go to the maryland dmv website, hoping against hope there will be a big flashing button that says “click here to get your georgia driver’s license number.”

unfortunately, there is not.

so, i do a little reading and find that i can request my driving records online. but, i’m not sure that my driving records will contain the information i need. so, reluctantly --very reluctantly -- i pick up the phone.

“thank you for calling the maryland motor vehicle administration. our hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm monday through friday.”

okay. thanks for the information.

“please call back during regular business hours.”

what? wait. hold on.

i look at the clock on my desk: 8:40 a.m.

and i know it must be monday through friday because i’m sitting at my desk in my office, and i have a strict policy that prohibits me from doing that on saturday or sunday.

so, i hang up. and, as any rational person would do, i immediately dial again.

“thank you for calling the maryland motor vehicle administration. our hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 pm monday through friday.”

and so it goes. until 8:55 when someone answers the phone.

"hi, i’m calling with a question about my driving records. "

“okay. how can i help you?”

how can i help you?! all right, people! this is what i’m talking about! let’s get some help going my way here!

“well, when i got my maryland driver’s license, i surrendered my old license from the state of georgia. and i need to give that number to the insurance company in order for them to set up my new policy. i didn’t have much luck with the georgia dmv, so i was wondering if that information would be in the maryland system as part of my driving record.”

“yes.”

yes. she said yes. oh happy day! oh joy of joys!

“yes? really? yes?”

“yes.”

“oh my gosh, that is great news! okay, so what will i need to do to get that?”

“well, you can just go to any mva office and request your driving records.”

“even one of the express offices? there’s one of those on my way to work.”

“yes, the express offices can do that for you. or, you could just request them online.”

and the heavens opened and the angels sang, and i was very very happy.

“oh my gosh! that’s great!”

“yes. you’ll have to pay with a credit card. and be sure that when you request the records, you select the option that says ‘include previous state license number.’”

wow. not only could i get my records online, thereby avoiding the hell-on-earth that is a trip to an mva office, but they actually have a specific checkbox for this very thing that i need. what are the chances?

“thanks so much! have a good day.”

“you too.”

so, i hang up the phone and start clicking away. and after a few moments of clicking-and-reading and clicking-and-reading, i realize that i’m not entirely sure if i’m just ordering my records online and they will be mailed to me, or if i’m ordering them online and will be able to view them online.

i mean, i can see the link to order the records.

and i can see the link to view records online.

but the two links don’t seem to actually have anything to do with each other.

so, i decide to call the mva. again.

“motor vehicle administration.”

uh oh. no “how can i help you?” still, i decide to press on, undeterred.

“hi, i’m calling with a question about requesting driving records.”

“shoot.”

“uh…okay. um, i moved to maryland from georgia. and when i got my maryland driver’s license, i surrendered [it just never gets old] my georgia license and…”

“…and now the insurance company wants your georgia driver’s license number.”

oh god. they know. they’ve all heard about me. word has spread. they’re all like, “there’s some girl calling about how she surrendered her georgia license. and she keeps saying surrendered. she’s a total nutter.”

“uh…right.”

“yeah, that’s pretty common.”

pretty common? well, this is excellent news. i mean, if it's pretty common, then there must be a pretty common way to get it, right? i mean, one would think. logically.

“so, i can get that from you guys?”

“sure can. all you have to do is request your driving records. and make sure you check the right box on the form.”

“the one that says previous state driver’s license number?”

“that’s the one.”

“and i can request this on the website?”

“yes.”

“okay, i have one other question. on the website, i can see the option to request the records. and to pay for them online. but then there’s a whole other thing for me to view them online. how does that work?”

“you have to have a pin number to look at records online.”

“so, i set up an account or something?”

“yeah. then we mail you a pin number.”

“okay. great. wait…you mail me a pin number?”

“yeah. then when you get the pin number, you can go on the website and look at the records.”

“but...can't i just order the records on the website and have them mailed to me?”

“yeah.”

[long silence]

“so…if i just request the records online and they mail them to me, then the records would get here about the same time as the pin number.”

“well, i mean, if you ask for a pin number. we don’t just automatically send you one.”

“right. so, in other words, i can’t go to the website and order my records and then pay for them and look at them on the website.”

“yes, you can.”

“okay, i'm sorry. i'm confused. moreso than usual.”

“well, you can do that if you already have a pin number. if you already have a pin number, you can order the records on the website then look at them.”

“and so i needed to request a pin number, like, two weeks ago to be able to look at my records today.”

“probably three weeks ago. it takes a while.”

“so, the whole website-as-convenience thing…i mean…basically...not-so-much.”

“well, it’s because of homeland security.”

“of course.”

“you know the fastest thing? just go to the mva office. you can get the records there.”

anytime anyone says to you: “you know the fastest thing? just go to the mva office,” i think you can safely assume that every other possible even remotely “fast” thing on the face of the planet has already been tried. including things involving snails.

the fastest thing is to go to the mva.

compared to what, evolution? a day on venus? the end of the lord of the rings: the return of the king?

“okay. and i can get the records at any mva office…even the express offices?”

“yep.”

“and will i need anything? two forms of identification or a utility bill or anything like that?”

“why?”

“you know…for…security. like, homeland security, or, just to make sure i’m requesting my own records, or…”

[long silence]

“okay. so, no identification needed then, right?”

“yeah.”
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]

2.02.2004  

things i learned this weekend
so i'm sitting at california pizza kitchen on friday with my girlfriend, and we're right beside the front window and all of a sudden, i see george stephanopoulos walking down the street, talking on his cell phone, wearing his cute little navy blue parka. despite the fact that i just shoveled a bite of thai chicken pizza into my piehole, i reach across the table and start shoving my girlfriend, pointing and saying [with my mouth full of thai chicken pizza] "hey, look, it's george stephanopoulos! it's george stephanopoulos!"

from this, i learned two things:

1. my cell phone is way cooler than george stephanopoulos' cell phone. this surprised me very much.

2. windows at california pizza kitchen are not constructed using high-tech one-way technology. this was confirmed by the fact that george stephanopoulos looked at me and gave me a nervous "uh-oh-it's-another-crazy-political-science-groupie" smile. and, although i wasn't clocking him, it seemed that he picked up the pace of his gait.

***


my group of friends held our first poker night over the weekend. we had too many people for just one game, so we ended up with two tables. i was sent to the "girls'" table. toward the end of the night, the two girls remaining were invited to join the "men's" table. you could see the look of glee on their faces as we plopped down with our stacks of chips.

from this, i learned two things:

1. my straight flush will always beat your four kings. no matter how many times you reraise me with a smug look on your face and no matter how much eye-rolling and head-shaking you boys do, acting like i have no idea what i'm doing.

2. i like winning.

***


while listening to a story on npr about mad cow disease and its effects on the beef industry, i almost drove off the road and right into a ditch. and what caused me such distraction? the mention in the story that the fda has now passed a rule stating that farmers can no longer give the blood of slaughtered cows to calves as a milk substitute.

holy shit.

from this, i learned two things:

1. the reason cows are going "mad" is because we keep feeding them to each other. come on! people go mad if you drip water on their head for a long time. or if you leave them in a room alone for a long time. or if you make them listen to air supply albums. people who eat other people are, typically, considered insane. or at least not marriage material. like jeffrey dahmer. ate other people. defintely a nut. so, yeah...feeding cows to other cows. not a good idea.

2. i love npr but they don't always have to tell me everything.

***


a 40ish english guy apparently disguised himself as a referee and sneaked onto the field at the super bowl. he then proceeded to strip down and do a naked rendition of riverdance before being tackled by linebacker matt chatham, and arrested by the houston police.

from this i learned two things:

1. apparently, no one really likes riverdance. even naked riverdance.

2. matt chatham was obviously in the locker room during the half-time show. and, for that matter, maybe the houston police were, too.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]