Monday, January 31, 2011

I'm Not a Businessman, I'm a BUSINESS, MAN!

I talked to my friend Madeline today (Yay! She has a new blog! Check it out: Reckless Reading) and we came up with a business plan. We're going to make something and then we're going to sell that something. I'm not going to say what it is, because I don't want you thieves to steal our idea. Also, we're stealing the idea from someone else, and I'm not prepared to deal with any legal ramifications just yet. But the point is, we've got a plan and we're going to do it and then we're going to make a zillion dollars. I will say that it involves a lot of crafting, and everyone knows I'm crafty.

Anyway, mere minutes after figuring this out with Madeline, I got an email from my dad. It was a link to an article about 10 people who made a million dollars by the time they were 25 - like, say, Mark Zuckerberg. Well, Dad, I hate to break it to you, but despite my youthful glow and my affinity for using adolescent slang, I am not 25. I missed that Millionaire Mark, and by quite a ways. But my dad, God love him, is insistent that at least one of his kids becomes an overnight millionaire. None of us is sure exactly why, but in my case, I'm sure it has everything to do my English degree and lack of a savings account.

Around Christmas, my dad wanted us kids to make a viral video. There wasn't really a concrete IDEA or CONCEPT, but he just wanted us to put our minds together and come up with the next "hide ya kids, hide ya wife" video and cash in. Needless to say, we didn't do it. We're not exactly "viral" material. Plus, can you even MAKE MONEY on those videos? I kind of doubt it. But to my dad's credit, seriously how hard could it be to make a video like this: Annoying Orange.

See, here's where my dad and I go our separate ways. First of all, he's hopelessly optimistic in the abilities of his kids, whereas I'm surprised if I remember to brush my teeth at night. My dad sees something good and thinks "Why couldn't we do that?" whereas I think "This could be cooler if I had a vodka tonic". My dad DOES things. I, on the other hand, need someone to tell me exactly what to do, and then I do it and the results are average. Sure I have my creative moments, but my talents are solely in writing snarky comments about celebrities and my sub-par grooming habits.

Example: I had a poster I stole from my dad found in college, of the iconic Farrah Fawcett. I love that poster. I wanted to hang it up, but I didn't have a frame. So I cut the cardboard out of a huge moving box and Scotch taped mounted the poster on top of the cardboard. Voila! Acceptable. My DAD, on the other hand is quite the opposite. My mom saw a big piece of geometric art in a Pottery Barn catalog. She loved it, and she wanted it. My dad was all "Uh, it's like $450,000,000,000. And it looks like something I could make." My mom called his bluff. So what did he do? He went out and bought paint and supplies and recreated the whole damn thing. It was an incredibly accurate reproduction - like, freaky good. See? He can DO those kinds of things. He recreates works of art, I mount posters onto cracked cardboard with tape.

I have yet to start a business, or film a wildly viral video, or start Facebook. I do take the opportunity whenever possible, to remind my dad that I write a blog like, every night! Still he sends me these emails, with encouragement like "Go check out what this person did on $20 and a dream" and then say something like "Why couldn't WE do something like this?" And I'm all "But Dad, my's like, sooooooooo important!" and he's all, "I just don't get how you're going to make a million dollars with it, though."

Despite my less-than-desirable skill set when it comes to businessing (it's a word), my dad continues to have an unshakable faith in me that I can start (or help start) the next Google. I mean I can't do math, I lose interest in things quickly, and my knowledge of economics and other abstract concepts is, uh, nil. But I CAN come up with punny product names. If anything, I've got a shot at NAMING the next million dollar idea. Maybe that's what I need to do. That'll be my business. You come in with your fancy idea or product, and I'll tap my chin, lean back in my chair, and say something genius. You have an innovative knife sharpener? Blade Runner. Boom. Give me a million dollars. (Okay, so that's a horrible example, but I'm not going print my best ideas on here! I'm savin' 'em up to cash in at the patent office!)

Well, luckily Madeline is a vicious go-getter who has no patience for slacking, so the above mentioned business we're going to start is sure to be a success. I mean, IF we start it. Sorry, Madeline, but I kind of have a history of flaking once an idea has lost its luster. Just ask my dad.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Geo Says

Good gravy. How am I so exhausted every Sunday night lately? I’m old, that’s how. I had a great weekend, and as usual, it’s over too quickly. One surprising change was that Geo had an unusual amount of input of my goings on this weekend. I dismissed many of his ideas, ‘cause I’m stubborn like that, but like a broken clock, he happened to be right a couple times.

Geo Says: On Friday night, “Let’s go play Settlers of Catan at KG’s house tonight.“ I say, “No thanks. Last weekend, I spent a night playing the nerdy, albeit very fun, game, but two weekends in a row? I have a reputation to think about, yo.“ So instead of risking my very cool, very social reputation by going with him on Friday night, I stayed in and watched a movie in sweatpants with my dear friend, Pinot Noir. Is that better? I sure think so.

Geo Says: On Saturday morning, “I’m going to go hang out outside and be the dog handler for KG at his skijoring race. Wanna come?” I say, “Skijoring? WTF is that?” Skijoring consists of harnessing oneself to a dog, whilst wearing skis (the person, not the dog) and racing for over 5 miles while the dog pulls you along in the freezing cold. I say “Outside? It’s cold out, though!” Geo says, “It’ll be fun, though!” I politely decline and proceed to paint my nails and watch TV with my other roommate Sanna instead.

Geo Says: Later on Saturday, I list my Wii on Craigslist. While I have a LOT of fun playing Wii when there are a ton of games to switch between (like my parents have), I’m just not married to mine. Plus, I want an Xbox Kinect. Really Pharon? Trading one gaming system for another? Ugh…you‘re such a nerd. Anyway, Geo says I should list it at a higher price and then be prepared to negotiate. I actually listened to him on this one. I have yet to have any takers, though. I’m guessing there aren’t as many suckers out there as I had hoped. But I guess it doesn’t hurt to try.

Geo Says: On Saturday night, “Let’s go to a movie. Also, maybe you should take a shower.” I say “I feel sick”. Geo says, “It’s all in your head.” I decide to take a shower, and it actually makes me feel much better. I ask Geo what movie he wants to see, and he says “How about No Strings Attached?” I say, “Uh, that’s a chick flick rom-com. Why do you want to see that?” Then I remembered that Geo ALSO wanted to see Black Swan, which is very unlike him. But I put two and two together and figured out that Geo loves Natalie Portman (Hahahaha! I just asked Geo if it was okay to say that he loves Natalie Portman, and he’s all “Yeah it‘s fine. I do. I love her.” with the kind of reverence I save for my adoration of Kate Spade. Then he goes, “Ugh, she‘s ENGAGED? Bummer.” and I think he‘s legitimately sad about it). We go to the movie, and while I’m not the least bit surprised by the plot, I AM surprised at how much I actually liked it. I laughed out loud way too much, and too loudly, much to the annoyance of my fellow moviegoers. It was just, well, it was just what I needed. It ended happily and it didn’t make my brain hurt from having to THINK. I don’t recommend rom-coms too often, because most of the time I don’t think it‘s worth the $24 to see it on the big screen. But this one? I will tell you to go see it. Go see it in sweatpants on a freezing cold night, with zero expectations, and after a stressful day. You’ll like it. Just don’t EXPECT to like it. What? Does that make sense? Whatever.

Geo Says: On Sunday morning, Geo announces he is going skijoring himself. I say he’s obsessed. He says “You’re obsessed with hanging out with your family.” I consider this for a minute, and decide he’s actually totally right on that one. I can’t go much more than a week without seeing at least ONE member of my family. But they are awesome, and today my mom and I had planned a fun little birthday party for Peter and Prinna. We pulled out all my parents Wii games (See? I TOLD you it was fun if you have a bunch of games) and had a big ol’ gamer tournament. My family is fun, and my mom always makes way too much yummy food, so I leave full and happy. And okay, I broke one of my New Year’s Resolutions - to NOT do laundry at my parents anymore - but I knew I was going to be there all day, and I am down to my last 3 pairs of mismatched socks. But okay, I actually AM totally obsessed with my family. He got that right.

Geo Says: Tonight, Geo asks me if I want to go out and get some ice cream and run to the grocery store. I silently pointed to my sweatpants and my full tummy, and he just sighed. But this time, HE followed MY lead. He plopped down on the couch next to me and keeps asking me what my blog is about tonight. I say: It’s about everything you’ve said to me this weekend. He looks at me quizzically and asks “What did I say?” Oh Geo, what didn’t you say?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Toe Up

Last night, Liz and Kim and I spur of the moment decided to cheer ourselves up with manis and pedis! Eeee!! OMG! We are such girls! We talked about our feelings, the problems about men (will they ever learn?!), and our unusual love for drinking German beer out out glass boots at Gasthof's. Hey! What a coincidence! We've also decided to throw Kim's birthday AT GASTHOF'S! Yay! Here's to Das Boot and flickers of snuff! If you're not sure what that is, forget about it. It's something that needs to be experienced to be loved. Oh well...we ended the night with a glass of wine and pretty toes. (Just wrote "glass of toes and pretty wine" accidentally...or not.)

So, we get to the nail salon - one of those little strip mall places. Ladies, - and high-maintenence men - you know what I'm talking about. There's a mini shrine to an elephant in the corner, the walls are painted neon green, and people buzz around mopping the floor behind me and screaming at me to "Sign in!! Sign in!! What services?? PICK COLORS!". Ahh...such a relaxing atmosphere. I stared up at this enormous sign listing services like "Acr Fill, Nail Take Off, and Both Gel" and went ahead with the relatively straight-forward French Toe. Then the nerves started goin'.

In high school, my mom knew how psyched I was for my high school prom. I had the hot dress, the cute date, the best friends, everything. So she surprised me with a manicure and pedicure at the FANCY salon. I was ecstatic! I had never had a pedicure before, and sat back in the heated seats and enjoyed the soothing music, the calming colors in the room, and lilac scented eye pillow. Then, horror of all horrors, this Demon of Torture started, like, RUBBING MY FEET! She had all these crazy tools and devices of foot destruction. I writhed in my heated seat, and continually reflexively snapped my foot away from that demon like a dozen times. Finally, I gave up and stopped that evil pedicurist. "Please, you just can't touch my feet anymore. You have to stop. I'm sorry. Can you just paint them without touching them?" The poor lady obliged, and a mere 5 minutes after my appointment started, I was tucking my tootsies under the heater. Sorry Mom. Turns out, I totally wasted that gift. BUT! My manicure looked bomb!

Since then, I don't get pedicures. I just don't. I can't stand the stress and anxiety of constantly resisting the urge to kick my exfoliated foot in someone's face, thereby giving them a bloody nose and resulting in a trip to the Emergency Room. Total day-ruiner. But then a few years ago, my dear friend Claire devised a wonderful plan. She called the mall nail place (which we still go to), asked them to stay open an hour later, and she'd come in with 8 girls and guaranteed a big boost in business that night. The best part? We got to bring WINE. The first time we did this, I think I was on my third glass before gingerly dipping my toes into the soapy water. I leaned back and in a haze of wine and laughter, got my very first pedicure.

Those are the only circumstances under which I've gotten pedicures. In total? I've probably gotten like 5 in my life. So last night, when I went with Kim and Liz, I was nervous again. We went during regular hours, which meant No Wine. Which meant Pharon Constantly Snapped her Feet Away From the Lady. But you guys? I MADE IT! I made it through and came outta there with some pretty toes and a BAC of 0.0. Then came another part I usually liked to block out. The payment. Turns out, when I chose my service, I made my choice based on the Worlds Biggest Sign and List of Services. Silly me - I should have KNOWN those prices were specials for HIGH SCHOOL students. She's all "Okay, $32." I'm all "Uh, it says right there $12." The woman turns and points to a faded, 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper that just barely reads "SPA PEDICURE: $32.00." I looked at the woman, like, Are you kidding me? She looked back at me like You Sucker. So I said "Uh, I'm a high school student." She gave me a $3 discount because she thought that that was soooooooooooo funny. Rude. And Awesome.

Well now what? Kim and Liz and I all wore flip flops to the bar after our appointments for the above-mentioned girl talk, wine and awesome chicken nachos, and it was the most refreshing hour of my life. My tooties were in FLIP FLOPS again! No more scratchy wool socks and stinky winter boots. But then I got home and slipped immediately into socks in order to stave off the almost-inevitable hypothermia that comes with living in World's Coldest House. So, exactly like 5 people saw my pedicure. Remind me why I put myself through that only to shove my feet into socks the second I got home?

Oh well, I like 'em. I guess those brief 10 minutes in the morning if when I take a shower will have to suffice. Now I just need to be on the lookout for those rancid diseases people get at mall salons like that. Yay! What a refreshing, relaxing, simple experience!

Dudes: Do me a solid and have yourselves a disgustingly fun weekend, okay? And if you see my brother Peter or my sister Prinna, make sure you wish 'em a happy birthday!! Happy Birthday, Peter! Happy Birthday, Prinna!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Story Hour!

Okay, quick explanatory paragraph. I’ve been missing the consistency of Wednesday Winners. I’ll admit that it was kind of easy to at least know the SUBJECT of a blog before mindlessly staring at a blank Word document. But Wednesday Winners, much like my addiction to noodles and ranch dressing, had to go. Then last night, Geo was talking to me about a podcast he likes. It’s a dude who basically tells a story every week. Or more accurately, a PART of a story. Then every week he continues the story from where he left off the week before. I like that a lot. And in wake of realizing I only write, eh hem, Non-Fiction, I decided that fictional storytelling is something I could use some work on. So, I’m going to give this a shot. I’m going to start a story today, and then next week, I’ll pick it back up and continue with the next chapter. Like this idea? Hate this idea? Have something else you need to get off your chest? Slap it in the Comments, friends.

And so it begins...

Louann clung to the side of the row boat, relieving herself in the lake. She noticed the chip on her nails and thought, "As soon as I'm done running from the law, I've got to get a manicure". She finished up and hauled herself back in her little boat. As she sat thumbing through the files she managed to keep dry in the boat, she briefly considered what she would be doing on an average Wednesday night. You know, had she NOT been currently on the run from the law. She could almost taste the caviar and champagne she'd, no doubt, be enjoying at her parents castle at the top of a lush green hill. She missed her pet unicorn, Corny, and a tear slipped down her chin.

As soon as Louann started paddling to the deserted island in the middle of the lake, she panicked. The memories pummeled her brain, relentless. Flashes of blood, the broken Xbox, a recent sale at Anthropologie she was missing out on, and Xavier's desperate eyes. He had crossed a line, no doubt, but Louann knew she also had gone too far when she did what she did. She paddled harder, knowing that dusk was approaching. As she drifted silently to the shore, her paddle slipped out of her hand and into the murky, pee-filled water. Louann secured her boat first, and headed back to the water to retrieve the paddle. Her bedazzled nightgown floated effortlessly around her. Carefully, she reached into the dark water and felt around for the paddle. Her trembling hand found the paddle just as a water snake (snakes live in water, right?!) slithered up her naked leg. She smacked at the snake with her paddle, over and over until the snake slipped into the water. Louann quickly realized she broke her own leg, and the snake was not a snake, but a strand of seaweed.

Louann had never graduated from college. Her high school diploma was a copy of Bouanne Reynolds' diploma, cleverly whited-out and copied at the corner Kinko's. No one could accuse Louann of being too smart. Her mind was on men and money, and despite the warnings of her financial staff, money had brought her happiness, and the men had brought the money. And also syphilis. Louann also had syphilis because she really got around.

As Louann waded through the used hypodermic needles that bounced back and forth against the shore with the waves, she briefly wondered where her charmed life went wrong. Could it have been the murder? Maybe, Louann could not know. She noted the broken bone sticking out her leg and sighed. Louann laid back, staring at the stars, wondering if broken bones are contagious. To be safe, she took her bra and covered up her bone. In an effort to tie off the contagious germs, she inadvertently reset the broken bone and passed out from the pain.

Her dreams were uneasy. They drifted from the peaceful memories of her pony and diamond-studded toaster oven, her purses made out of $50 bills, and her staff of 130, to flashbacks from a few nights ago. She tossed and turned, and in her dreams, she thought briefly that she had caused all the damage. Her dreams turned even more ugly as she imagined her perfect teeth crumbling out of her gums, and being naked in front of her high school Latin class, and being at her house but it wasn't really her house, it was kind of like Seth's house from elementary school, but there were like lions everywhere holding umbrellas...but when Xavier appeared (in the body of a chimpanzee), she woke up with a start. Louann knew what she had to do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Security System

Oh Pharon. Pharon, Pharon, Pharon. I’m quite disappointed in you tonight. In lieu of doing the responsible thing of tuning in to watch the State of the Union address, you eagerly turned on the Family Channel to watch the much-anticipated movie, Mean Girls 2. And shortly after that, I saw you drop a chunk of $9 cheese on the floor, pick off the hair, and continue eating it. For shame, young lady. For Shame.

Instead of eating rug cheese and watching the only movie on the planet that would be better WITH Lindsay Lohan in it, I SHOULD be at Liz’s house, chatting about life and drinking wine. I made a decision though to stay in and paint my nails tonight (much to Geo’s appreciation) and try to just chillax. Do people still say “chillax“? Probs not. Oh well, I’m retro now. I’ve been all anxious for the past week. Like, not just stressed, but crazy-in-the-head anxious. I don’t know where it came from, but I just haven’t been able to shake it. Tonight, though, I’ve focused solely on myself and trying to get myself to calm down already. Hence the relationship I have forged tonight with hairy cheese and a bad movie. Not a stressor in the bunch.

You know when you’re feeling crappy, and like there’s only one thing that makes you feel better? For some it’s tea, or yoga, or a stiff cocktail. In my case, it’s my childhood blanket. It used to be vivid pinks and polka dots with Strawberry Shortcake smack dab in the middle. These days it's brownish with no discernible design of any kind, it's ripped up, torn, tied back together in some places, and could function better as a headband than an actual blanket. But it calms me down and makes me feel like I’m 5 years old again. The major problemo with that is that I actually still sleep with my blanket every night. Sexy, right? Whatevs. I scrunch it between my fingers, which lets me fidget in concentrated doses. And I also like to smell it. Not like “sniff” it, but bury my nose in it and smell it reeeeeeal good. In high school, my dad walked past my bedroom and saw me inhaling my blanket and scrunching it between my fingers, and he just like sighed and said “You look like a mental patient.”

So I tried to tone down my reliance on my blanket in college. But when I lived with Kim, she discovered my (very) dirty secret. She picked up the filthy, flimsy fabric between her thumb and pointer fingertip and sneered “What IS this?” I snatched it away from her and snarled “It’s my BLANKET. GOD!” Then I scurried off into the corner of my bed to hide away my Precious. Yes, just like that troll doll guy in Lord of the Rings. After that, Kim would laugh and laugh and laugh as I tore our apartment apart looking for my blanket that she had maliciously hidden from me. I’d find it eventually, and then take it and try and shove it in Kim’s mouth to punish her.

These days, it’s Geo I have to worry about tearing me apart from my security blanket. He’s seen it. In fact, I think KIM was the one to introduce them. He freaked out like it was a blanket made out of marriage proposals and snakes. “Oh God, that’s disgusting! You SLEEP with this?” My initial rage at his, his, nerve to insult me like that subsided quickly into shame and embarrassment. He noticed my quick descent into humiliation and said, “Well, no. I mean, like, it’s, uh, cute, um that you still sleep with your, ah, blankey”. I slowly perked up and pulled it out from the pillow I’d hidden it under. I kept pulling and pulling and pulling, and the blanket kept coming and coming and coming. I sniffled and smiled a little, and looked up at Geo and said “Heh heh…look how LONG it is!” Geo doubled over laughing and repeating like a parrot, “Look how LONG it is…look how LONG it is!” I laughed and decided not to shove the blanket into his mouth to punish HIM. Yet.

For now, my blanket is safe. Well, not “safe” in the healthy way - I can’t wash it or it will disintegrate - but “safe” in the I-Know-No-One-Will-Steal-And-Hide-It way. Although, Geo got me this super soft teddy bear, hoping it would ween me off my blanket. What he didn‘t see coming was that the blanket and bear go perfectly together. So now I’ve got a team backing me up when I feel like shizzah.

Which is definitely going to be useful tonight. I’ve already felt like a mental patient lately, so why not go all out and just compulsively sniff and fidget with my blanket while I rock back and forth relax? Oh man, I hope my dad doesn’t read that…

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hold That Thought

I spent a blissful 45 minutes on hold tonight. Wait, did I say blissful? I meant Excruciating. It was the worst kind of hold music, too. That tune-less, high-pitched orchestra song that just goes on and on and on and on, with brief periods of interruptions from the "helpful" automated woman, encouraging me to stay on the line as my turn would come just as soon as the next operator becomes available. She may as well have said "Yup, you're still on hold. I don't feel your pain because I am but a computer and lack human emotion." I'd rather she mind her own business and let me enjoy the horrible, yet consistent music.

I'm definitely preferable to having a countdown when I'm on hold. You know, the "Thank you for holding," - oh, well you're quite welcome - "There are..." pause for even more robotic voice - "seven.teen. Callers in front of you." I like that a lot, because I look forward to hearing that strange woman. She comes on and it's like playing the lottery. I'm all "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! Am I close? Am I close!?!" It's just a much better use of my time on the phone. Then there's the rare time when you'll go from like the 17th person on hold to the 12th in one period. It's times like that when I pity the poor folks who couldn't hack the hold. That, or they just had a wicked quick question, and if that was the case I would guess they asked the kind of question that could have been easily answered online. Either way, they are schmucks and I reap the rewards.

You know what I'd like to hear when I'm on hold? Other people's calls. One, it'd make you think twice about calling with something stupid or personal which, okay, could be a bad thing arguably. But think of all the juicy personal problems of other people you'd be privy to! Awesome, and possibly super hilarious. I would love to hear the ONE call, to like Comcast, from the person who DOESN'T have the power turned on on their TV. "Oh, I have to turn it on? Okay! Yup, that seems to have done the trick. Thanks!" Dummy. And two, who knows how many people on hold have the same question I have? If I were #214 in line on hold, I'd be willing to bet a nice chunk of change that the person at #3 has a similar, if not the exact same, question as me. See? Everyone's a winner.

Okay, I get the theory behind hold music, though. It lets me know my call is still connected, keeps me paying attention by every once in awhile playing an awesome instrumental version of "Rich Girl", and it calms me down usually. I hate being on hold, but that darn cathartic flute solo eases my frazzled nerves every time. So, yeah. I get while we all have to suffer through it. It, much like PMS, is a necessary evil.

But aren't we far enough along technologically that Hold Music is simply archaic? I don't think I've even used my phone to talk on it for like weeks. And yet, when I finally do make a call, it's like calling 1988. "Where we're going we don't NEED roads." Yes, that was a Back to the Future reference. Love it. We're all used to instant information, you know? So hold music is just, well it's just DUMB. I can't even believe I'm writing about it. It just totally caught me off guard. I was on hold for SO long, and the music was SO bad I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I wish I had the capability to video phone customer service places, and then instead of hold music, they'd have like Hold Movies. Or Hold Family Guy Episodes. That would, well, that would just be tops.

Geez, even WRITING about Hold Music has calmed my nerves a little bit. I went from stressed and worried to mind-numbingly bored. I guess we'll call it cheap therapy for now. A quick fix for a broke nutjob. I suggest next time you find yourself traveling back in time and waiting on hold, you try and enjoy the forced slow down. It's like watching Sixteen Candles on VHS. Not ideal, but a good way to slow down and enjoy some Spandau Ballet.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Don't Call Us...

Ah, the sweet, sweet taste of rejection. Not since losing the 4th grade spelling bee on the word “tongue” have I felt so…inadequate. I worked on some submissions for these random online freelance writing things this weekend. Yeah, because writing a blog every night just isn’t enough, apparently. I guess I just like the whole “school-y” aspect of it. You know? Writing for a grade or something. That’s probably why I’m not taking the rejections so seriously. I don’t need to work on more writing, but I just kind of want to. I already love writing a blog, and I love that very awesome, yet pseudo-uncomfortable, high when someone I hardly know is like “Oh my God! I love your blog!” It’s kind of like someone reading your diary and being like “Hey, I read it and I liked it. Your shortcomings and unnatural love for making yourself sound like an idiot are really pleasurable to read.” So, I guess that’s why I’m trying to get me some more of that.

Okay, so my first few submissions didn’t go well. For the first one, I got some picture prompt. I was supposed to look at the picture, and write like 100 words about it. My humor doesn’t translate well in that short of space. So, the picture was of a girls fingers hanging on to the sides of a rowboat. I thought it would be positively hilarious to write a quick story about a girl who had to pee in the lake. I submitted it, crossed my arms and sat back to enjoy the acclaim. Unfortunately, after rereading it a couple minutes later, I realized that instead of being funny, it came off gross. Perverted almost. I laughed all over again when I read the “Thanks but not thanks” email from them, because I couldn’t help but imagine some dude reading that and being like “Uh, is this chick serious?”

Then a couple automated rejections later, I found a place that I really thought I had a chance at. I pasted in one of my blog posts under “Writing Samples“, and then really let my hair down in the “Experience” section. I wrote about my college degree in English, my focus on writing, and then ended it with a mockingly elaborate recollection of writing a poem about my grandma in 4th grade, which was chosen to be read in front of the whole school. It seemed super funny at the time. Perfect. You know? Like WHO would write about something from 4th grade under Experience in Writing? No one! Because 1) That’s not actual experience, and 2) it’s NOT ACTUAL EXPERIENCE. So I spent the next 5 blissful minutes laughing at myself, thinking of how funny I think I am, when I got a response from the organization. Apparently, in the time it took me to pat myself on the back, they had read it and been like “Good lord no. Send this person a rejection letter a.s.a.p.” So that rejection was a little hurtful. A little. I found the immediacy of the rejection and vague explanation of my insufficient writing experience a little funny, though.

So I started a new label in my Gmail for all the letters I get from people who don‘t quite appreciate my potty humor and need to sell myself short: “FAN” LETTERS. It’s just a titch less pathetic than “REJECTIONS”. And despite the fact that I’ve been using that label more frequently than I’d like to lately, it’s kind of comforting. It’s like I’m back in school, and I’ve spent like 5 minutes studying for an exam. I mean, do I really expect NOT to get an F? Silly rabbit. Plus, this all fits very nicely into my plan of being a struggling writer. Yup. Ever since like 5th grade, I’ve had a very specific life goal. Struggling Writer. Not an actual writer, or a successful writer. Nope, I wanted the very romantic version. The late nights writing, the jotting down overly emotional thoughts on scraps of paper and then lighting them on fire, the laughing crying over a typewriter - yes, a typewriter - and the constant rejection letters. It’s all a part of the dream, people.

I really like that I’m not at the totally BITTER phase of this writing process (yet). You know, the hurling the computer across the room after getting another “Thanks but no thanks” email. The cursing of names, the screaming at the injustice of a world that doesn’t appreciate my style yet. That part is all so cliché, and very UNromantic. Sheesh, it’s not like I’m Van Gogh or something. I write about how much I hate Angelina Jolie and what I really think about vanity plates. Not exactly Macbeth, folks.

Oh well, the Fan Letter folder is far from full. And until I get more rejections than spam and J.Crew newsletters, I’ll count myself lucky to have no fear of rejection. After that, though, watch out for flying laptops.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Cold Feet

I've waited as long as possible. I've held my tongue, I've waited for it to change, I've tried to see the bright side. And yet, there is no denying it any more. It's really effing cold out. Like: surface of Pluto cold. I know, I know. Back in November I talked about how people need to get over the coldness of Minnesota because it's MINNESOTA. But we are barely (if even) halfway through the winter, and my eyelashes froze together this morning. Very uncool.

So, okay so you know how the heat and humidity remind me of swimming in pea soup and being punched in the face with mayonnaise? Well the cold, man. This crazy frigid cold. It's like standing in a wind tunnel while shards of glass fly at my face at light speed I while wear a suit made out freezer burn and my blood has turned into a Coke slushie...or Rumpleminz. It's all sharp and jagged and unyielding. So yes, I'm officially complaining about the weather.

It's not the snow that gets me. It's not the impossible parking restrictions, it's not even the slippery sidewalks. It's the absolute PAIN of freezing from the outside in. It's the crickly crackly frozen feeling of my skin, the fear that my nose will snap right off my face, and the sadness I get when I lose all the feeling in my toes. Sometimes I worry about whether or not toe-amputees can still wear peep-toe heels.

Despite the frigidity outside, I've been living in a 65 degree house too - for those who don't know, that's COLD. But tonight, I got gutsy and turned the thermostat up to Sixty Seven Degrees. Then I pulled out some duct tape and fixed the little tears in our window plastic that fancies up our house. (Okay, so I understand that putting plastic on your drafty windows keeps your house warm, but why can't someone make window plastic that doesn't tear and come off with the slightest breeze? Come on, Science.) I've got some bedazzled Vikings sweatpants on, a pink furry fleece sweatshirt, and wool socks tucked into fleece-lined slippers. I do NOT look good. But I'm warm. That's the main problemo with winter. I don't care how many pairs of tights you have, or how many sweaters you layer, or how inconspicuous you think your long underwear is, NO ONE LOOKS HOT IN THE FREEZING COLD.

I once heard of a girl in middle school who walked outside in winter with wet hair, and when she brushed her fingers through her hair, all her hair just snapped right off. So, you can imagine my horror when I was walking to work this morning, and the homocidal, stabbing cold wind started smacking me in my face until my eyes watered. I tried to not blink. I stared into that bitter wind like it stole my purse. I felt my tears smearing my makeup, but I didn't want to blink. I willed my eyes to stay open. I felt my contacts freeze to my eyeballs, and all of a sudden I just did it. I blinked. The corners of my lashes stuck together like a tongue on a lamp post. I started to panic, imagining that girl snapping off her own frozen hair. I wondered what I'd look like without eyelashes. It wasn't pretty.

As soon as I walked into our building, though, my frozen tears mercifully thawed and my fears subsided. That, my friends, means it is officially too cold. The disturbingly tan weather man has been throwing around words like "tundra", "icy" and "permafrost" lately. That's not weather, people, that's uninhabitable terrain. I'm not complaining about a little chilly weather, you guys. I'm not all "Oh no! I can see my breath!" It's more like "I'm afraid of losing appendages while I'm waiting for the bus".

I guess I just have to focus on July, when it's BOUND to be warmer. Though, by then it's all back to pea soup and mayonnaise punches. You just can't win here, huh?

Well, (try to) stay warm, kids, and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Queen of Clubs

I really think every chick needs a good book club. Or, well, at least SOME sort of club where you all do something for a month and then get together and talk about it. Tonight was the 11 month anniversary of our little club (but who's counting). I only knew a couple of the girls when it started, but now it's like seeing old friends, which is just lovely.

Full disclosure: I didn't think this club would last more than a couple months when my friend Liz started it. It was an awesome concept with awesome girls, but I'm not exactly the girl who typically sticks with "clubs" very long. It's not like I go in with bad intentions of dropping out or flaking out, I just, I dunno, lose interest. Luckily, that is not the case with my Book Club. It's awesome. I hope we continue it forever. Though, based on my history, I have my fears.

Okay, so yes I was in band and soccer and cheerleading when I was young. Those weren't like "clubs" though. Those were competitive and there were prizes and awards. But, okay, I remember being in a New Kids on the Block club when I was young. Claire, our neighbor Johanna and I started the club. We met every day in Johanna's garage and each set up a desk. We each chose our favorite New Kid and we'd tape their trading card to our "desk" and, like, write them letters we never sent. I somehow got stuck with Danny. Ew. But we'd sit and write and talk about our favorite songs. We'd congregate in the driveway and make up dances to Hangin' Tough, and just generally gush over how much we loved them. But, because I got stuck with the sucky New Kid, I bailed on the club after about our 4th meeting.

Then there was a period of time where I was in the Leggings/Jean Shorts club. In middle school, my friends and I would only wear jean shorts over leggings, and side ponytails. That particular club last a couple disgusting weeks. I'm pretty sure I only had one pair of shorts and maybe two pairs of leggings. And with the unreliable laundry schedule at my house, I probably never washed them. I must have quit soon after the chaffing started.

In college, I was in a BIG TIME club. A NATIONAL club, if you will. I was in a sorority for my freshman year. I loved it. I met my best friend Madeline in the House. All the members met for weekly formal dinners, wore matching t-shirts to fundraisers and hay rides, chanted House cheers, hosted parties, and studied together. Well, when we weren't out partying. I especially liked the PROCESS of joining that club. Rushing sororities was incredibly fun for me. You go to all the different sororities in big groups of newbie freshmen, and talk to members of each house about random know, like other clubs we were into - if I remember correctly, no one was too impressed with the Jean Short/Legging club. But despite all the perks of being a "sorority girl", I was only in my House for a year. I still get their newsletters and address labels, though, so it's like I still get the perks of club membership, but I don't have to actually do anything.

As of late, of course, I'm in the process of joining a new club. More specifically a GYM. There's a lot riding on this choice. Unlike the NKOTB club, I actually have full control over this choice and the consequences. There's the dirt cheap gym with bad classes, and the pricier gym with awesome classes. I don't know why I'm wiggin' out so much about this choice. It's not like I'll be there for more than a few months anyways...

But I've got a good feeling about Book Club. I think I'm really psyched about any club that enforces a Must Bring Wine policy, to be honest. Man, if only I'd known that back in the days I was in the Mickey Mouse Club.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tricky Ricky

Oh, hey, that's annoying. I just lost a nearly-complete blog I had been working on. I'd like to say it was the greatest one I'd ever written, but that would be a lie. And if that were the case, I'd be too busy systematically pulling out my hair to sit and write another one. Oh well, I guess it's a sign that the first one was crap and probably no one would have wanted to read it anyway.

Also, it's good because since working on it, I have become a little obsessed with Ricky Gervais, which is worth exploring. You guys know Ricky Gervais, right? Creator of the original The Office? Funny Brit with a biting, self-deprecating sense of humor? Jacked up teeth who recently dropped a load of weight and now looks pretty darn good in a tux? Yeah, that's him. Turns out, I really like him. I think he's hilarious, and he's funny in a way that makes me look past the unfortunate dental mess he's got going on.

So he hosted the Golden Globes this weekend, and I definitely lol'd a bunch of times. It was more than I had ever laughed at an awards show. He was great. He had this wicked little smile he'd flash right after insulting someone so thoroughly, that you can't help but love him. Wait, what's that? A bunch of no-talent hacks are mad at him because he had the gall to poke fun at some celebrities? Figures.

What ever happened to people having a sense of humor about themselves? What kind of person can't take a joke made at their expense? I'll tell you who: egotistical, self-aggrandizing celebrities. A couple days ago I complained about celebrities not being crazy enough. Now it's like they're full blown Fun Haters. Get over yourselves, Hollywood!

Here's what I don't get. All these people are up in arms and mad at Ricky Gervais for making fun of things that, as far as we know, ARE TRUE. Tom Cruise, for instance. I guess he skipped going to the awards altogether because someone made fun of him. But it's not like we don't know he's insane. And/or possibly gay. Ricky Gervais didn't let out some huge secret, idiot. WE ALREADY KNEW THAT. The American public is not dumb, geez. And it's not like we FORGOT, either, Tom. Yet, Mr. Cruise probably spent the night at home, cursing Ricky's name in some Scientology seance, all because of a JOKE.

Poor Ricky. Talk about a rough crowd. Apparently, a number of celebs are just, well, none too pleased with the harmless ribbing. My favorite part was when Ricky alluded to the fact that The Tourist, which was nominated for an award (I think THAT was a joke all in itself) was a horrible movie. Again, it's not like we DIDN'T know that! And yet, little miss puss-face Jolie (who starred in the flick) sat there pursing her wormy lips the entire time. You'd think being a mother, a martyr, and a horrible actress would give the woman a healthy sense of humor. And you'd think that Angelina, as someone who made out with her own brother on a red carpet a number of years ago, and wore a vial of her ex-husband's blood around her neck would realize that she's not normal, and she's not exactly trying to hide it. Therefore: She's basically asking for it.

So yeah, all these people are mad at Ricky. But it's not like he singled any one person out. He targeted Scientologists, journalists, Americans....everyone. Then people are all "Ugh! I'm a little put off by his sense of humor, and instead of changing the channel and getting a hobby, I'm going to complain. Pull him off TV IMMEDIATELY! FOREVER!" People overreact just because they wrongly assume the world revolves around them and cares what they think. You know what's going to happen to awards shows now? They're going to be like the Super Bowl. Thanks, jerks.

Ever since Janet Jackson flashed a bit of nip, Super Bowl Halftime Shows suck. They do. I don't want to watch the Rolling Stones perform, because I'm afraid they're going to die up there. And Tom Petty? The Who? What is going on? I'll tell you what's going on: all the fun haters had to go and ruin what used to be an awesome little show. With the exception of Prince's performance, the Super Bowl Half Time show has been nothing but lame, aging rockers, singing songs no one can remember anymore. Including the performers. Thank God they at least booked the Black Eyed Peas this year. I'll watch just on the off chance Fergie pees her pants again. THAT'S entertainment, people.

I just really don't want that to happen to my awards shows. They're already pretty watered down, so don't take away the only saving grace. Namely, funny hosts who give the celebrities what's comin' to them. In particular, Ricky Gervais. His jokes were actually clever, too. They weren't mean, or cruel. They were simply JOKES. Plus, with that British accent, he sounded downright proper when he joked that the awards were rigged. I really hope to see more of him this year. Yes. MORE Ricky, LESS Angelina Jolie. MORE British comedians, LESS Whiny Americans. LESS Mick Jagger, MORE nip slips. Now I really think that's something we can all agree on.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Workin' on My Fitness

I can’t tell if my muscles are, like, giddy from activity or seizing from shock. Whatever the reason, my muscles are a-quiverin’ like Jell-O. My lovely friend Valerie let me use a guest pass to join her for a Body Pump class at the YMCA. She and I used to go to Body Pump every week together, and it was a grand ol’ time. Body Pump, for those of you who don’t know, is basically weight lifting to club music. It’s all about reps and toning muscle. It’s super fun, and I used to love going. But, after giving up my gym membership when I moved to the ‘burbs a few years ago, our weekly gym dates suffered, then stopped altogether. Sorry, Val! But tonight’s class, despite my shaky muscles and desperate sense of dehydration, was so awesome. I hadn’t realized how much I missed it. My body, though, is experiencing a violent reminder.

Here’s what I like about the Y. (I mentioned this back in November, but it's worth repeating.) It’s not uncommon to see people on the treadmills wearing jeans. No running shoes? No problem. Just wear those loafers you wore all day at work. No one cares if you look like crap. I preferred no makeup. No jewelry. People were lucky if I wore clean socks. Okay, so people didn’t make a habit of wiping down machines when they were done, and my friend Amy and I did have to formally submit a complaint about the dangerously bad B.O. this one guy always had, but whatevs. I can handle that, as long as there is an abundance of back issues of The New Yorker and plenty of people who have as little interest in chatting with each other as I do. Those are my people.

Geo (who is a total Gym Rat) asks me why I don’t just join a gym and quit complaining about not having a gym to go to. My response, which may as well be crocheted into a pillow, is always “Because I’m not spending $60 a month on a gym membership, when I could be spending it on groceries, gas, wine, and other staples.” I think I’m the last person on the face of the planet who doesn’t have a gym membership. The only time it’s glaringly obvious, though, is in the winter. Everyone goes to the gym because you can‘t do jack outside. But God, you’d think they were handing out Kate Spade bags filled with crack or something.

I held on to that like a Rebel Status for awhile, you know, refusing to conform. But now my body is just very angry at me for letting all my muscles atrophy for this long. Oddly enough, it doesn’t care that I’m taking a faux stand against the crazy high gym membership rates. For some reason, my muscles LIKE getting a work out. It’s almost like that’s what they’re for. I’m going to have to do something, because I am starting to agree with my body and I’m almost ready to give up my fake rage against the Machine that is Corporate Gyms.

Maybe there’s a way to compromise. Does anyone have a Thigh-Master I could borrow? Or maybe a Shake Weight? Or, hey, what about those giant machines that do 1,000 different exercises that also somehow slide under a bed? I could definitely use one of those. I tried to con my parents into giving me their elliptical machine, but it’s like the knew I wouldn’t use it for anything other than hanging wet clothes. We do have a pull-up bar in our house. The boys went through a phase when they all did P-90X, so they drilled a chin up bar in a door frame. I promised myself that I would use that thing everyday and one day be able to do 20 pull-ups, no problem. That was almost 3 years ago. I can do exactly one half of one pull up as of yet.

I’m definitely one of those suckers who, given the funds, would spend thousands of dollars trying to replicate a gym in the comfort of my own home thinking there‘s no WAY I wouldn‘t work out then. But then I would turn the gym into a wrapping paper room. And then it would become a second shoe closet. Talk about wasting money…stay away from me, Suzanne Somers!

It’s not even that I don’t LIKE working out. I actually do like it. I just also really like doing other things that, most of the time, seem way more appealing than going to the gym. Like napping. Or organizing my t-shirt drawer, or having a vodka tonic while reading blogs. Or, well, just not going to the gym. But I guess I’d like to not feel like I’m full of marshmallows anymore. Well, it seems there is only one choice: join a gym, or get a mallow-ectomy. Ugh. Decisions, decisions...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Good as Gold

Did anyone know that Christian Bale wasn’t American? I did not. I just listened to his acceptance speech on the Golden Globes, and I was all “Who is that strange bearded man with that British accent? Oh, wowza. It’s Batman.” Anyway, I’m decompressing, getting my awards show fix, after just the loveliest weekend. Friday night lasted until about 4 a.m. I haven’t been up that late in too long. I went for game night at Claire’s house after work, and then I wrongly assumed I’d be going home to a quiet, boring night home. Instead, I spent 5 hours playing Xbox Kinect with Geo, his friend Guam, and Perek. Three boys + 1 girl + lots of beer + Xbox Kinect Dance Games = waaaaaaay too much fun. So much fun, in fact, that I’ve adjusted my financial plan for the immediate future. I will be selling my Wii, with which I’ve had many great times, and buying the Kinect. And the dance games. If you’ve ever played them, you’ll know why. And when I bust out a Double Dig ‘Em at the next wedding I attend, you’ll DEFINITELY understand.

So then on Saturday, I saw Black Swan with Geo. Holy crazy movie, Batman! It was an awesome movie, but I definitely had to cover my eyes a number of times. I hate feet, and I did not expect a movie about crazy ballerinas to focus so heavily on disfigured foot images. Gaaaa-ross. But, it’s a great movie. Def go see it. Then we got home and actually watched Saturday Night Live for the first time in, oh I don’t know, how long has it been since Adam Sandler was on? I was just really relieved to know I was not alone, when after checking Facebook all night, I saw an awful lot of rad people talking about SNL. Maybe it’s the cool thing to stay in on Saturday night now. If so, I’m definitely an early adopter. But, if not, then it was totally a fluke and it’ll never again.

Golden Globes Update: Yay! Gemma (Katey Sagal) from Sons of Anarchy just won for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Show - Drama. Yay! Love that show. It’s sadly underrated, and truly an incredible show. Watch it, if you aren’t already.

And today the Farkle Family went bowling. I don’t exactly know WHY we went bowling, we’re more the sit-around-and-drink-wine-and-make-fun-of-each-other types, but it was my mom’s birthday, and we were feeling a little sassy. Quick side note: As I was getting ready, I commented quietly to myself that I needed a haircut. Geo piped in and said “Yeah, and you need to paint your nails.” Ladies, don’t ever complain about a guy NOT noticing something about you. It’s when they start noticing little things like that that you feel like punching them.

Anyway, bowling was fun. My parents, Prinna and her family, Peter and his wife Nicole (who, by the way just announced she’s pregnant! Yay! Congrats Peter and Nicole!), Perek and his wife Leah, and Geo and I all went and tossed some big balls around. I ALWAYS forget that I’m really bad at bowling. I keep, like, just ASSUMING I’m good and I get there and bowl a 42. I nearly got beat by my 5 year-old niece. Plus, my thumb really hurts now. God, life is hard sometimes.

Golden Globes Update: Um, Justin Bieber? Really? He’s presenting an award and, uh, looks GOOD. Dapper, almost. His usually gross hair looks, well, GOOD. He actually looks like a boy I’d have a crush on in 6th grade and maybe kiss his poster at night, and not some shlub plucked out of an Aeropostale store. Fine, okay, I get the appeal.

Needless to say, my so-called “diet” went straight out the window this weekend, though. Friday night, my “dinner” was 3 slices of pizza at 3 a.m. and lunch/dinner today was a pepper jack cheeseburger (with jalapenos, obvs) and fries. Oh, and a very healthy-sized slice of red velvet cake. Watching all these women on the Golden Globes right now (oh, and the freaky-skinny Natalie Portman in Black Swan) is making me seriously consider introducing a little bulimia in my life.

I hate the end of weekends. It’s like, okay, “I hope you had your fun, missy, because it’s over.” It’s so much pressure, sometimes. And how sad is it that I’m starting to rate my weekends based on number of naps achieved?! I’m getting old. I joked to Geo that our house felt so cold because I’m old and my skin is getting thin. He laughed, and again suggested I get to work taking care of my nails.

Golden Globes Final Update: Could I love Natalie Portman any more? No. I could not. I adore her. I want to be her. She’s not the best public speaker, but I love her, and I’m super glad I saw her award-winning movie this weekend, disfigured feet and all. Lovely. She’s great. Please don’t go crazy or get cheated on in epic proportions. You’re fabulous.

Okay, in closing, here’s my little Golden Globes-ish speech for this weekend. I want to thank my mom for having a birthday, my family for making bowling even more fun than making fun of people who go bowling, Geo for keeping me grounded and focused when it comes to maintaining my personal hygiene, Xbox Kinect for bringing friends together and reminding me that I’m very good at dancing when everyone around me is drunk, and finally, thanks to Hollywood for making me realize all my dreams could come true with diamonds and a well-balanced diet of burgers and bulimia.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hollywood Walk of Lame

I’m such a hypocrite. Seriously. Not long ago I blogged about how cliché it is to sit and write at a coffee shop. And yet, I’m here at my neighborhood Caribou Coffee tap-tapping away on my computer, much to the annoyance of the socializers sitting next to me. I couldn’t help it. Every time I write at home, I end up hating what I write. So, I had to get out of there tonight. I’ve become the very thing I mock.

Okay, well, first thing’s first. It’s my friend Kelly’s birthday today! HBD, Kelly! AND, it’s my MOM’s birthday TOMORROW! w0000000t! In lieu of a birthday gift this year, I’m giving you guys a shout out on my blog! That, my friends, is worthless priceless.

Now that that’s taken care of, let’s move on to the big issue here today: You guys? Hollywood is totally lame these days. I’m really very disappointed in all my celebs. And I think the lack of action is contributing to my malaise as of late. Remember when Lindsay Lohan was like all nutso? Well, she moved in next door to her ex-girlfriend after getting out of rehab, and all that happened was that they had a “friendly lunch”. LAME. Miss Britney’s in the news again, but it’s because her new song is TOTALLY listenable and catchy, which is, you know, nice. I guess. All the people who are pregnant right now are like all settled down with some totally non-threatening dude who they’ve been dating for longer than 2 weeks. And all the breakups? Amicable. Oh yeah, and SNOOKIE wrote a BOOK(IE). I guess it’s fine, because I guess that means she can read, but I like my Snookie like I like my coffee. Way too dark and full of booze.

Apparently Charlie Sheen is doing something sort of crazy these days, but I don’t know what it is because I just don’t care about him. I can’t believe his stupid show is even on the air, by the way. Two and a Half Men? Are you kidding? Dumbest. Show. Ever. UGH! Look at me, people! Look what this Scandal Dry Spell is doing to me! I’m taking all my frustration out on poor Charlie Sheen, who I really liked in his tiny roll as a juvenile delinquent being held at jail in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I’m bullying him because his wacky drug-fueled antics just aren’t doin’ it for me these days. He’s on the verge of irrelevancy anyway, so it seems too EASY to rag on him. Sorry, Charlie.

What happened to all the adulterers of 2010? Where are the mental breakdowns resulting in baldness, jail, or worse? I saw a picture of AMY WINEHOUSE this week and I was so relieved. If anyone is dependably insane, it‘s her. But she’s actually performing, at an actual concert and she actually showed up. Plus, she’s gained a bit of weight back and looks healthier. And she was smiling! What is going on, people?! Are you trying to ruin my winter, Hollywood?

This week on TMZ, there were more stories about Michael Jackson’s former doctor than anything else. Oh, and no-name athletes who keep doing stupid crap. I don’t know them, I don’t care about them. Please stop writing about them, TMZ, and just start making stuff up again. I want that. I need that.

Where’s the HEART man? Where’s the fire and the passion for crazy hijinks in Hollywood? Whatever happened to “All Press is Good Press”? That’s like the golden standard out there! Sad, maybe all the stars and starlettes are growing up. Like, instead of going out on cocaine benders and having fights with trees, they’re staying in with tea and updating their contacts list. If ANYthing makes me feel old these days, it’s the boredom I get from listening to the famous people in my generation do nothing. Well, nothing except, like, working. And that’s just not interesting at all.

I need a fat, juicy story. I want Rihanna to start dating Miley Cyrus. I want LeBron James to admit to taking steroids, or Natalie Portman to give birth to 16 babies. Or, better yet, how about Brad and Angelina break up because she finally admits she’s an evil demon, and has only come to Earth to start her own evil army by adopting a zillion kids, but then eats all her babies?! Can someone find out if that’s going to happen!?

Again, I feel like such a hypocrite. I used to think “God, why do tabloids write about all this negative crap?” Well, I’ve found my answer. I NEED that negative crap. I do. When I get home from work and I’m exhausted and my house is messy and I have to pay bills and I can’t fit into my jeans anymore and my phone is broken, nothing perks me up like hearing that people have way bigger problems than me. Especially people who are skinnier than me, with way more money, too. Call me immature, call me mean-spirited, I don’t care. I’m a product of my generation. I’ve been spoiled my whole life with juicy Hollywood gossip - Remember Christian Slater and Madonna and OJ Simpson? HELLO!? Now, it’s like politicians are stealing the gossip limelight, and that is really dumb. I want my politicians to make the world better, not have reality shows.

So, whaddya say, Hollywood? Let’s get back to work. Go ahead and get back on those drugs! Get arrested for something heinous, and take a wicked bad mug shot! Get married and divorced…this weekend! You can do it! I need something big to happen. It’s going to take a Tiger Woodscapade-sized thing to get this group of “stars” back in my heart. Outside of that, I’m just going to stop caring about them and move on to hoping Justin Bieber comes out of the closet…

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Evil Eye

Wednesdays. Geez, it feels like every single week there’s a Wednesday. But, you know what? It’s nearly over, which means the week is almost over, which means the weekend is almost here. I can almost see Saturday from here. ALMOST. I’ll bet it’d be a lot clearer if I had better vision. (Oof, that transition was rough. Even for me. Gimme a break…it‘s Wednesday for crying outloud.) At any rate, I was at work this afternoon when my contact just straight up fell out of my eye. Bloop! Right there onto the floor. Luckily, I found it right away, because I would have most certainly been ruined for the rest of the day with just one working retina. How limiting! Geez, if my contact fell out while, I don’t know, driving, I’d have to pull over or drive with one eye shut. Whoops! There goes my depth perception!

I have suuuuper bad eye sight, and I’ve worn glasses since 5th grade. I. Loved. My. Glasses. They had giant round lenses, rimmed in a gold tortoise shell. They were Nickelodean brand. I used the little spray and cloth that came with my glasses to clean them compulsively. During my yearbook pictures in 6th grade, the photographer made me take off my glasses because there was a glare. When I got my yearbook, I looked at my picture and was horrified. By that time I was so used to seeing my face framed by the giant gold rims, that I felt like I looked like I was missing my eyes altogether. So I took out a pen and drew the glasses on myself. I ruined the picture, and thus, the only photographic evidence that I attended 6th grade.

Then, sometime around 8th grade, my mom must have looked at me, with my big silver braces and gold ginormous glasses, and thought, “Well, you just look ridiculous.” She took me to get contacts. Yay! Contacts! Or so I thought. I have a disgustingly vivid memory of that first eye exam. In order to test the amount of natural tears I could produce (you need tears for contacts, FYI), they took these pH strip-looking pieces of paper and slipped one INTO the corners of each of my eyes. I sat there and waited for the test to be done, closing my eyes with paper sticking out of them, and thinking “This is torture. This is ridiculous. How am I going to ever put things in my eyes after this?!” Needless to say, I had enough tears. Well, duh! I was ACTUALLY CRYING because those paper things hurt so bad. (If ANYONE ELSE had to go through this, please TELL ME! Everyone is convinced this is a “false memory”, but I remember it like it happened 20 minutes ago.)

These days, you’ll probably never see me with glasses. My contacts are every bit a part of me as my finger nails. I never take them out. And by “never”, I mean “NEVER”. I sleep with them in. It’s a really bad habit I got into in college. Waking up and not being able to see the alarm clock frequently resulted in many missed classes, so I learned to just sleep with my contacts in. People with 20/20 vision will never understand the panic and frustration of waking up and not being able to see past your own hand. So now I sleep with my contacts in my eyes rather than in their little case where they belong. Apparently, though, you’re supposed to take them out because when you sleep your eyeballs roll back in your head, making it very easy to lose a contact inside your brain. (Does it help you read minds? No.) But it’s never happened to me, so why fix something that ain’t broke?

Okay, I’m not the greatest at taking care of my contacts. But today when my contact fell out, I gave in and thought “Well this is a sign that I might need to go back to glasses.” Unfortunately, the glasses I have NOW are not exactly the bomb Nickelodean frames I used to drool over. I love the look of them…they are thick, black rectangular frames, but because I have a child-sized head and my glasses are made for ADULTS, they just slip off my head anytime I look down. Not exactly ideal (Eye-deal? Oooh, dumb. Sorry.)

But now my eyes are watering - either because I’m tired or because I’m having flashbacks to the Paper Strip in the Eye Nightmare - so, I’m gonna go attempt to take out my contacts and go to sleep. I just hope no one breaks in in the middle of the night…I won’t be able to see them and will probably mistake them for a roommate and just go back off to sleep. I wouldn't exactly make a suitable eye witness...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Oh Baby

Oh yeah. Happy Hour with Lana and Valerie tonight. We meet at the same place, laugh about the same things, and order the same food every time we get together. I love it. I need it. Aside from just being a supes fun night out with my girl friends, it also just happened to be the Four Year Anniversary of Lana's successful brain surgery. She had a tumor from her brain removed four years ago. Imagine that: She was just driving home one day, and all of a sudden, she tried to turn left, and her body turned right. Cray-cray. But luckily for me (and, okay, for her too), she's back to 110% awesome! Happy Brain-iversary, Lana!!!

So the three of us sat, chatted, and drank wine (oh, and ordered a very unfortunate Panna Cotta). Then the conversation turned, as it always does, to crazy, scarring events from our adolescence. Did you guys ever get a robot baby in middle/high school? Lana did, and Valerie apparently got an Egg to take care of. I never enjoyed such an opportunity. Then, as if she took the words out of my mouth, Valerie exclaimed, "It's gotta be so hard! You can't just shove the robot baby in a locker! They like TRACK it!" I might have failed that test.

I looooooove babies. (Well, babies I KNOW - stranger's babies are weird, everyone knows that.) I love snuggling them and smelling their Johnson & Johnson No Tears-smelling heads. I love them. I have cuddled and snuggled the five most perfect nieces and nephews ever, and I get all high on their baby powdered bodies. They're so sweet. They're so perfect.

For two summers in college, I worked at a day care in Bloomington, MN. That's right, folks. I was in charge of America's Future. ME. Nevermind the fact that I couldn't even get myself dressed for the day, I presided over classes of spongy little brains that soaked up whatever nonsense I'd spill. I'd bop around from the three year-old room, to the school age kids, and back to the toddlers, but nothing was more sweet, more perfect than cradling a wee little baby in the Infants Room and rocking 'em to sleep. Nothing was more refreshing than seeing a baby smile for the first time, or being able to calm a baby down after a major tantrum. Watching those tiny little fingers work their way around a Cheerio and pop in their mouth was total icing on the cake.

So, yes. I love me some babies. I, however, am not ready to have one of my own. I like an uninterrupted sleep. I like knowing that, on a day-to-day basis, I will have nothing to do with another person's poop. At any given moment, though, I will drop absolutely everything I'm doing to go and hang out with my nieces and nephew. They're funny. They're clever. They think anything I do is funny. They're like the greatest audience ever.

The big thing here is, at the end of the night, I'm gettin' out of Dodge. I go home, watch Family Guy and fall asleep when I'm good and ready. And on some random nights, instead of chilling at home, watching TV in sweatpants, I'll squeeze into some skinny jeans and head out to meet friends for drinks. Tonight, I briefly considered how horrible I'd be at finding a babysitter on such short notice. Plus, I still hand off my sister's kids to someone else when they need changing, and when they're inconsolable, I panic and leave the room. That's like the HARD WORK that I am, at this moment, ill-equipped for.

And yet, ironically, the new season of Teen Mom is on right now. I feel waaaaay too similar to those poor, stupid girls. Except the one who's totally idiotic who literally couldn't care less about her own BABY. She should be sterilized.

Anyway, back to robot babies. I think I always WISHED I could have had that opportunity. I feel like I'd surprise myself. Like, I'd get a robot baby and turn in back in and they'd tell me that I'd just started to raise the next Einstein. I think I'd make a sick temporary parental figure. I'd probably go down in history as the best fake parent of a robot baby. As long as I could give it back eventually.

Did you guys get robot babies? Did it fan the flames of parental desire in you? I don't know. I don't think it would have helped me. I have too many incredible little kids I can hang out with whenever I want, and then just dip out when I need to. (Meanwhile, I'm posting an a-dor-a-ble video of one of my nieces playing with an iPad on the Pharon Square Facebook page...check it out for SURE!).

The consensus tonight was that not a one of us is necessarily ready to give up Happy Hour for If You're Happy and you Know It. But, if you have the opportunity, I highly suggest you encourage all your brothers and sisters to have a zillion babies. They're totally fun, when you don't have to clean up their poop.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Take Two and Call Me in the Morning

I went to pick up a prescription tonight. Usually when I go - which is not often - the line is long, I’m in a hurry, and I’m angry I have to be there in the first place. As I’ve mentioned, I’m old school when it comes to curing what ails me: ice it, heat it, take a Tylenol. I just don’t hit up the pharmacy too much. So, when I do have to hustle my bustle over there, I’m already annoyed at my body’s vulnerability and just want to get in and get out at any cost. Tonight for some reason, though, I wasn’t so biatchy. So, you can imagine my surprise when I actually PAID ATTENTION to what I was paying for my prescription. Apparently, the sticker price is $123.00. I saw that on the package and my internal Outside Voice started screaming bloody murder “Have I paid that much before and not even REALIZED it!?” But the pharmacist shut me up post haste. “That’ll be $15.63” And that included a diet Coke. I strolled back to my car, in a pleased little daze. I’m not going to sit here and get into a health care debate. No way. But I will say this: whatever kept me from having to pay over a hundred stupid dollars for a stupid prescription is fine by me.

You know what’s scary? ALLLLLLL the things that can go wrong in a body. I’m a closet hypochondriac. Well, “closet” in the way that a lot of people know about it, but they don’t know just how serious it can get. I can keep myself up all night wondering if I’m slowly going blind, or maybe I’ll spontaneously go blind. The possibilities can be endless. Then again, I picked a blister on my hand today, and it’s already healed. Pills? I don't need no stinkin' pills. Maybe I’m magic.

Magic or not, though, I am not immune from advertising techniques. Have you noticed that like every other commercial is advertising some drug to “ask your doctor about”? The very UNhelpful thing is that they don’t exactly explain what the drug is for. Like I said, I generally don't like to medicate that which does not need medication. But, I like fancy packaging and catchy slogans. So, I wouldn’t put it past me to go to my doctor and ask her about something that ends up being a male enhancement pill, or something to ease the effects of menopause. The point is: how can I ask my doctor about something if I have no idea if I seriously need to? That’s probably how they get you.

Think about it: Every person in every drug commercial ever made in the history of time features a non-descript, vaguely middle-aged person, who is, like, super happy. I can’t help but think, “Is that how I’m supposed to feel? ‘Cause I have no desire to take a bath outside or play beach volleyball or ride a tandem bike. Clearly, I need to start taking whatever they‘re on.” Then I find out the drug is for like male-patterned baldness.

Then they come atcha with the SIDE EFFECTS! Are you kidding, drug companies? I’ll never forget the time I saw a commercial for a drug that supposedly alleviates social anxiety. The side effects were: excessive perspiration, gas, bloating, and nausea. Yeah, nothing says Socially Confident like a gassy, smelly person who pukes on your Pradas. Isn’t there a point where the scientists are like “Um, I think this is making the situation worse,“ and then they pack up their mice and microscopes for the day?

Between all the problems and all the solutions that are apparently available, it’s a wonder anyone can walk around with any maladies, let alone operate heavy machinery. There is medication for everything like restless feet, adult acne, short eyelashes, occasional perspiration, and bad breath. It's hard to take it all so seriously, especially when apparently "everyone" needs it. Here’s what I’d like to see the scientists get on, though. Cancer. That’s a biggie. Let’s cure that. Or, on a personal note, something to make you grow a few helpful inches taller. Or maybe a pill that makes your wallet fatter and your hips skinnier. Simultaneously. I feel like that would be pretty awesome. I’d totally suffer through some intense B.O. to get me some of that.

Well, none of those things come in pill form. Yet. For now, I’m going to dry-swallow a really big pill (yeah, I’m cool like that) and hope I don’t have to suffer through any of the vague side effects promised on the bottle. But I guess even if I do, someone makes a different drug to cure them. Meh, I probably wouldn't take it anyway. Sounds like a job for Tylenol to me.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Story of a Lifetime WINNER!

Well, I've FINALLY chosen my Story of a Lifetime winner! Thanks so much for all the great submissions (Kim told me her friend Gretchen and her family turned the whole thing into something of a drinking game, which I not only support, I would like to be involved in next time. Call me.) Thanks for all the awesome stories! I laughed, I cried, I ate snacks. But big ups to Liz, Robin and Jessica all from Minnesota for submitting this awesomely cheesy, chock full of Lifetimey goodness!! So, coming soon to Lifetime TV: AMNESIA MOM.

Setting: Minneapolis and South Dakota (Mount Rushmore Area), circa 2010
Characters: Voey (rhymes with Zoe, also we think this will be a hot baby name in 2011 upon the release of this film), a sassy teenager who is suffering from a mysterious nose ring infection that just wont go away. Vanessa, Voey’s "mother" who has an evil way about her. She is hiding the true secret of Voey’s “medical condition” and their true relationship. Violet, Vanessa’s beautiful and kind twin sister born 2 seconds earlier who is currently living with amnesia in South Dakota, following a car accident 15 years earlier that left her with no memory of who she is or any details of her life. She has been working as a waitress to pay off her medial bills. Recently, Violet has been having re-occurring dreams of having a teenage daughter with a rare disease.

Synopsis: Story opens on a car, after it has flipped three times and sits in ditch off dark highway. Violet’s bloody hand reaches out and attempts to wave for help before giving up and falling to her side. She looks at her husband in the passenger seat. Is he dead? She looks behind her at her infant in the back. Is she dead? Feeling certain unconsciousness setting in, Violet focuses all of her remaining strength to look in the rearview mirror at her infant daughter, Voey, strapped in a car seat. She then sees another face staring back at her in the mirror. Is it her own face in the mirror? Where are the wounds that her face surely has after such a horrific car accident? “It can’t be my own reflection,” Violet thought. Could it be… her evil twin sister, Vanessa? Violet watches helplessly as the mysterious stranger in the back unstraps baby Voey and kidnaps her. She tries desperately to scream but only a weak whisper comes out. “Vanessa….” Just then, Violet passes into unconsciousness, never again to remember what she had just experienced.

Cue opening credits…

*** Sixteen Years Later*** A young girl, age sixteen, named Voey is suffering from what she believes is just a sudden nasty nose ring infection. But her doctor and her “mother” Vanessa are being quite secretive about the diagnosis. Fed up with being kept in the dark by her mother (Voey has always sensed an evilness about her) she decides to take matters into her own hands and tears through her mother’s office. She finds a thin accordion file with “Voey” scratched across the top in thick marker. She rips it open and finds only a few pictures from recent years. "Why aren’t there any pictures of me as a baby?" she wonders. She digs a little deeper through boring crap: her first tooth that she lost, a postcard that she sent from summer camp, a receipt for her bike. “Where are all of my important documents? No birth certificate, no social security card?” At the bottom of the file she spots a small blue post-it with the phrase Endomisitisis Psychoeroticitis neatly printed on it. A quick iPhone search (movie to be sponsored by Apple…lots of product plugs periodically) reveals that Endomisitisis Psychoeroticitis, MSP for short, is a rare disease that can only be passed from mother to daughter. MSP causes ugly, hideous, grotesque cancerous spots on your nose and can only be cured by mixing the biological mothers blood with the daughter’s blood. Mixed blood transfusion MUST occur immediately as patients will die within 72 hours of first outbreak without it.

Voey suddenly feels weak. She touches her nose ring. It’s not an infection at all, is it? She runs over to the family Mac (Apple product plug #2) and pulls up the calendar. Her nose has been infected for 2 days. That only leaves her…24 hours to find antidote!!!! Panicked, Voey looks back at the blue post-it. There is something written on the back: MOTHER NOT A MATCH. Zoey vomits. “My mother…isn’t my mother?!?!” she gasps, “I was kidnapped!!!!” Realization hits Voey just as she faints. While unconscious, she has the same dream that her REAL mother, Amesia Mom Violet, has been having for several months. It’s suddenly clear to both of them. They MUST meet and combine their blood to make an antidote! It must be now. And it must be at Mount Rushmore!

Montage of Voey and Violet each rushing to Mount Rushmore. Flash to evil Vanessa arriving home, finding her trashed office and realizing that Voey has learned the truth. She sets out after Voey to prevent her and Violet from meeting and discovering that SHE caused the car crash in the first place. It was all an evil plot of Vanessa’s to steal her sisters baby after learning that she could never have a child of her own. After all, Violet always had the perfect life, she was prettier and more popular with woodland creatures than Vanessa. She had the perfect job and perfect husband. She was the good twin, and Vanessa got all of the “left over” genes. Evil Vanessa wanted Violet to know the pain Vanessa had felt her whole life.

Movie climaxes with all three characters meeting on the nose of Abraham Lincoln. There is a struggle and evil Vanessa falls and is dangling off the tip of nose. Violet and Voey consider letting her fall to her death as they piece together all of the years of torture that Vanessa has put them through. Just then a handsome doctor comes swinging across Washington’s eyebrows. “Stop!” he shouts, “You have to combine your blood and make the antidote now!!” The handsome doctor whips out a petri dish, mixes up antidote and injects Voey. The color suddenly returns to her cheeks and the heinous, gaping sores in her nose begin to heal instantly. Violet walks over to her sister still dangling off the tip of Lincoln’s nose. It's just not in her kind nature to let her sister fall to her death, even if Vanessa was the one who orchestrated a car crash, killing Violet’s husband, leaving her with amnesia while Vanessa kidnapped her only child and fully intended on letting that child die of a rare cancerous nose blister disease all to keep her own past deeds a secret. She pulls her sister to safety and they embrace. Evil murderous plan be dammed. Sisterly love always triumphs.

Fade to last shot of Violet, Vanessa and Voey sharing a picnic in a meadow and swapping stories of the years that they missed of each others lives. Voey’s nose is completely healed and she is carrying an iPad (Apple plug #3). The handsom doctor is waiting in the car for the ladies to finish lunch. He and Violet have fallen in love and are planning a fall wedding. As the screen fades to black, the camera closes in on Vanessa’s face. We see an evil look flash across her eyes as she looks over at the handsom doctor’s car. She glances back to Violet and we see the slight snarling of Vanessa’s lips. Maybe there is still evil jealousy in her after all. Fade all the way to black. Leave open ended for potential sequel.

Roll credits.

Casting-wise we are thinking former Melrose Place actress Daphne Zuniga in the roles of Violet/Vanessa and Selena Gomez as Voey.

Here are photos of us working on original storyboard, as proof that this story is an original:

Congratulations, ladies! Thanks for this awesome story! When you get your shirt, post a photo on the Pharon Square Facebook Page and make all your friends jealous!!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Quick Reminder / Nag-a-thon

Hey guys, I just wanted to give you a quick, and FINAL, reminder that I'll finally be choosing my Lifetime/Cheesy Movie Premise winner this weekend! Get your submissions in for your chance to be have the story published on AND a radical Pharon Square t-shirt!

Methods of Submission: Your best bet is to email your synopsis/outline/etchings/summary/one-liners to me at I guess you could also POST it on the Pharon Square Fan Page on Facebook (which you BETTER be a Fan of, or I'll sneak into your house and rearrange all your cupboards, making you think you've gone insane, thereby catapulting you into a long, slow descent towards a massive psychotic break), but that could give away your bomb ideas.

Deadline: I'll be choosing the winner this weekend. If you're a rebel/outlaw, you could wait until Sunday night to submit, but that could be too late. If you want to play it safe, I'd send it in before then. Either way, I'm too flaky to give a specific time, so hedge your bets and get 'em in early.

Good luck!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Get Lost

“We have to go back.” If you ever watched Lost you know what I’m talking about. And tonight, friends, We Went Back. Kim and Nick came over, we opened some beer and wine, and got to work watching the last season of Lost and going back to The Island. I’m going to go ahead and spare you non-Losties and NOT write a whole blog about how much I totally love and miss Lost. I am fighting the urge the write things like “Waaaaaalt!” and “Chahlie, stay away from ma bay-bay”, and talk about things like how much I hate Kate and her constant “I’m coming with you” statements. I’ll refrain. But I will tell you this: If you didn’t or won’t watch Lost, your life will be unfulfilled.

Oh, I also want to say a quick little thing to Losties: Did you all hear about the 30 or so people who hit the JACKPOT by playing the Lost numbers in the lottery?! CRAZY! One of the creators of Lost joked that all the people who won are cursed. HILARIOUS.

Alright, moving on, I’m going to just confess something. Lost is not just a show for me. It’s actually a way of life for me. I get lost allllllll the time. As in: hopelessly, desperately, pathetically lost. I have no internal compass. I have no idea where west is from where I am right now, and if you asked me what part of Minneapolis I live in, I would tell you “Right near the Walker museum”. Because I have no idea if I’m in north, south, east, or west Minneapolis. It’s like my hopeless relationship with math. Nothing logical makes sense in my head.

I think maybe it has a little something to do with a couple things. One: I was not a good driver when I got my license. My mom restricted me from driving any further than a 4 block radius of my house. Rightfully so, though. About a week after being allowed to drive to school, I rear-ended someone. I'm an idiot. Anyway, TWO: I've only ever lived in Iowa and Minnesota, which all pretty much look the same to me. There's always just like a main road, and a bunch of side streets. I take the main roads until Google Maps tells me to exit. Not difficult.

Kim and I were driving from school in Iowa City back home to Minneapolis. We were trying a new route that I had looked up. Kim was hesitant. About 2 hours into the ride, we came to the realization that we weren't exactly lost, but we certainly weren't taking the fastest way. She never took my directions again.

I think that by far, the most infamous example of my knack for getting lost was when I was driving from Padrin's house in Decorah, IOWA to Iowa City, IOWA. I figured it wouldn't be too difficult. I wrote down some directions, popped in a CD and went on my way. Two hours later, I'm in Illinois. I know you're thinking, "But Pharon, didn't you figure out that you were lost when you were CROSSING OVER THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER?" No. No, I didn't know that crossing the giant bridge was sending me into an entirely different state, because shockingly, I have no idea where the Mississippi River is in relation to anything else. It's in the middle of the country. That's all I know. But driving around in Iowa/Illinois looks exactly the same, so I didn't realize I was lost until waaaaay too late. I had to call my work from a gas station to explain I would be late for my waitressing shift. When they pressed me for more details, I pretended I lost the signal and hung up.

I wish I had a better sense of direction, I really do. But honestly, with GPS, Google street view, and everything else, I don't get lost all that often. As long as I follow the directions, I'm great. But if I miss one turn, or one exit is under construction, I'm screwed. Did you guys know that if you call 411 and give them your current location and your destination, they can GIVE YOU DIRECTIONS? I know this, because it's on my speed dial. Well, it was before I had a phone with internet. The point is, I'll never have to suffer through the embarrassment of stopping in to gas station to ask for directions to place that ends up being "Uh, that's literally down the block" ever again.

Oh well. I guess I'm stuck using the numerous technological devices at my disposal to get from point A to point B.

But, back to Lost. We are re-watching the last season of the show, and I'm just as enthralled as I was the first time I saw it. The odd thing is, for as complicated and twisty and turny as it is, I can follow the story. Now, if someone made me DRIVE to a different city to WATCH Lost, you can bet I'd never get there.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Losties, this one's for you...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oh, Brother

You guys have no idea how close I am to calling Stacy in for this one. I. Am. Pooped. For the past couple nights, I have not slept well at all, and I just polished off a big burger, fries and scoop of vanilla sundae at dinner. I'm basically comatose. But, we must press on, folks. We must.

After one of the world's longest hump days at work, I went and had some din-din with my family at Hazeltine. What's the occasion, you ask? Tonight officially kicks of the "Month of Too Many Birthdays" in my family. We've got, at my last count, 6 birthdays in a month. Tonight was Perek's birthday (HBD, Bro!) so we kicked off the Birthday Season in style.

We were all sitting there, digesting the nummy food, when Perek pointed towards the melting ice cream in front of him. "What did we used to call that?" he asked. I got this big grin on my face and said "Mmm. Snake Soup." He and I would build forts and sit in there with big bowls of ice cream, and stir it and stir it until the ice cream totally melted. We'd add "goat's eyeballs" and "tongue of newt" and then slurp it up. Gross. Plus, hello Dummies? We didn't even put SNAKE in Snake Soup. Idiots.

Anyway, that particular memory prompted me to recall many other joyous and possibly life-scarring memories about him and me growing up.

* We used to have one of those arcade basketball games in our basement - you know, the ones with two baskets, and you shoot baskets for like 45 seconds or something. Anyway, Perek was like 12, and was in the basement shootin' hoops. Alone. I crept down the stairs, snuck around the corner, jumped out behind him and screamed "BOOOOOOOO!" He screamed bloody murder, collapsed to the ground, cried, and basically hyperventilated for a minute. I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time.

* My sisters taught Perek the wrong colors growing up. We also gave him erroneous pronunciations of words like Japan.

* He used to not eat food if anyone "breathed on it". Once we discovered that, we'd blow all over his food and laugh and laugh and laugh while he'd cry and refuse to eat.

* The most well-known quote in my family was "They're just jealous." My mom would say that to Perek anytime we'd pick on him, which was daily. When we made fun of him for having a near-life-size poster of himself playing soccer in his own room, my mom hugged him to her and said "Oh Perek, they're just jealous". And that twerp would fake cry and stick his tongue out at us.

* Kids in the 80's were so much tougher than kids today. Perek and I would put on our "sleepers" - those awesomely frictiony footie pajamas - and shoot down our staircase on our butts. We'd skid down the stairs (which were only carpeted in the middle of each step) at light speed. And besides the wall, the only things keeping us "safe" were the precariously sharp wrought-iron banisters lining one side. The sliding was very fun. The smashing into the banister was NOT fun.

* Do you guys remember the music in the Sega game Sonic? AWESOME. We'd play the game and every once in awhile, something in the wordless music just made us blurt out a line and we'd write songs based on that first, impetuous line. The lines made no sense together, but somehow the words came to us like they just FIT. When we were at Geo's cabin a few months ago, Perek and flipped on Sonic to see if we could remember any words. The ones we remembered were gems such as "Must have been some magic.....must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found", "duh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh nuh, we'll take the freeway up!" and "ba ba da ba ba da ba What are we gonna dooooo?" What? Horrible lyrics. I hope I can remember them forever though.

It was never dull growing up in a house with so many kids, but Perek was the ONLY one I could, like, preside over because he is the only one younger than me. And I would like to think I took that responsibility seriously. Okay, so YES, he's younger than me and he's married and a home owner way before I am, but that doesn't matter. I will always be the one who reminds him, in public, that he didn't wear jeans until he was 15 AND I was the one who urged him to get his first "cool kid haircut". Yeah, you're welcome, bro ham. Happy Birthday, Perek!