Monthly Archives: August 2012

Hobo With an Attitude

Hobo With an Attitude

So, I have no doubt this post will cross some lines and incite some sort of riot….because that’s the kind of power I wield.

But, no matter how you feel about the plight of the homeless, our nation’s Hobos need to learn some manners.

I will be using the term “Hobo” here because I love that word and it is much more interesting than “homeless person” which could be anyone who overspent on a suburban tract home circa 2008. “Hobo” makes me think of JD Salinger and the Joad family. It’s nobler than the morons who bought McMansions and jet skis when it was fairly clear to everyone except them that they shouldn’t.

So, Hobo it is.

I am always very conflicted about what to do when someone asks me for money – someone other than an immediate family member that is, who I always say “no” to.

I am all about helping others out but am I really helping in any way that is substantial? Isn’t it really just about helping me assuage some of my middle-class guilt? (And, no, I did not use a thesaurus for “assuage” though I did need to look up the spelling.)

Not that the Hobos give a shit what my motives are, I’m sure.

We have a fair number of Hobos in Santa Barbara and you tend to see the same ones over and over again since it’s a small town. We started to refer to them by their Hobo names.

Look, there is camouflage Hobo.

Indian Hobo got a haircut. Good for him.

Stink-eye Hobo is on a new block this week.

Is that Hobo Andrew Weil or actual Andrew Weil?

At any rate, the other day I was walking down the street after a trip to the Farmer’s Market with a Whole Foods bag full of vegetables. (I think this is actually the definition of white middle-class. Go look it up.)  I passed by one of the regulars outside a drugstore with a placard that read “Anything Will Help.” I decided I probably had plenty more veggies than I needed so stopped and pulled out a few carrots to give him.

I handed them to him with a big “aren’t I just the best person?” smile. He took one look at the carrots and started to shake them at me accusingly, screaming “What the hell am I supposed to do with these?”

I was so shocked at being yelled at in public I didn’t quite know what to do.

“…eat them?” I squeaked.

“I don’t have any teeth, you idiot!” He screamed. And, I did, indeed feel like an idiot.

Though, in all fairness, I’m pretty sure that my middle-class guilt handbook does not have anything about having access to all Hobo Dental Records and acting with the appropriate level of sensitivity to that.

Rather than look for any soft foods I may have in my bag, thereby, undoubtedly throwing gas on his indignant fire, I backed away and walked swiftly down the street and away from the Hobo shrieking at me.

If I could go back I’d probably tell him to stop his screeching and update his sign. If “anything would help” then he has to be prepared to take anything. It’s simply a matter of setting expectations. But, something tells me that conversation would not go down in reality the way it does in my head.

I am now ever vigilant to avoid that drugstore and I Hate Carrots Hobo. And, I will only offer soft foods moving forward. Of course, I still run the risk of giving bread to Gluten-free Hobo or spicy food to GERD Hobo.

It’s a jungle out there.

Drew’s hobo art. I’m so proud.

Finally, Those Dog Names You’ve Been Needing

Finally, Those Dog Names You’ve Been Needing

Dogs are the new kid. I know this because I’m hopelessly hip and I have observed the uptick in dog-friendly restaurants and the lack of kid-friendly bars.

When Jim and I were childless (also known as our salad days) we had an ongoing game of coming up with dog names. We were in the market for one so we could fill the void in our souls and evidently, we also wanted to severely hinder our freedom for some reason. We were, and are, lunatics.

Unlike naming a child, you could come up with some really weird dog names without the fear of them killing you execution style in your sleep when they hit puberty.

We had a notepad with us at all times to be sure we didn’t miss any nuggets of creativity. Our friends were in on it too. It was an epic time.

Unbelievably, the other day I came across the list shoved in the back of a drawer. It was like finding the Dead Sea Scrolls – I believe I heard angels sing as the clouds parted.

So, here is that list of dog names you’ve all been asking for. I’ve thoughtfully categorized for you as well, because I’m a giver.

A tribute to the golden age of television:

  • Bob Barker
  • Mr. Tate
  • Nipsy Russell
  • Wheezy Jefferson
  • Tootie
  • Ted Baxter
  • Rhodamorgenstern
  • Gopher
  • Mata Hari
  • Señor Wences

What if the next coming of Christ was in the form of a dog?

  • Stigmata
  • Hosana
  • JesusHChrist
  • Hey, Zeus!

Names Jim (alone) thought were hilarious:

  • Nostopdigging
  • Heycomehere

And, just random shit we came up with while drunk:

  • M’na M’na
  • Pubes
  • Humpy
  • Bung
  • Yeltsin
  • Squanto
  • Mekamazon

Let me explain this one. Jim always thought that in the awesome song “Brick House” by The Commodores, she was built like a “mekamazon.”I know, it makes absolutely no sense.

But, then, I thought that in the Eurythmics song “Sweet Dreams” the rain was falling on her head like a “mammary.” I also thought that there was a reference to a “little Dutch priest” in The Heart of Rock and Roll by Huey Lewis and the News. So, I guess we are meant for each other.

We choked at the last minute and named our new dog, a Beagle, Lucy. Which is, as everyone knows, the poor man’s Snoopy. I am, to this day, exceptionally disappointed in us.

In fact, if I had a time machine I would not go back and kill Hitler. I’d go back and re-name our first dog. That’s how bad I feel about this.

We are now on our second dog and, frankly, we didn’t do a whole lot better. His name is Calvin. Though, I like to call him Calvinicus Maximus.

All hail Calvinicus Maximus, defender of the Roman Empire!

And now, a blatant attempt to get more of an audience by posting cute pictures of our dog with the lame name. I admit to this shilling willingly and you all should just suck it up and become unnaturally charmed by the site of those puppy eyes.

Where’s the cat, you ask? What cat?


You will give me all your money… will give me all your money….you will give me all your money….


Did I eat the cat poop out of the litter box? Wha? I….er….um….what was the question again?



K-Mart Nipples

K-Mart Nipples

This title can go in so many directions….if you went in the dirty direction then shame on you. You know who you are….

When Jim and I were in our darkest hours of depression and sleep deprivation with the whole twins thing, we found ourselves having a psychological breakdown whilst lying on the floor of the baby bottle aisle at K-mart. Let me back track a bit here.

(That, for those of you not in the “writer’s biz”, is called leading with the end. Please keep up.)

(Actually, I just made that up. I don’t really know what that’s called. But, I think that’s a great term and one that everyone should use from this point forward. You’re welcome.)

We brought the boys home from the hospital at a mere 4 lbs. each and with a heart monitor strapped onto one of them because he threw up in his sleep.

Throwing up in ones sleep is not necessarily reserved for babies, by the way.  I now see I should have been on a heart monitor myself throughout college and am lucky to be here today.

We had two old chairs that we called the porn chairs because they were permanently stained with creepy white splatters because of all the spit up.

The whole thing smacked of a bad mushroom trip. You knew there was a time when you weren’t high, but you could not recall what that might have felt like.

Blah blah blah, you were tired, twins sort of suck, we get it.

One of our little bundles of joy was personally out to get me. I was convinced that this one had a bone to pick with me from some previous life and, by God, he was going to make me pay for whatever past transgression I was guilty of.

Every time we tried to feed him it was like a bad Lucha Libre match, but without the fun masks. He squirmed and cried and did that weird rigor mortis stiff thing babies do that both pisses you off and freaks you out.

We decided it was the specific nipple on the bottle that this little prince was having issues with, so we went on the hunt for the perfect nipple like we were on the Crusades in search of the chalice.

We had heard the lore of the perfect nipple but didn’t dare to dream it really existed. It was whispered about in dark alley ways, spoken about in hushed tones at Mommy and Me classes. We wanted in on this…bad.

To our great despair, K-mart was the only store in our fairly small town that had a decent supply so we bravely headed out the door.

The scene went something like this:

Jim: My God, I’ve never seen so many nipples in one place. Am I hallucinating again?

Irene: No. If you were hallucinating, they would be human nipples, which would scare the shit out of us. This, my friend, is nirvana.

Jim: OK, you start at that end and I’ll start down here. Yell when you find the right one.

Our desperation began to build as we pulled nipples down one by one, only to reject it and throw it over our shoulders to the ground. We did this with increasing violence until we met in the middle of the row, where we became aware that we were standing in a large mound of nipple packages.

The twitches of maniacal, unhinged laughing began….

Jim: Clean up on aisle 10.

Irene: Wouldn’t it be intense if these actually were human nipples?

Jim: There is something terribly wrong with you.

Irene: YA THINK????

And the damn bursts as we fall to our knees in the rubble of nipples, and can’t recover ourselves for a good 20 minutes.

I can only imagine how odd the scene must have looked if we frightened people bad-ass enough to actually be a K-Mart shopper.  But, crowds gathered at a safe distance to see how we would play this out.

My memory fails me a bit after this. At some point we must have found what we needed because the baby is now a kid so he must have eaten at some point.

And, I don’t recall any government agencies coming to my door….yet.

Reader Appreciation Award (or why my ego wet itself)

Reader Appreciation Award (or why my ego wet itself)
OK, so Natalie from has nominated me for Reader Appreciation Award. I have left my husband and will be stalking her now because it’s such a FREAKIN’ AWESOME THING FOR HER TO DO!!!
Go check out Natalie’s blog because she is hilarious and you are a giant tool if you don’t follow her everywhere she goes. (Am I going too far on this???)
So, thank you Natalie for making me feel like I’m all popular at the Blog Prom. I’m loving that!
Recipients of the award are asked to:
  1. Identify the awards and who gave them to you.
  2. Post the Logo on your blog.
  3. Share 7 items about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-10 other bloggers to receive this award, and notify them on their blogs.
And now 7 things about me…..
  1. I’ve written a couple of screenplays that no one gives a shit about, one being a mockumentary about a penguin that is a team mascot. Really, it’s funny. Really.
  2. I can eat Indian food until I vomit. There must be something in the spices that cuts off all communication from my stomach to my brain.
  3. I was kicked out of the Oregon State University dormitory system.
  4. I had a huge crush on Glen Campbell when I was little.
  5. Parades make me cry.
  6. I have no editorial system in my body so say inappropriate crap all the time. In the head case = out the mouth hole.
  7. I think exceptionally good and funny writing is better than sex. (Sorry, honey.)
Here are my nominees….they are brilliant!!

Please Stop Annoying Me!

Please Stop Annoying Me!

Here’s another list of crap that just hacks me off. Clearly, I don’t get out all that much. And, I probably should just take a Pamprin and call it a day.

(I apologize in advance if any of you loyal readers do this stuff but I suspect, if you do, you do it ironically.)

To pedestrians who take their time walking in front of your car in a parking lot:

Is this your sad little attempt at power? Like even though you know my big metal machine can squash you like a bug, you assume I won’t actually hit the gas and do it. Are you double-dog daring me?  Cuz’ you don’t want to do that….

To people with vanity plates:

I heart Salad.  (I actually saw this one, I swear.) Really?  You “heart” salad? And you think I give a shit that you do? Do you just want me to know you get all the roughage you need in your diet? Why would anyone spend extra money on such an inane license plate? I bet you have a grey ponytail. Don’t trip on your Birkenstocks on your way into your Iyengar yoga class, you tool.

Just as bad as this is the wiener (yes, I said wiener) who gets a vanity plate that makes no goddamned sense to anyone else. I do not need one more thing that confuses me in the world and fuck you for making me sit and stare at your inside joke at a stop sign.

To people with the cartoonish family stickers on their minivans:

It’s all I can do to not draw a big penis on your husband and boobs on you. That would be a family I’d party with.

Oh, and as an aside, I don’t give a crap if your kid is an honor student. Either they got someone else’s DNA or they cheated.

To the people who decorate their car for holidays:

What. The. Fuck?

To the spammers on blogs (or “Spaggers” as I call them):

I believe there is a Blog Spam Factory in China for this (ironically it’s probably right next to the Apple Factory). But, for Christ’s sake, learn English and/or even TRY to know the type of blog you are throwing your shit on. I feel the need to respond to just a few here:

From Peliculas Torrent:
“You recognize therefore significantly relating to this subject, produced me for my part believe it from a lot of numerous angles. It’s one thing to accomplish with Girl gaga! Your personal stuff’s excellent. All the time maintain it up!”

Hello Peliculas! Is Girl gaga our new pet name? So cute! And, believe me, dear friend, I do intend to all the time maintain it up. Thanks for the tip!


From Diablo 3 gold grind:
“diablo 3 gold get diablo 3 gold here”

Diablo, really, put the roach down and think it through.


From Pinterest Friending:
“Hello my family member! I want to say that this article is awesome, nice written and include almost all significant infos. I’d like to see more posts like this.”

Mr. Friending, I am on to you….by pretending to be a family member, you are hoping you will partake in the extreme wealth and title that will be doled out upon my demise. Well, my good man, I will demand a DNA test, so be warned!

Litigiously yours,
Irene Barnett, Esq.

From Ajuricaba:
“grandmapornwith young guys porn. This post shows the information which is close to standard.”

Ajuricaba, either you are a young man with some exceptionally deep-seeded issues with granny or you are granny with some exceptionally deep-seeded issues with your libido. Either way, I want to have drinks with both of you!

Thank you for allowing me to vent my displeasure. You are all my emotional equivalent of a high colonic.

Or, as my good friend livecam flatrate says: “I loved as much as you’ll receive performed right here.”

Well said, flatrate, well said.


If Lazy Were An Olympic Sport – My Time With Elite Runners

If Lazy Were An Olympic Sport – My Time With Elite Runners

The other day Jim happened to mention to me in passing that he had signed us up to crew for his sister for a 100-mile ultra-marathon.

“Really?” I asked.

“Yep. It’ll be fun!”

“Fun? Really?”

“Yes. Fun. We’ll hike into remote areas of the Sierra Mountains and bring her stuff she needs.”

“Stuff like a ride in a car to whatever her destination is? She knows there are cars, right?”

Then he just rolled his eyes at me and mumbled as he left the room.

Why would someone run 100 miles (yes, I said MILES, not pansy-ass KILOMETERS) in the wilderness unless you were being chased by an axe murderer?

Or you are part of the Donner Party….who were probably too weak to actually run the 100 miles. Unless one of the fatter ones was trying to get away.

I tried to get into the mindset of someone who would do this for the challenge and the fun of it. This is not an easy task for one such as me. I don’t push my endurance, I lay on a soft bed of Egyptian cotton with it.

These are the elite lunatics who do shit like climb Mt. Everest, helicopter ski and cliff dive. They, like James Bond, have a taste for danger.

By stark contrast, I’ll take my rape whistle with me to take the garbage out. And I live in a very nice neighborhood. I do not flirt with fear and danger.

I blow my rape whistle at it.

Jim’s not a ton tougher than I am. He once ran, panicked, in our front door and double locked it because he saw a raccoon in our front yard. He swears it charged him. But, since raccoons do not have opposable thumbs, I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the double lock was.

We are simply a cautious people.

But, I gamely went along, cuz’ no one is going to call me a pussy, however accurate it might be. Plus Jim double-dog-dared me and no one walks away from THAT!

At the orientation meeting with all the runners I found myself in a sea of the sinewy. I know I have more body fat in my left butt cheek than all of them combined. A few looked kind of like Dobby the house elf in really good gear.

Give me my race bib, bitch.

These are a steely-eyed group with laser-sharp focus. Like me at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly Sale. So, I totally get them.

As is my way, I was much more concerned about my performance in this run than I was about our runner. I considered this the Olympics of project management.

Jim and I were ready. We had our Ziploc baggies (a staple for any and all project management work) packed and marked appropriately. We were like a SWAT team of efficiency.

However, the weather sucked ass. Usually, this is a very hot run so I don’t think anyone was really prepared for the freezing temps and driving rain that hit us.

You may think that we would not complain about being cold and wet as we stood waiting at checkpoints but you’d be so wrong. Yes, you could say we had it pretty easy in comparison to the runners, and I could punch you in the head with my frozen hand. But none of this would deter us from bitching about it anyway!

Because, after all, this was all about us.

But, as the day went on we found ourselves talking to other race crews, watching runners come through checkpoints, and really getting into the spirit of camaraderie that this sport fosters.

After all, every one of these deranged individuals had family and friends cheering them on and I found myself cheering for all of them as well.

It’s kind of like the Special Olympics for super fit nutjobs.

While I am well aware that this is a race and someone has to win, it did seem like no one really loses. If you have the gigantic balls to even sign up for this thing, you’ve gone beyond the average out of the gate.

I, on the other hand, do not possess balls of a gigantic or any other nature either literally or figuratively.

But, in the sport of relaxation and self-indulgence, I am the ultra-marathon equivalent.

Can someone cheer for me now?