Archive for April, 2010

Shutt Up

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

I returned to Seattle after a relaxing month in Boise and found this on my car:

Yes, indeed I was occupying three parking spaces. You are quite observant, Random Note-Leaver. You are not, however, any of the following: Articulate, persuasive, or even passably literate.

I could bring up the fact that the garage we occupy is in a constant state of being half-full. No one has ever been denied parking due to lack of space (or in your case, “spass”). I could also mention that I park in the very last bank of spaces (“spasses”) on the very bottom floor, out of everyone’s way.

But no, this isn’t about my parking. This is about your inability to leave a typical passive-aggressive note to vent frustration about things beyond your control.

If you want to at least feel like your note could have some impact on my parking behavior in the future, follow these handy tips:

1. Spell correctly. It will add to the legitimacy of your complaint while making it easily readable. You will also look less stupid.

2. Use complete sentences. See above.

3. Explain the problem and how it inconvenienced you. If I know who is complaining and why, I might be able to bring myself to care.

4. Discuss what action should be taken as an alternative to the current situation. Then you can be reasonably angry with me when I don’t do it instead of the stupid sort of angry the village idiot experiences when he realizes a kick-me sign is stuck to his back and he has only the use of his fat, stubby arms to attempt to remove it.

There you go, Note-Leaver. Now do your worst. If that’s too much of an effort for you, perhaps you should return to the envelope-licking assembly line and discontinue writing inconsequential notes.

Barb E. Dream Hearse Is Unsure of This

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Just when I thought I had a handle on Facebook, they went and changed things up:

Introducing the Like button
Starting today people will be able to connect with your Page by clicking “Like” rather than “Become a Fan.” We hope this action will feel much more lightweight, and that it will increase the number of connections made across the site.

You know what would feel more lightweight? Letting me use the correct spelling of the name I want in my personal profile so I wouldn’t have to make a separate fan page in the first place.

When I joined Facebook late last year, I was forced to use my first and last name to create my profile. A few dozen people befriended me, but joining yet another social networking site seemed to be a waste of time. I don’t care what delectable morsels you’re cramming down your gullet or how bored you are, I just want your eyeballs on my car. How was I going to use Facebook to promote the Barbie Dream Hearse if I couldn’t even use her name?

Then about six weeks ago, a friend of mine who doesn’t have a general disdain for online social networking told me to make a fan page. I had been under the impression that if I wanted to spread the word about the BDH, I’d have to buy ad space. I circumvented this by letting Facebook find everyone I’ve ever emailed, befriending them, and telling them to be fans of my car. And thus, the BDH fan page link was destined to sit on hundreds of Info pages alongside “I bet we can find a million people who think Sarah Palin is an idiot” and “My sister said if I get one million fans she will name her baby Megatron”.

Eventually I figured out that I could change the display name in my personal profile to Barbie Dreme Hearse and people were finding and friending me there. So the correct spelling of Dream as a middle name is unacceptable, but Hearse as a last name is okay. Is our children learning?

Facebook isn’t terribly forthcoming about how they determine whether a name is “real” or not. I’d like to know why I can be friends with Stabby McFace (a web designer), Neumos Seattle (a music venue), Proto Type (a musician), Chuy Redfish (a restaurant), and Smange Smange (fuck knows), but if I try to enter Barbie Dream Hearse as my name, Facebook wags its pointy internet finger at me and spanks my cyber-bottom.

Now people can’t even be fans of the correct spelling of my car’s name, they have to “like” it. And the “Liking a Page” section of the FAQ that followed the notice is blowing my mind.

Within the parameters of its new system, Facebook poses a timeless question: “What does it mean to ‘Like’ a Page?” Yes, what does it mean to truly like something? Do I have to like it like it, or just like it? What if I think it’s just okay? Conversely, what if I like it so much, I’m already picking out the wedding dress and booking the chapel?

Do me one better, Facebook. I want to know what love is, and I want you to show me.

If the makeup of my fan base (now, “like” base) was just a supportive fraction of my friends, it would make sense to consolidate. However, I have two problems:

1. When you search for Barbie Dream Hearse, there are no “People” results, despite my very similar personal profile moniker.

2. Half of my fan base isn’t friends with me. Out of about 240 fans, 120 found my page through a friend suggestion or a search.

And while researching my two problems, I found a third problem: I have two impostor fan pages. Neither of them have any pictures or info, but one of them has 32 friends. That means 32 people did a search for Barbie Dream Hearse prior to mid-March and befriended Impostor BDH. If you’re out there, impostor, just know that you’re the U to my CK One. And the rest of us can smell your cheap stench from a mile away.

To make matters worse, I had to “like” this impostor to leave a comment on his crappy fake fan page. I suppose I wouldn’t have been a real “fan” either, but becoming a fan implies less of a connection, plus it shares the meaning of changing into a bladed wind-moving device, which I do like.

There would be much less confusion if Facebook had just let me be Barbie Dream Hearse on my personal profile, thus eradicating the need for a fan page altogether. People could make fan pages all they want; it would be obvious where to find the real BDH. Plus, I get more friends with a profile than fans with a page. Most people don’t care what pages their friends like, but they do care who their friends’ other friends are.

As of this writing, I have 450+ friends. But when I tell the 450 people who know me (or of me) about the time I jumped a gorge, drove through a mini-mall, and outran a hundred of Chicago’s finest, I also have to tell the 240+ fans of my car, and then 120+ get the same awesome story that is totally true and not made up TWICE. I don’t want to be a cross-poster. I don’t want to be that promoter who’s on every local discussion forum posting the same party flier for two months straight. Facebook, don’t make me be that guy!

This concludes my wayward deconstruction of Facebook. When I can think of other nuances to complain about, I’ll be sure to update this post, which is about as useful as shouting on the moon.

Until next time, ladies and gentlemen, remember always: The Internet is Serious Business.

Maybe It’s Not So Good to Be King

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The King of Poland’s funeral procession:

Maserati Hearse

For people who like some information with their pictures (ahem, Josh), here’s a post from Autoblog with everything there is to know about the hearsification of the Maserati Quattroporte and related cars.

And a loosely affiliated image that bears reposting:

Barbie Dream House

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Pink House

I want it! But despite its convenient Capitol Hill location, I’m not paying the bank’s ridiculous asking price. However, living la vida broka in my own little girlie hut would be enough compel me to wake up in the same place for longer than a couple of months at a time for a change.

I like that it’s small enough to relieve me of massive furniture-buying duties. If there’s one thing I dislike more than being homeless, it’s having a home for which everyone pressures me to buy furniture. Besides, I already have a living room; it just happens to be on wheels!

I Want to Believe

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

In response to a Midwestern reverend’s Episcopal Minister Barbie, a clever left-leaning blogger created Atheist Barbie for our amusement. These days, the notion of being godless isn’t shocking enough; we need a children’s toy in its panties to really drive the point home.

Atheist Barbie

In my opinion (which I’m sure you’re all dying to know), both dolls are excessive displays of religious agenda. However, religions and their opposing skeptics wouldn’t exist if they weren’t backed by creative passion, so as long as it’s in good fun and no one’s forcing a tithe, I’m cool with them. This living doll on wheels DOES believe in a higher power, but it’s going to take more than a lump of molded plastic and a slew of tiny accessories to communicate it.

While I get right on that (not really), apropos of nothing, here’s a cute poem that came up in a search for a doll that (thankfully) no one has attempted to create yet.

Buddhist Barbie
by Denise Duhamel

In the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches “All is emptiness”
and “There is no self.”
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

A Little Late

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

In the beginning, Kat had an idea. It was a harebrained idea to create a life-size manifestation of a simple play on words.

On the first day of April, Kat purchased a 1992 Cadillac Brougham Superior hearse and said, “Let us create the Barbie Dream Hearse.” And it was good.

On the second day, Kat conducted one final online search for all references to any vehicle hinting a relation to Barbie, hearses, and even dreams. No combination of qualities existed to the magnitude required to deter her from purchasing the domain, And it was good.

And on the third day, someone across the country took a picture of a beautiful classic pink Caddy with suicide doors, coined it Barbie’s Little Dream Hearse, and received electronic fellatio by the dozens. And it was… a little surprising. So much for having a somewhat original idea…

(If you check out the page, he took the picture literally two days after I bought my car. It’s uncanny how closely timed these events are. I feel silly for admitting this, but if the chronology were reversed, I would feel kind of bad.)

ABC Blackout!

Monday, April 5th, 2010

It was after midnight on a Sunday. I was tasked with driving two of my friends to two nearby neighborhoods. Since they were both in the back, I put in a Happy Tree Friends DVD to show off… I mean, keep them entertained. Unless I switch menus, the small 7-inch monitor up front will display whatever I have playing on the TV in the back. Thus I had adorable, brightly-colored cartoon animals and their gory hijinx featured on two screens in the Barbie Dream Hearse roaming theater.

Jessica, Donnell, and I were headed up Jackson Street in the International District, a.k.a. CHINATOWN when I noticed a cop car coming from the other direction. I turned right and dropped Donnell off. Jessica got out and joined me in the front. Not a minute later, she received a call from Donnell to inform us that the cop car was on our tail.

No big deal, I thought. I am white, female, and not on drugs. This puts me way ahead of the curve already, especially in this neighborhood. And since I haven’t owned a car in four years, my driving record is pristine.

I drove around the block, passing a few crackheads bouncing up and down and wildly gesticulating, and then stopped at a light. The cops pulled up next to me. I looked the driver in the eye and did my half-nod salute, which says, “I see you and am acknowledging your presence. No need for further discussion.”

He seemed slightly surprised by my direct address and nodded back, but apparently he disagreed with my implied sentiments. At the next light, the cops pulled up alongside my car and motioned to Jessica to roll down her window.

“That’s quite a car you have there!” said the driver.

“Yep,” I replied. When I’m out and about, I usually have my happy face on. After all, I love my car and enjoy talking about it. But that night, I wasn’t in party mode. I was in take-people-home-and-get-in-bed mode. And once I began talking to the cops, I was in what’s-the-problem-let-me-go mode.

“What kind of car is it?” the other cop asked.

“It’s a 1992 Cadillac Brougham Superior hearse,” I replied as a cute yellow rabbit was hung from a tree by its eyeballs on the 7-inch monitor in my dashboard.

“You run some kind of business?”

My phone number and website are plastered on the back window; I guess the jig is up.

“It’s a limousine on the inside,” I replied. The light turned green. “Have a good night!”

I booked it up to 12th Street and over to Capitol Hill to drop off Jessica. Normally I would have offered to stop and do a show-and-tell, especially for our fine men in blue. But I had just eaten my weight in candy and spent the last week with people all up in my Kool-aid. I was in dire need of some down time.

Donnell texted us to see what came of the cop situation. I had Jessica tell him that when they looked in the car and didn’t see any more black guys, we were free to go. Sadly, there’s truth in jest. Upon finding out there wasn’t a lot of interracial funny business going on, they didn’t bother accusing me of watching TV in my car.

Whether I actually watch it or not (I don’t), my setup is technically illegal. Realistically, there isn’t an after-market electronics consumer out there who would install a DVD-ready head unit without bypassing its connection to the parking brake. If I was really worried about getting hassled for it, I could have easily pressed the Map button and the screen would have switched over to my navigation system. Apparently, that is a perfectly acceptable thing to view in lieu of the road in front of you.

Saturday Norwescon Highlights

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I got free parking by the main entrance because I’m a rock star and my car is pimp.

That is all. (Seriously. Ask anyone who went.)

Happy Birthday, BDH!

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

It has been exactly one year since the Barbie Dream Hearse began her transformation from a plain old funeral coach to heavenly cute girlie taxi. I decided to celebrate with a much-needed bath (for both of us!), a lightning speed photoshoot, and a trip to Norwescon, a scifi/fantasy convention.

The day went as planned… sort of. Someone must have told the sinister weather gods I was planning to wash my car. Just as I finished making plans to meet my friend Josef at the car wash, the rain began rolling through. We opted to meet at Top Pot Doughnuts instead, where we watched camera crews from the Food Network battle the weather, disruptive parked cars, and ugly patrons to capture the perfect 20 seconds of scene-setting footage for the TV show, Chef Vs. City.

After chugging 20 ounces of coffee, I decided it was time to make my own magic and clean my car. Although Pink Elephant down the street will do something to your car for reasonable price, I opted to haul it out to the DIY Brown Bear. My two favorite chores in the world are walking the dog and washing the car. My dog is in Austin, so I’ve got plenty of steam to spare.

There’s something about covering every square inch of my largest, most prized possession that requires my full attention and permits me to shut out the rest of the world for all the precious time my quarters can provide. I think washing your car should be fun. If it’s not, get a new car.

Yes, this car wash picture finds me fully clothed and makeup-free. Winter in Seattle lasts until at least May, so if you’re holding your breath for something more “traditional,” I suggest you exhale and wait a couple more months.

After washing my car and cursing at the drizzling clouds all the way home, I loaded up on mid-afternoon snacks and makeup and drove out to Volunteer Park for a quick photoshoot with Josef. The overcast sky forced me to rush through a blitzkrieg of poses all around the car until resistance was futile and the expected showers began once more.

Here’s another whoop, painstakingly paint-shooped:

For the amount of time we had, there are a large number of photos, which I’ll be combing over and hopefully adding to in the near future. (Big thanks to Josef for making the effort to come out and shoot me. Many are willing, few manage to take the plunge!)

As the rain died down (of course), I cruised through Capitol Hill and headed down south to collect a couple for an impromptu date at Norwescon. He was dressed for the Zombie Walk, she was in it for nostalgia’s sake, and I heard there was a poker tournament.

So, decked out in a skull-covered party dress, I played cards with a bunch of people dressed like zombies and scifi characters. This was by no means a serious game, but all the fake blood might have outsiders believing otherwise.

What began as a good-spirited effort to promote the Barbie Dream Hearse ended with me placing second in the satellite game and moving on to the big tournament Saturday. I mentioned the car at the table, but no one seemed interested in discussing cars so I dropped it. I don’t see the point in becoming one of those LOOK-AT-ME-I’M-SO-UNIQUE-WHY-AREN’T-YOU-RUBBING-ONE-OUT-AT-THE-MERE-THOUGHT-OF-ME-GODDAMMIT people, since the result would probably be the same. I think my car is pretty awesome, but everyone’s got their tastes. Check it out or don’t, whatever.

Thanks to everyone who wished her a happy birthday, though. I appreciate all the support and positive wishes while I dealt with the ups and downs of this crazy project, and I’m looking forward to many more fun-filled years going wherever this morbid party bus takes me!