Interesting goings on at the Bowers… uh… homestead? No… that’s not right—can’t really call a duplex a homestead, now can you? Perhaps the Bowers Compound… my doors are (by fault of design) always locked.

Regardless of what I call my place, it’s been a wild past few weeks. I won’t go into all the hairier bits (the kind you don’t write home about), but I will point out some niceties. Yesterday, a site I helped design (at least structurally—the beautiful graphics belong to my friend Spencer at W) went live. I like how it turned out, and the cause is quite good, so I wish them the best of luck with it.

As some of you may know, I am in “freelance mode” for the time being, until a suitable position comes into sight. While the freedom and “extra time” (hardly… I seem to be busier now than I was when I worked full time) are nice, little things like rent and car payments keep tapping me on the shoulder and saying “G’day… how’s about a dance?” I always hate it when intangible billing procedures ask me to tango…

Some upcoming possibilities to keep your eyes open for: A brand new, featuring stylish new threads, new content sections, and possibly a homegrown, XML-based CMS; One to as many as three spankin’ new podcasts (quite possibly including one teaching interested parties how to create standards-based websites); more crazy antics.

Somewhat of out left field comes today’s experience with Carl’s Jr. CJ is one of my guilty pleasures; for all my talk of healthy eating and organic foods, I love a good Western Chicken sandwich. And, inevitably, I always end up feeling ready to vomit at the end of a good feeding at the troughs of fast food bliss. However, my relationship with CJ is rather love/hate. Specifically speaking, my problems stem from my invariance in ordering and their completely scatterbrained approach to menu changes.

As mentioned, I love a good Western Chicken. It is quite literally the only thing I’ll get at CJ. They, however, seem to think that the Western Chicken isn’t all that popular, and tend to pull it from the posted menu at strategically timed intervals, corresponding to my cravings for said sandwich. However, savvy employees realise that one can make a Western Chicken by simply replacing the beef in a Western Burger with a piece of chicken. Kind of a “well, duh!” realisation, I know. Thus, I usually have no problem getting my grubby lil’ mitts on one… except…

Occasionally, I get the bottom rung employee, manning the register for who knows what reason, and equipped either with non-functioning ears or perhaps a non-existent frontal lobe. Either way, said employee never quite manages to grasp the concept that, despite an item’s absence from the giant illumined menu behind their head, certain items are still on their special touch-pad register and may still be ordered when asked for. What follows is the infuriating conversation that inevitably takes place:

Me: Uh, yes… I’d like a Western Chicken Combo, please.

Employee: A what chicken?

Me: A Western Chicken.

Employee: Oh, you want a Western Burger…

Me: No, no… A Western Chicken. Just like a Western Burger, but with chicken instead.

Employee spins around to check the Irrefutable Illumined Menu God on high…

Employee, still turned: A… charbroiled chicken?

Me, agitated, and looking over to the other employee, wishing for help: Uh… no… it’s not listed on the menu. It’s just a Western Chicken.

Employee returns to the till and scans it a few times, finds a button that seems to fascinate them, then presses it.

Employee, delighted they figured it out: Okay, that’ll be $6.54.

Upon arriving home with the spoils of my victory, I inevitably discover, buried under spilt fries and ketchup packets, a Chicken Bacon Swiss Ranch, or other equally vile concoction, wrapped hastily in paper.

I’m going to Noodles & Company next time…