Wednesday, February 29, 2012

OMG, Free Beef!

Some of you may recall my brief foray into the majestic world of mass transit a few weeks ago.*
*Perhaps because I was yapping away about it like a Chihuahua under a strobe light.
As you may recollect, I am not a fan of any mode of transit that involves me being elbow to tits with the unwashed masses.  I like my privacy, I like my space, I like my car.  Actually, no. . .I don’t like my car, I love my car.  I love my car like Warren Jeffs loves underage girls: passionately, inappropriately, and generally followed by whispered, heartfelt apologies to the innocent thing that I am ultimately going to destroy.
Cars are weird when you really think about it.  Picture yourself back in “Little House In The Prairie” times.*
*I do this a lot.  I have weird Amish fantasies.
Now, imagine you’re strolling back from Oleson’s  Mercantile where you just traded a chicken for some penny candy and some dude rolls up in a buggy to tell you that one day your children’s children will voluntarily place themselves in a flammable metal box and propel themselves forward at 85 miles per hour while playing Death Race 2000 with similar flammable,  metal boxes being navigated by individuals with a collective IQ that hovers around room temperature.  You’d think that boy had gotten hold of some bad sarsaparilla and shuttle him off to Doc Baker’s for a good blood-letting.  Cars make no sense on a logical level and even less on a self-preservation level, but they have come to be so much more than a mode of transportation.  They define our status, determine the course of our existence, and one tiny flaw or imperfect can cripple us emotionally and financially. 
A few weeks back my ride was grinding like a Kardashian on a stripper pole every time I hit the brakes on an incline.  Never one to actually acknowledge a possible automotive Armageddon, I judiciously ignored it until my friend rode with me one day and shrieked “Jesus Christ, Jen!  Take tomorrow off and get this damned thing fixed before you fucking KILL me!”*
*My friends are rad as shit.
So I took it to the dealership, had it checked out, was told the problem was fixed and tra-la-la.  I was on my merry way.  Well, suffice to say, all was not well in Auto World.  Car problems and I go together like 45 year old virgins and Star Trek conventions.  Where one goes, the other is sure to follow.  So when my car began making the noise again, I took it to my homeboys at Les Schwab.

They seriously greet you like this.  I swear to God.
For those of you not from the Great Northwest, Les Schwab is the bomb-dot-com for all things automotive.  They don’t require an appointment, they come running out to greet you like you’ve just returned from a tour in ‘Nam, they have complimentary popcorn and espresso, and every year they give away a shit ton of free beef if you spend over $500.  Free.  Beef.  There is so much majesty in those two words that I am in overwhelming awe.  Oh, Les Schwab. . .you had me at rump roast.
Now a lot of you may wonder why I didn’t try to diagnose this little issue on my own.  I am, after all, a woman of the new millennium; I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan,and. . .whatever.  I am not, however, particularly, handy, productive, mechanically inclined, or willing to get my hands dirty for something unpleasant that I can pay someone else to do.*
*As I am of the firm belief that any problem can be resolved by throwing an unholy amount of money at it.
To be honest, I never really learned anything about cars because I never really gave a rat’s ass.  My dad is ridiculously brilliant and like most men with Asperger Syndrome knows a truly unholy amount of shit about a limited number of things.  In my father’s case: math and cars.  So, like a typical asshole teenager, I rebelled by refusing to learn a damned thing about either one which may explain why today I can neither pump my own gas nor balance my checkbook.  My dad has the patience of a saint, I tell you.  And my equally brilliant mom in her infinite wisdom raised me with the mantra of “money is a renewable resource so why do it yourself if you can pay someone to do it for you?”  Armed with said skill set, you may now understand why I couldn’t start a campfire to save my sorry ass but if there’s a Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale I am your go-to gal.*
*I would get smacked like a dime-store hooker on “Survivor”, y’all.
Besides, how important are brakes really?  I mean, they’re more of a polite gesture than an actual vital necessity.  Sure, it’s courteous to tap them as you find yourself careening toward a phalanx of hipsters on their retro Schwinn fixies, but it’s akin to throwing your arm in front of someone to keep them from flying ass over teakettle through your windshield in a head-on collision. It’s probably not going to work, but hey!  You can say that you tried.

So, after I checked in my car the mechanic came out to talk to me and I shit you not this guy had to have been about ten days older than God.  He looked like a Muppet that had been accidentally washed on hot and had a head that bore a disturbing resemblance to a knotty garlic clove. I felt oddly discomfited at the thought of having a mechanic who was old enough to remember when their weren’t any cars, but Les Schwab has never steered me wrong (pun fully intended) before so I listened to what Methuselah had to say.
METHUSELAH: So, what year is your Ford?
ME:  Umm, well, it was after I got divorced, but before I had my bangs cut.  God, that was SO not a good look for me.  Umm, Charlie Sheen was still on “Two and a Half Men” and Amy Winehouse was alive so. . .umm. . .
METHUSELAH: You know the year is written on your registration, right?
ME: Oh!  Yeah!  OK (rummaging through purse) it’s here somewhere.  Or maybe it’s in the glove compartment.  Let me run out and. . .
METHUSELAH: That’s OK, let’s just say 2009.  So, what do you have in it?
ME:  Umm, not much.  Some library books, a couple of Taco Bell wrappers.  Ooh! And this ADORABLE skirt I got at H&M for 40% off!
METHUSELAH: I meant the engine.  A V-6?  V-10?
ME: The other one.
METHUSELAH: Which one?
ME: Yes.
At this point Grandpa went deadeye for a second like the shark eating Robert Shaw’s nether regions in “Jaws”.  Rather than thrill him any further with my automotive acumen, I copped a squat with my free popcorn and shopped on on my iPhone.
Thirty minutes later the mechanic came out to tell me my rear brakes were “metal on metal” and it was only a matter of time before I plummeted down an incline into a busload of crippled children thus creating a firestorm of apocalyptic proportions.  OK, good to know.  Fortunately, they were able to fix them before any serious damage was done (“Whoot! Whoot!”).  Unfortunately, when they told me the price of said repair, I came unhinged faster than a tater cellar door in a Tennessee twister.  Ho.  Ly.  Shit. Now, keep in mind that I am a Republican which means that I believe very strongly in the following two tenets:
1)    I want bad guys to get their asses kicked like a prison yard narc, and
2)     I like money.
So hearing that a large portion of my income was now basically being rammed into the ass end of my car made my blackened heart bleed just a little, I cannot lie.  So, I reached out to hug my short people, rubbing their backs firmly*
*I had to figure out which one had the tenderest kidney to sell on craigslist
and handed my credit card to the mechanic.  At least now I have brakes that work, which is nice.  And on a positive note, I shelled out more than enough to earn a veritable plethora of beef products.

Mmmm. . .meaty. . .
Let’s just hope they grill well with the gub’ment cheese we’ll be eating for the rest of the year.
“Beep! Beep!”

Monday, February 27, 2012

Morgan Freeman Tried To Kill Me

My friend Kelly is one of the few people on the planet who forces me out of my self-imposed agoraphobia and insists that I interact with society.  She has introduced me to such anxiety-inducing situations as team sports, communal dining ((shudder)) and is the only human being stumbling over this pebble we call Earth who could EVER convince me to join her and our coterie of short people at the Children’s Museum on a busy Saturday afternoon.*

*I like the idea of a Children’s Museum in theory, but I don’t know how the short people can breathe inside those little glass cases.

It was on one such Saturday while Kelly and I were judiciously neglecting our children over lattes when she raved about this “AMAZING” new gym near her house.  She asked if I’d heard of it.

I admitted that I drive past it every day on the way to work.  Every time I see it I think “Wow, that sounds like a great workout.”  Of course, those thoughts are generally followed by me taking a hearty swig of my white chocolate mocha before cruising to Taco Bell for my breakfast burrito.  Kelly had obviously taken a venti shot of their Kool-Aid however, as she continued to rave about this place like the sons of bitches invented TiVo.*

*Actually, that was Tim Voltaire. . .don’t ask how I know this.  Me love you long time, Timmy.

So, in the interest of research, and to shut Kelly up, I agreed to go with her the next time she worked out.  In truth I wasn’t sure at first but then she presented me with a pass for a complimentary personal training session and if there is one thing I love more than Nathan Fillion and Target combined, it is free stuff. Yeah, I sold out. Apparently I’m starting to get more gracious and social. . .I’ve gotta watch that shit.

So the next morning at the butt crack of dawn, I dropped off the short people with Kelly’s husband and we headed to the gym.  I am a morning exerciser, always have been.  There is nothing like that feeling of looking out of my office window at the people jogging by and thinking “BOO-yah!  Already did it, suckahs!”  That is also the reason why I really hope that when I die it happens in the morning because I’d be wicked pissed if I worked out that day for no reason.

The second we walked through the door I knew I was screwed.  This was not your typical Stairmaster and Zumba gym.  Let’s just say the clientele looked like this:

While I was busy explaining to Kelly that I was not, in fact, trying out for the Baltimore Ravens, my trainer approached and oh dear Sweet Mother Mary in a mojito he looked EXACTLY like Morgan Freeman.  Ex.  Act.  Ly.  He pulled me aside for some basic health and fitness questions which I may or may not have answered because every time he opened his mouth all I heard was And they will march just as they have done for centuries, ever since the emperor penguin decided to stay, to live and love in the harshest place on Earth”.

MORGAN: Do you have any health restrictions?

ME: Umm, like what?

MORGAN: Have you suffered from heart or lung disease?  Diabetes?  Any history of fainting or dizzy spells.

ME: Just that one time in college.  But that could have been because of the Jager. . .or the Captain Morgan. . .Ooh!  Or the. . .

MORGAN: That’s OK, I’ve got it.  Are you committed to a long-term fitness plan?

ME: Not really.  I mean, I figure time will take care of it.


ME: Yeah, you know, science and stuff?  I figure if they can use stem cells for everything from curing MS to growing spinal cords in Democrats then they can eventually find one that will give me Gabby Reese's abs.

MORGAN: . . .

ME: Before we get started, could you just say I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams.”?

You know who it’s NOT a good idea to annoy at 6:00am?  The man who’s about to kick your ass like a red-headed stepchild.  Lesson learned.  He started out by doing a “light” warm-up on one of the recumbent bike.  I personally find these fucking bikes to be annoying in many ways.  Do you want to lie down?  Then get a couch.  If you want to ride a bike, get a REAL bike. This passive-aggressive hippie-dippie recumbant bike filled me with such rage that I tore it up so fast that I left the tires balder than Hugh Hefner fleeing a three a.m. fire at the Playboy Mansion.  Take that, Mr. Freeman!  After what I was convinced was an epic display of my cardiovascular superiority, Morgan led me to the resistance equipment.

MORGAN: Have you done any resistance interval training?

ME: No, not really.  I mostly stick to running and yoga.  I tried Zumba once but I looked I look like someone’s creepy Cousin Eddie dry-humping the bridesmaids at a wedding.

MORGAN: Oh. . .I. . .well, here we focus a lot more on cross-training.

ME: Cross training, huh?  Hey, I bet Jesus coulda used some of that!  (snickering with delight over my witticism)  Oh, is that a tattoo of a crucifix?  Yeah, umm. . .OK. . .

You know who ELSE it’s NOT a good idea to annoy at 6:00am?  The fundamentalist Christian who is now looking at you and envisioning your sorry ass spinning for all eternity on Satan’s rotisserie.  So, maybe the lesson wasn’t learned.  I’m not that bright.

"Drop and give me twenty or I'll go all "Se7en" on your ass, Gwyneth!"

Morgan began leading me through a series of exercises that had every muscle in my body howling like Newt Gingrich at NARAL rally.  Morgan kept using the phrase "the perfect storm".  It was "the perfect storm" of lunges and squats, "the perfect storm" of planks and crunches, "the perfect storm of resistance and interval training. . .When did this phrase become the catchall for multiple shitty things happening at once?  And what did people call this stuff before that craptacular George Clooney movie came out?  These are the sort of things I ponder whilst trying to ignore the sound of my ass muscles shrieking like Celine Dion getting a Brazilian wax.  Morgan tried to lighten the mood by asking about my short people and my work but seriously? Please don't make small talk when you're hovering over my breasts and spotting me on a bench press.  We aren't having a bonding moment; we are simply joint participants in an act of sadomasochism so let's just agree to stare awkwardly into the distance until this unpleasantness is behind us.

At the end of our session. Morgan and I sat down to talk about nutrition.*

*which was, ironic, as the gym is just a stone's throw from a McDonald's. Tell you what, if you want to preach to me about health and fitness, don't do it downwind of the place that almost killed Morgan Spurlock.  It kinda kills your whole badass P90X street cred.

I always thought I was pretty proficient in the food pyramid but then Morgan whipped this thing out:

Apparently the old food pyramid we knew and loved in the past is no more. We don't have the old school food pyramid any more, now all of the traditional food groups have been replaced by a rainbow colored, stair-step pyramid like it's Gay Pride Week at Chichen Itza.  I look at this thing and I wonder, "am I supposed to cut back on my dairy or was some dude at the FDA dropping windowpane acid?"  Screw it.  Pyramid or not, they will get my Taco Bell when they pry it from my cold, dead, greasy, and bloated hands.

After my session, I thanked Morgan for his time and was a bit surprised that he didn’t ask if I wanted to sign up for a membership.  I mean, that’s kind of the point of the complimentary pass, right?  To draw in new members. Then I realized, as he fled the room so fast that he left a contrail, that Morgan was fervently hoping he would never, ever see me again.  It’s just as well, really.  I could never spend that much time exercising with Morgan without imagining him chasing me with a bat and yelling “They used to call me Crazy Joe!  Now they’ll call me Batman!”

KELLY:  So, what did you think?  Intense, huh?

ME:  You owe me cake.  Many, many slices of cake.

KELLY:  Oh come on, it wasn’t THAT bad.  Besides, it’s good for you to get out and actually interact with society.

ME:  I don’t know.  I think what I need isn’t a personal trainer but an impersonal trainer.

KELLY:  What?

ME:  You know, someone who rarely shows up and ignores me the whole time.

KELLY: Why do I even try?

ME: You’re a slow learner, Babe.

Feel the burn, party people.  Feel the burn.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Conversations With Jess: Six Degrees of Nathan Fillion

JESS:  You can’t do it with just any celebrity. . .
ME:  ExCUSE me? Nathan Fillion is not just ANY celebrity.
JESS:  Jesus, sorry.  I forgot how close you two are.  Stalk much?
ME:  Stalk is such an ugly word.  I consider myself an ardent admirer.
JESS:  Whatever, Swimfan.  My point is that the game only works with Kevin Bacon because he’s been in so many goddamned movies.
ME:  I call bullshit.  Try me.
JESS:  Care to make it interesting?  If I win, you have to go to work wearing Crocs. All.  Week.  Long.
ME:  Deal.  And WHEN I win, you must create a collage that commemorates my sheer awesomeness.  Said collage will be posted on my blog and hung in my office for all to see.
JESS:  You’re tough, but fair.  Ready?
ME:  Bring it.
JESS:  Betty White.
ME:  Pfft!  Seriously?  That’s the best you’ve got?  Bitch, please.  Betty White was in “The Proposal” with Ryan Reynolds who was on “Two Guys and A Girl” with. . .Nathan Fillion.
JESS:  Shit.  I forgot about that show.
ME:  You’re lucky.  The rest of America is still suffering from PTSD as a result of that piece of crap.  What else have you got?
JESS:  Taylor Swift.
ME:  She’s not an actress.
JESS:  Yuh-huh!  She played that Goth chick on “CSI” and she was in that craptacular Valentine’s Day movie with Julia Roberts. . .
ME:  . . .who was in “Larry Crowne” with Tom Hanks, who was in “Saving Private Ryan” with. . .Nathan Fillion.
JESS:  He was in that?
ME:  Yeah.  Remember when they told Private Ryan that his brother was dead but it was the WRONG Private Ryan and he wigged out?  That was Nathan Fillion.
JESS:  I couldn’t finish that movie.  Too much war stuff.
ME:  Which is shocking since it has the word “Private” in the title.
JESS:  Fuck you.  OK. . .umm. . .George Clooney!
ME:  Well, I could go one of two ways.  There’s the whole Matt-Damon-“Oceans Eleven”-“Private Ryan” link, or I could go the more obscure route with the whole “ER”-Noah-Wylie-“The Librarian:2”-Stana-Katic-“Castle” connection.  Which would you prefer.
JESS:  I’m totally screwed, aren’t I?
ME:  Yeah, pretty much.
JESS:  Ooh!  Zach Galifinakis!
ME:  He is on “Bored Too Death” with Jason Schwarzman who was in “Marie Antoinette” with Kirsten Dunst.
JESS:  So?
ME:  Don’t you see?  Kirsten Dunst was in “Bring It On”; the sequel of which was the epically shitty “Bring It On Again” which featured a young Felicia Day who played Penny in “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog”  with. . .Nathan Fillion.  I could have gone with the more obvious Jason-Schwarzman-“Bored To Death”-with-Ted-Danson-who-was-also-in-“Saving Private Ryan” connection, but I didn’t want to play that one out too much.
JESS:  I’m a little disturbed right now, not gonna lie.
ME:  I am a veritable font of useless knowledge, yo.
JESS:  OK, font. . .how about this one?  Kevin Bacon.
ME:  Sure!  Kevin Bacon. . .ummm. . .he was in that. . .no, wait. . .damn.
JESS:  Ironic, isn’t it?
ME:  Shut up, Alanis Morisette, I’m thinking.  Kevin Bacon. . .Kevin Bacon. . .
JESS:  I want those Crocs to be bedazzled too.  Preferably something with a “Hello Kitty” motif.
ME:  Shut uuuuuuup! . . .Wait!  Kevin Bacon!  He was in “Flatliners” with Julia Roberts who was in “Ocean’s Eleven” with George Clooney who was on “ER” with Noah Wylie who was in “The Librarian:2” with Stana Katic who is on “Castle” with NATHAN FILLION!!!  ((jumping up and down pumping fists like a Jersey Shore guido))  YES!  ‘BAM’!  said the lady!
JESS:  I hate you so much right now.
ME:  And by hate you mean you are in awe of my brilliance.
JESS:  No, I mean I kinda want to light your face on fire.
ME:  Better head off to the craft shop, Sweetie.  That collage isn’t going to make itself!
JESS:  Die.

So, who thinks they can stump me?  Bring.  It.  On.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shopping With Nathan Fillion

Having been married to someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not without its benefits. First of all, narcissists are as predictable as the plotline of an afterschool special. They have no grasp of the concept that their will is not the be-all-end-all of human existence so they tend to do the same stupid shit over and over again. Second, a narcissist (like a politician) does not believe that rules actually apply to them so they piss all over authority like a drunken alley cat and are genuinely stunned when there are repercussions.

So, truthfully it came as no great shock when I received this in the mail the other day:

Yes, Gil was late with his child support yet again. Now the delightful thing about living in the great state of Or-ee-gone is that when one is late with their support they get their ass cheeks slapped with a $200 fine and a letter to their employer telling them what a douchebag they are. So, seeing as I had this sudden $200 windfall this month I did what any responsible single parent would do: I took my ass to the mall, y'all.

Now, shopping is cathartic for me. It is the one time when I can breathe deeply and know that I am among my people; a safe haven, if you will. And it's not just me! Science has proven that acquiring pretty, shiny things releases dopamine in your brain. Ahh, dopamine. . .sweet, sweet dopamine. . .This is the shit your brain produces in response to sex, recreational drugs, or an In-N-Out burger with extra bacon. It serves all kinds of functions related to behavior, cognition, movement, and other important things like keeping the drool inside your mouth and preventing you from smacking your child like a ten-dollar whore when he's being wicked annoying. But most importantly, dopamine is the gatekeeper to rewards and punishments, a system it uses to motivate us to, among other things, explore, learn and acquire new stuff. . .preferably somewhere with a food court and a Nordstrom Rack.

Despite being about a social as an agoraphobic with Tourette's, I hate to shop alone. It is so much more fun when you have someone supportive and loving to codependently support your negligent consumerism, so today I invited someone to join me that I knew would be honest, caring, and make the day even more glorious. So, of course, I brought Nathan Fillion.*

*Although he was ten minutes late meeting me at Starbucks. That irrepressible scamp!

After sufficiently caffeinating ourselves, Nathan and I strolled hand-in-hand to the third member of my Holy Trinity: H&M.*

*The first two being Starbucks and Target, duh!

I was initially frustrated at the lack of selection and was momentarily considering filing a formal complaint over the amount of navy and gray in this season's palatte because, hello! I am SO not a Summer or a Winter, when Nathan called my attention to some darling sequined tanks.

Oh, Nathan. . .you had me at 'sequined'. I am like a goddamned magpie; anything that sparkles, glitters, or shimmers is going to find its way into my possession come Hell or high water. I'd like to think this is a pretty natural reaction; most people like shiny things. Hell, my friend Max swear his car runs better after it's been washed and waxed. "There's no way this can be the same piece of shit Honda CRV I was driving this morning! Look how shiny it is!" So, naturally I feel about three inches taller and twenty pounds lighter when wearing sequins which may explain why my closet looks like I've been shopping with RuPaul.

After H&M, Nathan was feeling a bit peckish, so we headed to the food court for some sustenance.

Sure, we drew a few stares, but that's what one can expect when dining with a celebrity of his caliber. I politely turned away some onlookers whom I was sure would be asking for autographs and declined a bystander's offer to give me the name of a good psychotherapist. He must have thought I needed counselling to deal with the pressure of being a celebrity's girlfriend. How sweet!

After lunch Nathan decided that I should treat myself to shoes as well because, damn it! He's a giver like that! Honestly, I was shocked, because most men don't give a shit about shoes. In fact, the average man owns no more than seven pairs of shoes while the average woman owns somewhere between a shit ton and "oh my God I can't believe you have twelve pairs of black shoes, and why do you need four pairs of boots, and what the hell is a 'mule' anyway"? OK, technically the average American woman owns nineteen pairs of shoes.*

*Nineteen? Pfft! Amateurs.

In much the same manner that men don't get the religious experience that is the perfect pair of quality footwear, women don't understand why men are physically and emotionally incapable of giving a single shit about them. Here's why, ladies. Men don't notice shoes because they are nowhere near a woman's breasts, face, or ass. If we started wearing them around our neck, men may take notice, but until then your zapatos are not even on his friggin' radar.

As the day drew to a close, I could tell that Nathan was growing tired, and he suggested that we head for home to snuggle in front of the fire and eat Thai food while watching "Firefly". . .again. I wasn't really in a Pad Thai or sci fi mood but true love is about compromise, people! Besides, I just can't resist Nathan when he holds me in his arms and whispers sweet nothings into my ear.