Monday, March 31, 2008

Atmospheric Pressure

As I recently made some crucial budgeting decisions, including how to go from roommate to living alone and how to pay for that new car I finally don't have to worry about a rear-view mirror falling off of, I decided going out to eat was one area I could easily cut back on.

The one small thing I forgot when making that decision was the fact that I approach meals, not just special meals, but any meal involving a decision-making element as one that has significant impact on my life and could make or break my week. I attribute much of that philosophy to a mindset perpetuated by a city that, at times, offers very little in the way of free entertainment outside of the jittery coke fiend @ the 35 & Commerce exit. And to be honest, his girations are so entertaining, I usually leave a tip - so that isn't really free either. Sadly, though, when someone asks me what there is to do in Dallas, the first three things that come to my mind are, and in this order, 1) Drink, 2) Eat & 3) Shop, and if you are really going out on a limb, you will do all three at the same time. That's what Kona's regular & reverse happy hours are for.

It's a sad truth that is guised by many who would argue Katy Trail's glory, to which I would respond, I could lay a 17-mile slab of concrete in just about any random place in the US, and it would likely be prettier than our beloved trail. I'm talking blindfolded, spun around, and pushpinning any random-ass place on a map. Seriously.

We all know it's true. I can see it in the eyes of every disappointed newcomer trying to imagine they are in any other city than Dallas while running on the Trail. That cost of living index doesn't seem so appealing now, does it?

But, it's all we have. That and bright white concrete. And I can't complain too much, because it's also the reason my love of food hasn't translated into a bigger jean-size over the years. But back to the real problem, here.

Food, as I said, I love. A good cocktail, I adore. But atmosphere? Atmosphere is always the catalyst for a mulligan on any of the prior two elements, and can magically convince me that the meal really didn't taste like dirt, or that my drink really wasn't the worst I have tasted in 2008. And as my bank account let me know today as I sheepishly checked the damage I did this weekend, I love atmosphere way, way too much. It also reminded me that I'm quite an idiot. I need a new pair of low-heeled, dark-brown pumps for work thanks to my innate ability to ruin pointy-toed shoes as quickly as Oak Lawn ruins my good mood in the mornings. They cost a mere $80. I haven't bought them yet. Why? Because that's a lot for boring work-shoes that I will probably wear so much I pay about 50 cents per use, when instead, I could spend that kind of cash on my next trip to the restroom. It's crass, I know. But true.

So many in this town are just as stupid as I am - and we are all, like it or not, taking the most expensive proverbial "dumps" every day all for the love atmosphere. We don't have it outdoors, so we cling to the havens commercially crafted for us indoors where we consume, and as you can see below, go broke in the process.

Thursday Night: Half-Shells - $46.00
Friday Night: Bellinis - $56.06
Saturday: Taverna (Brunch) - $34.00
Saturday Night: MiCo - $80.00
Sunday Night: The Porch - $109.00

Looks like I bought almost four pairs of edible shoes this weekend. And if that is sadly par for my course, then I need to find a new course to play on, because as I was recently informed today while paying my April rent, my landlord doesn't accept 'atmosphere' as a form of payment.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear Jackie O, (Week 6)

A weekly (yet not so weekly) installment answering your most pressing questions.

Dear Jackie O,
It’s 2 cute that you try and pretend you know what is going on in Dallas, but commenting on the social elite is hard 2 do when you are obviously so far from it. If you ever decide you really want 2 know what’s happening in this city’s social scene and actually get 2 be a part of the who’s who of the Metroplex, you should join the diamond tiara of Dallas’s proverbial hair accessory collection: The Junior League of Dallas.

Philanthropically Yours,
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Dear JLD (insert meaningless title here)Chair,
First of all, thank you for reminding me again why people who respond to emails via BlackBerry and, in the process, emphatically butcher the English language make me want to, in true Jackie O fashion, punch myself in the face... multiple times.

Secondly, I hate to break the news, but your beloved social society has actually started to not suck at life as much these past few years, in spite of itself. I even heard you started accepting members whose occupation wasn’t stay-at-home wife? The audacity. You better do something… fast… or else the JLD might actually do something for this city other than offer the most affluent slash best gosh-darn invite list for Botox parties I have ever seen.

All my love,
Jackie O


Dear JaCkEEE o,
I tHouGht u MiTE b InTurEsTed ‘N tHis ‘lil ArTiKLE AyE fOUnd. A’iNt ‘dat KoOL?

EnOnyMussLee URS,

Dear Dr. John Lilley, Baylor president,

Seriously, you have to get better at your sneaky skills. Not even the dumbest of dumb spells “cool” like the cigarette brand. Not exactly believable. And aye instead of I? Really?

Nevertheless, let’s get down to this issue. That headline is reminiscent to me of the time many years ago when your fine institution started a “diversity campaign” to broaden Baylor’s demographic. It was adorable. Then, to go hand in hand with those goals, the geniusly-oblivious decision was made to instate a flat tuition rate that is now approaching the neighborhood of about 30K per year, give or take? It’s incredible to watch – like a fat kid trying to lose weight who secretly crams his well-hidden candy bars into his mouth every night like it's his job. It’s what you might call a losing battle.

I would never dare cross any lines with you, Dr. Lilley, or make false accusations, but if I were ever to dream of doing so, it might certainly look something like this little formula.

(a + b) + (c + d) = e therefore, A + B = C hence, C = D

a = Lack of diversity
b = WASPY & spoiled student body
c = Horrific sports history*
d = Even more horrific sports facilities
e = Crappy recruiting classes
A = Dr. Lilley gets a bright idea
B = Embarrassing sports could certainly usher in early/overdue Big 12 expulsion
C = Press release shamelessly selling Baylor's 'diversity' guised in an article about old-skool hymns
D = Dr. Lilley struck down by God via lightning.

And for the record, who can blame the fat kid for eating the candy bars? Someone had to drive him to the store.

*The dudes, not the chicks.

All my love,
Jackie O


Dear Jackie O,
Wanna go to the museum? Or to the park? Or to Six Flags? Or maybe to the club to find some strange? I need a friend.

Lonely in the Lone Star State,

Dear Josh Howard,
Devin is gone. Buy-bye. Has been for awhile now. Stop moping. Start playing. And yes, I’ll help you find some strange if you can help me find a team worth paying to watch.

Do Work.

All my love,
Jackie O


Dear Jackie O,
I’m innocent, I swear. Can you come bail me out? Preferably with crispy one-spots?


Dear This Guy,

No, I won’t. But look at the bright side, at least you didn’t win the award for “Worst Captain Obvious Quote by a Cop, Ever” like your buddy Police Chief Dan Trelka did.

And next time, lesson learned: Don’t take your weed money to deposit at the bank when it wreaks of, well, weed.

All my love,
Jackie O

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two Points for Honesty: JSim Strikes Again

Lakers & Mavs. Tony & Jessica. 102 & 100.

Can you guess which of the three were a losing combination for Dallas tonight? The shorter list would be which weren't.

Jess, hun, if you ever get as close again to section 101 or my Mavericks as you were tonight with your evil sports-voodoo, the pretzel you felt bounce off of your blonde locks will gladly evolve into a plastic AAC-friendly beer bottle. And the 6 year-old sitting next to me? For whatever blessing from heaven and/or well-timed brainwashing by his mother, his hatred for you runs deeper than mine, and his bouncy ADD antics may just finally have found their calling if you continue to make Mavs appearances. Just as he asked me last week, ever seen a Chinese Star? He never leaves his home without one, and those scars can't be healed by Proactiv, my dear.


Oh, Patty.

The hat that afforded me an open-container opportunity all day:

The shoes that show how over-the-top excited a straight man can get about an alcohol-centered holiday:

The table that sent me well on my way to mid-afternoon shambles:

The aftermath that tricked me into thinking it's okay for girls to use the men's room if the need is great enough:

The only reason I made it home:

Hope your St. Patty's was as memorably forgettable as mine.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Come Again?


" Religion Blog Question of the Day: Would an affair have been worse than hiring a prostitute?"

is the prime example why the link on my sidebar goes to the Observer's Bible Girl versus DMN's "Religion" blog. It's like asking the question "Would you rather be kicked in the junk or be punched in the face?"

I guess the more baffling thing is how exactly this falls under the blog category of religion versus the Affairs/Prostitutes Are Pretty Commonly Accepted These Days, So Any Idea Otherwise Must Somehow Fall Under Religion Blog or possibly the I Obviously Couldn't Think of Anything Better to Blog About Today Blog, exactly as this post most likely would.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Cost-Cutting Initiatives

"A climate of economic uncertainty" is a phrase I continue to hear and read in every one of my company's inter-HQ communication pieces, and cost-cutting initiatives are apparently one of the "strategies we are employing" to tackle such "uncertainty." Well, I do what I can to help out wherever I'm able, and recently, after a botched flight home on the one day of the year DFW sees snow, I had the opportunity to take part in one of those cost-cutting moves.

Here you will see Chateau Jackie O, compliments of Denver International Airport. I could have been curled up at the Hyatt in a cozy bed via corporate AMEX, but no. I decided those hotel rates for just 5 hours of sleep were a waste, which turned out to be the worst decision ever. And as I deliriously stared at the oddly tent-shaped ceiling of a strangely quiet and deserted airport around 2:47am, I wondered if this was what Stephen King did right before he wrote the book The Langoliers. It's creepy - no doubt. And wandering around to find your place of rest is even creepier.

However, as I finally came to the conclusion that the front of the ticket line in a dark corridor on a cold marble floor was my best bet for snagging a standby seat on the 6am flight out, I was gently reminded that Homeland Security had recently raised the threat level to orange and that any bags left unattended to should be immediately reported to security. And thanks to that reminder by a repeating message every 15 minutes, I was certain that leaving my post at the front of the line sans baggage would soon result in me watching security tote off my "abandoned" luggage @ 3am. So, I stayed, wrapped my head up in a coat, and waited until the counter was to open @ 4:15am.

When I got up to compose myself and wait for the ticketing agent, I realized 35 people had formed in a line behind me with the very same idea. For once, I was there first, and for once, I was certain I would get on the plane having outsmarted my other stranded travelers. As I zipped up my last bag while the agent started up the computers, a wave of satisfaction came over me. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the line for first-class starting to fill up. People who I had seen in the airport yesterday, looking much more well-rested than myself, as though the Hyatt shuttle had just dropped them off when the ticketing line was to open. And they were there, waiting to take my standby spot that I had slept in the freaking airport the night before to secure.

All I could do was sit there, watch them put their name on MY standby list, and wish with all my might that a Langolier would come out of nowhere and eat them alive. And my best guess is that one was well on its way, and only retreated once it saw the terrifying creature standing next to the first-class line, sleep-deprived, hair a mess, and shoes missing... it must have been obvious a much scarier creature had beaten him to the punch.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Duped, Compliments of Dallas.

Jackie O is reporting to you live from San Francisco (Always wanted to say that). This will be short since I am still a D-team level blackberry typist. But bottom line, we Dallasites have been duped. I went to a fabulous restaurant last night called The Slanted Door where I could see the bay bridge from where I enjoyed my lemon drop martini... And then another.

I had heard how expensive things are here, but I had already braced myself for the high prices... So much so that I thought my bill was wrong when I got it. Ten bucks for a drink? In Dallas that is typical, and sadly I have paid much worse at any one of N9ne Group's overpriced eateries. But this was a very nice, very trendy spot right on the bay. I expected a 100 percent markup on the view alone. Unfortunately all that price did was make me angry at how stupid we have all been for quite awhile when it comes to paying way too much for way too little... And how I certainly will think every time I order a drink in Dallas how I am paying for a view of what exactly... Shiny new concrete? A higher percentage of fake boobs than all but one other city in the US? Ugly blue lights on the new Hunt building?

I'm baffled. Baffled and duped all at the same time. But at least the next time I have those same thoughts I'll hopefully be well on my way to drunk.