Thursday, September 20, 2012

To Mom&Dad, or at least Dad, the only person left still subscribed, albeit anonymously, to PP-ADATO

Hey Dad!  Guess what?  I've moved!

But this time, I won't need your Volvo to load up all my crap!

No, you don't even have to budge from your seat; come check out me (and all my squandered promise and wasted opportunity) right here at . . .

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Princess Pissant Interviews Zombie Author Katrina Von Kessel!

It may surprise some of you to learn that Princess Pissant, contrary to popular opinion, has NOT been resting on her laurels for the past, oh, say, four months. No, in fact, PP has no idea what her laurels are, or where she would find them, were she so inclined to take a rest, upon them.

Alas, there is no rest whatsoever for PP.

In fact, PP - in addition to fretting over the current lack of contracts to hang over her head - has been . . . educating America's youth. Yes, that's right, PP has been teaching! Well, substitute-teaching, to be precise . . . at a very tony private school, which evidently does zero-to-none background investigation on its potential substitute teachers. But all that is a story for another time.

With her short-lived tenure as the annoyingly righteous dude played by Robin Williams in "Dead Poets' Society" a thing of the past, PP now finds herself with all the time in the world. And so also finds herself back at the Office.

But today is not just an ordinary day at said Office, which PP might hasten to remind readers is, in fact, a Starbucks.

Today, PP has the rare honor of interviewing up-and-coming authoress Katrina Von Kessel, whose debut novel Blue Bloodbath, Princess Pissant has just wisely used a small fraction of all-the-time-in-the-world to read. And, about that, all Princess Pissant can say is: eat your heart out, Stephanie Meyer! (Or maybe your brains.) You lame gazillionaire with your hackneyed vampire-and-werewolf-meet-cute series . . .

Anyway, please join me in welcoming Katrina Von Kessel, author of Blue Bloodbath, to Another Day At The Office:

PP: Okay, full disclosure - Princess Pissant thought Katrina Von Kessel was the name of a porn star.


PP: Are you not a porn star?

KVK: It is true that my face is known in certain port towns on the Crimea. But no. I am Dutch. Which is, of course, a distinction without a difference. Actually, I’m only half-Dutch. The bottom half. My mother is American.

PP: Can PP call you KVK?

KVK: Bien sûr que oui.

PP: Okay then, KVK is not a well-known porn star, or so she claims; then are you also not that woman who Jesse James cheated on Sandra Bullock with? (PP cannot think of a way to avoid ending that question with a preposition.)

KVK: I only mingle with film stars when performing in film. Jesse James? Let’s just say, Jesse James wishes.

PP: Because - and here again, I have to be totally honest - while reading Blue Bloodbath, I was thinking, "This broad is one helluva writer . . . especially for a porn star . . . who may or may not be the woman with whom Jesse James cheated on Sandra Bullock." (There we go.) Okay so Blue Bloodbath is an amazing book, and this is coming from someone who's not even that into zombie fiction . . . Can you tell us where you got the idea of evil Blueblooded Bostonians turning people into zombies?

KVK: That’s very high praise coming from you, PP. Thank you. As to the idea, if you’ve ever eaten at the Ritz Grill, it’s really not too much of a stretch. All these hushed Brahmin types, intently focused on their bloody cuts of prime rib. The sound of their mastication – the chewing, ripping, churning and clicking of dentures as reddish blood splatters over the white china and buttery mashed potatoes. This was my first inspiration for the book. They used to have a harpist who played the Ritz Grill. She was a stunning & lively blonde as I recall – and I got the sense that all these Brahmin Undead wanted to feast upon her. My working title of the novel was actually called:Devouring the Harpist.

PP: Thank you for defining "mastication"; I was always told that was something that made you go blind. Anyway, are you a Blueblood yourself?

KVK: Actually, my granny – my father’s mother – has claims to some minor nobility. My father is a scientist who was in Paris in ’68. That’s where he met my mother, a Californian who was, well, in Paris in ’68. You get the picture. So, no. I’m European. And an anarchist. And a feminist. As well as being a woman of science. Not a blueblood by any stretch of the imagination. Plus, I live in London, where the idea of being a toff is utterly unbearable.

PP: A toff? Okay, never mind. PP will look that up later. Are you, perchance, a zombie?

KVK: I’m hungry for brains, it is true. I like to moan. I’m cold to the touch. And I was made in a test tube. So, in essence, yes.

PP: Blue Bloodbath takes an erotic and noir-ish - that's a word, right? - twist on the age-old topic of class warfare; where do you think you fit into the brutally-stratified socioeconomic paradigm described in the book?

KVK: Thankfully, I’m nowhere: I was writing about a very specific sort of social segregation that I saw when I was in the States. And writing as well the very specific sorts of sex that you Americans are so fond of. Although I am a zombie, aren’t I? PP, please pass the brains.

PP: You are starting to creep me out, but okay: your biography describes you as a biophysicist and geneticist. Is the nefarious Dr. Shaw - who unleashes maleficent mayhem through a chemical formula intended to ensure the Bluebloods eternal youth and vitality - based on anyone you know professionally? If so, who is THAT asshole?

KVK: Sadly, my field is littered with righteously creative but complete dickwad misogynists. They are utterly brilliant men capable of the most porcine beliefs and actions. It’s a shame, really. Men of science get a pass, mostly, because they are so “important.” Yes, I was venting a bit of frustration on poor Dr. Shaw.

PP: Where did you come up with the idea for that crazy masturbatory machine? (PP is pretty sure that she would have seen something like that on Katie Morgan's late night HBO program, Pornucopia, if PP ever watched anything like that, which she doesn't.)

KVK: Necessity is the mother of invention. Just ask Catherine the Great (or her horse).

PP: PP could not help but notice that KVK writes her male characters VERY well - with a lot of realism and insight; is that because, as a scientist, you operate in a male-dominated profession?

KVK: Yes. Men. Well, they are fascinating specimens. Two notches above unspayed lab rats. I think women are naturally more curious about the psychology of men than vice versa. I also think testoserone is easier to capture without use of metaphor than estrogen: in other words, perfect for genre fiction. Enough said. I don’t want to go to PC prison for making inappropriate remarks.

PP: Anybody who reads PP is likely not PC. Further, very few people actually read PP. So consider yourself in a safe environment here at Another Day At The Office. Anyhoo,Blue Bloodbath is, on the one hand, a page-turner but, on the other, highly literary. Who are your literary influences?

KVK: Isak Dinesen, for one, who was an adventurer and brilliant writer: 7 Gothic Talesis my fave. Colette, of course. Jane Austen for telling men where they might well put it. Edith Wharton, the first feminist novelist. And, most of all, my heroine and the most famous of all Zombie porn stars – Maggie Thatcher.

PP: Is this your first book?

KVK: Yes.

PP: Really? . . . Bitch. Okay, how long did it take you to write Blue Bloodbath?

KVK: I did it on a challenge from a male colleague. A zombie novel in six weeks. The rewrite took much longer when the publisher got a hold of it. Their nit-picking drove me crazy. It’s a bloody zombie novel, I wanted to yell. Eventually, I ate their brains.

PP: KVK also writes Boston very well. Have you ever lived in Boston?

KVK: Yes, I have. Beacon Hill is beautiful in the fall and Cambridge is beautiful in the spring. It was a formative time of my life. The Seven’s Pub on Charles Street was sort of my Cheers you could say.

PP: So, there are a lot of rugby players in your novel. Do you think there's any correlation between ruggers and zombies? (Because I do.) Have you ever dated a rugby player? (I have.) Don't you just hate their asinine misogynistic songs? How many times did you have to listen to your rugby-playing boyfriend sing those stupid-ass songs to get them just exactly right for Blue Bloodbath? (BTW, You have those guys NAILED.)

KVK: PP, you’re a better woman than I. I was related to a rugger by blood. Rugby players drink pee from a boot and zombies eat brain tissue from a cranium…they are really not so different.

PP: There's a great deal of high quality literotica in Blue Bloodbath . . . PP LOVES that stuff . . . but it's uncomfortable to read at, well, the Office. There should be some kind of warning. Just for future ref.

KVK: This is why BBB is on Kindle for now. No tawdry covers. Although I love a good bodice ripper Fabio style cover myself. My publishers were prudes. Next time I want to be published by a Crimean gangster or a Frenchman.

PP: Speaking of the future, will there be a sequel to Blue Bloodbath? PP can totally see this as a series.

KVK: There is. My roomful of lab monkeys is working on it right now! The title is…

PP: What's next for KVK?

KVK: I’m preparing a monograph in a new discipline: Erotic-Artifactual Archeology. That and having a serious re-think on my current romantic entanglements.

PP: Have the movie rights been optioned yet? Who do you see playing Bizzy Dalton? (I love that name, BTW, and she's a great character.) What about Trevor and Buzz? Dr. Edward Shaw? I, for one, can't wait to see the scene where (SPOILER ALERT!!!) socialite Macie Shaw kills a zombie with a fire poker.

KVK: Bizzy Dalton? Who else but Meryl Streep, who just played my favorite zombie, Maggie Thatcher. Trevor and Buzz can only be Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, two nice-looking, bi-sexual boys from Brookline. And Dr. Shaw: Christopher Plummer, of course, the Nazi from THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Oh, wait: Is he dead? If so, all the better!

PP: Is there anything KVK would like her readers to know about her, or her characters?

KVK: Blue Bloodbath is like the Beatles’ WHITE ALBUM. If you read the novel back to front, they’re really all nice people.

PP: Do you have a day job? If so, you should quit it.

KVK: I’m a professional student, unless of course I’m visiting a port town in the Crimea. Then I’m working.

PP: Do you ever work out of a Starbucks?

KVK: Once I accidentally went into a Starbucks. I assure you it never happened again. I certainly never composed “literature” there.

PP: Didn't think so; just curious. Katrina Von Kessel, you rock; thank you for indulging your fan Princess Pissant with this interview. I, for one, cannot wait for your next book.

KVK: Thank you, PP: I am thoroughly charmed.

PP: Well, that's it, for now, everyone. Everyone? Everyone?

Anyone? Anyone?

PP is glad to be back in the saddle; and she cannot recommend Katrina Von Kessel's brilliant novel Blue Bloodbath highly enough. She can provide you the link to check it out on Kindle . . .

And, while you're at it, also check out . . .
Shamelessly Smokin' Katrina Von Kessel

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Friendship, Madness and Free Samples

Some will be pleasantly surprised, as was Princess Pissant, to discover that the old saying – There’s a sucker born every minute – is, in fact, entirely true. What exactly do I mean by that, you ask, somewhat defensively?

Well, get this: unexpectedly – and yes, inexplicably – Princess Pissant has been awarded yet another contract to hang over her head!

Yep, that’s right. I’ve got work. To do. And you and I both know what that means. Back. To. The. Office.

But before you go whooping and hollering in delight and thereby disrupting your own place of employment – where probably you should GET BACK TO WORK! – let me further explicate: to our collective misfortune, this new contract I’ve got hanging over my head is even more confounding than those that previously have hung over my head. Indeed, this particular project is going to require me to get my thinking cap on. So, sorry to report, I’ll have to make today’s entry shorter than usual . . .

The good news is that I’ve got no sick kids nor dying relatives nor any Athleta catalogs to otherwise distract me, so I can just update y’all in a jiffy, and then attend to that contract-thingamajig.

First: a few changes of note here at the Office: it is absolutely and totally . . . empty. Eerily empty, even.

Okay, that’s not entirely true.

I am here. And if I continue to talk about myself in the third person, Princess Pissant is here. So that makes two of us.

And of course the baristas. (For those new to PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice, the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.) But TMABITW – The Most Awesome Barista in the World – isnot here, and neither are any of my regular officemates. FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) Guy is not here; nor is Mommy-blogger, nor any of the failed writers or World of Warcraft Geeks. The Homeless Lady is also out, as is the cheapskate with her colicky newborn who’s forever interviewing prospective nannies.

I’ve got to be honest with you. It is downright lonely.

And I’m a little hurt. Do you think that everyone just moved on, in my absence? Up and got real jobs and left, without even a proper good-bye? It’s hard to imagine, but I’ve got to accept that it might be true.

Without the camaraderie of my colleagues, it’s a little difficult to get anything done. I just keep staring at the creamer bar, depressingly undisturbed, and waiting for that gust of wind each time the door opens. But whenever it does, it’s just someone I’ve never seen before, who gets his cup of coffee and then leaves. Insensitive jerks.

What’s more, the Office is all got-up for Halloween – pumpkins and gourds on the conference table and faux spider webs stretched across the wall – which adds an element of pathos to the emptiness.

And the silence! Gone is the hustle and bustle of the Office, once so vibrant with the click-clack of fingernails on keyboards, friendly banter over the availability of electrical outlets, and deafening roar of industrial toilets being flushed.

Okay, I’m going to get to that damn contract, before I make myself cry.

[Insert long pause during which Princess Pissant completes entirety of new project to near perfection. Or maybe just insert long pause.]

Well, I obviously spoke to soon. Just when I thought that neither I nor my circumstances nor my mood could possibly sink any lower . . . in comes a new addition to the Office: Guy Who Is Either Psychotic Or Has Tourette Syndrome (GWIEPOHTS).

Yup, just as I resign myself to actually working, this fellow (mid-20s, not bad looking) for some reason foregoes the multitude of otherwise empty seats scattered about the Office, and plops himself down right next to me, wherein he commences twitching and muttering obscenities . . . at distinct 60-second intervals.

I am not entirely sure – and no need to ask GWIEPOHTS to repeat himself, since invariably hewill but I think he just called me the C-word. (And I’m not talking about Cancer.)

By utterly pure coincidence, earlier this week, Princess Pissant was informed that an old friend of hers has succumbed to, for lack of a better word, madness, and is, for all intents and purposes, homeless and “on the run.” This was stunning and disturbing news for Princess Pissant in that last she checked in with said mad, homeless person, he was young and handsome, potentially brilliant, and basically – full of promise.

Now, Princess Pissant has been told that he is aggressive and prone to violence, and that she should be wary and avoid him at all costs. If he reaches out, Princess Pissant is either to ignore or report him to the authorities.

This goes very much against Princess Pissant’s nature, believe it or not. Notwithstanding her consummate self-absorbedness, Princess Pissant does not turn her back on an old friend.

In any event, I’ve not heard anything from my old friend, mad, homeless and on the run, but I’ve spent a lot of time this week wondering: how does this happen? How – in this great country of ours – does someone like that fall between the cracks? And yet it must happen every day. If you live in an urban area, and maybe even if you don’t, you see the faces of the mad and the homeless and the on-the-run every day.

But until you know someone to whom that has happened, you probably don’t think that they at one time occupied a whole other world – a world like yours, and mine, and Princess Pissant’s – with Moms, and blogs, and fancy coffee beverages, and an endless supply of old friends.

GWIEPOHTS just snapped at me again. I am wondering if perhaps he’s the root cause of the mass exodus of Office-mates. And, if so, where did they go? And can I come too?

Here’s the worst part: at this point, I feel slightly threatened by GWIEPOHTS but there’s no way I can possibly get up and leave. My departure will seem obviously linked to him; which of course it would be. And judging by GWIEPOHTS’s actions and words, the poor opinion that I’ve formed of him is surpassed only by his of me.

And maybe, in some small way, GWIEPOHTS has come to symbolize . . . my old friend.

So I’m not going to turn my back and just go. I’ve got no choice but to wait, to ride out this storm . . . staring at the barren creamer bar and waiting for some Angel of Mercy to come my way.

Oh wait, here he is, or here he comes . . . The SECOND Most Awesome Barista in the World – TSMABITW! – wielding a tray of free samples: tiny cups of hot cocoa with whipped cream and bites-size chunks of lemon pound cake! What is it with these guys and their ubiquitous trays of free samples?

But who gives a shit? The free sample tray might as well be a taser gun!

For, GWIEPOHTS has stopped twitching and cursing and calling me the C-word, and presently, he is 100-percent focused on the tray of free samples. He’s reaching for one as I type, and now is my chance! Here is where Princess Pissant will make her escape.

But not before just one of these for myself . . .

Pray for me now, my followers . . . as I lock eyes with GWIEPOHTS, and raise this tiny free sample of hot cocoa with whipped cream in the name of my old friend. Forsaken, but not forgotten.


Monday, October 10, 2011

The Link Between Exercise, Deer, Depression and Death

Before heading to the Office this morning, Princess Pissant decided to do something she’s not done in several months: EXERCISE.

All this blogging to the tune of lattes and high-end McMuffins here at the Office have Princess Pissant packing on the ol’ L-Bees; and, yes, while PP fully concurs that every body needs (and deserves) an extra little layer of insulation before the onset of Winter, the fact of the matter is, Princess Pissant can’t fit into her pants. And she refuses to let herself become one of those ladies who wears a stretchy muumuu to work.

Back when I worked for the government, I enjoyed a surprisingly well-equipped gym, located in the bowels of the federal building where I worked. While not a paradigm of physical fitness, I prided myself on at least being able to fit through the badge turnstile without having to turn sideways and suck in my belly. (Believe me, this was A LOT more than some people could say.) I often would forgo lunch and spend 40 minutes sweating my butt off on – and clinging for dear life to the sides of – a Stairmaster. (I’m not even sure if anyone does Stairmaster anymore? Or if that’s something passé, like Aerobics while wearing legwarmers and a terrycloth headband, or even Aerobics at all.)

Anyway, it was during this time that I unwittingly earned the moniker of “Naked Girl.” I know: I was equally as surprised when I found out about that. But let me explain: there was one time, a single solitary occasion really, when – after exercising and showering at the agency’s gym – I suddenly remembered a check that I was supposed to have written, probably for boxes of girl scout cookies that I’d beneficently ordered from a co-worker’s child. Before it slipped my mind, I quickly grabbed my checkbook and a pen from my locker, in the ladies locker room, and scrawled out a check.

Yes, I might have been naked.

Well, imagine my surprise when weeks later, a male colleague greeted me with, Hey naked girl!

And when I asked him what the hell he was talking about, he told me that rumor had it I “routinely balanced my checkbook naked in the ladies’ locker room.” That’s how vicious those people – government workers! – could be, and all the more reason I can be grateful I’ve moved onto a kinder, gentler place of employment here at the Office.

But, alas, no corporate exercise facility! (For those of you new to PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice, the Office is in fact a Starbucks.)

Anyway, this morning, without access to a company gym, Naked Girl went running!

Not naked.

And not even really running.

More like jog-slash-stumbling. And panting. A lot of panting.

I guess I was panting quite loudly in fact – hard to hear over full volume Eye of the Tiger – because halfway around the wooded trail, I was suddenly SHUSHED, by two women who had stopped in their tracks and were taking photographs with their cellphones of something in the brush.

Naturally, I stopped, so as not to scare away whatever rare form of wildlife they’d happened upon. Imagine my surprise, as I approached, with both of them still SHUSHING my feet crackling over fallen leaves and twigs, to perceive none other than . . . DRUM ROLL please . . . a deer.

Yes, that’s right, these two bitches had the nerve to SHUSH me, causing me to abort my bout of concerted exercise in the form of jog-slash-stumbling because they were photographing . . . a deer?

I passed half a dozen deer – some “sleeping” by the side of the road – on my way into the Office. WTF is wrong with these people?

Anyway, the incident totally put me in an even fouler humor than I already am.

Confession time: Princess Pissant has missed a fair amount of work lately, largely because, well, she’s depressed. But before you go feeling sorry for me, and recommending all kinds of addictive pharmaceuticals, let me explain that Princess Pissant is depressed for a very good reason.

You see, my grandmother is dying. And, yes, while I know that we are ALL, in a sense, dying, every day that we’re alive, I mean she is really dying. Starting late last week, Nanny has begun the process of “checking out.” For good.

As much as you think you’re ready to say goodbye – it’s not like she’s dying young; Nanny will be 103 if she makes it to Saturday – you never are.

Kid Number 2 (KN2) and His Older Brother (HOB) are greatly concerned that Nanny might not make it to her birthday. It’s like they think she’s got a shindig planned for her and all her friends at Ultimate Playzone or something. Truth is, I want Nanny to make it to Saturday too. I feel like otherwise, her obituary will read, “passed away at age 102,” and there will be almost a whole entire year she doesn’t get credit for . . .

Stupid, I know.

KN2 and, even more so, HOB have handled saying goodbye to their great-grandmother with uncharacteristic grace and maturity. I had warned them that she would look similar to the skeletons we just put in the yard for Halloween, and that they shouldn’t be scared. Together, they put on a brave face and stood holding hands at her bedside. In unison, they said, “We love you Nanny,” and HOB even leaned over and kissed her sunken cheek.

I spent much of the weekend sitting at Nanny’s side, while she slipped in and out of the past, the present, and the future. I am the first to admit that I’ve always had a Woody Allen-esque fear of, and extreme discomfort with, Death.

But there is something reassuring, almost necessary, about watching someone you love – who is more than ready to go – GO.

While every labored breath seems as if it could be her last, Nanny’s grip is so strong, it can seem as if she’ll never let go.

I know one thing: she is one tough old bird.

Nanny loves to tell the story of when my brother and I were young, and our parents went for a two-week vacation to Peru, and she came to watch us. Evidently, we were so horrible, and she was so traumatized, that when my parents returned, she was standing on the curb, her bags packed, ready to go. My brother and I, remorseful, wept openly and begged her to stay: We’ll never be bad again!

I know Nanny’s bags are packed now; I know she’s ready to go.

And I know that no amount of weeping, or begging, or false promises can make her stay.


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lab Rats and Other Breakfast Ideas

All-righty then. Well, this morning, Princess Pissant finds herself in the rare and enviable position of NOT having any contract hanging over her head. Workaholic that she is, Princess Pissant nonetheless has arrived at the Office, where she joins several of her office-mates in the state of sanctioned idleness and official unemployment.

All the more reason to splurge on a specialty coffee drink – Pumpkin Chai latte – and gourmet breakfast sandwich – one of those upscale McMuffin thingies. (By way of background, for those new to PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice, the Office is actually a Starbucks.)

Anyway, Princess Pissant is not one to let the grass grow long under her feet; without any contract to hang over her head hovering on the horizon, she’s been perusing online employment resources.

Basically, I registered at the local university to receive email notifications when a position suiting my background and qualifications becomes available. Here’s what I’ve got so far this morning:

Animal technician: Responsible for the care and welfare of laboratory animals used in medical and dental research. While the AT will occasionally have direct involvement in experimental work, daily tasks pertain to the routine and essential care and welfare of the animals, such as: cleaning cages, pens, trays, equipment and fittings; feeding and watering animals; handling and moving animals safely; administering medicines; checking the environment (for example, temperature and humidity); monitoring the condition of animals and recognizing and resolving any behavioral problems; obtaining samples and measurements; collecting and recording data; ensuring animals are kept clean and comfortable. Depending on level of experience, the AT may help breed animals especially for use in research; monitor pregnancies; care for newborn animals and measure weight gain and growth. Some understanding of the science supporting individual studies is required in such cases.

Okay, so let me start with six simple words, at least two of which WERE included in my online application: English Major. Deathly Afraid of Rats.

Now, here’s where Princess Pissant’s father might step in to remind her about how he TOLD her that the only jobs available to English majors would be waitressing, panhandling and/or tending to lab rats, and that she SHOULD have studied computer science. Well, before you go patting yourself on the back for your wisdom and foresight, Dad, check out the other job notification that this seemingly unemployable English major received today:

Senior Program Coordinator II: Will design, develop, test, optimize, maintain, monitor, and back up the web-based databases for the GI and Immunology research process management system for research clinical trials. The SPC II will also design and develop user interface for data manipulation, and act as software developer for a web-based research management system to enable electronic submission, tracking, and review of scientific, regulatory and compliance information.

I can’t really figure out how to submit my application for this position online – keep getting pesky error messages – but once I do, I am totally throwing my hat in that ring. Who knew there were so many positions that would be deemed well-suited to me? And while I have no idea what anything in that job description means, it sounds – to the laywoman’s ears – like it’s got to be well-paid. I mean that is a shit-load of responsibility.

Of course, if I were to get a real job, that would severely cut down on my time here at the Office. I guess then I’d be one of the drive-thru folk, and just wave a friendly how-do-you-do? each morning to my former colleagues like FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy and TMABITW (The Most Awesome Barista in the World).

Not only would that be a shame, since I’m still just settling in here, but it would mean a premature death to this awesome blog. And, little by little, I’ve been researching how to make PP-ADATO even more popular and successful than it already is.

So the word on the cyber sphere is that to be a successful blogger, you’ve got to follow OTHER blogs. I know: WTF?, right? Like I’ve got that kind of time?

But I get it . . . sort of a let’s-all-support-one-another, Kumbaya spirit type thing. I’m cool with that. And while I am not NATURALLY a team player, by any stretch of the imagination, I at least can pretend to be . . . if it’s going to increase readership of my blog.

One of my friends recently asked me, “Um, and what’s your purpose in doing this . . . blog thing?”

Well, to begin with, I read this New Yorker article about this woman called Pioneer Woman, who blogs about her life as a cattle rancher’s wife and stay-at-home-mom (SAHM) who home schools her four kids. Admittedly, my first thought was: BO-ring! But the article went on to explain how this broad has a HUGE following, and has been on Oprah and The View, and landed book deals, and thousands of followers converged on New York City when Pioneer Woman came East for a book tour, and they all threw their panties at her, and basically she’s made gazillions of dollars from blogging about her boring-ass life in the middle of nowhere.

And I thought: if Pioneer Woman can do it, why can’t I?

Well, maybe I should’ve have looked before I leaped. I finally had a chance to check out Pioneer Woman’s blog over the weekend, and, well, I have to say, it’s a little more sophisticated than I had imagined. To begin with, her photos are nothing short of amazing, and they make Princess Pissant’s efforts with the hipsta-thingamagiggy on her iPhone look, quite frankly, amateurish.

What’s more, Pioneer Woman has this brilliant gimmick whereby she peppers her blog with gourmet recipes that are, at one and the same time, inspirational and intimidating: Make Ahead Muffin Melts, Herb Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Preserves, Molten Chocolate Lava Cake. (I am not making this shit up.) Each recipe is accompanied by a very professional-looking picture of whatever delectable dish.

I’ll be the first to admit: it’s hard not to hate Pioneer Woman. But that’s the point. People not only don’t hate her; they LOVE her. And they LOVE her blog.

Herein lies the difference, I think, and it’s something to consider as I plow ahead with PP-ADATO. Pioneer Woman represents an ideal to which ordinary women can aspire, while Princess Pissant (probably) represents a low to which ordinary women hope they never sink? But isn’t there room – and a purpose – in the blogosphere for both of us?

I’ll let you, my current and future followers, be the judge.

For the meantime, I am going to follow the lead – if not aim for the standard – of Pioneer Woman and include a few recipes of my own. Here’s what my kids had for breakfast.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Ashton Kutcher and Other Unlikely Heroes

So, before we begin, a couple of admin items:

1) There are 2 persons following Princess Pissant on Twitter.

And before you go asking yourself, Who gives a shit?, as you’re probably doing right now, let me clarify: the two persons following Princess Pissant on Twitter are – in at least fifty percent of the cases – different individuals than those who’ve signed up to follow her blog.

So, yes, while officially this means that Princess Pissant has only 1 new follower – and, indeed, 2 is a far cry from the 5,000,002 people who follow Ashton Kutcher on Twitter – it is a start.

What’s more, the mere fact that I’ve mentioned Ashton Kutcher here suggests that Princess Pissant’s popularity is likely to soar by the end of the day. Now, whenever anyone Googles “Ashton Kutcher,” PrincessPissant-AnotherDayattheOffice is sure to pop up, right? Which brings me to admin point 2:

2) Princess Pissant is not what you might call “social media savvy,” and so she has no earthly clue what it means that 2 people are following her on Twitter.

I am picturing these two guys just sitting around all day, waiting for me to tweet. When the truth is: Princess Pissant doesn’t know how to tweet.

As soon as I pick up KN2 (Kid Number 2) from the Little Darlings Learning Center, in about an hour, I’m going to ask him about it. KN2, and even more so HOB (His Older Brother), know all that kind of stuff. HOB is able to communicate with online computer hackers and pedophiles from as far away as China on his little DS-thingie, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it because only he knows how to configure the settings and input the passwords to implement those so-called Parental Controls.

Anyway, enough about me and those guys. There’s someone to whom I’d like to pay tribute today, while I’m here at the Office doing some work on that new contract I’ve got hanging over my head. And that is, drum roll please . . . TMABITW!

Can anyone guess who TMABITW is?

You got it – The Most Awesome Barista in the World!

And just how did TMABITW earn that equally as awesome moniker, you ask? Well let me tell you a little story:

Believe it or not, Princess Pissant was at the Office for a large part of last weekend. The “weekend warriors,” for lack of a better term, are a whole different breed than the regular Monday-Friday folk. (BTW, for readers new to PP-ADATO: the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.)

No, these guys – and a few gals, like Princess Pissant herself – who, for whatever pathetic reason are forced to come to Starbucks with their laptops, on the first football Sunday of the season, and work . . . Well, they are some bitter-ass soldiers.

I mean . . . ANGRY.

No exchange of pleasantries among co-workers; no joshing by the pastry stand or while waiting (interminably, yes maybe) for a –chino drink to materialize; not even any empathetic eye contact that might suggest, Yeah, it sucks to work over the weekend but at least we’re all in this together.

Well, you can only imagine the reaction of these dickheads when (insert ominous sound effect here): the Internet went down!!!

It started out with exasperated sighs; the throwing up of arms; and then furtive angry whispers among the previously non-communicative worker bees: Do you have Internet? No? Me either? WTF? It was down yesterday too . . .

This buzz of outrage grew and grew, into a collective deafening roar; and just then TMABITW – with his big friendly smile and adorable little green apron – appeared to say: What Was The Matter?

I thought the mob was going to descend upon TMABITW right then and there, and rip him apart limb by limb. It was like something out of the Salem Witch Trials or Gladiator or maybe Braveheart. Where the heck is FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy when you need him?! , I thought.

(Of course, FSGA guy wasn’t there on a Sunday. He’s nobody’s fool.)

Okay, so the situation was turning UGLY, fast. People were screaming at TMABITW and shaking their fists, and some even threatening to go to McDonalds for the free Wi-Fi over there.

And instead of shouting back at them, as I might have – Go ahead, you ungrateful cheapskates! Get outta here, the whole lot of you, with your stupid laptops and your power cords that anyone can trip over and your three-dollar cups of coffee that you nurse for nine freaking hours every G.D. day . . . GET THE F. OUT! – TMABITW remained perfectly composed.

He held up his hands and patted the air – in the manner of Martin Luther King Junior or Gandhi – to calm the crowd. Then, in a clear and compelling voice, TMABITW addressed the crowd: Let me see what I can do.

That’ll be the last we see of him, grumbled the grump from the table behind me.

I’m going to Panera, sniped some other jerk, angrily shoving a stack of charts and graphs into his briefcase.

But in fact it wasn’t the last we would see of TMABITW.

TMABITW was back, mere moments later, with a tray of biscotti, demitasses of espresso, and a few Perriers for those who seemed like they might overheat.

He circulated among the group, offering refreshments as he spoke: I just want you all to know that you will have Internet back shortly. The situation is being monitored by Seattle. If it can’t be resolved within the next fifteen minutes, we’ll be calling in a specialist from AT&T.

Being monitored by Seattle?! Are you kidding me?

TMABITW had called in the big guns. Entirely on our behalf. I pictured the CIO of Starbucks, whoever that is, being roused from his bed on a Sunday morning, or hauled out of church. All for us. And all because of TMABITW.

Now that’s what I call not just service, but dedication.

And can I tell you something else? Not a single person offered a word of gratitude. (Full disclosure: not even Princess Pissant, who was helping herself to a second or third free biscotti.)

But I want to thank you, here and now, TMABITW, and to let you know that what you did and what you stand for did not go unnoticed, at least by one person.

Furthermore, the way things are going for Princess Pissant, by the end of the day, EVERYONE, including Ashton Freakin’ Kutcher, is going to know about you.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Princess Pissant is hopping mad. 

Before I get to explaining the source of Princess Pissant’s ire, let me add that Princess Pissant is also eternally grateful.  Why, you ask?

Well, if you’re reading this, you probably are aware that there was a bit of a hiatus in Princess Pissant’s productivity.  (I totally own that.)  The reasons are manifold, and not worth going into, although it’s likely that I will . . . but the point – and that for which Princess Pissant is eternally grateful – is that the absence of Another Day at the Office on the blogosphere did not – as everyone close (or, shall we say, related) to Princess Pissant predicted – go unnoticed. 

No!  More than one person – two to be precise, if you’re a numbers person – actually cyber-approached Princess Pissant, and inquired as to when Another Day at the Office would reappear.  Yeah, that’s right: Princess Pissant has fans.  (Plural.)

And, not that I’m counting, but let’s just say her followers have tripled in a little less than two weeks.

So thank you, both of you, for your support . . . and your patience.  And I am happy to report that your wait is over.  Princess Pissant is back, and with two whole hours left before she has to pick up KN2 (Kid Number Two) at the Little Darlings Learning Center, she’s here, checking in at the Office.

Which brings me back to why I am so freaking P.O.’ed.  Probably some of you remember that the East Coast was hit about a week ago by a formidable hurricane.  Irene.

Well, suffice it to say: Irene did not work out at all the way Princess Pissant had hoped.

No, this epic hurricane achieved nothing, absolutely nothing, to my advantage.  The thing is: I was totally counting on losing electrical power . . . for hours at least, if not days.

You might also remember that I had a certain contract hanging over my head; and that, somehow, in spite of spending day-in and day-out here at the Office, I’d accomplished relatively little toward that end.  The deadline for presentation of my work was to occur on the heels of hurricane Irene.

Widespread loss of electrical power was to have been my saving grace.  Surely there would be no way to put the finishing touches (or even the initial touches) on that pesky PowerPoint, and hence, no way to present it to the clients.  I’m no techie, but I do know one thing: electricity is required to power your average laptop computer for more than a few hours.

So the night that Hurricane Irene was to make landfall, I was pretty chilled out.  By mid-afternoon, I’d tied up the outdoor furniture; stocked the cupboards with all kinds of crap that normally I would never let KN2 or HOB (His Older Brother) eat; and even replaced the batteries in the one flashlight we’d been able to locate – a little blue souvenir-ie thing from Ellen and Brad’s wedding that, in the event of a blackout, could illuminate one square inch of surface area.

What’s more, MHTP (my husband the photographer) had performed some kind of triage – involving a blue tarp and bricks – on the leaky roof, so that by the time the torrential downpour hit, a big puddle of water no longer formed on the kitchen counter exactly where we charge our iPhones.  Puddles did form elsewhere on the kitchen counter, and also on the kitchen floor, but our iPhones were not charging in those places.

I had planned to keep my iPhone fully charged until the moment of widespread electrical power loss, at which point I would use it to call the client, and calmly explain that we had no power, and probably wouldn’t for the foreseeable future, and that I’d need an extension.  Actually, I was going to come up with a better way to put it.  You don’t need to remind me, as some unnamed relatives have, that “asking for an extension” is frowned upon in the professional world, where you get paid to perform your work, in some prescribed amount of time.

But I never made that call anyway because, turns out, every home and business within a 60-mile-radius did lose power, except for mine . . . and that of the client.

So really the hurricane came and went and there were no excuses.  I still had that damn contract hanging over my head.  And what’s worse: all the kids were out of school.  That’s right, the entire school system shut down . . . for days.  So whereas normally I’d be putting in my time here at the Office, instead I was home – trying to come up with crafty activities to engage KN2 and HOB who really would rather spend their leisure time terrorizing each other and the dog.

To make matters worse:  HOB, the day after the hurricane, was invited to a joint birthday party (two of his closest friends) that had been billed (on the Evite) as having some sort of “naturalist” theme.  I imagined there would be a visiting biologist or ecologist or archaeologist or any sort of “- ologist” who would acquaint HOB and his fellow otherwise self-serving little savages with some kind of do-gooder philosophy.  The mothers hosting the party are neighbors and good friends of mine, and I remember marveling at their creativity in coming up with such an educational, and yet fun!, theme for a 7-year-old boys’ birthday party.

Well, when I went to pick up HOB from the party, I found him and the dozen-or-so other invitees running amuck, several whooping what sounded like Native American battle cries – IYEYEYEYA – and others keening some kind of coyote yowl, and all of them – to a little six or seven-year-old person – fully armed.  Turns out, the visiting naturalist was not a do-gooder by any stretch of the imagination, but rather some guy who taught them all how to construct deadly weapons out of common household items.

So: not only were all the neighborhood boys out of school, and therefore completely idle, suddenly they were equipped with bows, arrows, something called “blow darts,” and basically: entire arsenals of lethal hardware.  It made walking the dog dangerous and difficult.

And it goes without saying that it made attending to that contract all the more cumbersome and fruitless.  Which brings me back to my original train of thought, and the reason I am so damn angry. 

Well, the first place to regain power after the hurricane was none other than here – the Office.  (For new readers, the Office is, in fact, a Starbucks.)  Not only was the Office one of the few places around town with power; as a result, it was featured – with an accompanying photograph no less – in the local paper.  If I squinted hard enough at the picture, I could actually make out my coffeeshop “colleague” FSGA (Former Secret Government Agency) guy in the background.  I can only imagine what that unnecessary exposure meant for his “cover.”  Meanwhile, I think the headline was: Area’s Powerless Flock to Local Starbucks.  (That subtly slighting title was an added irritant.)

In short, the whole thing pissed me off.

Our hidden gem – this aesthetic and soothing Office, shared by me and my various co-workers to whom I’ve referred in previous blog entries – is now, well basically, America’s worst kept secret.  And on a rainy day like today – even with power having been restored to most of the outlying communities – the Office is utterly jam-packed.  It goes without saying that I was not able to get my coveted spot in the corner.

What’s more: the new folk appear to be severely lacking in any kind of Office etiquette or decorum.  They’re a bunch of slackers, forever socializing and loud-mouthing to one another, as if the rest of us don’t have very important things to do. 

Like that new contract that I’ve got hanging over my head.

Oh yeah, by now, you’re probably wondering: just how did she make out with that other thing?  The presentation.  Was she able to pull it off, in spite of the many obstacles placed in her path?

Well, I gotta tell you – and this is why Princess Pissant is an eternal optimist – in the end, it wasn’t all that bad.  Notwithstanding that one crazy lady ranting (rather rudely, if you ask me) about the irrelevance of my presentation, about halfway through, I have to say that, in general, the fruits of my labor were surprisingly – MHTP might even say, shockingly – well-received.  If I do say so myself, Princess Pissant came out – if not entirely smelling like roses – at least not completely disgraced.

But I won’t say that it wasn’t “nip and tuck” there for a while.  And I’m certainly not going to make the same mistake twice.  Nope, today, right away in fact, as soon as I sign off here, I am going to get cracking on that new contract. 

Only problem is: what with all the riff-raff here at the Office, I can hardly hear myself think.