Saturday, November 8, 2008

Top Five Reasons I Have Not Posted in a Month (and Other Stuff)

When I can think of nothing to say I make up an inane list to fill the space. Exhibit A:

5. My daughter has provided me with zero topics since the very popular Tokio Hotel post below. Which got plenty of traffic due to the ridiculous number of girls worldwide googling "Tokio Hotel." Which means I should just write those words repeatedly to lure in the readers. Tokio Hotel. Tokio Hotel. Tokio Hotel. See how clever?

4. My boss actually likes me to get my work done, and I like to end each week by not getting fired.

3. I had hernia surgery. Okay, okay, so that was just three days ago. But I've been mentally working up to it. Very time-consuming.

2. YouTube. Dear Tempting, Easily-Accessible, Deliciously-Time-Wasting YouTube: I blame you.

1. I haven't had an original thought since Oct. 1. Sadly, that might actually be true.

And now for the other stuff (assembled at random):

~ Fact: Vicodin and On Demand will take away all your pain. Okay, that might not actually be a fact. It might be a cry for help. But maybe I'm just splitting hairs . . .

~ This is highly unAmerican, but I just wanted to take the opportunity to note that I hate voting. HATE it. I will not make note here of who I actually voted for, but just suffice it to say that for me, a hopeless fence-sitter, being forced to fill in that little bubble (more on that in a moment) is akin to, ummmm, something really sucky (okay, the Vicodin is still making me a little foggy, sue me). Er, where was I going with this?

~ Whatever, but back to filling in that little bubble -- when I encountered the classic ballpoint pen/bubble sheet voting method at my local polling site last week, I realized then and there how much freakin' trouble our country is in. Are you serious? A ball point pen? Good lord.

~ Finally, a YouTube video I have been wasting my time watching, appropriately Tokio Hotel-related and, quite frankly, weirdly delightful -- and you can laugh at me all you want. I don't care. I have my Vicodin . . .

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tokio Hotel: Evidence That My Daughter Is Now Exerting Undo Influence on My Post Topics

My daughter is obsessed with Tokio Hotel. If you don't know who they are, then you clearly do not have a 13-year-old budding rocker chick in your household. HOWEVER, this is your lucky day, as we are about to enlighten you. And to that end, I have agreed to publish this totally candid and completely unscripted interview with said daughter, J, in order to afford her the needed publicity to further her career as a, um, 13-year-old. And in keeping with my new obsession regarding posting YouTube videos here, there will, in fact, be a video, somewhere below. Oh, you can't resist.

Me: Why do you like Tokio Hotel?

J: First of all, I love Bill's hair.

Me: Who's Bill?

J: Bill Kaulitz, the lead singer. Second, I just like their music.

Me: What is it about Bill?

J: I love his hair . . .

Me: You already said his hair. Describe his hair.

J: It's big, and black with some blonde and it's straight out, like everywhere.

Me: And you find this to be appealing?

J: Yes, I think it's amazing.

Me: And this Bill, he has his tongue pierced, yes? What about that?

J: He also has his eyebrow pierced and he wears a lot of makeup. And he has a twin brother, and his name is Tom and he has dreads.

Me: Given the choice between dreads and "big hair everywhere"?

J: Definitely big hair everywhere because I think dreads are gross and dirty.

Me: If Bill wanted to borrow your eyeliner, would you let him?

J: Um, yes.

Me: And what color would you give him?

J: Black and blue, well it's more like a green color, teal, that's what I'm going to call it . . .

Me: It's my duty as a parent to inform you that you should never share your eyeliner. You could get an eye infection.

J: But it's Bill!

Me: One last question: If Tokio Hotel were a kind of tree, what kind of tree would they be?

J: A rainbow tree.

Me: What does that mean?

J: I don't know but I like it.

Are you still with me? Good job! Okay here's that video I promised. But it's just of Tokio Hotel, so don't get too excited. You can just leave if you want. I won't be offended . . . HOWEVER, if you'd like a giggle, check out Bill's reaction at, oh, about :49, as they win the VMA for Best New Artist. It's actually quite entertaining . . .

Okay, daughter -- you owe me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Weekly, Er, Monthly Wrap-Up

It's been a full flippin' month since I've been on here, and while I vaguely remember having at some point vowed to write for no one but myself, all two of my current readers are threatening to dump me for some other, like, "regularly updated" yet certainly inferior pointless random blog. Sooooo, here I am. Because I kinda crave the attention, quite frankly.

This leaves me with no choice but to write what will surely amount to a lame-ass wrap-up, which, you may recall, is merely an excuse for me to dump out some of the random shit that has collected in my head. Sorry. (And why, you ask, is Lil' Wayne hangin' out lookin' all cool up there? You'll just have to read on, my friend. Read on.)

1. My favorite headline for today: UCLA Group Discovers Humongous Number. First of all, humongous is the least specific adjective I can think of to describe a number, which leads me to believe this headline was written by a 4th grader. Which is excellent. Second, I was unaware that there were numbers lurking in, oh, the dark recesses of the Amazon jungle, just awaiting discovery. Thirdly, no one informed me that by "discovering" said number, you could win -- get this -- $100,000. One hundred freakin' thousand dollars. Forget solving the energy crisis, I'm huntin' me some numbers! (No, I was not actually trying to solve the energy crisis, but it's the first thing that came to mind. Work with me here).

(In case you're too lazy to click the link -- or actually have stuff to do! -- the number they've "found" is a 13-million-digit prime number. Which was actually discovered and verified by on a network of 75 computers running Windows XP. First, if they're not scratching it out on a blackboard I don't think it should count. Second, the article quite glaringly specified the Windows XP part, which also leads me to believe that this is merely a crafty publicity stunt staged by Bill Gates to distract me from those hil-a-rious Mac and PC commercials. "Eat me. I'm a delicious pizza." I rewind to watch that line repeatedly. It amuses me. So eat it Bill Gates. I'm on to you.)

2. I'm kind of delighted by Russell Brand. Don't worry, I'm fully aware that the things I find endlessly amusing are the things that oh, say 85% of other people in general, and 98.9% of other women, find somewhat (or exceedingly) appalling. I have watched the VMAs four times now just to enjoy him -- oh, and to marvel over how Lil' Wayne keeps his pants on. I am fascinated by this. It's really a freakin' gift. Ninja even. Okay, okay, judge for yourself:

3. Watching a great football catch makes me ridiculously happy. I have watched this one with a deep and abiding joy, numerous times. Sadly, between this and the VMAs, my free time is now in alarmingly short supply.

4. Okay, you got me -- I'm watching Lil' Wayne keep his pants on -- again -- right now. Good lord. Somebody please help me . . .

Sunday, August 24, 2008

If You Don't Like Football, You Probably Will Be Bored With This Post. But Maybe Not.

Last night I got to do what every mom dreams of -- I took my daughter to her first professional football game.

Okay, I know that's not what every mom dreams of. I'm not sure I actually ever even dreamed of it. But it was pretty flippin' fun.

You have to know my daughter, however; she is a miniature almost-13-year-old version of me. Well, not so miniature, as she is only about 2 inches shorter than I am. And she looks nothing like me (I, of the dark hair and olive complexion; she of the Dutch blond and porcelain skin variety). But she thinks like me, and if you've read any of this blog previously, you'll know that my thinking is not of, oh, the typical girl variety. This is a girl who, after I got a tattoo, told me that when she gets a tattoo, it will be the word "PIMP" in huge letters across her torso. I related this to my friends, who seemed slightly horrified. I thought it was hilarious. See? Not typical.

Anyhoo, we had two sets of tickets -- my son (he of the ham beard) and my soon-to-be-ex-husband-with-whom-I-am-still-on-very-good-terms (good lord, is there some more graceful way to say that? Henceforth, he will be STBEHWWIASOVGT. No, that sucks too. Nevermind.) were in the club seats, and my daughter and I took the less luxurious concourse seats, entirely pleased, quite frankly, to be that much closer to the action (12 rows back, in the corner of the endzone. He-ey!).

We spent much of the time giving each other a running commentary on the people around us. The tie-dyed Rams shirt she deemed "tragic." The chick in the high heels and Ed Hardy t-shirt -(who wears heels to a football game? Poser!). Grossing out over the old dude next to us who only whipped out his binoculars when the cheerleaders were on the field. I'm not kidding. Remember, we were only 12 rows back. And then he followed them with said binoculars as they bounced by us and exited the field. He might actually have been drooling. Seriously.

My daughter kept referring to the cheerleaders as strippers, by the way. This made me laugh. Perhaps I am the only one entertained by this.

The truth is, however, that my daughter and I both actually love football. LOVE it. She is a Florida Gators fan through and through, and I am of a Packers persuasion, but we totally dig the game, and I got to sit there and coach her through everything play by play, while she ACTUALLY PAID ATTENTION. It was sweet. And not in a lame-ass girly way.

Sadly we made our exit early in the fourth quarter because my 11-year-old son, who was bored save for ogling the cheerleaders, begged us by text message to go. Because he apparently hates football. I'm ordering the DNA test post-haste.

A SIDE NOTE: On the way out, while we were waiting to hook up with son and, er, STBEHWWIASOVGT, we stopped and grabbed ourselves a couple of hot dogs -- or, more accurately, what the concession stand has cleverly dubbed -- get this -- "Ram Dogs." Holy shit, that is just wrong on soooo many levels. Oh, St. Louis, I love you.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the Rams actually won, 24-10. But they were playing the Ravens, who played like girls, so I'm not sure that even counts.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Ham Beard

I don't think that's kosher . . .

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Weekly Wrap-Up: Tuesday Edition

Most people wouldn't do a weekly wrap up on Tuesday, but since it's been more than a week since I've been here, and since I'm thinking about it right this second, here you go. I'm a pioneer like that . . .

(This will be, by the way, a random list of stuff in my brain this week that I've been meaning to post about, and have not. You have been warned.)

1). Have you ever been the moderator for a forum whose spam filters have been turned off? It's gross. Seriously. I feel the urgent need to shower each and every time I run through the comments ranging from porn to viagra to broken English bidding me to "Visit great site . . ." (yeah, broken English makes me feel dirty, too.)

Here's the funniest one I got today, which is actually apologizing for spamming us. So polite! (Note: I've removed the annoying car insurance link lest someone actually click it and get a horrible disfiguring virus . . . )
"Hello, Your site is perfect, sorry for my post ( link was here ) sorry one more time"

2) In the last six weeks or so I've seen major news coverage of young men (in Florida and Louisiana) who have had their arms removed by alligators while swimming. Now I have the greatest sympathy for anyone who's suffered such a misfortune, especially a child as in the second case. However, have folks not heard the news about alligators? Urm, here's an update -- alligators are large carnivorous reptiles that lurk in EVERY SINGLE BODY of water in the states mentioned. I have lived in Florida -- if there's a puddle big enough, they're in there. And there are signs posted on EVERY SINGLE BODY of water that say "Alligator Habitat." Uhhh, don't swim in the water. Then the alligators won't try to eat you. It's a simple rule . . .
2a) A side note, related to the above issue. This article on eHow has apparently been written specifically for very very stupid people, on oh so many levels: How to Buy an Alligator.

3) My kids have been grounded this week from all things they previously deemed enjoyable (meaning anything that plays music, allows access to electronically transmitted information, shows pretty moving pictures, you get the idea). The result? Turns out they like reading, cooking, and board games, and are actually pleasant little people once you unplug them. Who knew?
4) There's more, but I have this funny little job thing I have to get to now. Perhaps there will be a mid-weekly wrap-up in the offing. One can only hope.

You may or may not notice that this image (which is what you find when you search "alligator smiling" FYI) says "angie" in the lower left corner -- it was like that when I got it. Weird. Oh, and it came from this site: Superhero Nation)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Google Analytics Addiction: Is There a Support Group or Something?

Two words. Google. Analytics.

Okay, before I start, let me be clear about this: I hate statistics. Well, I hate keeping statistics, taking them, attempting to decipher them all by my lonesome. Statistics class in college was my most dreaded, which is why I saved it 'til my very last semester (and then barely scraped by with some stupid project on PDAs. Yeah, Public Displays of Affection. What the heck was I thinking? Hard to say.)

Anyhoo, turns out I love statistics as long as someone else puts them together for me. And when they're about something the directly involves me. And when they're presented in multiple fun formats with a bazillion different aspects I can access at the click of the mouse.

Which is why I am addicted to Google Analytics.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, here's a brief overview: Google Analytics allows you to put a tracking code in the HTML of your blog, and it will then keep track of all your traffic. Or lack thereof (and there's the rub).

On days when I have a blog post that's included in the BlogHer network ad picks, I am in Analytics heaven -- I revel in my ability to look at the sources, cities of origin, networks, keywords, even screen resolutions. Right -- I'm a freakin' dork. But I am read! I am noticed! I am popular!

And then there are the rest of the days (like 26 out of 30) where I have my REGULAR traffic, which can range from, say, 3 visits to, oh, maybe, 12 (actually 10 but work with me here). And then there are the rest of the rest of the days (like 3 out of 30) where I have NO TRAFFIC AT ALL. On those days, I click on my blog myself, just so later on my traffic line graph doesn't quite dip all the way down to zero.

Oh my god I can't believe I just told you that. It's a sad sad little blogging world I have here.

And I would be feeling truly pathetic about all of this, were it not for the fact that in my new job with Simply Good Media (home of The Budget Fashionista -- shameless plug! Woo hoo!) I am encouraged -- nay, expected -- to "analyse" the Google Analytics. Now I get paid to check traffic sources and entry paths.

The blogging gods have smiled upon me, my friend.

Now, if you would just click some more posts around here so I have something on my own Analytics account to affirm my blogging self-worth, that would be great, thanks.

P.S. That image is not MY Google Analytics account -- I am far too lazy to grab a screenshot, and quite frankly, this traffic is waaaay better. Also, I had intended to comment on some of the weird place/search keywords I've encountered on Google Analytics, but the dog needs walking, so that will have to wait until Part Deux -- I know, cliffhangers suck.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Spontaneous Expressions of Early Political Outrage: A One-Act Play

Setting: My house somewhere smack in the middle of Middle America, specifically in the kitchen and half bath off the kitchen. About 5:10 p.m., CST, thunderstorm brewing ominously in the distance.

Players: Me, Son (age 11), TV Anchor Guy

Act I:

Me, in the kitchen at the computer, working diligently, with the national news on TV in the background.

Son, in the bathroom, doing what he’s gotta' to do.

TV Anchor Guy: "Blah blah blah, John McCain, blah blah blah . . . "

Son (muffled-yet-impassioned voice from behind the bathroom door): "We don’t need another Republican!"

Son exits bathroom, singing the refrain from Time for Some Campaignin’

And, scene.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Quick Post That Proves I Am An Astute Observer of Modern Popular Culture

Christian Bale as the Batman. Great casting; horrible choice on Bale's part in terms of vocal stylings. I wrote about this in my original post on The Dark Knight (and other stuff) but now the Yahoo movie news people are stealing my thunder . . . read their commentary here: Monday Movie Buzz: Bale's Batman Voice Too Much?

Nice job catching up, suckas . . .

Monday, August 4, 2008

My New Gig: Somebody Put Me in Charge of Something

While as of late this blog has morphed into a weird conglomeration of pointless commentary on various stray pieces of pop culture (which I enjoy, incidentally), with the occasional nod to my odd little family, I feel the need to share an actual piece of career news . . .

This week I begin a full-time position as Community Manager for Simply Good Media, home of The Budget Fashionista, See Jack Shop, and a host of other budget blogs. If you've been to Between the Lines before, you may know I've long been a contributor to The Budget Fashionista, under the tutelage of the Budget Fashionista herself Kathryn Finney (that's her book over there), but on a very part-time basis.

I won't lie -- I am unbelievably excited to actually have pulled a full-time gig out of this whole freelance writing thing, and love that my new job allows me to do more than write -- meaning I manage editorial content, scheduling, writers, and a slew of special projects. Very cool.

At any rate, I'm sharing mostly because my own personal blog space may suffer for my new job. Or it may not. With me, you never can tell. Either way, you can always stop by and visit The Budget Fashionista (yup, that was a shameless plug) or See Jack Shop (if you are of the male persuasion, or just happen to shop for someone who is), or The Budget Casa, The Budget Bambino, or The Budget Ecoist. Phew! I think my I sprained my linking muscle there . . .

I will still continue, also, to write for my friends at the Illinois Business Journal, and substitute teach here and there in order to actually have an excuse to leave the house and see real live people. And also because I seem to loooove being overcommitted . . .

Saturday, August 2, 2008

And Then I Thought Better of It

I almost wrote a post about how I was at the gym and my son called me to report that our dog Roxie (that's her over there) had puked -- but then I decided that was too gross, even for me.

I will tell you, however, that the conversation ended like this:

Son: "We don't know if she ate it, but the next time we looked, it was just gone." (maniacal 11-year-old-laughter)

Me: Silence

Son: "At least she saved us from having to look at it."

I'm so very sorry about this post. Please try to erase it from your mind. Except for the dog pic, because you have to admit -- it is pretty flippin' cute . . .

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Because We Are Hilarious . . .

. . . this is what we do at the library.

P.S. Still nothing to write about. So sue me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

People That Growed Up Good: Anthony Kiedis

Age just looks better on some people . . .

Admittedly, this one may be just me . . .

On the left, an early girly-hair and baby-faced Kiedis. On the right? Seems to have manned up. Nice.

P.S. This post should indicate to you that yes, I have in fact run out of things to write about for the moment. But it's summer -- cut me some slack.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Pop Culture Nirvana

I have had a very very good week, pop culturally speaking. You know how I love a list, so here's one of three fun things I did that kept me temporarily sane in the vortex of chaos in which I exist. Or is it a vortex of dulling boredom? I keep forgetting . . .

1. Foo Fighters concert. Further confirmed my suspicions that Dave Grohl is a brilliant, brilliant guy. And that the other Foos are pretty brilliant too. And that $10 is just waaaay to much to pay for a watered down Jack and Coke, but I digress . . .

2. Jonas Brothers concert. Okay, before you laugh (you're already laughing, aren't' you?), Avril Lavigne was there too. Er, you're right -- that didn't really make it any better. Well, I took my 12-year-old daughter and her friend. Does that help? How was I to know I'd actually enjoy it? Yeah, that's embarrassing, but I'm trying to own it. Will I buy the Jonas Bros. new album? Nope (well, not for myself at least). But did they put on a pretty freakin' amazing show for three kids aged 15-20? Yup, sure did.

3. The Dark Knight. So it sort of pales in comparison to a concert experience, but I happen to loooove going to the movies, and I loved this one in particular. Yes, I took my 11-year-old son (cue the angry boos from legions of protective, nurturing parents across America). Was it a little freaky for him at moments? Yeah, and for me too. Was it dark? Yup. Brooding? Sure. Brilliant? Yeah, a bit -- especially Heath Ledger. Genius. And Christian Bale isn't too shabby either, though I have one note -- his "Batman" voice sounded a whole lot like Jack Nicholson in "A Few Good Men", and not in a good way. I'm just sayin' . . .

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brett Favre: Been Caught Cheatin'

Dearest Brett --

You know I love ya, but I can't continue to defend you when you continue to make yourself look shifty and egomaniacal (Report: Packers had proof of tampering).

I mean, the Vikings? Really? Think, man, think!


P.S. Thanks, at least, for the opportunity to use the world "egomaniacal". I enjoyed it.

Monday, July 21, 2008

People That Growed Up Good: Dave Grohl

Age just looks better on some people . . .

Dave Grohl, the early version, left, and now-ish, new and improved. Excellent.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Completely Meaningless Comparisons: Jonas Brothers vs. The White Stripes

Comparative literature, p'shaw! How about wasting my time comparing two things in a fashion that is, in the long run, absolutely meaningless? Okay! My new favorite thing . . .

This time, in honor of my ridiculous morning song affliction, Jonas Brothers vs. The White Stripes. Is it correct to use "vs."? I don't think there will be a winner in any of this (least of all myself, or you for that matter . . . ), but for lack of a better joining . . .uh . . . thingie . . .

Point 1: Siblingerrificness

Jonas Brothers: They're brothers!

The White Stripes: They have claimed to be brother and sister, but are actually former spouses. Very Appalachian.

Point 2: Commerciality

Jonas Brothers: They're Disney spawn!

The White Stripes: They look as if they could be Disney characters. If Tim Burton ran Disney.

Point 3: Funny Yahoo! Search Prompt

Jonas Brothers: If you start to type in "Jonas Brothers", one of the prompts that pops up on the drop down list on Yahoo! search is "Jonas Brothers muscles." Don't ask me why I know this.

The White Stripes: Okay, there wasn't anything funny here -- apparently when searching The White Stripes, it's all business, all the time. I could make something up, but that wouldn't be right. Would it?

Point 4: Creative Song Titling*

Jonas Brothers: "That's Just the Way We Roll." Oh wait, that's not actually creative. My bad. It does sort of make me giggle though.

The White Stripes: "I Fought Piranhas" Now that's creative.

* For the record, this word looks really wrong. But it's right. If you pronounce it the way it looks though, it's kinda funny. I'm just sayin'.

P.S. This post didn't take nearly as long as it looks. Really. Because if it did take that long (with the creating of the collage image, Yahoo searching, etc.) that would make me a real loser. Right? Haaa haaa . . .heh . . . heh. . . oh, crap.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up This Morning, Third and Final Edition

"Slow Ride" by Foghat.

All I have to say to that is . . . WTF?!?

Verging-on-Begging-for-Comments Request: Tell us* what song was in your head when you woke up this a.m. Or, if it turns out I'm the only person this happens to on a daily basis, you can tell us* that too. Okay, cool, thanks.

*By "us" I mean me of course -- but I like to pretend I'm not alone in this thing. Just play along.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Song That Was In My Head When I Woke Up This Morning

"The Year 3000" by the Jonas Brothers. Good lord.

It was a little distressing, but when you have a 12-year-old daughter moments like that are, apparently, unavoidable . . . it was kind of catchy though . . .

Good lord.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Update: The Number 33

Yes, my fascination with constantly encountering the number 33 is no doubt deeply fascinating to you as well -- so much so, I'm certain you've been anxiously awaiting an update to my original post "The Number 33." So here it is. No thanks are needed -- your just having shown up is thanks enough.

I still have no idea what it really means, this cropping up of numbers, and it may mean nothing at all (correction: it definitely means nothing at all) but I can't deny that it's there. Well, I could if I wanted to. But that'd be so much less fun for me.

Anyhoo, some places that the number 33 (and 333, because we're expanding! New and improved!) have cropped up recently:

~ Time. I'm always looking at the clock at 33 past some hour -- 5:33, 11:33, 3:33 . . . well, you get the idea. I also look at the clock at 4:08, 6:23, and 10:19, but those don't count.

~ Timestamps. Well, I'm not sure what they're called, but I've paused the DVR on more than one occasion at 33 minutes. Mysterious! Oh, and I frequently get e-mails at 33 past the hour or 33 seconds past the minute. And it's sad that I'm even looking at stuff like that, isn't it? Er, forget I said that . . .

~ Money. My last check for substitute teaching this school year? $333. Oh, and my pizza order at Little Caeser's totaled $13.33. But I'm not sure if that counts. The pizza was delicious, however.

~ Viruses and Other Annoying Computer Crap. My laptop contracted a virus recently, and upon scanning found it had a combination of viruses and spyware totalling -- ready for it? -- 333.

~ Drivers Seriously Trying to Piss Me Off. Got cut off the other day by a guy with a license plate that had the number 333 on it. Didn't catch the letter part of the plate, which is why I would never be a good accident witness. Not terribly observant on the whole.
~ Travel Time. Apparently, according to that oracle that is MapQuest, I will be driving 33 minutes to take my daughter to see Avril Lavigne and the Jonas Brothers next week. The 33 minutes is the highpoint of the experience for me, I'm thinking, but I'll let you know how that all pans out.

Okay, I'm sure I have more examples to offer but must head out to venture across the river to Missouri, to pick up a Powerball ticket. The jackpot? $33 million. Ohhhhhhhh yeah.

Oh, and that image up there? Apparently there are 310 ways to arrive at the number 33 in the puzzle shown. Sweet.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rejoin Our Regular Programming After the Break

It's a short break, just 'til next week, but since you bothered to stop by I figured I better let you know. I'll be back -- it's just that mid-summer thing, with family in town and blogging just seems, well, rude. Unless they're really bugging me. Then I'll pretend I have "work" to do, and tell you all about it. In code. So read closely . . .

Oh, and just so you don't leave empty-handed here's some stuff to click on, if you happen to have a few moments to indulge your curiosity ('cause you know your curious) :

Something that makes me tear up (damn it!) it's so freakin' heart-warming

Something that still cracks me up even though I've watched it 143 times (not really) (well, maybe)

The song that was in my head when I woke up this morning

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cosmo: $4.29 I Could Have Spent on a Gallon of Gas

. . . and should have. Because upon purchasing my first Cosmo in, oh, 18 years, I discovered that it sucks. Eggs.

I made this purchase, of course, spurred on by the attention a previous post on Details and Marie Claire had garnered, and my own current obsession with the superiority of men's magazines. I had anticipated crafting a clever, irreverent and ultimately thought-provoking post, but instead I found fodder for, well, nothing. I can't believe people actually read this drivel. On purpose. And pay for it. Like I did. D'oh!

Here's the thing. Cosmo is 89% about sex. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Were it useful/intelligent/remotely intriguing information, that's be totally fine. But instead we get "Taboo Sex: The Dirty, Sexy Moves a Man Craves in Bed" (which are different how from the dirty, sexy moves Cosmo has written about in the last 1,647 issues?); "Caught Butt Naked" (Tee Hee!); and "Sexual Health: How to Decode the Sneaky Signs of an STD (Ah, those sneaky STDs. Little scamps!). Ummm, I knew all this stuff before I bought that last issue of Cosmo 18 years ago. But maybe that's just me.

The other 11%? Fashion and beauty (which they do a passable job of, actually, but it's not anything I couldn't find online in about 8 seconds and for free), and indispensable advice pieces like "Summer Dangers You Don't Think About," which gives us this startling revelation -- "Going out for a run in the evening can be convenient -- and the views at sunrise or sunset can be beautiful -- but those times are far less safe." No shit! I feel so informed now. Thanks Cosmo!

Finally, I can't possibly read a magazine that, in a subhead, states: "This is the kick-ass season, but the high temps and humidity can bring challenges." What, am I 12??? The kick-ass season?? What does that even mean??? "A" kick-ass season, maybe, as in, "The Packers had a kick-ass season this year," but . . . It's enough to force me to utilize multiple question marks. And you know that's pretty freakin' serious.

Okay, here's the score on this one:

Cosmo: 0

Me: also 0, for spending my hard earned cash when I had a perfectly good GQ waiting at home.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Buddhism, or Setting Myself Up for More Failure

After I got a ton of traffic from that last post about "Marie Claire Vs. Details" (thanks GlossedOver!), I'd decided to write more about my ruminations on crappy women's magazines . . . but then I was sidetracked (ADD anyone?) by my OTHER active ruminations, on Buddhism of all things. So I decided to write about that first. Yeah, we'll see how it goes . . .

A little background: as a lifelong hardly-practicing Christian, I have come to the conclusion that while Christianity is certainly a perfectly valid form of spiritual practice for those who choose it, it's just not my thing (I'll take this opportunity to apologize for offending the sensibilities of any wayward family member who might happen to be reading this -- uh, sorry). What is? Not entirely sure, but have always been drawn to Buddhism, at least intellectually -- I know a small bit about it after taking a religion course on it in college and doing some reading on my own.
There are a number of reason it appeals to me, and I won't bore you by enumerating any of them (and the collective sigh of relief . . . ). I will, however, allow you to join me as I peruse and react to a list of the Five Buddhist Precepts (kind of like commandments, except without the "eternal damnation" clause attached -- phew!).

Buddhist Precepts

There are five precepts commonly observed by Buddhists:

1. To avoid killing or harming any living being. No problem here, I don't hunt, don't even like to squish bugs (though those giant cockroaches in Florida were asking for it). Oh, well, there is that pesky meat-eating thing. Does that count? Hmmmm.

2. To avoid taking that which has not been given. Now this I can do. Except for all those books and DVDs I borrow and, er, forget to return. But you can help me on this one -- do not, under any circumstances, ever loan me a book or DVD. Or CD. Or clothing. Or money. Especially money. Okay, I think we're good.

3. To avoid committing sexual misconduct. I did a little research on this one (I mean, come on, this is not very specific, is it?) -- apparently it basically means don't have sex with someone with whom it is "improper" for you to have sex. Excellent. One definition of "improper," by the way, is "abnormal or irregular." That should be easy to avoid. Maybe.

4. To avoid using false words. Okay, no lying. I'm a horrible liar anyway, so I'm very nearly in the clear on that one. This is looking pretty good. And finally . . .

5. To avoid taking alcohol and other intoxicants. Whoa, wait a minute here. Seriously? Shit.

Disclaimer (necessary due to an overactive sense of guilt from my previous incarnation as a Catholic): This is, of course, in no way meant to disrespect Buddhism. It's merely my gut-level reactions to a set of standards that I will, very sadly, find it hard to live up to . . . fortunately, Buddhists have lifetimes to achieve enlightenment, so it's relatively low-pressure situation. Nice.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Marie Claire Vs. Details: A Magazine Battle of the Sexes

I've written before about how I much I love men's magazines, and am generally horribly disappointed in women's magazines. Men's magazines are amusing, women's magazines are not. Simple as that. So I was thinking, what if I did a head to head comparison? What if indeed. I grabbed a Marie Claire in the line at Wal-Mart, and while I love Esquire best, I thought Details (which I also have a subscription to) would be the most even comparison. Okay, here it goes:

Category #1: Cover Celeb

Marie Claire: On the cover? Sex and the City (specifically, Sarah Jessica Parker on a magazine cover for the millionteenth time this month). While, as a fashion writer, SATC style holds some kind of minor fleeting fascination, all in all I'm not a fan. Actually, as summer movies go, I prefer Iron Man. There, I said it.

Details: Another summer movie cover, this time Batman Unmasked's Christian Bale. Let's face it, Bale is soooo cool. And wouldn't I rather look at him on my coffee table than SJP? Uh, duh.

MC -- 0, Details -- 1

Category #2: Work/Career

Marie Claire: "How to Survive a Layoff and Spot One Coming." Okay, not bad -- but one of the red flags, it seems, is if "you're only capable of performing one function." Well, shit, if you can only perform one function, your ass should have been gone a long time ago. I'm just sayin'.

Details: "Have You Already Peaked at Work?" This piece assumes that you have already "rocketed up the corporate ladder" so if you haven't, perhaps not be so useful (but on the upside, means you might -- and I said might -- not have peaked yet. Woo hoo!). Also, the advice? Not too deep -- "keep an eye on that intern delivering your mail." Yeah, okay, thanks.

MC -- .5, Details -- .5

Category #3: Sex

Marie Claire: "Bedroom Ethics -- Hooking Up With a Friend's Ex". Okay, now we're talking. But this piece is a first-person narrative about some chick who hooks up with a friend's ex who she has dubbed The Poet. I couldn't even read the rest -- something about he's a jerk, she's my BFF now, best break-up ever, blah blah blah. Next . . .

Details: "Meet the Guys Who Are Trying to Nail Your Wife." Now this is something useful (not for me particularly, but I'm trying to be objective here). It even tells you the types you should look for, signs, how to handle it. A full-on guide which, as a girl, I would have to say might be right on the money. Now that's thorough reporting.

MC -- 0, Details -- 1.5 (for thoroughness)

Category #4: Whining

Marie Claire: "How Losing Weight Lost Me Friends." Didn't read it. Don't care.

Details: "Stop Complaining. No One Cares How You Feel." Also didn't read it, but don't have to. The title says it all. Nice.

MC -- uh, 0, Details -- 1

Category #5: Fashion/Style
Marie Claire: "Dress For The Job You Want." I'm ready, bring on the good advice. Er, except that the article only gives you four jobs to choose from -- High End Real Estate (which is, of course, a perfectly valid employment opportunity for the masses due to that dreaded high end real estate agent shortage); The Art World (possibly the most vague job/industry description I have ever heard); Finance (okay, it's gonna take me a lot more than a pretty suit to crack into this one); and, finally, Modeling (representing the career aspirations of oh, say, a whooping .000000001% of Marie Claire's readership).

Details: "The New Casual Friday: How to Dress Down in Style." Piece by piece (with pictures!) of what to wear to work -- polos, knit ties, cardigans, print t-shirts, suede lace-ups. The ribbon belts (which look like they're actually made out of, well, ribbons) were slightly questionable for me, but whatever . . .

MC -- 0.5 (well, the article looked pretty nice), Details -- 1

Category #6: Quotable Quote

Marie Claire: From a piece entitled "What I Love About Me" -- "I'm lucky that my hair isn't affected by humidity. Being frizz free in Atlanta makes my life easier because it's so muggy." You know, statements like that give women a bad name. And make me never want to read another women's magazine ever ever ever again.

Details: From a short piece directing us to -- "Hi sweetie, Do you know how to google yourself? I heard on the radio that people can google themselves. I've done a lot of things to myself before, but I've never googled myself." Hehehe. Okay, so I have the sense of humor of a 13-year-old boy. Sue me.

MC -- 0, Details -- 2, just because it made me laugh

Total scores (using my completely arbitrary scoring system):

MC -- 1
Details -- 7

Okay, that was too easy. And I could go on, but I won't. Because this is an hour of my life I will never get back. Crap.

Children Can't Fly

I've lived in this house for a year, and just the other day noticed this warning label on the window in the basement laundry room:

!!! Caution !!!
Children Can't Fly!

Screens are not designed to restrain children from falling through an open window. Please take proper precautions.

Good to know. The funny thing is that this is on a basement window -- meaning it's at ground level. Literally.

Should writers of safety warnings attempt a sense of humor? I'm on the fence here . . . but if anyone knows of a job opening, I'm pretty sure I could pull this gig off . . .

The Ballad of a Writer Who is Not Writing

(Er, if you're not really interested in reading about my not writing, you could read this riveting post instead. Just a thought. Proceed.)

I am resisting writing lately. What's up with that?

Let me just say I make it a practice to never write about writing. Well, I've probably done it once or twice but don't want to make that mistake again. It's freakin' boring. But what about writing about not writing? Ummm, I'm guessing that's even more boring. But here I am.

I enjoy a list, however, so I will put my ruminations into list form, just for fun. Whoopee.

1. I have writer's block. Except there's no such thing as writer's block. Either you choose to write or you don't. Something will come out if you sit down to write. It always does. Like this for example, though it's not so impressive thus far. Moving on . . .

2. I am rebelling against myself. Or something.

3. I am harboring writer envy. In a half-assed attempt to "inspire" myself I am reading various print materials (short story compilations, quick read crime fiction, the writings of the Dalai Lama -- I am nothing if not eclectic), as well as a various random blogs. Instead of inspiration however, I am feeling small. Very small. And since I'm spending so much time reading, who has time to write? That would be Excuse #324. I'm keeping a list of those as well. Also very time-consuming.

4. I am writing this in order to force myself to write. It's not going very well so far. I'm sorry you've been caught in the middle here. You should scroll around and read something else, quickly. That's what I would do.

5. What do you call a writer who doesn't write? In my case, a substitute teacher . . .

Oh, that image has nothing to do with this post -- I did a search for images on "not writing" and that was on the first page. Being too lazy to look further, I used it. I got it from a blog called "Letters from Kamp Krusty", by the way. He, in fact, does seem to be writing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I Feel Dis-Orientated

Quick -- oriented or orientated?

I'm sort of a stickler about the English language (imagining, of course, that I have a reasonable handle on the beast). Lately, I've been hearing the word "orientated" being bandied about more and more frequently -- in conversation, on television, etc. And it's been buggin' me.

I've also been walking around all smug in the knowledge that what folks actually mean to say is "oriented." Today, with the sole intention of proving myself correct (allowing me to be even more smug in my own head -- working alone at home tends to have this effect on you, trust me) I did a quick search online -- only to discover that "orientated" is actually the common British usage. Damn. And I can't even pull out that lame argument that "we're in America here" because I always spell "theater" as "theatre." Because it's cooler. Isn't it?

I was led, however, to a site after my own heart, Mother Tongue Annoyances, which I enjoyed . . .

Friday, June 13, 2008

New York Times Quote That I Enjoyed Today

This New York Times article on how the Japanese government is mandating weight loss among citizens would be interesting enough, but the following quote (from a Tokai University School of Medicine professor) took it to the next level for me:

“I don’t think the campaign will have any positive effect. Now if you did this in the United States, there would be benefits, since there are many Americans who weigh more than 100 kilograms,” or about 220 pounds, Mr. Ogushi said. “But the Japanese are so slender that they can’t afford to lose weight.”

Damn! We Americans just can't get a break. Quit dissin' us Ogushi! This wasn't our idea . . . we're still stuffing our faces with donuts around the coffee maker at work . . . mmmmm, donuts.

By the by, apparently the preferred Japanese term for being overweight is "metabo," which sounds more like a cuddly little cartoon animal to me. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I got nothin' today, but here I am with this blank "create new post" window in front of me, and since you've shown up, a bit of randomness for you:

1. Foo Fighters, Everlong, acoustic version. I have been watching this video over and over again (when I should be working, natch) and it never gets old. Dave Grohl is kinda brilliant. Will be seeing the Foos this summer in St. Louis. CANNOT wait.

2. Best break-up/relationship transition (depending on what side you're on, of course) song ever: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Million Miles of Water. This is the b-side to "Dani California" and is the far superior song if you ask me. The bassline alone, particularly during the chorus, is worth repeated listenings.

3. And finally, some important rules to keep in mind this month: June 2008 (Rule No. 794 seems particularly vital, though I'm not sure why).

Now, it's a beautiful day and you should really be outside, shouldn't you? I, for one, am heading to the pool as we speak . . .

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Esquire Magazine Quote I Enjoyed Today

I love Esquire. Yup, not a guy. But I prefer it by a mile to the female-targeted counterparts like Glamour, Cosmo, etc. Because Glamour and Cosmo don't make me laugh, ever. Esquire does. A lot.

My favorite quote thus far from this month's Esquire, from the always enjoyable "What I've Learned" section:

"A lot of people like to fool you and say that you're not smart if you never went to college, but common sense rules over everything. That's what I learned from selling crack."

-- Snoop Dogg, Rapper, 36, Los Angeles

He had me up to that last part. But, he's actually right . . .

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Questions That You Must Answer Before You Leave This Page

Blogging is a lonely business. After a comment-free post or two, it leaves me dangerously susceptible to posting some exceedingly dull and self-indulgent navel-gazing (it's a pretty nice navel, but still). Soooo, I am reduced to begging. Please please please leave a comment (Colin J and Wisconsin Mommy, you are already on board, so thanks for that).

But seriously -- I envision blogging as an interactive experience, and while I would never discourage a reader (and you are out there -- I know this because I am obsessive about my Google Analytics stats -- it's a sickness) I would enjoy this far more if I were to hear from you. Er, you may argue that reading this is supposed to be about your (potential) enjoyment, not mine, but that may be selfish of you. I'm just sayin'.

Okay, now I'm alienating people. Redirecting . . .

New tactic: I will try to make it more interactive by giving you reason to respond. And how do you get people to respond? Just like that, actually. Asking questions. Who can resist? See, there I go again . . . Alright, getting on with it, sorry.

Today's Questions That You Must Answer Before You Leave This Page (or TQTYMABYLTP -- catchy!):

1. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up this morning?

2. If aliens invade, what's your plan?

3. If you go off the deep end, where do you end up?

Ohhhh, I feel as thought I'm setting myself up for failure here. Don't let me down people.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Time Does Go By . . .

Well, so much for blogging from Florida -- down to my last few hours on vacation, and found that once I was here, I had very little interest in my computer. Go figure.

In brief, stuff I learned:

~ There are few things more wonderful than kneeling in the bathwater-warm waters of the Gulf while tiny fish circle you and you are thinking of absolutely nothing. Fantastic.

~ Blue Moons enjoyed on a restaurant deck with old friends on a steamy Florida afternoon are especially delicious.

~ Also delicious: Robert Downey Jr. on the screen for two-plus hours in Iron Man. Okay, didn't need to go on vacation to figure that out, but it's true. Mmmmmm.
~ While tanning is widely discouraged in the medical community, I just look really good with one. Sorry.

Oh, that picture up there was the view from my beach towel. Palm trees make me strangely happy.
Okay, back to real life . . .

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Number 33

Okay, I'm certain this is coincidence. Well, relatively certain. Though I am someone who has a tendency to want to attach meaning to things where there may be none. I am working on that.

Anyway, lately I seem to be hyper-aware of the number 33. This has been happening for the last few months, increasingly so, though some would argue that I am now looking for it. And this may well be true. I am a reasonable person, so I can concede that point. Done.

However, it still strikes me -- especially since it's been happening only since I've been attempting to navigate some serious personal issues. And while I find it exceedingly weird to talk about favorite numbers (because, really, what's the point?) I must admit that I've always had an affinity for the number 3. Something about the balanced nature of it, I suppose.
Did a quick Google search on 33 and found this: the chemical element Arsenic has the atomic number 33 (that's encouraging); there are 33 vertebrae in the human body (Is this about my posture? Because it could use some improvement); the number 33 has long appeared on the Rolling Rock label (Should I drink more beer? I'm on it!); and it's purported to be the number most revered by Masonists (oh crap). Umm, that didn't help.

Yes, I have seen that Jim Carrey movie about the number 23, and no, I don't believe it's a conspiracy. Yes, as you may know, I also watch Lost, a show in which recurring numbers hold a great deal of meaning (What do they mean though? Don't know yet.). So perhaps I am unduly influenced by the pop culture experiences I surround myself with. Noted.

But even if it's in my head (it is) I can't discount the fact that it keeps cropping up, even if it's just a mechanism of my own subconscious. Okay, hold up -- this is going horribly horribly wrong. I am now wondering about messages I am sending to myself in numerical code. Good lord.

I am curious however, if anyone has had a similar experience. Or has anything to say about the number 33. Or would like to direct me to the nearest mental health facility. There, you have 3 choices -- how's that for symmetry? Nice.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Just a quick one today, then I'm off to the beach . . .

I seem to have lost my fear of flying. Which was a delightful and unexpected surprise to me. Perhaps this fearlessness I'm attempting to cultivate in other areas of my life is actually taking hold. Nice! At any rate, during those first few moments of hurtling down the runway, when I'm usually gripping the armrest and attempting to discover faith, I actually was enjoying myself . . .

I did note, however, just as we were about to leave the ground, a very large sign along the runway that said "Think Safety." Hmmmm. Now, I'm not sure if this was meant for the pilots, the ground crew, or me. But yes, please "think safety." Excellent advice in this particular setting. Hopefully no one actually needs reminding about that, but there it is.

Also, prior to takeoff, I was perusing the safety card for a little pre-flight entertainment, and was reminded of Fight Club (naturally) where Tyler is telling Ed Norton's character about how the smiling people in the illustrations are meant to lull passengers into a false sense of security. I was thinking about this as I noticed my cards had photos of actual people performing the emergency procedures. They were not smiling. The didn't even look very sure of themselves. I did not feel reassured. I want my smiling people, damn it.

Not that it mattered, now that I am no longer afraid. Flying is great. Or could it be that the airlines have found some less obvious way to lull me into complacency? I prefer to take the credit, but I do love a good conspiracy theory . . .

Monday, June 2, 2008

A Change of Scenery: Florida Edition

Okay, as of tomorrow I will be spending the next week blogging from Florida, as I am taking a little much-needed solo trip to mull over all those major life questions that keep us up at night. Well, keep me up at night. Because I'm sure you have problems of your own.

Anyway, I say I will be blogging, but of course I will be doing other stuff too. Fun stuff. Important stuff. Stuff that involves the sun, the ocean, a bikini, beach towel, and . . . well, that's really all I need. Maybe a margarita. Make that two. Okay, that seems about right.

I keep getting off topic here. I will try to focus. I am hoping that some interesting things will happen to me so I have something more interesting than this to blog about. For example, I am flying alone for the first time in, oh, 17 years. Knowing me, I will screw something up there, so that will be fun. My main goal is to not think about the flying part, actually. As my favorite TV show is "Lost." Which is about many many things, but partly a plane crash. Which is a scene that keeps running through my head. It doesn't help that I've watched the season finale 4 times now, which is an indication of two things -- 1) that I don't appear to have much of a life at the moment, and 2) that is was AWESOME. My only disappointment was that in the final scene bearded messed-up Jack was not listening to Nirvana this time around in his pimpin' classic Bronco as he readied to break into the Hoffs/Drawlar Funeral Home (I am still oddly tickled by the fact that Hoffs/Drawlar is an anagram for "flash forward." I enjoy cleverness). What was he listening to? Must find out.

You may (probably) have no idea what I'm talking about at this point. However, if you don't watch Lost, you really should. There won't be another new episode for 8 months so that gives you plenty of time to watch the first four seasons. As a matter of fact, I would recommend taking several days off work to do so in one big marathon. Your boss will understand.

I have no idea where I'm going with this. Oh yeah, Florida. Well, I have nothing more to say about that. Except, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know that instead of a four-star beachfront resort I will actually be staying with my parents in a gated, over-55 community. Mostly because I am broke. Mostly. But I actually do like my folks quite a bit, so it's all good. Plus, there might be plenty of blog fodder there . . .

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Follow-Up: Bug Eaters

I enjoyed this particular exchange with a reader so much, that I decided lest anyone miss out (because God forbid any of the six of you not get the opportunity to read this) I would put it here as an actual post. I am doing so only because it made me giggle, and it seems that these days it's all about me. I only say that because I feel like I'm talking to myself here. But if someone else is actually reading this, it's about you, too. Thanks for that.

Oh, and this comment is in response to the final, wholly unrelated portion of the post you can find here.

ColinJ said...

The bug eaters?...ok....well firstly I really like the recipe in which the only 2 ingredients are bugs and grease. The bugs are cooked in the grease until they are ...well....cooked. That's it! That's the entire goddam recipe! Not even a pinch of salt? I laughed alot, that's funny just because it's there, second on the list, with a bold heading. I want the entire bug recipe book now.

And I do love the warning for the prepation of scorpions....."remember to cut off the stinger". That's what I must have missed the last time I prepared scorpions for dinner guests. Quite a relief to this budding chef that the strange aftertaste my guests commented on was just a neurotoxin after all.

And the test if a bug can be eaten or not is a good one...."observe whether or not wild animals eat the insect". So not only do I have to prepare it and cook it. I have to catch it and before doing so, I have to observe it to see if it gets eaten by a wild animal. And if a wild animal does happen to wander along at the same time as myself and and eats my insect, what the hell is it that I am supposed to cook then?

I thought they were taking the piss Angie, but I checked out some of the links, they are for real. And the really sad thing sweetie?....they have PUBLISHED BOOKS about this stuff.
May 31, 2008 10:36 PM

Angie Shultis said...
Oh my god, Colin, that made me laugh so hard . . . I didn't quite take the time with it you apparently did, and I have clearly missed out on something fascinating. Can you even call that a recipe? I guess it's combining two ingredients at the most rudimentary level.

However, if a wild animal wanders by and takes your bug, I would recommend that you just go ahead and cook the wild animal. I'm sensing that would be far more satisfying than that grub you had your eye on . . .

Oh, man, that cracked me up. Nice one. Thanks for that!

I did check a couple links, by the way, to make sure it seemed real at least before I posted it, but published books? Missed that. And all I can say is that I think that just bears out my original theory, that people are f*n weird. While I am f*n awesome.

Just Doin' My Jobs: A List

Lately, much of my energy is focused on something entirely too practical for my tastes -- employment. And I do mean finding it. As a freelance writer, my professional life is, almost by definition, completely unsettled. Also, I know this will surprise you considering the copious amount of talent on display here, but I'm not exactly raking in the big bucks.

I have spent the last year or so, then, substitute teaching, writing for various blogs and local publications, and -- the highlight -- scoring fourth grade reading ISATS online. It's glamorous, I know.

I hate it when writers write about writing (redundant, yes?) so I will not be doing that. However, I will write about existential crises, and while I'm not sure uncertain career paths qualify, I'm feeling flexible today. My pseudo-crisis is this: I have many many changes going on in my life right now which will require me to get off my indecisive ass and figure out what I'm doing next. And I do mean how I'm going to make money. Which, one might argue, at this juncture in life I should have probably already figured out. And you would be correct. Good thinking.

However, as I always like to say, it is what it is. I do like to say that. Just ask my friend Sarah; she finds it highly annoying.

Anyway, as I mull over my Next Big Career Move, I've gotten to thinking about some of the stupid/annoying jobs I've held in the past. My top three:

3. Men's Clothing Salesperson. This sounds fairly innocuous, but I was 19, working in a men's clothing store in a strip mall in a Detroit suburb run by a this manic guy named Surin who drank tea and strawberry milkshakes. I remember this because I used to serve him those when I worked at the ice cream/sandwich shop next door, but I digress . . . Anyway, part of my job was to mark up pants (while they were actually on the 68-year-old guys) to be tailored. I think I only ever did the hem and maybe the waist, mercifully, but I never had any flippin' idea what I was doing. Those must have been some messed up pant legs, I can tell you. The biggest compliment I ever received from my boss? That I wasn't very good at any of it, but at least he could count on me to show up. Gee, thanks.

2. Yogurt Sensations. That was the actual name of the place, I swear. In a mall food court. It's not such a bad college job, really, but good lord -- Yogurt Sensations? There, I learned to cut up a whole pineapple in 12.8 seconds flat and make a perfect soft-serve swirl with the little curly thing on top. It's really quite impressive. Also, my boss was, like, 20 and the owner's son, and a complete and total waste-case. I ended up sharing an apartment with his girlfriend, and after they broke up he called one night and since she wasn't home, I got to spend an hour on the phone with him while he cried and threatened to off himself. Then, go to work the next day where he acted like nothing happened. All this for just slightly more than minimum wage. Nice!

1. Kmart Shoe Department. This is the first job I held after receiving my newly-minted psychology degree from Michigan State University. Seriously. Stocking shoes. At Kmart. The best part -- wait for it -- I have actually run a Blue Light Special. Over the intercom. At Kmart. Seriously. The upside? Dude, there's really nowhere to go but up from there.

image from

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Self Indulgent Posting of Half-Finished Poetry, Part 2

Okay, for no other reason than that I feel like it, I am putting this one out there. While most poems I indulge in are not typically of the autobiographical variety (in this area, I'm more interested in the words themselves -- like in this one -- than blathering on about myself), this one is a bit personal, actually, so I hesitate -- but at the same time I aim to be a more fearless writer, so what the hell.
Uh, not finished, as they are never never ever finished. Never. Ever.

What Needs to be Reconciled
I am afraid of this: that, someday, my daughter will not love me.

That one day, or over a course of days, she will pull away, a skydiver whose chute has just deployed, up and up and up until I can no longer see. She will be a blur, a wisp, a caveat, so distant that I question if it were ever her, really. It is easy to imagine. It is easy.

Each day, there are new reasons. Each day, she is less a girl. Each day, she pushes herself upward, a race of growing bones and needs. I ask too much. I wish things for her that I once wished for me. That I still wish for me.

She curls into my arms, long legs folding up beneath, round face a perfect match for the crook of my neck, even as she is long, long, longer almost than even me. I think of her that way -- long, not tall -- is that strange? Long limbs and long hair and long future rippling out ahead like a ribbon of highway, rippling and pale and lean, cutting through wilderness like water, like diamond, like a guillotine.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Stuff That Makes Me Laugh

My friend Carrie, who is quite possibly the funniest person I know, sent this to me today (the image here is but a small teaser . . . you know you can't resist that kind of hilarity).

I've seen this before, and perhaps you have as well, but it makes me laugh the kind of laugh which has no sound -- and that would be my favorite kind.

What to Do in a Terrorist Attack

Thursday, May 29, 2008

CUI (Communicating Under the Influence)

I had a conversation with a friend recently about the prevalence (and effects) of drunken e-mailing. I, for one, have sent an e-mail or two (or 47) under the influence of varying levels of alcohol intake. Apparently he has as well, as he related a story of moral outrage and the threatening of government officials, which these days is apparently as easy as the click of the send button. Nice!

This got me to wondering just how widespread this epidemic really is (and by epidemic I mean something I personally do that I'm assuming other people do as well lest I be viewed as a complete asshole. Can a girl be an asshole? I've never thought about that before . . . but I digress).

So, I did what I always do -- I googled it (Does "google" as a verb require a capital? Discuss). Turns out there's a word for it: d-railing. Of course there's a word for it. There's a word for everything. And that takes all the flippin' fun out of it.

Anyway, I personally have found that my own e-mails are far more interesting (to me) if I have imbibed ahead of time. Not that I plan it -- typically, it just happens. But man does that keyboard fly after a couple of Killian's. Seriously. I will not admit to writing professionally after having a drink or two . . . nope, not going to admit it. You can't make me. So there.

Fortunately, at this point, I have not created any irreparable damage to my life or reputation via my communicating under the influence; however, I am not ruling out the possibility. I like to live on the edge. So, taking a casual poll from my oh-so-many readers (and then there are echoes as if shouting into a well), have you e-mailed under the influence? And how did that work out for you? Received a drunken e-mail? Share your shame and indignity. I have time.

As for drunken blogging . . . I'm only on my second margarita, so I hardly think this counts.

By the by, as I was googling I got a bit off topic and found this: Bay Area Bug Eating Society. Jesus, people are fucking weird.

image courtesy of

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

F*n Awesome

Okay, here's my new plan for boosting self-esteem. Every time I write my name, I will add "F*n Awesome" in the middle. Such as, Angela "F*n Awesome" Shultis. I have hit on this plan completely at random (well, almost), and think it's fantastic. Consider the possibilities:

As a by-line:
"City of Ferguson road construction projects on schedule"
By Angela "F*n Awesome" Shultis

As an e-mail signature:
Angela "F*n Awesome" Shultis

On the resume:
Angela "F*n Awesome" Shultis
Professional Writer

On a name tag:
"Hello, my name is: Angela 'F*n Awesome' Shultis"

Ohhhhh, I feel better already. You really need to try that. Seriously. Let me know how that works out for you.

Now will someone please take a photo of my man arms?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Man Arms

This is an inside joke between my daughter and me so it may fall flat as I thrust it out into the "real" world (Does a blog count as the real world? Discuss.)

Recently, TMZ (Uh, did I just admit to reading that? Daily? Stop that!) featured a photo of Madonna and her new trend . . . man arms. This made me laugh hysterically. Why, you may ask? Because for the last two months, my 12 year old has been harassing me about my very own pair. Of man arms, that is. Her words. Man. Arms.

Now I am 5'3" and about 100-105 lbs. depending on which way the wind is blowing, so a body-builder I am not. In shape, though? Thanks to a guilt- and age-driven gym regiment, it's not bad actually. Not bad at all. Did I mention I turned 38 recently? And that I have a new tattoo? Uh, yeah. Moving on . . .

The truth is my daughter thinks I am far too manly -- I drink beer, read Esquire, and enjoy Fight Club possibly just a little too much (and not just because Pitt is smokin'). So the fact that I have well-defined arm muscles apparently just puts me in a category that is just a bit too butch for her comfort.

I have been assured by others in my life that I am not butch. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

The bottom line is that I am thinking of bringing legal action against TMZ (and Madonna, what the hey) for stealing my trend. I could use the cash and am, at this point in my life, shamelessly attention-seeking.

This is a very sad excuse for a blog post. I apologize. Hopefully no one is reading this.

If I weren't so effing lazy I would get a photo of my own man arms, and post them here for your consideration (which might be a moot point if in fact no one is reading this). Actually, I believe I will do that, but true to my commitment to procrastination, I shall do it lata.

And if you are reading this, I am sure that is just the hook I need to bring you back. I'm clever like that.

Image courtesy of

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Grand Theft Auto

Not terribly original, but I used that title to encourage search engine traffic, so sue me.

Picture this: someone steals the spare set of keys to your Jeep Grand Cherokee out of your Dodge Neon. Would you get the Cherokee re-keyed? Most people would. But not me. Ohhhhhhh no. Cuz that's not the way I roll.

Flash forward three weeks: I have been lulled into complacency by the fact that the key thief (who also scavenged $1.32 in random change and my son's nasty-ass school backpack) is apparently a moron who doesn't realize he can come back and take a WHOLE CAR. Then one day, wake up, husband goes out the door to work, comes back in, and says, with less urgency than one might imagine, "Where's your car?"

I walk out the door and check of course, just in case he has somehow overlooked it, and sure enough, just a blank space where my car used to be. Who's the moron now?

Not so fast.

As it turns out, the car is recovered, oh, a week later, by a cop who, while very friendly, calls the neighborhood it was found in "the Ghetto." We live in a Mississippi River town of 30,000 or so in southern Illinois. Detroit it ain't. This made me laugh, on the inside of course.

Anyhoo, the car was in reasonable shape, but filthy, out of gas, and smelling like the inside of a strip club. Not that I would know.

He was generous enough to leave me some homemade rap CDs and a really lovely Crown Royal cap in place of the 500 pennies that were stashed in the cup holders, but the best thing he left behind? Er, his Illinois picture ID. Uh, yeah. NOW who's the moron, sucker!!!

Funny. Funny. Funny.

What's not so funny is that he left most of my crap in the car but for some reason tossed all of my CDs -- RHCP, Nirvana, Foo Fighters. Strangely, this pissed me off more than the actual car theft itself. Perhaps it's time to re-examine my priorities . . .

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Top Five Song List

I am in need of new music to experience, so I am posting my current top five song list (current meaning subject to change at any second) and encourage you to do the same. All two of you.

1. Everlong -- Foo Fighters

2. Funny Face -- Red Hot Chili Peppers

3. Rape Me -- Nirvana

4. I Used to Love Her -- Guns N' Roses

5. Superman -- Goldfinger

Incidentally, my 11-year-old son is walking around the house right now singing "Night Train" by GNR ("wake up late/and honey put on your clothes/and take your credit card/to the liquor store"). I'm fairly sure I could lose custody to the State for that kind of thing . . .

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

A Poem I'm Still Working On

Someone interesting suggested I should consider more poetry here, so here's one that I'm still working on -- it may actually suck, I'm really not very objective about these things. Regardless, I'm hoping that by posting it here, it will somehow miraculously finish itself . . .


she writes a letter and in it: slivers, planks of wood, symbols for dissection, pause, break, closing remarks. she skipped the salutation and signing; he’ll know. the light pools in its marshy way across the kitchen window but doesn’t enter. the envelope is sure and fit and she is ready to mail in now now now and so she sits by the front door waiting, licking glue and sticking stamps and clips it to the mailbox with a clothespin so there’s no mistaking it. pigeons roost and coo in the porch roof next door. there is a break in the momentum; saliva pools and back inside. she slips.

she writes a letter and in it: slugs, pumice, a shallow grave. deep poultice of love, it's laid on thick. she is clay, stale bread, and this is her last blood chance. derivative of nothing, sealed with crumpled scotch tape. she’s out, down the stairs into the writhing brick street and to the blue mailbox with its cavernous space into which she could possibly fit. small white square seems insignificant now and she’s afraid it will be lost amidst the rest, left in a deep tomb. a gut. digested.

she writes a letter and in it: she forgives. nothing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

New Rules for My Blogging Experience

Clearly the posts I'm writing lately are more for me than anyone else, which is probably a good thing since I currently appear to have one reader (down from an all-time high of oh, say, 10). So another list, this time redefining what will be my blogging experience:

1. I will update whenever the hell I feel like it. My previous blogging experience was completely ruined by my ridiculous need to post daily, lest I feel like a failure. So, since I am writing for myself, I will post when I feel like it. So there.

2. I may curse. This is a warning for you, my lone reader (who will hopefully be joined by another stray friend or two of mine who used to feign interest in this whole thing). Previously, my blog was squeaky clean . . . but, quite frankly, as a writer, I enjoy freedom of word choice. Shocking, I know.

3. I will take topic suggestions. I just thought of that as I was writing this, so I'm putting it out there. I have no idea why anyone would care to suggest something.

Well, I had imagined the list much longer, but I'm bored with this topic already. So, to sum up, I will be erratic, occasionally earn a PG rating, and write to suit.

I may lose my only reader if I keep this up . . .
P.S. That's not me up there, it's Heidi Klum. I know, the resemblance is uncanny . . .