The Bad Barista Index

A few years ago some genius at NPR came up with the Bad Barista Index (BBI). Basically, it suggested that during good economic times, highly-educated capable people would be employed in jobs that required high qualifications. But during bad economic times, they were likely to find interim work with nice benefits at places like Starbucks. So when you get that motivated, friendly, outgoing barista who is on the ball and can fire off a drink order with fifteen customizations in thirty seconds flat without blinking an eye…you know they are overqualified for their job. I can vouch for this…I’ve met many a barista with a masters degree in biology or some such field.

So: Low BBI = bad economic times = lots of overqualified baristas
       High BBI = good economic times = lots of…underperforming baristas.

But here’s my problem: The Economy is in The Toilet!! So WHAT happened to me tonight??

*Warning: Rant Ahead*

S and I bicycled down to our favorite neighborhood Starbucks. (Denver has a gluttony of Starbucks, but that’s for another post. I’ve always loved the company – sorry Anti-bucks people). I ran inside to grab a couple cold drinks on our way to relaxation on two wheels…but I got a cup chock full o’ suck instead!!

Two guys in front of me with unidentifiable accents ordered two tall espresso macchiatos. The lone guy behind the counter (we’ll call him Igor the Incompetent) looked uncomfortable, went in the back room and got a woman supervisor and said, “She can help you, she knows what she’s doing.”
So Supervisor Lady takes the order, but has to ASK the men how to make the drinks. Does it have foam on it? Is there any milk? Finally, she told Igor the Incompetent to make the drinks and told the two guys to SHOW him how much milk they wanted. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
S wanted a decaf sweetened iced Misto (half coffee/half steamed milk over ice). Supervisor Lady looks at me funny and says, “I’m just going to put in iced coffee. That’s just coffee and milk, right? We’ll just give the coffee to you and we have whole milk and half/half over there at the bar and you can put whatever you want in it.
Me: *speechless*
She asks what else I want, I mumble something about a tea-lemonade and she asks me three times if I want it sweetened and three times I say NO. (no one else is in the store at this point)
So I pay for…whatever we’re getting, and then she goes to the fridge and frets to me that it doesn’t look like they’re going to have enough iced coffee for the first drink. (Um…) She holds up a tall-sized cup (I ordered grande) 3/4 full of coffee with no ice. So my eyes go up to the board above her head to check how to make a Misto, and I’m like, “Well, isn’t it half coffee and half milk? So wouldn’t that fill a grande size halfway up?” (AND AREN’T YOU FORGETTING ABOUT DISPLACEMENT OF FLUID WHEN ICE IS ADDED, OR DID YOU NOT FINISH HIGH SCHOOL?). 
Anyway, she hands it over to Igor the Incompetent, who is also in charge of my tea-whatever-I’m-getting, and he gives me a cup of cold coffee with ice in it — and “room for cream”. And Supervisor lady makes him announce it – like a good barista. So at this point I need to leave or I might go behind the counter and steam the milk and make my own damn Misto, so I go dump half/half and two packets of splenda in S’s drink, and carry it to him in the parking lot and tell him I don’t even know what the hell just happened, but here’s a drink.

THE END. Starbucks — I know you’re going through some rough times, but PLEASE don’t die. We’ve had such a good thing going…I only cheat on you at the local places once in a while. Sniff.

BBI = Inconclusive.


My revision….~*drumroll*~ is done. 

MIND FIRE Pages Revised :

Zokutou word meter
244 / 244

Ended up adding about 1700 words, for a final count of 59,759.

Now it’s off for first-round-catch-the-embarrassing-stuff family review (thank you sis!), and then…real crits.

My head just exploded.

X-Files & SHOES

Went to see X-Files: I Want to Believe last night (Eeeeeeeeee!!!). It was SHORT, but sooooo good, although it felt a bit like another tv episode and less like a feature film. But it was SO cool to see Scully and Mulder again that I DID NOT CARE. In my completely biased opinion, X-Files is one of the best tv shows ever made. It had a little bit of everything – scariness, humor, drama, the unexplained, and thought-provoking complicated plots. Thank you, Chris Carter. But I MISS IT.

Also…we were killing a bit of time before the movie started, and I am in need of a pair of shoes to wear with a bridesmaid gown (I had no training in how to be a girl growing up, so can anyone tell me – is it ok to wear black shoes with a navy blue dress?). So we wandered into a little shoe shop downtown and I found these:

Which are green patent and do NOT go with the navy bridesmaid dress. BUT they’re sooooooo cute. And they were 50% off, so I got ‘em in black too. Damn Gemini tendencies. However…we did a bit of walking after that, and I now have blisters on each foot the size of a sixth toe. And they felt so comfortable in the store…so I have invested in some bandaids and am determined to wear these until they are tolerable, or until part of my foot dies and sloughs off. 

I have possibly the worst legs ever bestowed on a woman, so when I find a shoe that even mildly disguises that problem, I have to get it. But S watched me hobble and sob to the car at the end of the night and thinks I am crazy. I pointed out that they merely needed to be broken in and this was NOTHING compared to Chinese foot-binding. Besides, they’re SO CUTE!

Revision Progress

Quick progress report…

MF Pages Revised:

Zokutou word meterZokutou word meter
159 / 244

I’m trying to buckle down and finish this ASAP. I keep getting hung up in places that need lots of work, but then it is so magical blowing through pages and pages that don’t need a thing and make me smile. Yay. But seriously, bed at 1:30AM and rise at 6:00AM, not cool. I’ve got to finish this if only so i don’t fall asleep on the road…Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz……………………

Back to silence…


So…anybody else here hang out on Twitter? I was sitting on a seedy street corner with Courtney Summers and she promised it would take me places I’ve never been. Now I’m thinking about having a direct line inserted into my vein. Seriously, the coolest thing is that It makes it easy to keep up with people while you are bogged down halfway through a revision. :)

And honestly, trying to come up with an answer to “What are you doing?” in 140 characters or less is simply an awesome writing exercise.

So make like REM: Follow Me, Don’t Follow Me: 

It’s your choice…but duuuuude, you gotta try it. Totally twittery… ;)

Radio Silence / Buried Under Dogs

Honestly I doubt anyone’s missing my amazingly insightful and esoteric posts and comments, but I’ve been scanning through everyone else’s posts that I’ve missed recently and trying to catch up on some comments, and just don’t want anyone to think I have disappeared into cyberspace – does anyone call it that anymore? 

My revision is going well. Here is an excerpt from my notes: 

-Ok listen: tomorrow just save as a new experimental doc and rewrite the scenes. Most can be cut and pasted around. Just mention the TK, but don’t fully explain.

F*CK F*CK. This is going to change the car ride and Addy’s thoughts along the way too. Are you sure this is right???

Okay, rewrite ONLY the scene in the woods – just that to start. See if IT works better.

If it does, slam head into desk and do the others too.

-But there isn’t time for this in woods – Addy is only sneaking away. Can’t say TK without MUCH explanation. Need more time. (Course, this is a prob in mall too – but she gets in trouble then).

So yeah, just when you think all you have to do is proofread, these scenes you forgot all about from the beginning of your novel come back and bite you in the arse. Hard. 

Oh, and some months ago I agreed to take care of my friend’s dogs.

Easy enough, right? Except she’s super-dog-lady and I am now running a canine intensive care unit. And trying to revise. I have a really old great pyrenees of my own, and a 5-yr-old standard poodle. For the next TEN days I also have in my house two yellow labs (shedding machines), one of which has cancer, and a one-eyed newfoundland. And my two cats. Oh, and two of the dogs eat raw meat for their food and require ginormous amounts of supplements that she very sweetly arranged into four different SMTWTFS granny boxes – for each dog. There’s more, but I’m starting to sound whiney. I love this friend and she’d do the same for me in a heartbeat. They are all very nice dogs and obviously I love animals – it’s mostly the time-suck of making sure everyone gets fed/medicated/pottied…and then there will be “accidents.” 

Anyway, if anyone is wondering…this is where I am. I have lofty goals of finishing my revisions this weekend since I’m kind of tied to home anyway…HA. We’ll see about that. I stand at 40% – paralyzed, cutting and pasting… See you soon world…

Write. Reverse. Delete. Repeat.

Since I’m spending so much time revising and thus, trying to make each sentence in my MS just right, I thought it might be worth mentioning what I have slowly discovered this past year or so… Sometimes all the right words are already on the page – just in the wrong order. I like to blame this on fatigue, or perhaps mild dyslexia, or both. If it gets late enough and I start typing with my eyes closed, the tsegnarts things come out. 

Frex: I just spent a good twenty minutes angsting over one weensy line of dialogue at the end of a chapter. You know – those lines that need to say more than all the ones written between it and the first line? So I cat-napped on my keyboard, kicked off my shoes and walked around barefoot, went into the kitchen to hold the conversation with myself in the dark, drank some ice water to try to wake up, and finally sat back down. Then I switched the beginning of the line to the end, and the end to the beginning. It works. Or at least, tonight it does.

So if you’re having trouble trying to say what you want to say – take a good look at what’s already there. Take an earlier paragraph and plunk it later. Move the dialogue closer together. Delete something! Or rearrange your sentences. Then you can have a bruised forehead like me from smacking yourself, saying “Doh!” 

And then, you move on to the next page…

Down In It

I feel a bit guilty about choking off the oxygen to my blog, but these revisions are owning me. And I realized today that I haven’t cleaned off my desk in…longer than I’m willing to say…because ofthis BOOK. Agh! Luckily, S respects this as my space and doesn’t care if I crap it up (the food table is another thing). But today I stepped back for a minute and felt the shame. I MUST finish revising so I can send this thing off for crits and rent an EXCAVATOR.

Just to expose myself completely to head shakes and tsk tsks, there are at least three months+ of bank statements and a wedding invite RSVP I haven’t sent yet in that thing on the wall (I’m IN that wedding – so um, yeah)…There are Christmas cards, receipts, bills (paid/unpaid), uncountable sticky notes on every surface available (I have a sticky note problem – I stick sticky notes to sticky notes – I have a notebook that I write stuff in, and then stick sticky notes on top of the pages), a three pount free weight, two car registration renewals, an extra laptop battery, a christmas ornament, a birthday hat for my dog, a baseball hat I got for free, ~10 CDs in boxes, 2 loose, a copy of UGLIES I heart too much to put away, oh — and LOTS of CAT HAIR.

I know what you’re thinking…what about that nice black file cabinet…hmmm? I think it rusted shut.

Insulting Neil Gaiman

Last night I dreamed that I left a Tori Amos concert to run to the bookstore (???)… 

I wasn’t going to be gone long, but when I got there, I found out Neil Gaiman’s new book, The Graveyard Book, had been released early. A helpful bookseller said I should get in line because Neil Gaiman was there in the store doing a signing, (!!!) I figured it would be too long a line and I wanted to get back to the concert, but then she pointed out the line only had about five people in it, so…

Here I should mention that I was sitting in my office chair from home this whole time – wheeling around the store. So I asked the lady to help me get the chair through the stacks, and I got in line. And there he was, signing books, with only five people in front of me! And then they were suddenly gone and I didn’t know what to say! 

He asked which book I wanted since I wasn’t holding one, and I said, “Any one will do.” (eeeek!) and then he went on about it not being worth the shipping to get such and such or something, and finally signed a copy of The Graveyard Book for me. I was feeling bad that i hadn’t read the new book yet (even though it had just been released that day), but in real non-dreaming life, I’ve been listening to him on audio a lot (HIGHLY reccommend!). So I told him I listened to his audio…and that I really enjoyed it…except, I said, “You do a really bad English accent.”


I don’t remember how he reacted, but I quickly corrected myself and said, “I meant to say you do a bad American accent!” (Awesome! I put my foot in my mouth in my own dreams!!) I back-pedaled, trying to explain myself and not being able to because I really don’t think this at all and I don’t know why I said it! At that point, I think he wanted me to leave, so he began chatting with the booksellers, and I began to wheel pitifully away in my office chair, feeling stupid that I ruined my one and only chance to speak to Neil Gaiman.

This one goes in the nightmare folder. *sigh*