Category Archives: general stupidity

Blame the Media! Blame the Media!

I saw this video yesterday entitled “How the Media Failed Women in 2013,” and it confused the hell out of me.  It’s only about three minutes long, take a look.

Am I the only one that thinks the message got a little lost here?  Don’t get me wrong, overall, I think The Representation Project, which produced the video, has a great mission and anyone striving to make the world a better and fairer place should be commended.  But this particular video completely missed the mark to me for a couple of reasons.

One, women did a lot of great things this year.  The first part of the video supposedly focuses on this, but I lost the plot.  How is the Hunger Games and Gravity  breaking box-office records a win for women?  Because it’s a strong female lead?  That’s great and all, but we can’t just skim over the fact that two stunning, Oscar-winning actresses starred in said movies and that just *might* have had something to do with it.  Malala Yousafzai being named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people?  Yes.  GoDaddy veering away from the sexual in their multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad and sticking with humor?  NO.  Not the same thing.  Not even close.  Aside from the fact that one is fighting for women’s rights in a war-torn country at an age where most American girls are still getting a allowance and one is changing their advertising – the real reason they’re not doing those commercials is because they were stupid, awful commercials, despite the pretty and talented women involved.  I promise you they’re not changing their tune out of respect to women. It’s simply a poor example.  What is being celebrated here is a lack of perceived sexism as opposed to actual accomplishments, and it defeats the purpose.

Which brings me to the second part of the video, where we start to see how far we have to go.  In this segment, there’s several clips of current advertisements, music videos, and performances all portraying women in a sexual manner.  There’s Rihanna in her own music video, Miley Cyrus in a performance she helped design – and seriously, we all just need to get the fuck over that one – Megan Fox on a magazine cover.  To say that they are being sexualized and exploited is ridiculous.  These are grown women who are using their sexuality and talent to make money and achieve celebrity and there is nothing wrong with that.  They aren’t the victims we somehow we want them to be.  But by victimizing them, we make them into poor misguided little girls who don’t know up from down or left from right instead of the strong, confident women they are.  Which only perpetuates the stereotype that women are easily confused and will blindly go along with whatever the media tells them they should.  We live in a world where sex and beauty sells.  What do you want them to do – put on their sweats and recite math problems onstage to prove a point?

Also, since when are we offended that attractive people are being cast in commercials to sell products?  This part of the video targets commercials showing attractive women in bikinis because again, this can only be perceived as exploitative and misogynistic.  Untrue.  Why don’t they show average looking people in their commercials?  I’ll tell you.  Because one wants to see me chowing a giant Carl’s Jr. cheeseburger in a bikini.  TRUST.  I certainly don’t want to.  Here’s the thing.  What do we want to happen differently here?  What should a commercial for Axe Body Spray be?  Explain it to me.  Don’t use anyone who fits society’s standard of beauty, male or female, and make it interesting and suggestive to the prospective buyer.  It’s for Axe freaking Body Spray.  Why are we placing one iota of importance on their commercial?

The last portion of the video has nothing to do with the sexualization of women, nor is it exploitative.  To me, it’s a hundred times more terrifying than seeing a woman in weird bikini dancing with a foam finger.  Why?  Because it’s not commercials, it’s not advertising, it’s not music videos.  Nor, to be clear, is it a misrepresentation of women.  It is actual comments from men, both elected officials and media personalities alike, in regards to women in positions of power.  Comments like, “Well, you can’t do that, to be fair…women just haven’t done that much.”  Men lamenting the fact that the changing the hats the military wears to something more unisex actually has a headline that reads, “Military switching to girly hats.”  Fox News, “We only have the prostate, the women have the breasts, the ovaries, the uterus,” in regards to women paying more for health care due to having more working parts, apparently.  Fox News again, “I’m not saying she deserved to be raped, but…” which is a sentence that has no possible acceptable ending.  Fox News yet again, “Know your role, and shut your mouth,” to the lone female on the panel.  Perhaps the most frightening, a headline from the New York Post that reads, “No Wonder Bill’s Afraid!” next to a picture of Hillary Clinton.  Why is this the worst, you ask?  Because Hillary Clinton was the fucking Secretary of State at the time, furious regarding one of the most maligned operations of the United States and somehow this headline tried to  reduce her to a hysterical female and elevate her husband – who held no office at the time – as the more important party to the story.

Let’s pick our battles, shall we?  Let’s concentrate on getting ignorance – both male and female – out of office and making our decisions.  I don’t know about you, but I’m much more concerned that an elected official in the United States of America believes that women have super abilities which make their bodies able to distinguish rape from consensual sex than I am about what Robin Thicke’s backup dancers are wearing. I’m much more worried about the fact that people like Rush Limbaugh still have a following than I am about the fact that Flo-Rida’s latest video has half-dressed girls in it.

The fact remains that WE are the ones watching this.  WE are the ones demanding it.  We can’t keep blaming the media for clamoring to provide exactly what we’re asking for.  They aren’t going to change their content until we change the channel.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

Yeah, I feel really fucking sorry for this girl.

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How Life Hacks Really Work

We’ve all seen those Buzzfeed lists touting life hacks; ways to use everyday items that will simply change your world. It appears to make so much sense. “And you thought bread ties should be thrown away – look at the magnificent ways to use the bread ties instead!” I feel like these ideas fall dangerously into the Pinterest zone. Pinterest encourages average people to do non-average things. It makes non-crafty people think they can be crafty. You can’t. You’re either the type of person who can make art out of melted crayons or you’re not. That’s all there is to it. Believe me, I feel the pain. Deep in my heart, a wannabe crafty soccer mom resides; one who believes that she can turn string into art projects, who can quickly and easily make paper-mache* holiday decorations without covering the cats in glue and ruining the kitchen table. ‘Tisn’t true. Pinterest lies.

*Any option spellcheck gave me to spell this correctly made it look French and capitalized the second word. Sorry. I’m not fixing it.

The problem with these life hack lists is that they have an infomercial-like quality to them. You know what I mean? If you watch an infomercial long enough, it makes perfect sense. “You know, it looked stupid at first, but hot damn, I certainly WOULD like perfect pancakes every time! Where’s my credit card?” Same with these everyday product uses. On the surface, it looks great. In reality? Not so much.

Bagel ToteFirst of all, anyone who uses the term “bagel tote” should probably get punched.  Second, last I checked, bagels can be transported pretty easily in plastic baggies, which are a little easier to find than CD spindles, being that it isn’t 1998.

Paint can

Not Shown: Average American trying to wrestle a rubber band around an open fucking paint can.  This ends in tears. Trust.

Drink at the Beach

Okay, sometimes they work.  This makes a lot more sense than dumping a bottle of rum in giant bottle of grapefruit juice.  Touche, life hacks.

Pool Noodle

You know that the fitted sheet isn’t like a magic sheet right?  Just because things are under it don’t mean they don’t move. Ask my cats.  They’ve been accidentally made into the bed many a time.

Lending items

Yeah, I want to be friends with this guy.  Don’t worry, dude, I’ll bring back “Memento.”  You fucking douchebox.

Ninja fold

This?  Is amazing.  Tried and true, no joke.  Google it.

Ketchup

For all of the effort it would take to try and unroll your paper ketchup receptacle, wouldn’t it be easier just to fill another?  Also?  Have you ever used those ketchup containers?  You can easily carry two of them with one hand.  This method makes that impossible and requires a tray.

Pancake Batter Ketchup Bottle

No mess experience.

Not Shown:

1.   Trying to clean a ketchup bottle enough that it is fit for other foodstuffs.  Seriously, I don’t know about you guys but a bottle of ketchup in this house may stick around for a year or so before it’s done.  I don’t really want to think about trying to clean it out.

2.  Pouring pancake batter into a fucking ketchup bottle.  When I think no-mess, I don’t think trying to pour thick liquid from one container with a small opening into another container with a smaller opening.

Spa

I love this so hard.  You know why?  This was born of resourcefulness.  “Well, we’re out of matches and a lighter won’t work.  Get the spaghetti, Betty, I’ve got it figured out!!”

Excuse Me, I Have a Tiny Violin I Want to Hit You With

I don’t read gossip magazines.  I don’t follow celebrity blogs or Twitter feeds, I don’t watch E! or Extra or TMZ.  To be perfectly honest, I’m not even sure if those are the “popular” celebrity sites or shows; those are just the ones I remember flipping past on the television when I do watch my late night reruns.  Part of the reason is that it makes me feel old – either they’re showing videos and photos people like Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin doing grown up things when in my head, they are permanently ten years old – or they make me feel dirty and old, i.e. showing a picture of Taylor Lautner shirtless and I’m all “Ooh, yummy,” until I remember that he was probably still in diapers when I graduated high school and then I’m all, “Ew, I’m old enough to be a cougar,” and have a drink instead of continuing to hurt my own feelings.  Another part of the reason?  Is that I despise everything Kim Kardashian and it is fucking impossible to watch any sort of gossip/celebrity show without that stupid bag of hair smiling beatifically for a photo-op with that walking piece of arrogance she’s engaged to.

But the biggest reason of all is shit like this interview with Mariah Carey in which she compares her time on American Idol to working with Satan every day. I had to read the whole thing because I thought to myself, “That’s impossible.  She wouldn’t actually say something so ridiculous.”  She did.  Read the article.  Her exact words? “It was like going to work every day in hell with Satan.”

Really, Mariah?  Was it really so bad?  Was it really just so, so, very difficult to get paid 18 fucking million dollars to judge a talent show?  18 million dollars.  Do you have any concept of how much money that actually is?

 

THINGS I WOULD DO FOR 18 MILLION DOLLARS

Yes – Pretty much anything

No – Eat a baby

I once had a manager when I was waiting tables whose night was not complete unless he made someone cry.  He would scream profanities at you that didn’t even make sense, “Fucking yes bread is slow stop waiting dammit go!” “Don’t care steak broken fryer!” and my favorite, a horrifying Hunger Games version of red light green light, “Get out! Where are you going! Get that out!  Get back here! What are you waiting for?! Pay attention and stop!” until you were slip sliding in your own sweat holding a full tray of food above your head with one hand, questioning every life choice you ever made.  Do you know how much money I made doing that four or five times a week for three years, Mary Poppins?  Three dollars an hour.  And do you know what else?  I did it with a fucking smile, because I had a job and I was grateful. How long would you make it in a regular job, Ms. Mariah?  As a mail carrier, a receptionist, a customer service rep?  A nurse, a social worker, a teacher?  You’re a very lucky woman.  You were born with an extraordinary talent that you’ve used to your advantage, which ensures that you will never actually have to “work,” in the real world a day in your life.  From what the article stated, part of your problem is that Nicki Minaj called you “insecure,” and “bitter.”  Instead of having the audacity to feel sorry for yourself, prove her wrong.  Take a look around and be happy and humble at what life has provided you with. Or at least get a better publicist that will advise you against complaining about the show that paid you 18 million dollars in one year to sit on a stage and look pretty.

Yes.  SHHHHH.  Dummy.

Yes. SHHHHH. Dummy.

 

Jimmy Kimmel is Awesome and Please Calm Down

By now pretty much everyone has seen Jimmy Kimmel’s video montage of the reactions of children after their parents tell them they ate all of their Halloween candy.    If you haven’t seen it, please take a minute or six to take a look.

Priceless and hilarious, yes?  Apparently not everyone thinks so.  Here’s some quotes from folks outraged at this horrible example of parenting.

“Is it just me, or does anyone else thinks this sort of borders on emotional and mental cruelty toward children??  It’s pretty darn close to bullying, isn’t it?” Commenter on NBC article.

“Cruel and potentially damaging.” Child psychologist Mark Barnett.

“Inappropriate parental behavior.” Psychologist Jane Annunziata.

That’s just a couple of the criticisms, but you get the gist of it.  These parents are only out for a couple minutes of fame, and by participating in a prank, may be causing lifelong damage to their children’s psyches.

People?  Get the fuck over yourselves.  It’s funny.  It’s CANDY, for fuck’s sake.  They didn’t tell them Santa hated them, that the Easter Bunny didn’t exist, that their favorite teacher was actually an alien, that the dog was dead.  They told them someone ate their candy.  And they didn’t even do it!  The kids got their candy back!

I’m just going to point out two things and then leave it alone.  One – most kids that have parents willing to buy them a costume and take them trudging around in the rain for several hours trick or treating are probably reasonably in tune with their children and whether playing a prank on them is going to destroy their entire life.  Two – if your kid reacts like some of them did, such as the two-year-old who called someone a bitch, they probably deserve a spanking a lot more than a bag of candy, anyhow.

Hell, I believed my dad built the Sears Tower until I was probably eleven.  My cousin Carrie – who isn’t actually my cousin, MORE LIES, MOM AND DAD – was told that Santa vacationed with a bunch of girls in bikinis in the off season.  The list goes on and on.  We’re fine.  These kids will be fine too.  Get over yourselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Pay Someone for That??

Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be some weird amateur expose on prostitution or how sex sells.  Mostly because even if I wanted to, I don’t have the money to buy it nor the body to sell it, so it wouldn’t be all that interesting or factual.  Also because the last time I had a conversation about that subject, it devolved into an extremely stupid argument about whether Hooters girls are being exploited and sexualized or simply using the good looks they were born with to increase their earning potential while having to work as a waitress.  I’ve waited tables, and I can say with complete authority if I’d had the body for it, I promise I would have happily donned the fluorescent short shorts and a push up bra faster than you could say, “Excuse me, miss?”  with nary a qualm.   For all of you shouting, “Oh, but it’s so degrading for those poor girls,”  you know what else is degrading?  Wearing a vest and bow tie while trying to fish a lobster out of a tank in front of a cheering crowd for a four dollar tip.  Trust.

Anyhow, the other day, I got some random email from a site I must have registered for during my desperate days of unemployment.  It was advertising some degree and certification programs when one of them caught my eye and I thought, “Wait – the fuck?  There’s a certification program for organizing your house?  What is happening here?”  And thus came up with a list of jobs that are apparently born from the realization that we are so lazy and stupid that we are willing to pay someone to do almost anything so we don’t have to deal with it.  Here we go.

Life Coach.

Sure, it sounds good in theory.  Pay someone to help realize your untapped potential, uncover your hidden talents, discover what you were really meant to do in life.  Are you really SUCCEEDING as an accountant?  Should you follow your dream to become a world-famous sculptor instead?  Your life coach will help you find your inner happiness, your true calling in life.  Here’s the thing.  There’s a good chance that this life coach that you’re paying to help you realize your true calling in life?  Doesn’t have any fucking idea what theirs is.  Instead, they have some drive and ambition, a decent head for marketing, and a thousand bucks to pay for the course.  Do you know what that means?  That means I could be a life coach, folks.   I am fucking fabulous at taking tests – I promise you I could ace this class.   Sure, my husband decided to have popsicles for dinner and my cats are sitting on the kitchen table, but hey, your life?  I can totally fix thatI got this certificate to prove it.

Animal Behaviorist/Psychologist.

Nope.  Just fucking no.  Of course you want your pet happy.  I want my pets happy.  You know how I make that happen?  I feed them, clean up their poop, and give them a warm place to live.  I give them love and attention, I let them sleep on my head, scratch my furniture, and buy them toys and treats that are good for their well-being.  And if they’re not happy after that?  Fuck em.  I’ll still love them, I’ll still take care of them, but yeah, I’m going to resent them a little bit.  In much of my research as to why my small cat finds it necessary to occasionally relieve himself in places other than the litterbox, I found several articles from these professionals explaining that my pet is stressed, and is “voicing his displeasure,” by acting out.  You know what, doctor?  I’m stressed too.  You know what adds to my stress?  Waking up in the middle of the night and having to change my sheets.  You don’t see me taking a shit in the cat bed, do you?  No.  That cat is clean, well fed, and safe.  If he feels “threatened,” by the different noises in the new apartment, too fucking bad.  Adjust.  If I don’t get Prozac, he certainly doesn’t.  You know why?  He’s a CAT. He’ll be fine.  Promise.

Professional Organizer.

At work, I’m pretty organized.  My job often requires keeping a lot of plates spinning at the same time, and for the most part, I’m relatively good at keeping them all in the air.  At home, however, I kind of fall off the wagon.  In the past couple of years, the list of things I have lost (and found again) is simply ridiculous for a grown adult to misplace.  They include: my crockpot, winter boots, an entire set of tools, my good knife, a garbage can, winter coat, my Kindle, my husband’s wallet, two phones, a set of cutlery, the remote control, my neighbor’s favorite sweatshirt, a significant amount of Halloween decorations, and the glass shelves to my china cabinet.  Things I have never lost sight of include a random collection of forty dice, a solid brass monkey that holds a hackey sack, a singing stuffed chicken, four candles that I’ve had since 2005 and never lit despite having zero personal significance, and a box of collected rocks that neither of us can recall ever gathering.  One might argue that I could benefit from a professional organizer.  If you can believe it, there is a entire association of professional organizers, and you have to have been practicing in the industry for 1,500 hours before you can even become ELIGIBLE to take the test required to become certified.  So maybe they could help me.  Or, instead of giving them money, maybe I could use a combination of common sense – stop being so lazy and throw out the goddamn box of rocks, dummy – and my mother’s advice, “Get a goddamn calendar and put shit back where it goes,” and voila!  I’ve saved a couple hundred bucks and I can find my silverware.

Then again, all of these people are managing to make money completing basic, everyday tasks, while I go to work every day, so who the hell am I to judge?

Hi!  For thirty dollars a month, I'll organize your spices!  Interested?

Hi! For thirty dollars a month, I’ll organize your spices! Interested?

 

 

 

Hey Macklemore, I’m Going Thrift Shopping. Again.

To my knowledge, I had never stepped foot in a thrift store prior to September of this year.  If I had, it was by accident and probably against my will as I generally regard shopping as a necessary evil to be performed only as a drastic last measure once I literally have nothing to wear on my person or feet.  Think I’m kidding?  Before my nephew could walk, he owned more pairs of shoes than myself.  This is not because he had an exorbitant amount of shoes, it’s because I literally had four.  A pair of ballet flats, a pair of rain boots, a pair of gym shoes, and some flip flops.  I hate wearing shoes and would walk around barefoot 24/7 if given the opportunity.  Same with coats.  As previously mentioned, I hate wearing them.  If there is a remote chance that I might be hot at some point while wearing the coat, I will rip it off and take my chances on getting frostbite.

Regular clothes pose a bit more of a challenge as it’s illegal to go outside without pants – I think – and once it’s too cold for me to pull off sundresses, I have to figure something else out.  Left to my own devices, I’m perfectly happy to wear leggings, mismatched socks, and a hoodie.  But some people – TONY – refused to leave the house with me a few weeks ago so I was forced to consider that it may, in fact, be time for some new clothes.

Of course, me being me, once I decided I needed to new clothes, it distracted and bothered me to the point that I was in near tears every morning as I schlepped along in my outdated dress pants, scowling at the girls waiting for the train in their a-fucking-dorable skinny jeans and leggings.  It morphed from “Hey, I should probably get some new clothes,” to “OMG I NEED AN ENTIRELY NEW WARDROBE AND I HAVE FORTY DOLLARS AND I HATE EVERYTHING UNTIL I HAVE SKINNY JEANS AND BOOTS.”

Enter the thrift store.  There is a giant one in my new neighborhood, and a few weeks ago decided I would check it out.  Just figured I would take a look, see what I could see, maybe get lucky with a couple of new things.  Four hours later, I was walking home with a vintage Band-Aid dispenser, a wooden black cat statue Halloween decoration that scared the shit out of my cat, two t-shirts, and an obsession.  It. Has. EVERYTHING.  I was a little daunted the first time around, as it’s giant maze of humanity; the kids clothes are by the vacuums, the bathing suits (fucking ew, absolutely not, there has to be a line somewhere,) are by the electronics, the furniture is by the shoes, and the coats are mixed in with the dresses.

In addition to the disorganization, it’s simply confusing.  There’s these random, unwritten rules; for instance, you are supposed to take the clothes off the hangers when you get to the register and if you don’t are ostracized by fellow thrifters and the cashier alike, which – especially for the faint of heart like me – can be relatively tough on the self-esteem.  Also, the clientele at this particular store, due to its location, is comprised of stupid hipsters that are simply looking for the most ironic thing they can find, families that are there out of genuine need, and big, scary soccer-mom types who will muscle past you while talking on a cell phone and somehow traveling the aisles with three carts.  (Note: they’re the ones to watch out for.  Trust.)

All of that being said, there’s somewhat of a party atmosphere; there’s a guy with a cart outside selling elotes and tacos who inexplicably has balloons, and they play the most random, fabulous soundtrack of any store I’ve ever been in.  The last time I was there, in succession, they played the Spanish version of “Unchained Melody,” Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”  It was fucking amazing.

Certainly, you have to go in with an open mind.  You have to be willing to pretty much look through everything; clothes are grouped by color, not size, so there are size zero jeans next to size 22s, size smalls next to XXXL.  But here’s a secret – nothing will open your mind faster than getting six pairs of brand name jeans, two pairs of boots, and five shirts/sweaters for a grand total of $37.00. I have gotten more compliments on my thrift store finds in the past three weeks than I have gotten since I began my job almost two years ago.  And thus, an obsession has been born.  Almost without my realization or intent, we seem to be propelling ourselves there every Saturday morning (it’s HALF PRICE DAY!!  HURRY!!) and coming home only ten or fifteen bucks lighter, but with new clothes.

Downside?  It’s actually cheaper to buy new clothes than to do laundry in our building, which for two extremely lazy people will likely become a problem in the very foreseeable future.  Upside?  Aside from the obvious, it’s possibly the greatest people-watching on the planet save for Las Vegas, and it’s a lot cheaper and less stressful to go to Village Discount.

Case in point?  When we were there Saturday, the lines were outrageous.  This is obviously not a big surprise and again is part of the whole “open mind” part of the experience.  Expect to be there awhile.  Anyhow, we were about seventh in line once we finished shopping and settled into our favorite game which basically consists of  mocking others for sport.  While we debated the purchases of the three – seemingly unrelated – men at the register who were buying, among other things, a badminton racket, a dollhouse, four towels (fucking ew again,) and a VCR, when something caught my eye.

Or rather, someone caught my eye.  This girl a couple carts in front of us, all hundred and twenty pounds of her, wearing leggings with cute little patterned leg warmers under her knee high boots (seriously, I don’t even want to talk about how difficult it is to fit my pants inside my boots; you have to have a special kind of tiny baby-giraffe legs to wear thick knit leg warmers underneath them,) a teeny-tiny shirt, and super cute jean jacket.  She had curly hair all piled up in a bun in that way that is meant to look messy but takes most people three hours to accomplish.  She was pretty much stunning and what I pretend I look like when I am putting outfits together in my head, and she was hurting my feelings just for existing.

I looked down at my yoga pants and big comfy t-shirt – perfect for shopping! – and, noticing a stain, remarked to my husband, “Life’s not fair.”  Without missing a beat or taking his eyes off of her, he replied, “No shit.”  A couple of minutes later, he nudged me.  “Yeah, this is probably more our speed,” while pointing down another aisle where a woman was trying to knock a shirt down from a high rack by waving a Halloween scarecrow at it wildly, muttering, “Come on, come ON,” prompting me to burst out laughing so hard I couldn’t compose myself and he nearly sent me outside.

So yeah.  The thrift store pretty much has everything; entertainment, music, people watching, and every possible item you could ever imagine wanting for under five dollars.  Grab some friends and forty dollars — I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

Is that your grandma's coat?

Is that your grandma’s coat?

 

Well, Color Me Hurt and Confused

I’m not even sure how I came across this article; one minute I was reading about Tori Spelling’s money problems (that post almost writes itself, but I have to take a step back before writing it so as not to be a hate-filled obscenity spewing rant about how she should be ASHAMED of herself even saying such a thing as how she lost a million dollars in her efforts to scale down,) (Seriously?!  Many other notes aside, you had to make some money of your own playing that unbearable Donna character, lording your virginity over poor David Silver for so long,) and the next thing I knew I saw this article by one Abigail Geer entitled, “10 Signs Your Kitty Actually Loves You.”  Well, I thought to myself, I could use that!  Perhaps there’s some signs here I was unaware of that will help me understand why I keep feeding and cleaning out boxes of shit for two animals who – at least on the surface – would eat me if I stayed still long enough.

Ms. Geer’s article gives, as advertised, ten cat behaviors that supposedly prove their love.  For her reasoning, please feel free to read the article linked above.  Here’s what I thought.

1. Head butting. Right. Because very few things say “I love you,” more than face-to-face combat, especially if one opponent is wide awake while the other is in a blissful slumber.

2. Powerful purrs.  My stupid small cat sounds like a motorboat when he purrs.  It’s actually cute – he only weighs like six pounds and it’s unbelievable what a loud sound he makes when he’s purring.  Unfortunately, he purrs the loudest and most frequently while he is licking the (surely lead-based painted) walls.  Try to pick him up or pet him and he recoils as though you’re trying to throw him in a vat of boiling acid.  The other one?  See sign number three below.

3. Love bites.  Apparently there is a difference between a “love bite,” and a “cat bite.”  Hmm.  Tell me, Ms. Geer, when the cat is chomping about your ankles while you’re making dinner, is that a love bite?  When the cat curls up all sweet right next to you while you rest and then sinks her teeth into the tender flesh on the underside of your arm when you pet her, is that a love bite?  How about when she tries to take a chunk out of your knuckles while you attempt to eat a popsicle?  Which type of bite is that?  Cause I’m pretty sure it’s the “my cat is simply a complete asshole,” bite.  Does yours have one for that designation?

4. Tail twitching. You know what my cat is getting ready to do when his tail twitches?  Pee in my shoe.

5. Tummy up. Ms. Geer says it shows trust.  I say it shows a grim determination to trip me to my death while trying to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, as that’s the only time either of these jerks ever flops down in front of me.

6. Licking your hair or ears.  Hmm.  Have you ever woken up to a cat trying to pull your hair out of your head via her teeth in the middle of the night?  Do you know what that sounds like when it wakes you out of a sound sleep?  It sounds like the murderer you’ve known has been coming TRYING TO SAW THROUGH YOUR HEAD, that’s what.  To your other point about the ears, I refer you to my husband who suffered an (undiagnosed) punctured ear drum when the cat resting on his melon got scared and clawed his way to the ceiling via his head.

7. Kneading.  Nope.  This does not make me feel good.  This reminds me I really, really need to go to the gym and stop eating so much damn macaroni and cheese.

8. Slow blinking. You call it “kiss with their eyes,” all you want, you weirdo.  I call it the creepiest staring contest ever because my cats?  Don’t fucking blink.

9. Nap time. Apparently cats crave a safe place when they sleep, so if they pick you to be their naptime spot, you should feel honored.  Sure. Recently, Potato fell asleep with his head and front paws hanging off of the top of the refrigerator.  Ramon once got trapped INSIDE the refrigerator (not a good day,) and when I opened it she blinked repeatedly, jumped out, and took a swing at me; apparently I’d ruined her nap.

10. Gifting.  This was geared towards a cat leaving a mouse they’ve killed at your doorstep, showing their prowess and bounty to you.  If that’s true, when that baby possum got on the porch and I was chasing it down the stairs with a broom – CRYING, mind you – where the fuck were these cats then?  Cowering under the blanket, that’s where.

I’m starting to think maybe I should have a dog.  Or a pet rock.

Thought I was kidding?  Tell me these aren't faces of evil.

Thought I was kidding? Tell me these aren’t faces of evil.

Surviving Winter

If you’re in the Chicago area, you undoubtedly had the conversation today.  It was impossible to avoid, no matter how hard you tried.  The news was all over it, Facebook was awash with amateur weathermen, (excuse me, weatherPEOPLE,) and casual conversations on the elevator couldn’t help but veer towards it; today was the first day of possible snow.  And despite all of the obvious, i.e. it’s the end of October, this tends to happen, and oh yeah, we live in Chicago why are we still surprised at any weather, EVER, we just can’t help but be surprised.  It’s like Mother Nature stopped her tease of the past few weeks, which had lulled us into a false sense of security, thinking, Hey!  Maybe this will be the year we actually WILL have a fall! and just dropped the temperature like 30 degrees while at the same time taking away the sun, leaving half of us standing in flip flops and dresses and the other half in gear fit for Antarctica on a bad day while we all stare at each other, uncomprehending.  Seriously, if one were to come from another planet today and was forced to make assumptions based on how well we dressed for the weather, we would fail everything.

That being said, I’m trying to get over my frustration with the fact that once the temperature dips below 40 degrees social media loses its collective mind and can concentrate only on the weather outside.  So I decided to embrace it; cold, snow, sleet and all, and make a list of what I’d like to accomplish during this upcoming glorious six months of slush.

winter

Dress Appropriately

Here’s something that will likely surprise no one – I am woefully lacking in dressing for the weather.  You’d think, with all my bitching, that I’d pay a tiny bit more attention to all of the Facebook weather updates and manage to dress accordingly, but you would be wrong.  For one, I hate wearing a coat.  Hate it.  I hate being hot more than pretty much anything in the world, and if walking to a bus stop and then waiting for a bus and train in below freezing temperatures for a total of 30 minutes while freezing in a long sleeve shirt means I don’t have to suffer through it being all hot and twisty and miserable for five minutes while ON the bus, I’m all for it.  I tried wearing gloves, a hat, and a scarf with my normal clothes last winter so as not to give myself frostbite, but I was still smoking then and not only almost lit myself on fire, but lost at least one of these items on a daily basis.  In addition, being asked 20 times a day, “Where is your COAT???” from concerned citizens and co-workers is only slightly less annoying than being strangled by that stupid coat.  So this year, I bought a pair of boots, and this weekend, I am buying a coat.  And I am going to spend time – ugh – shopping for said coat, so I don’t leave it hanging up every morning while I throw a DC sweatshirt over my dress pants.

Go Sledding

I haven’t been sledding in years.  The last time I consciously remember sledding, I was in high school and me and one of the boys in my class damn near killed some innocent schoolchildren while careening down the hill, Griswold-style, completely out of control.  It was glorious.  I love sledding.  There is a big sledding hill at the park near my new apartment, and despite the negative effect the addition of forty pounds, Peppermint Schnapps, gangbangers, and diminished coordination may have on the experience, I am going this year.  I don’t particularly care if it kills all of us, because we will die SLEDDING which is awesome.  (Note to self – Google “sleds for uncoordinated adults.”)

Embrace the Chicago Holiday Season

Every year, I’m all, “Ugh, it’s so crowded, and who the hell wants to see stupid window decorations and lights with four hundredy billion tourists?”  This year, I’m going to embrace it.  You know what, Chicagoans?  Especially all of you Loop workers out there?  We are so, so, lucky.  People take bus tours to come see our lights.  People from all over the country make a point to come look at our windows and go shopping in our historic stores.  People visiting will talk for years of the street performer they saw inexplicably playing the Flintstones theme song on the saxophone, (seriously, that must be the easiest song ever on the sax.  EVERYONE knows it.)  And us?  We just brush by all, Ugh, please, people, learn to cross a street!  This year, I am going to do my best to enjoy it.  Please note, I said I would try.  Should you see a post around December 20th entitled “OMG Why Can’t People Just Stay at Home and Shop in Their Own Damn Stores, I Just Need a Fucking Extension Cord and This Target is Not Any Different Than the One in Kansas!” do not be surprised.

Not Fall Down.  In Case of Failure, Allow Self to Wallow Under Blanket for the Rest of the Day

Again in the you’re-probably-not-surprised category, each year I tend to “lose my balance,” at some point during the ice-filled, snow-covered season.  Sometimes it’s because of black ice, sometimes it’s because my shoes are completely unsuitable for snow, and sometimes it’s because I’m just really bad at walking on uneven surfaces.  But this year, I have fucking boots.  This year, I am going to pay attention.  This year, I am considering walking along with one of those wheelbarrows that spreads salt, just to be on the safe side.  However, if this should fail, and I fall down in a puddle of mess on my way down the street, I am GOING BACK HOME.  This year, I will not be mocked on the bus when I get on, covered only on one side with dirty slush.  This year, I will not be asked, whilst trying to maintain dignity despite being soaking wet and bleeding from my hands, “What happened to you!?” from co-workers desperately trying not to burst out into laughter.  I will turn around, go home, make myself a hot toddy or seven, and stay under the blanket where it is warm and dry.

What are your goals for the winter?

You Be The Judge

We recently moved – yes, again – to a new apartment and are in the process of decorating, putting up pictures, and generally making the place feel like home.  That is, in between rounds of me loading the dishwasher.  I have a dishwasher for the first time in my adult life and the love I have for said dishwasher knows no bounds.  All of a sudden, I am that person who is grabbing plates out of unsuspecting hands mid-bite and then using every pot, pan, and fork in the place just so I can fill up the dishwasher and run it.  I look up product reviews on dishwasher tabs and research how to remove water spots, nodding sagely along with advice because now I, too, have a dishwasher and can commiserate with the difficulties of getting my cutlery squeaky clean.   My husband, who lived through the past seven years consistently repeating the phrase, “Letting it soak, my ass.  It’s been soaking for three days,” is bewildered by this crazy person who can no longer abide by a dirty dish in the sink, this person who empties out leftovers to wash the bowl, who starts emptying said dishwasher at 8AM on Saturday morning.  (On that note – the quieter you try to be is directly related to the number of forks you accidentally send clattering to the floor when the cat tries to help be jumping into the sink next to you.)  Anyhow – I am loving the new place.  We are still deciding on exactly what pictures/posters/memorabilia to put up on the walls.  I thought we had it mostly figured out, until two weeks ago when Tony went for a walk in the morning and came clambering up the stairs an hour later, exclaiming, “I found art!!!” Which brings me to this, which is currently propped up against my living room wall, unsure of its place in the world.

Is it art?  Is it garbage?  And more importantly - who is it?

Is it art? Is it garbage? And more importantly – who is it?

 

At first, I was all, sweet, you found a graffiti covered canvas!  But the more I looked at it, the more I was intrigued.   It’s actually pretty cool and definitely different.  However, I’m still vacillating between, Hey, that’s totally creepy and Hey, this is really cool and you should ask me about my edgy, artistic side.  (Heh.  I can’t even type that without laughing.)  But my biggest hang up with it is I DON’T KNOW WHO IT IS.  Or who it’s supposed to be.  Or if it even is supposed to be someone?  A few people I’ve shown the picture to think it may be a rendering of Mayor Daley.  Which would make sense, and like a friend said, I could build some cool Chicago décor around it.  But what if it’s the artist’s creepy uncle Fred or something? And then I have a dinner party or something and some fancy guest is all, “Why do you have a painting of that dirty old man?”  (I’m not sure what about the painting or apartment makes me think that I’m all of a sudden going to start hosting dinner parties, but I want to be prepared.)

 

So I’m turning to you, friends.  What do you think?   Do you know who it is?   Does it matter?  Help me get this either onto the porch or onto a wall or into the garbage.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a dishwasher to unload.

The Helmet Diaries – A How-To of Riding A Bike in Chicago for the Criminally Uncoordinated

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It’s true.  Somehow,  against all rhyme,  reason,  and gravity,  yours truly has been commuting via bicycle for nearly six weeks. To date,  I haven’t fallen, (other than that one time while standing still in my driveway,) gotten flipped off,  (other than that one cabbie but he was a dick anyway,) hit a pedestrian, (close call with a stupid girl in high heels holding an umbrella,  ipod, and cell phone in the middle of the street but she was a dick too,) or caused an accident,  (that I know of.) SUCCESS!!

If you live in Chicago,  you are likely firmly in one camp; pro-bike or anti – bike. As someone who started strong on one side and migrated to the other,  I find myself in the unenviable position of playing devil’s advocate on both sides of an argument.   Which,  incidentally, is the fastest way to lose credibility. I always end up apologizing for the way I ride a bike AND drive a car and kind of lose momentum.

So,  Chicago, I’ve come up with a list of rules for all of us that should make everyone’s commute safer and less anxiety-ridden in the hopes we can all make it to work safely in one piece and not shouting obscenities at each other.  Let me know what you think.

For The Bikers

*Follow the rules of the road. I’m not saying you can’t ever coast through a stop sign at an empty intersection,  but stop at red lights.  Look both ways.
*Yelling “bike lane,  mother fucker!” at unsuspecting motorists garners you no favorable points,  nor does it help your cause.
*If you are a hipster on a skinny bike wearing an ironic t-shirt, understand you are already a target.  Listening to your ipod whilst cutting off traffic makes you more of one.
*If you are a seasoned bicyclist and notice a chubby girl struggling up a hill,  there is no need to ring your little bell and yell in your best booming outside voice,  “LEFT LEFT LEFT!!” as you literally zoom by.  She is moving at the literal pace of a turtle and loud noises shall only serve to frighten and startle her into turning the handlebars left.  A simple “on your left”  at a reasonable decibel will suffice.  (This one may or may not be personal.)
*Right or wrong,  a bus is always more powerful than your bicycle,  regardless of how much of a dick the driver is.  You can be as self – righteous and pissed off as you want,  but it is still going to hurt when you are plastered to the windshield of the number 66.

For The Drivers

I do understand. You hate the bicyclists.  They get in your way,  block the street,  ignore the signs,  and are usually going a lot faster than you are.  That being said, here’s a few tips from those of us law – abiding riders.
*Please,  please,  for the love of baby Jesus and everything holy,  glance in your rear view mirror before opening your door on a busy street.  Just a glance. No biggie. If there is someone careening towards you close enough you can see the whites of their terrified eyes,  just hold off a sec,  wouldja?
*Same goes for pulling into traffic.  A quick look over your shoulder will tell you if you are going to completely ruin someone’s day by forcing them to split second decide whether it will hurt less to hit your car, swerve into oncoming  traffic, or flip over their handlebars when they grab the brakes. My heart is already pounding from struggling up that fucking hill,  it can’t handle surprises.
*Honking your horn at an unsuspecting bicyclist apropos of nothing as you pull up right next them is simply being a jackass.
*Same goes with cat calling out your window.  Look,  I’ve seen what I look like wearing my bike helmet. I realize you are mocking me and it simply makes me want to “accidentally” scrape against your car.
*Those aforementioned bike lanes? Actually are there for the bike riders and not for you to park for a quick thirty minutes. Know that by blocking it,  you are forcing an unsuspecting rider directly into traffic where one of your fellow drivers is waiting for a reasonable excuse to hit them.

For The Pedestrians
*Much in the same way the bus is always more powerful than a bicycle,  a moving bicycle will always do more damage to you than your flip flops will do to it.  Fair or not,  if a rider is heading right towards you,  simply step aside. Sometimes,  the rider is me and may have lost control.
*Next time you are out walking with your ear buds in while talking  on the phone and sipping your latte,  pay attention to how much you walk like a drunk trying to walk a straight line.  I bet you think you walk straight.  You don’t. I promise.
*If you are crossing the street against the light whilst staring directly into space,  I might say I’m sorry after I crash into you,  but I won’t mean it.
*There is a reason every mother,  teacher,  and babysitter always drilled “Look both ways before crossing the street,” in your head.  It’s because of bicycles. Look right then left then right. I promise,  you won’t be able to miss me heading towards you.  My helmet is purple.

All of that being said,  the bike riders have the most responsibility to be super aware of their surroundings. My hope is that these rules,  written by a law – abiding,  if somewhat clumsy,  bike rider,  will give some perspective.

Can’t we all just get along?