Friday, November 30, 2007

I'm Thankful for...The End



Do you hear that? It's playing just for us NaBloPoMoers, baby.

WE DID IT!!!!


30 days, 30 posts.

Do you feel pride in a job well-done? A bittersweet sense of completion? Sorrow at the thought of leaving it all behind?

No? Me neither.

Feels just like high school, and I couldn't wait to blow that Popsicle stand. I wanted to get on with the business of living. Kinda like I do now.

Who'd have thought that blogging for that many days straight could take So. Much. Time? And energy. And thinking of thoughts.

Well, the people who laughed at us, obviously. The ones who dropped out early and joined NeeNerHaHa, and poked fun at our every-day-blogging selves.

It cut to the quick, O Queen of Shaky-Shaky.

Dissenters aside, I learned a lot from my NaBloPoMo experience. Mainly this:

I am never doing it again.


I couldn't do that to you. Good Lord, I blogged about teeth out of desperation.

Someone get me a cigarette, 'cause I'm totally spent.

(No, don't. I don't smoke. It's bad for you. Now if you want to get me some Diet Coke and Krispy Kremes, well, you go right on ahead. That's scientifically-engineered brain food.)

But don't despair, my despairing despairers you! I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be around to amuse you with my little anecdotes. I'll just be taking the weekends off. And possibly some weekdays, too.

I'm giddy with excitement!

For the first time in a long time, I think I'm going to enjoy blogging. As a matter of fact, I've got big plans for the month of December. Like a contest with a fabulous prize. And a collaborative Christmas-themed Photoshop extravaganza!

Oooo... Bet you can't wait, huh?

Well, you're gonna have to, because this weekend I will be spending time with my family. The kid and that other guy.

Give it time. Their names will come back to me.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Electricity

Hanging Christmas lights is a festive occasion on our street.

Oh, not for us. We’d rather nail our thumbs to two-by-fours than string up the damn icicle lights. But we do it every year. Or, I should say, my husband does it every year. I just stand there and look pretty, and untangle the huge wad of wires. And, of course, roll my eyes when half the bulbs fail to light.

I used to lecture my husband on the benefits of testing the strands before he hangs them. But I learned early on in our marriage that it is easier to live with a half-ass lighting job than a pissed off hubby. And up until a couple years ago, it didn’t really matter how the house looked. The only thing we cared about was not being known as “those” people.

You know the ones. The neighborhood scrooges who don’t illuminate the bejeezus out of their homes, who buck the system and fly to Cancun instead. The ones we publicly admonish, but secretly wish we had the cajones to be.

Yeah. “Those” people.

Well, we’re not “those” people. We’ll probably never be “those” people. We’ve been assimilated quite nicely, and we’ve lost the will to fight it. We’re burb dwellers. Kinda like mole people, but without the pesky fear of sunlight.

Burb dwelling does have its share of advantages. For one thing, neighbors are always providing excellent blog fodder.

Take Deb, the “Brit” from across the street. She goes crazy with the Christmas lights. Which, in itself is not that funny. Until I remind you that Deb is the one who handed out Halloween candy to the impressionable young people of our ‘hood with a glass of vino in one hand and a bottle of vino in the other.

Yep, she’s a lush.

Just this year, while hanging her Christmas lights, she fell off her ladder, hit her head on the garage door, and took a tumble out of her attic. And she never spilled a drop. If it weren’t for her Vlasic liver, I’d be tempted to say she’s nigh invincible.

And check out this lighting job…

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The picture doesn’t really do it justice, but trust me--drunk has mad skillz.

Unfortunately, she also has no compunction about voicing her opinion of our own piddly little efforts.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The little tree was my doing. Pretty awesome, huh?

Oh yeah? Well, who asked you anyways?

Nope, You're Not a Grinch

Although you may feel Grinch-like at times, it's just because you're worn out from the holidays.
You get into the holiday spirit more than most people - and you truly enjoy celebrating with your family and friends.


***

FYI--to all you Buzzers out there, I'm hosting December's Writing Assignment. Check it out. And if you're not a member of cre8buzz, but would like to be, contact me for an invitation.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Small Miracles

Ethan and I had breakfast with a friend of mine yesterday. I haven't seen Meghan in a little over a month, so it was nice to catch up. She's a single mom with two kids--one of which is an uber-intelligent, precocious (read obnoxious) little girl about Ethan's age. Unfortunately, her kids were in school, so Ethan was forced to entertain himself while the adults gossiped about a certain other friend's foray into lunacy.

The topic switched gears when I told her that Ethan was being evaluated by the school district for his "behavioral abnormalities".

She, being the good friend that she is, was adequately aghast. "What behavioral abnormalities?" she asked with just the right hint of outrage. "He seems normal to me."

"I know," I replied. "But his teachers say he doesn't interact with the other kids, and when they try to do group activities, he just spaces out and doesn't listen."

"He's four!" Meghan reminds me.

"I know, I know. But they say it's unusual. Whenever I talk to his teachers, they always tell me how bright he is."

Meghan says nothing. She tries to suppress a giggle.

Wait. That's not the appropriate response. Let me try that again.

"They tell me he's really intelligent."

Meghan laughs. Right out loud.

My mom gloves are on the verge of coming off.

Does she think he's not smart? Why? Just because she's got some freakishly brainy five-year-old who will probably mastermind a plot to take over the world before she’s out of grade school?

(I wouldn’t put it past her, either. That kid is pint-sized evil.)

"Well, I know he's not the same kind of smart as Madeline, but..."

Tears are rolling down her cheek at this point.

Am I missing something?

I look over to where my precious, intelligent little man...

Is licking the plate-glass window.

"Ethan! Stop that! That's gross. It's dirty."

Come on. Work with me here. I'm trying to sell you as a normal kid! It's not gonna work if you're giving the windows at Shari's a tongue bath.

He turns to look at me, eyes wide and guileless.

"But, Mom," he says, "it tastes like Christmas."

Oh, did I mention his evaluation is today? Yeah. Wish us luck. We could use a tasty miracle about now.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Dreams

I'm a zombie today. So tired!

Why did I do this to myself? I stayed up reading a book until 2 in the morning. The worst part--it wasn't even a good book! It was repetitious and inconsistent and filled with flowery language (aka purple prose) like this:

"Her heart felt his absence and broke into pieces. Like torn paper, scattered by the wind of a fan. Swirling, and made distant one from another by the constant battering force of the air through the spinning blades. Whirling and twirling, never grounded. Just like she felt. Insubstantial. Alone."

Gag.

It was a train wreck, yet I couldn't stop reading! I wanted to see every gory detail to the very end. To see if it could get even worse, then reveling when it did. Every overused cliche, every instance of "telling", every time the author drove her idea into the ground until any semblance of life was leeched out of it propelled me to the inevitable end.

I'm sick that way.

You might say that I'm a very opinionated reader. When it comes to books, I have a certain expectations--that they be coherent, that they have a plot, and that they follow said plot until the conflict is resolved. Is that too much to ask?!

Apparently, if this book is anything to go on.

The thing is, as a writer, it's career suicide to express any opinion other than "Loved it! Can't wait for the sequel!" Especially for a "pre-published author", like myself. Editors won't touch you if you go all 300 on other writers' work.

Imagine that!

But they have no qualms about treating you like this...



Oh, to live the dream!

Monday, November 26, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Back-ups

Okay, I know I'm a little late getting my post done for today. But if I told you it was because I wrote 1500 words today, you wouldn't be mad at me, would ya?

Man, it's been so long since I've been that prolific in a single day. Too bad it wasn't for my own story. It was for the Round Robin on my crit group blog. If you've been following it, you'll be happy to know that I finished Chapter 5. If not, what's your problem? It's an awesome story. Go read it now!!

Anywho, that means I don't really have any mental capacity left for coming up with a blog post for you today. I offer my sincerest apologies. I'd love to be the kind of writer that can switch gears effortlessly from one medium to the next, but I ain't that kinda girl. You will be glad to know, though, that I'm not leaving you entirely in the lurch.

Check out this awesome old Tab commercial I saw on IzzyMom's blog.



"Be a mindsticker..."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm Thankful for...my PC

Yep, good ol' Bessie--for that is what I call my computer--has been good to me. Sure, I've only known her for two years, but in that time, we've developed a strong bond. We're together a lot. I mean a lot a lot. I spend more time with her than I do with my own husband.

Is that sad?

It seems a little sad.

Well, heck, he's the one who's always leaving me, saying things like, "I have to go to work to keep you in the style to which you've grown accustomed." Lame excuse, I know, but he's got this Dad complex where he feels compelled to provide this family with things like clothes, food, shelter, electricity, running water...

Blah, blah, blah, blah.

If he'd just get off that silly kick, we'd have a lot more time together, standing in line at the soup kitchen, or hanging out on street corners with cardboard signs. But he doesn't appear to be giving it up anytime soon.

In fact, he bought an iMac so he can do some of his work at home.

Yep, we are the quintessential Mac vs. PC household.

He calls me Spreadsheet Sally, I fake cry for his inability to play games without crashing.

Oh, I'm sorry. Macs don't crash.

Uh-huh. Right.

Then can you tell me why Mr. 'I love my Mac so much I'm gonna take it behind the middle school and get it pregnant' was on MY computer playing Amazonia ALL DAY yesterday. (He graciously allowed me time to post on my blog, then promptly kicked me right back off.)

Loser.

So, what's your take on this Mac vs. PC thing? Which side of the debate are you on?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Choices

Well, we made it through Black Friday, and I feel like I should take a head count. Did everyone survive the tramplings? The gouged eyes, the slit throats, the shivved kidneys?

Oh good.

I didn't want to have to start building up my reading audience all over again. That takes time, and time is something I don't have much of these days. I mean, here it is, TWO days after Thanksgiving, and I still don't have my Christmas tree up. Martha Stewart would spit in my face.

Then there are Christmas lights to be strung, and Christmas cards to be sent, and Christmas wreaths to be made, and Christmas gifts to buy, and...

I'm exhausted just thinking about it. And that doesn't even include all the other things I normally have to do. Like...oh, I don't know...WRITE!

Did you know I haven't made any appreciable progress on my WIP since I started this blog? Now, I'm not blaming you. It's me. It's my fault. I just can't stay away from all your fabulous blogs. And that's maybe partly your fault for writing such fabulous blogs in the first place.

You know, I'd like to reverse my previous position and place the blame solely on you.

Whew! That feels better. Guilt gone.

But despite whose fault it is (yours), I have made a difficult decision.

I'm scrapping my novel.

That sounds a lot more dramatic a decision than it actually is. This is the second novel I've started. The first is still very much on the board, but it will need some major tweaking before I can continue with it, and my heart's just not in it at the moment. But, no, this second novel is a good idea for a story. I just don't think I've executed it well to this point. I'm constantly going back and reworking it, and it's still not right.

So, I can continue to rework and rework until I'm blue in the wrist, or I can scrap it, and come at it a new way.

New is good, right?

Well, let's hope so.

And now, to get us in the Christmas spirit...

You Are Socks!

Cozy and warm... but easily lost.
You make a good puppet.

Friday, November 23, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Distance

Ways to tell your man (or woman) is a low-life leech:

1) He got engaged to you while he was still married to another woman.

2) That was nine months ago, and you still don't have a ring.

3) He "lets" you support himself and his children (with the aforementioned woman).

4) He does this because he lost his job due to a terrible vision problem (read he couldn't see going in to work.)

5) He insists he can't get another job because no one is hiring, and he wanted to go back to school anyway.

6) He wants you to pay for school.

7) He moved you four hours away from your friends and family so he could be close to his own.

8) You both lied to the minister in pre-marital counseling to make him look better.

9) He got a credit card so he could take you out sometimes.

10) Card is now maxed, and you're the one paying the dime.


Reasons why you let him do this to you and don't think twice about it:

1) Because you LOOOOOOOOVE him.


You're an idiot.

Are you listening, friend o' mine? Not that you could be, since you don't even know about this blog, and that's probably a good thing. Because I know you're not even close to being in a place where you'd be willing to listen to anything that anyone has to say on the matter. But if you were, here's what my advice would be:

RUN!!!!!


As fast as your legs can carry you. And don't look back.

Because this situation is going to end badly. It's only a matter of time before you come to resent him for being the leech that he is. And you know he is. His ex warned you about him. Of course, you called her a lying bitch, but I think in time you'll come to realize she knows him a heck of a lot better than you do. Your head is filled with stars at the moment. Stars and lots of air.

I know you don't want to take my advice. You're "finally" engaged, and that's the best thing you could have ever hoped for yourself. Which is sad, really, because it doesn't matter to you who it is you're engaged to. You just want to be married so badly, anyone will do.

What is it about marriage that makes you lose all reason? Sure, when it's with the right person, it's great. Granted, you'll still have squabbles now and then (like when he won't smile for the damn family pictures), but for the most part, it's nice.

But when you're married to the wrong person, there's no security in it. It will devolve into either a gory battle scene, or one of quiet indifference, which in some ways is worse. It means you're past the point of caring, you're no longer sticking up for yourself and demanding the love and respect you deserve. You've resigned yourself.

And you want to bring a child into the mix?

What is wrong with you?

Seriously.

You're being used. Why can't you see this?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Turkey

Happy Turkey Day! From a little turkey...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


...and a big one.



Now go stuff yourself.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Thankful for...You

Since I started this blog a couple of months ago, I've been very fortunate to have met so many wonderful, funny, insightful, amazing people. It has been a pleasure to get to know you, through your comments and your blogs, and I hope our friendships will continue to grow in time. I'd like to thank all of you for lifting my spirits on a daily basis, for challenging and inspiring me, and for being there when I needed you most. But mostly, thanks for sharing your lives. You make the world a nicer place.

Except for Dan. But he has some good points, too.

To show my appreciation, here's a little something for all of you--my favorite stuffed mushroom recipe. Great as an appetizer. They are requested at every family function we attend. Very easy to make, so if you have some last minute grocery shopping to do for Thanksgiving, why not pick up some stuff for these bad boys? Your family and friends will thank you! Unless they're Jewish.

And not because Jewish people aren't a grateful bunch, but because these contain bacon. Geez!


Stuffed Mushrooms
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled
1/4 C. drained chopped olives
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, grated
32 mushroom caps

In medium-sized bowl, mix bacon, olives, Parmesan cheese, Worcestershire sauce, and onion. Stuff mushrooms with mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then broil mushrooms for 5 minutes more until done. Could be served with steak or roast beef.

Have a safe, fun, happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Good Stuff

I lost my voice. I know that matters to you not at all. Except that I'm as high as a kite on the good stuff.

Oh, yeah! You know what I mean.

Sudafed, baby!

I'm on the junk. I'm a junkie. A druggie. A doper. A user. A pill-popping fiend.

But I can stop anytime. Honest I can!

Only, when I'm in this drug-altered state of mind I become incredibly insightful. Kinda like alcohol makes everything clearer for the partakers of copious quantities--like frat boys and hobos--and they are able to answer life's ponderous mysteries. Like how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, or whatever happened to that talented child actor, Jaleel White.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


While the mysteries I ponder are of much less significance, I have decided that they are at least worthy of this prime bandwidth.

Well, the addlepated part of my brain believes that. The other part thinks it is a very, very bad idea to be blogging at all today, and that I will undoubtedly come to regret it in the end.

Good thing that part is distracted by shiny objects.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Now that that chump's out of the way...

I was thinking about the expression 'live every day as if it were your last'. You're familiar with that one, right? A real motivator, to be sure, and stupid beyond measure if you stop to think about it. Which I have. And even though I'm loopier than a tangled Slinky, I really think I'm on to something here.

If everyone were to live that way, the world as we know it would grind to a screeching halt. No one would go to work, or do laundry, or flush. The streets would be filled with ne'er-do-wells, and the atmosphere would quickly devolve into an orgy of sin and chaos. And all because of some clever little bumper sticker slogan.

Bumper sticker responsibility is not a joke, people. A joke is something like this:

A guy walks into a bar with a newt on his shoulder. The bartender asks, "What do you call that?"

Guy replies, "I call him Tiny, because he's my newt."

Ha-cha-cha-cha!

Speaking of spell checking (were we?), does anyone do it anymore?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I hope not, 'cause it sure is funny when you don't.

And what's the big deal with words anyway? Cavemen didn't use any, and they got by just fine. Even got themselves a fine program on the ABC network.

What?! It sucks? You don't say.

Well, I guess they can't all be winners, right? You know what is a winner? The Honeycrisp apple. Have you tasted this fine example of nature's goodness? It's like an explosion of flavor for your tastebuds.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Yum! Pick some up today.

Oh, wait! Wasn't I making a point about bumper stickers? Ah, screw it. Watch this instead.

Monday, November 19, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Revenge

We had our family pictures taken yesterday. Well, what I hoped would be our family pictures. We haven't had any taken in over four years. Probably because of the fits and temper tantrums that inevitably occur in the process. I dealt with the same thing the last time we tried to get our pictures taken, and wouldn't you know, nothing's changed in all that time.

My husband is still a jackass.

If you thought it was Ethan causing the problems, I assure you it wasn't. He was an angel. Stayed where he was posed, smiled big for the camera, flirted with the girls taking the shots. He's a whore for the attention, after all. And he got plenty of it.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Compare that ray of sunshine with a constipated Squidward on bedpan duty, and you'd have a pretty accurate portrayal of our Sears Portrait experience.

Thank God we didn't go somewhere nicer!

If you think I'm exaggerating, allow me to enter this as Exhibit A:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I rest my case.

Now, it comes as no surprise to me that my husband didn't want to smile in these pictures. He is very self-conscious about his smile. I understand that.

But did he have to scowl?

Did he have to tell the poor girl who asked him to smile that he would have if he hadn't been kept waiting, but he had, so this was the best she was going to get?

A jackass and an idiot.

Because, as any sane person could tell you, it's no skin off her nose if you don't smile. She gets paid whether you like the pictures or not. You, on the other hand (I'm talking to my husband here), just shelled out $130 for pictures that look like crap, and infuriated your wife in the process.

Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

So, it should come as no surprise to any of you that I've taken the liberty to alter the pics a bit. Just a little tiny bit. You can't tell, really, unless you're looking very closely...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Hardly noticeable. But a vast improvement, don't you think?

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Change

A few days ago, I read an article in the paper about old toys getting modern facelifts, making them popular with a whole new generation. These were toys I grew up with, toys whose accompanying cartoons shaped my young mind. Molded my impressionable sensibilities. Made me the shameless consumer I am today.

I had Care Bears, and Cabbage Patch Kids, My Little Ponies, and Barbie dolls. The one thing I never had was a Baby Alive, and for good reason. Who the hell wants a doll that craps?

Though, confession being good for the soul, I will admit I played with my friend’s Baby Alive doll, but it was more like a science experiment. We used to feed it mud. When it got plugged up and started to stink, we tattooed its face with a ballpoint pen. I don’t know what happened to it after that.

Apparently, the demand for toys with the capabilities to perform gross bodily function is still remarkably high. Kids like poop. That never changes.

What has changed, it seems, is my perception. I was feeling nostalgic after my trip down memory lane, so I decided to look up some cartoons I’d watched religiously in my youth on Youtube. Big mistake.

When you’re young, your view is skewed. Things are always bigger and better when seen through the eyes of a child. When the child grows up, those blinders come off. Your childhood home, once so quaint and charming, becomes a chartreuse-wallpapered monstrosity with cracks in the foundation. The grand clubhouse you built in the back is nothing more than loose boards held together with tetanus-tainted nails.

And once you’ve faced the music, you can never regain the innocence you lost.

Do you recall G.I. Joe’s helpful PSA’s? Yeah, I thought I did, too. I remembered them being quite instructional and coherent. So I was shocked when I saw this:



I didn’t remember that! Man, if my mom had known we were watching shows with that kind of language, we’d still taste the Lifebuoy. Which is why I was even more appalled that we regularly enjoyed this program:



Wha wha whaaaa?!!

Am I the only one who remembers these things as clean, wholesome, family-friendly entertainment?

I guess change really is good.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Muscles!

I haven't been feeling like myself lately. I've been lethargic and sleepy. I suppose it could be the weather--this area's not known for it's tropical climes, after all--but I think it probably has more to do with the crap I've been shoveling in my mouth, pound by delicious pound. Or maybe because I haven't left this chair since sometime around the middle of September. Heck, it's not like I have anything else going on in my life, right?

Thursday, a pile of clothes suggested I take a trip to the gym. Upon further examination, I determined that the pile of clothes did not, in fact, develop the faculties for verbal communication--it was my son buried underneath them who had spoken. As far as I can tell, he'd built himself a nice little nest in there, and had been surviving off the harvest of crumbs they offered.

As happy as I was to observe his mad skillz at adapting to harsh environments, I thought he might also have a point about the gym thing. I hadn't been in months, and I could definitely tell. When a walk to the mailbox in front of your house seems like something to do when you have more energy, it's time to hit the elliptical.

So, we went. And it wasn't bad. I did an hour on the treadmill, and did some upper body weights. It felt good. I felt good.

Then came the next day.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Pain!

So much pain!

Whoever among you says "No pain, no gain," I will make it my mission in life to teach you the true meaning of that expression. And I can, 'cause check me out...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Yep. One day of lifting gives you the freakishly sculpted body of a female bodybuilder. Who knew?!

I've never been so toned and defined! So able to crush small foreign cars with a flex of my giant biceps. It's awesome!

In the wrong hands, this newfound strength could be something to fear, but I have vowed to use my powers only for good. To prove my point, I've kept a photo diary of my day.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here I am grocery shopping for elderly shut-ins. I'm in the juice aisle, stocking up on Clamato and prune. Old people love juice!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Here you see me giving a puppet show to under-privileged Nicaraguan kids. Sure, I probably could have used the money I spent on the flight down there to buy them 8 laptops instead, but what were they going to do with 8 laptops? They didn't even have electricity.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

And, finally, I vacuumed David Soul's pleasure den. It smelled like wet dog and broken dreams. Poor Hutch.

I think tomorrow I might solve the world's hunger crisis. Or buy some clothes that fit. We'll see.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Japan

Did I ever tell you guys about the time I was on a Japanese game show? No?

Well, it really isn't much of a story. I was a delegate of an exchange group in high school (there were seven of us), and while we were staying in Tokyo, we happened to pass a Pachinko parlor. This, in and of itself, is not newsworthy--those things are everywhere over there. But they happened to be filming a segment of a game show inside this particular one.

If you aren't sure what Pachinko is, just imagine Plinko from The Price is Right...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


...but condensed into a slot machine sized package. And there you have the biggest addiction to hit Japan since animated porn.

Pachinko parlors are nothing more than loud, garish, smoky casinos. So, naturally, the producers of the show figured it would feel just like home to us American high school kids. They literally pulled us off the street to tape a short interview segment. They had time to fill, and it was just luck that a group of strange, yet benevolent, American giants happened by.

Seriously, those people are small. I'm 5'7", and I dwarfed the host of the show. Which worked out well for him, since he was apparently a boob man. Oh joy! Even at 15, I gave him quite an eyeful, which just made me feel dirty inside.

Having only studied the language for a year at that point, I was at a loss to know what the hell they were talking about, but I do recall they used a lot of sound gags. If you've ever seen a Japanese game show, you know how freaking crazy they are. And this was no exception. One contestant was wearing a large diaper and standing next to a small pool of what I can only guess was creamed corn. The female contestant was wearing a toga, and I have no idea what kind of humiliation she had signed herself up for. Once our interview was over (only our guide spoke, the rest of us just stood there with perplexed looks on our faces), we were shown the door. No free show for us!

I'm sure if I went there today, I'd totally be recognized from my brief stint in the limelight. It was only 15 years ago. I'll bet there are posters of me everywhere. Not that I could converse any better with my adoring fans now. I took 6 years of Japanese, and the only thing I remember how to say is "You're an ignorant, good-for-nothing transvestite porn star."

Anata wa muchi no yakunitatanai Misuta Reri poruno suta desu ne.

Quite handy, I assure you.

Anyhow, what made me think of this is something my husband saw on Youtube. The newest sensation to sweep their nation--Human Tetris.

Oh, those crazy Japanese! What will they think of next?!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Metaphors

online dating


Really? Really?!!

I talk about my hubby’s nads. That can’t be G rated.

And what about my racist rant on poor undeserving “Don”? My family's tendency to anhililate squirrels? And slugs? And good taste?

What about…um… You know, I can’t really think of anything else.

Am I a goody two-shoes?!!

We'll see about that! Prepare yourself for an onslaught of displays of sin and debauchery, kids! Check out these images I got from Yahoo (with the Safe Search turned on, of course. I wouldn't want to see anything unsavory.)

Here's a guy with a huge... Oh, you know what I'm sayin'!

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


And a nice shot of his ass.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


And I don't think I need to tell you what this is...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Oh yeah! And a nice set of knockers.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


See? I'm just as depraved as all of you! Maybe even worse...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I'm sorry about that last one. That was over the line.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Creativity

I think my son has a natural storytelling ability. What do you think?

Once upon a time, there was a boy named Barnacle.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Barnacle was so happy,

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


and then everyone died.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


The end.


Methinks I smell Caldecott!!

Speaking of making crazy with the creativity, check out what Doozer’s doing on her site—analyzing your personality based on your alcoholic beverage of choice. (And don’t think you’re going to trick her by owning up to your teetotaling ways like I did. She’s eerily accurate with us virgins, too!)

Here’s what she said about me:

“Avery Grey: I think what you are saying is that you don't drink. In that case I would have to say, you are suffering from chronic lack of a buzz, never have the urge to get into a barfight and can usually be found at the grocery store in the liquor isle taking pictures of your church going friends when they buy wine, to later use as blackmail to get what you want. Your husband would like you to take up drinking so you can be the saucy minx he knew in college.”

Creeeepy!

She should try this…

You Should Be a Joke Writer

You're totally hilarious, and you can find the humor in any situation.
Whether you're spouting off zingers, comebacks, or jokes about life...
You usually can keep a crowd laughing, and you have plenty of material.
You have the makings of a great comedian - or comedic writer.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Guilty Pleasures

This past Sunday, while my husband and the boy were out flying their new Air Hogs (amusing little tale to come later), I engaged in a little guilty pleasure TV viewing. You don't understand--it's been roughly five years since I've seen anything on daytime television other than The Wonder Pets, and Spongebob, and all the other Nick riff raff. So when I came across a new reality/game show on VH1 poking fun at the intellectual capacity of some really, really, ridiculously good looking people, I knew I'd hit GP gold.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The name says it all.

If you haven't seen this, it's probably only because you feel great about your life and don't get a thrill from laughing at small children trapped in the hard bodies of aspiring mannequins. But if you're like me, you have no qualms. (Hey, I wasn't the one who signed up for this train wreck.)

You want to feel bad for these people. You really do. But right at the edge of pity, you hear them say things like, "I’m not afraid to speak my mind of things that I wanna speak my mind of."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I feel the same way.

"Being smart to me isn’t memorizing information that is often not used. Facts and definitions, I don’t really wanna engage myself in."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I hear ya loud and clear!

"Drawing a circle is not as easy as I thought it would be."

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Really? I mean, they gave you a ruler and everything. How difficult could it be?

Incredibly so, as it turns out. Though, to be fair, that particular contestant, Rachel, was the dumbest of the dumb. The challenge she referred to there was one where the contestants were pitted against each other in a race to be the first to cut out six shapes.

Yes. You understood that correctly.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


They had to draw the shapes on paper, then cut them out. With nary a pair of plastic safety scissors in sight!

This competition is brutal. Take, for instance, the question and answer competition where every right answer was rewarded with...celery.

WTF?!!!

And every time a question was answered incorrectly, the contestant was punished with moist, delicious chocolate cake. Or Twinkies. Or pancakes. These producers are sadists!!!

Insightful sadists. They have their fingers firmly planted on the pulse of Americans just like me. The slightly jaded thirty-somethings who want to see the skinny bitch who just said "I have a small tummy" eat the damn cake!

Yes, I'm a brunette. Why do you ask?

This, like many reality shows, relies heavily on its most outrageous characters for its success. Sadly, the ones who have delivered the show's finest gems have largely been eliminated. Mandy Lynn (the Hoochie), Rachel (the Idiot), Jesse (the Token "Fluffy" Gay Black Guy) are all gone.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


One guy that keeps hanging on is the angry Russian, Andre.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


This guy is insane! Which makes for great TV. Although, I wonder if something is lost in the translation. When asked why he thought he could win the competition, he replied, "Have you seen my f@&#ing abs?"

Uh... Is that where they keep their brains in Russia?

Maybe I keep mine in my H cups! (Yep, get a load of my brains, people! They're real, and they're spectacular!)

I guess my only gripe with the show (which is really more of a non-gripe) is I don't get the point. It's not like potential employers are thinking, "Well, she looks great, she photographs well, and she'd be perfect for this job, but, DAMN IT, she's as dumb as a bag of hammers!" Somehow, I don't think that's a real consideration. Unless she's a drooler, she's in!

I think it's a fairly common assumption that models are not rocket surgeons. And this show is helping to prove it. You gotta check it out!

Monday, November 12, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Paper

As you probably know by now, I am no longer of the employed persuasion. I quit my job at a computer chip manufacturer to become a stay-at-home mom almost 5 years ago, and it was the best thing I've ever done. Well, now that Ethan's in school a few days a week, I thought it might be nice to jump back into the working world. Earn a few extra bucks. Interact with other adults about things that really matter.

So, I took the plunge, and I applied at this company that some of you may be familiar with. It's a paper supplier, and I guess it's been in the news a lot lately. One of the branches, it seems, has a film crew following them around, doing some sort of reality TV/documentary type thing. I don't know. Sounds pretty lame to me. What could be so exciting about working in an office?

Anyhow, the name of the company is Dunder Mifflin. Recognize the logo?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

It's supposed to be a pretty popular brand from what the guy on the phone told me. I'd never heard of it, but I don't really pay much attention to paper. (I wouldn't tell him that, though. He seemed a couple bananas short of a hammock if you ask me.)

Anyhow, my application is still being reviewed, but I've been given a company profile. I sent in my most flattering picture...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Won't that look great on my employee badge?

And I've been given an assignment--make a "Green" poster to hang in my branch. I hope this is what they were looking for...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


See, it's a take-off on the whole Woodsy Owl "Give a Hoot" campaign. Retro, but with a modern flare. It's edgy and gritty and totally street, but in a good for the environment sorta way. Think they'll like it?

Well, I should be hearing back from them any time now. In the meantime, I thought I'd go check out what all the fuss was about this place. I found this clip of the show on Youtube.



I don't know what the big deal is. They seem like slackers to me.

Hey, if you are looking for a job, you should apply, too! I guess they have lots of positions available, so it's no skin off my nose. I heard about it from Mert. She just applied there as well. She's hoping to get enough blogger types to fill the spots so we can break off and form our own branch. That sounds good to me.

Well, anyhow, I better go. Need to stock up on Talbot's suits and beige pleather pumps.

Ta ta!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Variety

As a highly slightly sarcastic individual, I am well aware of the power of emoticons. I can say THE worst thing in the world, but if it's followed by a wink, no offense will be taken. For instance, compare this:

I hate you. I wish you were dead. I slept with your brother.


with this:

I hate you. I wish you were dead. I slept with your brother. ;o)


See the difference?

I suggest using this method the next time you have to break some bad news:


Honey, I wrecked your new Mercedes. ;o)


Your biopsy revealed malignant melanoma. ;o)


I'm leaving you for a carnie. ;o)


Dad, I'm gay. ;o)


On second thought, leave the wink off that last one. It will only reinforce the gayness, which is probably not advisable under the circumstances.

***


Speaking of assaulting a man's masculinity...

Check out this picture from a New Zealand men's room:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I'd love to hear what the guys out there think of it.

***


We had Chinese food last night.

My Fortune Cookie told me:
Even the Amish can use letter-openers.
Get a cookie from Miss Fortune

What's your favorite Chinese dish?

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm Thankful for...New Friends

So, yesterday I was freaking out. Not majorly. Just the mild freak-out that comes with meeting someone new who you really want to like you. Like getting ready for a first date, only without all that worry about whether or not you'll be going Dutch, or if you'll be expected to put out.

(The answer is always no, girls. Respect yourselves!)

And I was searching through the pitiful contents of my closet that didn't seem so pitiful the last time I'd checked. I must have gone through a dozen outfits and rejected every one of them. They made me look like such a...mom!

I gave up, settled on the last frumpy get-up, and attempted to get a style going in my newly shorn hair. It wasn't working. I'm used to having long, flowing, waist-length locks to work with. Now it's shoulder length, and I'm clueless what to do with it. I just brushed it and let it go. What ya gonna do?

I waited, cringing at the state of my house, which would soon be viewed by new eyes. Hey, I never claimed to be a neat freak, but sometimes even I'm surprised how much clutter I will allow to pile up before I grab a pitchfork and my OCD buddy, Shannon, and get the place put to rights. Alas, Shannon's in Ohio, and my pitchfork must be buried under layers of Aqua Dots, a week's worth of old newspapers, and piles of clean laundry (yay for working washers!).

So, who was this individual who had me in such a tither? None other than the incomparable Ms. Emma Sometimes herself!

Yeah, you'd be freaked, too!

Well, it seems I had no reason to be. We're total BFF's now. She's getting a tattoo on her buttcheek that says so!

After a couple hours of braiding each others' hair, talking about boys we like, and engaging in scantily-clad pillow fights, we moved the party to Dapoppin's house. It didn't break up until the wee hours of the afternoon when Emma had to pick her kids up from school.

Oh, what fun we had! It was swell, I tell you! Swell!

Maybe even...The Best Day Ever?!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Secrets

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Wanna know a secret? Then might I suggest you go here.

(PostSecret is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a homemade postcard.)

And there are some doozies! (Not Doozers! Well, maybe she's sent some in. I don't know. No one knows--that's what makes it a secret.)

I was looking through the archives last night (which you can only do if you subscribe to a reader), and I didn't do any scientific calculations, but it seems to me there's a preponderence of certain themes: I'm gay and no one knows, I wish I'd never met you, I like to _______ when I _______ (think sexual), and I'm thinking of killing myself.

Oddly enough, no one seems to have combined all those things together. Not enough room on one postcard?

The funny thing is, I don't believe half the secrets I read there. I think they're done for shock value. I think there's a lot of lonely art school students, stinking of patchouli and funky Birkenstocks, cutting up little pictures and snarky little quips, and thinking about the impact their "craft" will one day have on the world. And this is what they come up with...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Mom and Dad would be so proud.

There have been a few that have tickled my funny bone...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I know what you're thinking. How dare she advocate that! Well, what can I say? I scrapbook, too. There's no shame in it. Legalize it, man!

This one could have been sent by me, as I am the only Pacific Northwesterner who doesn't drink coffee (other than those who abstain for religious reasons).

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


I kid you not, it's an epidemic. Within a mile radius of my house there are three--count them, three--Starbucks. Within a mile!

Anyhow...

I have a secret, too. Only this one's real, and it's kinda hard to stomach. I don't know what to do. Should I send it in and air my secret shame to the entire world? Or should I let it fester and eat away at me until I become a shell of my former self? (Neither of those options seem too appealing.)

Well, how's about I share my secret with you, and you can help me decide?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Thursday, November 8, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Awards

I'm terrible.

*pause for dissention*

No, really. I am. I've been lax about acknowledging all these wonderful awards some kind and caring individuals have bestowed on me out of pity love. It's not that I don't appreciate them. Verily, I display them with hubris pride. But when it comes to passing them on, I draw a blank.

How am I supposed to choose which of the many talented bloggers I've had the pleasure of reading to award such honors when all of them are so deserving? Am I to single out just one or two and shun the rest?

Well, that didn't sit well with me, so I devised a plan.

But before I tell you what it is, let me thank a few people who've brightened my days with awards:

Christina gave me the Breakout Blogger award when I was a young, fledgling upstart (like 2 weeks ago). It was my first award, and so totally unexpected that at first I thought it was a mistake. How funny, I thought. There's another Avery around.

Yep, that's me. Quick as a whip.

It still retains a prominent display on my blog mantle (all of 2 weeks later). Especially coming from someone as eloquent and no-nonsense as the Lady Christina. Quite a compliment, let me tell you!

Flanking it on the right, we have the award given me by my favorite vivacious "Brit" living it up in the French countryside, Mya--the You Make Me Smile award. I make Mya smile? Obviously she hasn't read her own blog, or she'd totally be awarding that one to herself. This post alone had me giggling like a schoolgirl smiling all day!

Finally, we have the two awards bestowed on me by the venerable Jo Beaufoix--the Bodacious Blog award, and the I Made Someone Laugh So Much Their Head Fell Off award. The latter is one she made herself. (Cute, ain't it?) This girl has mad skillz far surpassing my own in every concievable way, and yet I found myself inspired by her ingenuity.

Which leads me to my aforementioned plan.

I made my own award, too!

Jo, I hope you don't think I'm trying to steal your thunder. In fact, you're the first recipient of my award. Because you're not a typical blogger, and this ain't no typical award. It's the I Guess Your Blog's Not THAT Bad award (complete with an original Avery Gray self-portrait.)

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


Why in the world would I want to give this award to someone I actually like? Allow me to explain.

When I get an award, I get superhappypumped. I copy and paste it, or get the HTML code, and add it to my impressively long list of honor. Then, once I've hit the save button, and it becomes indelibly etched in the posterity of The Blog, reality sets in.

I made someone smile.

My blog is bodacious.

I decapitated someone with my rapier wit!

I didn't mean to do that!! Yet, there's the proof, right there. Staring me accusingly in the face. You did this, and you will do it again!

And then the pressure sets in. What if they come to expect it? I mean, "A" material EVERY DAY? That's not even possible. Sometimes I'm scraping the dregs, people. Some days you're gonna wish for "C-". I promise you.

And what if I decide one day to expose my more serious side, blog about social reform, or the environment, or the reason so many frat boys are flooding toy aisles looking for Aqua Dots. Will there be a huge black hole where my loyal readers used to be?

For this reason, I've decided to spare my favorite bloggers the anguish. The beauty of my award? No pressure!

Come on! Wouldn't you rather live up to "not that bad" than "so freaking hysterical I went into labor and I'm not even pregnant"? I know I would!

So, for the lucky recipients of this prize, you may choose from one of two sizes:

or

Well, you could use the huge one, too, if you really wanted to. I'm not picky. As a matter of fact, feel free to add your own embellishments. Give me devil horns, a moustache, boogers...whatever you want. Just copy the image and paste it into your picture editor. (Or Paint, if nothing else.) Save it and add to your blog. Easy as pie!

So, without further ado, here are the first ever recipients of the "I Guess Your Blog's Not THAT Bad" award. Drumroll, please...

1) Jo
2) Emma
3) Deb
4) Mike
5) Mya
6) Heather

Uh, congratulations, I think!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

I'm Thankful for...Teeth

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


This is going to be the Best. Post. Ever.

Or not.

Virus is ravaging my body--thanks, Mike!--and I can't help but admit I'm phoning it in today. Hence the lame ass topic.

Hey, what do you want from me? I'm here, aren't I?

Well, in a sense, I am. Part of me is floating high above the clouds in a DayQuil-induced delerium. But the other part of me--the part that is shaking an angry fist at my husband and cursing him for leaving me in this lowly state with a sick child AND an empty refrigerator--is trying to make the best of this misery by inviting you to share it with me.

Good times.

It's bad enough that I'm sick, but my poor little guy puked his guts out repeatedly last night. I'm sure you're all joining your voices in a chorus of Aw. Well, don't! Today, he's at home with me instead of at school, and now that he's gotten all the yuckies out of his system, he's running around like a syphilitic monkey.

And I think we've already established that syphilis isn't funny. I'd like to add, it's not cute either.

He's deranged.

I took the deranged little monkey to the dentist yesterday morning (that's where the teeth come in), and he did great. His teeth are very clean, no cavities. Yay!

He has the good fortune to have my teeth. I'm 30, and I've never had cavities either. But my mouth does hide a head-scratcher:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


That's a tooth that grew sideways in my jaw. I had no idea. I have a rational and completely justified fear of dentists, so these x-rays were only taken a year ago. First dental x-rays I'd ever had.

I'm supposed to go to an oral surgeon to have is extracted, and each time I go in for a cleaning now, they ask me if I've made an appointment with the guy they referred me to. I just say no, and flash them my winning 31-tooth grin.

I detest mouth pain.

Since this post is already a meandering mess, I'll put a nail in the coffin and add that the dental hygienist told me I have a remarkably strong tongue.

High five!