Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And I Feel Fine

Sorry about the lack of blogging 'round these parts lately. I've been in a slump. I basically get halfway through a sentence before I mutter "aw, screw it" and put something from Netflix back on.

The best part about being unemployed is the sheer amount of Hulu Plus and Netflix Instant I am able to fit into my day while still being a functional person. I also spend extra time at the gym and go on extensive walks along the lake, clean my studio (OH MY GOD WHERE HAVE YOU GONE, DISHWASHER?! YOU ARE MY ONLY FRIEND), hang out with people, etc etc. AND STILL. I complete whole television series within a week. It's glorious. Absolutely glorious. Part of the reason I do this, I'm convinced, is because I grew up in a large family and a small house. I hated it at the time and wanted privacy, particularly during the whole "gross I have to wear a bra this is SOOOOO EMBARRASSIIIIIIING" phase. But now it's what I'm used to. I'm used to there being voices and interruptions and people walking in and out and through at any given moment. So brushing my teeth or washing dishes now in complete silence is practically torture. So I have Netflix and Hulu and they are magical. I don't know how I survived before without them. I probably had thoughts. LAME.

Louis CK has this bit where he says he's divorced and when people say "aww" he's all, don't be sorry for me. I was in a terrible marriage and now I'm not. I'm actually happier now than I have been in a decade. You should be applauding for me. (Obviously he says it in a funny way, that's just my boring interpretation.)

That's how I feel about unemployment right now. People ask me what's new and I feel compelled to tell them that I was laid off recently. Because that is honestly what's new. I mean, I totally am the awkward kind of person who might try to not mention it and then end up knee deep in lies about how their job is going which they currently don't even have, but I just don't have the strength for that kind of storytelling. Not for something without dragons and a karate-kicking princess.

So I tell people I'm unemployed and they all have one of two reactions: "Oh, I'm so sorry!" with that pained look on their face, or a totally uncomfortable "Aw jeez I wish I hadn't even asked" *single finger collar pull*.

And I try to explain that it's totally fine. In fact, it's not just fine. It's actually pretty much awesome. I hated what I was doing, every single day I was doing it. And I'm not a 45 year old with kids to feed who'd have an excuse to hate their job, I was just a miserable 26 year old, whittling away the best years she's got. Now I get to actually enjoy the amazing weather we've been having. I go to the gym in the middle of the day and I still have time to come home, shower, and go out. I get to watch absurd amounts of things on the internet. Basically, every day is Saturday for me. I have no family to support, no medical bills to pay off. What I'm saying is, I'm having a kick ass time, despite a downtick in funds. Do not feel sorry for me, do not feel sorry for asking.

Their response to my positive response? "Sure! You WILL be fine! You're young. You'll land on your feet!" they say, consoling me. "....So are you applying for jobs?"


Friday, August 26, 2011

Improv Level B

So, as I've said, I've decided to take the next level of improv classes. Despite my horrific showing during the after-class improv pick-up game, I think I'm generally pretty good at it. And I of course mean "Level A good". I'm no Colin Mochrie here, I mean come on.

And really, is anyone?

Oh my god, the majesty of that gif. The majesty.

So anyway, I'm not sure what else to say about it. But people seem to be curious about it so here goes. Second City does a good job of easing you into the situation until suddenly you're creating scenes with people and you had no idea. All of a sudden you're just in the middle of one. What's great is the scenes don't necessarily last very long and no one expects you to be hilarious. There are plenty of scenes where I've gotten a slight pity chuckle and then put out of my misery by the teacher calling "Scene!" And there are times when I feel like I have the scene in the palm of my hand and people are laughing. There was one where I was a gym rat working on my pecs, and another where I was a bored teenager slouched so low in my chair I was almost laying down. Those were both fun. I could have kept doing those scenes all day. Then there was the one where we were nudist paintings and I said nothing except somehow a Lost reference (I don't even know), or one where we were picking out prom dresses and it went absolutely nowhere. I think that's kind of the fun about it--you're not always amazing. I mean, is anyone ever 100% great at what they do? Except, like...Mozart, It's what makes those successes so much sweeter, when you've already failed a bunch of times.

Besides that class, I'm taking another one at a place called Improv Olympic called "Talk Show Portfolio." Basically you learn how to write two-liner jokes, like the ones on Weekend Update or the Tonight Show. Once you take that class you get into Sketch Writing and then Spec Script writing. If you want to be a sitcom writer, you submit a few spec scripts of shows that are already running. That's how Mindy Kaling got her job writing for the Office: she wrote a spec script for Arrested Development. So I'm starting with the joke-learning. Once the class is done, I'll likely be in San Francisco so I can't take the next two from iO, but hopefully there's something comparable if I want to keep going. I just keep telling people, "I don't know exactly what they have in San Francisco, but Robin Williams lives there so there's gotta be something."

I figure it's now or never if I really want to go into another kind of writing in time to be discovered and put on screen next to Tom Hanks before I get all wrinkly and droopy and get typecasted as the school marm. So I'm testing the waters. And maybe I'll know where I stand a little bit better before I move.

Anyway, that's the story with that! I'm sorry this wasn't more funny. It's weird, it's like I can't be funny when I'm talking about being funny. God, I need to quit digging this hole. It's getting steep.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Love Letter to Advertising

I guess it wasn't love at first site, Advertising. There must have been dozens of cookie and action figure ads...your attempts at capturing my attention that I just let fly past me, unaware you were trying to court me.

No, it wasn't until Tabasco. A man ate a pizza drenched in it. Smiling, he let a mosquito bite him. Then, after flying away for a second, the mosquito exploded. An enormous, tiny explosion. That was when I knew, Advertising. That's when I knew I loved you.

I started following you around with puppy dog eyes, hoping you'd notice me. Little did I know, you were trailing me along with a sly smirk. People told me I'd never have you because only someone who REALLY wanted you could ever catch you. Thing was, I REALLY wanted you.

And I caught you.

Our love blossomed at first. It was my first relationship, though, and it wasn't as easy as I dreamed it would be. But you were good to me. You let me be myself: funny sometimes, or serious when I wanted to be. You showed me you had flaws. And you showed me you had secret bits of perfection, too.

They say when you live through a tragedy together, it can bring you closer. I'm not so sure that's true of you and I. I always try to tell myself that I didn't know Paul that well, but it's hard to recover from something like that when you're still so impressionable.

You hurt me early. And lately I've felt nothing but hurt from you, Advertising. For some reason, it seems I only remember the bad times any more. You've become uninteresting and unreliable. Or am I the one who has become that way? That's the thing about long term relationships: you're never quite sure who's the problem, you just know there is one.

I keep grasping for that first lovestruck feeling I had for you. I miss that version of you. The one that wanted me to be my best. I wanted us to be so simple. To get along so well that we turned heads.

Maybe this break from each other is for the best, Advertising. Maybe we need some time to think. At least I do. I'm not sure where our love is failing, quite. Maybe it's a bit from both of us. Maybe I need to change my attitude, but you could stand to relax, too. I want to become that person again. The one who fell in love with a mosquito.

Until next time,


Monday, August 22, 2011

Hitting-On Situation, Part 2

Every once in a while, my subconscious gets very guilty about not posting and sends me a dream to kick myself in high gear. Last night I had a dream that someone had written a review of my blog, giving it good reviews, but telling people to skip the ones about work, particularly all the posts about my former coworker (whom I have never blogged about and will likely never blog about because he is simply a nice man with whom I have no beef.) SO FINE. FINE, BRAIN. I WILL WRITE A POST THAT IS NOT ABOUT WORK. HAPPY?!

I was hit on again this weekend. And it could not have been further from my previous experience the week before. Check it, check it:

I was dressed and ready for the gym: no makeup, falling apart Nikes, headband, ugly old baggy tshirt from that team-building exercise '99...you know. The kind of clothes I will inevitably be wearing when I run into all my ex-boyfriends.

There was an old man power-walking past the door right when I walked outside. Rut-roh, another "walkward" situation. But this was an old man. He was over 70 if he was a day, with his shoulders permanently hunched and his socks so high they were touching the bottom of his shorts. I figured I would easily pass him and move on.

"Hi." He said.
"Hello." I smiled, and start walking. But here's the thing: that was one fast, old, hunchbacked man. He was keeping up.
"I used to live in this apartment. I paid $60 a month for a studio."
"Heh heh...wow..." I said. Because I don't know if I've mentioned this, I AM AWKWARD. "It's...I pay for...that's not what it is now..." I mumble, trying to remember how to be a functioning person and figure out how long I now have to keep up this conversation.
"How much are you paying now?"
"Uh, about $600 for a studio. So, a little bit more."
"Ah. Well if you ever need a roommate!"

BRAIN PAUSE! WHAT?! Wait, was that a joke? Or were you being suggestive? Moving on, moving on, he's just a dirty old man, moving on.

"You walking to work?" he said.
"No, I'm going to the gym right up there."
"Oh! I'll walk with you! I'm just parked up in Rogers Park, I've been walking around. Just sold my business so now I have time to just walk and walk and I'm just up this way so I can walk over a block with you."
"O....kaaaaay...uuuuurrrrhhhh, what business did you own?"
"Taxis. I just sold a bunch of my taxis to some Ruski. Bah, he seemed like a fine man. Strong, big shoulders. He's bought my taxis so now I just walk around here, getting in shape."
At this point we'd walked a few blocks. My gym is really close, and we were waiting at the light.
"Ah, I used to go to that barber." He said, pointing across the street. "Don't any more though. You know those Italians, they just talk and talk and talk." I smiled.
"What's your name?" he asked.
"I'm Emily."
"Emily! Hi, I'm Art Johnson, nice to meet you." He bulldozed through this next part like a pro. "So Emily, whaddya say I get your number, I can call you up we can go out sometime, we could go to a nice meal?"
"Oh, that's okay. I already have a boyfriend." (BRAIN PAUSE: "That's okay"?? What did he, spill water on me? PULL IT TOGETHER, EMILY.)
"Ah well. All the good ones are taken, am I right? Well Emily, I'm going to go on this way. You take care."
"Bye, you too."

I was totally blown away. This was by far the fastest I had met someone and been asked out, and by a septuagenarian no less. And it was glorious. I mean, weird and awkward and "REALLY?! with Seth and Amy" but still glorious. Because here's the thing: this man is old. He's doesn't have time to mess around. He sees a pretty girl (shut up shut up) and he goes for it. No time to ponder the 50 year age difference. Twinkies have gone bad between our births but WHO CARES, amiright?

It was such a stark comparison to last week, with a guy saying things like "yes it is difficult for me to work long hours because it means I do not have a girlfriend," to go to the old man saying "Hey nice to meet you why don't we go out sometime?" With an ACTUAL question that I could ACTUALLY answer. And then taking that answer, accepting it, and walking the hell away. I don't know if this is a generational difference or an age difference--if these men have never minced words, or if they grow out of it once they realize they're out of time and they should make the most of the few years they have left with their original teeth.

Either way, guys our age are not like that. Just the other day, I was talking to some friends and we agreed that an art show or art museum is a good place for a first date. I was thinking because it automatically provides conversation without dominating the night. But one guy friend said, "yeah and you have an out so it doesn't have to actually be a date." I imitated in my 'dude' voice, "No, I just meant we could go as friends, JEEZ" and he laughed and said, "Exactly!" *SIGHHHHHHHHHH*

I mean, I can't fault young guys for doing this. I'm guilty of it myself. I actually asked Joe out on our first date, via text (UGH, I know. Those youngins and their technology and their Pepsi and their Ninja Turtles and their Walkmans *Shakes fist*) but I didn't really specify if it was a date. I just said we should get food. I mean really, looking back, I should have assumed it was a date. Joe sure did. And we'd been flirting for weeks so it's not like it would be a surprise. But I was scared that he thought it was just some friendly pizza, so I spent a day in a dither about what to wear. Was this date-sexy or friend-casual? And it was lunch. And it was pizza. So I didn't know what to do. In the end, I wore my sexiest hoodie (no bleach stains) because I'm the kind of girl who has hoodies at different levels of sexiness.

While on the date, it became clear that it was actually a date and not two pals palling around, so I got off free without having to actually ask one way or the other. So what I'm saying is, I understand that it can be complicated. And scary, and an ego blow. But can't we all learn from Old Man Art and say what we mean just a little more often? Or at least learn to ask a girl out within 3 blocks or not at all.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Finally, The Truth

Warning: this post is just about my personal life. If you're all, "Boo! Get back to disparaging Johnny Depp!" you can skip this one. May I suggest getting hooked on 2birds1blog?

Okay guys. I have a lot of truth to spill all up on your grill. It might get a little sloppy so I want to apologize in advance. (Also, that's what she said. But that's neither here nor there.)

I've been laid off. And it is totally and completely okay. In fact, it's not just okay. It's good.

Question: Did you write this post the day before you were laid off?
Answer: In fact I did.
Question: Yowza. Are you currently editing this post under the influence of a day's worth of PBR?
Answer: Y'all don't know me.
Question: Did your dinner consist of scavenged garlic fries and congealed nachos?

Yes. It happened. But in order for you to get the full picture, in the words of the great Lil' John, "Back back back it up."

Here are some life facts, coming at you in waves.

Let's all recall how about this time last year, I was hired full time at an ad agency after a long time of unsteady/no work. I was happy to have the money and dental appointments and treated myself to AN shopping spree at American Eagle. Because, yeah. I'm worth it. About three months later, my account was put up for review. Clearly this had nothing to do with me; it is literally a billion dollar account. So basically I've known since 2010 that my time at this job could be limited. So there's that.

Completely beside this point, I was miserable. I came home every day with a new boiling anger. There were tears. Often. It almost always had to do with interpersonal issues. But the ads I was making weren't making me happy, either. They always came out clunky, cheesy, boring, and once even misogynistic. I didn't know where I was going wrong. I stopped believing that I could even make a good ad. So why didn't I just ask to transfer? Well...

Elsewhere, Joe was in his final year at grad school and was looking for jobs in Chicago, but it wasn't going well. He was getting really down on himself. Somewhere along the way, we decided it would be okay if he started looking at other cities. That's when I wrote this post about potential cities where he had leads.

I figured it was silly of me to raise drama and awkwardness in the office by asking to be moved when Joe and I could have been moving across the country when he graduated in May. Add on the fact that I thought it would look bad to ask to be transferred off an account in review, and there I was, feeling stuck in limbo.

Eventually Joe got the contract job in San Francisco where he is now. What I haven't told you, though, is that the contract job is very likely to become full time. They told him that they had the intention to hire him once the 4 months was up. But since he hasn't signed any papers to that effect, we didn't want to make assumptions and move our lives out there prematurely. But there are tons of great ad agencies out there, so it wouldn't just be a good professional move for Joe, it would be one for me, too. The fly in the ointment was that I still had a full-time job and couldn't just pick up and go.

Well. While I was visiting Joe in San Francisco we found out that my agency lost the account (yes, when you are a billion-dollar company, it takes you 7 months to make a decision of this magnitude.) Which meant that I would probably be let go. So I've known Doomsday was coming for weeks.

I still couldn't mention any of this on the blog or Facebook because (and here's the HUBBA WHA? part) In a way, I wanted to be let go. (HUBBA WHA?! I told you.) What we realized is, if I got laid off then I could collect unemployment. Which means if I moved to San Francisco, I would have a (paltry but existent) income while I looked for work. But if people at work found out I was considering moving, I was afraid I would be denied it somehow. I mean, I don't know, maybe that makes no fiscal sense. I nearly failed BOTH macro- and microeconomics so you shouldn't listen to me. Alls I know is, I didn't want to negatively influence the decision either way. So I zipped my lid.

And in the end, I got let go with the rest of the crowd Tuesday morning and spent the day at the bar down the street. I'm not going to move to SF right away for a few reasons, but the biggest is because I signed up for the next level of improv (and I know I haven't talked about it since the day I complained about my failure, but it's going well and I plan to write about it soon.) and another writing class that I'm really excited about. Both of these classes run through the end of October, which was when we were originally planning the move anyway.

So what all this means:

- I am no longer miserable.
- But I am back to spending as little as possible.
- But I can get unemployment money.
- And I can freelance for different clients.
- It's very possible I will move to San Francisco before the end of the year.
- I will keep blogging from there and I'm sure there will be stories in pictures to be had.
- I can spend some time really considering what I want to do professionally, and figuring out if it's copywriting or some other form of writing/creating where I don't get turned down because my idea is "too funny." (OH IT HAPPENED.)
- Hopefully I will become "unemployed skinny" again, since I can work out all day and afford to eat nothing but air sandwiches.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why I Don't Like Big Dogs


It's true. I had an epiphany recently that, despite my previous statements of liking anything fuzzy, I kinda dislike big dogs.


This is not a post about how cats are better than dogs. If you are looking for such a post, you will never find it here. I believe in the lyrics of that classic children's song:
"All God's critters got a place in the choir
so quit getting your pants in a bunch about it
and let's be friends, for Christ's sake."

This is also not a post in which I try to convince you to dislike big dogs. This is an epiphany all my own, with my experiences and biases.

I came to acknowledge my dislike the other day while walking home from the grocery store. I went to turn down a street and saw a large dog about a block away. I did one of those "Blurg! *shuffle shuffle" things, backed up, and kept walking down the original street, deciding to turn at the next block instead.

I started thinking: Why? What has that dog done? Nothing. Nothing except look large. What was it that made me want to avoid it? The reason, I realized, is twofold:

1. I'm scared of a lot of large dogs.

Dogs you don't know are unpredictable. You don't know if it is a Beethoven or a Cujo. And big dogs' jaws are designed to rip apart small to medium animals. My childhood friend's son was attacked by a large dog. And I have had a few run-ins (injury free but still terrifying) with large dogs myself while babysitting. And if you know me at all, you know there was no egging on for my part. (I mean, come on. I call Great Danes "puppies".) And yet I've seen my life flash before my eyes multiple times thanks to large dogs.

2. The big dogs that don't scare me...kind of annoy me.

Okay now here is where I'm sure I'll get some eye rolls, but big dogs that are nice are also often slobbery and overweight. And they LOVE to smell people's crotches. I don't know about you, but I enjoy nothing more than trying to shake my boyfriend's parents hand while also shoving a Labrador away from my crotch. Really leaves a good first impression.

So fine, maybe I have angered you. And for dudes, this opinion certainly doesn't make me a "cool" chick (see also, my disdain for sports)(But on the other hand please see my love of beer and occasional Star Wars references?) But I need to be honest with myself. I'm just not the biggest fan of large dogs.

I know, I know, big dogs save people from burning buildings and they're loyal and sweet and answer the phone for people who have no arms. And I'm sure most of them are lovely, wonderful creatures. But you have to admit it, they can't ALL be Shadow.

Ohhhh, Shadow! You were old and hurt and in a ditch and we thought you were too old and it was too far but you made it out! And you were so worried about Peter but really WE were so worried about YOU! SHADOW! Sha-ha-ha-dow! ARRRGGGALARRAAAHAAAAHHHH!--Wait, let me say something! Let me say something!--BLLRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Okay, everyone immediately go hug your pet. If you have a large dog, please give it a ham bone for me. God, this is like the Toy Story fandango all over again.

Monday, August 15, 2011

4 Things I Drew That Were Accidentally Adorable

Bear with me as I give a little explanation about the basic structure of creative advertising, as it is important to explain how these drawings came to be.

People who create ads are split up into two groups: art directors and copywriters. One focuses on how the ad looks and specializes in graphic design and scrolling through hours of stock photos, and one focuses on how the ad sounds or reads and specializes in making people feel bad for not knowing the difference between "its" and "it's". Usually they put one of each together and you make ads with that one person. Sometimes I forget that most people don't know all this and talk about Jamie as my "partner" which gets a raised eyebrow until I clarify.

Brainstorming together, Jamie and I usually throw ideas at each other, scribble stuff down, figure out what we like, and then Jamie sketches something and I put together some basic copy. Once we feel we're getting the point across, we can show it to our Creative Directors and see what they think.

Sometimes, though, I have an idea that Jamie isn't seeing. So in order to show what I mean, I draw something quickly so she can create something much more lovely than I could. And sometimes they turn out accidentally awesome. Here are four I've made that I was particularly proud of.

This one was supposed to be a panel of judges at a food network show. You know how there is always some snooty British person? May I introduce the man on the left.

This was a woman surrounded by a bubble. Within her bubble was a meadow, even though she was really at home. She just looks so darn happy!

This is a woman picking up her nice-smelling dog. The dog looks so confused!

This one I couldn't find the real picture to scan it, I only found the picture I took of it. But it is Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present. And isn't he the cutest, shocked-looking Scrooge you've ever seen? Look at his nightcap all blown back and everything!

Okay, that is all. Just wanted to share my accidental creativity with you all.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Why Am I So Freaking Awkward?

Oh God, I had a hitting-on situation yesterday.

So I had to return my cable box to the cable company yesterday, and of course they were in the ass middle of Nowhere, Chicago. So from work I had to take two different buses to get there. It was one of those creepy, depressing business centers with nothing but street and one-story office buildings. If I had driven it would have been no big deal. But having to walk through it is another story. See, I'm used to my urban center. And suddenly I find myself unable to hold out my arms and feel a building at each fingertip and I am scared. Suddenly Chicago stops being home to hot dogs and blues and John Cusack. It is now home of murderers and gangs and Al Capone, the original Scarface.

Someone else got off the bus with me. A skinny guy in I.T. Business Casual (clothes that are too big, tucked into other clothes that are too big) and some kind of accent. Something middle easterny. I pulled out my phone to figure out exactly where to go next. He said, "Bradley Street is this way, yes?" And, having checked my phone and realized that was the street I was heading to as well, told him yes and then gave him a few feet of buffer so we didn't have to awkwardly walk next to each other or on each others' heels (Joe and I have coined this type of situation. We call it "walkward.")

But when we got to Bradley, he checked with me again to figure out where to go. I pointed to the building with the cable company's name on it in big letters, and the guy took this as a sign to start talking to me. Lovely.

He told me we had been on both buses together and mentioned something about how he remembered because he noticed how cute I was. Well that was nice, actually. I laughed awkwardly. It may have been a guffaw. Because what the hell should your reaction be when you are involuntarily hit on in the middle of your cable company's parking lot?

We both went inside where there were two glass windows with women behind them. We each returned the boxes we needed to return. He left and I slowly, sloooowwwwwwwwwwwwly put my wallet back in my purse. I slooooowwwwwwly zipped up my purse. I sat down at a chair and checked my phone for the directions home. All of this very timed. I figured by the time I got out the door, he'd at least be halfway back to the bus stop by then and I could avoid an awkward walk back.

He was waiting for me. Looking at his phone in the parking lot, but obviously waiting for me.

"I was waiting for you." He said.
"Mmmmff." I said.

He kept talking to me. I don't know what about. He went to school at DePaul I guess. I don't know what he was studying, it was hard to understand with the accent and with me so voraciously trying to ignore him. I tried to give as little input as possible. Yes or no answers. "Oh, okay." That kind of thing. GOD, WHY CAN BOYS NEVER TAKE A HINT?! Why do we have to be so PAINFULLY obvious with you people?! Do you REALLY need me to say "Listen, I'm not interested, please back off"? You're just being a nice guy, please don't make me be accidentally bitchy! And PS, I will tell you one thing right now: if we are interested in you, YOU WOULD KNOW. There would be a lot more eye contact, giggling, and arm grazes and a lot less "Uh huh, *text text*"

While we waited for the bus, I tried to bury myself in my phone. "Oh, reading a message from your boyfriend?" he said, laughing in a the-kind-of-guy-who-types-lol-after-every-sentence kind of way. Ah! The perfect out! All I'd have to say is, "Yes, in fact this is a message from my big strong muscular jealous linebacker with a gun boyfriend, Astronaut Mike Dexter," and I would be, as Blago would say, f*ing golden.

"No," I said.

WHAT?! WHY DID I SAY NO?! Why do I have to be so scared of lying?! And what was I going to say instead? The truth that I was just scrolling my Twitter feed to appear busy?

"Just reading a message from a friend."

..........................WHAT?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?! WHY DO I BOTHER TO SAY WORDS?!?! GOD!!

Blech, so I failed the ultimate "leave me alone" tactic of bringing up the boyfriend who is NOT EVEN FICTITIOUS. Luckily the bus came quickly and I took the opportunity to walk briskly to a seat between two other people.

Here's the problem with other people: they are not there to be your personal buffer, and they often stand up and walk off the bus at a moment's notice. Jerks.

Cant Take A Hint McGee sat down next to me and said, "You know, I think I might go to the Target at Wilson so I would take the red line, too." WHY OH WHY had I told him I was getting off at the red line earlier?! Oh that's right because he already said he'd be taking a bus and I thought I'd be safe and home free. LIKE AN IMBECILE.

At this point I'd given up all hope of niceties. I raised my eyebrows and nodded and kept reading my book. At the next bus stop, someone else opened the back doors and saw my final glimmer of hope flash before my eyes. Without a second thought, I stood up and walked off the bus. Three blocks before my stop. Worried he'd gotten off with me but too scared to look back, I headed into the closest store. A 7-11. He was gone.

God bless you, 7-11. Bless you and your eight flavors of Combos.

I grabbed a cherry Slurpee (aka the nectar of the gods), paid my buck fifty and strolled out. It was the tastiest Victory Slurpee of Pathetic Awkwardness I'd ever had.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

3 Things That Made Sense When I Grew Up

I was a pretty innocent child. I had little interest in making trouble (apparently when I was a toddler I was Hell on Legs but I mean AFTER that.) As I grew up, my fantasies with boys involved a LOT of snuggling and very little else. The occasional fantasy make-out session was not unheard of, but it was likely in a library or after a rousing reenactment of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I watched Friends, but mostly because I thought Chandler had a funny way of talking, not because I wanted to emulate their lifestyle. Besides, they were ADULTS. They were, like....in their TWENTIES.

So I don't understand why people--people MY age--get up in arms about the shows kids these days are watching. I don't think we give kids enough credit for their innocence.

Actual Conversation:
Girl: Have you seen iCarly?! They have such adult conversations It's forcing kids to become older than they are!
Me: Yeah, maybe. Then again, I used to watch Night Court.

It's true. I did. And damn me if I understood a single word those people were saying, but I LOVED that show. Or maybe I just loved John Larroquette. Hmm. Regardless, every generation thinks that the generation younger than them is going to Hell in a handbasket because of the shows and movies and news they're surrounded by. (PS that phrase always makes me think of this image)

Awwww! Handbaskets are so cute!

Wait, where was I? Oh right, how everyone always thinks kids are screwed. But really, I think we forget that kids do not have the knowledge, experience, and life biases that we do. 3/4 of the stuff thrown at them goes over their heads. And the other fourth gets taken in, processed, and decided upon. Because they are human beings, not robots. But most of it? Most of that "adult" stuff we let them watch? It's called "adult" for a reason--kids don't get it.

If you don't believe me, here are three things I simply DID NOT GET as a child.

1. Grease

I don't know why Grease is considered such a family-friendly movie. It boggles my mind. That is a dirty, DIRTY movie. The thing is, though, I had no idea it was dirty as a kid. All I knew was there were a lot of parts in the movie I didn't understand.

Eventually (but while still young) I was informed that the movie was kind of dirty and I started looking for things. But with my innocent, untainted mind, I still had no idea what was going on. Remember the scene when Rizzo climbs down the drainpipe to meet the boys and she says "eat your heart out" to Danny? Well, from what I could tell, Danny responds "Stop your sex just ain't my style." Which...I guess made sense. I didn't really get what it meant. Then one day it hit me--I wasn't even watching the movie, I just thought about it for AN second and realized he had said "sloppy seconds ain't my style."

And like that, all the pieces of Grease started coming together. I started thinking about lyrics I had previously ignored or glossed over and realized what sick, twisted words were going in one ear and out the other. It became so strange to me that we all danced to "Greased Lightning" in the 6th grade. Like, we're all willing to ignore the fact that John Travolta sings "you know that ain't no sh*t, we'll be gettin' lots of t*t" just so we can punch our fists up and out. White people go crazy for dancing to Greased Lightning. "You mean we get to fist pump...IN UNISON?! And then we get to CLAP?! SIGN ME UP!" But seriously that song has nothing on Eminem for dirty, sexist lyrics. And yet children have been dancing around in their living room to that song for literally DECADES. Has Family Guy REALLY caused that much trouble?

2. Tracy Chapman, Fast Car

A lovely song about a woman who likes driving in a car with her loved one. We had this album on tape and listened to it all the time when I was about 5. This one was Katie's favorite song on the album and I thought she was SO BORING for liking it. It's about a woman driving a car! What's so great about that?! I doubt Katie, an 8-year-old suburbanite, understood that the song was about the socioeconomic issues behind a woman's lower-class life and relationship, but it took ME until I was 26 to actually listen to the lyrics and realize how much is actually in this song. Which, admittedly, is probably longer than it should have taken me. (Also, check out this great cover)

3. Gin-flavored Limes

When I was little, I loved lemons and limes. I know, I know--I was a WEIRD child. And whenever we went to my aunt's house, the adults would drink drinks with limes in them. This was as far as my understanding went. They sat around drinking drinks with limes and talking about boring adult stuff. I had too many other, more fun things to be doing. I had too many Playmobil toys that needed wheelchairs to care. But every once in a while I'd come by my parents, make sure they were talking about me, and ask for their limes.

When I finally started drinking gin (ie, like last year because I am embarrassingly un-classy) I realized then, and only then, that gin and tonics remind me of my aunt. Because I had been eating gin-soaked limes as a young child and had no idea. Was I a drunk 6-year-old? Is that why I decided to get spiked hair and a tail? The world may never know.

I'll tell you one thing that still makes no sense to me, though: Mary Poppins.

Now, don't get me wrong, I loves me some Dick Van Dyke dancing with penguins. But you have to admit, that movie makes no sense. WHY ARE THERE MEN ON A ROOF SHOOTING OFF A CANNON?! WHY DOES LAUGHING MAKE YOU FLOAT?! It's one of those things I always figured I'd understand when I got older and then I got older and realized, NOPE. That stuff is just completely insane. I guess they were trying to make a movie about a child's imagination. But it wasn't MY imagination, so I thought it was just weird.

I'd love to hear some from you guys. What did you only understand once you got older? What do you STILL not understand? I wanted to make a huge list of these but I couldn't think of very many, even though I know there are a million. So help me out! Please?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How's Blank?

Lately I've been getting the same 5 questions. I'm actually pretty impressed. 5 questions means people know 5 different things about me and know that there may be updates in any of the five worth sharing. Frankly I'm impressed. Although everyone's knowledge of me may be due to my ability to grotesquely overshare on the internet.


Oh well. I thought I'd catch the rest of you all up in one fell swoop by answering the same questions you may be wondering yourself.

How's Joe?

He's great. (Mini explanation: He's in San Francisco working a contract job for 4 months.) He's in a city with a plethora of coffee shops and restaurants. Let me break it down for you. Joe : Cafes as Little Foot : The Great Valley. I'm sure you understand.

(*obligatory moment of silence for Little Foot's mother, may she rest in peace*)

Joe is enjoying his job, he likes the people, he likes the work, and he's doing well at it, from what I can tell. He has a few friends in San Fran so he hasn't been totally on his own the whole time. Plus, he makes friends easily so he's already found a few peeps to see his nerd movies with.

How are you doing without Joe?

I'm actually doing better than I thought I would be. Perhaps it is because I know there is a clear end in sight. Perhaps it is because Skype helps us see each other's faces all the time. Perhaps it is because I am a grown ass woman who does not need a man to make her life feel fulfilled and has better things to do than pine over her lost love such as hanging out with friends, taking improv classes and watching instant Netflix to fill the silence. Take your pick.

How was San Francisco?

I know I only really touched on it earlier, so I will add to what I told you before and say: it's hard to tell. Since Joe had to work 3/5 of the days I was there, I spent a lot of time by myself. And, while I enjoyed the city and traveling around, I think it's more fun to explore with a buddy after a while. Like...okay. There were these fuchsia flowery vines all over houses in the city. I think they actually were literally fuchsia the flower (Google search aaaaaaaand....no they were not. Well whatever.) They were pretty. And I'M SORRY, I wanted a picture of myself next to them. I'm a THAT GIRL. Sue me. See, I have these dull grey-blue eyes that turn insane, Alec Baldwin blue in bright light near bright colors. But I couldn't just take a picture of myself next to these flowers because that's awkward. That's when you need a travel buddy around, to take a picture of yourself doing things. I actually tried to, pathetically, because I thought I could do it subtly with my front-facing camera. Well, one squint-eyed attempt and some lady passed me and said "I can take that for you!" NO FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET AWAY FROM ME I WILL NOT BE THE CREEPY GIRL ASKING STRANGERS TO TAKE PICTURES OF HER NEXT TO FLOWERS DANGLING FROM SOMEONE'S RANDOM FENCE. I quickly put my camera down, said something incoherent and ran the other direction.

Side note, What is it with people offering to take pictures of you when you're trying to take it yourself? I kind of like the occasional picture of people squeezing into the bottom of a frame. For one thing, the smiles are more natural because you are not saying "cheese" to some idiot in a Hawaiian shirt and for another thing, strangers always seem to know how to cut a picture at the perfect place to make me look horrifyingly obese.

So...that's how San Francisco was?

How is the apartment?

I have one window.
In that window is an air conditioning unit which I am not allowed to take in or out.
That a/c unit also sucks up 9/10 of the electricity in the apartment. So if I want to microwave something for longer than 2 minutes or use my hair dryer to dry my entire head, I blow a fuse. It's one of those things that, when I look at starving children in Africa, feels like a stupid thing to complain about. Oh, I cannot cook my plethora of food AND cool off my apartment from its balmy 80 degrees AND make myself look beautiful all at the same time, my life is JUST. SO. HARD. But seriously it's every other day and I'd really like it to stop.

Then there's the fridge fiasco. When I moved in, the fridge was hardly cold. I tried the dial at both ends of the spectrum and nothing worked. My milk spoiled in a week. And if you must know one weird thing about me, it's...well, it's that I'm scared of whales. But if you must know ANOTHER weird thing about me, it's that I am sickened by milk that is above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. People who say they don't like skim because it has no flavor? That is WHY I like skim. So imagine my chagrin when, a week after buying my milk, I discovered it had gone off. There was wretching. So I called my maintenance guy and he came while I was in SF. Upon my return I discovered that my water and a tub of cottage cheese had frozen all the way through. Well that's lovely, isn't it? I checked the dial, it was at THREE. OUT OF FIVE. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT POSSESSES MY FRIDGE. Again, it feels pretty #firstworldproblems to complain that my fridge keeps my food TOO fresh but seriously. I've now been living off of pretzels and Twizzlers just to avoid the whole fridge situation all together.

How's work?

If you're really curious you'll need to do some sleuthing because I won't say anything that might get me in trouble. But there has been a recent shake-up in the world of advertising in Chicago and I am mixed up in it. I haven't done anything personally, I'm just a casualty. Nothing has happened around the office as a result yet, but that is a very large "yet". It would be type 72 font if I could figure out how to do that on Blogger.

And so those are my life updates thus far. More to come on the horizon.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

3 Things I Learned About San Francisco:

To be honest, I had a great trip. The weather was nice, the coffee was great, and I appreciate any place whose top two foods are bread and avocados. Now I have three things to share that I didn't know about San Fran and they are going to sound like I am complaining, but that is just my way and you will have to take it with a grain of salt because honestly I did like the city in general.

1. The public transportation system goes all over, but it is a hot, hot mess.

The Bart (the subway) is not connected to the other modes of transportation, governmentally, but it is physically. The buses and street cars have a different card, and there are multiple ways to pay and transfer. It made my eyes water in frustration when I tried to figure it out. Joe had to talk me off a few ledges.

2. No one sent SF the memo that they don't have to hand-paint their signs.

Perhaps this is leftover sentiment from being hippie central, perhaps it is a newer concept brought from Mexico. Perhaps it is maintained by hipsters and independent shops. But my word, San Francisco has a lot hand-painted signs.

They are also really big into hand-painted murals. There was a page about this in my Touristy Tourism book but I forgot to read it and then left it with Joe. So the murals are still a big mystery.

3. When you walk out the door, bring more layers than Joey wearing Chandler's clothes.

Could he BE wearing any more clothes?

I'm sorry, you think the weather in Chicago is unpredictable? Just because it rains once a week? In San Fran, you walk out the door and it is chilly and overcast. By noon it is sunny and warm. By evening a frost has settled upon your nose. So I walked around with a cardigan, hoodie AND fleece on--AT ONCE--and gradually stripped them off and then put them back on again throughout the day. If you are at the Golden Gate bridge you will want some kind of parka. And if you are at the Bay Bridge, a bikini will do fine. And keep in mind that the two are a FIFTEEN MINUTE DRIVE FROM EACH OTHER. Microclimates are WEIRD.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


I forgot! I was going to blog today!

To be honest with you, I had the option to either post pictures from San Francisco here or to my personal Facebook wall. Both felt like an amazing amount of overkill seeing as most of the pictures were for the benefit of Joe's mother. Also, it is not very easy to post pictures to Blogger because from my Top Security Entry Page, it's still in secret coding language and each picture takes up a paragraph of letters and symbols that apparently = a picture. Suffice it to say, any blog post you've seen here that has a lot of pictures took me all day to compile and organize. Don't even get me started on that damn Glee post.

I need to ponder a bit more before I decide what to say about San Francisco, but I think you guys will get a little more of an in-depth analysis here, a la my post about what I learned when I went to LA.

I will give you one picture to whet your appetite, though.

And I really do mean that.