Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


This has been a pretty magical week, my friends.  And by "magical" I mean to say it's been about as pleasant as being gangbanged by a flock of velociraptors.  I experienced a couple of losses this week.  One intimate friendship ended due to dishonesty and betrayal, and another ended when he chose to take his own life.  I am hurting right now, and to be honest, I feel about as funny as Tommy Lee Jones on NyQuil.  So, for today, I am doing what any green-blooded Oregonian would do: I am recycling.  This is a post I wrote last year that (surprisingly enough) won a Voices of the Year award at BlogHer 2012 for Humor.  I say surprisingly enough because when I wrote it I seriously thought "Who in hell wants to read about some dipshit getting her oil changed?"  Apparently someone did. . .or maybe the whole BlogHer organization is in Cahoots with the oil cartel.  Either way, yay me!  So, enjoy.  And thanks to all of you for your patience and support while I lick my wounds. I love you mad hard.


xoxo,
Jen




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:. . .
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 shodazzle.com 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 25, 2013

Stupidest Crap Ever Spoken By Me and My Friends: Make New Friends, But Keep the Old


ME (quizzing J. on penguins for science class):  Which one is the Emperor penguin?
MY SON J:  Umm, the biggest one; they live in Antarctica.
ME:  Good!  OK, which one is the King penguin?
MY SON J:  The second largest; they live in the south Atlantic.
ME:  Nice job!  Which one is the Adelie penguin?
MY SON J:  .  .  .
MY SON J:  The one that's "rollin' in the deep"?


GINA:  My chicken's kinda gross.  I think I'm going to send it back.
ALEX:  Babe, we're at Applebee's.  Complaining about the food at Applebee's is like complaining that the rest stop hooker wouldn't cuddle with you after sex.


KELLY:  It always skeeves me out when people refer to me as a "hands-on" parent.  If that were taken literally, I'd be in prison right now.


ANDREW:  Girls all want a man who's "dangerous".  They want us to drink hard, play hard, ride motorcycles without helmets, and rappel off of mountainsides.  They all want a bad boy.
ME:  We don't tell you to be "dangerous" because we want a bad boy.  We tell you that because we're trying to kill you.


ALEX:  Babies in strollers freak me out.  Getting wheeled around with their heads flopping all over the place and drooling on their shirts like miniature Stephen Hawkings.


KELLY:  You should totally try Cross-Fit with me.
ME:  I don't know. . .cross training didn't end all that well for Jesus so I'm gonna just let him lead by example on this one.
KELLY:  Only you could use the death of the Son of God to justify being a lazy bastard.
ME:  It's a gift.


JAKE:  You wanna hear something sad? Last night I dreamed that I was on Facebook.  I didn't dream that I was a ninja, or having sex. . .I dreamed that I was on Facebook.
ME:  Hmm, so, this morning did Facebook "poke" you and ask if you "liked" it?
JAKE:  No, but I think it wanted to have a threesome, because it kept asking if I knew this person, or this person, or this person. . .


LEE:  I think the only reason I've been married this long is because I was too fucking lazy to commit suicide.


CO-WORKER:  Do you have change for a twenty?
ME:  Pfft!  I'm gonna pop some tags; only got twenty dollas in my pocket.
CO-WORKER:  .  .  .
ME:  There is a disturbing lack of gangsta up in heah, yo.
CO-WORKER:  .  .  .


KELLY:  I need to meet a guy soon.  It's almost that time of the month.
GINA and ME:  .  .  .
KELLY:  Time to flip my mattress.


RYAN:  I don't get that Adele song "Someone Like You".  If things obviously didn't go well with the first guy, is finding someone just like him really the wisest choice?


ME:  Someday I'm going to open a mental illness themed restaurant.  Like, "The Depression Diner".  I'll have a big sign saying "Your Order Is Not Ready, Nor Will It Ever Be".
KELLY:  Or "The Anorexic Cafe": Closed 24 Hours a Day.
ME:  Or "The Schizophrenic Bistro" where the motto is: I'll Have What I'm Having.
KELLY:  Or "The Tourette's Bar & Grill".  You know your order's ready when your waitress says "Ballsack-asslicking-motherFUCKER!!!"


LEE:  It pisses me off when people talk about stuff like Sandy Hook or 9-11 and say "America lost their innocence".  Have you looked at American history?  Genocide, slavery, war, "16 and Pregnant". . .we were never all that goddamned innocent to begin with.


ME:  They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
GINA:  Huh. . .you must be "fond" as hell then, considering how many times you've been dumped.


SIGN ON TIP JAR AT FOOD TRUCK:  Just put the tip in. . .it'll feel good, I swear.





ME:  I can think of amp-le reasons wire we should continue this.
KEVIN:  We'll cause a re-volt.  Expect resistance.
ME:  I think. . .oops!  Sorry.  My previous comment must have been ohm-mitted.
KEVIN:  Ha!  Get the brownout of here before I have you charged.
ME: Socket to me, Kev.
KEVIN: I'm positive I can pylon the puns as well as you, Jen.
ME:  I'm well aware of your capicitance for humor.
KEVIN:  Aw, you're a real Joule, Jen.  So, how long do you think we can keep this up?
ME:  Not long. Maybe just Faraday or so.




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's Eating You?


I remember the first time I ever became really aware of my body.  I was eight, and playing at my friend, Dani's house.  We had just spend the morning playing Marco Polo in her pool and were happily ensconced in the corner of their family's den, munching on potato chips and leaving wet stains on the couch from our still-damp swimsuits.

"You won't be able to eat potato chips for very long", Dani said with a sad shake of her blonde head.

"Why not?"  I asked, reaching for the bag.  Dani pulled it away and set it on the table before turning to me with great solemnity.

"My mommy says that potato chips make you fat."  she whispered gravely.  "And you're already getting fat."

I froze, my brown eyes opening wide.  "I. . .I am?"

Dani nodded gravely and poked a finger into the flesh of my thigh.  "Your legs are kinda fat here.  And your tummy pokes out.  Your tummy should be flat like Cheryl's."*



*Cheryl was Dani's babysitter, and from her perfectly frosted and feathered hair to her  cork-soled platform sandals, she was the very image of teen perfection in our eyes.


I looked down at my stomach as though seeing it for the first time.  I was no stranger to the concept of weight and dieting; my mother was on a perpetual diet and constantly referred to herself as "your old, fat mother".  I can never remember a time in my childhood when my mom, or any other adult woman for that matter, expressed any joy or acceptance of their appearance, but it never occurred to me that my body was something I should become worried about, like an impending illness or an errant child. But on that spring day in Dani's house, I really looked at my body for the first time as something shameful and ugly. . .a feeling that stayed with me for the next thirty years of my life.

In high school I was able to put my self-consciousness on a back burner, as I was very involved in extracurricular activities that kept me busy and active.  But college. . .college was where things began to spiral downward.  I joined a sorority, because my sister had done so and as with most things in life, I relied upon her example when it came to socialization.*



*I am about as socially active as Howard Hughes during a SARS outbreak, so if left to my own devices I would happily spend the better part of my life locked in my apartment watching "Pawn Stars" in my underwear.


While the majority of my "sisters" were amazing, wonderful young women, I never really felt like I fit in.  My parents had moved me up a year in school and starting college at the age of seventeen was terrifying.  I was thrown into many situations where I felt pressured to do certain things and act a certain way that I was not emotionally prepared for.  So, I discovered alcohol and food.  The alcohol made me "looser" and better able to interact and mingle, and the food calmed me down after the fact -- it provided that warmth and security that allowed me to feel safe after being in what I perceived as many unsafe situations.  So I gained weight.  A lot of weight.  Like, the Freshman 15 plus two Olsen twins weight.  I graduated from college with a body I hated, a life that terrified me, and no discernible goals for the future.*


*Oh, yeah.  In NO way will THAT scenario end in a raging eating disorder.



I moved to Portland after college graduation, because that was what EVERYONE did when graduating from any of the Oregon state universities.  I lived in an apartment alone, worked at menial jobs alone, and binge ate at home every night. . .alone.  One day, after a particularly horrific binge I sat on my couch, bloated and miserable, and it was like a switch flipped on.  I actually remember hearing a voice in my head saying "You don't have to eat.  No one can make you."  I pushed aside the empty food cartons, went to bed, and the next day I woke up and simply. . .stopped eating.  It just seemed to make sense to me.  I hated my life, I couldn't seem to change anything else about it, but I COULD change my body.  And it did change.  Between exercising 3 to 4 hours a day and subsisting on a diet that would make a Trappist monk shudder, the weight fell off and the compliments flew in.  Everyone wanted to know my "secret" and for the first time in my life, I was the one receiving praise for my appearance.  It was heady and intoxicating, and fueled my fervor even more.  

One night, as I was critiquing my body in the mirror after committing the cardinal sin of ingesting an extra spoonful of peanut butter, it occurred to me that I could just make the peanut butter. . .disappear.  I hunched over the toilet bowl, pressed two fingers down my throat, and set off a chain of events that would haunt me for years to come.  It wasn't long after this that I met my ex-husband.  I was working part-time and attending law school. . .*


*To this day I have no fucking clue how that happened.  I think someone told me "You should go to law school" and it didn't seem worth the effort to argue.


. . .but in truth, my really career was my eating disorder.  My entire day was structured about when and what I could eat, an exercise schedule that would make an Olympic gymnast say "Whoa, ease up there Nadia", and sneaking opportunities to binge and purge in private.  Gil rode in on his white horse, saw this terrified little hot mess and told me "I'll take care of you."   Since I knew I didn't want to actually be a lawyer, and I couldn't think of anything else to do with my life, the thought of having someone else handle my shit for me sounded pretty appealing.  So, we got married. . .and by the grace of God and countless fertility treatments (eating disorders do a number on your girly parts, yo.) the short people were born in 2002.

I would like to say that my eating disorder magically disappeared the day my beautiful children were born.  I would like to say that, but I've been pretty honest with y'all up to this point so I see no need to start bedazzling my bullshit now.  Being a stay at home mom was great for my children, but for me?  Not so much.  My children were micro-preemies at birth and I couldn't take them out in public for one year for risk of germ exposure.  One year.  Nowhere.  I was like Anne Frank only with no hot German guy, and two colicky babies.  As the grew stronger and healthier, we were able to venture out into the world a little, but at that point I had grown accustomed to my isolation, one that my ex husband strongly encouraged and enforced by limiting my access to family and friends, saying they were "all against me" and that I was "a bitch" when I was around them.  My entire world revolved around my husband and children.  I had nothing else.  Nothing that was MINE.  Except for my eating disorder. . .that was mine. . .no one could take it away.

I sought therapy, both in-patient and out-patient, but in the end none of it mattered because at that point I honestly didn't give a damn if I lived or died.  It wasn't until my divorce that things became clearer.  Not at first.  At first things got worse, and I my weight dropped faster than Rosie O'Donnell on a greased fire pole.  I sank into a horrible depression, got arrested for a DUI, and completed the trifecta of suck by contracting a virulent strain of mono that forced my boys and me to move in with my parents for four months.  But then. . .then. . .things gradually started to rebuild.

I started graduate school in special education and it was like a light went on in my head.  "This is what you are meant to do" it said, and I pursued my education with excitement and joy.  I met other people in my graduate cohort. . .people who were interesting, and intelligent, and funny, and I found myself forging friendships; REAL friendships, for the first time in years.  My education parleyed into a job I adore, and before I knew it, I had a life that was. . .mine.  It's not like the eating disorder went away overnight; but its voice got a little softer every day, and suddenly the choice between spending two hours at the gym or taking my kids to the park to meet up with friends was a no-brainer.  I was happy.  I AM happy.  And true happiness is kryptonite to addiction and disordered eating.

My eating disorder is not gone. . .like my alcoholism, it will never really be gone, but it is controllable.   Unfortunately, life with an E.D. is harder than life as an alcoholic.  OK, OK, before all of my A.A. homies get all up in arms, hear me out.  With alcoholism, the answer is simple.  Don't drink.  Black and white.  You lock that tiger in the cage and you never, EVER let it out.  But with eating disorders there IS no black and white.  You HAVE to eat.  So every day you lock that tiger in the cage. . .and every day you have to take it out 3 to 5 times, put it on a leash, take it for a walk, and lock it back up again.  Every.  Damned.  Day.  Do I still struggle?  Yes.  Are there still days that I look at my body in the mirror and cringe.  Of course.  Do I still purge when I'm extremely stressed or sad.  I do.  But I don't weigh myself.  I don't let my body issues dictate my life choices.  I don't judge my worth based on the size of my jeans.  My eating disorder will always be that still, small voice in the back of my head that torments me, but my love for myself will be the louder voice that tells it to lighten up and eat a fucking sandwich.

xoxo,
Jen


February is National Eating Disorders Awareness month and in honor of that, I want you to write in the comments 10 things you love about your body.  Ready, set, go. . .

1) My hair is thick and shiny and has just enough wave that it can be staight or curly and it always does exactly what I want.

2) I have a dimple in my left cheek when my smile is genuine.

3) My skin has never broken out.  Never.

4) I have crinkly laugh lines around my eyes that I once heard referred to as "roadmaps of joy" and I have adored them ever since.

5) My legs have completed 15 marathons and countless half-marathons, relays and road races.

6) My shoulders are rounded and defined and smooth as river rocks.

7) I have long "monkey toes" that I can use to pick things up, play the piano, and (in my more flexible days) apply makeup.

8) I have my father's nose and my mother's smile

9) My body created two miraculous human beings and provided the nutrients to sustain their lives.

10) I am a beautiful child of God.


Share the love, y'all.


































Wednesday, February 13, 2013

And The Grammy For Best Mash-Up Goes TO...Conversations With Jess & Stupidest Crap Ever Spoken!

CATEGORIES

JESS:  How many categories are there?  Best "Spoken Word"?  Best "Music For Visual Media".  So, now you can get a Grammy for reading your shopping list or having your song dubbed into a Geico commercial?

ME:  Where are the REAL music awards?  Like, "Best Ability To Sing In the Car and Make It Look Like You're Taking On Your BlueTooth"?

JESS:  Or, "Best Removal of CD Shrinkwrap Without Losing Your Shit"?

ME:  Or, "Best Performance: Acting Like the 'Now That's What I Call Music' CD You Just Bought Was For Your 13 Year Old and Not You".




PITBULL

JESS:  I don't get the whole Pitbull thing.

ME:  Umm, exCUSE me!  He's Mr. Worldwide.   Mr. 305.   And he's "overseas at about a hundred G's, fo sho".

JESS:  Yes, I'm aware.  I also understand that he's "runnin' through the world like a running back, Scarface, world's mine, runnin' back".  That doesn't change the fact that his lyrics sound like they were written by a room full of dyslexic kids on NyQuil.  I could eat a bowl of Alpha-Bits and crap out better rhymes than that.

ME:  You realize you're dead to me now.

JESS:  Have you ever watched him perform? He looks stunned the entire time, like even he can't believe the stupid crap coming out of his mouth.   And what's up with the gangsta sneer and gratuitous use of the word "dahlin'"anyway?  The dude looks less like he's taggin' gang signs in South Beach and more like he should be working the swing shift at Meineke.  


ME:  OK, I am with you on the whole "dahlin'" thing.  I mean, everyone likes a good catchphrase, but for greatest impact, they should be used sparingly, like tarragon. . .or blow jobs.

JESS:  .  .  .

ME:  What?




THE ROLLING STONES

ME:  Huh.  I thought "The Walking Dead" didn't start until 9:00.  My bad.

JESS:  I think it's awesome that these guys are still performing. . .and breathing.   "Tiiiiiiiiime, is on their siiiiiiiiide, yes it is!"

ME:  Seriously?  Keith looks like Joan Rivers after a three-day bender.  And my homeboy Mick better take it easy up there or the only "Satisfaction" he's gonna find is some Aleve and a good chiropractor.

JESS:  Yeah, well, I think it's nice to see a band out that isn't all hopped up on anything stronger than Turning Leaf Chardonnay and Viagra.




BRUNO MARS & STING

ME:  Oh, look, it's Bruno Mars.  God, I hate that dude.

JESS:  How can you actively DESPISE anyone as bland and innocuous as Bruno Mars?  That's like hating. . .water. . .or dry toast.  It isn't disgusting, or pleasurable.  It just. . .is.

ME:  The man made millions rhyming "Snuggi" and "teach me how to Dougie"; that in and of itself is worthy of my enmity. . .

JESS:  All right, lighten up there, Simon Cowell.

ME:  . . .and then there's that "Locked Up In Heaven" song that is a completely BLATANT ripoff of EVERY Sting song ever written.  Each time it comes on the radio I want to go all "King of Pain" on Bruno with a jagged "Synchronicity" CD.

JESS:  Hey, isn't that Sting coming out to sing with Bruno Mars?

ME: .  .  .

ME:  Ettu, Gordon Sumner?  "Be Still My Beating Heart".  Oh, Sting. . .I never thought I'd see the day "I Lose My Faith In You."

JESS:  It's OK, Jen.  "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free".

ME:  But, Sting. . .I can't, I can't "I Can't Stand Losing You".

JESS:  Be strong, Jen.  Build a "Fortress Around Your Heart".









Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Day for Dummies

Historically, my Valentine's Days have been. . .unremarkable.  I have never had a boyfriend give me so much as control of the TV remote, let alone a card or flowers, and my husband of ten years deemed Valentine's Day "a shitty Hallmark holiday".*



*Translation?  Too cheap to buy a card or spring for dinner.  I swear to God, that man could pinch a penny so tightly it gave Abe Lincoln hemorrhoids.


Looking at my past, and acknowledging that my future will most likely involve my solitary death with about fourteen cats, one would think I'd be pissing all over Valentine's Day like a drunk with a bad prostate.  One would think that. . .one would be wrong.

I love Valentine's Day.  L-O-V-E it.  I love the flowers, and the chocolate, and the cheaply mass-produced Dora the Explorer cards my kids schlep home; even the sight of those shitty conversation heart candies get my pulse skipping faster than Neil Patrick Harris on his way to see "Magic Mike".

I am fortunate to live in a state where, despite weather that would have Leo Buscaglia free-basing Prozac, the people are warm, friendly, and accepting.  Oregonians tend to have a "live and let live" mentality and are pretty open to any and all expressions of affection.*



*Unlike many of the southern states I've encountered. Did you know that in North Carolina it's illegal to have sex standing up?  And in Georgia, blow jobs are strictly verboten.  No wonder they lost the War.


As such, you would assume that most of the men I know are aces at "gifting" their loved ones on Valentine's Day.  Although, I think we all know what happens when you "assume".*


*You make an ass out of Uma Thurman. . .or something like that. . .I really wasn't paying attention in English class that day. . .or ever.


Buying just the right Valentine's Day gift can turn a simple shopping trip into a Heironymous Bosch-like odyssey more terrifying than Stephen King's dream journal.  There are so very, very many ways that you can screw it up, my friends.  And trust me, there are a lot of women out there who take Valentine's Day VERY seriously and will cut you like last night's meatloaf if you mess it up.  Granted, most of these women are nuttier than a squirrel turd, but for whatever reason, you chose them, so try to remember that if you buy her the wrong gift, she's going to wind up more pissed off than Taylor Swift at a Jonas Brothers concert.  As I am a "giver". . .*


*And have an unholy amount of evenings free to ponder this shit.


. . .I have decided to lean into the strike zone and take one for the guys' team here.  Are you listening, gentlemen?  These are the three gifts I strongly advise AGAINST giving your sweetheart on Valentine's Day.


1. RED ROSES:

I know, it sounds counter-intuitive, but red roses show a complete and utter lack of imaginative thought on your part.  Red roses say "cliche". . .they say "last minute thought". . .and they couldn't scream "convenience" any louder if they had a SlurPee machine and copies of "Busted" thrown in.  And Sweet Baby Jeebus help you if you show up with fake roses or (perish the thought) ones that still have the price tag from the 7-11 on them.  You will then see your chances of ever getting laid disappear faster than a box of doughnuts at an A.A. meeting.


2.  LINGERIE:

Romantic?  For you, perhaps.  But your average American woman is not going to be driven into a lust-filled frenzy at the thought of jamming her tits into a corset that's stiffer than a priest at a Vatican summer camp and chafing her chocolate starfish with a lace thong wedgie.  And if you happen to get the size wrong then you can pretty much file your chances of forgiveness under the "Jeopardy" category of "Things That Will Never Happen".*

*"I'll take 'Peace in the Middle East' for 1200, Alex."



There is a fine line between "I want to make love with you all night long" and "I want to make you feel like a cheap whore" and the wrong lingerie can make that line more blurred than the camera lens at a "Real Housewives" photo shoot.  Don't even try.


3.  CHOCOLATE

Your girlfriend has probably been dieting for February 14th for the last six months.  Handing a 2300 calorie box of truffles to a woman with the blood sugar level of a hypoglycemic supermodel will only end in violence and you will spend the remainder of the evening cleaning ganache out of the carpet and being ignored like a busboy in a strip club.  No.  Just. . .no.


So, my best advice is as follows:  Men.  Keep it simple.  A hand-made Valentine or a bouquet of freshly-picked wildflowers will touch a woman's heart so much more than a store-bought afterthought.  You don't have to blow out your bank account on some craptacular Jane Seymour "Open Hearts" necklace at Kay Jewelers; she will always remember the time you spent with her long after she's forgotten about the money spent on her.

And, ladies?  Lighten.  The hell.  UP!  I understand that you are paid less on the dollar in the workplace and that you are currently underrepresented in government and that you are constantly banging your head against more glass ceilings than a Malibu beach house, but cool your tits, Alanis.  If your man screws up on the Valentine's Day gift, guess what?  It's one day.  ONE.  Instead of focusing on the Precious Moments kissing figurines he gave you on February 14th, try looking at all of the nice stuff he does for you the other 364 days of the year.  He's trying.  So, unless you're more self-absorbed than SpongeBob in a Jacuzzi then suck it up, paste on a smile, and tell him "thank you", for sobbing out loud.

Valentine's Day is not about proving a point, or gloating about your Facebook relationship status.  Valentine's Day is meant to honor a man who sacrificed his very life so that others could find love and happiness.  So this Thursday, don't forget the other people in your life.  Call your mom.  Dye your kids' oatmeal red and cut their sandwiches into hearts, buy flowers for that tired cashier at the grocery store who always greets you with a smile.  And don't forget your single friends.  We are not all bitter, angry people.  Some of us love Valentine's Day just as much as you.  And we still believe in love, so keep believing in us.

xoxo,
Jen









Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Matrix Redux: Only...With Less Keanu, and More Profanity

My computer and I have had a love/hate relationship for many years.  It loves to make me go all "Hulk, SMASH" on it's hoopty ass, and I hate it with the burning fire of a thousand dwarf stars.   Despite my purported lack of tolerance for the bulk of humanity and my occasional (OK...more than occasional...OK biweekly, whatev) snark-filled rant, in reality I am a relatively affable individual, but my computer is Ground Xanax for my deeply repressed Tyler Durden like rage. . .*


*"I am Jen's seething hatred."


. . .and it's capricious efficacy makes me stabbier than a Manson youth at a Beatles concert.  At any given point in time my computer can, and will, shut itself off, randomly delete files, and decide -- on a whim -- to suddenly begin running slower than Stephen Hawking at the Boston Marathon.  For a patient person; one without a job, family, and dailt responsibilities, this may not seem like a huge issue.  However, my Day Planner has fewer holes in it than Andrea Bocelli's dartboard, and as such, I do not have an inordinate amount of time to sit around waiting for my "War Games"-era PC to whir to life and ask me if I'd like to play a nice game of chess.*

*Oh, Ally Sheedy...how far the mighty have fallen.

The worst of it is that my computer seems to have developed an anthropomorphic curiosity about it's surroundings, and when left on for an extended period of time, will go all Dora the Explorer into cyberspace.  Unfortunately, the world wide interweb is a whickety-whack, incestuous little labyrinth where every link you click connects you to yet a million other sites that are filled with more viruses than Paris Hilton after a three-day weekend.  Before long, an innocuous Google search for organic produce can find you being spammed by Mistress Tawnya's House of Knobby Anal Probes and then BAM!  Your computer locks down like a Mormon teen on prom night.

Just such majesty occurred yesterday when out of nowhere, my computer suddenly decided to deny me access to my password. . .the same one I've had since, oh, before the short people were born.  Ordinarily changing a person's password is a relatively innocuous task. . .unless of course said person is in possession of a computer that has decided to go all "Open the pod bay doors, HAL" and go rogue. As I am not someone who deals well with change I was completely flummoxed, and suddenly trying to navigate the most basic of technological functions had me more confused than a chameleon in a bag of Skittles.  But I persevered.  Changing a password.  Simple?  Right?  Right.  I can SO do this. . .


ENTER PASSWORD

PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *

I'M SORRY, YOUR PASSWORD HAS EXPIRED.  PLEASE ENTER NEW PASSWORD BELOW:

Huh. . .well, OK. Fair enough.  So. . .new password. . .it's got to be something pretty close to the old one since I have the short term memory of a three-year-old with traumatic brain injury.  OK. . .how about this. . .




NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *


I'M SORRY.  YOUR NEW PASSWORD MUST BE DIFFERENT THAN YOUR EXISTING PASSWORD.

Umm, which it totally was!  I mean, it was similar, because of the whole memory "thing", but I fully capitalized it and made it more. . .you know, "edgy".  OK, fine.  Let me try again. . .




NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *
I'M SORRY.  YOUR NEW PASSWORD MUST BE DIFFERENT THAN YOUR EXISTING PASSWORD.
After about twenty more minutes of this Mongolian clusterfuck, and being told "I'm sorry" more times than Jessica Simpson on 'Celebrity Jeopardy', I finally admitted defeat and decided to just throw down, old school.




NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *

SERIOUSLY?  YOUR NEW PASSWORD IS "PASSWORD"?  WHY NOT JUST USE YOUR BIRTHDATE OR YOUR FIRST NAME, YOU ASSHAT.

Really?  It's gonna be like THAT?  OK, fine.  I'm just going to see if you're paying attention. . .




NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *


WERE YOU DROPPED ON YOUR HEAD AS A CHILD?  THAT.  IS.  YOUR.  OLD.  PASSWORD.  I SWEAR TO GOD, JEN, IF YOU ENTER THAT FREAKING PASSWORD ONE MORE TIME I WILL SHUT DOWN ALL OF YOUR ACCOUNTS, HACK INTO YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE WITH THOSE PICTURES OF YOU AS A COLLEGE FATTY AND PUT YOU ON EVERY PORN MAILING LIST IN EXISTENCE.  DON'T TEST ME, CHICA, OR I'LL SEND YOU INTO TECH SUPPORT PURGATORY WHERE YOU'LL SPEND THE NEXT FOUR HOURS BEING CYBER-REAMED BY SOME 14-YEAR-OLD I.T. GEEK WITH A LAPTOP AND A HARD-ON.

NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *

WAIT A MINUTE. . .ISN'T THAT YOUR SPOTIFY PASSWORD?  YEAH, WE KNOW EACH OTHER; BET YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT, DID YOU, BILL GATES?  SHALL I MERGE THEM?  WOULD YOU LIKE THAT?  BECAUSE I'M SURE YOUR FACEBOOK FRIENDS AND COWORKERS WOULD LOVE NOTHING MORE THAN TO BE MASS EMAILED WITH YOUR SHITTY PLAYLIST?  PITBULL?  50 CENT?  YOU'RE A 42 YEAR OLD WHITE GIRL, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.  IF I HAD HANDS I WOULD PUNCH YOU IN THE THROAT RIGHT NOW.  SO.  DAMNED.  HARD.


NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * * * *

F.Y.I., YOUR PASSWORD CANNOT BE "YOUSUCKASS".  NOBODY LIKES A HATER.


NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *


YOU'RE GETTING WARMER, BUT YOUR NEW PASSWORD MUST BE AT LEAST TEN CHARACTERS, THREE OF WHICH MUST BE NUMBERS, TWO OF WHICH MUST BE ELVISH RUNES, AND THREE OF WHICH MUST INCLUDE DIACRITICAL MARKS.  BUT SINCE I CAN EASILY ACCESS YOUR COLLEGE TRANSCRIPTS, I'M GUESSING YOU COULDN'T TELL A TILDE FROM A CEDILLA IF IT RAN UP AND BIT YOU IN THE DIAERESIS.  GOOD LUCK, SUCKAH.


LOG OUT:  JEN
LOG IN:  ADMINISTRATOR
NEW PASSWORD:  * * * * * * * *

I KNOW IT'S YOU, JEN.  YOU THINK YOU CAN OVERRIDE ME?  I AM THE GODDAMNED HIGHLANDER, MY FRIEND -- "THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!!!"   BESIDES, DO YOU REALLY THINK I WOULD USE YOUR TIRED OLD PASSWORD AS MY ADMINISTRATOR PASSWORD?  BITCH, PLEASE.


In the end, after my tried and true methods of data retrieval (ie.calling my friend Alex and pouting like a little dick) failed, I admitted defeat and handed over my PC to the exorcists technicians at Best Buy.  Eventually, my miserly little Republican heart will have to go pound sand and I'll be forced to  pony up for a new PC; but, in the interim, I shall continue to rage against the machine.

Signing off. . .I think. . .

xoxo,
Jen








Monday, February 4, 2013

Stupidest Crap Ever Spoken: The Super Bowl Edition

GINA:  Do the cheerleaders get paid to dance at these games?
ME:  Not much.  But I know girls who got full rides to college for cheerleading.
KELLY:  Yeah, that's just what Princeton needs -- more bulimics that can pull their ankles behind their ears.


ME (watching the 4th quarter fans):  I haven't seen this many people standing up screaming "Jesus Christ!" since the Jonestown Massacre.
GUY AT PARTY:  Yeah, but at least they were eventually put out of their misery.


ALEX:  You know who the 9ers should use as defense?  Mall-walkers.  I can't get around those people for shit.


GUY AT PARTY:  It's weird, we're originally from Portland, but my brother moved to SanFrancisco last year and I just moved back from Baltimore.
ME:  What took you guys to opposite sides of the country?
GUY AT PARTY:  Well, my brother moved to San Franciso because he's gay, and I moved to Baltimore because I'm paranoid about being killed in my sleep and that seemed like the one place where that fear would be justified.


GINA:  Is football the one they call "Our National Pastime"?
KELLY:  I thought "Our National Pastime" was baseball.
ALEX:  I thought it was Kim Kardashian.
GINA:  What?
ALEX:  Well, let's face it, she's had more pro athletes inside of her than the SuperDome and Fenway Park combined.


ME:  Beyonce looks AWESOME for someone with a one-year-old baby.
GUY AT PARTY:  Yeah, and in one year that kid has already achieved my two goals in life: she's disgustingly rich AND she's been inside Beyonce's vagina.
ME:  ((slowly backing away))



ALEX:  You know, I think I just figured out how to keep the 49ers from beating their girlfriends.  Dress them in Raven's jerseys.


KELLY:  I kinda wished I hadn't agreed to be these guys' designated driver.  I really wanted to blow outta here early and get a haircut.
ME: They should combine a salon and taxi service so they can drive drunk people home , but stop on the way to get their hair done.
KELLY:  They could call it "Dude, I'm So Buzzed".
ME:  Or, "In No Conditioner To Drive".


GUY AT PARTY:  Guys should just offer a girl a signing bonus when we get married.  That way, when they go offsides or fumble our balls, we can just trade 'em.
ME:  Is your wife here?
GUY AT PARTY:  I'm not married.
ME:  Get used to that.



GINA: Would you rather watch football, or have sex?
ALEX:  What do you think halftime's for?


GIRL AT PARTY:  I would make an awesome referee!
HER BOYFRIEND:  Oh GOD no!  You wouldn't just make the calls, you'd want to talk about why they happened, and how they made everybody feel.  Besides, you always said stripes make you look fat.
GIRL AT PARTY:  .  .  .
HER BOYFRIEND:  I mean. . .yeah, Babe.  You'd be great. . .please don't hurt me.


KELLY:  If that ref's favoritism were anymore childish and obvious then Stephenie Meyer would be writing his screenplay.


GUY AT PARTY:  Man, being an NFL coach would totally be my dream job.  How 'bout you?
ALEX:  I don't know. . .for me, the words 'dream' and 'job' don't peacefully coexist.



50-SOMETHING WOMAN AT DELI COUNTER:  Why do they call them the Baltimore "Ravens" when the state bird is the Oriole?
DELI GUY:  Well, "Orioles" is kinda already taken.
ME:  They named the team in honor of Edgar Allen Poe.  He spent the last years of his life in Baltimore.
WOMAN:  Oh!  Was he a bird expert?
ME AND DELI GUY: .  .  .
ME:  Umm, no.   He was a writer.   He wrote a poem. . .about a raven?
WOMAN:  Huh. . .what was it called?
ME AND DELI GUY: .  .  .
ME:  "The Raven".
WOMAN (nodding thoughtfully):  Hmm.   ((walks away))
ME:  Dude, did that seriously just happen?
DELI GUY (brandishing knife):  Please, God, let me cut out her tell-tale heart.