Monday, October 30, 2006

Comic Relief on a Monday

It's a beautiful fall day here in Washington. Clear blue skies, temps are mild, leaves are falling. I am stuck in an office.

Luckily, this morning I saw a quote by K-Fed to bring a smile to my face. I know it's dangerous terrority to associate K-Fed with Taco Bell. But I do. I mean, K-Fed and Brit love them some TB. We'll recall: photags have oft-snapped pics of Brit carrying in Taco Bells. K-Fed thought he'd stun the country with his devotion to a good work ethic by declaring that he doesn't want his kids to live off their mama's money--that's his business--but instead intends for them to learn a hard day's work through the toil of a taco bell grill. So, as I am wont to do, I'll use this quote as an opportunity to incorporate my love of celebrity knowledge into this blog.

K-Fed: 'If you want to hate me, cool, hate me'

POSTED: 4:04 p.m. EDT, October 26, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) -- Kevin Federline, aka K-Fed and Mr. Britney Spears, says he shrugs off his naysayers.

"If you want to hate me, cool, hate me," Federline, 28, says in an interview posted Thursday on People magazine's Web site. "You know why? Because all it's going to do is help me."

Federline, an aspiring rapper, has been aggressively promoting his debut album, "Playing With Fire," set for release October 31. Amid a chorus of boos, he was body-slammed by wrestler John Cena in an October 16 appearance on USA Network's "WWE Monday Night Raw." And don't forget his panned performance at this year's Teen Choice Awards.

"I know who I am," says Federline, who promises the album will show his "edgy side."

Last month, he portrayed an arrogant teen on CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

"I shocked myself," he tells People. "There were parts that I wish I would have done different, but there are parts that really took me, like, 'Wow, did I do that?' I looked at myself and I was like, 'It looked good. It looked perfect."'

Spears, 24, and Federline were married in September 2004. They have two sons, Sean Preston, 1, and a son born September 12, whose name was revealed to be Jayden James. The couple have not confirmed the name.

Federline also has two children from a previous relationship.

"It's just time to get my stuff down while they're young, so I can sit back and watch them grow up," he says.

He doesn't really like himself much, does he?


Friday, October 27, 2006

I Desperately Want to Try the Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Those commercials kill me. So much cheese and crunch.

Note to self and all: this promotional item ends November 19. Even though I haven't tried it yet, I suppose I should start the petitioning to bring it on as a permanent menu item, eh? I am a very busy woman, but I must remember my priorities.

That's all.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

“It’s not about creating adobo burritos”

I found this quote in an article about Taco Bell inflitrating the Philippines.

The article is lengthy and I am going to paste it below and no one will read it. Suffice to say: they are pumped about their Taco Bells. Apparently many Filippinos have had Taco Bell in the U.S. and return home, commenting to all their family and friends "The U.S. isn't too shabby--some parts are quite beautiful, actually, but it's nice to be back home. Except...except the U.S. has this restaurant which serves delicious tacos and burritos and other strange conncoctions for very little money, and in the two weeks I was visiting, I became addicted. Oh that the Philippines had a Taco Bell! Those Americans are so spoiled!" Or something like that.

Oh, also, in the last paragraph, you'll read that the Taco Bells in the Philippines have Churros with chocolate dip. say what? we don't have that!

If you don't read the article in its entirity (which you should--it's interesting), just know that this article in long and appeared on page 2 of the Philippine Daily Inquirer's "metro"-like section. They are taking this introduction of the Taco Bell to their society very seriously. Much respect.

The Mexican returns –and is here to stay

By Belle V. BondocInquirerLast updated 09:28pm (Mla time) 10/25/2006

Published on Page C2 of the October 26, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

IN the early’80S, Taco Bell, the United States-based Mexican fastfood chain known for its hearty sandwiches, tried to get a foot in the Philippine food business. But the initial attempt failed, for whatever reason.

Several years later, Taco Bell is back and the market is apparently more welcoming. Opening its first restaurant in October 2004 in Gateway Mall in Araneta Center, Taco Bell hasn’t looked back and seems to be here to stay. It now has four outlets serving Mexican food at affordable prices.

“The market has transformed and Mexican food is getting a much better response now,” said Aidan Hay, director of new business development for YUM! restaurants for Asia Pacific. Taco Bell is a subsidiary of YUM!, also the parent company of Pizza Hut and KFC.

Hay was in town recently to check the overall operations of local outlets. He visits the Philippines once every two months to make sure the local team has all the resources it needs to meet the restaurant’s objective.

“Understanding the needs of the consumers, knowing what they want, is what makes restaurant business successful,” said Hay.

For Taco Bell, location is a major consideration, spelling the difference between success and failure.

“We wanted to position the brand to people who want to break their habit, their routine, people who are craving for something new,” said Hay. “It’s not about rice and chicken every single day, it’s about trying something different.”

The food chain plans to open more branches, targeting major cities like Makati and Mandaluyong, and the new SM Mall of Asia.

Tasty snacks

With more and more Filipinos traveling, many have become familiar with the brand and acquired a taste for Taco Bell, especially those who have been to the United States.
The Mexican franchise is widely recognized for its tacos, burritos, fajitas and wraps. Its bestseller obviously is the taco, with its generous and extra-flavorful toppings.

The Grilled Stuft Burrito, with different exciting flavors, is another bestseller. The restaurant also serves the most authentic-tasting nachos in town.

Taco Bell also tries to accommodate the Filipinos’ love for rice with its Border Bowl, rice with different toppings like beef and chicken, beans, three-cheese blend, tomatoes, spring onions and creamy jalapeño sauce.

Although the food at Taco Bell can be customized (more/less stuffing-vegetables, cheese, salsa) it will not be localized, Hay said. “It’s not about creating adobo burritos,” he said. “What we’re trying to do is develop our products to become more acceptable to the local market like adding more flavors and variations so customers will have more options, but the original taste and quality of the brand remain.” The restaurant uses the same standard recipes used in the US.
Hay said their products were probably among the healthiest. And “we’re bringing in our new salad for the health-conscious diners,” he said.

Value meals

This month, the franchise is introducing the Crunch Wrap Supreme, the newest addition to its menu.

It also offers the Big Bell Value menus ranging from P39 to P69. A regular taco and a drink are available for P49. The Mexican Pizza costs P99 as does the Border Bowl.

Also on the menu, among others, are Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, Meximelt (warm and soft flour tortilla with seasoned ground beef, a blend of three-cheese and fiesta salsa melted to perfection) and steak or chicken Quesadillas. Sides and desserts include Nachos Supreme, Refried Beans, Cinnamon Twists and Churros with Chocolate Dip.

Want customers to have an all-around pleasurable experience? Taco Bell’s design tries to create a relaxed and fun ambience where friends and family can enjoy a variety of traditional and innovative creations.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


The word vacation is so pre-mid 2006.

Have you noticed? Now's it all mancation, mancation, mancation. Well, I would like to introduce the sister of the mancation: womancation. And I am going on one tomorrow. Upstate New York, Vermont, back to upstate New York. It will include a long car ride, cheetos, after peak leaves, delicious dinners, cheese, wine, cozy fires, chocolate, brunches, a few factory tours (magic hat and ben and jerry's), baking, music, freeze dancing, hopefully a cheesey gordita crunch, and--best and most important of all--some wonderful, wonderful girlfriends.

The only downside: no access to the world wide web. okay, that's not such a bad downside. y'all will just have to watch grey's anatomy and think about taco bell on your own for a few days. or you can just think about my enjoying dear wilco and then flying off to a long weekend of fabulous fun.


Delicious as an Enchirito? Installment X

Delicious as an enchirito? Dare I say: more so? I do.

And guess who's seeing them tonight? at a great, relatively small venue?
yes, indeed.

for those of you who envy my good fortune,'s all songs considered is recording it so you can hear it anytime in the next year.

I will say, in advance, though: the show was GREAT!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

News Flash: Cheesy Gordita Crunch is Back!

Perhaps you've seen commercials in recent days--they've been all over the MLB playoff game waves.

I didn't have the cheesy gordita crunch the first time it came round but you best believe i am going to try it this time. it looks DELICIOUS!!!

And, as you'll read in the article below, Taco Bell has introduced another "name that slogan" contest. Please enter should the delight of this cheesy goodness inspire you.

Taco Bell Brings Back the Cheesy Gordita Crunch

Announces Search for the Cheesiest Pick up Lines

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--What’s wrapped up in chewy, melted cheesy goodness, and delivered with a nice crunch inside?

For millions of “Cheesy G” lovers, the answer is the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, one of Taco Bell’s most popular limited time offer menu items ever, which makes its long awaited return October 16 through November 19 at participating Taco Bell restaurants nationwide.

For millions of singles, the answer lies in another unforgettable yet cheesy moment: the pick up line. To celebrate both, Taco Bell today announced a nationwide online search for the cheesiest pick up lines that marks the return of the Cheesy Gordita Crunch, undoubtedly one of cheesiest—and crunchiest— items ever to grace the Taco Bell menu.

Beginning today, Cheesy G fans can go to to submit their cheesiest pick-up lines for a chance to win a month’s supply of Cheesy Gordita Crunches ($50 in Taco Bell Bucks). Taco Bell will announce a winner a week for four weeks, with one grand prize winner earning the chance to win a year’s supply of Taco Bell ($350 in Taco Bell Bucks).

“We’re challenging Taco Bell customers to be as cheesy as our Cheesy Gordita Crunch,” said Bill Pearce, Chief Marketing Officer of Taco Bell Corp. “There was a clamor to bring this product back to our menus and we have responded to our fans with a chance to win a year of free food.”

Layered with chewy Gordita flatbread, a Beef Crunchy Taco and a blend of three melted cheeses in between, the Cheesy Gordita Crunch delivers a combination of flavors and textures that only Taco Bell can offer. The Cheesy Gordita Crunch is available for a limited time for a suggested retail price of $1.49.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A Friend After My Own Heart...Sorta

From the Smoking Gun:

OCTOBER 13--A New Mexico woman was arrested last week after she allegedly hid a hypodermic needle filled with heroin inside a Taco Bell burrito and tried to deliver the contraband to a friend held in a city jail. Rosemary Gonzales, 42, was nabbed last Friday after a jail guard at the Espanola lockup discovered the hypo hidden amongst the contents of a Burrito Supreme (friends are allowed to bring food to inmates at the small jail). As seen in the evidence photo below, the works were nestled inside a flour tortilla along with beans, rice, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and a tangy red sauce. A second police photo shows a close-up of the confiscated needle. According to a statement of probable cause, the hypodermic's brown liquid contents were field tested by cops and came up positive for heroin. Gonzales, pictured in the above mug shot, was charged with bringing contraband into a prison, a felony, and jailed in lieu of $5000 cash bond.

Hilarious, no? Now, if I were this friend in jail, Rosemary would definitely have my back: Taco Bell delivery. Maybe jail isn't all bad. And a Supreme Burrito sans meat. Maybe there wasn't room for the meat, what with the syringe of heroine. That's where the "sorta" in the subject's statement derives.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Why Beanie Babies?

whipcreamy and I just discussed beanie babies.
when was the last time you thought about them? been awhile, probably, but even at the height of this craziness, didn't you wonder "why beanie babies?"

since my blog doesn't allow for random discussions but whipcreamy's "fartless thoughts" one is devoted to that topic, please see her post on beanie babies which she'll discuss by Monday.

I googled beanie babies for a picture of this madness and found this picture which, while not a beanie baby, is far more funny--and, if possible, more twisted.

And what i love about finding this picture, purely coincidentally and absurdly, is that it includes beans. taco bell=beans. things come together even when i didn't foresee a connection. Such a coincidence, which i'll allow you to call brilliance, is part of my plan to make amends for some unfilfulled blog promises.

I am going to take this picture one step further, perhaps too far: some sicko is about to eat this baby and these beans on the spoon. The beans look tasty, the baby cute but not what i would call "tasty". Do you think conservatives have used this picture in advertisements to aliken pro-choice advocates to baby eating monsters? We spice up those babies real good! I mean, we all know they like to say proponents of civil rights are actually just looking for a good, substantive meal. I wouldn't put it past ol' Pat Robertson.

So there. this was going to be a short post but get the mental juices flowing and suddently we're not just talking beanie babies but beans and politics. Unfortunately, I can't think of a clever way in which to incorporate Grey's Anatomy.

I've Docked My Pay

Apparently I don't even like myself as my own authority figure. I've noted my slacker tendencies hitting up the quality of this blog in recent weeks, and in doing so, asked forgiveness and made necessary apologies, explanations, and amends.

My Grey's Anatomy summaries have taken a big hit. I promised to do better. I missed last night's show. Ironically, though, I missed it for Taco Bell. When two worlds I thought fit together so well--what with the universal love for both--end up clashing, I must question my very purpose.


1. I taped Grey's. I'll watch it right after work. Or maybe tomorrow. But in time for a Monday post.
2. I hadn't been to Taco Bell in so long that i had the following: 2 bean burritoes, a crunchwrap (the crunchy shell in the middle was a little stale), and split an enchirito. And I didn't even feel sick. Impressive? I'll say. I love impressing myself.
3. Afterwards, I chatted it up with a friend for a number of hours, reaching home too late and too tired to give the episode my full attention. Respect, yo.

However, I am going to make some predictions about what happened last night:
1. meridith has a pregnancy scare (okay, i saw it in the preview). prediction: not pregnant but this forces her to think a little bit harder about choosing between derek and finn. if she were preggers, whom would she want to be the babydaddy?
2. burke progresses. christina is happy.
3. callie and george make up. callie find her own place, that's not in the hospital.
4. addison sends mcsteamy packing. again. again, he stays. she relents.
5. izzy makes it back to the hospital. she's not immediately given her job back. perhaps they put her on administrative duty. no, i don't really think that. i don't know. there has to be more drama than just giving her her job back, though.
6. alex. oh alex. he's an ass this week because he was cool last week and they can't make him cool and thoughtful all the time. i am going to guess he and addison have words.
7. miranda. maybe she becomes hard-ass again. i hope so.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Another Reason I Should Fire Myself

I have been seriously lax on the Grey's Anatomy recaps. I apologize. The first episode was god-awful. There's no way I could stomach recapping that mess.

The second week was better. Anne did a synopsis. I was sick and throwing pity parties. Good excuse.

But last week...NO excuse, and I can't remember it well enough to do it justice. It was a good episode. Ol' Alex came through in the end, when needed, per usual. He's such an ass but he really does think about things and do the right thing when no one else will. And part of his medical plotline was with the girl from Little Miss Sunshine. She's adorable, and I want to adopt her. But I guess she has parents or at least more money than me so maybe she can take care of me...well, anyway, I digress. Even though she wasn't wearing those great red cowboy boots on this episode, I found her terribly endearing.

Back to Grey's: Meridith is annoying! who knew? oh, everyone.
Christina is still selfish. but yes, i still think she the comic relief in a very unconventional way. i laugh anyway.
Addison: back to the ole lovah. Or not. I guess he's sticking around in the hotel for a bit, hoping to win her heart. Will she leave the show? I think she should go back to New York. How awkward to work in the hospital with your ex-husband and possibly his former and future girlfriend?
Burke: poor guy. he's depressed. he'll get better thanks to the raw chicken christine brought home for him to disect. awwwwwwwwwww, she's not always selfish.
Izzy: she's not wearing make up or doing her hair and she looks great. kudos. guess she doesn't feel great, though. maybe tonight she'll make it in the hospital to beg for her job.
Miranda: she's gone soft. I am a little disappointed.
George: still not standing up to Callie. or anyone. I liked Callie in this episode. Who knew she'd grow on me? She does weird things, though. And George really needs to get it together with that hair. It's terrible.

Arlington, VA, let me count the ways I love you...

1. the taco bell on Wilson Blvd is AWESOME. it's so clean and big and colorful. it has ample parking. sauce packets galore. sporks and knives, too. You have given DC a run for its reputation in this regard.

2. hmm...that is the only regard. But I don't mean to diss. It's a good one reason if anything can only have one loveable reason. Some might insist that Arlington Cemetary should be number 2. Well, they'd have a valid point. It is a beautiful place. But it smacks of the existance of war. I don't need that on list of love.

I'm going today. This is the Sunday afternoon raincheck coming into play (i.e. my stomach). As I mentioned last week, I haven't been in some time. It's embarrassing: embarrassing enough to declare that I don't deserve to be manager of this blog? Eh...let's not take it there. It's the only job I've really liked. I am going to keep it.

I made a wicked good but ridiculously healthy black bean soup at the beginning of the week. I've been eating it once, sometimes twice a day. I am ready for some unhealthy beans but miraculously not ready to give up beans. I take pride in that devotion. Props, please.

You Know Republicans Are Scared When...

one feels it necessary to use this line in defending his party:

"Dennis Hastert didn't kill anybody."

Rep. Christopher Shays, far from the baddest of the bunch, spoke these words yesterday proceeding the following:

"I know the speaker didn't go over a bridge and leave a young person in the water, and then have a press conference the next day," the embattled Connecticut congressman told The Hartford Courant in remarks published Wednesday.

WOW, right? If one were thrown into the world of politics, not having read upteen polls showing Republicans falling out of favor with a majority of voters, one would still find this line of reasoning quite desperate, I think. and i find it HILARIOUS, which is why, though it does not fall into anything relating to a certain delicious Mexican fast food establishment, I want to highlight it.

I don't have enough faith in the goodness and sensibility of American voters to expect some heartening election results on November 7 so I must delight in whatever possible before yet another November doomsday.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

It's a Beautiful Thing...

When former BFFs find their way back to each other. Looks like Nicole put some mad lipstick on after the reaquainted former and famous friends had dinner together. Oh wait, no, she just didn't eat dinner.

However, these two gals, back in the day, used to laugh it up, talk smack, say dumb things, etc etc while enjoying Taco Bell. That was when Nicole ate. Who knew Paris would be a good influence on her? Okay, there must be another explanation. But who knows--maybe Paris can bring her back into the world of the size 0, a size that currently falls off her body. IN any case, I am not going to say these two deserve each other because they are both terrible people. Terrible people don't deserve good people but they don't deserve the company of other terrible people either. But I guess if it ends in us getting to see a photo of them in the Taco Bell drive-thru, I can deal.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What Dreams Mean...

I am not sure what they mean sometimes. That might be for the best because while I don't remember most of my dreams, a good percentage of the ones I do might indicate that I have no life.

Not that I mean to start another pity party on the blog. I know there's been a lot of that lately--sure it's funny and entertaining, but we all know there's a little more to it than that.

What I do mean to do is tell you that I had yet another dream about Taco Bell this weekend. To rationalize the sadness of this statement--that there is actually much truth to the name of this blog--I must say that making plans to go to Taco Bell on Sunday for lunch with Hope was one of the last things I did before falling asleep Saturday night.

The dream: Hope leaves me a message Sunday morning, saying she wouldn't be able to go to Taco Bell because she had to go shopping for things for her kitchen. I replied to this message with a text message reading: "that is just sooo mean." really, that's exactly what it said. End of dream.

So I wake up Sunday, remember this dream, and am sorta mad at Hope. You know--when you have a dream that you are mad at someone, it lingers a bit even though sad instigator is actually completely innocent.

And, it turned out for this reason and that, Hope had to have breakfast with her dad, we couldn't have dinner together, and so we didn't go to Taco Bell. Dreams often ring of such truth, eh? So I told her about the dream, and we made plans for later in the week--plans I will relay should they come to fruition.

And I really don't dream about Taco Bell ALL the time.

For instance, Saturday night I also had a dream that Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes had died. I read a number of obituries about his death yet it didn't hit me as reality until I read an article about him. Of course there was sadness and guilt to go along with that. I've long worried he is going to drink himself to death and that I need to write him a letter, telling him to stop for the love of...well, music and me, I guess. Then, in my dream, I remembered the profile Erin recently did for me on myspace (I don't have the patience to fill out profiles nor do I like myspace but it's handy to have an account). In any case, Erin answered the question "whom i want to meet" (actually it says "Who I'd Like to Meet" which is SHOCKING. everyone and her mother is on myspace and no one has prompted this company to change a blatant grammatical error? oh computer techs, why do you make so much more money than me?)...anyway...she writes "Conor Oberst so I can save him from drinking himself to death." Very true. But in my dream I put on the in my head to do list "change myspace profile. it's too late." Sad stuff, eh?

So see, I have other dreams that don't involve Taco Bell. Unfortunately they don't reveal a whole lot going on upstairs either. Ah...maybe tonight.

State Capitals Take Themselves VERY Seriously

A headline in Jefferson City, MO's News Tribune:

Taco Bell's new Missouri Boulevard store to be new prototype

I know it's not grammatically incorrect to use the same adjective twice in a sentence. But it should be. And for a headline. Tsk tsk tsk. If I was in cynical and bitter mood, I'd write a rant about the unfairness that I probably couldn't get a job with this newspaper because I have no official journalism experience and yet it publishes articles by "journalists" who love the word "new". And then I'd go on to complain about how these people are fulfilling their dreams and have a career and probably make more money than me and they can't even write well. Then part of me would remember that some of the blame lies in my lack of ambition and inability to commit and well, things would go downhill from there.

Luckily, I am not feeling all that cynical this Monday morning when most people have the day off to celebrate Indian killer Christopher Columbus while I sitting at my desk on a BEAUTIFUL and warm fall day.

And before I end this non-rant rant, let me share the first line of the announcement:

"Border Enterprises announced a new Taco Bell restaurant will be built on the present site at 2605 Missouri Boulevard."

wow! the verb "to be" is so cool! If I went to journalism school, I could have learned to insert it in every sentence.

Anyway, back to happier thoughts: I haven't heard that this "new prototype" will hit up any dc metro area Taco Bells and if I don't before Christmas, you best believe I am taking the two hour drive from St. Louis to Jeff City for a little bean burrito, hi state capital fun.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How Hard Must a Girl Blog to Get a Job?

Apparently it takes more than 176 posts because that's how many times I've posted about Taco Bell (or something) and while a large percentage of those posts have been complimentary of all things Taco Bell, I have yet to receive a job offer from the Irving Headquarters or, at the very least, a year's supply of free YUM! brands. I think I deserve it. BUt then again, I think I deserve a lot of things I don't have. I probably shouldn't start in on that discussion. It is a slippery slope to doomsday and locking myself in my apartment this rainy weekend. I don't want to encourage that.

Which brings me back to the very specific topic at hand: how much heart and time and energy does a girl have to throw into a company in order to receive a handsomely paid and creativity-based job? I can't give anymore, Taco Bell. And please don't tell me I just need to "apply" for a position. What I want is beyond an established position. I want to do exactly what I do now only for money and healthcare, I will stay home all day and write and research and promote Taco Bell. Hell, I'll even go around to Taco Bells and test the food, serving compliments and complaints for the betterment of the company.

My friend Jen saw a briefcase on the baggage carosel recently with a Taco Bell Corporate Headquarters tag, clearly to belonging to a higher-up in the company. Obviously, she hoped to search him out, give him my business card, complete with blog site, and set me up with a nice pension plan. Unfortunately, I do not have said business cards. I will take the blame for that downfall in my plan.

The Taco Bell Headquarters sound like a lot of fun! I read this on the website today, highlighted are the reasons why I am envious and will cry over my next enchirito because I will never live in Irving, CA with all the beans and money I could ever want:

We spend nearly a third of each day, every Monday through Friday, toiling away at work. Some of us make the widgets; others sell them. And then there are those who manage the makers and the sellers. If everyone does his job and gets along, work can be just fine. But when work is about more than the making and the selling – when a group of like-minded people commit to the company mission with passion and dedication and enthusiasm – a workplace can be transformed into a destination where everyone finds fulfillment. Here are our editors’ picks for our ninth annual list of the Best Companies to Work for in Orange County.

Taco Bell Corp.Founded: 1962Headquartered:
Irvine Leader: Emil Brolick, president
Employees: 550 at the Restaurant Support Center in Irvine; 150,000 company-wideRevenue: $6.2 billion
Best Perk: A colorful, whimsical work environment that inspires creativity and contentment

From the outside, Taco Bell’s 20-story headquarters on Von Karman looks like any other contemporary corporate tower, but it’s a party inside. The lobby is Disneyesque, both retro and futuristic, with sleek curves and a pictorial timeline of the company, which was founded in 1962 on Firestone Avenue in Downey. It is a bright, expansive Southwestern-style room that makes you feel good as you walk through the door, a place where you want to linger.

The colorful restaurant-inspired décor continues on each floor, clearly proclaiming that this is a fun place to work. The Taco Bell Chihuahua and sombrero are enshrined behind glass, while the latest Taco Bell commercials play on video screens.

Each department has its own themed conference room, such as the Hawaiian-inspired Luau Room and the Dug-Out Room with a wall mural of the field at Angel Stadium.

There is a food court in the basement, a gym, a dry cleaner, a travel agent and a car wash.

So why all the emphasis on the environment? Here’s a clue: A recent survey found that 93% of advertising and marketing executives believe office layout, décor and lighting have a significant impact on workplace creativity. And for the 550 people who work here, creativity is the coin of the realm.

This is the brain trust for a 6,200-restaurant empire that is both pop culture icon and economical dining choice. New food items, training programs and marketing campaigns are developed on Von Karman. If innovation fails here, the whole enterprise falters.

So innovation, flexibility and fun are encouraged. The marketing department, for instance, recently took a field trip to Santa Monica during work hours just to see what’s happening out there in the hip world of coastal Los Angeles. “ It was a way to get some fresh ideas and see what is hot,” says Kevin Weissman, director of human resources. “They had an eye out for captivating things to tie our brand to.”

The food innovation department had a tailgate party on the roof of the parking garage on opening day of the baseball season, and the whole company has big blowout parties on Halloween, Christmas and other occasions.

There are summer and holiday hours to allow people more personal flexibility. “For summer hours, you come in 15 minutes early each day during the week and work half an hour later, then take off at noon or 1 p.m. on Friday,” says Weissman. “We do the same thing on holidays, so people can beat the crowds when they are shopping.”

“ Taco Bell knows how important it is to maintain a balance between work and family,” says Senior Manager Fred Gatchell. “The summer hours give me more time for visits with my 80-year-old mother, who has grown fond of the routine. She starts asking me in late spring when the summer hours are going to start.”

The freedom people here enjoy doesn’t transgress on hard work and professionalism, and it has clearly paid off.

“ We have seen sales growth at existing stores for 40 consecutive months,” says Weissman.
Which is another reason it is fun to work here: “It’s fun to work for a winner,” says Rob Poetsch, director of public relations. “This is a great brand.”

“ Fun” is sometimes overrated in the workplace. Loud-laughing, back-slapping co-workers can be more of an annoyance than an incentive. But this place radiates the kind of fun that goes hand-in-hand with light hearts and willing hands.

“ You can’t walk through this building without getting a smile or friendly greeting,” says employee Chris Pizula.

“ Many of the people I work with are good friends – both in and out of the office,” says marketing analyst Suzanne Jarmusz. “They care about my health and happiness. It’s an amazingly supportive, ‘people-first’ environment.”

“ While most workers are wondering if dream jobs exist somewhere over the rainbow, we at Taco Bell are laughing the day away,” adds operations analyst Pam Kalt. “All is well at the bell!”

— By Steve Thomas - OC METRO Magazine

Thursday, October 05, 2006

A few comments on "words"

I want to talk about the "word verification" requirement that sometimes is, well, required when one posts a comment on a blog or buys something online.

Usually they are random sequence of letters. In fact, they are never actually "words". Am I right? Why the misnomer?

Perhaps equally as disturbing: Occasionally I have to get a new sequence of letters (er...a new "word") because I don't type in the letters correctly. I was allowed to graduate from grade school, high school, and college and apparently these letters can still dupe me. Who's to blame? Me? My teachers? My parents?

Nah. I am going to blame it on the computer techs who don't know the definition of a "word".

Despite the Mini-Hiatis, Taco Bell Things Are Happening

They never stop.

I should probably explain the dwindling number of posts to this blog in recent weeks. No, I haven't fallen out of love with Taco Bell and beans and cheese and mild sauce and tortillas and all things delicious.

But honestly, I haven't eaten anything from Taco Bell in awhile. a long while and I guess that, a few bouts of sicknesses and this thing called work and accepting the end of summer has taken its toll not only on my sanity but on my blog. I am ready to jump back into life, though.

And by life I mean:

1. enjoying things outside the confines of my apartment.
2. burritoes
3. playing the "dress the sauce packet" on
4. putting on a sweatshirt and remembering that I've survived the arrival of fall/winter 27 other times in my life so I can do it again.
5. pretending that I am not turning 28 this fall.
6. pretending that everything in my life is COMPLETELY on track with the carefully laid plans I made in my pre-teens (i.e. living alone with cats sans career and graduate degree and dogs and babies).

Alrighty then!
So here are the things Taco-Bell related that have occured recently:

1. I had a dream about Taco Bell the other night. I ordered two burritoes. A lot of other stuff related to TB happened. I woke up--or dreamt that I woke up--and thought, I have to rememeber this. I don't.
2. Whilst sick, my dad reported to me that a friend of a friend cures his sickness by piling 11-12 hot sauce packets from Taco Bell on one TB menu item and it supposedly cures him. I was feeling too sorry for myself to even attempt such a fun cure.
3. I've received a lot of google alerts about recent robberies at Taco Bells throughout the country. Apparently burglers think fast-food Mexican restaurants hold the motherload of cash.
4. One woman was arrested for a DUI after passing out in a Taco Bell drive through.