Sunday, July 24, 2011

Second Only to the Air-Conditioner, Was the Television

My parents actually had this exact television in the 70s and early 80s.

In my house, second only to the air-conditioner on the list of priorities, was the television. Here is a run-down of the television situation in my house when I was growing up:

Living room: television.
My bedroom: television.
My parent's bedroom: television.
The kitchen table: television.
My sister's bedroom: television.
The guest room: television.

Despite this large accumulation of televisions, indicating that no one in my family actually wanted to talk to one another, I currently don't watch television very often. I have no knowledge about current shows. I thought "House" was a reality show about a bunch of people living in a house. In 2000, I thought "Seinfeld" was a new show, only to find out that it ran from 1989-1998. I have never seen "Sex in the City," but that's probably because I have no interest in watching four women from New York discuss STDs and tampons, or whatever it is that women talk about these days. I haven't seen "24," but I heard people talking about it, so I think it's about a bunch of terrorists, but I can't be sure.

Also, I haven’t seen a lot of movies. People ask me, “Did you see [insert name of movie]?” When I answer, “No, I haven’t,” they tend look shocked and offended, as if they produced and directed the movie themselves.

There seems to be an inordinate amount of shows where a bunch of people do stuff, but then the people on the show that do the crappiest job of doing stuff get voted off, one at a time. Eventually, the person who does stuff the best emerges as the winner. America never hears about this person again.

"Stuff" includes tasks such as: eating rats and spiders on a remote island; losing 183 pounds in six days; attempting to replicate Mt. Rushmore in the form of a cupcake.

When I do watch television, I enjoy watching non-fiction crime shows, such as "Forensic Files" and "I Almost Got Away With It." I have learned valuable information, such as never to burn crime scene evidence in a forest because forensic geologists and botanists can study the growth rings in a tree, in an effort to aserctain when the fire actually occurred. Consequently, they can determine the time frame of the crime. Eventually, incarceration ensues. The end.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My Mother's Air-Conditioning Checklist

Air-conditioning is a major priority in my family. We are New York Jews, and we do not deal well with discomfort. We had a big, 327894628374294082034 BTU air conditioner in the living room, and one summer day, it stopped working. We quickly purchased a new one and put it in the den-— there was no way we were going to wait for a repair man in the heat.

When it gets very hot, my mom likes to run down what I like to call "The Air Conditioning Checklist." It goes like this:

Mom: So, how's the air-conditioning working at home?
Me: Good! Nice and cool.
Mom: Oh good. You have central, right? (She asks every year).
Me: Yup, central! A nice, balanced spread of coolness in each and every room. I’m forever grateful for my central air!
Mom: Ahhh, I bet that feels nice. What about at work? Do you have central air at work?
Me: Nope, the house is too old. Air conditioners were put in all the windows before it got hot out, though.
Mom: But they work, right?
Me: Yes. They are all up and running.
Mom: Boy, I bet it must be miserable walking to the subway in the morning. Do they have air conditioning on those trains?
Me: The trains are kept nice and cold, but the platform is very hot.
Mom: Oh boy, that must really be miserable.
Me: It's pretty uncomfortable.
Mom: How far do you have to walk to get home from the subway stop? It must feel like an oven out there!!
Me: It takes about five minutes.
Mom: UGH!! You must be sweating by the time you get home! Miserable!!

Usually, at this point in the conversation, my mother has satisfied her need to ensure that all aspects of my environment are adequately cooled.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whole Foods and Rita's Water Ice: A Colossal Disappointment

This is a two-part issue. Here is the first one:

My friend and I visited Rita's Water Ice. I was feeling joyous and free as I selected one of the two brand new flavors. "Honeydew!" I declared, eager with curiosity and wonder, as this would be my first time tasting this particular flavor. "I'm sorry. We are out of honeydew," the Rita's employee, who looked barely old enough to legally scoop water ice, told me. Although I felt slightly crushed, I recovered quickly. "Cantaloupe, please," was my next request. By the time the cup of cantaloupe water ice was handed to me, I was happily devouring it, honeydew a distant and unimportant memory. "Boy this cantaloupe water ice is good! I'm going to eat this everyday for the rest of my wretched life!" This is when a man sitting on a nearby bench, who we will refer to as "Damper #1," had to insert his unsolicited comment into the situation: "Well, Rita's closes in September." As things quickly began to deteriorate, my friend, who we will refer to as "Damper #2," felt the need to add to this debacle: "I see a flaw in your plan already," he commented. What had started out as a beautiful day, filled with butterflies, unicorns, and water ice, had disintegrated into a black hole of despair.

And here is the second part:

There are certain things that I like about Whole Foods. They certainly have some products that I really enjoy, that I can't seem to find elsewhere.

Let me start over.

There is absolutely nothing that I like about Whole Foods. However, I did go in there tonight to get something for dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to hear "Whisper to a Scream," by Icicle Works-- one of my personal favorites from the 80s. I did a nearly-covert, yet slightly noticeable dance, in the frozen food aisle, as I was pleased that my shopping experience now had a soundtrack. I ended up dancing my way over to the ice pops. I was overwhelmed by the many shelves of frozen treats. I wasn't sure what I wanted, but I had no doubt that I'd find it there.

I opened one of the freezer doors, and almost passed out with excitement-- mini ice cream sandwiches!! When I noticed that these were available in mint, it became clear that I was going to have to ask someone to call 9-1-1. Just as I was about to ask nearest employee for the cardiac defibrillator, I noticed that these treats were dairy-free. Anguish and sorrow washed over me, as this was my second frozen treat disappointment in three days.

As I took a moment to practice my coping skills, I realized that there were still additional freezer doors to open. I opened Door #2, anxious to see what prizes were awaiting me. I peered into the freezer, and saw the word "coconut." I threw open the freezer door, ready to grab the box of coconut-whatevers, and run the hell out of that obnoxious/overpriced/organic/vegan/vegetable/dairy-hating store. A closer look at the box informed me that these were not coconut-flavored ice cream bars; rather, they were made with some coconut crap, and did not include any dairy products at all. The next few moments were nothing short of horrific-- I went from freezer to freezer; shelf to shelf-- and saw words and phrases like: "Vegan!," "Made with Real Almonds-- Not Milk!," and "Organic!" I began to feel dizzy and suffocated by all the fake dairy products.

This entry will now end. The ending will probably be different than most endings that you are used to. Read on-- this is from a Gmail chat conversation that was taking place as I was trying to figure out the ending. I had asked a friend for advice.

Me: I'm having difficulty ending my blog entry. It's like a crash landing.
G: How so?
Me: Well, it just ends. There's nothing funny about it; nothing cool. Just ends. It's just like, “Eeeeeerrrrr... PLOMP.”
G: Not everything has to end funny or cool. Did it reach a logical end?
Me: I guess, but should I just write "Eeeeeeerrrr... PLOMP" to end it??
G: I like "eeer plomp" as an ending
Me: Really? Should it be "eeeeeeeeeeer" or "eeeeeaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrr?"
G: That is really up to the artist
Me: This is a tough decision.

The end.

Monday, July 18, 2011


An exchange that occurred between me and my friend on Gmail chat. It showcases my neurotic need to want to be better than everyone else.

Me: I have a mosquito bite.
G: I have a piranha bite
Me: I have a shark bite.
G: I have an alien from the movie 'Alien' bite
Me: I was eaten by a shark and I'm typing on my laptop from inside his stomach.
G: Really? There's an electrical outlet in a sharks stomach? Nice try.
Me: No, there isn't-- but the shark also ate an electric eel, so I'm sitting here with my power supply plugged into the eel's mouth.
G: That didn't happen
Me: You don't know that.
G: Alright, I am going to step away from the computer now. Night night.
Me: Goodnight. I'll just be floating here, in this shark. Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

My Mom Said...

In April, I began to write down some of my most memorable exchanges with my mother. These have been written down verbatim. They have not been altered in any way.

Mom: You know who I can't stand?
Me: Who?
Mom: That Arnold Schwartzendigger.
Me: Schwartzendigger?
Mom: Oh, I mean Schwartzenberger.

Me: I went to the gym at 10:15pm last night.
Mom: 10:15??? I certainly hope you drove there at that hour!!! Well??... did you drive, or were you walking the streets???

Me: There are no male staff at my job.
Mom: At least there's nobody for you to flirt with.
Me: What? You have nobody to drive the forklift?

Mom: Good luck tomorrow. Call me to let me know how it goes, but not between 8pm and 10pm because "Dancing with the Stars" is on.
Me: But mom, I have the seder after work.
Mom: I know. You can call me on your lunch hour or around 5:30pm. Good luck. I love you. You will do great. I have faith in you. Just don't do anything stupid.

Mom: What are you doing tomorrow?
Me: Volunteering for Jewish Federation of Philadelphia-- doing yard work for elderly people who can't do it themselves.
Mom: Jewish people?
Me: I don't know-- why?
Mom: I didn't think Jewish people needed volunteers to do that-- wouldn't they just hire a lawn service?

Mom: Soon you will be discovered by a talent scout.
Me: Doing what?
Mom: He will say-- "You can have any job you want."
Me: I think you got "talent scout" confused with "genie."

Mom: Today is in the past.
Me: No, mom. It's actually in the present.
Mom: Well, you know what I mean.

Friday, July 15, 2011

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"-- Revised

When I see someone reading on the subway, I do my best to look at the title of the book. I get especially excited when I find that it's a self-help book. If you're anything like me, and you like to stare and people and then pretend you are having an ocular seizure when they catch you doing it, then you probably find yourself frequently asking the question, "What's wrong with this person?" Well, when you are privileged enough to encounter a person reading a self-help book, you can simply take a look at the title, and your answer is right there. Tonight, I was riding home on the subway, and there was a woman sitting opposite me, reading. Luckily, she was so engrossed in the book, that I was able to openly stare without having to fake a seizure. The book was entitled, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People." Immediately, I became aware that I was in the presence of a terribly ineffective person. The longer I sat near her, the more I could feel her ineffective energy sucking the effectiveness right out of me. In order to explore what this is all about, I decided to research the book, which is written by Stephen R. Covey.

Here is what I found:

Basically, there's a bunch of crap about how you can't be effective if you depend on other people to do shit for you, so you have to cut that out, and start playing nice with others. Pretend to be a team player so you can actually get something accomplished for once.

I don't understand why a book had to be written for people to figure this out. That being said, let's break it down and look at each individual "habit." I will provide my assessment, along with a revised approach to the concept of effectiveness.

Below are Stephen R. Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

* Habit 1: Be Proactive
* Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
* Habit 3: Put First Things First
* Habit 4: Think Win/Win
* Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
* Habit 6: Synergize
* Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Apparently, the first three habits are supposed to assist you in moving from dependence to independence.

Habit 1 (Be Proactive) is obvious: get off the couch for once, and go accomplish something.

Habit 2 (Begin with the End in Mind) and Habit 3 (Put First Things First) are rubbish. How can you begin with the end while still putting first things first? Why does "first things first" follow beginning with the end? (Important side-note: if you fail to stay in the moment, you have a greater chance of getting caught).

Moving right along... (By the way, you are now a fully independent person).

Habit 4: We'll just drop this one. It doesn't make sense, so it's basically non-existent.
Habit 5: Irrelevant. Gone. Next--
Habit 6: I like this one. I would just change the way it's presented. In the context of all seven habits, it would look better like this:

* Habit 1: Be Proactive
* Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
* Habit 3: Put First Things First
* Habit 4: Think Win/Win
* Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
* Habit 6: !!!$$$****SYNERGIZE!!!!!!!****$$$!!! YESSSS!!!
* Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Finally, we arrive at Habit 7 (Sharpen the Saw). This is good, but additional habits are needed to prevent incarceration and/or appearing on an episode of "Forensic Files." I have added:

* Habit 8: Wear Latex Gloves
* Habit 9: Burn the Weapon, Don't Bury It
* Habit 10: Hide the Body. Hide it Well.

Below is the revised list. I was going to change the title of the book, too, but I decided against it, not wanting to rearrange every little thing that Mr. Covey came up with. That's just disrespectful.

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

* Habit 1: Stop Acting Like an Invalid
* Habit 2: ----
* Habit 3: ----
* Habit 4: ----
* Habit 5: ----
* Habit 6: !!!$$$****SYNERGIZE!!!!!!!****$$$!!! YESSSS!!!
* Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
* Habit 8: Wear Latex Gloves
* Habit 9: Burn the Weapon, Don't Bury It
* Habit 10: Hide the Body. Hide it Well.

Finally, forget about being a team-player. Do what needs to be done, and do it alone. The last thing you need is a team of witnesses.

Good luck.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Reenactment

I went to see my doctor today. You know how some white people are just really white? Extra white, even? My doctor is one of those people. His resemblance to Dick Cheney happens to be striking. He could easily pass for Dick's younger brother.

I have never seen Doctor without his little American flag pin on the left lapel of his suit jacket. Do you remember years ago when it became fashionable for men to wear a pale pink dress shirt underneath a suit jacket? This style is still widely accepted, and it is one that my doctor decided to engage in today. The only problem was that he decided to pair his shirt with pink socks that were about 82 times brighter than the pink shade of his shirt. Overall he's a nice guy. It's not his fault that he has almost no personality... or that he's just so white.

Our sessions are usually cut-and-dried; solely focused on the task at hand, which is medication management. Very rarely do we deviate from this task in our conversations, except for the one time he mentioned that he has no understanding of abstract art, so I took it upon myself to begin teaching him. This proved to be as effective as the time my father tried to explain football to me-- he ended up just telling me to leave because he couldn't take it anymore. So, other than the abstract art lecture, our exchanges are very dry, and very practical.

Imagine my surprise today when the following exchange occurred:

Doctor: So, how have your moods been?
Me: They have been pretty even.
Doctor: What about your attention and concentration?
Me: Same. Not improved. Frustrating.
Doctor: What else?
Me: I still struggle with feelings of emptiness; always trying to fill a void.
Doctor: Well, what things can you use to feel more fulfilled?
Me: I can work on art, spend time with friends... I can write... I can continue being active in Jewish life... stuff like that.
Doctor: So, if you've identified those things, then why don't you do them?
Me: Because I like the quick fix. You know, like spending money-- it feels really good, really quickly-- but then I end up feeling awful and empty again.
Doctor: (Suddenly looking uncharacteristcally enthusiastic) Well, sometimes you just have to realize that a cracker is a cracker!!
Me: (Nodding my head with an interested look, so that it appears that I wholeheartedly agree with his statement even though I have no idea what the hell he's actually talking about).
Doctor: Did you ever see that Eddie Murphy skit?
Me: No.

At this point, Doctor launched into a full-blown reenactment of the following skit: You may watch it here. I'm pretty sure that he brought up this reference to illustrate that that sometimes people try to fill a void with things that they think are exciting quick-fixes, but they really are just regular things.

Doctor really went all-out for this one-- he even imitated Eddie Murphy's cracker-eating hand movements. The worst part, however, was when Doctor made it to his grand finale, which is when Eddie Murphy says: "Hey-- I just got them regular 'ol crackers." My ultra-white Doctor tried to say it as though he was black. The entire thing was just painful to watch.

I was interested in seeing this Eddie Murphy skit for myself, so I looked it up on YouTube. Doctor neglected to tell me that the title of the skit is "The Best Pussy," and that it's about a man's distorted view of sex after he had to wait for it for five months.

It's a shame that I've wasted so much money on insight-oriented therapy when I could have just taken a minute and-a-half of my wretched life to watch "The Best Pussy." I get it now. I get everything. I really do. Thanks, Doctor.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mrs. Anderson said...

..."ask three, then me."

Mrs. Anderson was the computer teacher at my elementary school. She had this motto that just popped into my head: "Ask three, then me." Upon initial consideration, this seems like a plausible suggestion. The glitch? We were in first grade. Why the hell was I going to waste my time asking three other first graders about a computer issue? What was Mrs. Anderson trying to teach us? How can I approach her lesson in non-judgmental way that allows me to make it relevant to my adulthood? The answer: I can't. If, for example, there is a designated person at work who will know the answer to my question, then why would I spend time asking three people who may or may not know the answer? Also, if the first person I ask happens to provide the answer that I am searching for, do I still have to continue by asking two more people? Personally, I think Mrs. Anderson was lazy and/or she knew nothing about computers, and was attempting to deflect our quest for knowledge by any means possible.

Monday, April 4, 2011

In Love with My (Former) Car: My 1985 300 Diesel Mercedes.

In 2001, I was rear-ended while driving my 1988 Toyota Camry. The car was totaled and I received a settlement, which I would use to purchase a new car. My ever-practical and safety-minded father urged me to buy a sensible car. His suggestions were: Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, or Subaru. I listened to him carefully and then took it upon myself to buy a 1985 diesel engine Mercedes. I didn't care about being sensible. I needed a car that said "Robyn."

I was in love with this car. It had so much style. I adored the grill and the shape of the headlights. I loved how comfortable the navy blue leather seats were. The ride was smooth. The diesel engine was so loud that one time I was ordering food at a drive-thru, and the girl taking the order said, "Ma'am! Could you please turn your engine off? I cannot hear you over your engine." The car could never be stolen, at least not in the winter, because the cold weather makes it nearly impossible to start a diesel engine unless you have the magic, personal touch for your particular car. Even then, it would sometimes take between 10 to 20 tries to start the car. It took 12.5 seconds to go from 0 to 60mph. When merging onto a highway, I would have to make sure there were no oncoming cars for as far as my eyes could see, so that I would not end up being torched in a fiery auto wreck. I had to take it to a special mechanic for European cars. German car parts cost a fortune. Towards the end, it leaked oil all over the place, and my landlord got angry with me for ruining the street. It was the best car ever.

My father hated the car and called it "The Nazi-mobile." Yet, being the good Dad that he was, he once spent the day washing and waxing the car to make it look beautiful.

**Update-- three days after writing this entry**
I have just arrived at a problem. I began this post three days ago with the intention of having a point. Unfortunately, my brain does not hold on to ideas for more than three minutes past the moment of actively working on/pursuing the idea. Therefore, I have come back to edit this unfinished post and have found that I have absolutely no idea why I was writing about my old car.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

May Roaches, Waterbugs, and Mice Infest the Home of Whoever was Disgusting Enough to do This

Apparently, these are the options to deal with leftovers from dinner in South Philly:

a) Pack them up and save them for the next day.
b) Throw them in the garbage can.
c) Throw them down the garbage disposal.
d) Toss them into the street to attract pigeons, roaches, rodents, waterbugs, flies, and ants.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Time...

I've been slacking on my writing, so my half-assed (is it "half-ass" or "half-assed"?) remedy is to post a quick "One Time" entry until I have more time to write later today.

So... ONE TIME...

... my sister took a blue marker and put "eye shadow" on my Dylan McKay "90210" poster. I did not speak to her for weeks. My sister is 14 years older than me.

... when I was about six, I decided it would be a good idea to climb into one of the drawers of my dresser. The dresser was tall-- it had about six drawers, one on top of the other. I also had a goldfish named Fred (after Fred Mertz from I Love Lucy) in a bowl on top of the dresser, but I neglected to think about how my actions would affect him. I began to climb into the dresser and the whole thing began to tip. Somehow, my six year old strength was able to push the dresser back. Fred ended up on the floor. I called for my mom and she saved Fred by quickly refilling his bowl and returning him to his home. "What happened?!" she asked, horrified. "I have no idea!" I answered.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I Hate it When...

I hate it when I'm in a rush, waiting to pay for my coffee at 7-11, and the person in front of me is purchasing scratch-off lottery tickets.
Okay, and now I'll take 32 "Win $928,482,027,273.02 Per Hour for Life" tickets, and 19 "Match Every Single Number and Win $26,273 Per Week for the Next Ten Years of My Wretched Life" tickets.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

How to Pick Up Chicks

I'm too stressed out by "Error of the Day." I know it's only the second day, but already, I'm falling apart. I'm offering this instead. This is courtesy of the "missed connections" category on Craigslist. This is linked, in case you want to see the original:

"You hit the treadmill right after the fire drill, I spent most of the fire drill hungover and passed out in the chair next to you and your friend. I didn't know we had beautiful women in this building -- let's go for a run sometime."

How to pick up a woman, based upon the above example:

1. Act like a creepy, dead guy. This is particularly attractive to women who are passionate about physical fitness.

2. Just case your love interest didn't notice the creepy dead guy passed out adjacent to her, make sure that you make a public announcement to let her know that it was you who was the sloppy heap of drunkenness.

3. Use your sloppy heap of drunkenness as a selling point.

4. Make it fun! If you are find yourself attracted to a woman in your apartment building, what better way to confidently deliver your feelings than in a Craigslist "missed connections" ad? "Playing hard to get" has been brought to a whole new level-- with this clever declaration of interest, you have a 1 in 320,482,933,284 chance that your sweetheart will see the ad, and if she does, a .002 in 342,927,882,282,082 chance that she will respond favorably.

5. Regarding the initial example, nothing says "just kidding" like asking for a running date. It's a great way to reestablish yourself as a member of the human race in an endearing fashion. "JUST KIDDING!!! I'm not really a train wreck-- I'm a marathon runner! Surprise!" Knock her socks off by engaging in opposite behavior. Even if you're vomiting the whole way, at least you tried.

Error of the Day

I get a great deal of pleasure finding grammatical and spelling errors. Some say this is because I'm arrogant, and that correcting the errors of other people helps to inflate my ego. They are wrong. Correcting errors does not inflate my ego, but posting them on a blog that others will read, does. I am going to try to commit myself to posting "Error of the Day" on a daily basis, which basically means you'll see this type of post turn up like once every two months. Anyhow, courtesy of the menu for Key Pizza in South Philly, here is today's Error of the Day:

What we have here is a Texas Mex burger with "spur cream." That must hurt going down. It seems to be a burger that can help you to channel your inner masochist.

Friday, March 18, 2011

How to Dress Cool

These photographs are of me, and were taken in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, circa 1990.

I have read that it is advisable to coordinate your shoes with your handbag. It doesn't have to be an exact match, but, at the very least, they should definitely compliment one another. Also, accessories should have the same finish-- for example, if you choose a bag with a silver chain, your jewelry should also be silver.

I think this is stupid. The obvious choice would be to match your t-shirt exactly to your slouch socks, and then wear white Keds for a neutral look, as not to distract from the shirt/socks combination

Next, let's talk about shorts. I have been doing some research on denim shorts, and I have found that the fashion guidelines, regarding denim shorts, are pretty flexible. Dark wash, light wash, cut-offs, short, medium-length-- all are acceptable.

However, nowhere in my research, did I find any information about tye-dye denim shorts. Sadly, the fashion world fails us again, in that we are rendered blind to some of the most fashion-forward trends. Thank goodness I am here to educate you. When assembling an outfit with the focal point being tye-dye shorts, you want to make sure that you choose a shirt/sock combo that will help to bring out one of the colors of the dye-- in my case, I chose blue to be the standout color. Don't be shy! The worst mistake you can make is to pair colorful tye-dye shorts with neutral accents-- don't dull down this look!

Now on to hair accessories. Regretfully, you cannot see the details of my hair accessory in the above photos, but let me tell you this-- shoelaces are not just for shoes!!! That's right-- it's a hair clip made of shoelaces! Once again-- don't be afraid to be bold!! When choosing a hair accessory to compliment your outfit, make sure you choose a multicolored piece that contains every single color in your outfit.

Lastly, let's discuss fashion photography. It's an important aspect of style to consider, especially if you are going to consider starting your own fashion blog. A most reliable source, Wikipedia, has this to say about fashion photography:

"Over time, fashion photography has developed its own aesthetic in which the clothes and fashions are enhanced by the presence of exotic locations or accessories."

I can't find a better example of that statement than the photos that I have posted here. The exotic location of the petting zoo, combined with the elegance of the llama, plus other various farm animals, only adds to allure of the clothing. I would also like to mention that it is imperative for fashion photography to tell a story. The story should be relevant, lending support to the product. In this case, we can see that the outfit in the photos has a calming affect on farm animals, both large and small. This is important because when I buy an outfit for two reasons, one being to look good, and the other being to lure farm animals out of a barn, I want to know it works.

Inventory of What was ON MY PERSON (in my bags)

I went to visit my mom in NY on Tuesday afternoon. When I left for NY, I had my pink backpack and small person purse with me. I barely ever drive to NY. I would rather eat a bowl of centipedes. I take Amtrak and Long Island Railroad.

I just proofread this entry before posting it, and I noticed I had written that I had a "small person" with me. I meant that I had a purse. I'm just doing the strike-through and leaving it, because now I'm picturing myself fighting my way through Penn Station with all of my bags, sweating and frustrated, plus one small person to carry, as well.

When it was time to return (on the following day-- Wednesday), I had acquired enough additional belongings to host a garage sale. I have never flown, but I can only imagine what would happen if I had tried to go through airport security with the things I was carrying in my bags.

Here's a list of the bags I was carrying ON MY PERSON: (I love saying that!)

-- One authentic early 1970s suitcase (Found it in my mom's closet). It's the type of suitcase that would cause most people to say, "Ha, ha!! What an eyesore! The 70s was not kind to luggage!" It caused me to say, "Yes!!! I have struck gold. This is the most perfect suitcase in the history of luggage!!!"
-- One ugly, manly, boring, lacking-in-style, black suitcase
-- One medium sized tote bag
-- One small purse
-- One backpack the size of an adult unicorn

Before I talk about some of the things that I had ON MY PERSON (!!!), I will just give you some background about myself, so you can see the sense and relevance in this odd combination of stuff.

-- I'm an artist and I do mixed media work and combines painting. I work with found objects, which basically means I like to sift through crap, collect it, and find ways to incorporate into my artwork.

-- I enjoy certain Jewish delicacies that cannot be found in the local supermarkets in South Philly.

-- I have never met my grandparents, so I tend to collect little pieces of history every time I go to my mom's house in NY.

So, if someone had inspected my bags on Amtrak, that person would say, "Ma'am. We need to detain you for questioning. We have searched your bags, and have found a variety of hardware including screws, nails, and washers, Israeli artifacts, several boxes of potato latkes, door hinges, unidentifiable metal pieces, a stereo receiver, and a Kosher salami."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Betting on Horses

I love casinos, particularly slot machines. Unfortunately, I love them in the way that I'm unable to buy myself an iced tea for the ride home after I'm finished gambling. My brilliant solution for this was to start betting on horses. Here was my logic: I would simply select one park, so that I would only be betting on one race at a time. Since 23 minutes elapses in between races, I would lose less money than if I was playing slots.

The first time I bet on horses, I was at the casino, Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild, Wild West in Atlantic City. (I'm not sure exactly how many "Wild's" are in the name, so I always insert few extras, just in case). I placed an exacta box bet, which means that I chose two horses that I thought would come in first and second place. Since I boxed it, order wouldn't matter. The race was Hollywood Park. It was rainy and muddy there, the perfect conditions for a longshot to place high in the race. In accordance with that theory, I placed my exacta box on Horse #2 and Horse #7. I waited anxiously for the 23 minutes between races to pass. Finally, it was Hollywood Park time. Betting on horses in that casino is very exciting-- the races are displayed on enormous projector screens, but there are also small, personal televisions at each sitting station. A lot of people (almost exclusively men) stand and yell things while the races are going on. Everything seems very quick and important. It appears as though there are some very heavy amounts of money at stake. I wanted to be a part of this, so I stood up and began yelling things, too. I felt a part of something exclusive, and was determined to take this seriously. I was in the big-leagues now.

I had placed a $2 bet.

The race started! The gates opened and the following things occurred, in this order:

-- Horse #7 slipped and ran into Horse #2, knocking him over.
-- Both horses fell.
-- Both horses were subsequently disqualified from the race.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What People Are Saying About Daylight Saving on Facebook

The following are posts, from people I don't know, found on various Facebook groups.

"Daylight Savings is in affect, believe or not it is only really 10:46am."

What's not to believe? Daylight Saving happens every year, and 10:46am occurs every single day. The most concerning this about this post is that I suspect this guy may have turned the his clock back, rather than forward. I would think that if the clocks are turned ahead, one would say, "It's already 10:46am!" Lastly, it's "effect," not "affect."

The next few posts were found in a group called: "I HATE Daylight Saving!!!"

"when friends call you late its even later here and that can really give you the shits!"

Who wouldn't experience a bowel flare-up if your friends usually call you at 9:00pm, but during Daylight Saving, they accidentally call at 10:00? Also, it's pretty simple to stick to the same regimen, even in that chaotic, confusing time that we call Daylight Saving: when your clock displays the number nine, a colon, and two zeros, it's time to make that phone call.

"I usually run late for 6 months until it changes back again!"

Six months? Remedy Example: You have an appointment 1pm. The clocks are pushed forward for Daylight Saving. You look at the clock. When it displays the number one, colon, zero, zero, that's the time of your appointment.

"Yess!! Give me back my hour in the mornings!!!"

The letter "S" and the end of "morning" indicates that this lady doesn't realize that after the day we push the clocks ahead, the days are still 24 hours long, not 23.

"It's started. Already it is making me feel sick. I won't be able to sleep tonight, I'll be so scared I won't get up on time tomorrow."

Another bowel flare-up possibly accompanied by vomiting, due to the horror of the Daylight Saving crisis of 2011.

This one belongs to a group entitled: "Daylight Saving Time Stole an Hour of My Life and I Want it Back."

"At 1 am today, it suddenly became 2 am. I personally think this is an outrage."

Actually where you live, at 1am, it was 1am. The clocks don't change until 2:00.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

One Time...

... when I was in second grade, I was at my friend's birthday party. When I was a kid, it was very popular to have your birthday party at a ceramics shop. Everyone would choose a ceramic and get to paint it however they liked. I chose Bart Simpson and the boy from school who was sitting across from me chose Homer Simpson. I didn't like this particular boy so I chose to dip my paintbrush into the dark brown paint and decorate the back of his Homer statue with brown dots. He did not like this so he dipped his paintbrush in the same brown paint and engaged in some haphazard, freestyle painting on my Bart statue. Then he poked his fingers into his eyelids and cried.

... when I was in pre-kindergarten, I pretended that I worked at a beauty salon and the paintbrushes were people with hair. I gave them "haircuts." The only problem was that this occurred during art class in school. I stayed after class for a special clean-up session that day.

Monday, March 7, 2011

My Parents Kept Me in a Box

In examining the possible origins of my anxiety problems, I found that my parents kept me in a box.

It's a Beautiful Evening in South Philly

What seemed like a perfectly pleasant South Philly neighborhood interaction quickly went downhill. Here's what took place in the South Philly Walgreen's at Broad and Snyder:

Female shopper: Hey, do you happen to know where they would keep blue cheese dressing here?

M: It would be down there (pointing to bottom shelf).

Female shopper: Yeah... they only have ranch.

Me: Why don't you go across the street to Rite-Aid? They probably carry it there.

Female shopper: I already did. They also only have ranch! It's for my husband. He wants blue cheese.

At this point, it still seemed perfectly normal. I mean, yes, the lady located the ranch dressing and still felt the need to ask if we knew where the blue cheese would be. I understand, though. She was probably just sharing her frustration, and also, M and I definitely look like the type of people who would know if a store had a secret hiding place for additional salad dressing flavors.

Then the situation fell apart.

Female shopper: (voice rising) I don't even eat blue cheese! I don't eat that crap. I'M ITALIAN!!! I DON'T EAT BLUE CHEESE! THAT'S FOR RABBITS AND HAMSTERS! My husband wanted this shit!!!

M and I: ....

Female shopper: (walking away) ...AND HE CAN FUCKING DROP DEAD!!!

PS: I think that rabbits enjoy eating carrots, but I'm not sure what hamsters eat. However, I am pretty sure neither of these animals accent their food with salad dressing. If they did, I would guess that it would be something more mild than bleu cheese, such as a low-fat Italian dressing.

One Time...

... when I was little, my sister threw a cold English muffin at my head. It hit me right in the eye, and for a minute, I couldn't see anything except for a big, grey dot.

... my friends dared me to kick my neighbor's Funkin (sounds worse than it is-- refer to the photo if you don't know). I kicked it, and when I did, I made a huge hole. Since Funkin's are stuffed with leaves, a huge burst of leaves occurred following the impact of my foot. I looked up and my neighbor was standing at his front door, watching me the whole time.

Two Funkins. As you can see, they are like pumpkins, but much more FUN. They were very common Halloween decorations in the good old suburbs of Long Island.

... when I was a kid I got bored in the supermarket with my mom, so I decided to put expensive items into other people's shopping carts when they weren't looking.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This was Supposed to be a Fashion Blog

One time, I wanted this whole blog to be about fashion. So far I have written zero posts about fashion, unless you count the one about my new sneakers which allowed me to jump from my house to Dunkin Donuts without touching the ground in between.

So what does a non-fashion blogger wear? Well you are in for a treat because I'm about to give you a description of my current look. Think of this as the pre-show to the Academy Awards, only better:

Sleek Pittsburgh, PA t-shirt in midnight black. Against the black is shocking contrast of a vanilla-white print of a skull with wings coming out of the temples of it's forehead. The word "slacker" is ever-so-delicately inscribed underneath the collar in a classic print, not unlike the Edwardian Script ITC font on Microsoft Word 2002.

Cheerful cotton candy pink pajama pants with missing drawstring. The couture reindeer-polka-dot-snowflake print demonstrates unparalleled attention to detail. The frayed bottoms are both classy and reminiscent of mid 90s grunge trends, making them a nostalgic choice for those who grew up listening to Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots.

Purchased at Target, these have been constructed of a soft material, most likely a cashmere-like wool obtained from the coat of a Tibetan Mountain Goat. Unique embroidery of a bright green parrot with turquoise tail on either side of the ankle.

Friday, March 4, 2011

I Will Never Get to Marry Jonathon Knight

I just found out that Jonathon Knight, from the New Kids on the Block, is gay. I found this out because a priest that taught at the college where I went for graduate school (Chestnut Hill) was recently released from his teaching position after the college found out that he is gay. An article came out on today about Father St. George being found guilty of mail fraud in 1992. Next to the little picture of Father St. George, there is a little picture of Jonathon Knight with a caption about him "coming out." I was shaking so badly, I could barely click on the link.

I was eight years old when NKOTB became popular. I still remember the exact amount of KNOTB pictures that I had on my bedroom walls-- 132. Although I was dedicated to the entire band, I was a Jonathon Knight fanatic. Every girl had her favorite New Kid, but I couldn't see it any other way-- how could my friends be in love anyone but John? Here's the breakdown of the group:

Jordan-- Too popular. The last thing I ever wanted to do was jump on a bandwagon.
Donnie-- Too much of a bad-ass. I wasn't ready for that type of a negative influence in my life.
Danny-- Looked too much like a monkey.
Joey-- Too young. I was eight and definitely needed someone more mature.

So today I come to find out that Johnathon Knight is gay. Was it ever obvious? Not to me. I have no sense when it comes to identifying a gay man. I thought my now ex-husband was gay before I met him. What's even worse is that the person I thought was his partner turned out to be his brother. Even worse than that, the only one in his group, who I thought was straight, was actually gay.

Now it's official-- I will never get to marry Jonathon Knight. Time to let go, and move on. Sad face.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

My New Sneakers/The Best Thing I Heard All Day

Today I decided to take a walk to Dunkin Donuts while wearing my new sneakers. I was very excited to try out my new sneakers because they are not L.A. Gear or Richard Simmons Signature Sneakers, like I have had in the past. When I put on my new sneaks, I felt bouncy and energetic, as though I could get from my house to Dunkin Donuts in one step. I felt just like The Princess in Super Mario Bros. 2.

It was right after I ordered my coffee that I experienced The Best Thing I Heard All Day:

Guy #1: Can I use the bathroom?
Dunkin Donuts Employee: Yes. I have to buzz you in.
Guy #2 who was not with Guy #1: (loudly and angrily) BUZZ HIM IN?? WHAT IS THIS, THE F***ING PENITENTIARY??

Yes sir. It is just like the penitentiary. When I think of being incarcerated, the first thing that comes to mind is being surrounded by muffins, bagels, and strawberry icing. It's like the same exact thing, only different.

Also, excuse the Dunkin Penitentiary management for not allowing the trusting, responsible people who hang out in front of Dollar Tree and Popeye's Chicken and Biscuits, to go into Dunkin and freely use the bathroom whenever they want.

Eating Eggs for Cash-- What on earth is this all about??

You may be wondering about the title of my blog, or you may not give a damn at all. My father had a wicked sense of humor. I'll share a little about that before I go into detail about the title.

Let's start with this:

Sexy, right? I was 13 and hadn't yet discovered the art of eyebrow grooming. And no, that's not a Halloween witch-wig. I had taken it upon myself to dye my hair "black cherry," although the "cherry" part never did make itself apparent.

One day, my dad and I had been going through a box of old pictures, and I came up with that one. It's actually a school picture-- you can tell by the lovely blue background, emulating a beautiful sky. My dad pulled the picture out of the box and erupted into a fit of hysterical laughter. I play-punched him, and blamed him for allowing me to go out in public on a daily basis with that look.

A few days later, that picture began turning up everywhere. I would open my drawer to get dressed in the morning, only to be greeted by my own, adolescent face. I would make my bed and find myself underneath my pillow. When I went to get my car keys-- there I was, in my pocketbook. The worst one was when I made a new friend at school and I offered to give her a ride home. We were about to leave the school parking lot when I remembered there was a CD in my glove compartment that I wanted to listen to. I opened the compartment.

Thanks, dad.

Other things my dad enjoyed doing:

-- Punching the trunk of my car while I was slowly backing out of his driveway, dropping to the ground, and rolling on the grass to make me think I hit him.

-- Waiting for me to select something from the bottom shelf at the supermarket so he could kick my leg out from under me while I was crouching down.

-- Putting a scary Halloween mask in the middle of the washing machine so when I opened the lid to put laundry in, it would be staring at me.

-- When I first learned to drive, I was terrible at parking. I would constantly hit the curb and knock the hubcap off of the front passenger-side tire. One afternoon I went out to the car and saw that he had removed all four hubcaps and replaced them with paper plates.

And now, the eggs-- "Eating Eggs for Cash." When I was really young, maybe around three years old, my dad would cook omelets for me. I loved them because he would put a ketchup smiley face on them. Then one day I decided that I hated eggs. Then a day later (just an estimate), I decided I hated ketchup, too.

To this day, I would rather eat the contents of my vacuum cleaner than eat an egg. The site, smell, consistency, and taste simply make me ill. My father was a big omelet fan-- Spanish and Western, to be exact. If he ordered an omelet at a diner, he would offer me ten dollars to take a bite of it-- all so he could laugh hysterically while watching my poor face contort in disgust while tolerating the torture for ten measly dollars. I should mention that we did this all throughout my 20s-- it wasn't as though I was 9 years old and desperate for ten dollars, thinking that it could afford me any toy I wanted. I was 26 years old, and wanted the money.

I miss that man so much-- if he is looking down on me, or happens to be using the Internet in heaven, and decided to read this blog, I want him to know that I would eat omelets every day, if it meant I could see him again. He wouldn't even have to pay me. Not the whole ten dollars, anyway.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Market-Frankford Line

In the summer of 2010, I worked in North Philadelphia, as a mental health therapist. When I graduated in 2008 with my Master’s Degree, I was just certain that I was immediately going to have a private practice in fashionable office in Rittenhouse Square. I was going to help rich people with privileged problems, and they were going to pay me a lot to do it. Unfortunately, my career out of graduate school began at 56th and Chestnut in West Philly, and then transitioned to a couple different jobs in North Philly, particularly one job in Kensington. So, there may have been some slight deviations from my original plan. Rittenhouse Square... Kensington... It's all Philly, right?

My daily commute to my job in Kensington involved taking the Broad Street subway to City Hall, and then transferring to the Market-Frankford line. My stop for work was Allegheny Avenue. Not only was that a sketchy stop, but so were the four stops before it. One day I had to leave work early to go back into Center City for an appointment. I boarded the train at Allegheny and took note that there were only about two other people in the car. Next stop: Somerset. The next thing I knew, someone was sitting next to me. Before I continue, let me clarify what "next to me" actually means. I don't mean "next to me," as in the-seat-next-to-me-that-is-actually-across-the-aisle-- I mean "next to me," as in the seat that is physically attached to mine.

Here is a depiction of what was transpiring. Please be understanding, as I have limited computer skills, so I'm doing the best with what I have. The rose represents me, as I was sitting at the window seat. The rainstorm represents the guy who sat next to me.

There is an unsaid, universal public transportation rule: Unless there are NO available seats, or you unexpectedly spot your BFF already sitting on the train/bus, you do not sit in a seat that puts you in physical proximity with the person adjacent to you. Ever. In life.

So as the train pulls out of Somerset station, I am acutely aware of my seat-neighbor. My first thought was that what probably happened was that I had been daydreaming and did not notice that 973 people boarded the train at Somerset, filling up all of the seats in the car. That was probably what had happened. I was sitting in the first seat of the car, so they must all be behind me. There was most likely only one available seat left, which was next to me. I turned around to check, desperately wanting to confirm this belief-- but no, the train was still empty. So there we were-- my new buddy and I-- sitting side-by-side on an empty train car, surrounded by perfectly good, unoccupied seats. It was at this point that he asked me, in broken English, for a date. I politely rejected him, but then I started to get really mad. He continued to nonchalantly sit next to me as if there was nothing socially unacceptable or awkward about this situation. As I continued to glance at him in my peripheral vision, he began to appear smug and satisfied, sitting comfortably my space, cramping my style. I couldn't take it anymore. I wasn't going to continue to sit there, but I also wasn't to create a conflict on an empty train car going through North Philly.

It was the perfect time for a fake phone call. I discreetly checked to ensure that my phone was on "silent" mode. The last thing you want is for the phone to ring when you're talking on a fake phone call. I picked up my phone and began chatting with no one. Once again, my expectations were too high-- I was expecting that the stranger would realize that not only had he intruded on my space to begin with, but now he was really pushing the boundaries of my privacy, as I was taking a phone call and there were 38,037 other available seats on the train. I was wrong. My neighbor did not flinch. This guy had no boundaries. He didn't know the first thing about interpreting social cues. Suddenly it began to feel as though I was infringing on his space, ruining his train ride. What was happening, here? "Excuse me," I said, as I awkwardly got up, intending to take myself, my fake phone call, and all of my belongings to another seat. He didn't even get up. Didn't even move an inch so that I could squeeze by. I had to half-climb over him to get to the aisle. I chose a seat in the back of the car where I could keep an eye on the back of his head. I was fuming. I watched as he moved over a few inches and happily took my old seat. He seriously moved over and claimed the window seat. At this point I was so flustered that I couldn't even finish my fake phone call.

What angered me off the most was that he had won and I had lost. I had entered into a delusional competition, which I often do, in which I was the only one participating. Even the other person doesn't know they are in a competition with me, I fully expect them to behave in a way that allows me to win.

How disrespectful.