Monday, January 29, 2024

The Future Is Now And It Weighs Five Hundred Pounds

This is the story of how one woman with a cell phone turned a simple shopping trip into a big weird thing for the employees of WinCo, and bought some vegetables and ramen. And a few canned goods. And pepperoni, and grits.

I love to do photo store tours. The best one I did was way back in the old days on my blog Paul Because 'Paul' is a nice name. That store no longer exists. But it sold pig faces.  It literally sold pig faces.

So with a hearty Hi Ho and three Gabapentin onboard, we leap into the present, and HOLY CRAP here we are, just like magic, right inside the doors of WinCo Foods! 


I would have taken a picture of the outside but it was raining. 

Why did I choose WinCo?  Because it sells the cheapest groceries in town. I always shop here first.

Note the surveillance camera - kind of an egg-shaped half black, half white thingy hanging down top center. They are all over the store.  Do I care?  No. I'm not stealing. I'm not decompensating.  I'm not naked. I am taking pictures...for science. 

As it turns out, WinCo, a store that will literally let whole families come in and eat cheese shreds out of the dairy case, and not turn a hair, was not at all happy about me taking pictures for science. But onward!

Like I said, unapologetically grim. Well-lit, though. They give you a plastic shopping cart. It too is unapologetically grim. HA is what I say to that. And here are all your heavily tattooed working-class people trying to save a buck, and hopefully getting ready to do a little comparison shopping.  

In WinCo, you better go in with a strategy. Yes, there's bargains - good ones - but there's a lot of blatant chicanery too. Right off the bat, the worst, cheesiest, most dishonest thing about WinCo is their store brands. 

Here ^^^  is the store brand of canned soup. A buck twenty-one is on the low side in these here parts. Aha, a bargain, you think.  But if you thought a little more, you'd read the ingredients - and note the weight - and compare that to...

...your basic McDougals Cream of Spider Monkey for a buck seventy-seven.  Same weight. But vastly different in quality. All soups are not created equal. They don't all come from the same factory. In this case you need to pay for that quality and not just go by price. PARTICULARLY when it comes to the WinCo store brand, kids.

Simply put,  Winco's house brand is GARBAGE. And this you'll find with most of the Winco store brand products - they either blow, or they're short-weighted, or both.  

Here's another example of how hard they work you at WinCo: 

Here we have a whole raw chicken in a plastic bag.  And Mr. Chicken (or Ms.) costs 1.38 a pound today, which is a little high for a whole raw chicken in a plastic bag.  Well then, you might say,  I'll  get a rotisserie chicken instead. Screw cooking. 

Hey look!  There's a roasted chicken in a bag!  And it costs...5.98.   -but OK, OK fine, you pay for convenience!

Except that this chicken weighs one pound and thirteen ounces.  
Look at this ridiculous thing.

This is a baby chicken. It is practically foetal. 

....aaaaaaaaaaand this is where I picked up an observer.  WinCo's security call code is 'Meat Section, all Service, line one'. I heard that go out, had time to wonder what was going on, and then realized that I was what was going on when a guy popped out from the back and began to follow me around. And was not at all cool about it. 
Yup.  They called a storewide code on me!

It's kind of an honor.

I decided to take a picture of my shopping basket and then act like I was talking on my phone. Trying to give the impression that I was shopping for someone, you see. Perfectly reasonable. Not a spy sent from Hagens to price-check your starved little rotisserie chickens, or whatever you think I'm doing, WinCo. Geeze.  

So here ^^^ is my shopping so far!  Lots of fresh veggies jammed into the baby seat up there, and a big ol' thing of ramen.  

I do love WinCo for produce. They have the best selection in town except for the Food Co-Op, and you don't have to pay inflated hippie prices either. HA is what I say to hippie prices.     

Now I'm going to digress. And I'm going to do it badly, with lots of side tangents. OK.  This vvv is a picture of the Breakfast Cereal aisle. Just Breakfast Cereals here.  Those huge silver tubes sticking up?  Are filled with vampires. Maybe not. I don't know.   

To the extreme right of shot there are the cereals that can, at a stretch, be described as all-grain. (You can see the things of oatmeal along the bottom. It's a narrow little strip going up from those.) Everything else, literally as far as the eye can see on both sides of this aisle, are sugar cereals. 

This aisle is as long as one city block. No shit.

Now at the very end you can see a big ol' sign that says BULK.  And right underneath that 'Bulk' sign is...

OH YIKES look at this  ^^^  jacked-up picture of the Rice Krispies elfie guys. What happened to them?  They used to be so robust! Now they look like haunted K-pop anorectics. 

OK I'm getting sidetracked. Still, though. WTF, Kellog.

Now here we are finally in the bulk section. And I'm getting sidetracked again.  

I am a huge fan of the WinCo bulk foods section, and if you have a WinCo in your town, you should be too. It is always fresh, usually pretty clean,  and they have an incredible selection.  For spices, definitely. The baking selection is phenomenal.  It's all Bobs' Red Mill products!! HELL YEAH BOBS RED MILL MILWAUKIE yeaaaaaah GO OREGON WOOT WOOT WOOT

They even have twirly rainbow noodles! I always get some.   The good thing about bulk pasta is, even if a little boogery kid has been rooting around in the bin, you have to boil pasta, so you probably won't get a boogery little kid disease from it.

Just purse your lips and whistle, that's the thing!   

So anyway. On with the rant, with a side of surveillance!

The Bulk Foods section means candy in bulk, too. And here right below the 'Bulk' sign at the very end of the Yellow Brick Sugar Cereal Aisle of Valhalla...we find this vvv

Bulk candy.  This display ^^^ is nine feet tall. No banana for scale. Bananas aren't that tall. Anyway this  ^^^ is a nine foot tall wall of candy.  And I have just passed through another aisle in the Bulk Food section to reach this edifice. It is this aisle vvvv which is all candy.

And here we have one of five endcaps in the Bulk Food section. Solid candy.

Oh look.I just turned around and here we have carriers vvv in the middle of the aisle. Twin carriers filled with...what?

^^^^ about that picture:  That guy in the black hoodie center top is the one who came out of the back with a shopping basket and was following me around keeping an eye on me. Man, I had to get a shot of him.  This poor dude. 

OK he turned aside like he was pretending to look at the coffee so I whipped around and took this shot real quick 

Here on these stackers we have yet  more candy  - and in the double carriers just behind it too!       

So what do we have. Hmm. I didn't get pictures of it all because I was pretty distracted by this point. But it comes down to something like this:

One vast aisle filled with sugar cereals.
Two rows, front and back, full of candy.  
All along the back wall, another row. 
A row of double carriers four stacks long. So eight carriers.
Five end caps, all candy.  
One random stack of upside-down candy
Another double carrier behind that. 

I didn't bother getting more pictures of all the random shelf-hangers full of candy scattered all over the store . 
I'm not even counting the two floor-to-ceiling rows of cookies, crackers and chips. 
Or the wall of freezers stocked with ice cream.
Or the huge aisle that's a full city block long and floor the ceiling pop.

 Come on! We wonder why Americans are obese? 


So I am wandering around in WinCo and I am being observed by 'The Meat Department'.   OK then. I', dammit.  Except I don't have much more shopping to do. I got my twirly noodles and have moved on.

As long as I'm near the poultry coolers, I'll take a shot of the giant turkeys.

Now I'm really wishing I had a banana for scale because these things are freakishly huge.  And frozen solid. Like boulders. (That bin is clean; that's just frost.)

This is the smallest turkey in this bin and it's almost twenty one pounds, the size of a one-year-old kid. My daughter was walking already when she was that size. This turkey was too...somewhere in Harbin.

So here I am in the checkout line with my groceries, me and all the other heavily tattooed people. 

Now WinCo is a bargain mart, so yeah, you get the occasional freak job, and yeah, there's roving mutant families; that's anywhere lately. It's not Wal-Mart bad - I refuse to shop there - but it can get lively. Today, I am the lively. Well, I am a little bit of the larger lively. The checkout manager (to my rear, I just passed him) gave me the fisheye and talked into a phone as I pulled into this line, so I smiled....

...then I looked straight up and smiled again and took another picture of their surveillance camera.  
Dammit, I was in a mood by now. Feeling kind of devil may care. Go ahead. I dare you to haul me into the back. Do it. C'mon. 
But they didn't. You know why?
Me either. 


Really, that's it. I bought a few groceries and took a few pictures, and got followed around by store security. 

Isn't the first time. Won't be the last.

Saturday, January 20, 2024

Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Birdy Lingerie

It is a BIRDYPALOOZA out here at the El Apartmento. This morning I had to whip out the Roger Tory Peterson again to identify all the LBJ's out here - and no, sadly, I do not mean our 36th president. Imagine that, though. Lynden Baines Johnson out here in his suit, picking at crap in the snow. It tickles my fancy, let me tell you. No, I mean Little Brown Jobs, which, sadly, is not a double entendre, but IS the name savvy birdwatchers give to the numerous little brown rascals out picking at crap in the snow. I mean bird-rascals, not crackheads or the chick who used to live upstairs. Keep up. 

 This is some random guy. It's not president Johnson. President Johnson is dead.   

Most birdies are in their winter plumage, and most winter birdies are small and brown and quick, and pick at tiny little crap, which makes them really hard to identify, so you have to use binoculars and have your Roger Tory Peterson nearby because those species identifiers are pretty subtle and those birdies don't hang around. They go doink doink doink doink doink just about constantly.  I don't know what their major malfunction is.  I think these birdies drink a lot of coffee. Like way too much coffee.  

Go to any drive-through coffee joint and you'll see hundreds of birdies out picking at crap in the parking lot, and I suspect it's discarded coffee grounds, or maybe ants*, but I want to believe it's discarded coffee grounds, and that the birdies, over the years, got to liking them real well, and now threaten the barristas with Alfred Hitchcock scenarios until they heave out a basket of spent grounds to satisfy the cravings of the flock. Imagine it. Hundreds of tiny birdies hurling themselves at a lone Peek-A-Brew lingerie hut, the screaming, scantily-clad barristas crouched helplessly before the onslaught, when suddenly a window breaks and the first ominous peeping is heard within.


Have you ever been to a lingerie java hut?  It's like almost like patronizing a strip joint, only you get espresso too, and if you're willing to tip they show you a tit, or a little neck, which is awesome. Not that I have ever visited the one out by Lakeway Fred Meyers.  

Here we have something to wake up to that is much safer than patronizing a lingerie java hut being menaced by tiny birdies:

Face it. This is danceable as hell. Go ahead and shake that ass. Or whatever you feel like shaking. In fact, let's ALL get up and dance!  You can wear your old smelly robe if you want! You can even eat a sandwich!

Speaking of djent, now that Ned Beatty's dead, the boys in the holler have time on their hands. Did you remember to worship Les Claypool today? 

Beats the fuck out of facing hordes of caffeine addicted birds in your crotchless undies now doesn't it. 


*It's ants. 

People accidentally drop their chichi espresso drinks on the pavement and the sugary syrups attract ants. Don't tell me you never noticed this at your local drive-through lingerie hut. I mean if you haven't noticed this by now don't go trying to identify presidents in mid-winter because Roger Tory Peterson will beat you over the head with a shoe. 

** With thanks to JON, from whom I ripped off the mashup idea. 


Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Two Birdy Soups Spill The Fleet

 Where have I been? PROCRASTINATING.


BIRDS BIRDS BIRDS Oh  my God birds y'all. 

Quick summon up a map of the Western fuckin' United States.


Now grab your Roger Tory Peterson and flip to 'Birds'. Using the 'Field identification markers' key, turn to 'Birds you don't expect to see in the middle of Winter' and you'll find everything I've been seeing out my back sliders this Winter, and I don't mean the crackheads OR the chick who used to live upstairs from us. No. I mean real birdies with wings and shit.

Today!  Just this past fuckin' day!  I had to drag out my 'Field Guide To Western Birds' four separate times to try and identify the little feathery sapsuckers bouncing around out here in the snow -



It snowed nine inches between 5:a.m. and 8:30. a.m. this morning.  Then the Northeaster began blowing and now it's all polished like alabaster, sticking to the side of the buildings and way too cold outside. I hate snow. 

The Biker slipped and wrenched something in his back and so he stayed home today and got on my last nerve.  Fortunately, God gave us the Irish, and the Irish gave us Bushmills, and I kept pouring with a heavy hand, and the day didn't end in bloodshed. At one point I was describing how the Bronze Age measurement of 'hides' came about and he actually listened. I am still trippin' on this.


The Antiquarian

I have discovered a YouTube channel called The Antiquarian, which is a dude who is an Antiquarian, and he tells you shit about Ancient Stuff in Britain (and sometimes Constantinople.)  I am all about this.  


Holy Shit People Invest In A Lock

Did you know that you can go to these tiny little towns way back lost in Darkest UKzonia and just rock right into a church built in 1 A.D?  and find crazy amazing things like old wooden furniture and carved rood screens and paintings and brasses and HOLY CRAP PEOPLE. Have some pride!  You have a history!  OK FINE maybe you're bored with it by now, but if you don't preserve your material legacy, it makes it all the more possible for your intangible legacy to be erased, and as somebody with no legacy whatsoever, I can safely say to you as a people QUIT BEING SO CASUAL ABOUT THIS STUFF. 

I see tiny fragments of the same kind of stuff on Antiques Roadshow UK that aren't even half as nice, and those things go for one bazillion dollars, and Fiona Campbell says 'What an amazing survival; a striking and poignant window back in time from Northumbria' (or some shit like that.)  Aha, but drive 60k out to East Foreskin, take a left at Least Wappingtits,  and you got a whole different ball game.  

Seriously. Literally. You can go into these places, not a security guard to be seen, no locks, maybe a shitty screen door if that, and whammo, there's a bunch of stuff from 98 A.D. just lying there with bat crap on it, and maybe a week whacker.  WHAT DOES THIS MEAN.  Why is a bazillion dollars worth of amazing stuff just sitting there abandoned, getting shit on by bats?   Dump it all off a logging stage if you don't value it.  It's what we do here. 

Or send it to me.  I will be glad to redecorate in Early Catholic Guilt.