Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Well, I've been trying for two full days to write a blog post about the end of the year and the future of the next one, but I can't seem to do it without crumbling into a bunch of tiny pieces and declaring the end of western civilization.

Three problems:
1. There are newly discovered issues with work.
2. They have nothing to do with my personal performance.
3. I can't talk about it, because apparently this is the internet.

So all I can do is spout crytic messages to those who'd get it, which is zero fun for those who don't. I have also discovered that I can create Venn diagrams and quote Natalie Merchant songs I forgot I knew existed. Other than that, I have very little to show for two days and three coffee shops.

But in the end, all I really wanted to say is that this last year has been really awesome. I worked hard and it paid off. Next year has some pretty big question marks, but I'm thinking positively.

And since I have nothing more to give you, I leave you simply with this:

Thursday, December 23, 2010

As I Recall: Hark! The Herald Angels Freak Out

It's been a while, guys. It's been a loooong while. But it's finally time. You all have been such good readers, you deserve to hear about the True Meaning Of Christmas, and you deserve to hear it from someone with a fading, old lady memory. If you're new to the concept of me attempting to recall Bible stories, check out the first one here.

Now here we go. Christmas!

The story starts with an adorable young couple, Mary and Joseph. They're engaged, it's wonderful. Until one night, an angel named Gabriel visits Mary and tells her, "SURPRISE!--you're preggo, and the father is NO ONE. Or, well, it's God. And He's also the mother. But you're kind of the mother. I think. Look, your story's a little iffy and it's going to get RULL awkward over in Europe in a few years about it, so why don't you be a nice girl, take this iron supplement and go back to bed."

So when Mary woke up, she had the wonderful job of letting her fiance know that she was pregnant and he was not the father. Let's just say, it did NOT go like this:

In fact, it was probably a little more like "SNAP. Now stand still, I'm going to have to stone you." Luckily, Gabriel stepped in, explained the whole thing to Joseph, and it was all cool. And from then on, little children everywhere playing Joseph in the Nativity play were befuddled as to what any of their lines were implying.

Now, according to the Bible, the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus decided that he wanted a head count. And he thought the best way to do that was to make everyone go back to the town of their ancestors so they could do a census. AND! Everyone did it! I have to say, WOW are we lazy. We even have people come up to our front doors during our censuses, and we still refuse to answer a few questions just because we have to put on pants to do it.

So apparently Joseph and Mary have to hike their sandal-wearing butts all the way to Bethlehem, because Joseph's ancestor is the famous David (and as we all know, everyone only has one ancestor.) Of course, Mary is like one dilated centimeter away from popping Jesus out, so by the time they get there it is GO TIME. They get to the inn, but all of David's other brethren have booked the place solid. Luckily, the innkeeper is super nice and gives them the barn out back.

TIME OUT. I'm sorry. This tiny little woman is about to give birth. She is doing her lamaze breathing and screaming that she wants the pills after all. And instead of taking one look at her and kicking out the schmuck in room 202 and giving the clean bed to the woman with a PERSON coming out of her, you lay her in a pile of manure and wish her good day. LOVELY.

So, fine. Luckily, God is on their side and he makes sure Jesus comes out all pink and sparkly and painlessly. A star appears above Jesus' first resting point. Mary swaddles him and lays him in a manger which is a fancy word for wooden trough. I'm not sure why she couldn't just hang onto him, but I guess it's part of the mystique of Jesus. Maybe his halo was making him too hot.

So Jesus is born and everyone is FREAKING OUT. First of all, we've got the angels with their trumpets and their proclamations. These guys are seriously excited. They're so excited, they go tell the nearby shepherds about the latest. It's kind of like when something awesome happens to you but none of your friends are around, so you just kind of turn to the nearest person who knows your name and blurt out how happy you are because you just found out you're getting an iPod and OMG OMG OMG!!!1

That's the angels. There's so many of them, they are no longer a pair, nor a group, nor even a herd. Nay, they are a "host" of angels. That is a lot of angels. And they boom down from heaven in a voice I imagine is a lot more like The Great And Powerful Oz and a lot less like the Hallelujah Chorus, because the shepherds nearly poop their pants out of fear. But once they figure out what's going on, they manage to follow the shepherd's direction, which is something like "second star to the right and straight on til morning" until they get to the barn and the Jesus and the manger and the everything. And according to my childhood nativity figurines, one of the shepherds even came by carrying a little lamb over his shoulders. You know, as one does.

So that's the shepherds. Next the story gets DASTARDLY! Because somewhere in the world is a king named King Herod. And, if you remember the story of Moses you will be very surprised to know he has a thing against baby boys. Well, specifically he has a thing against Jesus. Er, let me back up.

Somehow, a bunch of foreigners from the east (aka, terrorists) hear about Jesus. I assume from angels. The Bible calls the foreigners "magi" which I think just means they are royalty, or they're so rich they are royalty-LIKE and either way they would have made for a KILLER episode of Cribs. But I guess they didn't get all the info. All they heard was that a king had been born to save everyone. So they pack up the best gifts they can find: gold, frankincense and myrrh. The latter two are perfumes. Because back then people couldn't bathe too much, so smelling good was a commodity. No one really knows how many magi there were, but people simplify it by saying there were three because they brought 3 gifts. But who knows? There could have been 6 and they all just went halfsies.

So these magi make it to King Herod, assuming the new baby king was there. Of course, King Herod gets more riled up than a chipmunk on Ritalin and orders all children under the age of two DEAD. Luckily, the star above Jesus leads the magi to him much quicker than Herod, so they're able to bestow their gifts AND warn the family of impending doom, and they take off.

The problem here is, there's not really a good ending to the story. People usually just sing a little "Away In A Manger" and everyone claps and goes home. So I don't know what else to tell you about this one.

Merry Christmas everybody! And thanks for following and spreading the word!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My 26th Birthday...OF DOOM

So my birthday is tomorrow and I'm having a bit of...a time with it this year. This is the year I've been dreading my entire life and that is not a joke.

Oh, Curlz.

I've always pointed out that up to 25 there's something, some age to look forward to. At 16 you can drive, 18 you can win a billion dollars on the lottery, 21 you can make bad decisions legally, and 25 you can drive rental cars.

And then you turn 26 and you get jack squat.

And your life is over. OVER! 26?! I might as well buy a cane, put on a plastic rain cap and get a cat--OH GOD IT'S ALREADY STARTING! Quick, someone, is there lipstick on my teeth???

To be honest, most of my age spasms have to do with work. See, I started copywriting when I was 22. TWENTY TWO. And I was SO ahead of the curve! And then at some point time passed (stupid time and its moving forward) and now I'm getting to be the age where I should know stuff and sell ads and go on production and write things without having to go back and rewrite them eighty thousand times. But sometimes it still feels like I just started in this business.

And I know I've learned a lot and I'm actually much further along and I'm probably doing fine BLAH BLAH BLAH. Listen here. I'm going to be in my late twenties. No more messing around. I mean, I've really got to step it up if I'm going to keep my life from completely derailing, which I'm fairly convinced could happen at any moment.

Then of course there's the marriage and baby debacle. First of all NO, neither of those are currently happening. But Joe and I have talked about them lightly, and we're pro both of them. When the time is right. WHICH IS NOT TODAY.

But I'm 26, dammit! And Joe's even older. And if we still need time before marriage and even more time before babies (which, by the way, the more I learn about pregnancy and newborns, the more I want to become Sister Mary Emily so let's not even go there), that time is starting to get shorter and shorter. And it's freaking me out.

I need marriage and babies to stay safely far away from me. I need to go back to when it was a "one day...when I'm much older and mature and have my life together." But really, when is that going to happen? When am I going to be old enough and mature enough to have my life together? Because I'm guessing it might be retirement, and even then? Iffy. And I'd also prefer to only have a child between the ages of 3 and 6. So once science figures out how to give me a perpetual 4-year old for me to drive around when I'm 65, I think we're good to--OH MY GOD I'm going to be a dog-lady. A lonely, miserly dog lady. I'm going to be the old lady from Little Women. People will be paid to be my friends and read to me.

No. NO!! I refuse to succumb to the pressures of age! I have time! I'm sprite-like! In fact, I've made a list. It's a short list currently, but it's of all the things I would like to do within the next two-ish years. And it's full of all kinds of young people things. Here we go:

Emily's List Of Young People Goals:

-Learn how to knit (Oh God, this did not start off well.)
-Take beginner photography classes, then take good photos with a good camera
-Improv classes
-Sculpting classes
-Dance classes (HAR! That one was just for you guys. OR IS IT??...It is.)


-Go to Scotland, find your ancestor's castle.
-Go to Italy, eat a lot of pasta and cream.
-Go to San Francisco, Francisco! That's fun to say.

-Go on a production shoot outside of Chicago
-Get promoted, earn what I think I deserve
-Write an ad that everyone loves

-Pay off a big student loan chunk
-Buy a car (I have a feeling these last two are going to be an either/or situation)
-Become a roller skater
-Be more stylish
-Make more Julia Child recipes
-Find an apartment with a reading nook for weekends (and then read on the weekends)

And that's all I have so far. I'm hoping these things will help solidify myself in my mind as someone in her late twenties with goals and aspirations appropriate for her age. Someone who is 26, not 20 NOR 87. Someone who is moving forward toward the ever-unattainable goal of knowing exactly what I am doing here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I just heard on the news, although apparently some have known for weeks, that Cash Cab is coming to Chicago! Holy baby Jesus in the manger, IT'S A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!!

For those who are unaware, I am an ENORMOUS Cash Cab fan. After I found out, I practically SKIPPED all the way to work (while ever on the lookout, of course.)

Now, apparently it's not Ben Bailey driving around, probably partly because he is too high and mighty on his New York horse to come over to LOWLY (but might I add diverse and rich in its culture) Chicago, and also partly because he's probably going the way of BJ Novak when he was on Punk'd and became so recognizable, he could no longer be on the show. Oh, you didn't know you were going to be getting TV trivia during this blog post? Well welcome to the world of Emily, people. I've got a million of 'em. Catch up.

All I have to say is: New York, you aren't all that and a bag of potato chips. We can be cool, too. Remember Ferris Bueller's Day Off? Remember While You Were Sleeping? Remember...uh, uh...Real World: Chicago?? YEAH. I WENT THERE. So swallow your pride and turn on the TV to something that DOESN'T happen four blocks from your tiny, expensive apartment. Because we (AKA my dad, Laura, and Laura's dad--my Cash Cab Dream Team. Don't act like you don't have one) are about to win some serious MOOLA.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hot Chocolate

Last week I bought something that looked magical: Trader Joe's peppermint hot chocolate, with little bits of real chocolate.

And how could I resist? From the adorable canister to the word "shavings," this thing didn't just call out to me, it taunted like a child who doesn't understand that their parent is ignoring them on purpose. "Want to buy me? Want to buy me? Want to buy me? Want to buy--" "For the love of GOD WILL YOU BE QUIET, MOMMY IS ON THE PHONE."

So I bought it. Brought it home. Tasted it.

And it was spearmint.

SPEARMINT? REALLY?? Really, Trader Joe's. I TRUSTED you. When you said pumpkin butter was good and I didn't believe you, who was right? YOU were. When you said I wouldn't notice how bad $3 wine was, who was right? YOU were. When you said chicken sausage should be available for the masses, who was right? YOU were. But now? Now I don't know what to think anymore. Will that box of organic vegan cookies be filled with worms? MAYBE! Nothing is right anymore! Up is down, left is right, PEPPERMINT IS SPEARMINT AND MY WORLD IS CRASHING AROUND ME.

Here's my other problem (I know, you're so amazed that I have this many things to complain about when it comes to cocoa): I have become unimpressed by powdered hot chocolate--NOW HEAR ME OUT. I recognize that if I melted down a bar, mixed it with some cream and called it cocoa, that it would be delicious.

But I'm talking regular ol' run-of-the-mill Swiss Miss. Is it me, or is it just not the same as it was as a kid? I mean, maybe it was the insane amount of marshmallows my mom added. Or maybe it was the fact that the cocoa was given to us after we came in from "hours" of "sledding" (aka "minutes" of "dragging my sister around on the sled like a dog because it's Illinois and our only hill is the converted landfill on the other side of town") but it seems like hot chocolate was just a million times more delicious than it is now.

I mean, hot chocolate used to be the saving grace in a world full of chaos. Adults got coffee at every turn, but what did we have to lift our spirits? A can-do attitude? Hardly. Because when your Indian Princess tribe (Another day. Another day.) is trying to sell Christmas trees to raise money for their next father-daughter bonding retreat and you can neither a) Pick up the trees because you are too little, b) Sell the trees because you cannot subtract yet, nor c) Play hide-and-seek amongst the trees because SOMEONE is an enormous party pooper, coughDADcough, you have one option: sit in the warm trailer and drink powdered hot chocolate through a coffee stirrer. It's not fancy, it's not made with a mother's loving care, but it does the trick. And it's why, whenever I burn my tongue, I hear the soft sound of Jingle Bells playing in the recesses of my mind.

But powdered hot chocolate just doesn't do that for me anymore. It doesn't entertain in the way that it used to. And even the Trader Joe's cocoa with its chocolate shavings, which sounded like the cure to my hot chocolate blues, seemed only okay.

Is it just me? Am I the only one who feels this way? Where has my childhood gone? Is it trapped, like a chunk of globbed chocolate powder in the coffee stirrer...of life?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Why We All Need Christmas

OH MY GOD, you guys. I'm back. And I'm EXCITED. Are you kidding me?? I get to come home from work and I don't have to go directly to bed? What IS this freedom?!?

But you know who is more excited than I am? Regina Phalange. When I came home she started running around the entire apartment and did a cow-jumped-over-the-moon jump over our queen bed. So yeah. I think she's happy.

As I ease my way back into the life of the blogosphere, I thought I'd share with you guys some thoughts reflecting where my mind is when it's not writing headlines: Christmas. Here's part 1.

I think everyone should celebrate Christmas. Hear me out; I promise not to go Bill O'Reilly on you. I think everyone should get behind Christmas, not because I think everyone should believe in Jesus, because the dude is not for everyone, but because Christmas makes cold weather SO MUCH BETTER. Sure, we all have to suffer in January. But why December? Why? December is cold and snowy and terrible. BUT. If Bing Crosby croons softly in your ear while you walk through that December weather? Not so terrible. Not so terrible at ALL, m'friends.

Lately I've been thinking especially about Christmas traditions; which ones have stuck around, which ones have changed, which ones I'm fine with losing. Especially since this is the second holiday go-around with Joe and I'm starting to realize that maybe I'll need to give a little, and do a few more of his Christmas things and a few less of my own.

I think my favorite Christmas tradition which I'd be sad to lose is Christmas Eve. In my mind, that's one of those traditions that's stayed true year after year. It seems that way, but if I really think about it, it's actually changed a TON.

When I was young, it was the one night a year that I was willing to get fancy. I had short hair for much of my childhood, and was convinced that I looked ridiculous in anything fancier than my dinosaur t-shirt. Plus! Dresses were itchy!

But on Christmas Eve, you endure anything. I mean, Santa's watching, people. Shove those feet into those Mary Janes, froof that lace collar and wait for someone to ask you if you're excited for Santa to come.

So we'd sit all politely and nicely at church, surrounded by people we'd never seen before but happy for the warm bodies, and at the end of the service everyone got a candle and lit it and we'd sing Silent Night. Well, everyone ELSE would sing Silent Night. My siblings and I were more concerned with keeping the wax from dripping onto our soft, defenseless hands.

Then, after the service, we'd all pile into the car (the one time that we all called dibs on the back seats so we could huddle for warmth) and our dad would drive us around town, looking at lights and stopping at the house of the professional ice sculptor who always made something mind-blowing.

Finally, we'd get home, put out the cookies and carrots, bounce off walls like Judy Miller, and burrow under our sheets, ready for the assured amazingness awaiting us the next morning.

But eventually it all evolves. The ice sculptor moved. Our hands became callous enough for the candles. And everything became a lot less about impressing Santa and a lot more about impressing Michael, the organist's son, who sings O Holy Night every year now (and hot damn DOES HE, might I add.)

I mean, things change. Christmas is 90% childhood memories, 10% butter and 1% a pain in the ass. I think we're all in general agreement on that. And even though the traditions we keep anymore might not be exactly as we did them as children, and even though being with Joe may mean that I need to reformat Christmas at times, somehow it's all still...nice. Right down to the lame stuff, like car commercials. Because even THEY have giant red bows and happy soundtracks, and even THEY make driving through the snow feel like some kind of wonder of December.

And whether you're Jewish, Christian, Muslim or indifferent, I think anyone should want to get behind turning December--horrible, thigh-freezing December--into a miracle.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Get In The Christmas Spirit, Emily Style

Guys, it is very likely that I will have no posts for you at all this week. Occasionally at work we have these things where we brainstorm for a week straight, basically doing nothing but working and sleeping. And starting today, that's where I'll be. So, no time for blogs. But in the spirit of the season, I give you some of my personal favorites:

I hope that helped. What clips mean Christmas/Festivus to you? Send me them in the comments! I'm curious to know if I'm missing anything important.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Blogaversary!

Wow, today is this blog's one year anniversary. That is CRAZAAYYY! It seems like just yesterday I was dragging my laptop to Lovely to force myself to finally make a blog, even if I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.

I tried to write a little somethin' somethin' along the lines of "here are all the things I did this year" but it just sounded so Dullsville, USA, population me. So what do I do? I turned it into another story in pictures, of course.

So here it is, a bit of the past year, as seen from EJS IS ME:

Here is essentially what the Cheese Knives debacle looked like.

In which I realized that not everyone remembers classic Bible stories in the same way.

If you haven't caught on yet, whales are the bane/joke upon my life. But the original post about them was not all fun and games.

I really did want to become a Roller Derby girl. For now, I'm going to settle on buying myself some roller skates next summer.

This is a bit of a random one, but it pretty well represents my time as a true Freelancer.

What a disaster. For the entire story in pictures, go here.

Here is a good representation of the place I sat when I first started the internship that turned into a real job. That window was like God shining his love down upon me.

My most crass title to date, but I still don't take it back.

I don't think I ever got around to explaining the 3rd disaster of our camping experience: besides the fact that it was a ghetto piece of land in podunk Michigan and the showers probably gave me smallpox, there was also a nearby group of Russians playing and yelling Hotel California--and nothing BUT Hotel California--for 24 straight hours, including those times most people reserve for sleeping. What was crazy was that when they first started, Joe and I couldn't figure out what song they were even trying to play or sing. And by the time we left, they were singing in perfect harmony and even playing the crazy bridge part.

Two days after I got a job, I got a cat with a mustache. She likes it with us.

And I really mean that. Thanks to everyone who's shown support for me or for this blog by reposting, voting, becoming a facebook fan, commenting, or even just telling me that they enjoyed what they read. It's the reason I kept going, blog-wise, and life-wise. Your support has honestly changed the way I've been doing things lately. For the better, obv.

Oh! And I didn't include SO SO many posts, like the dogs in sweaters, a bunch of Bible posts, the one about Advertising that got a gazillion hits, anything involving Muppets or my embarrassing childhood, my disdain for sports, my British teeth issue (in which I got a few angry comments from British people who apparently only understand sarcasm if it's coming out of the mouth of Ricky Gervais)...the list goes on. Feel free to go back and read as much or little as you want!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Synesthesia: I See Dead People (In An Oddly Specific Historical Timeline)

I think I have a condition. For real, guys. It's not a disease, it's not a disorder, it is a condition, and it's called synesthesia.

They don't know a whole bunch about it because it's neurological and since scientists are only a few years out from "you wish you had a penis, now bite down on this bar while we pump you with electricity like you are in the Pit Of Dispair," there isn't much that anyone knows about the brain. But basically the condition has to do with pathways in the brain getting crossed, leading to people assigning colors to numbers, or personalities to letters, that kind of thing.

So yes. I am self-diagnosed with at least mild synesthesia ever since they featured it on the Stuff You Should Know podcast (which I told you about here and here). But, if podcasts and Wikipedia are always correct and accurate, and I'm pretty sure they are, then I have it. Specifically I have number form synesthesia, which is when you see numbers or dates spatially. There's a little description of it on Wikipedia, along with two people's drawings of what they see. Check it out.

For me, I see years spatially on a timeline--but the timeline isn't always straight, and different decades get more space than others. It's weird, I've never actually drawn it out, but I was trying to describe it to Joe and he wanted to know what I saw. So I drew it, here:

(also I'm considering throwing dyslexia in the mix for my inability at writing numbers in the right order) (and in case you can't read my handwriting, that's the nineties popping out in 3D)

After I looked at it and not just in my mind, I could see pretty clearly why my timeline looks like that--the years that seem to have had more going on, or that were more important to me, get more space on the line. The forties tend to just hang out with the fifties because I know next to nothing about the forties, but the eighties get all kinds of space--maybe because I need room for all the important dates, like when I and two of my siblings were born. Then the nineties had more significance to me because I actually remember them better, and they start coming toward me.

I told Joe that 1899 would start again on the right, like on new piece of paper. He asked if 2000 then is on the left. And I said "Yeah. Well, no's not...I actually don't know where the 2000s are." Finally, I realized that it's because I have different visuals to remind me of the 2000s: places in my high school, teachers, my hair, my clothes, Teenage Boyfriend. I actually had memories, so I don't have a timeline for those years. But anything from 1999 and earlier, and especially the 20th century, has a very specific place in the line. If someone says "Yeah, that happened back in 1973," I visualize it in a place on the line--in this case, right in the middle.

Another thing they're connecting to synesthesia is the ability to feel touch when someone else is touched. Which I don't have. OR DO I?! Because I cannot handle watching people in serious pain. From people falling off trampolines on AFV to movies with torture or serial murders or scalping *SHUDDER, SHUDDER, MASSIVE SHUDDER* I know this is true of a lot of people--people like me, who can't handle scary movie trailers, and take issue with the Last Of The Mohicans. Maybe it's synesthesia? *shrug*, Wikipedia didn't dive into that one, so I have no answers.

Anyway, I know this wasn't a knee slapper, but I thought I'd bring it up. You know, in case we've got a meat v. meet situation on our hands, and there's anyone else out there who's realizing that not EVERYONE thinks seven tastes like bananas.

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Quick Apology

Because I actually started writing a whole post yesterday, and it was by far the most boring thing I've ever written. I was trying to explain what I do with my life lately and then make it funny and quirky and filled with OH, EMILY kind of moments, but it dovetailed into "and then we do fun stuff or sometimes I play Facebook games" and "I have a kitler and she finally started snuggling" and "I need to organize my sock drawer." So I gave up.

But I'm determined to impress Tim Gunn and MAKE IT WORK and not be such a bad blogger who loses all her precious, lovely, wonderful, smart readers (And did I mention that is an adorable blouse?)

This weekend, Joe and I take a trip to Michigan for the first time since our camping disaster, although this time it's for pleasant things like drinking cider and eating doughnuts and not horrendous things like showering with a two-to-one water-to-mosquito ratio, so I'm hoping I'll either have something to share with you, or at least some time while we drive to brainstorm and write and come up with genius stories.

And if you'd rather not have to do difficult things like "remembering the name of this blog", you can "like" the Facebook page and when I update, it'll show up in your News Feed. That way, you don't have to get increasingly frustrated when you come back here and it's still the damn post about how Everybody Loves Whales (*shudder*)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


As I was searching through IMDb for actresses I could reference for an ad, I came across this pretty little number.

THAT'S RIGHT. Future Husband John Krasinski (and some other people but who cares) is going to be in a movie called "Everybody Loves Whales." [EDIT: It's now called "Big Miracle". That does not change the horror I feel.]

WHALES, people.


b) After I found this, I typed the word "what" so many times, that the word lost all meaning and I literally had to google it to make sure I was still spelling it correctly.

I don't know how to feel or what to do. I need to think about this. Carry on. Carry on.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3 Reasons Why Follow That Bird Scared Me and 3 Reasons Why It Was Awesome

I'd like everyone to come in a little bit closer today. Gather, gather. Sit up front. We're all a happy family. For we all have one common thread.

And that thread is: all of us--you, me, that guy over there--were emotionally scarred by the both terrifying and terrific epic film, the 1984 classic, Follow That Bird.

A refresher:

There were three things that made this movie terrifying:

1. My friend and confidant, Big Bird, is on the run. By himself. With no parents to lead him, and Stranger Danger at every corner.

Big Bird is supposed to only be 6 years old, by the by. What if that was me?? What if I had to start a life with a new family and they were terrible so I had to run away all by myself! It happened to Big Bird, it could happen to ME!

2. When Big Bird is blue.

Big Bird. My friend. My confidant. He is in a cage, and he is SO SAD, that he has TURNED A DIFFERENT COLOR. I didn't even know that was possible, but if Sesame Street says it is, THEN IT IS.

3. Do I have to say it? DO I EVEN HAVE TO SAY IT.

Miss.....Finch. If a scarier Muppet exists in the world, I have yet to see it.

Nope. Not as scary.

Not even close.

Nice try.


Still no.

Close, but not them either.


Miss Finch was perhaps the first villain I ever encountered in my young life. And I have been scarred to my soul. First, she rips Big Bird (friend, confidant) out of the warm embraces of Maria and Luis, then she plunks him down among a horrible, vapid family, and then when he tries to escape, she and her dark, soul-sucking eyelids chase him across the country! It's not enough that he is a child on the run, but he must be a HUNTED child on the run.

And I know I'm not the only one who has felt this way. Anyone young enough to have encountered this movie as a small child was petrified of this woman.

There are two things that are great about this movie, however. Scratch that, three things. The first is Canadian actor Dave Thomas. The second is the music. Specifically "Easy Goin'", the feel-good song of the bird, the children, and their farm.

Question: Did you and Laura figure out the harmony to that song and teach it to your friends so you could belt it out while walking through the nighttime streets of Champaign-Urbana, Illinois?

Answer: DID. WE. EVER.

Question: ...Wait, why were you singing this song in college?

Answer: Because I bought the movie for Laura's 22nd birthday, and (the third and final thing that is great about this movie) we made up a drinking game to coincide with it while we watched.

Question: Oh PLEASE tell me you still have the rules.

Answer: .....

Question: Emily?

Answer: ....

Question: You got distracted looking at the drinking game rules for Cash Cab online, didn't you?

Answer: Hmm? Huh? What? Oh, right! Follow That Bird drinking game. YES! Of course I have the rules. They are simple, and they are awesome. Here we go:

1. Drink every time they say "bird."
2. Everyone pick an extraneous and beloved Sesame Street character to follow throughout the movie, such as Grover or Cookie Monster. Whenever that Muppet is in a scene, you drink.

We may have had other rules, such as "drink every time you are so scared of Miss Finch that you can neither look away nor blink," but for the life of me, I can't recall any other rules being necessary.

So yes, perhaps I have been able to overcome such fears as becoming separated from my family and being forced to walk home. Now I can focus on the important things, like togetherness of friends and drinking alcohol while watching beloved childhood movies. I'd like to think I've become a real grownup.

On a separate note, does anyone want to create a Mary Poppins drinking game with me?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I have been thinking a lot lately about STUFF.

Like, not that I've been generally thinking about all sorts of things, but I've actually been thinking about all the junk that is acquired in life. That kind of STUFF.

I think it started when I remembered that my Christmas tree is down in our "storage unit" (the quotation marks because it is rather more like a dog kennel than a storage unit, but there it is nonetheless) and I got to thinking: what ELSE of mine is in the storage unit?

And the answer? I have no idea. No. Idea. I assume I put more than a Christmas tree down can't ALL just be Joe's action figures and golf clubs, can it?

And that got me realizing--what if all that stuff disappeared? Would I even remember it existed? And why do I continue to schlep things around from apartment to apartment and then shove them into closets? I mean, besides the awesome surprise factor you get when you open a box and see all the things you forgot about. "Oh YEAH! The lease from my apartment two years ago and magnet backing! Well, I've got to keep this around just in case. Just gunna shove this on in next to the neon green slinky here aaaaaand perfect fit."

My need to collect STUFF was diminished greatly when I lost my job in '09. Suddenly my money was better spent on annoying things like shelter and sustenance and The Internet. At first, I wandered through H&M, listless and woebegone, a single tear rolling down my cheek. I'd touch dresses fondly, as though they were from a distant, happy memory which I could no longer quite remember. I floated through Borders like a ghost too depressed to do anything but to breathe a long, drawn out sigh. Oh, if only I had a true income! I might do more than weep over my DVD collection, now riddled with holes I had once intended to fill.

Cut to a year later. Still unemployed but now ruthlessly hardened to marketing schemes, I became the Clint Eastwood of shopping.

Did I NEED this throwback April O'Neil figurine? NO.
Did I NEED this wheel of extra creamy brie? NO.
Did I NEED this entire store of Crate & Barrel? .....But...but I...what if....NO!

Nancy Reagan would be proud. Also, Lady Bird Johnson. Not really Lady Bird, I just wanted to bring her up because SERIOUSLY who is named Lady Bird? I'm sure they covered all this in the 60s but I wasn't around then and COME ON, Shelly.

Anyway, I just said no and became hardened to the Call of the Stuff. No longer did their siren song affect me. I had bought roughly 4 articles of clothing in a year and a half. I forgot all about Baby Bel and their amazing tiny red wheels of love. My preferred brand of choice had become "store." And I was fine with it.

And then the Man came knocking. And I answered his call and got a job again. Yes, at the first opportunity, I dropped my hard exterior, hitched up my out-of-style pants and marched on over to American Eagle. I slapped my credit card down on the counter and said, "How much will THIS get me?" "Miss, that is a credit card. I have no idea." "RING 'ER UP!" I yelled to no one in particular.

No, not really. But when I finally got to the counter with what can only be described as a PLETHORA of clothing, the guy laughed and asked if I was on a shopping spree. Seriously. He then asked me if I shopped at American Eagle often. I paused and said, "Well, I COULD."

So yeah. I could buy stuff again. All the stuff that an entry level position could buy! *throws $1 bills into the air and laughs maniacally*

But, besides the confidence that I can pay my bills each month, what do I really have? A few new shirts and name-brand cereal? How long does new stuff make you feel like anything is actually different? It seems a lot like when I finally got contacts in the 8th grade and assumed every guy would immediately fawn over me. I got to school and I believe one person said, "Did you get contacts?" "Yep!" "Oh." It's that same empty feeling now, after I buy something shiny, get a compliment or two, and then realize that nothing has REALLY changed. Am I any better than my neon-green-note-passing self?

I just got an email for Crate & Barrel Outlet Christmas stuff. And at first I thought "Ooh! Pretty! Snow pups on oven mitts! Twelve dessert plates for $20!

But then I immediately thought, NO! You don't need it!! And to be honest, I'm not sure if that's my old stingy, unemployed self talking...or just reason.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Plea Before You Vote

So mid-term elections are tomorrow. If you are one of the unlucky ones like me, who suffer through garbage campaign ads, you are well aware: Everyone is terrible, the world will crumble if anyone is elected, and no one is looking out for your interests but only their own.

So if you're voting tomorrow, please use your head. Vote for people that agree with your general interests and pray that, if it turns out they ARE the terrible, money-laundering, black-and-white photo the ads say they are, pray they'll be a hilarious one like Rod who you can at least make jokes about on the interweb, while the smoke slowly plumes from your head.

My only two personal interests, if it weren't obvious from the fact that I mention them all the time, are education and gay rights.

For the former: I have no idea what needs to be done or who should be elected in order to fix it, all I have to say is FIX IT.

Just someone for the love of God, fix our education system so my dad can read aloud to his students again, and doesn't have to stick to the "if it isn't tested it doesn't matter" mantra that has become The Public School System. My personal idea: why don't we just ask Switzerland (or whatever blonde country it is that's doing so well) what they're doing and then just copy them? They're pretty AND smart AND rich. I say, screw the American Dream. I want the Swiss Dream. And I want it to start in our schools.

And as far as gay rights go, I have tried and failed many times to write a gay marriage-centered post that doesn't end with me spitting out half-formed sentences of anger and bewilderment. And then I found this article from Newsweek, "The Conservative Case For Gay Marriage" which was written before Prop 8 was overturned (can I get a WHAT WHAT) and it's perfect. This is the most comprehensive articulation that I've seen of what people are saying against universal gay marriage and the logical arguments to refute them. So for today, I direct you there with a slow bow and a "namaste."

So if you vote tomorrow, I just ask you from my personal heart to yours: be nice to the kids and the gays. In both cases, they just want to have the same opportunities as you and I.

Friday, October 29, 2010


BEWARE BEFORE YOU READ: This post is intended for my lady readers. Men, feel free to keep reading if you want to have some real talk about bras. Otherwise I'll see you next week. You've been warned.

Yesterday there was a big Advertising Halloween party at an editing house. It was great! Free beer, free fun, loud music…OH, and once again I ended up on my soapbox about getting a bra fitting at Nordstrom in the middle of the crowded dance floor.

I am shocked—SHOCKED—that I have had this blog for almost an entire year and I have yet to write a post about bra fittings.

Here is the nub and gist of it: if you have only gotten a bra fitting at Victoria’s secret, dusted off your hands and called it a day, YOU ARE WEARING THE WRONG SIZE BRA. I will put money down on that fact to ANY of you.

Here is how I know:

Every SINGLE person who I know (and I know at least six off the top of my head) that thought they were wearing the right size according to Victoria and then went to Nordstom, found out that they were TWO whole cup-sizes bigger. And every person, once wearing the new Nordstrom bra, felt better, perkier, more holstered, and more comfortable than they ever had before.

And of course, me included.

I have known people to go in thinking they were an “unattractive” (and I use those quotes EMPHATICALLY) 36A their entire young lives, to come out finding they’re a lovely, enviable 36C. I have known people to go in thinking they were a droopy awkward 36D to come out finding they actually feel slimmer and more comfortable in their 32F.

Nothing makes me sadder than someone who looks like they feel awkward in their own boobs. Except maybe someone who laments that they’re an A when even I can now take one look at them and guarantee them that they’re bigger.

Oprah did a whole show and has online info on bra fittings, and guess who sponsored the whole thing? NORDSTROM.


And don't even give me the "I don't WANT to be 2 sizes bigger!" excuse. Because trust me, you do. You will once you feel what a difference it makes in the way you feel and walk and stand.

And speaking of big boobs--It annoys me GREATLY that people think enormous boobs are DDs. I remember a crass frat boy telling a story and saying "they were the biggest boobs I've ever seen in real life. They were like DOUBLE Ds, dude." Guess what. If they were the biggest boobs you've ever seen in real life? She was at least an H (That's five Ds). I guarantee that you see double Ds every day of your life. But because most stores, including VS, only go as high as DD, everyone assumes that's the biggest anyone could be, and anything higher would be a freak show. And anyone who is bigger is not told by the VS people that she is actually too big to fit their bras. She is simply given the wrong size and sent on her merry way, jiggling uncomfortably down the street. It's no wonder 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size bra. These people have probably been fitted by Victoria.




And even if you go and find out Victoria’s Secret was right (there’s a first for everything, I suppose), I have another reason you should get your bras from Nordstrom: they have the best return policy in the whole wide world.

Here’s a fun little story for you. Walk with me, won’t you?

A few years ago, I bought a bra from Nordstrom that didn’t fit me right (I tried sizing myself without help. I was wrong.) But I didn’t realize that until I’d worn it for an entire 90 degree day. As you can guess, things got a little sweaty up in here. Well I didn’t want to be The Girl Who Returned a Bra With Sweat Stains, so I washed it. Then I realized that I needed to dry it quickly so I could get to Nordstrom before they closed. But they say not to throw it in the dryer. So what did I do?

That’s right, I used a blow dryer. Face, I’d like to introduce you to Palm. You should be friends.

I noticed that the place I was blow drying was becoming a different color. I thought it was just the water drying. I kept going. Then I stopped. I looked harder. Oh yes. I had MELTED MY BRA. My bra that I needed to exchange for a different size.

I think I screamed. I definitely cried. And since my mom was at work, my poor dad had to be the one to try and console his hysterical daughter cradling a half-wet, half-melted bra in her hands. But he told me I should still try to exchange it.

So I did.

I walked up to the girl at the lingerie register, gave her the short version of the story, and (at this point I was basically on my knees with my clenched, entwined hands raised above my head in desperation) asked if there was any way she could exchange this one with a different size.

The girl, who was probably about my age, gave me a look like I cannot BELIEVE I am about to do this for you and said, “What size do you need?”

And that, my friends, is why you HAVE to go to Nordstrom. RIGHT. NOW. You HAVE to.

Please get a fitting. Even if you are old enough to remember Gandhi. DO IT. If you can go to Oak Brook, ask for Faye. She’ll help a sister out. If you have to go to the one downtown Chicago, then that’s probably better than nothing, but the suburban Nordstroms are best. Hopefully for those reading outside of the Chicagoland area, your Nordstrom is good, too. If not, hop on the next train and get over here. I am not exaggerating when I say that it will change your life.

Or at least it’ll change the way you fill out a dress.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Not A Hot Time In The Old Town

Last night I was woken up by our fire alarm at 2 am.

Joe, who was just about to go to bed (he was studying) still had the clarity of mind of a person who had NOT been jolted out of REM into a cacophony of horror.

His reaction: "I'll grab Regina." *Puts Regina in her carrier* *Puts on shoes and jacket* "Ready?"


We walked down all 8 flights of stairs, Regina meowing all the while as though this was something that perhaps we were doing on a LARK, and could let her out if she just reminded us loudly enough that she was still in a cage. I sat by her as others filed out, strategically shielding her eyes from the St. Bernard. Soon, a fire truck came, nothing was found, and we all went back inside and upstairs. adventures for all.

Between last night and the night before, when I was scared the impending storm was going to rip the I'm-sure-very-stable roof off our apartment, It's become very clear: I need some renter's insurance.

I meant to get some. A few years ago. When I lived on the 1st floor in a sliiiiiightly ghetto part of Ghettoville, USA. I remember attempting to get a quote online. But they kept asking me all these questions, like if I had a smoke detector or a fire putter-outer thing. And they asked me to estimate how much my stuff was worth.

And I ask you, how the hell do you even start to guess that? I mean, you can figure out the big things I guess, like the TV and the couch and the bed. But how do you start measuring your old Ninja Turtle figurines' worth? Or howabout your VHS tapes you refuse to let go of? What about the clothes you've acquired over dozens and dozens of trips to Target for "necessary things only"? What about the drawers of lotions and shampoos? And how do you measure the worth of the contact lenses that I JUST picked up under great stress and hardship to me? How does my insurance give me those 45 minutes back??

In the end, I gave up. I decided to take my chances with the stealthy security system we already had: owning very little. But after the stress of the past two days, and the thought of seeing all my precious, precious stuff either flung to hither and yon by a tornado, burned into tiny piles of ashes and melted plastic by someone's renegade shrine candles, or drenched by the dangling water spigots that I just KNOW are ready and willing to ruin all the time I've spent slaving over Ikea catalogs, I think it's time for some renter's insurance.

So I'll get right on that. Right after I light all these candles on my bed.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Single Most Stressful Day Of My Life

Well, Scrabble For Cheaters has come and gone. Dreams were crushed, PBRs were drunk in the middle of the day, and in the end,


AND!!! We all raised $10,000 total towards the impressionable minds of children! HUZZAH!!

So what does 2nd place mean? It means we played 4 games of Scrabble in 5 hours. And with only two minutes per turn, all of those games became down-to-the-wire, one-point-difference, oh-crap-is-FE-a-word-or-isn't-it-why-didn't-I-memorize-my-two-letter-words-better-quick-quick-just-play-something-for-the-love-of-GOD kind of games.

I think I gave myself about twenty ulcers on Saturday. I might as well have just stayed at home and chugged lemon juice straight from the bottle.

But NO! For then we wouldn't have raised all the moneys and helped all the childrens!

I have to give a special shout-out to my parents, who donated exactly enough money for us to purchase one of my favorite cheats: The Augment. The Augment lets you add 10 points to any letter. And how did we use it?

On the X in "EXITING." THAT'S RIGHT. All seven letters (50 points) plus a letter that's worth 18 points WHICH we were able to double up on another word. The word was worth almost 100 points and is absolutely the reason why we won that round.

*breathing heavily* Sorry, let me catch my breath from nerding out so hard just then.



........... okay all better.

So anyway, Adrienne and I would like to say thanks to the contributors. You helped us and the tutoring center out immensely. But I would especially like to thank my parents. I'm sorry, I like them more than you and you need to accept that.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The 5 Common Grammar Uses Of "Like"

I have a problem. I am one of those. For as snobby as I can be about spelling and grammar (IF YOU PASSED THE FIFTH GRADE, YOU SHOULD KNOW WHICH "THERE" TO USE, NO EXCUSES), I am a "like" person. As in: I say "like" in probably almost every sentence. I don't know how, I don't know why. I don't know where it came from and I don't know why it can't stop. But I DO know when and where to use it. And I'd like to pass this info onto you.

See, I get very annoyed with non-"like" people try and fail to use "like" properly in a sentence. Believe it or not, there actually is a method to the madness. For example:

WRONG: "Oh my like God! I'm totally writing a, like, diary entry about Wes Z!"
RIGHT: "Oh my God! I'm like, totally writing, like, a diary entry about Wes Z."

Get it? Ehh? Ehhhhhhh? Okay, let me break down "like" into it's uses then. Maybe this will help.

1) Exaggeration

I think this is the closest way that "like" is used to its original intent of simile (It's green like a leaf.) But in its current use, it's really more about making it obvious to your listener that you are exaggerating.

EXAMPLE: He was, like, 12 feet tall. And he had an ox that was, like, blue.

2) Like = "said/thought"

"Like" is used to recreate dialogue. It can get very confusing, because "like" can mean three things here--that someone said it, 'I' thought it, or someone otherwise expressed it non-verbally.

"So Bob was like, 'What did you just say to me?' and Dave got all pumped and he was like, oh man someone is going to get killed here. And I'm like, If you punch me I will actually kill you."

In this scenario, Bob said something. Dave acted excited but didn't say anything, and 'I' merely thought that sentence. Usually stories like this require the listener to qualify, "Wait, did you actually say that or did you just think it?"

This one actually catches my attention the most because the phrase "I'm like" sounds surprisingly like "Emily" if you say it fast enough.

3) Like = "Here's the thing."

"Like" can ease you into some rough waters.

EXAMPLE "Okay so like...I don't have any peanut butter to give you."

4) Like = "For example."

This is either if you're explaining something, or if you just don't have a very strong opinion. You can find these phrases because they can usually be ended with "or something."

"Okay so like, say you're really good at the piano or something."
"I really want like a steak burrito or something."

5) Like = "Um"

Like has simply become a space-filler. It doesn't actually mean "um" exactly, but it's the kind of thing you say so that no one interrupts you, like "um" or "well."

EXAMPLE: "I that you cared."

This, I think, is actually the "like" that is used the most, and the one that I used in my very first example about Wes Z. Basically, replace "Like" with "um" and you can see why one of those sentences works and the other doesn't. "Like" doesn't break up phrases. It fills the space while you swing from clause to clause, or even fragment to fragment. Which is why it's also pretty subjective, in the end. It depends where you want to pause in a sentence. But in the end, it can pretty much go anywhere and feel natural, as long as it isn't coming in the middle of a clump of words. You'd never say:
"Merry like Christmas."
"I want some Chinese like food."
"I love Merryl like Streep."
"Let's watch Forty like Year-Old Virgin."

And that's it. I'm racking my brains trying to find another use, but as far as I can tell, they all can fit into one of those 5. Can anyone find another use?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Who wants to be charitable in a FREE kind of way?

I ask because I haven't requested any votes for Blogger's Choice in a REALLY long time.
So I'm asking! You've gotta make an account, but it's quick, painless, and free. And besides the fact that that's what she said, you will also get nary an email or spam.

So that button on the right that's turquoise and black? Click on it. And get voting!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Fears and Facts

First, I must start this post with a little about podcasts, although that has nothing to do with what I want to tell you.

In iTunes, there is a whole “podcast” section. Click on it. There are, like, 80 billion (rough estimate) awesome podcasts out there for all your podcast needs. I mean, really it’s like recorded XM radio. And I think they're all free. So go there.

WHILST you are there, specifically look for This American Life and Stuff You Should Know (or click those links and get there faster.) These are two amazing podcasts. The former is like what this blog would be like if it were informed and written by someone who took AH Journalism class and had connections and were much, much better.

The latter, Stuff You Should Know, is basically like nerdery for the non-nerds. AKA me. Examples of podcast titles:

1. How Food Cravings Work
2. How The Hells Angels Work
3. How Kleptomania Works
4. How Braille Works

And the list goes on. Practically forever, and/or at least until 2008. SO! Why am I telling you all this?

I am telling you all this because I recently listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast about quicksand, and I feel like my entire life is turned upside down right now.

Yes. We almost have a “making ends meat” situation on our hands here, people.

Turns out, it’s basically impossible to die in quicksand. Amongst all the reasons is that quicksand is never as deep as a human being. And even if you stepped in it, you’d basically just float at the top, not get sucked into it.

The thing is, besides having the malady of a weak bladder, I was also a fairly paranoid child. And after a few movies where people got stuck in quicksand (OR WORSE, ATREYU’S HORSE DROWNED IN THE MUCK AND OH MY GOD I STILL CAN’T HANDLE THAT) I was convinced that I would some day die from falling in a pit of quicksand. I didn’t know how or why, but the idea terrified me to my very soul.

But no one ever brought me the facts of quicksand. They just said “Oh, Emily. You won’t die in quicksand.” And left it at that, with no substantial evidence to change my mind! And just telling me that there is no quicksand in Illinois would have helped not at all because NO ONE SUSPECTS THE QUICKSAND INQUISITION.

It reminded me of my fear of robbers. I was scared to go to bed at night because I knew a Bad Guy would break into our house and steal all our things and kidnap me and my siblings. And you know what convinced me otherwise? My mom told me that since she and my dad’s bedroom is in the basement, that the robbers would come in those windows and she and my dad would just beat them up.

Bam, end of that fear. I mean, when you’re four, who’s more badass than Mom and Dad?

As I walked around Chicago, listening to the podcast, I had to keep pausing it in order to reflect on the MANY things I was scared of, if only someone had given me good reason not to be.

Like fire. I was sure that a fire would start in our hallway and none of us would be able to get out. And all I really needed was someone to stick a fire detector up there, assure me that a fire would start in the kitchen far away from us, and I would have slept like a baby.

Or escalators! I had a late fear of escalators, spawned from the 90’s show, “Rescue 911.” The thing is, I didn’t realize that a show with the word “Rescue” in it might possibly mean that everything would be okay. So of course I turned it off right in the middle of the reenactment, here

Instead of watching the last two minutes (which I just did thanks to the wonder of YouTube. By the way, STILL SCARY.) when the boy looks all healthy and rosy-cheeked again:

But, see, if someone had just told me, “That boy was fine, and it won’t happen to you because you are not SITTING on the escalator” then the fear would have evaporated in seconds!

Cold hard facts. That’s all I ever needed. Or, really, looking at all of these fears, all I actually needed was the internet. SO GET ON THAT, 1992.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The 5 Celebrities I'd Get A Timeshare With

Last weekend I dusted off Season 3 of Friends. And since I don't reference that show enough for you, here's some more!

It was the episode where Ross is trying to decide which 5 celebrities make his "list" of who he would be allowed to sleep with without Rachel getting mad. He takes the whole episode to decide, and at the end (10-YEAR-OLD SPOILER ALERT!) he actually meets Isabella Rossellini, who he had booted off the list for being too international.

SO! The episode got me thinking--who would my 5 celebrities be? But here's the thing: I'm raising the stakes. Any given celebrity is good looking enough to have one night in Bangkok with. The question is: who is TRULY worthy? That's right. What celebrity would you cherish for better or worse? Which would you roll your eyes at when they tell the same joke to different friends? The question is: which celebrity would you open a Google Docs to track your shared family plan bill with?

I'm curious what other people have to say. And to start you off on your journey, here are my five:

1. John Krasinski

Like this was a question. To me, people who DON'T want to marry John Krasinski are like people who don't like chocolate or cheese or happiness. These must be the same people who watch him on talk shows and don't laugh at his jokes. ROBOTS! YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND HIM LIKE I DO.

2. Paul Rudd

I decided that I would some day marry Paul Rudd when I saw the trailer for How Do You Know, which is coming out at Christmas.

Because how amazing is Paul Rudd ALWAYS? Or in I Love You Man? "Slappin' da bass"? COME ON! He can't help the way he is because clearly that's how he is in real life. And it's like we were made for each other! HE'S adorably awkward, I'M adorably awkward! (caveat: you must consider the fact that I run into walls 'adorable'...)

3) Mario Batali

Laugh if you will. The truth is, we all lose our looks one day. But Italian food is forever. As are orange crocs. ALSO, have any of you seen "Spain-On The Road Again" on PBS? It's MAGIC. Pure Magic. Mario Batali and some other guy travel Spain and learn about the country and say hilarious things and laugh and eat food and nap. And then eat and then nap. And then suddenly Gweneth Paltrow is there and things get very classy VERY quickly.

QUESTION: Is one of my life goals to travel, eat, sit, nap, and hang out with Gweneth Paltrow all at once?

So yeah. I'd marry Mario Batali. I'd marry him right nice.

4) Ed Helms

-We'd make amazing karaoke partners
-He can play the banjo
-That's about all.

So fine, I can't give you a true reason for wanting to marry Ed Helms. It's a gut reaction and I'm sticking with it.

5) Colin Firth

I could see Colin Firth and I curling up in matching sweaters in front of a fireplace somewhere in the English countryside. We'd be the most mature couple, and we'd only drink wine that costs over $20 because, yeah, we're fancy.

I want to take Colin Firth to a high-class event held in a museum and watch him make everyone feel inferior to him. But then when we're alone and I'm upset about something and I start crying, he completely falls apart and gets all flustered and doesn't know what to do so he gets all Bumbling British Person and offers me tea and cakes and runs his hands through his thick, luscious hair a million times. And even when he's old and in his wheelchair and I'm still in my prime, I will wheel him around and announce that I'm with The Guy Who Played Mr. Darcy so they better do whatever I want them to do. It will be a very stable, very grounded marriage.

So that's it. That's my current list. And yours?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Most Important Book You'll Ever Read

I have in my possession The Holy Grail. And, like Charlie's golden ticket, it is the kind of thing that one can only discover when one least expects it.

There I was, standing in an obscenely long line at the pharmacy. As my mind wandered, my eye caught sight of something strange. It was a book in the clearance bin. As I could see it, the title read, 'MEN WHO [$5.99] & THE DOGS". I stared, trying to figure out what the price sticker was covering up. Because, of course, my mind started going to all kinds of places.

Ahh, times were so simple back then (two days ago). So simple.

I reached for the book and removed the sticker. And this was what I beheld:

Sweet, sweet Lord. In case there was a question, God exists. God exists, and he is especially fond of me in particular. And by association, he probably likes you, too. But mostly me.

I flipped through this book with tears welling in my eyes, giggling and gasping at every page. I knew from the moment I read the title that this was the perfect gift to give someone. But when I opened the book I realized it wasn't a gift for someone. It was a gift...for the world.

I have been bequeathed a very real, very necessary item. And it would behoove me to share such an item with as many people as possible. Frankly, I can't think of a better way to reach the masses. So I give to you a sampling. If you'd like the entire thing, you'll have to come visit me, or buy it yourself. I highly suggest doing both. Because I'm not giving this bad boy away.

Here we go.

Are you ready?

Wait for it.....

Here we go for real. First picture.

Here is this book at its most basic: Man, sweater. Dog, matching sweater. "And, look, Barkley! Here's all the numbers I got from hot babes who love men that knit dog sweaters! Pages and pages of them!...what do you mean 'this is my mother's number written over and over again?' THAT IS NOT WHY I TAUGHT YOU TO READ."

Another great part about this book is the intro. I have this to say: Is my new dream to own a yarn/wine shop in small town Michigan? YES. ALWAYS.

This dog is such a trooper. Doing tricks in a knitted 'kerchief, and for what? A hand without a treat from a goony-looking man who is most assuredly in Dad jeans? You keep chugging along, lil guy. Don't you give up. Not on my watch.

Nothing like staring into the distance, surveying the land, and contemplating your two-level sweater.

Seriously, how ADORABLE is this picture? How adorable...and yet, how sad?

A) A man with a sleeve tattoo would absolutely knit his own socks, just as assuredly as he would wear one of those 90s hemp sweaters.
B) A man with a sleeve tattoo would rather die than be caught knitting just as assuredly as he would rather die than drive a tan Volvo.
C) I can't decide but how hilarious is it that they very clearly included the sleeve tattoo to try and make the book seem more edgy?

What? WHAT? .....WHAT?!! I can't even...I don't even...This doesn't even....

I'm sorry, but there is no chance in the history of America that this man knit himself this sweater.

I'm sorry, but there is a high probability that THIS man knit himself this sweater. And that last guy's. And every sweater in this book. Twice.

"Ha ha ha...We are laughing and we are very good friends. Good buddies sharing a special moment. Laughing and enjoying our friendship, and someday we'll look back on this with much fondness."
"Dude...why am I on a chair in the middle of the house?"

Really? Does EVERYTHING in your life need to be knitted? How about a knitted food bowl?

Emily: "Huh. This guy's not terrible-looking. I mean, despite the fact that he's wearing the Christmas sweater his great aunt made him--wait. WAIT. WHAT IS THAT DOG WEARING?"....

OH MY GOD. KNITTED. MUSCLE SHIRT. FOR YOUR DOG. When Joe finally adopts Arf Vandelay Vandely Industries, I WILL learn to knit and this WILL be my first project and it WILL be amazing.

Sir, sitting in a Jeep Wrangler with your sunglasses on your head does not make up for the fact that you KNIT YOUR DOG A MUSCLE SHIRT OUT OF MULTICOLORED YARN.

"Come on, man. Pull yourself together. You can do this tonight. You can DO THIS. You're a strong, confident, totally rad Maltese in a sweater. Why WOULDN'T she date you? Come on. Suck it up."

Boy, DO I?! Do I EVER!! (Here comes the picture in 5...4...3...2...)

I remember the time--this was after 'Nam, see--when I would go fishing. Just me and the guys, you know? We'd sit along the lake, them with their dogs, me with little Bubbles...they'd spend their time cursing over lost fish and touching unsanitary worms. But me and Bubbles? Why, we'd just sit and knit, sit and knit. All weekend long. Good thing she was in charge of carrying the extra yarn, or I don't know WHAT we would have done.

If you take away the matching hat and the dog sweater, this isn't such a terrible picture. Just a guy whose sister made him a warm scarf. But you CAN'T take away the hat and dog sweater. YOU CAN'T. And therein lies the majesty of this book.

How much money are you willing to put down that Ted would win the Most High Maintenance Gay Man Ever Award? Because I am willing to put down quite a bit.

At first, you may look at this picture and think, "Well this guy isn't so bad." True, he has that once-nerdy charm about him. But then you remember that the sweater he's wearing doesn't come from Kohl's, but from his own needle-bearing hands. And then you really take a good look at his face and you notice that it has a bit of a creepy come-hither-so-I-can-kill-you look. And that reminds you of the nice man in Grey's Anatomy who turned into a mass murderer and OH MY GOD, MIRANDA BAILEY, RUN FOR YOUR LIFE HE IS ON YOUR FLOOR RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!1

Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer but you're still creepy, dude.

"You know what I need? A hat with deadlock-inspired yarn coming out from the top."
"But Gerald! That technique hasn't been invented yet! You'd be CRAZY to try that!"
"You just watch, Francine. It'll be big someday. HUGE."
"That's what she said."
"Touché, Francine. Touché."
Oh, I'm sorry. Were you guys wondering about the matching dog sweater? Well, wonder no more.

Soak it in. Soak it all in.

And finally, here is one of the two authors. I'm curious...what does tongue-in-cheek mean?