Monday, December 08, 2008

Bum blog

While Christmas shopping the other day, I was reminded of a 2004 visit with family in England for the holiday. Most of my time there is spent with my Aunty Chris and Uncle Ron, a loving couple in their mid-60's who live in Birmingham. Packing up for a long drive to London to visit other family, my Aunt called to me from the car, "Jenn, babe, can you ask your Uncle Ron to bring my bum bag?"

Um, bum bag?

I went into their cozy little house to find Uncle Ron putting the final touches on our sandwiches for the ride (these are people who survived the Battle of Britain - there's no stopping for food on the way when there's plenty to be packed from home). "Um, Uncle Ron? Aunty Chris wants her bum bag," I said, suppressing laughter. He reached into a closet and handed me a fanny pack.

"Ohhhhh," I said, realizing yet another funny British-to-American translation. "In the States, we call these 'fanny packs.'"

"You WHAT?"

"Fanny packs."

"Go tell your Aunty Chris that. She'll love it."

So, off to the car I raced, bum bag/fanny pack in hand. I recounted the story for her and she howled with laughter until tears ran down her cheeks. What could be funnier than the act of actually wearing a fanny pack?

"Oh, Jenn! Do you know what a 'fanny' is in England?"

"Your butt?"

"No, it's your vagina! And it's not a nice word for vagina, either!"

And, so, that's how I learned "pussy" equals "fanny" and not "arse" in England. I thought of this story with fondness as I stood 15-people deep in line at Macy's in Brooklyn the other day (they have a very strict hiring policy: no IQs over 50). In my arms were two LeSportsac fanny packs.

For everyone born after 1930, there awaits a fate that seems as inescapable as BINGO: the fanny pack. What seems open for negotiation is when we decide to start wearing said utilitarian belt. For some, it comes with retirement age; for others (like my good friend Paula), it comes in your 20's shortly after the birth of a child. For me, it looks like it may be as soon as next summer.

While rummaging through the LeSportsac bin at Macy's, I came across a fun, colorful little number called "Frida Vibe." I held it up for inspection and then tossed it back in the pile with disdain: it was, after all, a fanny pack.

Then I thought of Paula, rushing around Coral Gables with her well-worn Gucci fanny pack bursting at the sides with papers, cell phones, keys. "This would make a great Christmas present for her," I thought (ignoring the fact that Paula is a practicing Jew). And so, off I went to purchase the curious item.

The line for the cashier was long so I had plenty of time to ponder the pack. I thought of the song "Camel Toe" by Fanny Pack, a group from Brooklyn that seemed intent on single-handedly making the fanny pack cool just by virtue of their name (note: none of them actually wear a fanny pack).

Then, I was reminded of another group now flying under the radar whose determination to bring back all things gross is a big as its girth: Leslie and the LYs. I couldn't remember if I've seen Leslie rockin' a fanny pack, although it's a very strong possibility. The woman loves gold lame, fringe and your grandmother's sweaters - so why not? Maybe fanny packs are the next big, ugly thing in fashion?

I vote Leslie and the LYs most likely to use Glamour Shots for album covers. Their "Blame the Booty" remix is in heavy rotation on my iPod.

And then the mixture of counter-culture cool and Paula's explanation of the pack's usefulness fused in my brain: perhaps I should have one of these ugly things, too? Why should only Disney tourists and aging queers have them? I examined the pack in my hand and thought of everything I could store in it while say, riding a bike in Central Park (what? I've done it!) or taking in a game?

So, I politely asked the angry customer behind me to hold my place in line while I went back for another pack. I worked quickly not because I worried about losing my spot but because I was afraid to think about what I was doing. I was about to buy a fanny pack, for me.

As I write this, I'm wearing the fanny pack, you know, just to see if I can do it. My man says I look like a gay carpenter.

Me and my new fanny pack (or pussy pack for those in the British Isles).

I'm still unsure of how I feel and wonder if I can manage this in public? The rest of my outfit will have to be really cool so people don't get the wrong idea about me (no black socks with flip flops that day!). Watch for my fanny pack's debut next summer, friends (my man has already warned that no less than 5 feet will be between he and I at all times).

While parading through the apartment just now, I noticed that wearing the fanny pack doesn't make me feel old or gay (like I was afraid it might). And, I now believe that somewhere deep in our Anglo DNA, Americans know that a fanny isn't a butt. How else to explain why we instinctively wear it in the front?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Does this blog match?

I once saw an MTV "True Life" episode about teens with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD for those who haven't spent years talking to shrinks -- um, like me) and I thought, "that sucks, having to count all the jellybeans and color-coordinate them before finally allowing yourself to eat them." What can I say? It was a moment where I felt safe enough in my sanity to feel pity for others more obviously afflicted than me.

So, it was with a little bit of shock the other day that I observed myself experiencing an undeniably OCD moment: On the train, I was filled with glee when yet another person with a red accessory boarded. Unbeknownst to him, the man with the red tote bag was the perfect addition to my already-assembled Red Team lineup. It was all I could do to keep from cheering when he sat RIGHT BESIDE the other Q train passengers who had also decided to wear red AND be on my train that day.

Check it out: Red shoes, purse, tote, jacket, ipod case AND earphones (hard to see but the hipster chick with the BLUE checkered suitcase has these)

"Yeah, yeah," you're thinking, "what's so OCD about noticing patterns?" Well, prior to the Red Team's formation, I had been happily relishing the joys of being on a train where all of the advertisements match. Yup, I take far too much pleasure in boarding a train made up entirely of Budweiser ads (as opposed to those that offer a potpourri of crappy technical school and skin care ads for Dr. Z).

I'm mulling over a petition to the MTA that all subway trains have matching ads like this one. Sorry the photo is blurry but Red Team members were growing suspicious of me, my glee and picture-taking.

I imagine what I felt at that moment--surrounded by a train AND people that matched--was similar to what the chick on MTV felt when she finally ate the jellybeans.

Until then, I never thought that OCD might also be on the menu (throw it in there with ADHD and whatever other acronym you'd like). In my youth, I don't recall having to wait a certain number of times before answering the phone or wearing my Burger King visor at a certain angle before operating the fryer. But, I guess that's my glitch: I fixate on things that match.

I have a very difficult time with the whole hipster paradigm of mismatched outfits. In fact, I'm deeply bothered by the entire population of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I know, I know, they're cool, I'm not. But, the confusion and sadness I feel in Urban Outfitters is not my fault; my wardrobe is limited not by bad taste but results from a psychological disability. And, you know, it really hurts my feelings when I overhear fashionistas say, "ugh, but it's SO matchy-matchy!"

I'm now on high-alert for other OCD symptoms such as checking every 5 seconds to see if the toaster is on fire. The closest I've come to new evidence is calling my Man from midtown the other day to see if I'd remembered to turn the boombox off. It makes me wonder what else is OCD about me?
- That I eat the same salad every night?
- That I've worn the same nail color since '94?
- That I only drink Dunkin Donuts coffee (even in Barcelona - sorry, Marni and Dan, but what were the odds of finding DD in Spain? I had to partake)?
- That I correctly punctuate text messages?

Or, that I always have to end a blog with a witty punchline?

Addendum: Yes, I know I don't really have OCD (more of a self-absorbed hypochondriac than anything). It's just funnier to say that I do. I'm sorry if I offended those who actually have it or know someone who does -- well, I know someone who does, too. He went through a phase where he couldn't open doors with his hands and would wear gloves or open them with his sleeve. Yeah, he was pretty much a freak.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I was a big tease

I think I'm one of the few people who looks at old photos with the same apprehension that plastic surgery patients must have about pre-op snapshots. Instead of "dear God, how did ants never mistake my breasts for home sweet home?!" I have the pleasure of wondering, "Why did my parents keep buying me hair spray?"

Yes, for those who met me after 1991, I was a Jersey Hair girl. No, let's be honest: I did everything but snort Aqua Net. I've never been comfortable with admitting that I had a problem but I was outed on Facebook this week by my HS friend Amy, who posted a photo of me from 11th grade that would make Bon Jovi wince:

I only hope that this look is so 80's that its awfulness can be considered cool.

I honestly don't know what possessed me to do that to my hair. I don't recall anyone ever telling me that it looked good (which should've been a clue). I wish I could remember the acid-wash-wearing person who inspired me (so I can hate them) but I can't. Vats of alcohol left me drowning in dead brain cells so I don't remember much about the 80's, 90's and half of today (let alone which member of Bananarama might've sparked my interest in mousse).

Who's to blame for such a craptastic hybrid of mullet and ladder? I could blame MTV and movies (even pets had big hair back then). I could also blame my friends (let's face it, alleged BFFs: I would've been pretty if it weren't for that rats nest). But, in the hopes of making peace with my past and hair, I'll take the blame. I'm the one who spent hours teasing and sculpting that 4"-closer-to-God helmet, after all.

It's okay, Facebook friends from CSHS, feel free to leave the comments you've all been thinking: "Jesus, her hair looks better now that it's conforming to the law of gravity" or "So THAT'S what her face looks like!" I'm not afraid to talk about the flammable mess that once topped my head.

I mean, really, we all have something we didn't like about ourselves as teenagers (braces, baby fat, acne, bad makeup, ugly clothes, etc). Anyone who looks at their yearbook without cringing is either a liar or an asshole. Seriously, if you were perfect in high school, FUCK YOU (I probably wasn't friends with you then, either).

But back to the healing process...thanks, Amy, for helping me see that no matter how old I felt today, being young doesn't guarantee looking better. And much respect to my Man for helping me put down the hairspray and step away from the blow dryer in 1992; without him, I may never have felt the wind blowing through my hair again. In fact, I'd probably be bald.

In the interest of moving forward, here's one last look back at the "hair don't" I once thought was perfectly normal, possibly even cool:

A chronological retrospective of how my hair progressed in high school: big, bigger, biggest, and OMFG. Of course, "progressed" might not be the right word.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The youngest old person

I visit South FL once every 3-4 months without much fanfare (I pick myself up from the airport) and yet, every time I come, this place manages to find a new way to freak me out -- this after living here for nearly 25 years.

I landed in Ft. Lauderdale last night around 5 and by 6, I was already rushing my rental car west toward dinner with my Aunt, Uncle, Cousin and Dad. They'd decided on the Olive Garden in Coral Springs because some awful person had given my Aunt a gift card to the place.

On the cell phone while waiting for my luggage, they asked, "do you know where it is?" Of course. It was where I first waited tables back in '92.

The outside of the place is still the same box (fitting since most of the "authentic Italian food" is delivered in boxes, too). Upon entering, however, the inside has been completely gutted (unless they singled out the Coral Springs one for special interior design treatment, I imagine the same thing has happened to all Olive Gardens?).

I felt like one of the old farts who used to come into Lundy's, a landmark seafood restaurant in Brooklyn where I last waited tables in '02. At least once a day, elderly customers would wax nostalgic to me about the 80-year-old restaurant, "I used to come here as a kid. Back then, only negroes waited tables here and the biscuits were always so light and fluffy..."

So, there I was, telling the young server that, like her, I peddled General Mills' own brand of "Hospitaliano" 16 years ago. Leaning in like a senior citizen about to let a whipper snapper in on a secret, I told her about the scam we ran during the bottomless soup/salad lunch rush (dropping the same check at different tables and pocketing any who paid with cash).

She laughed, saying they still did the same scam. "Imagine: I was only 5 years old then!" she observed, bouncing off to greet a new table.

Christ on a stick. I really am one of those old farts now.

It was surreal but things got even weirder after dinner. I dragged my cousin Frankie down to Galaxy Skateway in Davie for Round 2 of "Adult Skate Night in the Land that Time Forgot" (see "Time Travel to Another Galaxy" blog entry).

While shuffling to Clay D's "Boot the Booty," I spotted an Asian man who looked familar. By the third time I passed him, I was certain I knew him from somewhere but couldn't figure out where (a common occurance since alcohol morphed my memory into Swiss cheese).

By the time the DJ was mixing "Egypt, Egypt," I remembered who he was: the token attractive Asian guy at the Coral Springs Roller Rink. He was probably in his late teens/early 20's then but everyone in my middle school used to sweat him. I'm sure I knew his name when I was 12, watching eagerly as he laced up his speed skates, but my mind was now blank. I remembered only muscles.

I skated over to him and said, "hey, did you used to skate at the Coral Springs rink back in the day?" He smiled widely and said he used to go every weekend before it became a Pep Boys. That's when the editor in my head went on a "stay-cation."

"I knew it was you," I replied. "You used to be really built," I said, motioning to where his rippling muscles once were, now replaced by a sunken chest and middle-aged arms. I should've noticed the expression on his face (it was probably the same one I had when the server told me she was 5 back when I was a fresh-faced 20-year-old working at the Olive Garden) but I continued.

"You used to wear white tank tops all the time to show off your muscles." For some inexplicable reason, the asshole in me left the "what happened?" part unsaid.

So, that was yesterday. Feeling old and sorry for myself, I decided to do the only thing I can at this point to feel better: hang out with people way older than me.

My Dad lives in a retirement community (I'm proud to say he was one of the first Baby Boomers to infiltrate these particular condos) so today I made my way to one of its many pools, where a cluster of alligator-skinned senior citizens was floating in the mid-day sun.

From the moment I entered the gated pool area, all eyes were on me. "Who is that young person?" "Who does she think she is, being young here?" I propped my relatively-nubile body on a sun chair and fed myself grapes while reading, feeling quite happy to be the youngest person in a 1-mile radius.

Out of the corner of my eye, a lizard caught my attention, winking at me from where it was perched on the fence. It was a small, young lizard and seemed to be saying, "we're all animals, but at least you and I are the youngest."

At the Petco near my house in Brooklyn, these critters go for $14 a pop but they're as common as flies in South FL (maybe I should stuff a few in my carry-on?).

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Must-pee TV

After a bittersweet day at Gillette Stadium for the Patriots' home-opener (where I watched Tom Brady's knee get twisted like a pretzel from WBZ-Boston's mind-meltingly-awesome luxury suite), Jeremy and I were kicking back on the couch in Boston, flipping through the channels in yet another mind-meltingly-awesome suite at the Taj.

We stopped on Fox's new show, "Hole in the Wall," the American version of a very funny Japanese game show where people of all sizes have seconds to contort into shapes so they can fit through a hole in a wall or be pushed by it into a vat of acid-colored water. As we laughed at team Beer Bellies vs team Six Pack, I was reminded of the funniest game show ever: Spike TV's "MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge."

If you've never seen it, think "Mystery Science Theater 3000" meets Japanese game show -- very funny Americans dubbing over a Japanese game show of outrageous and humiliating challenges. I'm not sure if it's still on the air, but there's plenty of footage on YouTube:

An assortment of highlights from the show. Best line: "here's Karen Griffin. She paints life-sized boogie men in children's closets."

With all the crap on TV, I can't understand how this one isn't on the radar. If I was a TV exec, THIS would be must-see TV (which is probably why I'm not a TV exec).

Better yet, I'd market it as "must-pee TV." Ya know, people always say, "I laughed so hard I nearly peed my pants" but does anyone really pee in their pants from laughing? On the serious tip: watching MXC is the closest I've come to doing so.

If you're ever in desperate need of a laugh, I recommend watching clips of old MXC episodes on YouTube. Facing the very real threat of a Bradyless season, it was exactly what this grief-stricken Pats fan needed.

I'll be okay. Just on my way to the bathtub now with a dull blade.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Fancy words from a clitoris

Saturday afternoon found me trapped on the couch, impatiently waiting for rain that never came. All week, the weather reports got me excited for the day's alleged thunderstorms (the only thing I miss about South FL). Disappointed, I remained on the couch for hours, waiting for something else to happen.

Determined to find brain candy on the TV, I unearthed nuggets of fun between channels 187 and 190 ("80 Hours of the 80's" on VH1 Classic and a "Prince Video Marathon" on VH1 Soul). Ah, the 80's: permed mullets, acid wash, Peter Gabriel's Africa phase and Prince's little purple boots.

But I soon found something funnier than Glass Tiger's "Someday" video (really, it summarizes everything that went wrong in the 80's). Caught between the two channels like some Balkan nation is CMT, the Country Music Channel (or "the channel I quickly skip over, pretending not to notice").

I'd never watched more than 5 nano seconds of it before; I thought it was an endless loop of "The Dukes of Hazzard." But while skipping past it, I stumbled across a show called "My Big Redneck Wedding."

Oh. My. Fucking. God.

Hosted by a surprisingly-tolerable Tom Arnold, the show follows the nuptials of the red state-iest rednecks who, through some giant legal loophole, are allowed to marry and produce offspring.

Yup, she got a pink shotgun as a weddin' gift. It's a right perty one.

The first episode I saw was about John and Gail, a couple from a place I'll never visit who live in a double wide trailer and deliver newspapers for a living. It was as if they'd won a "who can best exemplify every redneck stereotype there is?" contest. Consider:
* John proposed to Gail by peeing "marry me" on the road one morning.
* They decorate the wedding with beer cans (John drinks most of them the night before to finish the arch in time).
* While writing his wedding vows, John tells his granny that "I'd like to use fancy words but I don't have a clitoris" (i.e. a thesaurus for those with indoor plumbing).
* One of his vows goes like this, "I want to put your love into a locket, 'cause you're hotter than a Hot Pocket. We done it in the backseat and at the zoo, I don't care where we do it, as long as it's with you."
* Their wedding is held at an indoor flea market and includes a mechanical bull ride.
* John gets Gail's wedding gift at a bowling alley out of a claw machine -- a stuffed snow man he paid $38 in quarters for.
* On the day of their wedding, Gail is sent into a tizzy because she can't find her teeth.

A 5-minute clip from John and Gail's episode that includes John's lack of a "clitoris" to look up "fancy words." (View more episodes here.)

After setting the DVR to record future episodes, I realized that it was my lucky day: CMT was in the middle of a "My Big Redneck Wedding" marathon! Other episodes included mud, hog hunting, mud, deer skulls, mud, demolition derbies, mud and a Confederate-flag-waving-truck load of camouflage (every groom wore it and every bride incorporated it into her dress, veil and/or garter).

Between laughs, the fear started creeping up. I began to feel dirty. I wondered, is wearing camouflage one of Jeff Foxworthy's "you might be a redneck if..." jokes?

While I don't own any camo hunting coats, I sometimes wear camo pants to do bullshit errands and hang out. I mean, it was only a month or so ago that I was lamenting the loss of my favorite camo pants in the Grand Canyon (see "I lost my pants in the Grand Canyon" blog entry).

As I got myself off the couch and ready to go out, I announced to my man, "I don't think I can ever wear camo again after seeing that." A fan of camo himself, he reassured me that as long as I don't show up to a weddin' wearing camo, I'm in the clear.

Minutes later, I threw on a camo cap to hide my hair (which had been viciously attacked by humidity from rain that never came). Feeling like a Wal-Mart shopper in Central Florida on her way to buy bullets for the kids, I stepped out into the streets of Brooklyn. Fuhgetaboudit, ya'll.

"Camo cap" is probably a lot more tasteful than it sounds.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Doodle bug (me)

So lately I've been seeing a lot of fake doodling in advertisements and it's really starting to annoy me. At first, I thought it was clever. I even felt a fond wave of nostalgia for the doodling that marks our youthful days. I'm to the point now where I'm starting to resent Madison Ave for doing such a bad job of it.

Case in point:

This is an ad for Kellogg's -- its design is like a giant cereal bowl of doodles kids can never escape.

Now compare that with doodles from my 8th grade yearbook:

Clearly, there's no comparison.

I think back on all the doodles I drew and shared with friends (especially Jenn Grill -- now Ritter -- my best friend and co-conspirator in a 7th grade attempt to sketch and make fun of everyone who lived in Coral Springs, FL).

None of my adolescent doodles mentioned a love of Captain Crunch cereal. Most of our sketches came from a place of pure evil; in fact, the capture of one landed me in detention for a week with "Admiral Asshole" (from the doodle pictured above).

Why would advertisers think they could safely mine such a treacherous shaft? I'm guessing it all started with 2004's "Napoleon Dynamite," whose innocent "ligers" were quintessential dork doodles.

Shortly after the surprise success of that movie, I started noticing t-shirts in Delia's, Urban Outfitter's and Alloy catalogs that were close representations of school-inspired doodles (thy muse being Boredom).

Ah, if only they WERE lifted out of actual notes, I might buy one. Nothing compares to the real thing. No advertising exec can match the evil wit of a bored 13-year-old.

And even if they could, it's unlikely that any corporation would want real doodles selling their products ("be a Cokehead like Kate" with someone snorting a can of Coca Cola off a mirror, for instance).

It makes me wonder: At what point do our doodles cease to be creative, clever, evil and fun? My adult doodle life is mostly my name in a cloud of lightning and bubbles. I've observed other adults doodling those lame-ass boxes within boxes (yawn!). It's sad what becomes of our doodling lives as we age. Does anyone do a good job of it over the age of 25?

Of all the nostalgic doodling going on in advertising now, I think JC Penney does it best (their throw-back "Breakfast Club" commercials are dead-on awesome). Check out their cute take on the classic "doodle heart" renderings we've all scratched at one point:

p.s. Incidentally, Molly Ringwald used doodle "product placement" back in 1984's "Sixteen Candles." Her 3-ring binder has "The Rave-Ups" doodled across the back (she was such a fan of the band that they later appeared in "Pretty in Pink" playing in the background of the club scene). Not sure how successful she was since the only people who bought their album were Molly and her sister, Beth.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Your stoopid

So, my friend Jason Roeder (who suffered alongside me on our high school newspaper after it was hijacked by a harpie) is now posting a very funny video series, "Magical Jason: Secrets of the Professional-Caliber Magician" on YouTube (

His email about the humorous series implored friends to leave comments, ratings, bird seed, etc (actually, his exact directions were: "If you like what I've got so far, please do right by the vids: send or post the link, five-star, comment, etc. If you're unsatisfied, you can just say that you couldn't watch because your operating system doesn't have a required plug-in or whatever. For future reference, I'm VERY easy to trick that way.").

Jason's second video, "Dizzy Ball," slips in a reference to "Space Jam." Nicely done.

As I dutifully attempted to leave a comment, YouTube prompted me to sign in, like some self-important bouncer at a cheesy over-40 night club in Sunrise, FL. Disheartened, I almost clicked back to the kitty porn I'd been viewing when I remembered that I'm a YouTube member.

Thanks to the one video I posted back in January, I was able to leave Jason some encouraging words. My only video is the one I taped off my Uncle Mark's TV of me on the NFL Network asking Tom Brady a question at the AFC Championship press conference (my panties are still drying, BTW). Its posting had one mission: so I could share it with all of my Patriots-loving family and Patriots-hating friends.

"Magical Jason" comments successfully posted, I decided to check out how MY video was doing in the comments/ratings department. Surprisingly, 1,175 people have watched the video since I posted it six months ago (I have a big family but not THAT big). Better yet, THREE people actually left comments.

Excited to see what kinds of comments my super-awesome reporting skills had elicited, I clicked on the video. Not sure what I was expecting but here are the caveman droppings I discovered:

Jeterfan906 (4 months ago)
what a fuckin douchebag any other athlete beside football player and theyd get fined so much there next paycheck wouldnt even come

walkontheocean8888 (6 months ago)
tom Brady is having a shitty day. Suck it Tom!

madness410 (6 months ago)
my name is tom. fuck you.

I've now watched the video three more times to try to understand how these comments apply. I am now giving up. I think the first one, "my name is tom. fuck you." pretty much says it all (although he gets points for correct spelling and punctuation).

Clearly, the bar for YouTube comments is subterranean. I worry that the 15 seconds I took to compose a coherent thought in response to Jason's "magic" was 14 too long. What a loser I am for using logic and grammar. What a waste of capital letters. Using one booger-encrusted finger, I should've just banged out "your stoopid" on the keyboard.

Listen, I get that the rules are relaxed here but are we at the point of being so relaxed that we're comatose? Who started this "if I write it online, it doesn't have to be literate" trend?

Or, is it naive to assume that laziness is to blame and not ignorance? Does the proliferation of email, text messages and IM offer a terrifying snapshot of the illiterate masses?

Seriously, are we THAT stoopid?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Oh no Katy-DIDN'T!

After 6 endless days working with perfectly cute Girl Scouts (and 5 torturous nights spent cursing an obnoxious bug outside my hotel window), I was free to return to gritty reality and NYC on Tuesday morning. I happily made my way down through the woods to my car, which had sat in a cozy parking lot surrounded by a babbling brook, Bambi and bugs since my arrival a week before.

As I sped down the Taconic toward the Saw Mill Parkway and away from Westchester, I noticed a small, bright green spider peeking out from behind my side mirror. Figures, I thought. Could the bug be any other color after a week with Girl Scouts? I wouldn't be surprised if it could spin a web of rainbow sprinkles.

Then, about 4 miles down the Saw Mill, I was shocked to see a gigantic green bug crawling on the lower right corner of my windshield! It was a katydid, the very same kind of bug whose sound was closest to the anonymous one that had annoyed the shit out of me all week (see previous blog, "I'm calling the cicada cops").

The bug on my windshield looked just like the one I heard (whatever that means).

As I sped closer to a 12 o'clock meeting in midtown, I figured the bug would eventually blow away. But, even at 70 mph, the only indication of speed was his antennae blowing wildly in the breeze and an occasional leg shift to steady his grip. Not wanting to be directly responsible for his death, I refrained from using the windshield wipers (I was unsure if this was the same bug whose demise I had been praying for).

About 30 miles later, I merged onto the Henry Hudson (aka West Side Hwy) and paid a toll as I entered Manhattan. Perfect chance for the bug to fly away...but it didn't. I snapped a picture of it as a taxi sped by just south of the GW. The bug seemed just as determined as I was to get to midtown.

This picture cracks me up (and almost inspired me to write a children's book called "Katy-did-it" about the adventures of a bug...almost).

As I exited at 96th Street, I decided to get the bug off my car as I would be parking in a garage and his doom would be sealed in such a place. I pulled over on Riverside Drive where the trees were still thick enough to afford a lush new home for my stow-away.

I figured I could pick him up by the wings and fling him into a nearby tree; however, the second my hand neared his weird bum, he made the most obnoxious noise...the SAME NOISE THAT HAD KEPT ME UP FOR THE LAST 5 NIGHTS!!!

Vengeance was mine.

I began flicking him with glee in my attempts to get him off the car. It was a mixture of joy (to discover the culprit at last!) and resolve (to get this bug out of my life once and for all). The noise became louder and more frequent but still, he refused to fly away.

Thanks to his loud and obnoxious eeh, eeh, eeh's, a group of two well-dressed mothers and their perfectly-coiffed children walking on the sidewalk took notice of my efforts. As he walked up my windshield and over the roof of my car towards the road, I felt their stare. I had to pretend to care. I could not flick him into oncoming traffic. Dammit.

To stop my cruel flicking, one of the mothers suggested I pluck a leaf from the tree and use it to relocate the bug (she'd probably been a Girl Scout). I followed her advice and as I placed the bug into a nearby tree, the group erupted in cheers and high fives (they were all probably Girl Scouts). I left before anyone started singing "Make new friends, but keep the old..."

As I drove away, I fumed about the upper west side momsters thwarting my revenge. But, the anger dissolved when I realized that they probably live in some $4 million brownstone on a block near where I left the obnoxious katydid.

Sleep tight, I hope that bug keeps you up all night!

(L) 96th Street and Riverside where I resolved to rid myself of the bug and (R) the tree where the bug is probably still making a nuisance of himself.

Friday, August 01, 2008

I'm calling the cicada cops

So, I'm staying at a conference center deep in the dark woods of Westchester county (about 45 minutes north of NYC) for a 6-day training gig I'm doing for Girl Scouts of the USA. Each 15-hour day is kicking my ass if only because I have to be up with the sun each day (as opposed to going to sleep right before it peeks over the horizon).

Heavy with exhaustion, I crawled into bed last night around 11:30. Just as my head hit the pillow, a horrific bug started making the most annoying noise right outside the window. (Of course, the windows of my room were open to the night air; I welcome the sounds of my beloved crickets!) It's hard to describe the irritating noise but I'll do my best "hooked on phonics" attempt:

ehh, ehh, ehh
ihh, ihh
ehh, ehh, ehh
ihh, ihh
ehh, ehh, ehh

On and on it went without ceasing. I figured a cicada the size of a cat was behind it. I lay there wondering if it was close enough to swat or set on fire. After 10 minutes, I begrudgingly closed the windows, cursing the evil bug for drowning out the sound of crickets and delaying my sleep.

But even with the windows sealed, the noise persisted as though it was in the room. I covered my head with pillows. No use. WTF? It was hard to believe that here I was, in the middle of a veritable nature preserve (complete with deer, bunnies, chipmunks, and wild turkeys) and I'd have an easier time falling asleep back in Brooklyn.

As a matter of fact, if this bug was a neighbor in Brooklyn, I could've at least called the cops on it. I'm sure its decibels were enough to qualify for a noise ordinance violation. Unfortunately, Bambiland doesn't have cicada cop patrols.

Nearly 40 minutes later, the bug was still ehh, ehh, ehh, ihh, ihh-ing and I'd moved on to wishing hateful things on it. Seriously, as a member of the food chain's basement, there has to be at least 50 things willing to kill and eat this bug. Where were its predators when I needed them? Was the owl busy getting its talons done?

So, now it's Night Two, another long 15-hour day behind me. I just returned to the room after a welcome break off-site with Tania and Tom Tom (who kindly drove here from CT and invited me to a yummy belated bday sushi dinner in Chappaqua -- our server was a very aggressive female Don Ho impersonator).

And who do you think is busy outside my window again?

I'm blogging about this now with the hopes that he'll tire or be eaten by the time I'm done. Plan B? There are 40 teenage Girl Scouts here with me who had 10 tons of sugar earlier tonight at an ice cream social. My guess is that one of them is on a sick enough sugar high that I could entice her into hunting the bug down and killing it.

As a trusted adult (insert evil laugh), I might be able to convince her that there's a new patch available: Bug Exterminator.

Just searched online for the obnoxious bugtard responsible for all the racket. The closest I came was the common katydid. I just find it hard to believe that something this harmless-looking could make such a vile noise:
Obnoxious noise

Don Ho, the source of a different kind of annoying noise (aka "Tiny Bubbles").

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Goodbye, 18-34

So, today is my 35th birthday. [thud]

That was my ego collapsing into a hot old mess on the floor.

No, I'll be fine. As long as I don't LOOK my age, I'm cool with it (incidentally, if you didn't get me a present or card, it's okay as long as you tell me I look 12). And as my friends will attest, I certainly don't ACT my age.

So, what then is the point of counting up the years if it's only to see how many candles to put on the cake? (At this point, I'd need a cake the size of a twin mattress.)

Well, I guess there are some biological reasons why age is important. In fact, turning 35 is especially traumatic because of them. When I turned 30, my Mom said, "I hope you don't plan on waiting much longer to have children because after 35, the risk of having a child with Down's Syndrome increases 50%." Yeah, it's times like that when you wish your Mom wasn't an RN.

Birth defects aside, I think I'm most afraid of filling out surveys and forms now. Goddamn whoever invented "age brackets." I dread the first time I have to check "35-44" instead of "18-34." [Ugh. Did somebody just close a window? I need air!]

Here's a word of advice to all my 18-34 friends: live every minute like a fucking rock star.

I didn't believe the old people when they first told me but it's true: life really does start to speed up as you get older. Days and weeks become months and then years faster than Seth Rogen churns out movies.

One day you're in high school and the next, you're 3 years away from the 20-year reunion ('sup, class of '91). The only thing that remains besides hazy memories and crappy yearbooks is student loan debt (at this rate, my grandkids will inherit mine).

In honor of birthdays and the years when 35 seemed like retirement age, here's a trailer from one of my favorite movies, 1984's Sixteen Candles...enjoy!

The most quotable movie EVER!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm afraid of me 30 years from now

In the process of re-doing the old roommate's room and transforming it into a home office/guest room, I became obsessed with throwing things away and buying stuff. It was like "Trading Spaces" took my apartment over, except they forgot to give me money and someone else's place to ruin.

Well, I haven't ruined anything (yet). The home office/guest room is coming along nicely (will post photos of it once I'm done, no doubt). I've dubbed it the "boogie down" room as I'm going with an old school hip hop theme. In the meantime, I've got some nice pieces in there, repainted the ceiling a crisp white and then one wall a gorgeous sky blue.

While I was in Target getting a new power drill to put the corner desk together, I passed by a stack of microwaves on sale for $40. Hmmmm.

I thought of the big, brown microwave in my kitchen, the one my Dad gave me waaaaaay back in '97 when I moved in with my boyfriend. Bigger than most compact cars, the microwave was already a fossil when he gave it to me -- but, it worked. And that, with my experience in childhood poverty, was enough reason to keep it for the next 11 years.

But here was Target offering little white ones for $40 (yes, they're made in the USA - I checked). The proverbial angels appeared on my shoulders to duke it out, except they were Rachael Ray and Suze Orman:
"Aw, it's so cute and only $40!"
"Yes, but the one at home works."
"True, but this one would perfectly match the other things in my kitchen."
"So what -- since when does one need to accessorize in the kitchen?"
"I do! Plus, the cute one will free up much-needed counter space."
"Okay, but what would you do with the extra 2 inches?"
"What WOULDN'T I do with an extra 2 inches?"
"Is this just for the kitchen?"

Finally, Rachael Ray won and I bought it (along with the power drill and a box of Goldfish to inhale on the way home).

It was a much harder decision than one would expect about a microwave. Part of me felt a sentimental attachment to the old microwave with its faux wood paneling on the sides. After all, my Dad had given it to me. It was like a family heirloom (that zaps the living shit out of things).

(L) The old microwave--with a water bottle nearby for perspective--awaiting its removal while the new microwave (R) leaves ample space for whatever it is that one does in the kitchen.

When I got home, I delicately opened the new microwave's box, just in case I had second thoughts and decided to take it back. But once it was on the counter top, shiny and white and taking up a significantly less amount of space, I ditched the box. Getting rid of the old microwave was a different story, though.

Placing it in the hallway to be removed by the super the next day was tough. I put a Post-It note on it boasting, "I work!" with a happy face below, just in case a neighbor wanted it (or collects first-generation microwaves from the '80's). Thankfully, I didn't see it tossed outside on the sidewalk with the other trash so perhaps someone adopted it after all? (sigh) I'd like to think so.

Every time I use the new microwave, I'm overcome with a terrible fear as I wait for the food to cook. What will I be like 30 years from now if this is what it's like for me to part with stuff at age 34? I don't want to be one of those old ladies with plastic on the couch (because it was the first one she bought) and who still uses her first toaster. I don't want to smell like moth balls, either.

And I've been waiting a while for food to cook in the new microwave, ironically enough. It doesn't have half the nuking power of the old one (I guess they really DON'T make them like they used to). Things such as popcorn and soup take twice as long to heat (Suze Orman's angel is cursing me for the money I'll now be wasting on electricity).

But, it's nice to have something smaller that matches the fridge, blender, toaster and coffee maker. That's the price of progress and fashion, I guess. Sorry, Dad and Suze.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

I lost my pants in the Grand Canyon

Okay, so today was a very emotional day for me. Since returning from a 4-day trip to the Grand Canyon nearly 2 weeks ago, a little voice (one of the many in my head) had been quietly nagging me to check the whereabouts of my favorite pair of pants. Today, I finally listened to that voice (who by now was smugly humming A Tribe Called Quest's "I left my wallet in El Segundo").

Everyone has a favorite something or other in the closet -- shoes, jeans, t-shirt, Honduran boy, etc. Me? I had a favorite pair of camouflage pants. I say "had" because they're gone.

The last time I wore them was on the flight to Vegas, where I met my Dad. After getting the Shelby GT-H Mustang, we made like Elvis and promptly left the building for the Canyon. The last time I saw them was in the cabin we rented; they were in my luggage, awaiting their next tour of duty.

I've heard of traveling pants but... The last photo of my favorite camouflage pants was taken somewhere on the border of Nevada and Utah. At least they went out with a 350-horsepower bang.

The horrible realization that they'd disappeared first began to dawn last Thursday when I couldn't find the black belt I usually wear with them. Luckily, I tend to buy things I like in two's so I had a back-up belt waiting (grrrr, if only I'd done the same years ago when I bought those pants at Macy's!).

It wasn't until today that I fully realized my all-time favorite pants are no longer with me. I checked my luggage again, I texted my cousin in Vegas, I called the two hotels where we had stayed, I even called my Dad to see if he accidentally packed them (they are, after all, camouflage and could easily blend in with other clothing). Nothing. The pain in my heart was as though I'd lost a friendship.

Oh, you think I exaggerate. Seriously, I've had easier breakups than what I felt today. Not only did they make my ass look great (camouflage is a wonderful thing), their soft fabric was versatile -- light enough to wear in the God-awful humidity of South Florida and scorching heat of Nevada while heavy enough to wear on a cool fall night in NYC. Ugh! The more I think about them, the harder this is to accept.

After searching the Internet high and low for a replacement pair (I found a distant cousin of my pants on eBay and am now the highest bidder but it's no consolation), I lamented the loss while on the phone with Paula, my friend in Miami whose shoulder is harder to cry on than a desert cactus'.

"Damn, Jenn. You really are white trash. You lost your pants while on vacation with your Dad? What the hell?"
"When in Rome, bitch."
"No, seriously, how exactly did you lose your pants? You saw the Grand Canyon and said, 'if you think THAT's a gaping hole, check THIS out!'"

I expect other friends will offer the same sort of comforting, especially Jeremy who banned camouflage anything about six months ago. I can still hear him now, "Camouflage is never in season. Period."

I think the hardest part is imagining my pants in some pile of trash somewhere (no doubt, Jeremy would approve), carelessly tossed in with the hotel's garbage or perhaps already baking in an Arizona landfill. I guess the happiest fate I could wish my pants is that they're at home in some poor hotel worker's closet. I can only hope that whoever found them doesn't share Jeremy's opinion.

For those that don't know, now ya know.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

God hates my left leg

A little background: I went to the Grand Canyon a couple weeks ago with my Dad for Father's Day, rode around in a convertible Mustang GT the entire time and basically bathed in scorching hot sunlight for 4 straight days. I hid my face under a wide-brimmed hat and blanketed my skin in SPF 45 sunblock the entire time. I returned to NYC a slightly-tanner version of my pasty self (i.e. I was a bit grey).

This weekend, I joined Dan, Susan, Marni, Doron and Julia for a round of pitch and putt golf out in the Far Rockaways, the spit of sand that divides Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic. Although I brought the very same sunblock I'd used in the Grand Canyon, I decided that the morning sun and northern exposure didn't warrant another bath in the stuff. So, I pitched and putted the 18-hole executive course with sunblock on my face and arms only. What resulted is mind-boggling:

As a redhead, I've had my share of burns but nothing quite like this.

My neck sustained a slight burn but the worst of it was reserved for one area on my left leg. I got a sunburn on back of my left knee and half of the kneecap (the right leg escaped unscathed). How did this happen? We were teeing off in a different direction at each hole so there's no reason for just one leg -- and one PART of the leg -- to be burned. It's just bizarre. And it hurts.

I came home and doused the back of my knee and half of the kneecap with cold aloe vera from the fridge, wondering how on earth I managed to do this. How to explain it? "I accidentally poured burning hot stupidity on my knee?" "Turns out, some asshole on the course had a magnifying glass pointed at my knee?"

Seriously. WTF? As a kid, all of my major cuts/scrapes/injuries happened to my left leg (it has the scars to prove it). In summer 2005, I tore my left calf muscle playing soccer (was on crutches for 2 months, had PT for 6 months and can never play again). Now, I get this weirdo burn just inches from where the gimpy remains of my calf muscle are. Does God have something against my left leg?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A watery grave decision

So, I'm on the phone with Shay earlier, wandering around the apartment as I'm talking when I notice that one of my 10+ fish has died (I have four tanks in the living room: two 10-gallon tanks and two 20-gallon). It is one of my fantailed goldfish who--until today--had managed to live 3 years despite being bloated beyond reason and constantly swimming upside-down.

"Shit," I mutter as I scoop him up into the net, "should I flush him? He's pretty big." Shay offers her backyard for a proper memorial service but I worry that he'll be rotted by the time I schlep out to her house in LI again.

"Damn, Jenn, that's the problem with your fish living so long," Shay observes. "They grow too big to flush."

Agreed. Against every gut instinct in me, I flush the bloated goldfish (about the size of my fist) down the toilet.

I quickly realize that I've made a terrible mistake as the toilet water begins to rise up to its seat. Flush after flush does nothing to help the situation; clearly, he's stuck somewhere in the labyrinth of porcelain pipes I neglected to consider.

Not sure why I always have to illustrate the blog but this was too interesting to pass up: a $299 "Fish and Flush" toilet (

Several hours later, I'm on the phone with J-Sok, recapping the failed toilet funeral and wondering how I'm going to sell the "I don't know what's wrong with it" story to my super tomorrow. J-Sok jumps on yet another opportunity to berate my skills as a pet owner.

"Wow. One of your fish died. What a surprise. Do you buy pets with the sole purpose of killing them?"

"No, this fish lived nearly 3 years, J. He had a good life despite suffering from fish gout."

"Why the hell did you flush him anyway? Why are fish the only pets that we flush? You wouldn't flush a hamster or cat. Why flush a fish? Don't they deserve to be buried, too?"

"I don't know, J. Maybe it's 'cause they're used to being in water so the toilet makes sense somehow."

Back to the bathroom to try another round of plunging but to no avail. Next, I try snaking an unraveled coat hanger into the winding pipes to dislodge the fish. Several unsuccessful attempts underscore my desperate need for Liquid Plumber. I resolve to run out for a bottle in the morning. In the meantime, I'm trying to dissolve the scaly corpse (I poured a half a bottle of bleach in the toilet -- at the very least, it will be clean enough to drink out of).

Why so much effort? After all, I generously tip my super at Christmas -- why try to fix it on my own? Simple: I'm afraid he'll discover the fish tomorrow and don't care to cement my reputation with him for bizarre behavior (a string of crazy roommates including one anorexic alcoholic who was carried out by EMS twice in the month she lived here laid the foundation for 4G's legend).

Whether I'm eventually outed as a fish flusher or not, I've learned my lesson: fish deserve to be buried, too (especially when they're bigger than a gerbil).

Other Brooklyn Zoo news:
I have given up on keeping crickets as pets. After several batches, only one qualified as a "success" (with me being lulled to sleep by actual cricket sounds). Unfortunately, that batch died while I was out in the Grand Canyon. I returned to find their hollowed bodies huddled in a corner of the cozy terrarium I'd made for them. Yes, J-Sok, I'm a bad pet owner.

I'm now searching for a CD of cricket sounds. Suggestions?

Friday, June 13, 2008

Catching up with crazy

* denotes partial truths that will be explained

So, I haven't written anything the last few weeks because of back-to-back deadlines that kept me chained to the desk.*

* explanation 1:
Even in the midst of pressure cooker deadlines, I find ways to rationalize treks out to the Mall at Short Hills with Jeremy (it was an emergency; he needed Gucci shades for his African safari) and a weekend at 5-star hotels in Washington, DC (we were scouting locations for an upcoming photoshoot -- we had to test them out for ourselves first, um, just in case. You know how cheap Mormons can be -- the Ritz Carlton may have suffered in Mr. Marriott's wrinkled hands).

At one point during the "I'm so busy I'm going to die" weeks, I was walking on the Upper East Side with Jeremy, iced coffee in one hand and Bloomies bag in the other, saying, "You don't understand; I just don't have any time!" It was then that I realized how crazy I am.

I was so busy that I was unable to do even the most simple things like shop for food.*
* explanation 2:
In addition to being time-starved, the fridge looked like an anorexic's dream because for the first time since I got laid off and began life as a full-time freelancer last October, I didn't have the cash to restock it. Up until then, I'd been fortunate with the checks coming in just as regularly as paychecks. But then there was a month-long lull.

As a result, I was down to things that had been festering in the fridge for a month (witness the RED mold in the yogurt -- I didn't know it came in that color). The sad truth is that most of the stuff in the fridge either belonged to my long-since-vacated roommate or was a condiment (is that a food group?).

I began eyeballing my cat Eve, wondering how much of her is white meat. I reconsidered after she cleaned her butt WITH HER OWN TONGUE and ended up returning the Chanel perfume I'd bought at Bloomies to free up some cash. Priorities, right?

1. My new food group: Ketchup & Friends.
2. Everything in this row was thrown out upon further inspection (except the condiments, of course).
3. Contained 1 rotting avocado, 1 object that may have been an apple once and 2 pieces of dark chocolate (I’m saved!).
4. No treasure chest like its next-door-neighbor: contained 3 yellow onions (that were supposed to be yellow, thankfully enough).
5. Not edible. Just a posse of icepacks lurking in the background, waiting for a migraine.
6. Extra pie crust from when I made a quiche...for a Christmas party.
7. Cereal. Note: the fridge does not contain any milk (aside from #14, which counts only if you’re high).
8. Starbucks drink. I have NO idea when/where this item appeared in my fridge but I suspect was my roommate Teruko’s. Note: she moved back to Japan in Aug. 07.
9. The only truly edible item in here: homemade onion/green bean soup in chicken stock.
10. Blueberries my Mom bought for me while I was in RI for Mother’s Day (10 days before this photo was taken). Not for nothin’ but I ate them with #15.
11. All of these belong to my cat, Eve. One is her antibiotic (post-tooth surgery), another is her canned food, and the 2nd shelf item is a jar of baby food (green peas, which she loves).
12. This is where the science experiment was being conducted. I never knew mold came in red until I opened the Stonyfield yogurt. Is this what happens when organic foods die?
13. My last roommate’s coffee creamer. Note: Nikki moved out in March 08.
14. A bottle of aloe vera I bought after a severe sunburn (following a trip to 2003).
15. Recently-deceased cottage cheese (had expired 2 days prior to this photo). I ate it. I mean, those dates are just guidelines, right? Cinammon can kill the taste of anything, BTW.
Anyway, so now I'm back after making the last mega deadline at 7 Wed. morning -- have been recovering ever since. Spent most of Wed. afternoon sitting on a park bench overlooking Sheepshead Bay, thinking about how ironic and crazy life can be (one week you're starving and trying to decide if salad dressing goes good with toast; next week, you've got money in the bank and are sleeping 3 blocks from the White House)..

Chillin' by the water, watchin' swans, readin' a book, hatin' the letter "g."

Yesterday was errand day: went into the city to finally pick up my roller skates (new wheels, trucks and bearings! The repair only cost me $6 less than I paid for the skates in '85) and buy the sofa/lounge/bed for my soon-to-be-boogie-down-room (formerly the roommate's room and now a guest room/home office with a hip hop flava).

Today is packing day: I leave tomorrow morning for Las Vegas (yuck) where I'm meeting up with my Dad for the Father's Day trip of a lifetime! I'm treating him to 4 days on the north rim of the Grand Canyon and a scorching fast drive through the painted desert. Our chariot? A black and gold, convertible Shelby Mustang GT from Hertz (awwwwwwwwww yeah). It will be an amazing, memorable time for both of us, no doubt (gas prices and environment be damned)!!

As I was packing now, I decided to try on my skates just to be sure all is well. I have since discovered that my apartment could easily double as a roller rink -- the hardwood floor is DIVINE (although my neighbors downstairs probably think otherwise).

Will be doing the hokey pokey in the living room later, fo' sho'.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

If I could save time in a bottle (or cell phone)

Whenever I'm in desperate need of a break from my desk and chair, I've been doing a little spring cleaning around the house, getting rid of the dust bunnies, etc. Today, I came across my recently-departed Motorola cell phone. It was time for another shipment to Cell Phones for Soldiers.

If you haven't heard of it, it's a great charity that collects old cell phones and takes the profits from repurposing them to buy phone cards for U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq so they can call home. It was founded by a teenage brother/sister in their Norwell, MA, garage and has since grown to a national organization supported by companies such as AT&T.

Anyway, I boxed up the Motorola (which had been a faithful servant up until this Jan. when I upgraded to the BlackBerry Pearl) and began to tape the package when it occurred to me that all of my contacts (and perhaps some questionable photos) were still on the camera phone. I quickly unwrapped the box.

Although I'm sure the charity wipes the SIM card or whatever, I'm too paranoid to take any chances. All those years of my Mom warning me about David Walsh got me thinking of scenarios worthy of a Hollywood script (weirdo in upstate NY doublewide gets my recycled phone -- contacts, photos and all -- then falls in love with a photo of my teeth and calls all of my friends in an attempt to track me down, finally succeeding when an unsuspecting family member divulges the location of my pearly whites).

Deleting the photos proved harder than the arduous task of erasing my 100+ contacts. It was like I'd opened a time capsule from the last year of my life and couldn't rescue any of it (the phone no longer has service and nothing to attach to a PC to retrieve data).

It's amazing how one can slip right back to a time/place with a simple trigger like a song, scent or image. The pic of cloud-to-ground lightning just beyond Yankee Stadium's outfield immediately evoked the feeling of my hair being blown about as I juggled peanuts, soda and hot dogs while laughing with Bolo about how we were about to die watching A-Rod's quest for #500.

The strong sensory link is why I never wear perfume again once I abandon it -- it seals that time of my life in a bottle forever (e.g. Tommy Girl is sooooo waiting tables in Boca Raton circa '96).

A bit blurry (and trippy considering it's a camera phone taking a picture of a camera phone) but you get the idea.

Anyway, as I grudgingly deleted photo after photo, I laughed at what the weirdo upstate might think of some of them:

7/18/07 -- 1 photo of blue parakeet on sidewalk
"Was she walking her pet budgie?"
(More sane than it looks: walking to the train @ 110th/Broadway after work, looked down at the sidewalk to see an odd blue bird hopping around with the other li'l brown city birds. WTF? Yes, it was a parakeet quite healthy and at ease with the others, just looking for spare change, I guess.)

8/24/07 -- 2 pics of man working out at gym
"Is she a stalker like me?"
(Sometimes, but this was consensual shower-nozzle masturbation material of my man)

9/12/07 -- 3 shots of my teeth
"Practicing for Rocky Horror audition?"
(Nope, just before/after pics of my left front tooth; there was a long-standing chip in it courtesy of a Wild Turkey binge at Andrea's when I was 14. I didn't want it fixed for sentimental reasons but the dentist insisted; it has since reverted to its former chipped self...yay!)

1/5/08 -- 5 pics of giant brown wet thing and nest of hair
"Have I died and gone to heaven?"
(No, perv. My goddaughter Jordyn has free reign of my cameras, including cellular. This was a self-portrait of her eye and younger brother Phoenix's dreadlocks)
Since it wasn't classified material, I decided against deleting my 20+ photos of various flowers (I'm a big fan of them as screensavers) and 10+ photos from the Bjork concert at Radio City (that way, whoever gets my phone will think I'm a really cool botanist).

I also decided to leave the mysterious photos of my man and I on Roosevelt Island's elevated tram (with the 59th Street bridge glowing eerily in the background); I just didn't have the heart to delete such a fond bit of memory. (sigh)

What really surprised me about all this was that the phone's battery was still full at 3 bars despite sitting in a dark corner of my closet since January. Is that what happens when we don't use them 24/7?

BTW, if any of you know how to quickly wipe the memory from a Motorola 5236A, kindly keep that info to yourselves. Thanks!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

How now, eyebrow?

So I'm at one of the thousands of nail salons in my 'hood the other day, getting a $5 manicure when the nail technician (and I use that term loosely here as I'm sure she's an indentured slave on loan from Vietnam) says, "you wan eyebrow wax too?"

"Um, no thanks. Why? Do I need an eyebrow wax?"

"You try. You like. Eyebrow wax make look better."

"No, I like my eyebrows the way they are. Thanks for offering, though."

As she put the finishing touches on my manicure, I kept thinking about her offer. Were my eyebrows in that desperate need of trimming? Was I that offensive to look at?

The nail drying machine was, of course, situated right in front of a mirrored wall so I had plenty of time to contemplate the eyebrows while my polish dried. No, I concluded after careful inspection, I was not Groucho Marx. The nail tech offered it, I rationalized, out of some forced labor agreement with the head salonista.

As I drove home, I kept looking in the rearview mirror at my brows, thinking about their evolution from wild untamed redwoods as a youth to landscaped lines of auburn as an adult:

When I got home, I found a photo of me pre-plucking (damn you, Tweezerman!) p.s. how is it that I was pastier living in South FL than I am now in NYC?

And now, at the urging of my man, I've been trying to return the brows to their natural state. But like the Florida Everglades at the incompetent mercy of the Army Corps of Engineers, it's hard to restore something that's been fucked with beyond recognition.

See, I was blessed with the burly British genes of my father (who has one large caterpillar on his face for eyebrows) so unlike many women, my brows grow thick and fierce. I'm incredulous that I now have to pencil in what was once naturally there. And yet I'm still addicted to plucking -- in my plight to grow them back, it's hard to resist the urge to remove stray hairs.

Why is it that as we grow into adult women, we feel the need to remove what's natural and add what's not? I never saw my Mom plucking her eyebrows and yet it's something I eventually came to do in my early 20's. How did facial hair get such a bad rap? Men? Media influences? [shrug]

Don't get me wrong: Although I shop at health food stores and eat flax seed regularly, I'm no Birkenstockette. I'm not about grow the unibrow back. There are some things I can't allow to grow on my face. With a Dad whose beard rivals the Gorton Fisherman's, I'm just grateful the nail tech didn't ask "you wan lip wax?" too.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The entire city can stand under my umbrella (ella, ella)

Rainy days in the city are salient reminders of two things:
1) how polluted this place is (I don't care how Sarah Jessica Parker tried to sell it in the opening credits of "Sex in the City," nothing says "ew" more than getting splashed with grime water by a passing bus/taxi);
2) how many assholes live here.

Case in point: "Umbrellassholes" who take up entire sidewalks with their satellite dish-sized umbrellas. Every time I think I live in a city of 9 million, these fucktards remind me that for some, it's a city of one.

On my way to meet Jeremy last Friday, my normal-sized umbrella was attacked and nearly ripped from my hands by a passing umbrellasshole. Later, I found refuge from them in the dry confines of a cab, where I took this photo of one in midtown Manhattan (I was safe to observe their behavior like some wildlife photographer sitting in a blind). Notice how the umbrellasshole's circus tent is twice the size of the umbrellas carried by nearby peasants:

How I wished for a passing car to soak this man with a puddle of grime water.

Living in such close proximity to so many people demands that we make little sacrifices like keeping our feet off the subway's seats and wearing deodorant. We'd all like to remain dry on a cold, rainy day but for some reason, umbrellassholes are so self-important that their right to remain dry supersedes all others.

Here's a quick way to check if you or someone you know is part of the problem: if you can fit more than two assholes comfortably under your umbrella, you're an umbrellasshole.

For the turds out there whose umbrella's have their own zip code, here's a big, wet middle finger. I hope your awning-of-an-umbrella also doubles as a lightning rod.

I know this lady looks super uncool, but she's a winner in my book.

Reality check: some of my closest friends are umbrellassholes (Bolo has been spotted with a golf umbrella many times on the streets of Manhattan...bad Bolo, bad!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Unemployee of the month

Not too long ago, I wrote about how I miss having a "real" job if only because I liked people watching on the train to/from work. ("Real" jobs: you get to leave the house and pretend to work all day, as opposed to freelance where it's actual work 24/7 or starve.) Tonight, after yet another 14-hour work day, I found myself missing something else: the web sites that once kept me very busy at a "real" job.

To counter the grimace I used to get from my boss upon arrival, I'd kick the day off with a laugh thanks to, an amusing collection of animal photos with captions written as though the pets wrote 'em:

One of my coworkers dreamed of having her cats featured on the site. Last I heard, she'd submitted several photos but was still short of the necessary "cheezburgers" (votes) for acceptance. This is what happens to childhood dreams when people work long hours in cubicles, I guess.

Then, when it became necessary to look busy and have a screen full of text, it was off to craigslist's "Missed Connections" ( to catch up on the strange and sad postings of New York's hopeless romantics, for example:

STARBUCKS 103rd street - "You are so beautiful" sign, in the window - m4w (Upper West Side)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-05-07, 12:40AM EDT

Hey, I really hope you see this - I'm the guy who wrote on the piece of paper outside the window tuesday afternoon. You were in a pink top, with short brownish hair and dazzling eyes.

You have this delightful and infectious energy about you, and I'd like to get to know you - in any context (romantic or not) it doesn't matter to me, I'd just like to know more about you.
While most of the postings are about people searching for that someone they saw at the diner (but just didn't have the matzoh balls to talk to at the time), others leave you feeling kinda dirty, as in:
Unicorn 22nd st - looking for the guy I fucked last night - m4m - 35 (Chelsea)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-05-03, 6:37PM EDT

To the guy in the plaid shirt I fucked last night - you must be in you're mid to late 40's or early 50's (no offense). I'm the short bald guy with the stache in the brown bomber jacket
I wanted to say that I must have been crazy to do that with you.
You seem like a nice man and I can't believe that I had unsafe sex with you.

Why did I do it and why did you let me?

I don't do that and I have been so careful - up until now - and have tried to be "good". I drank too much, ate too little and mostly was just desperate to touch someone who wanted to be touched as well.
Listen, all I want to say is that I am sorry and that I should never have done that. I've always tested negative ( it's beyond hopeful) but I hope you too.
Mostly I think that these quick instant gratification moments with strangers are just what they are but I also think that "together" we prey on each other's weaknesses and loneliness.
I apologize for my delusional behavior.
All the best
And still others are straight up Janice Dickinson:
you punched me in the head. - w4m - 22 (East Village)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-05-03, 6:47PM EDT

I was walking up Bowery at about 2pm on a Friday afternoon -- I didn't know love was headed my way, but you did, and you were. You screamed "Get the fuck outta my way!!!" as you approached me on your bike, which had an extra wheel attached to the handlebars (clever.) Your unkempt, fly-ridden long mane of hair was blowing in the wind, or rather, I imagine it would have been, if not for the layer of crust upon it. And then, just as you got close enough to whisper a sweet nothing into my ear, you reached out with your left hand and punched me. In the head. You punched me in the head, and then continued on your magical journey, still screaming "Get the fuck outta my way!" Well, I just wanted to say thank you, thank you for getting into MY way on that providential afternoon.
And while just a bit off-topic from being a "missed connection," this is probably the most amusing post ev-er:
who put the dead bird in my mailbox? - w4m - 27 (crown heights)
Reply to:
Date: 2008-05-04, 5:24PM EDT

a) how did you get into my mailbox in the first place, it is locked
b) did you kill the bird?
c) it died horribly, that much was clear
d) you're psycho
e) do I know you?
f) if I do know you, I don't want to know you
g) if I don't know you, what did I do to inspire you to put a dead bird in my mailbox?
h) I don't know how to disinfect a mailbox from a dead bird, I'm worried about diseases and have used five different kinds of cleaner but still feel like the bird's still in there still and like my bills and my catalogues and my coupons have dead bird on them
i) it was a hummingbird, I looked it up - they don't even live in New York - this is so f*ing psycho, I can't believe this
j) are you the mailman?
k) I'm always nice to the mailman
l) the super didn't care when I told him what happened
m) the neighbors didn't care either
n) do you have some kind of problem with birds?
o) don't put anything else in my mailbox
p) unless it's an apology
q) no, I take that back, I don't even want an apology
r) what am I supposed to do with this bird - it's in bubblewrap in a bag in a shoebox in the freezer right now - am I supposed to bury it - where? how? in a construction site where they've jackhammered through the concrete - where is a person supposed to bury things in this city?
s) I could drop it in the Gowanus canal, but that seems undignified
t) I could drop it in the ocean, but the ocean is so big and it is such a small bird
u) I could drop it in the toilet but it would probably get stuck
v) I hear this whirring around my ears every time I go to the mailbox and I'm pretty sure it's ghost bird, and I'm all "it wasn't me that killed you, bird!" but still the whirring doesn't go away until I get to the stairwell
w) am I supposed to eat it - maybe you were trying to feed me - don't you know I'm a vegetarian?
x) if this was Ricky, I'm gonna beat your ass, mama told you stop bothering the zoo
y) if this was Gina, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, how many times I gotta say I'm sorry?
z) I could drop it off the roof, maybe it will reincarnate while falling and I can start reading my mail again
For those with "real" jobs, a friendly note of caution: these sites are highly addictive. Seriously, being able to spend quality time on them again may just be the spark that gets me in the job hunt.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Time travel to another "Galaxy"

A month or so ago, my cousin Frankie (age 29) texted me one night: "guess where i'm at." The possibilities seemed endless. "Um, in a hotel room with Marv Albert?" I texted back. Frankie replied, "no, galaxy skateway in davie!"

For most grown-ass adults, the reaction might be "why?" or "who cares?" As one who still has her first pair of Riedells and enjoys skating in Central Park's circle at 72nd Street, a little part of me died when the last indoor skating rink in NYC closed two years ago. So, it was with too much excitement that I texted back (flush with jealousy), "NO F'N WAY! We're soooo there when I'm in FL next month!"

And so it went. I arrived in FL last Thursday morning and was at Galaxy Skateway that night for "Adult Skate" in Davie with my cousin and his friend. Just like that, I was transported back to middle school (this is a good thing). As we pulled into the parking lot, I wasn't sure what I was more afraid of: falling on my ass or OD'ing on nostalgia.

See, my formative years were spent on roller skates. When I was in elementary school (1978-83), I went every Wednesday with an after-school program to Galaxy Skateway in Margate, FL (about 15 miles north of Davie). Skating on hideous brown and orange rentals (with a bum wheel coated in gum) on a dangerously-smooth cement rink, I grooved to disco like Cheryl Lynn's "Got to Be Real" and early hip hop like "Pack Jam" by the Jonzun Crew. "Good Times" (think Chic) for real.

Then, from 1984-87, I spent nearly every Friday night skating with my friends round and round a much nicer hardwood circle at Coral Springs Skating Rink (now a Pep Boys). I say "nearly" because I was grounded for an entire summer between 7th and 8th grade (a most sinister attack on my social life by the 'rents). The first "big ticket" item I ever bought myself was my Riedell 2-stripe speed skates. After saving all summer between 6th and 7th grades, I finally bought them ($106 is a lot of babysitting and b-day $ for an 11-yr-old).

By that time, skating had evolved to "shuffling" so my friends and I would line up in pecking order (alpha female first and so forth -- the alpha usually had a brush in the back pocket of her Guess jeans). We'd shuffle for hours around the rink to jams like Trinere's "All Night" and Egyptian Lover's "Egypt, Egypt." When our feet throbbed from shuffling, we'd line up again (in our socks now) to perform dances such as the Cabbage Patch for whatever boys happened to be watching. Luckily, 14-yr-old boys are easy to impress.

Flash to April 2008 and Davie's Galaxy Skateway (where I'd never been before). On the outside, it looked just like the one in Margate. I worried how I'd do on a cement rink but was happy to see it was a hardwood one just like Coral Springs'. From the weird bullet-proof glass booth they make the cashier sit in at the front entrance (it's only $10 to get in -- how much money could possibly be in the register?) to the stale carpeting and "Donkey Kong" video games, it was as though time had stood still.

Not sure what the purpose of a clock is in a place where time doesn't exist.

I rushed over to the skate rental counter (brown and orange skates still in operation) and happily told the ancient man behind it that I wanted speed skates in size 8. Yep, they now rent Riedells (oh, what that would've done for my rep in 6th grade!). Giddy with excitement, I laced them up and hit the floor (not literally, thank God) before Frankie grew tired of my "and then this other time" stories.

Because it was "adult skate night," the DJ was playing old school songs from the days of 12" singles. Hea-ven! MC Shy-D's "Gotta Be Tough" was the first song, then K.J. an' da Fella's "Get Retarded (Now Go!)," then the Megatrons' "Rock the Planet" and then my head started spinning. No wait, that was the jacked up wheels of my skates about to take me into the wall. Ugh! Rentals still suck even when they're Riedells? WTF?!

Me and my cousin Frankie embracing the non-brown skate.

Okay, back at the rental counter to get a different pair, this time size 7. Perfect! (trick: if you can wiggle your toes, you'll be on your ass) Back on the floor, I quickly found myself shuffling again, even after all these years. By the 20th time around the rink, I started to realize why my legs were built like a brick shithouse as a teenager. My cousin's friend (who had come with her inline skates only for exercise purposes) shouted to me, "ugh, I wish they'd reverse the skating direction so we could work the other leg!"

"Whatever, weird adult lady," I thought. It was as though I had time traveled to another "Galaxy" and was once again feeling my 8th grade self (but now a very satisfied 36C). Granted, I wasn't as good as the other adults whose shuffling skills suggested they hadn't missed a Friday night since '88. There were even skate dance crews in the center of the rink and girls in Guess jeans! With the triangle and question mark logo, no less!

In fact, it was so '80s skating rink that the social pecking order was also very much intact despite the fact that most of us were in our late 20's and 30's. This became very obvious during the "speed skate" session where only the "coolest" were on the rink (with the lights turned up so all could observe and approve of their coolness).

Wait, reality check: I was in Davie, FL. At a roller skating rink. On adult skate night. It was a dorkfest, probably. But for just a few hours, it was sooooo cool to be back in '86.

Lights on for the "cool" kids while I finally got my shuffle on in these rentals.

For those who have no freakin' idea what "shuffling" is, this is close enough.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Hi, my name is Jennifer and I'm addicted to the CW's "Gossip Girl."

[group: Hi, Jennifer.]

I mean, how could I NOT be? As a fan of such amazingly-scripted teen classics as "Heathers," "Sixteen Candles," "Breakfast Club," "Clueless" and most recently, "Juno," the show appeals to my need to see impossibly smart and attractive young people acting cruel, clever and outrageous.

A mixture of witty dialogue and teen reality show over-the-topness (think "My Super Sweet Sixteen" and "The Hills"), "Gossip Girl" even has a dash of old school flava thanks to some well-timed adult melodrama (Kelly Rutherford from "Melrose Place" plays the gold digging mother of one of the show's stars).

[group: Really? Wasn't she also on that short-lived black soap opera, "Generations?"]

(yes) Anywho, don't take it from me (I'm totally sleep-deprived and unable to do the show justice in my brainmelting state). New York Magazine has a great cover story, "The Genius of Gossip Girl," that will explain everything:

BTW, I love how Dan forwards links to articles he himself hasn't read (weirdo). Here's the Cliff's Notes version:

One of the "OMFG" promos for the show hyping its glorious return from a writer's strike-induced hiatus.

Anyway, I'm very fortunate to have a great support group that shares my addiction.

[group: Aw, thanks!]

Um, no, not you. I'm talking about my friends Jeremy, Dan and Susan.

[group: (collective sad face emoticon)]

Anyway, after helping each other through this difficult time (i.e. the writer's strike and the show's 3-month absence), we celebrated the return of evil, headband-wearing bliss tonight. After trying unsuccessfully to secure a room for our little support group at The Plaza (where much of the show is taped), Jeremy hosted a "Gossip Girl" viewing party at his apartment on the Upper East Side (duh, where else?).

Three words: Best. Pizza. Ever. Oh wait, and the show didn't suck, either. In fact, the strike was the best thing that could've happened for us fans. It gave the writers time to regroup and script us something better than yet another ho-hum masquerade ball or sappy "Blair and Dan sneaking off to romantic W'burg" scene (nothing says "romance" like waste transfer stations).

After the show, we reflected on what we'd just learned (um, stealing your snotty frienemy's Valentino dress is okay if you can produce a hottie to appease her anger after?) and reaffirmed fave quotes ("who just turned 12?" "(please take your dirty package off the table) Oh, if I had a dime for every time I've heard that one"). Then, Dan pointed out that Jeremy's TV is HD, but we'd watched it on basic cable (ew). OMFG, NO GG in HDTV on UES? WTF?

On the train home (411: "What city and location?" Blair: "Brooklyn, it's in NY, I think."), I had another OMFG moment. It occurred to me that there might be something wrong with a 34-year-old woman who enjoys watching a high school hyperdrama. I thought of the innocent friends I recently tried to recruit to share in my addiction like some vampire or Scientologist (sorry, Tania). Was I masking the problem by seeking comfort in numbers?

Okay, alright already! (sigh) I recognize that my addiction could be a symptom of a larger problem: a refusal to grow up and buy a house or something.

[group: Breakthrough!]

(sob) Every time I turn on the TV, it's a reminder that I'm avoiding "grown-up" things like, um, whatever grown-ups do. (sniff) Shouldn't I be watching other crap like "House" or "CSI" -- no, seriously, what do normal people in their mid-30's watch?

[group: How the hell would we know? We're in the same "still shopping at 'Forever 21' boat as you, sister.]

So be it. Whether it's some rebellious act against my inner adult or just a harmless love of witty banter spoken by those least likely to say it, I'm not about to stop watching. My name is Jennifer and I'm addicted to "Gossip Girl." Thanks for letting me share.

p.s. if you haven't caught an episode yet and like the same kind of junk I do, the CW's site has your fix. You can watch all the fun you've missed:
(consider yourself bitten -- you know you love me, xoxo)

Snapped on the way to Jeremy's house (cue GG intro, "Hey, Upper East Siders. Spotted on Park Ave racing toward a certain media mogul's apartment to indulge in a TV show well below her age demographic: J looking like a 34-year-old in denial.")

Monday, April 14, 2008

My pet needs a pet

Last Monday, my roommate of 6 months moved in with her boyfriend, taking her incredibly large but surprisingly friendly cat with her.

It's been a strange transition for me so far with the room vacant and no plans to fill it (my man is finally moving up to NYC next month). I kinda like the room empty if only because it leaves so much to the imagination. I bought some frames for its walls tonight (figures that I'd buy frames before furniture) but have no idea where I'll go next with it.

Anyway, while it's been a strange transition for me, it's been a very difficult one for my little cat, Eve. In 1996, I adopted kittens who I named Adam and Eve. Sadly, Adam passed away last June from cancer. It was a very emotional time for me and especially his twin sister who had never been apart from him her entire life.

When my roommate Teruko moved back to Japan in August, the quest for a new roommate began. I decided on a cool chick named Nikki from Colorado because she seemed sane and she'd be moving here with a cat (whose company Eve desperately needed).

In October, Nikki and Machiatto moved in. At first, the cats didn't seem to like each other but by Christmas they had grown tolerant of the other's company. Their relationship had just advanced to the "stalking-and-chasing-each-other-like-freaky-cats-do" level when Nikki informed me in March that she'd be moving. Since Nikki and "the bob cat" left last week, Eve has been inconsolable.

On the rare occassion that she wanders the house, she meows incessantly the entire time. I've found her several times in the vacant room, facing an electrical outlet while meowing very loudly at it. After doing a lap of the apartment, she races to find me (still meowing) and doesn't leave my side for hours. When I'm on the phone, she meows the entire time. When I'm in the kitchen, she meows the entire time. When I go to the bathroom, she's still meowing. When I get into bed, she meows at me until finally falling asleep near my pillow.

Eve in the 2nd bedroom next to her new friend, the electric socket.

Granted, she's always been a "talker" but never to this (annoying) extent. Before, her meows were limited to food prep and wakey-wakey time. Now, it's an all day, all night meowfest. And, I awake to find one of Machiatto's toys that Nikki left laying in front of my bedroom door (despite me putting it back in the living room each time). Tonight, for the first time in her 12 years, she sat on my lap.

I know people have a tendency to read too much into their pets' behavior but I think she's in a great deal of emotional pain. I need the cat whisperer or something.

If she's been traumatized by all this coming/going of people and pets in the apartment, I wonder if I should get another pet to keep her company? But, getting another cat doesn't appeal to me and my schedule is just too unpredictable to get a dog.

Hmmmm, how crazy would it be for me to get her a pet guinea pig or hamster? If I did, how likely is it that I'd come home to find her knawing on its head?

Curious to see if there's an alternative to getting a live pet for my lonely pet, I Googled "pet's pet" and found "Snuggle Kitties," conveniently defined by the site as:

SnuggleKittie™ (Snǔg’l Kĭt’ĭ) noun. 1. A stuffed animal with a heart beat and heater. 2. An item to cuddle, curl up or sleep on for comfort. 3. A snug, cozy friend for animals that eases crying, loneliness and separation anxiety. 4. An award-winning virtual mom. See also friend of animals and your pet's pet.

While I can't be sure that dropping $30 on a "Snuggle Kitty" will put an end to Eve's 24/7 meowing and overall neediness, I'm 100% sure that doing so would qualify me for official "crazy cat lady" status. Actually, blogging about it is probably proof enough for a complimentary "Cat Fancy" subsription. Shit.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Truth in advertising

Nothing much to report except I was just watching one of my guiltiest pleasures ("Keeping up with the Kardashians" on E!) when this commercial came on:

Love it! If I'm ever in need of a preggo test, I'll be sure to give my $ to Clear Blue for making me laugh today!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Unsound thoughts

After a quick 2-day trip to RI, I was making my way back down 95 to NY, singing along to Kid Sister's "Pro Nails" when the sound suddenly cut out. I checked the iPod -- nope, still playing. I unplugged it, replugged it, checked all connections. Still, nothing.

After 10 minutes of tinkering, I resigned myself to AM/FM radio but found it wasn't working, either. Although all lights indicated the radio was on and emitting sound, I heard nothing. Hmmmm...after nearly 12 years of being my car, had it finally tired of playing crap booty music?

I was still 45 minutes outside of NYC and entering the hateful part of CT where the scenery takes a back seat to aggravating traffic. As the traffic began to build, so did my level of panic at the prospect of facing it without music or sports radio. What would I do? How would I pass the time between brake light flashes?

I'd have to do the very thing I'd been avoiding: think. Not that I mind thinking but between my family's health in RI and the eternity of work waiting for me at home, the thought of thinking made me think otherwise. So, I gave my mind stern directions for its wandering: as long as it didn't think of family or work, it could go where it pleased.

As the distance between me and the city decreased, the spectrum of thoughts increased. My mind is prone to think of pretty random shit; once, I was hard at work when I became distracted:

"Is there a city in the United States called 'Far Enough?' I'll bet there is. I mean, if I was a pioneer on a wagon trail headed out West, I probably would've called it quits in Ohio and said, 'okay, this is far enough.'"
I had to know the answer. After 30 minutes and one exhaustive Google search, I concluded that despite it being such an obvious (and awesome) name, a US city of "Far Enough" does NOT exist. I came across a few unusual city names along the way, though, including "Truth and Consequences" in New Mexico (the story of how they got the name is no where near as interesting as I'd imagined:

So, where did my mind go in the quiet of my car?
I wonder if anyone has studied technology's impact on obscene phone calls? It's been at least 10 years since I've gotten one.

And damn, I bet prank calls are like cave drawings by now, too. I mean, how can kids today prank call anybody with all the technology that's evolved since I was a kid? Between Caller ID and *69, what's the point?

Wow, that's a huge chunk of my teenage life that'd be missing. I wonder how many summer days and nights I spent with my friends prank calling random people? There's the time me and Meagan spent a whole day taking turns calling people:

"Hello (in proper British accent), is Mrs. Bubbles there?"
Prank victim: "No, I think you have the wrong phone number."
"Oh (still British accent) I'm sorry, she must've popped."

Or the time we stayed up all night watching crap TV commercials and prank calling the operators who were "standing by":

"Hi and thanks for calling to order 'Memory Power!' Who am I speaking with?"
Me: "Uh, I don't know! I can't remember my name!"

Damn shame if kids can't do stuff like that anymore. Kids are smart; I'm sure some have figured out ways to get around technology. Hey, if they do still prank call, how come I never get any?
Of course, when I got within 2 miles of my destination, the radio's sound came back on. I guess my car has a loose wire connection or something (I can relate). Incidentally, if you know of anyone who does prank or obscene phone calls, please give them my number.

I don't have anything to illustrate this blog except two videos (in honor of random thoughts):