28
Mar

Parents just don't understand.

Rarely do my shopping adventures take place beyond the confines of Target or Ralph’s. However, after three years of literally running them in to the ground, I decided that it was finally time to get some new kicks for my neighborhood jogs.

I was long overdue, but I blame the economy; the place where I got my last pair of running shoes shut down. I had only once patronized their store, but found myself oddly saddened by the news. They had recommended such an awesome pair of shoes… And even though my knees were now begging for mercy after each run, I was reluctant to put my Asics out to pasture.

After Yelping for five minutes, though, I came across a store in Brentwood that seemed to know the deal. None of this Lady Footlocker business, yo. I wanted my gait analyzed, my pronation inspected, and my shoes to fit like a glove. Or sock.

Upon entering the store, I was completely overwhelmed. It was a Saturday afternoon, so the place was packed with both people and shoes. I don’t do brand loyalty, so literally every single shoe on wall was a potential winner. Given shoe design nowadays, though, I wasn’t even sure if I was in the women’s shoe section as I perused my choices. I started doing that thing where you just pick up a shoe and stare at it with the hope that someone will see that you need help.

Enter Jerry.

For the record, Jerry at FrontRunners is awesome, people. Go say hi sometime. He immediately sat me down, then stood me back up, then asked me to walk, then even had me run a little for him. I was in heaven. Then off he went to find my next great pair of running shoes.

I had a few minutes to kill, so I turned my attention to the other customers in the store. Lots of moms. In fact, right in my line of vision was a mom and her 10-year-oldish son. All I could hear her saying was, “Are you sure? This is the pair you want? You’re positive? These fit you the best?” The kid giddily shook his head in affirmation. The mom then turned her attention to the saleslady: “How much are these?”

“$110.”

“$110?! No! No, no… We are not buying you shoes that cost over a hundred dollars! I don’t even buy myself shoes that cost $110!”

Awkward. I mean, on the one hand, I totally agree. I remember being a kid. Those growth spurts must be a b*tch for parents; I needed new shoes virtually every month. On the other hand, this mom was doing everything in her power to completely humiliate her kid. She even stood up to make her point a second and third time.

“Come on, we’re going. You’re not getting those shoes. What were you thinking?” I shifted my attention to the saleslady, who you know was silently fuming that she just wasted the last 20 minutes helping this chick.

Then Jerry returned. He had me try on a pair of shoes that truly made my heart skip a beat. So comfy. So light. I did a little test run around the store, weaving my way through the other patrons. Yep. These were my new shoes. I didn’t want to seem too eager, though, so I asked if I could try a few more pairs to compare fit. “Sure!” And off Jerry went.

I immediately scanned the store for cheap mom and her son. They were long gone. However, I soon became acquainted with TMI mom. I had noticed her while trying on my shoes, and now she demanded my full attention. Right as her sales guy sat down with a box of shoes, her phone rang. Strike one. I’m not fan of the peeps that try to keep a call going as they’re ordering their Starbucks, paying for their groceries, or engaging in any other activity where employees have to awkwardly accommodate their lack of manners. The store was full, this guy had plenty of other people he could help, but this chick thought nothing of making him wait on her.

Then she referred to the other person on the line as doctor so-and-so. Okay, I felt bad for a second. But then this lady launched into a detailed description of her infant daughter’s bowel movements for the last 36 hours. I didn’t feel so bad anymore. Instead, I stared in horror as she explained the consistency of her baby’s poop in front of me, the FrontRunners employee, and God. Strike two.

Look, I’m not a parent, but I can understand a parent’s fear that something might be wrong with her child. However, if you were truly worried that your kid is experiencing some kind of bowel movement crisis, would you be shopping for Nikes? Oh, and by the way, the only reason why she thought to contact her pediatrician is because her nanny informed her of Poop-Gate. This is Brentwood, after all. Strike three.

Thankfully, Jerry reappeared to distract me from hearing how zucchini can make for runny diapers. I tried on another pair of shoes, made my decision, and got the hell out of there.

But all is now right with the world. I have my new shoes. They are awesome. I run like the wind.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

21
Mar

I'm not gonna be ignored, Dan!I was late to jumping aboard the texting train. Though I knew of it, I long resisted this form of communication for two reasons. My initial beef with texting – and the one I used as my excuse for not doing it – was that I didn’t want to be so easily accessible to people. But my real gripe with it – and the one I conveniently kept to myself – is that it drives me up the wall when I don’t get a response. Oddly enough, that’s also the reason why I eventually caved in to this technological terror… Once my roommate told me that the weird buzzing sound coming from my phone meant that someone was texting me, I felt obligated to reply.

But there are those who don’t.

It’s cool. I get it. Texting is cas communication, right? But I fear that this casual attitude is overextending its boundaries, and I don’t like it. Not one bit.

An anecdote if you will… Not too long ago, a friend asked if I would talk to his niece about my beloved alma mater, Columbia College Chicago. Apparently she really wanted to attend CCC, but hadn’t the chance to check out the school for herself. Why? Because she lived in France. So it was up to me to explain not only the ins and outs of film school, but also the joys and wonders of downtown Chicago. I happily accepted my friend’s request and proceeded to write a book about everything from declaring a concentration to keeping your eyes akimbo for muggers. I even reread my Facebook message masterpiece several times to check for spelling errors and split infinitives. It was perfection. I hit the send button with a flourish and eagerly awaited her response.

I’m still waiting.

I got nuthin’. I never got a response, nor did I ever receive a thank you. I didn’t even get a “thx” or “ty!” I suppose some people would say that kids her age simply don’t have the manners that you and I were taught. Pardon my French, but that’s bullsh*t. If anything, we’re worse.

Social media is bizarre, and there’s no getting around it, so I won’t try. I’m not gonna get all crazy because you didn’t like my Facebook post or respond to my tweet. I might de-friend you, though. If you haven’t so much as liked a single photo or status update in however many years of being Facebook friends, I might end our online relationship, but I figure you probably won’t miss me much if I do. However, I hold LinkedIn to a higher standard.

If Facebook is the clingy creeper and Twitter the over-sharing loudmouth, LinkedIn is the respectable sister who tries to make good on the social media family name. After all, there’s actually a purpose to LinkedIn beyond stalking friends and telling the world who you think should get voted off American Idol. LinkedIn is supposed to be for professionals, dammit.

Though the site posts warnings about accepting invitations from people you don’t know, there comes a point when that’s exactly what you have to do. How else are you going to expand your network? It would be kind of awkward to tell someone that you’re not accepting her invitation until you meet her in person. Plus, if you live in LA, that could take forever. I have best friends living less than five miles away whom I’ve not seen in well over a year.

But I have no shame in saying that I will totally check out a person’s profile before hitting the accept button. And once I do, I automatically send the following message:

Hi ____!

Thanks for the invite to connect. It’s a pleasure to meet you!

Cheers,
Anna

Nine times out of ten, I get crickets. Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I think that’s a touch rude. Now if we were on Match.com or OKCupid, sure, no problem. The sad truth to online dating is that you have to disregard your urge to be a decent person and ignore the peeps you don’t like. Otherwise, you’re just leading them on. I’ve been on both sides of that coin, and believe me, you’re only cruel to be kind. But ignoring someone to whom you reached out on a professional website?

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Image courtesy of digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14
Mar

I'll give you something to really cry about!

What do you do when your parents disobey you?

I may not have children, but I do have one troublesome mother and a very stubborn father who won’t listen to me. I don’t know how real parents do it. You know what’s best for them, but they refuse to heed your words of wisdom. You tell them something, and it goes in one ear and out the other.

The constant worrying has made me gray before my time. Or it could just be my parents’ genes. Yet another reason to be frustrated with them.

I’ve heard there was a time when smoking was considered cool and sophisticated. (See Mad Men.) It was even recommended for some medical conditions. (See The King’s Speech.) But Lionel Logue was onto something when he told King George that perhaps the cigarettes weren’t doing him any good, and as history has born out, we all now know that smoking is actually very, very, very bad for you. So of course all the cool parents want to do it.

In some regards, I can’t blame my mother. She’s from Europe. Anyone who has stepped foot on the European continent knows that the entire place is covered in a fog of cigarette smoke. Okay, that may not be true, but I’m willing to look a blind eye to anyone with a foreign passport. Like a passport, though, your excuse expires in exactly 10 years. My mom’s passport expired in 1965.

My dad on the other hand… He was born and bred in the heartland of America. Though I realize that plenty of people from his generation lit up like chimneystacks back in the day, the evidence was clear even during his youth that smoking can kill. And regardless of whether he chose to read the news, I was more than happy to keep him abreast of the latest medical findings.

As a kid, I launched my own anti-smoking campaign. I hated my dad’s cigars and made sure he knew it. Once while in a particularly defiant mood, I took his brand new box of White Owls and broke every single one of them in half. Needless to say, he was not pleased when he came home from work that evening, looking only to relax with a smooth smoke. I took his fury as a sign of victory. Pretty sure he just went out and bought another box later that night.

In its own weird way, my parents’ smoking devotion has had two beneficial effects: both my sister and I have never touched a cigarette. Actually, I can’t totally vouch for my big sister. I do vaguely remember a rebellious phase during her teen years that may have resulted in a puff or two. I, however, never had a rebellious phase. Quitting Latin during my last semester of high school was about as insubordinate as I ever became. And to this very day, never once has it crossed my mind to pick up a cigarette. (Though I do sometimes regret giving up Latin.) So in this respect, you might say that my parents are devious masterminds at getting their children to behave.

They refuse to do the same.

Despite bouts of pneumonia and high blood pressure and heart attacks and take your pick of any other ailment, they are steadfast in their smoking ways. It’s beginning to tick me off. Regardless of whether a child is 5, 25, or 50, she wants her parents. Age does not diminish the love you have for your family. The older you become, the more awesome things you get to experience. The more you experience, the more you would like your parents to be around to celebrate those moments with you.

Even though I’m not a parent, I’m trying to think like one. What exactly do you do with a disobedient mom and dad? If the roles were reversed – and I was 20 years younger – they would have the option to send me off to boarding school. So it looks like I have only one choice… Either my parents shape up, or I’m shipping them off to a nursing home. I hear they know exactly what to do with unruly seniors.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

07
Mar

My heart will go on.
I knew it couldn’t last forever. At least that’s what I prayed.

My antennas went up about a week ago. When you work from home, you quickly become attuned to the comings and goings of your neighbors. Though the foot stomping and door slamming have always made it fairly easy to tell when the Dude Bros were home, I suddenly detected another presence making its way up and down my stairwell at least once a day. It was my landlord.

I know for a fact that my landlord has two phones, but apparently he has no need for either of them. He never calls. Instead, he simply shows up at your door with new smoke alarms, a sink faucet, or baklava. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate each of those gestures, but when you don’t bother to change out of your pajamas five days out of seven, you don’t take too kindly to unexpected visitors. Between you and me – and because I know that my landlord will never read this – I’ve simply ignored his gentle knocking on more than one occasion.

Which is why it didn’t surprise me that he was trying the same tactics with the Dude Bros and getting the same results. I could hear him walk up my steps every evening, knock on my neighbors’ door, knock some more, knock a third time, knock again… and then make his exit back down the stairwell. After two days in a row, my suspicions grew.

I began to evaluate the situation. Was it an urgent repair? No, otherwise they’d probably just let him in. Was it a late rent check? Perhaps, but given my completely unfounded assumption that both Dude Bros were getting bankrolled by their parents, I doubted it. Hmm… Could it be Eddie Murphy?

Not THE Eddie Murphy. Because I typically hear and not see my neighbors, I often assign certain attributes to their noisy friends that come over all the time. For a while, it was Annoying Girl, who had a special gift for making the clicking of her high heels delightfully piercing against the concrete stairwell. She was equally charming when she would make phone calls on the steps or take a smoke break out there or both.

Now it’s Eddie Murphy. I call him that because he sounds exactly like the actor. The first time I heard him in my neighbor’s apartment, I enviously thought to myself, “How did those two mofos make friends with Eddie Murphy?!” Now I know better. If he really were Eddie Murphy, I assume he would have brought over one of his 25 kids by now. He must have custody some of the time, right? Regardless, Eddie is over quite frequently, and I concluded that my landlord must have noticed.

Now you might think that it’s none of my landlord’s business regarding whom the tenants have over. You’re probably right, but that doesn’t matter to him. He owns the property, it’s been in his family for decades, so it ain’t no thang for him to get nosey about visitors. I distinctly remember my landlord once tell the unsuspecting friend of a past neighbor that he didn’t know him and he had to leave. That’s just how my landlord rolls.

I’m not sure if the Dude Bros really hadn’t been home all those other times that my landlord knocked, or if they realized that he would never, ever give up, but they finally answered the door the other night. And I was there to hear it all. Though my door. With my ear right up to it.

First, my landlord wanted to know who Eddie was. As it turns out, he’s not Eddie Murphy, nor is his name Eddie. Go figure. He’s a Jerry. Once my landlord wrote down his name – and made Jerry spell it out – he questioned Dude Bro #1 about Dude Bro #2. Apparently he’s gone missing.

Dude Bro #1 then told my landlord that Dude Bro #2 was in a hospital back in Miami and that he would be there “for a while.” My landlord pressed the issue.

“For how long?”

“I don’t know. Maybe a few months.”

Please, I’ve lived in LA for too long now. I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em, and that kid’s in rehab. I could sense that my landlord was extremely perturbed by this non-answer answer. He wanted it in writing from Dude Bro #2.

“Well, he’s in a hospital. He can’t write to you right now.”

That’s when Dude Bro #1 started asking if he could sublet the place. I thought my landlord was going to have a heart attack right then and there. Needless to say, he quickly shot down that suggestion.

My craned neck was beginning to hurt, so I was forced to leave my post at the door. I don’t know how their conversation was ultimately resolved, but it looks like this might be the end of an era, folks. The end of the Dude Bros. Godspeed… and party on.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

28
Feb

This carpet is only for the beautiful people.
So last Sunday the 85th Academy Awards happened, and they were marvelous. All you people who take the higher moral ground and refuse to watch the Oscars, you totally missed out. The show was ridiculous and cringe-worthy and hilarious. Honestly, it was by far more entertaining than actual movies I’ve seen this year. (Ahem, The Watch.)

But don’t worry. I’m not about to go through a play-by-play of Meryl Streep’s attempt to free her wedgie on national television or Jennifer Lawrence’s face plant, though they definitely were some of the show’s finer moments. Another highlight was the tacky use of the Jaws theme song to boot chatty Oscar winners off stage, especially when the crew who won Visual Effects for Life of Pi were trying to bring awareness to the plight of overworked and underpaid VFX houses. Well done, time wranglers.

And though it sounds like I’m just another hater, I do it because I care. Really. I love the Oscars. I loved Christoph Waltz’s classy acknowledgement of his fellow nominees. I loved Jennifer Hudson’s crazy awesome – and live! – performance of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” (Sorry, Catherine Zeta-Jones, but the jig is up.) And there wasn’t a single moment of Daniel Day-Lewis’s acceptance speech that I didn’t adore. Can he just win every year?

But what I’m beginning to realize is that the Oscars broadcast isn’t the real entertainment. It’s the scathing next-day review of whatever celebrity had the unfortunate honor of hosting it. And apparently singing a truly rousing rendition of “We Saw Your Boobs” is not enough to endear Seth MacFarlane to the Oscar-viewing public. Who knew?

Um… Anyone who has ever watched even five minutes of Family Guy, that’s who. People, this is the man who wrote a film about a beer-guzzling, pot-smoking, girl-ogling stuffed teddy bear. And guess what? That movie has grossed more than $200 million in the United States alone. So it should come as no surprise that MacFarlane would come to the Oscars with his finest and crassest jokes in tow.

Since that memorable performance, I’ve seen numerous headlines calling MacFarlane sexist, misogynistic, a rape glorifier… Seriously? Instead of pointing fingers at the guy who simply called out the fact that some actresses bared their breasts on camera, why not question the filmmakers who felt that seeing those breasts was necessary to conveying their stories? Talk about shooting the messenger. Not to mention the fact that those actresses were likely paid handsomely for their roles. Not to mention x2 that if you look closely at MacFarlane’s bit, the cutaways to Naomi Watts, Jennifer Lawrence, and Charlize Theron show them in attire different from what they wore to the Oscars. Meaning, they taped it ahead of time. Meaning x2, those women were in on the joke. Ladies and gentlemen, I rest my case.

So can we all just lighten up a bit? Look, I’m not saying that singing about women’s breasts is the creative choice I would have made had I been hosting the Oscars. And given the high esteem in which the Academy Awards are supposedly held, it did seem rather odd to do a song and dance number about boobies. I can only imagine what Fred Astaire or Audrey Hepburn would have thought had they been in attendance. That said, I have no doubt that those who were in attendance were more than happy to swap out their indignation for their $50K goody bags and call it a night.

What I don’t get is why people keep signing up for this gig. With the exception of the fabulous Ms. Fey and the magnificent Ms. Poehler – because obviously they can do no wrong – most celebrities get destroyed by the public after hosting an awards show. I don’t think that Seth MacFarlane is misogynistic, though he may very well be masochistic.

Whatever floats your boat, Seth.

Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

21
Feb

Winners never quit and quitters never win.
Nestled between its congested highways, strip malls, and high-rises, Los Angeles has amazing parks and scenic trails. The Eastsiders usually favor hotspots like Griffith Park and Runyon Canyon, while Westsiders typically frequent Topanga and the Santa Monica steps. I live somewhere in the middle, which means one thing: I never go to any of these places.

Well, that’s not entirely true. A few weeks ago, my boyfriend and I headed to Griffith at about 8 a.m. on a Sunday. It still took over a half-hour to get there. Because it had been more than a year since my last time to the park, it took even longer to find the trail that I kept promising him I knew by heart.

That’s why we tend to stick around my neighborhood. “Zero commute time” is one of my favorite phrases in the English language, so more often than not we just walk through my own neck of the woods. Though my ‘hood isn’t exactly swimmin’ pools and movie stars, I do distinctly recall once walking past a house that had an entire zoo of animals in its front yard. They were fake, of course, but I was so shocked and impressed by the homeowner’s no holds barred tackiness that I was determined to find this abode once more. For several weeks, I dragged my boyfriend up and down and back again throughout a three-mile radius of my apartment. Needless to say, we never found the house again, and I’m pretty sure my boyfriend thinks I just hallucinated the whole thing.

That’s also about the time he suggested we find somewhere else to walk.

I wasn’t willing to waste gallons of $4 gas just to sit in weekend traffic, so I racked my brain to find anything that resembled a hiking trail near my home. And that’s when the epiphany struck – Baldwin Hills!

Technically, I had never been to this park, but driven past it many a time. Given the dozens of weekend warriors that I would see upon each drive-by, I figured the place was legit. However, I had overlooked one crucial aspect of Baldwin Hills… its 282 steps to the top.

As soon as we spied the steps during our first outing, my boyfriend was super excited about them. Me, not so much. It wasn’t the physical challenge of climbing the stairs that bothered me. It was the prospect of tripping and falling down all 282 of them. Which can theoretically happen.

But we climbed them, and I didn’t die. So we came back the following week and climbed them again. I still didn’t die. In fact, I felt kind of good once I made it to the top and viewed the beautiful smog of downtown LA. When we reached the top of the stairs again last week, I was feeling pretty dang awesome until my boyfriend said, “I think I want to do it again.”

To buy some time – hopefully enough for him to forget his insanity – I asked if we could take the long way back down the hill. You know, so I could properly loosen up for the next stair challenge. However, once we finally made it to the bottom, he looked at me with eager eyes and a wide smile. We were doing this.

As I prepared myself once more for the stairway of pain, I got distracted by a father and son duo also making the climb. Cute, right? I thought so, too… until I heard the dad yell, “Come on! Let’s go! It’s a f*cking piece of cake!” after which he promptly dashed up the stairs, all the while berating his young son for his lame-ass climbing abilities.

The poor kid offered up a few weak moans of protest, yet he continued putting one foot in front of the other. In fact, he was going faster than me. By the time I made it to the top, I quickly scanned the area for Commando Dad and kid. While the dad was doing that weird jogging in place thing, his kid looked like he was about to pass out. He was leaning heavily on the railing for support, but his respite was short-lived. His father again began to chastise him: “Come on, let’s go! You don’t need that much time to rest!” The kid staunchly refused to move, and for about 30 more seconds, Commando Dad acquiesced. In the meantime, my boyfriend and I decided to make our final journey down the hill. A few moments later, Commando Dad walked past us with kid in tow.

“You ready? You ready? Let’s go!”

His kid was clearly not ready, but that made little difference to Commando Dad. He started running anyway. Dejected and defeated, his kid finally picked up the pace to catch up with his father. This made everyone nearby, including my boyfriend and me, laugh lightheartedly at this poor kid’s relentless misery.

We still were smiling from Commando Dad’s wacky antics when we passed yet another father and son sharing some bonding time at Baldwin Hills. That’s when we heard the dad solemnly inform his young son, “He’s coming up here right now, and he’s gonna kick your ass.”

Hiking is very different than what I remember it to be.

Image courtesy of smarnad / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

14
Feb

"Where's that higher love, I keep thinking of?"

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, y’all! In the spirit of this fine Hallmark holiday, I have yet another tale to tell of my one true love… Target.

Yes, it’s sad that the most exciting stories of my life revolve around Target, but when you spend 165 hours of each week working, eating, and sleeping all in the same place, a trip to the store is très exotic. But today’s anecdote is actually relevant to Cupid and company. For as I was perusing the Advil aisle, who should I run into than Mr. Bachelor himself, Jake Pavelka.

For those who don’t know, Jake is one of the more notorious alums of The Bachelor. Like every other dude who comes on the show to make out with two-dozen chicks – I mean, to find his future wife and soul mate – Jake got down on one knee and proposed to contestant Vienna Girardi after knowing her for a whole two months. Shockingly, they split just three months after the proposal aired.

Naturally, as soon as I saw Captain Jake (trained as a pilot, he apparently still flies the friendly skies, because he was in full uniform), I immediately pulled out my phone to Facebook the world about my celebrity sighting. Before posting my exciting news, though, I did a quick spell check of his last name. And that’s when I saw it… According to the folks at Google, Jake is 5’ 10”.

Nuh uh.

Now, let me first say that I didn’t really regard his height when I spied him. My only thought was, “Must Facebook immediately!” But almost bumping carts with someone gives you enough face time to know where you stand with them, so to speak. And being a decently tall gal – not thyroid problem tall, but a respectable height – I weirdly take note whenever a guy is shorter than me. Which Jake totally was. And I am not 5’ 10”.

Why I was so surprised at the discrepancy between his real height and that which his PR reps tweaked, I don’t know. I’ve lived in LA long enough to realize that most celebrities are never as tall as you imagine them to be. I guess seeing them on the silver screen – or even the small screen – distorts perception. But it’s not just famous folk who lie about their height, age, and Botox.

Allow me to tell you another story… This one’s about a girl who once went looking for love online. She “met” someone. He was perfect. His profile was witty. His emails were sweet and funny. And his one cropped, possibly from 1995, picture proved that he was handsome, too. Oh, and he had listed his height as 6’ 0”, which was perfect since our heroine was a decently tall gal. They exchanged crazy long messages for weeks on end and finally set a date for their first in-person encounter. The girl was oh so excited. Maybe he was The One! She picked out the perfect outfit: a sexy but not sluttish dress, a clutch big enough to hold both makeup and money, and adorable kitten heels. Why not? He was six feet tall after all.

She arrived at the restaurant early and waited nervously for him. After many minutes of nonchalantly fixing her hair in the window and glancing at the doorway, she finally saw him enter. He was exactly as she had imagined… except about four inches shorter.

So I have to tell you something. That girl was actually me. And that date actually happened. Mr. Wonderful(ly Short) arrived, and it was immediately awkward. Not because he was short. That didn’t bother me. It was the lying about being short that was the kicker. Did he think I wouldn’t notice? Surely, he must have done the math. My height was also listed on my profile – my real height. Epilogue: we were seated as quickly as possible and stayed there far longer than any other patron in the restaurant – not because we were having such a great time, but because neither of us wanted to get up and confront the elephant in the room. Or in this case, the shrimp in the room. Oh, snap!

Needless to say, I never saw him again. And unfortunately, he’s not the only guy that I’ve caught in a tangled web of short man deception. In fact, I became so skeptical of the whole online height thing that sadly I drilled my now boyfriend on his stature before I ever met him. And for the record – sappy alert! – he is every inch of awesomeness that he listed on his profile. Hallelujah!

But still I scratch my head and wonder… Why do you fellas do it? Why do you tell boldfaced lies about your height? Unless you can cover your tracks ala Tom Cruise and custom-made shoe lifts, you will never, ever get away with it. Us gals will figure it out, I promise.

Now I know the knee-jerk reaction that most men will have to my inquiry. “Women lie about their weight all the time!” And you would be right. We do. All the time. Probably more than you think. But I will bet my girdle that we can hide our weight indiscretions way better than your tall tales. We have lots and lots of fun devices that will smush, pull, bunch, and smooth out those extra pounds if we don’t mind not breathing for a few hours. And when all else fails, we always have black clothing.

I hear that Jake is now dating Kristin Chenoweth. According to Google, she’s 4’ 11”. Sounds like a match made in heaven to me.

P.S. Hugs and kisses to my Valentine, DD… “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height…” Preach it, Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Image courtesy of Ohmmy3d / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

07
Feb

We are the champions!... But no one will care tomorrow.
It’s over. Another season of football is done.

Just a mere three months ago, I was ridin’ high. The Bears were 7-1, and I was certain that this was our year. Well, it didn’t happen. We got smacked by the Texans. Humiliated by the 49ers. Whipped by the Seahawks. And beaten by the Packers. That always stings.

So even though we were first in our division for the entire first half of the season, we didn’t even make it to the playoffs. My hopes were dashed, and Bears fans everywhere were forced to wait yet another year to bring back the Lombardi to Chicago. Even our go-to wellspring that is the ’85 Bears was somewhat tempered when Ditka suffered a stroke in November. All in all, it was a rough year for the Monsters of the Midway. Maybe we could use a Canadian to get us back on track.

And even though Lovie’s firing was a holiday highlight, I had to endure a month more of faking my enthusiasm for the playoffs. Okay, that’s not entirely true. I had plenty of reasons to be excited for the playoffs. Namely, to see the Packers get eliminated from them.

Here’s the deal. The Packers have the Bears to thank for winning the Super Bowl two years ago. It’s a dubious honor to be sure, but it’s true. Last game of the season. The Bears already had a bye, so it was what many would call a garbage game. Except that it’s never a worthless win over the Packers. Every victory counts, and according to trusty Wikipedia, we still hold a series win record of 92 to 88 over our rivals to the north. It would be 93 to 87 had we not lost the game that let Green Bay get a wild card into the playoffs, show us up at the NFC Championship, and swipe the Halas Trophy from us at Soldier Field. Of course, Green Bay did not repay the favor and beat Minnesota in their last game of the season this year so that we too could have our chance at Super Bowl victory.

So it felt oh so good when Green Bay finally succumbed to the 49ers last month. And though Harbaugh’s a complete loon, the fact that the Packers got beat by Jim and company felt like a small victory for Chicago fans, too. (Harbaugh played quarterback for the Bears in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.)

It counts.

Anyway, with the Packers out of Super Bowl contention, I really didn’t have a horse in the race anymore. (My horse was whoever was playing the Packers.) The Falcons are boring. Plus, they’ve pretty much perfected the art of choking in the playoffs. I have family on the east coast who are New England fans, but I want to see New England in the playoffs as much as I want to see another installment of The Fast and the Furious. Then there are the Ravens, who I don’t know much about, except that Ray Lewis is sketch and John Harbaugh is big brother to Jim. Hmm… Okay. That made it interesting. Once the 49ers made it to the AFC Championship, my picks were set. The only thing that was going to make this Super Bowl any fun was seeing an all-Harbaugh fight to the finish.

Despite the fact that I got my wish, it’s always a little sad to watch the Super Bowl when your team’s not in it. Yeah, it’s a great excuse for one last bingefest before you finally make good on your resolution to lose weight, but still… It’s not the same. I can still remember that sweet, sweet first quarter during Super Bowl XLI when the Bears were leading the Colts 14-6. The rest of the game is a little blurry.

And that’s my only consolation. Though the Ravens beat the 49ers just four days ago, you’d have to scour the news outlets to find a single article about it anymore. I’m sure all the Baltimore fans are still raiding their local Targets for as much Ravens gear as they can get their hands on, but their incessant craving for hats and T-shirts and commemorative DVDs will soon pass as well. Because sports fans are fickle. Season after season, we celebrate and commiserate with our teams’ victories and losses. We argue over bad flags and questionable catches. We writhe in pain with our favorite players when they suffer a concussion or ACL tear. For four months – five if you count preseason and six if you’re lucky enough to make the playoffs – we rise and fall and live and breathe with our teams.

And once that Lombardi Trophy is hoisted high once more… We put on Netflix and pass out from the 5000 calories we ate. ‘Merica!

Image courtesy of antpkr / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

31
Jan

"Da da da, da da da, da da da da daaa..."

I guess you could say that some of today’s television shows have catchy theme songs. Most people could probably recognize the open to Modern Family. Unfortunately, I think just as many people would instantly know Two and a Half Men as well. But with few exceptions, most network programs have super boring or nonexistent opens.

What happened? Back in the day, the theme songs were just as memorable as the shows themselves. Sometimes more so. I couldn’t tell you a single plotline from The Facts of Life, but hells yeah, I could sing you the open. And Cheers. And Three’s Company. I bet I could do a decent rendition of Diff’rent Strokes, too. Props to Alan Thicke.

As with most songs, whether they’re sung on television or radio, you form lasting recollections of them because of the moment or time period they evoke. But perhaps more branded into my memory are not the theme songs from the shows that I watched, but rather those that my father liked. Which, by the way, were all totally depressing.

I always knew when my dad had tuned into M*A*S*H because suddenly I would be overwhelmed by an inexplicable wave of sadness. Given that the open to M*A*S*H is called “Suicide Is Painless,” I think my reaction to hearing it was entirely apropos. That said, I barely knew my ABCs when M*A*S*H went off the air, so I’m not sure if having such feelings of melancholy were healthy for a kid my age, especially on a weekly basis. And here’s a fun fact… M*A*S*H was Emmy-nominated 11 times… for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Same goes for Hill Street Blues. Not the Emmy nominations for being a comedy. At least the academy – or whoever decided the votes – had the sense to recognize that the show was as depressing as its theme song and called it a drama. What I’m referring to is the sorrow I would experience while watching it on the couch with my dad, blankie in hand and thumb in mouth. Coping mechanisms.

And apparently I’m not the only one who went through television-induced depression during my formative years. Just the other night, my boyfriend and I discovered that we both suffer from Taxi post-traumatic stress disorder. Taxi was the worst of the despondent 1980s theme songs.

Now I realize that all the songs I’m mentioning have received high praise for their quality and composition and whatever other musical terms apply. So I’m not saying that they’re bad songs. But I am saying that they made me want to throw down a few sleeping pills with my chocolate milk and call it a night.

The thing about Taxi is that the entire show was depressing. The theme song was only the precursor to what would be 22 minutes of miserable characters and an even more miserable backdrop. No wonder Christopher Lloyd was always drugged out. I wish I could erase all memory of Sunshine Cab Company, too.

I must have a very different sense of humor from adults of the late ’70s and early ’80s. Like M*A*S*H, Taxi was Emmy-nominated multiple times – and won most of those nominations – for Outstanding Comedy Series. In fact, it was up against M*A*S*H three times – and trumped the Korean War “comedy” each year. It also beat out Mork & Mindy. Whaaat?

But I suppose even the tried and true sitcoms of the 1980s had their darker moments. I still remember the Family Ties episode when Alex battled his grief over a friend’s death. And what about when Carol Seaver’s boyfriend died? I wept many tears over Matthew Perry that night.

You don’t see that too often in primetime television anymore. I can’t imagine shows like Parks & Recreation or New Girl tackling teen drunk driving. Maybe because there are no teens on either show, but that’s beside the point. To be totally honest, though, I prefer it that way. I like my comedy straight up, and after a long day of work, all I want to do is tap out to Leslie Knope’s bubbling enthusiasm and Jess Day’s adorkableness. Though shows like M*A*S*H and Taxi may have their place among the greats of television programming, I’m content to let others explore the depths of their despair with them in syndication.

Image courtesy of phanlop88 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

24
Jan

Dude, really, stop.

 

A few weeks ago I discussed my disdain for being approached by strangers. I forgot to mention that I don’t like talking to anyone else either. Specifically, I hate cashier conversations.

Now before you label me a snob, allow me to impress you with my employment past. I have been once, twice, thrice, quice – that’s my word for four times – a cashier gal. Actually… five times if you count my one-day stint working at a deli. Once I realized how motherf*cking hard it is to work in food service, though, I threw in my hairnet and called it a day. But aside from my short-lived career making cappuccinos and paninis, I have spent many an hour behind the cash register. And I’m not just talking cutesy boutiques where you get one customer every two hours. (Though I have had that job.) I’ve put in time at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, y’all. I know the deal.

And here it is… They say that multitasking gets twice as much done in the same amount of time. I also say that multitasking gets twice as much done – as long as you don’t mind it getting done half as well as if you just focused on one thing at a time. Which is my point.

Whenever a cashier strikes up a conversation with me, he double swipes at least one thing I’m buying. Without fail. As a matter of fact, it’s even happened to me twice in the same week. So this isn’t a superiority complex thing. This is a cold hard cash thing.

The first time was at Target. Of course. I’m there all the time, but I made the grave mistake of wearing a provocative shirt. Nothing sexy, mind you. On the contrary, I had on a huge, very un-sexy T-shirt that happened to have my alma mater’s name emblazoned across it. Without so much as saying, “hello,” my cashier instead blurted out, “I used to live in Chicago.” Great.

Some people may call me cheap. I prefer thrifty. While looking up alternatives for the word thrifty, I found parsimonious. I like that one, too. Anyway. My thrifty ways likely come from my Dutch blood, but I’m cool with it. Yes, I add up every item as I put it into my cart. I also watch the price display like a hawk when I check out. But because I can’t multitask, if the cashier starts talking to me, there’s no way I can keep track of the register’s beeps. And neither can he.

The cashier then tells me that he loved Chicago but left because “the winters are so cold.” Yeah, I’ve never heard that before. Finally, we wrap up our convo, and I walk away, intensely scanning the receipt for mistakes. And there it was… a double charge for exactly 97 cents.

I know what you’re thinking and I don’t care. That’s 97 cents that I could use for ChapStick.  So you bet I went over to customer service and made them refund it to my credit card. Ain’t no shame in my game.

The next afternoon, I was at the grocery store. Why I didn’t just use the self-checkout, I’ll never understand, but I was immediately punished for my laziness once the cashier started ringing me up. For one, the dude had to pause every three items to cover his mouth and cough. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, he was also having a conversation with the next cashier over about the best home remedies for a cold. Apparently the other guy is a big believer in wonton soup. So not only is my cashier hacking all over the groceries I will soon be eating, but also he’s not paying any attention to ringing me up. In fact, I saw the double charge as it happened, but he was so engrossed in his conversation that I couldn’t get his attention to stop him.

With lips pursed, both from annoyance at my bad luck and fear of catching his germs, I swiped my card and waited for my receipt. Once in hand, my eyes immediately found the double charge – it’s like my superpower – and I pointed it out to the cashier.

He was totally nice about it, but because he was also so totally out of it, he proceeded to refund me for three boxes of cereal instead of one. Dammit. Now what? Though I’d love to have that extra $5.36 in my pocket – not to mention, I felt like the grocery store did owe me for my future cold expenses – I knew it would be wrong. So I informed the cashier of his second charge error. I truly hope I was his last customer of the day because it took about three tries before he understood what I was saying.

No wonder why Amazon is worth 90 billion dollars.

Image courtesy of farconville / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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