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Played like a toy

July 27, 2008

I’m loving the British socialist outcry to this article by an American waiter about bad tips from Europeans. Demand that the government force extending general minimum wage to waiters is right. The fact that waiters aren’t demanding this legislation means that they’re 1) already making more yearly on $2/hr plus tips than they would be at $8/hr. or 2) benefitting slyly from the self-reporting of tips on income taxes. Maintaining restaurant tipping culture because it’s the status quo is the worst argument I’ve ever heard.

I’m not anti-tipping, per se. I’m happy to tip the individuals who work with me in salons and spas who I know are only getting a small cut of the listed price, with the majority going to the owner. These are the people who spent an entire hour by my side cutting my hair, exfoliating my feet, and tolerating my flinching inability to properly receive a massage. I’d equally be happy to tip the chefs and cooks directly. It’s their artistry and attention to detail upon with the quality of my meal largely depends. I too would loved to be tipped by my employer for all those 12-hours days and working weekends put in to meet deadlines. Instead I just get to keep my job and stay in everyone’s good graces.

The individual who ferries my order and food to and from the cooks? No so much. Let’s admit, ferrying food isn’t a special craft and there’s not a lot of room for creativity, which makes distinguishing between 10%-worthy tip and 20%-worthy tip difficult. That whole “Did the waiter just make snicker and judge me for not ordering apps/cocktails/another drink…  ummm, he’s definitely visited the other table, the one that ordered two rounds of cocktails, about seven times since I’ve been out of water…. is he going to think I’m a jerk for considering his service average and leaving 12%?” is such an annoying and unnecessary part of dinner. I’m never even sure if and how the tip will be divided among the support staff and what, if anything, it is the waiter did to prepare for my meal before I even arrived. These silent negotiations between client and server really do make the meal more enjoyable.

I have had some really awesome waiters who went above and beyond by insisting themselves on having food sent back, offering drinks and desserts on the house, asking for portion sizes to be adjusted on the house, and dealing with nitpicky companions. They deserved every penny of that 20%-25%, but I’d still prefer they receive a regular hourly wage, so that they are better protected from recessions and bad days.

Elle

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When In Rome

July 17, 2008

From AmazonFrom ShoesOnline.com

Which of these should I be more horrified by:

A) I actually bought Birkenstocks even though I still cringe at the memory my stoner-hippie high school boyfriend and his gnarled white feet in maroon Birkenstocks. Tis true, love is blind.

B) Both pairs of shoes purchased today are patent leather. I’ve also bought four other pairs of patent leather shoes in the last seven months. What kind of person buys 7 PAIRS of patent leather shoes in 6 MONTHS? Someone who really likes shiny objects and needs to get around leaving the damn cows alone and learn to appreciate vegan footwhere.

C) I was reading Bitter is the New Black today, and at the part where the author makes fun a frou-frou snobby coworker by saying something along the lines of, “Josh only talks to other Harvard alums. Josh has his head up his Brooks Brothers attired ass. Josh fantasizes about Alan Greenspan,” I thought, “If fantasizing about Alan Greenspan is wrong, I don’t want to be right!”

D) Speaking of wrong, I find myself strangely attracted to Brett Michaels of Rock of Love fame. I know, I know. I’d like think that it’s just because his tanned leathery skin reminds me of a beautiful handbag, but I’m afraid this river runs deeper than that.

Elle

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Shrimp Revolution

July 17, 2008

Yesterday night found me at the Z Square cafe in Harvard Square with an LSAT book and a salad. I love grilled shrimp and order it as a salad topping when available because it always seems like a great idea at the time. Then I get the bill and remember the $1 per shrimp restaurants charge for it, if not more. That’s street-side robbery. $5.50 would buy me a 3lb bag of jumbo shrimp at TJ’s, and I’m only getting 5 measly small shrimp at my beloved eatery. Are shrimp more scarce during red-tide? Is there a grilling tax I’m not aware of? Four tiny restaurant grilled shrimp cost more than a whipped cream frappuccino monster creation at Starbucks, which gets tons of public outcry for its pricing. Where are the young whippersnappers with clipboards protesting restaurant shrimp pricing?

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Disturbia

July 13, 2008

The saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same horrifies me. I wrote the below about Pirate almost two years ago. Recently, I was feeling angry and confused with myself for throwing out such a significant relationship event – I don’t want to live together anymore – so abruptly. But now, reading back in my journal at all the times I expressed doubt and considered the possibility of break-up, I see that maybe saying I don’t want to live together anymore is finally my way of communicating my need to end this relationship. When Pirate announced he was leaving for Russia at the end of August, I sincerely felt that he was initiating the breakup. I may have said I didn’t want to live together anymore, but I never said the word “breakup,” I claimed that my reasons for wanting to move back home were purely financial, and I wasn’t the one leaving the country after all. Now I can see that finances were just my cover art. Still, he had to have understood that there were problems with our relationship for me to know that my moving out was more than just a matter of saving $12k.

Elle

I’m constantly in between the ideas that I exaggerate the things about you that irk me and that these are giant red flags directing me to a speedy exit. I get tired of being patient about the length of time it’s taking you to trust me — tired of being at the mercy of your past experiences when I’ve done nothing to compromise your trust. Occasionally, it’s so frustrating that it’s tempting to give satisfaction to your cynicism. Those long blank stares when you won’t tell me what you’re thinking. When you say that we don’t communicate well, but that we have a lifetime to change that, and yet still, those habits never change between us. It makes me miss the days when we were still more formal, and you were polite enough to assuage me with some kind of answer. I hate that I cry in front of you. The little hints you make at changing me as we stay together longer, that I’ve always tried to ignore for fear that I’m not overreacting. The persistent jokes about you developing my interests for cooking, programming, and roller blading. The irony that you dislike noise pollution, and yet are content to live in a dirt cloud. Your aversion that at some times and in some ways, I just don’t want to share my body and don’t feel that I have to. I don’t deal well with the length and isolation of your bad moods and you don’t know how to deal with the sudden neediness of mine. Whether sarcastic or thoughtful, that you make many lukewarm assumptions about me without bothering to ask questions for verification. And when I protest, you say that I don’t tell you enough to prevent these false assumptions, as if my mind reading skills are on a lazy, extended vacation.

And I know that there are so many worse qualities and quirks a person could have. You’re not abusive, aren’t developing anthrax in your refrigerator, aren’t apt to set things on fire, and don’t castrate cats. And yet, it sometimes it all cumulates or there is a particularly bad occurrence, and I feel at a crossroads.

In a magazine today, I read a woman saying that she was much more ready for marriage when she was younger. But now, a decade later, she’s so independent and stable in her lifestyle that she’s no longer ready for the compromise and uproot that marriage demands. And, I thought, “That will be me.” I’m not one of those girls to devote her life to reining in a man. The more I grow into myself and my own goals, the less someone else’s complications feel like a valuable use of my patience and energy. I have patience now, but there’s not guarantee on how long it will take for you to fully trust me or for you to be willing to tell me what you’re thinking without excuses and annoyed glares. I can’t share myself so much with someone who’s not willing not to share with me, and sometimes it feels like prompting is my way of holding on to you.

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Scented ments

July 13, 2008

I used to collect notes of those rare gems of self-help tips in Cosmopolitan and Self that were both reasonable and actually helpful. If you’ve ever actually read Cosmo, you’ll see why these gems really are rare. In the few months I did it, I came up with these:

  • Thinking of all the times you did something makes you psychologically more apt to do it again. Like when you see a brownie and remember the last time you downed a whole plateful of brownies in 3 minutes. Remembering that your mind is playing a trick on you makes you less likely to go along with it.
  • Satin pillowcases prevent hair knotting and breakage.
  • It takes 28 days to break a habit and about 2 weeks for a diet to feel natural and cravings to subside.
  • A healthy weight loss goal should be to lose no more 1% of your body fat a week. That whole typical 2 pounds deal is standardized to people who actually weigh 200 pounds.
  • If someone is down, making him feel needed by asking for help on a task will cheer him up a bit.

While I was never very good applying the first one, I used to rock the last one on Pirate.

I’m pretty slow when it comes to music, so cut to me only discovering Kate Nash this week on Pandora.

Elle

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The Ox Lady

July 12, 2008

So, along with my acupuncture sessions and the occasional dash to Chinatown in search of as many baos and bubble teas as my sudden high cholesterol will allow (not many), I’ve started wondering about Chinese astrology. When I’ve heard or read other people discussing Chinese astrology, it comes off as very dignified and profound, and nothing like the massified mess that is Western astrology. Pirate is a big fan of I Ching, which he tends to pronounce as “itching.” But, he’s very secretive about it, so all I’ve learned in our four years together is that it’s sort of like a game of pick-up sticks. Still, it takes a lot for Pirate to speak of anything with veneration. And this old blog post from Le Blagueur gives me the tickled impression that Chinese astrology just may be able to somewhat accurately predict certain years as foreboding or auspicious. I have Chinese and Indian acquaintances who confidently plan their real estate transactions and portfolio management around the notion of auspicious days. I’d really love to know if the year, or two years, during which my application process takes place is auspicious. Plus, this comparison of Angelina Jolie’s Chinese horoscope to her public life is a little intense. Being the sex goddess she is, she seems to have gotten married at all the wrong times and missed all the right times. Poor Angelina.

So I astrologized myself. And while it’s nice to know that Albert Camus and George Clooney and I have the same Chinese sign, for I knew we had more in common then just our preference for popped raincoat collars and rugged good looks, I haven’t found much other insight. It’s difficult for me to believe that everyone born in a single year can both have very similar characteristics and the same chronological fate. This means that I have tons in common with almost everyone I went to high school with and we all had digestive troubles last year. That may either just be too much information or the perfect ice breaker should I ever succumb to attending a reunion. Discovering Hong Kong proved to be more precise, suggesting problems with my mate would arise over issues of money and time management this year. I would never have believe that prediction a year ago, but then all that went and in deed happened this year. And luckily, this also had to have happened to almost every one of my same grad year college friends, so I’m in but a sea of empathetic ears! I’ll stick to the comfort of my greasy sweet baos for now.

Elle

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legally brunette

July 8, 2008

To whoever came here looking for Elle Wood’s LSAT score, I wish I knew! According to this Wikipedia entry, it was a 179 in the original movie, but a 175 in the musical. It’s helpful to know that musicals are more in touch with reality.

Elle