Friday, January 09, 2004

January 9, 2004
Late yesterday afternoon, I drove down to Tempe to meet Deena for dinner. Brad and Carol Radina gave us one of those coupon books for Christmas (buy one meal, get one free!), so we decided to meet at a trendy, new restaurant at
Arizona Mills Mall called Alcatraz. Trouble is, they were so trendy, they are out of business already. So we decided to eat across the entrance at the Rain Forest Cafe, one of those gimmicky, jungle infested, yippin’ chimpanzee eateries. We were met at the Tarzan-theme-park-like entrance by four bush rangers, and as one of them took us on a safari to find a seat, a large, male diner came lunging out of a lagoon booth. The hostess calmly turned, put down the menus,
pulled out a pistol and shot the diner right in the mouth. Mortally wounded, the diner groaned and sank back into the lagoon (sorry, I may be confusing a 1963 family trip to Disneyland).

Deena warned me it might be expensive. I thought to myself, “How bad could it be?” Well, it was bad, and expensive ($30 for a crab cake sando and a large salad, a diet coke and an iced tea). And the service stunk so bad I wanted
to find that pistol and jam it in the cocky waiter’s mouth, but he kept hiding among the vines and I couldn’t get a clear bead on him.

From the Rain Ripoff Cafe we went to Changing Hands Bookstore (a soothing respite from the loud and obnoxious mall) to partake of a free seminar on “Win the Paper Chase—How to Organize Your Office.” The place was packed, mostly
with middle-aged women who had questions like, “How do I organize my jewelry?” The facilitator, a middle-aged woman who wrote Organizing For Dummies, was quite anal (“This is a film canister and quarters fit perfectly in
here, so you will always have money for a pay phone.”), but she did have some solid advice. Here’s a few highlights:

• Organization is not inherited, it is a learned skill (“I’d like to thank my mother, who trained me to be an All-State Slob.”)

• It takes seven seconds to make an impression (One look at my office and I’m guessing that is a very generous time allotment.)

• If you’re not enjoying it, let it go. (Sorry Buddy Boze Bell, adios.)

• Always plan today what you’ll do tomorrow. (Actually, I put off until the day after what I could have done two days ago, then beat myself up over and over until I’m totally incapacitated.)

• Think like a grocery store. (Group like items, and put the milk way at the back so you can drag visitors through your office and they will hopefully find something that’s missing)

• Dump it environmentally (staff, this is a sales person who didn’t meet his quota, and this—is a wood chipper)

Spanish Flashbacks: Got an e-mail from Jari T. from Kotka, Finland who wrote:

“It has been very interesting and amusing to read about your vacation in Spain. Parking in Spain is really something, but in Italy/Rome it is art. The no rther you go in Europe the more disciplined the traffic and parking get. I live in the North Europe.”

And while I was quite impressed with the graphics in Spanish and European media, I was very disappointed in the cartoons I saw there (see samples). Very weak and sophomoric although Deena warned me “It’s another culture Dad, you can’t judge humor that way.” Maybe so, but the draftsmanship was not edgy, just thin. In fact, I was irritated by most of it.

“If you have a job without aggravation, you don’t have a job.” —Malcolm Forbes

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