Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Et tu, Target?

Dear Target,

You and I have always had a mutually exclusive relationship, but lately my ardor is beginning to fade. You aren’t the store I fell in love with, and lately I’ve found myself driving past Fred Meyer and Wal-Mart with thoughts of infidelity flitting through my mind.  I am concerned and disheartened by the following changes I’ve noted as of late. . .

1)   You now have these new pill bottles now where the top is the bottom and the bottom is the top and instead of being round like every other prescription bottle they're square so I keep thinking they're the vitamins and the tops are all individually color-coded for each family member and OMGWTFABCDEFG!?!?  By the time I figure out which prescription is mine and how to open the goddamned thing I'll be dead from whatever it was that required medication in the first place.

2)   Cadbury cream eggs in JANUARY!  OK, it's bad enough you have to bust out these jizz-filled chocolate shells every Easter, but January?  Really, Target?  As a nation we have brought down Saddamn Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, abolished slavery, and eradicated socialism; can't we do something about these confectionaries?  No one I know actually likes cream eggs, but every spring we buy them by the dozens out of some vernal obligation to the candy gods.  You are nothing better than a Cadbury pimp, Target. . .and yet again, I am your bitch.

3)   Your new environmentally-friendly-biodegradable shopping bags suck worse than an Amish whore.  Just once I would like to make it from the cash register to my car without my bag tearing open like the bomb bay doors on the Enola Gay; spewing out Archer Farms trail mix like a bulimic on Thanksgiving.

4)   Are you serious about those tip jars on the popcorn/hot dog counter?  Tell you what, if you are adding extra starch to my dry cleaning, whipping me up a decadent vanilla soy latte, or giving me a lap dance, then yes...I shall tip.  But if all you are doing is dumping some stale popcorn into a bag and taking 45 minutes to do it because you are "totally freaking out over last night's 'One Tree Hill'" with your co-worker then you can kiss 10% of my ass.

5)   Your 'Express" lane needs strict rules of enforcement.  The next time I get stuck in that line behind some octogenarian trying to pay for 75 cans of cat food with double coupons, Confederate bills, and a personal check from the First National Bank of Bangladesh I will truly lose my shit.

6)   Why must you keep changing your aisles around?  I go to Target for the same reason I worship at the shrine of Starbucks: consistency.  However, lately I wander through your doors whistling blithely like Andy Griffith and wind up leaving more confused and pissed off than Elin Woods. Is it absolutely necessary that I embark on a Hieronymus-Bosch-like odyssey in order to procure a tank top and some Missoni pumps?  And when I finally do find the items I desire, I invariably wind up at the one check out lane manned by a troglodyte with the interpersonal skills of Rainman.  I get it. . .it must be frustrating as hell to find the perfect red polo shirt to show off your tribal neck tattoo, but don’t take your angst out on me, Morrissey.

I still have much love for you Target ((*fist bump*)).  I know that in time, we can work this out.


PS: You might want to expand your hiring pool as well.  Judging by the Crips and Norteno gangstas I’ve seen manning the fitting rooms, lately you've become a little less Tar-zhey, and a little more Tar-ghetto.  I’m just sayin’…

Monday, January 30, 2012

Fat Girl In a Little Coooooooat...

This weekend the short people were out of town so I took they opportunity to finally organize the filing cabinet drawer filled with photos. Whilst enjoying my little samba down memory lane, imagine my shock when I found a picture taken during my marriage of my ex-husband, Gil, with another woman.*

*For those of you just tuning in, my ex's name isn't really Gil; everyone's names (except for mine) are changed to protect the less-than-innocent. Jess actually came up with the name Gil. It's short for Massengil because he's such an immense douche.

Now, admittedly, it wasn't a HUGE shock to see a photo of Gil with his arms around some chica as when we were married he tapped more ass than a six-fingered proctologist. But there was something familiar about this young woman. . .something intriguing.

She was posing near a pool wearing a swimsuit top and shorts. Her arms were toned and tan and she had the slender, muscled legs of a dancer. She had the kind of breasts that seemed to defy gravity and each one of her six-pack abs were clearly defined. I was contemplating burning the photo in effigy when I looked at the young woman's face and realized "HOLY SHIT! That was ME!"

 Somehow, somewhere between my divorce and the present moment, that lithe little athlete whose weight dropped faster than Kirstie Alley on a greased firepole turned into the paragon of sloth that stands before you today. Granted, I'm a hell of a lot happier these days, but is it too much to ask to be happy AND hot? Yeah, I know, I'm more self-absorbed than a Swiffer mop, but it is time for a serious overhaul, because at this point I have so much chocolate and refined sugar in my system that they should hang me up and have a Mexican kid whack my ass with a stick.

I've been doing pretty well with this liver-cleansing diet my doctor has me on...*

*I even went on one of those two week raw juice fasts and do you know what I lost? Fourteen days of my life. . .and would someone please tell me why it's called a "fast", because that was the slowest two weeks of my goddamn life.

...but when I get tired or stressed then yo quiro Taco Bell, y'all. Kale and blueberries might be magically delicious, but let's face it: after effects notwithstanding, shitty food makes you feel fucking amazing. Junk food is like a codependent drinking buddy; he tosses an arm over your shoulder and says this round is on him. Don't worry! You can buy the next round, 'kay? The next thing you know, you're waking up on the couch; fat, lethargic, and totally clueless as to how you got there. Healthy eating is like your A.A. sponsor; he drags you off of the couch, slaps the shit out of you, and makes you twelve-step your ass to the produce aisle. Crappy eating is purely emotion-driven with little regard to nutrition or actual hunger. In fact, I would venture a guess that if we took a souped-up DeLorean "back to the future" when humans have evolved to far that they no longer actually ingest food orally we'd still see an entire nation of people sporting backtits and FUPAs. Because Americans are, by and large, a hedonistic species. We like instant gratification,*

*As evidenced by our creation of microwaveable mac-n-cheese and drive-thru liquor stores. "U-S-A! U-S-A!"

I know that the only answer to weight loss is a slow and steady regimen of reduced dietary intake and increased physical activity, but at this point it just seems more expedient to start smoking crack. Anyhoo, since giving up Crunchwrap Supremes will not be happening any time in the immediate future, it looks like it's time to mix up my exercise routine a scootch.*

*And by 'scootch' I mean actually start one. Lately my only form of exercise has been jogging my memory about how much I fucking hate to exercise, eating a peanut butter sandwich, and going back to bed. Cross training!

My friend Kelly swears by Spinning class and claims it took her down two dress sizes. Yeah, I tried a Spinning class one time. One. Damn. Time. Sure, at first I felt pretty good; had a nice little sweat breaking. . .then the instructor screamed "HILL!" and we started amping up until my heart was skipping faster than Harvey Fierstein on his way to a Cher concert. About twenty minutes into class I slithered off of the bike, stumbled my way into the locker room, and spent the next ten minutes doubled over puking like I was George Bush and that toilet was the Japanese Prime Minister. Suffice to say, I did not attempt that class again.

                                                     Pretty sure this is how I look doing Zumba.

I kinda dig Zumba, but every time I take a class I wind up next to some Stretch Armstrong-y leathery she-beast that smells like Patchouli oil and for the next six hours my joints start popping like a Saturday Night Special going off at a North Portland parking lot. That shit ain't right. By and large, when it comes to exercise I am about as social as Howard Hughes during cold and flu season so I prefer the more solitary activity of running. Sadly, as I am also a princess who doesn't like to get her hair wet and lives somewhere where it rains nine months out of the year, my outdoor running is limited to the months of June to August.

Usually I am OK logging some decent mileage on the treadmill, but every time I go to the rec center, invariably some asshat has tuned every TV in the joint to CNN and hidden the remotes in some Osama bin Laden-esque spider hole so they can't be changed. Now, liberal politics aside, it is impossible to exercise to CNN without having a coronary every thirty seconds when they bust in with a "LIVE SPECIAL REPORT!" Thank you, Wolf Blitzer, but I don't need to go into instant defib each time you deliver the ground-breaking news that there is still a war going on in Iraq. Until I hear otherwise, I'm just going to assume they're getting bombed like Lindsay Lohan on a three-day weekend and leave it at that. And the music the rec center plays? Bitch, please. I'm sure someone went to a lot of trouble to find the perfect blend of OutKast and The Baja Men on their Pandora station, but it makes me want to slam my head against the weight bench. I can not stand exercising to music. The only reason I wear an iPod is so that I can ignore people without looking like an asshole.

I know that eventually I will have to accept the fact that I no longer have the body or the metabolism that I had in my early thirties but damn it, I'm just not that mature yet. So for now I will continue to chase that elusive rainbow until passersby wonder how that wildebeest with hypothyroidism escaped from the Portland Zoo and what it's doing running through town with a tuneless iPod.

Feel the burn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Conversations With Jess: Nathan Fillion vs. Newt Gingrich

JESS: I would like to thank you for getting me hooked on “Castle”, and by thank I mean punch you in the tits. It’s not on until TEN!  By the time it’s over and I put Zoe to bed for the eight millionth time, I’m not getting to sleep ‘til midnight.  You suck.
ME: Jesus, lighten up, Grandma.  I haven’t seen you this riled up since your Scooter Chair died during a “Matlock” marathon.
JESS: Yuk it up, bitch.  But you were right, the show is pretty rad…I still don’t get your whole obsession with Nathan Fillion, though.
ME: Umm, he's ruggedly handsome, he’s funny as hell, he’s got that comic-book nerdboy thing goin’ on, and he’s Canadian! The only way he could be more attractive is if he ejaculated chocolate.
JESS: I think it’s safe to say that’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever said.  Not particularly true…but safe.
ME: Whatev.  Anyway, you needed to get hooked on a new show.  “Glee” has gotten weak, yo.
JESS:  Right? If I hear Lea Michelle mangle one more Bruno Mars song I’m seriously gonna lose my shit.
ME: And does EVERY episode have to be a “very special” episode about gay teenagers?  It’s friggin’ Glee Club, of course there are gay teenagers.  That’s like having a “very special” episode of “House” where someone gets a weird disease, Chase says it’s sarcoidosis, then House tells everyone to fuck off.
JESS: . . .What’s it like in your head?
ME: Surprisingly pleasant. (checking phone)  Huh. . .
JESS: What?
ME: Oh, Max just texted me.  So, do you know how to get olive oil out of bed linens?
JESS: God, I hope that’s a rhetorical question.
ME: From Max?  Not so much.  That boy’s had more strange ass than a TriMet bus. So where’s Sean this weekend?
JESS: His annual Palm Beach golf-fest with his brothers.
ME: I don’t understand golf.  You basically just walk around outside, lugging a bag, and muttering and cursing. It's like being homeless in really ugly pants.
JESS: I don’t mind golf, I just hate hanging out with Sean’s brothers.  Aaron is a Republican and Blake is a liberal so every time they get together it’s like freaking “Crossfire”.  Thanks, guys. While you’re telling me about your political platform, why don’t you also fill me in on your fantasy football team and show me pictures from your vacation. That way, I can not give a shit about everything all at once.
ME: At least I know better than to discuss politics with your hippie ass.
JESS: I’m not a hippie!
ME: Umm, you voted for Nader, Patchouli McRainbow.
JESS: Oh, like your candidates are much better?  Let’s see, we’ve got Mitt Romney, the millionaire and Newt Gingrich, a professor.  Sweet!  We’re just two sluts and a fat guy away from “Gilligan’s Island”.
ME: Hey, if I could live through the “bwocka-wocka” porn guitar riff of the Clinton Administration, then you can suck it and deal with a Conservative president for a while. Besides, I’m a pretty liberal Republican.
JESS: What does that even mean? 
ME: It means I think criminals should be electrocuted but it should be in a really comfy Barc-o-Lounger.
JESS: You need to crush the tinfoil on your helmet because some of the crazy is starting to seep in.
ME: Oh, lighten up, Susan Sarandon.
JESS: Back atcha, Ann Coulter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Wheel! Of! FORTUNE!!!"

Fame is a crazy thing, isn't it? Civilians crave it, celebrities bemoan it, and like power, fame can corrupt absolutely. We all have seen what fame did to people like Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. And Drew Barrymore has probably been in Betty Ford more than Gerald Ford was. So why do we all continue to chase that elusive Golden Ticket out of obscurity? Because fame = power. But as it says in the Bible, "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility"*

*...oh, wait. No, that was Spiderman. Anyhoo...

I have always been a whore for the spotlight. For many people, getting in front of a crowd and making a jackass of yourself is more nerve-racking than a Bosnian beer run, but it gives me such a high that it makes crystal meth look like Pop Rocks. So that is why I took last Thursday off to head to the callbacks for "Wheel! Of! FORTUNE!!!" Honestly, the timing couldn't be better because after Christmas, tuition, and a rent increase, I am about one paycheck away from living under the Hawthorne Bridge in a dwelling with walls that read "This End Up". Momma needs a new pair of Prada heels, y'all!

When I got to the hotel in Eugene for the audition, I noted with no lack of irony that it was being held in the same ballroom that had housed my wedding reception years before. Hopefully this event would be the sage burning that cleansed the Ghost of Psychos Past from the building. They packed over 200 of us pinheads in that room like circus clowns in a Mini Cooper and proceeded to show us a "Wheel" montage intended to get us fired up. And fired up we were, by God. Each and every person in that room was as vainglorious and fame-hungry as I and it was a beautiful sight indeed. Then they split us into groups for some simulated games and that, my friends, was what separated the wheat from the Wonder Bread.

The jokes just write themselves, folks.

We all know the world is filled with stupid people; just look at all of those dipshits driving 55 MPH in the left lane and asking for a price check at the Dollar Store. We live in a country where calling someone "phat" and "sick" is a compliment and calling them "Einstein" is an insult, for Christ's sake. And the stupid people were there in droves. Veritable DROVES, I tell you! I was in a group that probably had the collective IQ of the Kardashian sisters on NyQuil. When faced with the following puzzle:

M Y    L U _ K    I S    A _ O U T    T O    _ H A N G E

the woman to my left actually responded with a resounding "My life is a lot to handle!" Seriously? And she was one of the better ones! Is it just me, or are there more stupid people these days? She then proceeded to tell me that she had seven children under the age of twelve and was pregnant AGAIN. Now, I know it's your body and no one can regulate your procreation and yadda-yadda-yadda, but the thought of this troglodyte shooting out babies like a fucking Pez dispenser was disturbing on so many levels. Shouldn't there be a test before you're allowed to breed? Or even a three-day waiting period?*

*Ooh! They could call it the Brady Bunch Bill!

Sorry, I digressed for a moment there. So, after our lightning rounds they had us all sit down and take a timed, written test where we basically had to fill in the blanks on some really challenging puzzles like:

Famous Person: T _ M    C R _ _ S E

I was feeling pretty bad-ass at this point, but let's be honest; being the smartest one on the "Wheel of Fortune" is a little like being valedictorian of the GED class. It is the shallowest of victories. After the timed test we had a twenty minute break; just long enough for me to hit the neighboring Starbucks ("Holla!") and gab with the 20-something hipster in my group. He was "totally stoked" because he'd been crashing on his friend's couch and since every contestant on "Wheel" gets a thousand dollars just for showing up he's "gonna use the money to buy a rad house". Amber Alert, Kato Kaelin. $1000 won't buy you a plastic house on Baltic Avenue, let alone the swingin' bachelor pad you've conjured up in your withered, PBR-soaked brain. I'd put off packing 'cuz it doesn't look like you'll be movin' on up to the Eeeeeaaaast Side any time soon.

When we came back the powers that be made the first round of cuts. Bye-bye, Octomom. Peace out, hipster dude. In the end there were about 35 of us left standing. Then they came around and had us fill out our paperwork and show our photo IDs. These people were hard-core, yo! They scoured my driver's license with an intensity that would make the San Diego Border Patrol look like Wal-Mart greeters. It's "Wheel of Fortune" for sobbing out loud; not a job application for the CIA.

Oh, Jeebus, PLEASE let there be an 'S'.

"I don't have any ID" said the young man to my right. "Is that gonna be a problem?"  Wait...what? Who doesn't have ID? What are you, some David Carradine flunkie nomdically roaming the Earth? Maybe "all who wander are not lost" but how about wandering your sorry ass into a DMV, Frodo. One of the women started whispering to her friend that she was going to flirt with the one man in the casting crew. She giggled that she was an actress and just KNEW this would be her big break! Dream big, Babe. But I hate to tell you, the Channel 9 casting toadie can't get you into Ellen's green room; shit, that dude probably couldn't get you into CostCo. I'd start finding another casting couch to spread-eagle on if I were you.

After ensuring that we were in fact, who we claimed to be, they conducted individual interviews and played more simulated rounds of the game. As this was going on they kept making cuts and people were disappearing faster than a box of doughnuts at an AA meeting. One woman had a laugh like Pee-Wee Herman getting a knob-job from a belt sander -- OUT! One other guy was so lethargic I was tempted to hold a mirror under his nose to see if he was breathing. Go to Starbucks, get a quad-shot Americano, and wake the fuck up, Homeslice -- OUT! The puzzle is M _ S S _ S S _ P P _   R _ V E R and you ask to buy an 'A'? -- Oh, HELL to the OUT! In the end, there were only 15 potential contestants left. Say 'hello' to number 12, bitches!

So now, I wait. We were told that if we are chosen, we will be notified by mail within two weeks. No letter = no wheel. As I am at that awkward stage in life: too old for "The Real World", too stupid for "Jeopardy" and too sober for "Intervention", this may be my only hope for seeing my sorry ass on the tee-vee. And trust me, viewer discretion will be advised.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Daddy Mac Will Make You 'JUMP! JUMP!'

Raising children on your own is a job, and like any other employment it has its days when you are laughing at the water cooler, and days when you're banging your head against the cubicle walls. There's no retirement or vacation pay; no medical or dental, but there is job security. From the day your child draws breath you are a parent until you die. But this security doesn't come without a very high price. Trying to raise kids in this economy is like Snooki trying to pass the LSAT's; a desperate and risky venture. However, there comes a time. . .*

*In my case,the end of Christmas break when the short people had gnawed through their restraints

. . .when you throw caution and finances to the wind in order to keep your children entertained. I'm all about spending quality time with the shorties, but what does that even MEAN? Reading Proust by candlelight? Playing marathon games of Crazy 8's? These days, the phrase "quality time" has become a bigger catchall than Rosie O'Donnell's shirt after All-You-Can-Eat Riblet Night at Applebee's.

Left to their own devices my short people would spend the entire day gaping into a computer screen which drives me batshit crazy for two reasons: first, we only have ONE computer and Mama needs to get her blog on, and second, if I want to expose my progeny to artificial intelligence I'll make them watch Celebrity Week on 'Jeopardy'. When it comes to spending time with M and J I approach it with the same philosophy I use in all aspects of parenting: wear them out. I have found that both my short people and I are much happier individuals when we are simply too fucking exhausted to annoy one another, so with that in mind I shelled out the $60 and treated the three of us to two hours at Sky High Sports.

So. . .much. . .overstimulation. . .

Sky High is a renovated warehouse that is now home to wall-to-wall trampolines, a foam diving pit, and. . .oh Sweet Baby Jeebus. . .a dodgeball court. The kids obviously outnumber the adults here and they are fearless little bastards. They bounce around like Robin Williams on crystal meth, run from one trampoline to the next, flipping and diving like a one-winged Cessna. There were also two blonde 85 pound cheerleader/pole dancers in there practicing their jumps and eye-humping the 20-something staff member with the skin-tight shirt and tribal tat. Pfft! Step aside, ladies; let a veteran Cheerio show you how its done! Yeah, famous last words. You see, I have difficulty remembering that I am no longer in my twenties. On my last birthday I turned. . .well, let's just say my cake had more candles than an Enya video and leave it at that. So, of course the inevitable happened while I was showing off my mad handspringin' skillz and a fell ass over teakettle in front of everybody. Not one of my finer moments, but I was pleasantly mollified when Barbie and Skipper collided midair and one of them got her hair stuck in the trampoline coils. She wasn't physically injured so I didn't feel too bad pointing and laughing.

"We all float down here. . ."

My short people are especially fond of the foam pit, but I take umbrage with it for two important reasons. Number one, there is a large sign near the foam pit that clearly states "NO FLIPS!" Now, one of my dearest friends is Filipino and I just don't see where Sky High comes off ostracizing an entire ethnic group like that. Hatin' is whack, yo. And number two, the foam squares are suspiciously moist and are enshrouded by a stench that can only be described as a melange of ass and cheese. I shuddered at the sight of so many children in shorts and tank tops landing face-first in that Petri dish of shame and degradation; envisioning the spread of a Junta-like virus which would eradicate mankind as we know it. No. . .just. . .no.

You're goin' down like a dime-store hooker, Junior.

While I am not an advocate of bobbing for HIV in the foam pit, I am a huge proponent of the Sport of Kings: dodgeball. Never before has there been another sport that so perfectly combines speed, agility, and public humiliation as dodgeball. Yes, Sky High Sports has a trampoline lined dodge ball court which should level the playing field and limit collateral damage, but I was delighted to note that children are just as bloodthirsty as I was at their age. . .and still am. They were throwing some heat and aiming for the head with such lack of mercy that it brought a tear of joy to this jaded woman's eye. The beautiful thing about dodgeball is that there are no age brackets, and the rules are about as fluid as the food on Bob Dole's lunch tray. I don't care what that 7 year old harpy was complaining about; kicking the ball IS legal. Sure, when you do it, you'll have all these whiny little crothlings squawling "Hey! You can't kick the ba--" but they won't even be able to finish their sentence because they'll get a lightning fast rocketball right in the kisser on a direct flight from your foot. Learn your lesson kids. . .quit your bitching, and don't mess with the crazy old lady.

All in all, I'd say the trip was a success. The short people had a blast, I got a great workout, and no one on the dodgeball court pressed charges. I may not be one of those moms that makes organic vegan cookies in the shape of endangered animals or spends hours throwing more games of Chutes and Ladders than a Vegas prizefighter throws matches, but when it comes to learning how to decimate your opponent with a well-timed overhand pitch to the crotch, I'm your gal.