Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Once upon a way-back-when, I was asked to make a baby blanket for a newborn whose parents were about the most rabid Raiders fans the world has ever had to bear the weight of knowing. The task was simple enough; I found some licensed NFL fabric, a gray striped baby-friendly cotton for the backing, satin quilt binding in pale gray, threw a layer of quilt batting in the middle and Bob, as the kids say, was somebody’s uncle. Not this kid’s, his uncle was Chet. Or something like Chet. I don’t remember.

And Bob is my cousin, for the record. But I digress.

Flash forward a few years, and one of my favorite fellow Sharks fans was having a baby. Well, his wife was, but he helped. And I thought “Hey, Sharks blanket, nifty!” and was out the door to the fabric store before you could say “babies are non-self-aware creatures who don’t care what they’re wearing or wrapped in”, already picturing my masterpiece in its completed state.

Except. There was no Sharks fabric.

I go to this particular fabric store pretty often, so I knew the lady at the cutting table. In response to my query, she said yes, they’d had some a while back but it sold and they never got any more.

Because, really, why would anyone restock a product that sold?

Flash forward a few more years, and another Sharks fan was having a baby. Same scenario, same disappointing end.

I’ve looked for Sharks fabric on a few other occasions over the years, and always with the same lack of result. Today, I received an email from another fabric store, saying it is not too late for me to make gifts and they have the perfect sports fabric not only available but ON SALE! To say my manner when I opened the email was blasé would be an insult to blasé. My cursory scan of the email’s content and subsequent clicking of the sale link made hipsters look exuberant. Because I already knew what was waiting for me at the other end of that click.

Licensed NFL and MLB fabric. The only licensed sports-related fabric that anyone seems to make.

And I know it isn’t just that I haven’t been looking in the right places. My search has not been limited to fabric stores to whose email lists I happen to subscribe. I have scoured the Internet in vain. The fabric does not exist.

A search for “San Jose Sharks fabric” on eBay brings us this:

Not only is it not fabric, it is not even close to what springs to mind when I put “my shower” and “the San Jose Sharks” together in the same thought. Although I suppose I could get a couple of them and make myself a pretty spectacular cape.

That same search phrase on Google unearthed this little gem:

Which, while just about fantastic enough to make me want to get married tomorrow, is still not fabric. Which begs the question, why?

Why, NHL? Why do you hate helpless infants and seamstresses? Why can’t we have licensed fabric of our very own? We’d make you proud, we’d make really super ultra mega awesome things, you wouldn’t be sorry, we promise.

Just give us a chance.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Harlean's Head-Shaving Hexstravaganza - A Fundraiser

Which actually has nothing to do with hexes, I just got caught up in the alliterative-subject-line excitement of it all. But I am shaving my head. Or at least cutting my hair pretty short. Unless you tell me not to. Here's the scoop:

Ask any 10 people what they think the number one cancer killer among women is, nine and a half of them will likely say "breast cancer". October, as I’m sure you know, is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in no way do I ever want to diminish the importance of that awareness.

But when the 3-Days have been walked, the pink ribbons tucked back away in jewelry boxes and October is over for another year, what remains is the fact that breast cancer is not the answer to that question, not even close.

Lung cancer kills twice as many women as breast cancer does, every year. It accounts for more than a quarter of ALL cancer deaths. And that, in a word, sucks. So this is me, doing my little part to change it.

Oh, and did I mention I’ll be cutting my hair as well?

Yes, the crazy waist-length mane of red insanity shown in this photo

will, at the end of this fundraiser, be donated to Locks of Love.

Or will it...?

When I first mentioned the possibility of donating my hair, reactions were pretty evenly split between “Yay, awesome!” and “OMGSTFUNOOOOOOOOOO!!!” because apparently my hair has its own fan club and the members, while few, are pretty devoted. So, I have devised a simple yet evil plan that will let everyone have their say, raise some money for a great cause, and take the decision out of my hands completely.

Donate to this fundraiser, even if it’s only a dollar. When you donate, you will be given the option of leaving a comment. In your comment, leave your vote for or against me chopping my hair off. On December 31st OR when the fundraising goal has been reached, whichever comes LAST, votes will be counted and the fate of my mane shall be decided.

To further reward you for your support, everyone who donates any amount will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 5 prizes like journals and tote bags from our CafePress shop.

Here is the donation page

And here are the nifty drawing prizes, selected by people just like you

And thank you, as always, for your support.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hockey, My Little Pony & Filthy Instantly Regrettable Lies

The other day, I found myself in a conversation about sports with a cashier at Costco. A moment before, he had been engaged in a conversation with some guy in a San Jose Sharks sweatshirt, and I overheard mention of an injured player. Now, my dear boys had had a difficult game the night before but to my knowledge no one had gotten hurt, so needless to say I was concerned that I might have missed something. When it was my turn to check out, I asked about what I had overheard, and it turns out Cashier & Friend had been talking about one of the Oakland Raiders. I replied “Oh, I thought you were talking about-“ and caught myself before I finished the sentence with “something important”, choosing instead “I saw the Sharks sweatshirt, I just thought...”

After telling me which specific player had been injured and receiving a negative reply to his query as to whether or not I was a Raider fan, Cashier asked me “So who’s your favorite Shark?”

To which I replied... with a blank stare. Favorite? I said I didn’t have one. He insisted that I must. When pressed, I told him the closest I could get to picking a favorite was a three-way tie between... and even then I had to pause before I said Thornton, Niemi and Murray. (Douglas, that is. No offense, Andrew.)

Thornton for being such an enthusiastic leader by example,

Niemi for reasons I have detailed before,

and Murray because, really, how can you not have a soft spot for this?

Or, frankly, this.

As soon as I walked out of the store, my mind started throwing out snippy little guilt-laden tidbits like you forgot Marleau, how could you forget Marleau? What, Clowe isn’t good enough for you now? Pavelski hasn’t done anything for you lately? Nice “favorites” list, if you don’t mind that you neglected to mention... and on and on until I had no choice but to head straight to the nearest mall and spend an hour looking at nothing but My Little Pony displays and layered pastel clothing with ruffles, to drive the very idea of the existence of hockey as far from my mind as possible. I was a terrible fan, and I had no right to pretend otherwise.

It wasn’t until later, when I’d had enough wine to chase the My Little Ponies from my thoughts, that I recognized the source of my original dilemma. The reason I had been so hard-pressed to name a favorite player is the very same reason I like hockey so much in the first place. It’s never about the individuals. It is, more than any other "team" sport, all about the team, both in the way the game is played and in the attitudes of the players themselves. There will always be highlights, there will always be standouts and great nights for certain players and things you will always associate with one particular guy, but at the end of the day, hockey isn’t just a bunch of people in the same game at the same time. It’s about a group acting as a single unit toward a specific goal (no pun intended, unless you cracked up in which case I totally planned that).

So, Costco Cashier, if you’re reading this, I apologize for the lie, and would now like to come clean and introduce you to my favorite Shark.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How to Design a Font that Really Sucks

If you had asked me, a few years back before I was heavily into incorporating text as an integral part of my daily routine of artsy what-nottery, if a font could suck, I mean really suck, suck to the point of drawing all goodness out of the project in which it was used and make me want to stick sharp objects in my brain as a result of its absolute unmitigated suckery, I would have said no. I would have likely said “pffffft, of course not, it’s just letters, it may not be exactly what you want but how can it actually suck?”

Little did I know. So very little. There are fonts in this world that exist at a level of sucking that Stephen Hawking, Stephanie Meyer and James Dyson can only dream of someday understanding.

But if you too dream of creating something that really really sucks, it doesn’t have to remain merely an impossible dream. You will be well on your way to Hall of Fame Sucking Greatness if you can design a font that includes any or all of the following characteristics.


Few things thrill me more, when I am trying to lay out a block of text as a single block rather than a dozen separate lines, than using a font with padding that exceeds the size of the letters themselves coded into it. Seriously. I love a 12px pad on 10px characters. It rocks. I have specially choreographed happy dances for just these little moments. To Ricky Martin songs, even.

Then there's...


Go ahead, call me old-fashioned. When I type letters, I like the letters I type to look like the letters I type. So it’s a little wake up call for me, a much-needed nudge into the present, when I find a font that makes, for instance, a lowercase ‘k’ look exactly like a lowercase ‘f’, and the ‘f’ look just like a ‘t’, and the ‘t’ like an uppercase ‘I”. This is not a bad thing, in no way a flaw in the font. II’s me, clinging Io a pasI IhaI has no place in Ihe now, insIead of loofing torward inIo a brighIer Iomorrow.

And finally, a recently discovered favorite...


When I first encountered the “craaazy” font that manifests its craaaziness in the form of adding extra characters to text, characters that the user didn’t actually type, my initial impulse was to drive to my mother’s house and slap her for not letting me know sooner that my life could ever be so good. It was like every wordy dream I never knew I had coming true all at once. Particularly when my text included a URL and I was just giddy imagining all the fun people would have trying to find my website! They wouldn’t know which of the craaazy mystery characters was the extra, it could keep them occupied for days! Why do we not play Hide & Seek on the Internet more often? What is this insistence on making businesses so easy for people to just waltz into? WHERE’S THE CRAAAZY FUN IN THAT?!

And that, boys and girls, is how you make a stupid font that really sucks.

This post is dedicated with gratitude to the creator(s) of Monotype Corsiva, my new go-to font. Mr. and/or Mrs. Corsiva, I heart you with all of my heart.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dear State of California...

Dear State of California,

Thank you for being so much smarter than I am. I know you must be because there are things that seem to make perfect sense to you that are, sadly, completely beyond my ability to grasp.

A car was brought into an automotive repair facility this morning, needing minor work done in order to be able to pass a smog inspection for registration renewal. This automotive repair facility is certified to perform smog inspections; however, the vehicle registration renewal form specified that only a smog certificate from a Test Only or Gold Shield facility would be accepted.

Even though those facilities use the same equipment in the same manner to read the same emissions and issue the same certificates as our repair facility. And there is no regulation stating that the smog certificate can’t be issued by a facility where the vehicle in question is having other work done. The only reason we are not able to obtain the smog certificate at the facility where we have already taken the car is the verbiage on the registration form.

So I’m sure you have a good and sound and logical reason to require us to pump a few more fumes into the environment by transporting the vehicle to yet another facility in order to ensure that the vehicle is not pumping too many fumes into the environment.

No, don’t tell me what that reason is. I probably wouldn’t get it anyway.

A Native Californian

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Balance, Perspective, and Why I Love My Life

As many of you know, I recently submitted a photo to the Pinup-Doll.com Pinup Doll of the Month contest. This is the photo

and as you can see, there is butt. It’s what I do, you should know that by now.

When I first submitted a photo to this contest, the page owner replied that she loved the image I sent but was concerned about it being reported and did I have something a bit more Facebook-friendly. Now, the image I first sent was already on my own FB page and hadn’t created any problems, but I understood and appreciated her concern, so I sent the above, more modest version of the same shot. She said she still had concerns but would add the photo to the contest and hope for the best.

It was up for a week before it was reported and deleted. The stats for that week are as follows.


2 “Nasty”, 1 “Gross”, 1 “Tacky”, 4 “Sexy”, 3 “Hot”, 3 “Gorgeous”, 2 “Beautiful”, 1 “Sensual” and 1 “Oh My Dick” (which I know is three words but it made me laugh so I’m including it)

TOTAL – 14 Positive, 4 Negative


Disliked – 2 people who called it “nasty”, 1 person who called it “gross”, 1 person who called it “tacky”, and one person who felt the need to report it and have it deleted

Liked – My mother, 4 of my sisters, 1 of my goddaughters, 8 of my personal friends, and 91 random strangers whose support I greatly appreciate

TOTAL – 105 Positive, 5 Negative


Report the photo to Facebook and have it deleted – 1

Go to my shop and shell out $20 for the first 2012 calendar sale of the year – 1

TOTAL – 1 Negative, 10 Positive (because people who put their money where their mouth is count 10 times more than people who hide behind Internet anonymity and report things they don’t like rather than just looking away)

This is the first time I’ve had a photo deleted on Facebook, and while it stung for a moment, what I found particularly amusing about the experience was trying to figure out what people find offensive. Let’s compare sections of the photo currently up on the Pinup-Doll.com FB page, the winner of last month’s contest, and the photo that was reported and consequently deleted.

Clearly, what bothers people is not exposed skin, which both photos have. It is not cleavage, because the first photo quite obviously has a great deal more of that. No, I have given this careful thought and believe I have determined what it is that strikes fear in the hearts of Internet users, causing the knee-jerk “report & delete” reaction.

The sight of butt crack is deeply and irrevocably linked in the subconscious to the idea of costly home repairs, and this is the fear to which people react, without even realizing it. It’s not nudity that people have a problem with; it’s plumbers.

That’s the only explanation I’ve found that makes any sense, when people go to a page with the name “PINUP” in the title and are shocked to see skin. If you have other theories, I would love to hear them.

(The first photo in the above comparison is of Pinup Doll Ashley Marie, and please do not take anything in this post to mean that I don’t like her. I do, she is gorgeous and you should go HERE and lavish all sorts of praise on her. While you’re at it, go HERE and Like the Pinup-Doll.com page, and HERE to continue your admiration and praise-lavishing on Naomi VonKreeps, founder of Pinup-Doll.com)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Ooooh, Pretty Flowers...

The pretty flowers you now see as the background on this blog are a pattern I downloaded from PatternCooler. The name of this particular pattern is "Harlean's Sunflowers", but I actually loved PatternCooler long before they did something as sweet as name a background after me.

PatternCooler is amazingly awesome. You go there, pick out a pattern, customize the colors, resize it to suit your needs, and presto, a seamless tile is generated and made available for you to download.


The gentleman who runs the site is a great guy named Harvey. See how great he is?

As you can see from the photo, Harvey spends so much time making PatternCooler awesome that he doesn't even have a spare moment to shave. And sadly, most of his wig budget has to go toward covering all of those pesky website-hosting-related whatnotities that can really add up at the end of the month. So while PatternCooler is indeed a free service, if you do use it and are able, please consider making at least a token donation to thank Harvey for all of his hard work and awesomeness.

And maybe someday they'll name a pattern after you, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Girl, A Harp & A Photo Contest

Once upon a time, there was a girl with a harp who forgot to get dressed, and a guy with a camera who was nice enough to bring the naked harp-playing girl a cup of coffee, which he rather carelessly set down on top of a dictionary, but then he took a really nice picture so the girl forgave him, and when a group of vigilante lexicographers stormed the camera guy's home in a not quite so forgiving state of mind, the girl took it upon herself to get dressed and repel the intruders by means of eggs and empty shampoo bottles and penguin-themed haiku hurled at high speed and volume, and when the lexicographers had retreated and the eggs and shampoo bottles had been cleared away and they had almost managed to forget they ever heard the words

"ersatz tuxedo
your informal bent belies;
swim and mock no more!"

they lived happily ever after.


True story. Now please go vote for this photo HERE.

(No registration necessary, and you can vote for five photos total. And as always, your support is appreciated tremendously.)

UPDATE: Thanks to all of you wonderful people voting and helping to spread the word about the contest, look what we got. Well, we didn't actually get a ribbon, we got a CD from the woman who sponsored the contest. This CD from this woman, to be precise. So thank you all very very very much.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

How To Do Things

Far be it from me to say anything like “you do life-to-the-fullest living wrong” but, the fact is, you probably do. I certainly do, sometimes and with some things. In fact, there are few things I can look at and say “YES AWESOME IS HOW I DO THAT ALL THE TIMES!”

Short list:
Drinking coffee
Buying lingerie
Eating Morningstar Farms veggie burgers
Buying shoes
Telling other drivers how much they suck

Sad. I know. But this is why we have an Internet, to make our lives better. Sometimes it’s through cleverly-captioned photos of cats

sometimes, it’s a YouTube video telling you things you never knew you never knew

and sometimes, it’s words of wisdom from your fellow Internet users, sharing lessons they have learned along the way about how you can make even really good things just a little bit better.

Good things like these:

How to Eat a Cookie (from Tea Time with Jesse)

How to Buy Frozen Yogurt by the Ounce (from chocolate murdercakes)

How to Take Engagement Photos (from Regretsy)

I don’t know about you, but my life is better already.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Make the World a Better Place in 3 Easy Steps

Yes, it's true. You can make the world a better place, in three easy steps, without even leaving the comfort of the chair you are currently sitting in.

STEP 1 - Go HERE and vote for Jessica's Hope Project in the Pepsi Refresh Project, so she can win a $25,000 grant to continue her work of sending fitness-oriented care packages to U.S. troops. We're talking about the people who have pledged their lives in defense of ours. The least we can do is help the project that sends them the things they need in order to remain as badass as possible. This costs you nothing, and takes about 14 seconds.

STEP 2 - My favorite photographer really needs a haircut. Go HERE to see just how badly. Seriously. The man has tremendous quantities of hair. Fabio sends love notes to Jerry Seeger's hair. At least he used to. I think that might be over now. Maybe that's why Jerry has decided to do something like donate his hair to Locks of Love. Hair needs to be loved, and if Fabio's enamorment is out of the picture, this is the logical next stop for such a fabulous flowing man mane. Please donate if you're able, even if it's only a dollar. If you are not able, believe me, I understand, but if you could repost the link, that will also be greatly appreciated. And costs you nothing, and takes about 14 seconds.

STEP 3 - Okay, there's some shameless self-promotion in this one, mixed with the desire to make the world a better place, but the two are actually more intertwined than you might think. The more I can get my name and face and various exposed body parts out in the world, the more little sparks of recognition will start flying around the Internet when I organize or promote a fundraiser. Which I do a lot of, particularly from October to December. So for Step 3, I am asking you to please go HERE and vote for me as Pinup of the Month, to win a four page spread in The Pin Up Magazine. You can vote once daily, now through 9/15. Guess how long it takes, and how much it will cost you.


Monday, August 22, 2011

My Inner History Geek is Not Amused*

Once upon a time, I worked at the Renaissance Faire. And when I say “once upon a time”, I mean “back in the days when an accurate portrayal of documented historic events and persons was actually considered important to the overall production”.

Back in once upon a time, we had a wardrobe mistress who had been seen drawing thick-lined black Sharpie X’s on the exposed body parts of performers when those body parts were not supposed to be exposed. We had live chickens that we carried around with us all day. We had ale, not Budweiser. And we had a woman playing Queen Elizabeth I who was actually... a bit homely. At least when she had her full “I Am the Queen” makeup on, she was.

Which was good. Because, you know what? It’s been pretty well documented that Elizabeth I had one foot on the fugly side, and the other on Ye Olde Banana Peele.

Yes. This is a portrait of Elizabeth I, as a teenager, when theoretically she was at her most attractive, painted during her lifetime, when the artist would have had to hear about it from her personally if it didn’t look good

and this was still the best he could do and have it be believable.

As you can most likely tell from the above portrait, Queen Elizabeth I was not pretty.

Flash forward past many a Renaissance Faire where the organizers, for whatever reason, felt like they had to find more

and more

attractive redheads to play the queen, and when I saw this one

taken by a friend at a Faire she attended with her daughter, I finally snapped. And when I snap, I blog. I used to buy shoes, but this is much cheaper.

So let me repeat, with caps lock on because that seems to be the only way some people on the Internet understand that other people on the Internet are serious, QUEEN ELIZABETH I WAS NOT PRETTY.

Striking? Maybe. Regal? Yes. Well dressed? Hell yes. Pretty? Not even close.

Guess what? She didn’t have to be pretty. We should all be so lucky as to ever have such a lack of need to be pretty. It’s like the old joke about not needing a Porsche if you have a big dick. Just substitute “pretty” for “Porsche”, and “control of the British Empire” for “big dick”.

But the times, as Mr. Dylan so astutely noted, they are a-changin’. So, Renaissance Faire Powers-That-Be, let me offer you a small bit of advice. If you insist on hiring progressively hotter redheads to portray one of the least hot women in the history of civilization for the sake of peddling as much cheap beer and mutton curry as is humanly possible in the course of six summer weekends, consider this:

Gia Genevieve is the chase, and you should just cut to it. Put her under permanent contract to play your Elizabeth I and call it a day. If you’re going to do it wrong anyway, you might as well do it wrong right.

*Yes, I know that was Victoria, not Elizabeth I. The difference between me and most of the people running historical reenaction events is I know that.

Gia Genevieve photo by Varga Photography

UPDATE: It has been brought to my attention that the woman in the third photo is actually portraying Mary I of Scotland, not Elizabeth I.  But I still think those first two Elizabeths are way prettier than they should be.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How I Bear the Shame of Total Crap Cooking

Dear Food Television Personalities,

I have a horrifying confession of horribly horrible horror that I simply cannot keep to myself a moment longer. The horror is too great for one woman to bear alone.

The horror.

Please make sure there are no young and easily frightened children standing behind you before you scroll down to read this next statement. I won’t have that on my conscience along with everything else. I can’t.

Because what I have to tell you is... I own and use white truffle oil.

For the longest time, I was under the unforgivably foolish impression that it was just an ingredient. Granted, its liquid state combined with a transparent and decidedly non-fungal appearance had led me to suspect it was not a real truffle, but I was all right with that. Of course, I was also under the impression that it is okay to cook with and eat things for no better reason than you like the way they taste. Little did I know

and I should just count myself damned lucky that I have any friends left.

Apparently, what makes white truffle oil the abomination that it is in the eyes of all who stand for right and good and have any shred of common decency is, according to one well-known food television personality, the fact that “truffle oils are made by perfumists that have no white truffles in them”. Before I read that, it had never even occurred to me to question whether or not my perfumists might have truffles in them. I just didn’t realize it mattered what the people making my oils might have had for lunch.

But once I started questioning things, I found I couldn’t stop.

If white truffle oil is not the same as actual truffles, what other things might not be the same as other things?

Through exhaustive research, I uncovered the astounding fact that candy canes and fresh mint leaves are not the same thing. It explained a great deal about why my herbal infusions tended to be so crunchy and oversweet, but sadly I will now have to find other ways to grow my own Christmas tree ornaments.

Russet potatoes and Creamy Mash are also not the same thing. Thankfully, with this knowledge in my possession I can count on my chips and dip being considerably less indistinguishable from one another the next time I’m invited to a potluck. If there is a next time. I can only hope.

And slowly, as I waded deeper into these terrifying yet irrefutable truths, the real question began to form in my mind, the answer to which might forever change the everything of everything that I ever do with food ever again.

Are all things... perhaps... not other things?

I closed my eyes and mind as quickly and tightly as I could, but no amount of refusal to see would change the truth I could now never un-know. Things are, in fact, not other things. Things are what they are.


I’m not sure how I will proceed from this point, or what I will do with this case of Jell-O instant pudding that I had such high hopes of using in place of Tahitian vanilla beans. It will be a relief to no longer feel compelled to store my containers of white truffle oil in the calcareous soil at the base of my neighbor’s oak tree, since clearly that was never doing any of the good I thought it might anyway. Beyond that, I just don’t know. But if knowing is half the battle, not knowing must be the other half, so perhaps all hope for me is not yet lost.

I really don’t know how to thank you.

An Avid Home Cook Who Has Never Poisoned Anyone Accidentally

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sleep Well, Cha Cha

I was 9 when I first saw Grease. Needless to say, at that age I didn’t understand a lot of what went on in the movie. But I loved the music, the clothes, the hair, the cars, and, most of all, the attitudes of the women. From Frenchie’s scatterbrained optimism and Jan’s surprisingly unannoying perkiness to Rizzo’s absolute refusal to apologize for being only who she was, I loved those women. The more I saw of them, the more I wanted to be every one of them when I grew up.

Except Sandy and Marty. I never wanted to be Sandy or Marty, and it didn’t occur to me why until just yesterday. Sandy and Marty were products of lack of experience, at that point formed more by what they hadn’t seen and done than what they had. Even at 9, I knew that wasn’t how life really worked.

And then there was Cha Cha DiGregorio.

The best dancer at St. Bernadette’s. With the worst reputation. I remember not knowing exactly what that meant the first time I heard it, but it was pretty clear it made the other girls not like her very much, and equally clear that Cha Cha didn’t care. And I remember thinking, if I could dance like that I wouldn’t care what anybody thought of me either.

I saw Grease again when I was 13. That time, when Frenchie gave her snarky response to Cha Cha’s claim, I knew what it meant. And I remember thinking... yeah, if I could dance like that I wouldn’t care what anybody thought of me either.

Like Rizzo, Cha Cha was who she was. Nothing more, nothing less, and nothing she would ever apologize for. A St. Bernadette’s girl who had no problem walking into the Rydell gymnasium and winning their dance contest with somebody else’s boyfriend. Question her motives and judge her character all you like, you couldn’t fault her execution. Or her hair. She had awesome hair.

I have since seen Grease at least a dozen times, and the lesson Cha Cha had to share only grew more meaningful as I grew older; true happiness is found in knowing who you are, being who you are, and having the best hair possible.

And I guess the good hair is actually optional.

In fond memory of
Annette Charles
3/5/1948 – 8/3/2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Whatever It Is, I'll Just Keep It To Myself

Dear LivingSocial,

I don’t know exactly what "colon hydrotherapy" is. However, I am pretty sure it's not anything I would consider a social activity and need a group discount on.

But thanks for all the half-price froyo. That's awesome.

An Appreciative Subscriber

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Things That Never Fail To Crack Me Up No Matter How Often I See Them

Like everyone else, I have my bad days. Days when everything is just wrong, when nothing seems to want to function properly or go as planned. Days when very little can convince me that the best possible course of remedial action doesn’t involve vodka, a 20 lb sledgehammer and ‘Ride of the Valkyries’ at full volume.

Fortunately for me, my neighbors and my furniture, there are some things I know I can count on to improve even the worst of bad days. Laughter, as they say, is the best medicine, and Life’s Pharmacy has seen fit to grant me unlimited refills on the following prescriptions:


Despicable Me was the first, and to date the only, movie I have ever preordered on DVD. I was not going to risk it being sold out during the holiday rush. I had to have it. When I saw it for the first time, this scene

triggered an almost painful laughing fit that didn’t end until three days later. It made sleeping difficult, but I didn’t care.

The Minion je ne sais quoi flowers subtly and gracefully from the soil of a simple truth; if something can make you happy once, there is no reason it can’t continue to make you happy, repeatedly, indefinitely.

I think there’s a lesson in that for all of us.


My singling out of the Simple Dog posts is not intended to, nor should it, deter you from reading everything else on Hyperbole and a Half. Everything. Every word. As soon and quickly as possible. Your boss will understand. I promise.

But even in that, the veritable sea of brilliance that is the 70% better and funnier than the rest of the world that Allie Brosh insists on being, the stories of Simple Dog shine a like beacon of awesome. From a lighthouse of awesome. Standing on an island comprised of millions of individual grains of unmitigated awesome.

Each in the shape of this dog.



I... don’t know. Don’t ask, because I do not know.

But these get me every time.

And finally...


Particularly baby wiener dogs

but just about any animal that has yet to grow into itself will usually do it.

Monday, July 4, 2011

What the Flag Isn’t

I hesitated to write this because it just seemed too much the beating of a long-dead horse. Then I asked myself, can the horse really be pronounced dead if no one can identify the body? If what made the horse what it was still resonates in the minds and hearts of all who knew it? If the horse’s voice can still be heard to whinny from beyond, a plea unanswered, a conundrum unresolved, the one thing the horse always wanted in the whole wide world of ever still ungiven?

In short, and English, is there such a thing as saying something too often, if people still don't fucking get it?

And the conclusion I came to is that no, as often as this has been said, it apparently hasn’t been said enough:

There are things you just really shouldn’t do with the flag.

Now, before I go any further, let me clarify something. I will never say “YOU CAN’T DO THAT WITH OUR FLAG!!!” because the painfully beautiful thing is, what that flag represents actually means that my respect for it equates to my support of other people’s rights to be disrespectful of it. So if you are someone who knowingly, intentionally and habitually disrespects the flag, this post is not directed at you, because you are a complete douchewit and I do not waste my time and genius on people like you. It does no good and just makes me feel tired, sad, and slightly clammy.

Rather, this post is directed at people who disrespect the flag not only without seeming to realize it, but while thinking they are actually doing something that shows their support of our country and troops.

Last year, I wrote a poem for an issue of a magazine that was being compiled as a tribute to the men and women of the U.S. military, and I wanted some photos to accompany the poem. My mother has a beautifully photogenic garden in a quiet neighborhood, so shooting with it as the background seemed not only ideal for what we wanted and a good excuse to spend a morning with my parents but also, with Dad being a former Navy guy, I knew having the flag displayed properly would be guaranteed.

Mom & Me & Dad, post-shoot

Flash forward the time it took to get my copies of the magazine, and frankly I wished I could have removed all traces of myself from it right then and there. My parents, my father in particular, were equally stunned at what was being presented as a tribute to our military; photos showing the flag being used as a shawl, as a tablecloth, as a wall covering, and in one instance spread out on the ground with someone sitting in the middle of it.

I’d like to say I don’t get it, but the truth is I’m old and I know a lot of what I learned in school isn’t being taught any longer. And it saddens me that something I was taught in the first grade has been so completely forgotten, the most basic tenets of flag code, like you don’t let the flag touch the ground. Seriously. This was drilled into our heads so often that as a child I thought our flag was protected by some sort of invisible electro-chemical-magnetic field that would cause it to explode if it ever made contact with asphalt. I can still remember when my elementary school got a new flag, and I was too terrified to ask what had happened to the old one. I just assumed it had gone up and taken the janitor with it.

They don’t instill irrational fear in kids like they used to. I blame the video games. But I digress.

The point is, just having a flag somewhere in your photo doesn’t make it a patriotic photo. If your use of the flag is a breach of flag code, not only is it not honoring our country and military, it can actually be downright offensive to the men and women who, as a part of the training they undergo to pledge their lives in defense of yours, learn and know that flag code almost as surely as they know their own names.

The flag is not an article of clothing. It is not a backdrop, it is not a window covering and it is most certainly not a throw rug or a beach blanket. Please keep that in mind next time you’re planning a photo shoot designed to showcase your love and respect for your country.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Dear Windows 7...

Dear Windows 7,

It was with great reluctance that I was forced to admit the machine I had owned and cherished for eight long years was no longer sufficient for my computing needs; great reluctance, and no small measure of trepidation. I know it makes me something of an oddity these days, but when it comes to my electronics, I do not like even slight change. And when finding a replacement for an almost decade-old PC, drastic change is inevitable.

During the new computer selection process, I was able to take some comfort in the recollection of the many advertisements put together to assure me that Windows 7 is, in fact, the best thing ever. In particular, a commercial featuring a young French woman came to mind, a woman whose vision reached so far into the uncharted that she was apparently one of the first people to realize a computer that did not crash all the time would be a really really good thing. I was quite frankly awestruck that anyone would even attempt to integrate a quality like “not consistently broken” into an operating system, but clearly it was something Windows 7 had done.

And done brilliantly, if I’m any judge. I’ve had my new computer for just over a month now, and she has yet to “crash”.

We have function-free interludes, and she does enjoy a good game of “Let’s See Who Can Find the Manual Restart Button”. And these things look like “crashing” because we humans are so conditioned by society to believe that a computer stopping in the middle of doing something and refusing to do anything further until we intervene has “crashed”, but I’m sure that’s just us projecting our own feelings of inadequacy onto our machines. They are actually Interactive Windows 7 Process Adjournments, and that is very different.

Very different, and obviously so much better. I really don’t know how to thank you.

A PC whose idea was not Windows 7

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everything is good for someone...

Dear Bounce-a-Rama,

We would like to commend you on the addition of whipped cream-topped funnel cakes to your menu. So many establishments that entertain small children by letting them climb, slide, and jump up and down on inflatable structures for hours on end might have felt that a menu of pizza, corn dogs, French fries and chicken nuggets washed down with unlimited soda refills was perfectly sufficient for their needs. The inclusion of sugar-laden deep fried dough topped with dairy products with the aforementioned offerings is a bold move, and one that we can only hope will serve you even half as well as we’re certain it will serve us.

Reckitt Benckiser
makers of Lysol, Resolve, Air Wick and Durex

Friday, June 10, 2011

Guys I Would Not Instantly Not Leave My Guy For

There are moments in our household when I have occasion to say “You should be aware that if Suchandsuch McSoandso were to ever show up on our doorstep and ask me to run away with him, I would pause a moment before I said no”. Because I’m honest like that. And, contrariwise, I know if Cameron Diaz were to ever show up on our doorstep with a similar question, I would see The Guy do some pausing of his own. Fair’s fair.

So now that you know who my real competition is, I present to you...

The Guys I Would Not Instantly Not Leave My Guy For

The Blecha Brothers, Jake & Justin
(aka “the totally hot plaid-wearing bearded carpenters from Cupcake Wars”)
If you watch Cupcake Wars, you already know what I’m talking about. If not, allow me to elucidate. The final battle of the cupcake war requires each contestant to design a display that is thematically relevant, stylish, and able to hold a thousand cupcakes. In two hours. That’s where Jake and Justin come in. Using hastily scribbled outlines of grandiose concepts from the minds of bakers whose understanding of carpentry seems at times barely equal to the task of building a rectangle out of squares, Jake and Justin build miracles. Ever encouraging and optimistic in the face of even the most unreasonable of requests, they listen patiently to what people say they want, glean from it the truth of what people really want, take that truth to the place where what you want meets what you can have, and not only make if happen but make it happen in time for the paint to dry. In two hours.

This is like the workshop equivalent of a guy asking you what’s wrong, you saying “nothing”, and him figuring out on his own what is actually wrong, saying all the right things without being prompted, repeatedly refilling your wineglass without being asked, stenciling Hello Kitty graphics on your bathroom walls to cheer you up, doing the dishes, picking up the dry cleaning, feeding the cat, screening calls from your mother and bringing you Chinese food, all the while reassuring you that absolutely nothing about anything in your life is making your ass look fat. And all the while continuing to wear plaid, have a beard, and be totally hot.

In two hours.

David Caruso

It speaks to not only the uniqueness but magnitude of his charisma that I am willing to continually overlook the forensic absurdities, forced dialogue, inexplicable insistence on the use of 5 SUVs to transport 6 people from a single office to a single crime scene, blatant emotional manipulation, complete disregard for the basics of investigative procedure, and fantastically over-engineered technical displays that are CSI: Miami, for the simple pleasure of seeing David Caruso for an hour.

Even if most of that hour is spent watching him peer cryptically through his sunglasses in darkened rooms only to remove said sunglasses when going outdoors to better convey, as only squinting cryptically in full sunlight can, what it is to be Horatio Caine, just a man, one man doing what little one man can against all the evil that Miami can spew, it is an hour well spent.

Actually, because of that it’s an hour well spent. Because he is David Caruso, and no matter what he does, he will be David Caruso doing it, and that will make whatever it is instantly and vastly superior to anyone else’s feeble attempt at performing the same action.

And like Miss Turkey’s bikini and The Rembrandts’ oft pined-for lost love, that’s just the way it is.

San Jose Sharks Goaltender Antti Niemi

Do I even need to explain the appeal of a large man who spends his work hours carrying a stick and determinedly deflecting dense objects hurled across slick surfaces at dangerously high speeds by other equally large stick-carrying men while thousands of people scream in the background?

Okay, I will. The appeal is, your worst day has nothing on that. Some guys get pissy if you so much as snap at them to get their feet off the coffee table and stop leaving their boxers on the bathroom floor. A guy like Niemi? Your most banshee-like rants are cool waters burbling softly over age-smoothed rocks on tree-lined banks in a land that time forgot compared to what he just came from. He doesn’t need 40 pounds of gear to protect himself from stories of how much you hate Sheila in HR. You could throw a blender at his face and he’d just bat it away without even looking up from his video game.

“But”, the quibblers among you may protest, “surely you could say the same about many NHL goaltenders?”

Perhaps I could. But I do not, for two reasons. First, I am a San Jose girl loyal to my local boys. And second, Antti Niemi has a really really cute nose.

And the guy I would have to pause the longest before refusing to run away with should he ever ask...

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

“Because he’s frikkin’ Morimoto.” –Alton Brown, in response to having witnessed yet another feat of unmitigated awesomeness on 'Iron Chef America'

There’s really not much I can say that Alton Brown hasn’t already summed up in that single quote. Masaharu Morimoto is, quite simply, cooler than most human beings realize it is even possible to be, much less stand a chance of ever being.

Give him a jar of Skippy, some Smuckers and a loaf of Bimbo Pan Blanco, he can make a five-course meal out of them before you can even finish making a sandwich, even if you don’t bother taking the time to cut the crust off.

He looks better breaking kitchen equipment than the rest of us do when using it properly.

Oh, and he can sing, too.

Yeah, Alton. What you said.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Kenny Did What Now?

Dear WGN,

Far be it from me to tell you how to run your network, and while I do respect that you reserve the right to edit programming to best preserve the image of said network, I must confess to being a bit confused by one of your recent choices.

So I’m hoping someone can explain to me exactly what distinction it is between appropriate and inappropriate content that allows me to see commercials for Trojan vibrators during censored episodes of ‘South Park’?

A Viewer

Thursday, May 19, 2011

How Dudeman Von Randominternetguy Dares to Talk to You Like That

Not long ago, I received a FB request to be friends with someone I had never met before, never heard of, and had no discernible connection with. To preserve said new friend’s anonymity, I’ll call him Dudeman Von Randominternetguy. And since that’s difficult to type, spell, pronounce and remember, from here on we’ll just refer to him as Steve.

I accepted Steve’s friend request because there was no real reason not to. It’s a social network, and I’m there to be social. I also understand it’s my job to establish and maintain my boundaries on said social network, not Steve’s job to establish them for me or read my mind to figure out what they are. So, when Steve got a bit fresh and forward, I gently but firmly let him know that I’m only that kind of girl for one person and he isn’t it.

(Note to Interns: “Fresh & Forward” as name for progressive combo Burlesque/Farmer’s Market traveling seasonal roadside attraction. Make it happen, please.)

Steve retreated, and it was a non-issue from that point on. All he needed to hear was that his approach from that direction was not welcome.

Now, even when I receive friend requests from people that I’m pretty sure are only sending them because I’m naked on the internet, I still like to at least skim their profiles and see whatever is to be seen, and such was the case with Steve. I skimmed, found a few things that looked intriguing (assuming they’re true), and didn’t see any cause to immediately delete him from my friend list and block him for all eternity. I did, however, see something that I felt needed to be addressed, so this is me, addressing it.

A young woman, who we shall call Blondie McMiniskirt, had posted a rant on Steve’s wall, calling him out for having the audacity to send her a friend request when it was clear that all he wanted to do was chat with random women on the internet, that he just made her sick, how dare he be such a stain on the otherwise unbesmirched landscape that is online social networking, how could he sleep at night when he was single-handedly ruining a better tomorrow for all the children of all the lands with his unmitigated scumbaggery, etc.

Please note that Blondie McMiniskirt’s profile picture showed her as a heavily made-up blonde sprawled open-legged on a barstool, pretty obviously inebriated, posed to show a rather large amount of cleavage, and said miniskirt had barely made its way to crotch level before refusing to budge an inch further. And she was deeply offended by the idea that a guy on a social networking site might want to network her up a bit.

So, to Blondie McMiniskirt and the many women like her, I have a few things to say.

First, when you put yourself in a public forum, you actually don’t get to choose who with internet access and properly developed corneas finds you attractive. Beauty is, as they say, in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t like that idea, consider not posting a picture of yourself where other people can see it.

Second, when a man does let it be known that he finds you attractive, you do not immediately have to morph into Ultra Mega Icy Venomous Rage of Death Laser Bitch Ray to deter his advances. Sometimes, yes, but not always and certainly not first. Consider trying a gentle but firm “no, thank you” next time.

Third, look at your profile photo and ask yourself this question: “Is this the way I dress/pose/act, at bars/at clubs/on Spring Break, when I’m trying to get laid?” If the answer is yes, you’ve pretty much forfeited the right to be surprised when random internet guys hit on you. Which is not to say you’re obligated to have anything to do with the aforementioned guys, just that you can’t realistically be surprised when they try.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Thank You, from the Bottoms of My Heart & Underwear

Dear Kotex,

The other day, in between bouts of crying over old Calvin & Hobbes comics, screaming obscenities at the neighbor’s dog, Lamaze-breathing my way through paralyzing cramps and consuming every pork product within reach of the couch I refused to leave because of my unshakable belief that the whole world did indeed really care about the monstrosity of a pimple that had sprouted on my chin, I was lamenting just how boring my period has become.

I mean, really. After thirty years, I have to admit the thrill is gone.

So I’m sure you can imagine my reaction to seeing a commercial from your “Take a Stand Against Bland” campaign. Yes, I’ve tried to assuage the boredom of this monthly burden with rollerblading, field frolicking, interpretive ice dance and many of the other activities my previous feminine protection products have assured me they laugh in the face of, but I hadn’t even considered the gathering of a group of my peers to vandalize public property while playing The Ettes at high volume as a possible course of curative action.

And, awesome as that is, it’s not even the part I’m really really excited about.

Just the idea that a piece of absorbent material glued to the crotch of my underwear that no one else ever sees and I myself spend most of the day wanting to not remember is there at all could have pretty colors and swirly designs is, frankly, something I never would have even hoped for.

And now, you have made it a reality. A reality that at long last explains the nagging sense of being somehow unfinished whenever I leave the house accessorized with only the basics of earrings, scarf, purse, anklet, toe ring, hair flower and whatever perfume I believe olfactorily continues my chosen color scheme.

Lo these many years, I have neglected to properly accessorize my vagina during the few days of the month when it is doing everything it can to remind me that it is still there for all of my carrying-on-the-human-race needs. The only comfort I can take is in the knowledge that I am not the only one, and that now, those days can easily be behind me forever.

I really don’t know how to thank you.

A Consumer


If the unmitigated inanity of this entire concept isn’t enough to make you not use these products, please consider this; changes in the color of menstrual flow and/or vaginal discharge can be a sign that something is wrong and needs to be checked out. Not having these things on a solid white surface just makes them more difficult to recognize. For that reason, I personally consider these products unsafe and would not use them even if they weren’t such a blatant insult to my intelligence. I strongly urge anyone considering using these products to please keep that in mind.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Word of the Day - reBay

reBay (REE-bey) verb – to sell objects on eBay that were acquired on eBay and use the proceeds to purchase other objects on eBay


“I reBayed those red heels and got a really pretty hat.”

“I spent a little more for that dress than I had planned, but it’s okay, after the wedding I’m going to reBay it for new window treatments.”

“With all the weight I’m losing on the Orange Pith Plan, it seems like I’m reBaying my jeans every week! Thanks, Mother Nature!”

(If you would like to show your love of the environment and support of the arts all in one online shopping experience, please stop by my eBay store. The more I clear out, the more new stuff I can buy to be photographed in. And you’ll be pretty much single-handedly saving the planet at the same time. You like that, right? I know you do. Because you’re a good person.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I Like Mick Jagger Better as a Woman

I am not a huge fan of the Rolling Stones. Truth be told, I am not even a moderate fan. What I do seem to be a huge fan of is covers of Rolling Stones songs by female vocalists. It began with Tori Amos covering “Angie”. It was solidified by The Sundays’ cover of “Wild Horses”. And as for “Miss You”? Sorry, boys, but that is a Jane Jensen song now. She owns it and you will never get it back.


Monday, April 11, 2011

Dear Food Network Contestants...

Dear Food Network Contestants,

Contrary to the old axiom, there really is such a thing as bad publicity. The producers may not have explained this to you, but when you appear on programs like Cupcake Wars, Chopped, and Challenge, they tell people your name and the name of the establishment you represent. If you have a substantial private income, complete lack of regard for the opinions of others, and really only cook professionally for funsies, please feel free to stop reading here.

If not, please note that when you appear on national television and behave like a complete bitch/jackass/whiner/pretentious niche market detail-dropping whore/shit-talking back-stabbing unjustifiably cocky bastard with zero concern for health and safety issues, etc., people like me notice. When we notice, not only do we gift you with unflattering monikers such as ‘Bitchcake Von TwatWhistler’, ‘Douchewit McDouchington’ and ‘That Boston Skank’, we also remember your real name, your face, and the restaurant you work for. And add that restaurant to the list of places we will never ever go. And then tell our friends. Who may well in turn tell their friends. And so on.

Just something to think about.

Another thing you might want to think about; deliberately antagonizing Kerry Vincent is seldom a good idea. In fact, I can’t imagine the circumstance under which that would be a good idea. So let me amend that statement to read, deliberately antagonizing Kerry Vincent is NEVER a good idea. It will earn you nothing but an opportunity to look foolish.

And finally, when you don’t win a competition, please do not walk away saying that your loss was due to the fact that the judges didn’t “get” what you were doing. If they really didn’t “get” it, it isn’t because they’re stupid, uncreative and narrow-minded; rather, it’s very likely because not all of what went on in your head made it to the plate. But most of the time, they did indeed “get” it, it just might not have been as good as you thought it was. The ability to accept this gracefully, glean the constructive tidbits from the judge’s critiques, and apply that experience to future endeavors all add up to the state most commonly referred to as “having a pair”, the achievement of which will serve you well both in and out of the kitchen for years to come.

A Viewer

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Fun for the Whole Family!

It has come to my attention that there are some folks on the Internet who have had the tragically bad fortune to not be born into a life that includes magical wishing wells, the right to never ever have anything said to or about them or anyone they know that they or anyone they know might find the least bit offensive in any way, unlimited free ice cream cones, and a pony.

I know. It is very sad. I’ll give you all a moment to collect yourselves.

Now, before your overwhelming compassion and sympathy for these poor souls causes you to fall apart completely, know this; they aren’t just sitting back and taking it. Far be it from them to simply accept the hand that fate has dealt and not seek to improve their lot.

And bless their hearts, they do try. I can understand how nagging the Internet Police into deleting profiles, blog posts and photos that hurt your little feelings would seem like the way to make your life better. I’ve been known to buy truly unflattering shades of lipstick based on similar logic, so please know that I do feel the pain.

And yet... it doesn’t make them happy. Worse, this previously posted content returns. Complete, unedited, reposted again and again. A nightmare from which it seems there can be no escape!

But if you have found your way here, do not lose heart, little ones. There is another way. Instead of running yet another lap around the read/cry/nag/delete/repost/repeat track, you can break the cycle. You have the power. You can...

Get The Fuck Over Yourself.

“...really?” you ask.

Yes, I say.

“But HOW?!” you may wonder.

Well, it is a skill, a skill that must be learned like any other. But when learning is fun, it hardly feels like work at all! Let’s play a game!

Six Degrees of Get The Fuck Over Yourself

Begin at “Of course I can’t just NOT read blogs/belong to online groups/view photo albums that offend me!” From this point of unjustifiable indignation, continue onward over the steppingstones of denial, uncertainty, understanding, acceptance and indifference.

Win by avoiding reading something that offends you, in six steps or less.


Trivial Pursuit – The ‘Get The Fuck Over Yourself’ Edition

- Science & Nature – What substance is it that compels you to read things you know you don’t like?
- History – How long have you been reading these things, and why haven’t you stopped yet?
- People & Places – Why do you visit places where blogs and photos are posted by people that you know you don’t like?
- Art & Entertainment – Aren’t there any blogs and photos you do like that you could be looking at?
- Sports & Leisure – Don’t you have anything better to do with your free time?

Win by answering all of these questions without stomping your feet and throwing things.


SORRY! But You Really Need To Get The Fuck Over Yourself!

Run around the Internet with four pretty, brightly-colored fake profiles. Report lots of blogs and photos. Say “Sorry!” as often and sarcastically as possible. Move forward. Move backward. Move sideways. Say “Sorry!” again, repeatedly. Make no sense whatsoever.

Win by not playing anymore.


Stratego Away and Get The Fuck Over Yourself

You have an army of friends that you’ve never met and that may in fact only be three people with far too much time on their hands, but they look really intimidating when displayed on your profile. Decide that someone is your enemy because their blog or photo offended you. Attack them. Act surprised when the whole thing blows up in your face. Repeat.

Win by admitting you can’t win.


Monopoleeze Just Get The Fuck Over Yourself

Go around to a bunch of profiles that have offended you in the past and report them. Rent out Top Friend spots on your profile to people who promise to report the profiles that offend you in return for reporting other profiles that you’ve never even seen but that offended someone you don’t know but who has rented a Top Friend spot on your profile. Don’t notice that you’re just going around in a big square doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over.

Win by noticing that you’re just going around in a big square doing the same thing over and over and over and over and over.


Clue – Get One and Get The Fuck Over Yourself

After your seventeenth successful deletion of a complete stranger’s profile, someone has crept into your profile and murdered any chance you had of being viewed as something other than a whiny troublemaker who has no understanding of the concept of personal responsibility. Was it a Top Blogger, in the General Discussion Forum, with A Vicious Rumor? A Neglected Friend, in a Romance & Relationships Group, with Personal Information? That One Chick You Keep Poking, in ‘Café World’, with The Truth About How Much All Those Pokes Bug Her?

Win by discovering that it was You, in Your House, with Your Own Annoying Stupidity.


Life – Get the Fuck Over Yourself and Get One

Put a notebook next to your computer, and keep track of all the time you spend reading blogs you don’t like, leaving comments on photos you don’t like stating how much you don’t like them, telling all your friends how much you don’t like those blogs and photos, and sending repeated requests to the Internet Police to have those blogs and photos deleted. At the end of one week, add up all that time and figure out how many other things you could have done in that same amount of time, like cleaning your closets, taking your dog to the park, detailing your car, talking to people you actually know, going to the gym or remembering your mother’s birthday.

Win by actually doing some of those things instead of reading blogs you don’t like, leaving comments on photos you don’t like stating how much you don’t like them, telling all your friends how much you don’t like those blogs and photos, and sending repeated requests to the Internet Police to have those blogs and photos deleted.

Now, wasn’t that fun?

(This post is dedicated to Eric Brooks, The Official Naked Nurse, The Great State of MANtana, Jesus for Hookers, Randi Athenas, and anyone else who got caught in the Mass Facebook Profile Deletion Spree of April 2011)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My Favorite Warnings: Prescription Drug Edition

-NASONEX, for the treatment of nasal allergy symptoms including congestion, sneezing, itchy nose or runny nose.

“The most common side effects include headache, viral infection, sore throat, nosebleeds and coughing.”

But they’re different headaches, sore throat, nosebleeds and coughing than those your allergies would cause. Different and preferable.

-RECLAST, for the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.

“Do not use if you are nursing, pregnant, or may become pregnant.”

I’m sorry, this is to treat what kind of osteoporosis again?

-NEXIUM, for the treatment of the symptoms of acid reflux disease

“Side effects include headache, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and sleepiness.”

But at least you won’t have heartburn anymore.

And last but far from least, just one version of a warning that can be found on just about every drug on the market today:

-PREVACID, for the treatment of frequent heartburn. Active ingredient: Lansoprazole 15 mg

“Warning: Do not use if you are allergic to Lansoprazole”


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Costco: Redefining “Almost Out”

Determining whether or not you are “almost out” of something is an equation based on personal needs and uses; how much of said thing you have on hand and how much time historically it takes you to use remaining quantity of said thing.

For instance, if you are single, living alone and usually have macaroni & cheese once a week, being down to your last two boxes of macaroni & cheese is not “almost out”. If you have three kids under the age of ten and are down to your last two boxes of macaroni & cheese, we’ll hold on while you go to the store.

Back? All right then. If you’re like me, you like to plan your shopping at least a few hours in advance and try to do it at roughly the same time, be it once a week, twice, or every afternoon at 3:30 after you pick up the kids. This is basic shopping math

and should hold true under pretty much any circumstances. But recently I have noticed a subtle force at work attempting to undermine in my head the veracity of this simple equation; the perception of “almost out” based on quantity remaining vs. quantity originally purchased.

I’ve always appreciated the reasoning behind buying in bulk whenever possible. So when my mom got a Costco account and invited me and my sister to accompany her on her weekly excursions, I was all for it. I knew it would mean making some changes, namely figuring out how to store 900 square feet of barbecue sauce and fabric softener sheets in an 800 square foot apartment, but I have a balcony and am not particularly attached to most of my furniture anyway.

I organized cabinets and closets, bought stackable racks for canned goods, put shelves wherever shelves could be put. I prepared for a life of buying in bulk much the same way people prepare to bring newborns home; knowing much of the future of my household would revolve around this thing I had decided to do, that there would be moments when I wondered why I ever thought I could handle it or that it would be a good idea, but that at the end of the day it would prove to be the right thing and make me really really happy.

Among the first purchases of my BIB career was a 36 roll pack of toilet paper. Fortunately, the rolls were individually wrapped, so I could split the package up and stash them wherever they fit. Yes, twelve rolls of toilet paper and a decorative bath towel do make a very attractive ottoman, but more important is the peace of mind that comes from knowing it’s entirely possible that you will never ever have to ever buy household paper products ever again as long as you live.

Flash forward the amount of time it takes to use 30 rolls of toilet paper, to a Costco Eve, as I am writing out my shopping list and say to myself “oh, need to get toilet paper, we’re almost out”. And there, like so many cherry blossoms on a breezy late spring afternoon, the memories of years I spent buying toilet paper in 4-packs broke free from my mind and simply drifted away.

I have since managed to reclaim some of those lost years. I understand once again that, for a two person household, having six rolls of toilet paper is okay. My hands no longer tremble when I notice we are down to our last pound of rice. I still sometimes feel compelled to buy another two-pack of 40 oz bottles of Ranch dressing as soon as we open the second one, but I’m working through that. I am. And I’m getting there.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pinup Lifestyle Photo Contest

Jerry and I have a photo entered in the Pinup Lifestyle "Hollywood Glam" contest. It looks like this

and we'd be ever so appreciative if you would vote for it HERE. And then ask a bunch of people you know to do the same. No registration necessary, and you get a total of five votes in this contest, which you will need every one of because there is some amazing photography competing for each.

Well, each of the remaining four, anyway. We want one. After that, you are free to vote... freely.

If you are a fan of pinup-style photography, culture, etc., you should also consider joining Pinup Lifestyle. It's a fantastic network where you will find not only the best and latest in pinup photos, but also enjoy discussions with like-minded folks about cars, tattoos, shoes, makeup, patriotism, more shoes, food, movies, other shoes, and so much more.

And in the section where they ask how you heard about the site, tell them Harlean Carpenter sent you. If I refer enough people, I think I get some shoes.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Miracle Whip: Sandwich Salvation or Satan’s Semen?

Just when you thought it was safe to say that America is about as determinedly divided as it can get, what with the political, sexual, racial, religious, Edward vs. Jacobness of it all, yet another line has recently been drawn in the sands of our lives. A line unlike any before. A line that will impact not only our lives, not only the lives of our children, but may ultimately be the deciding factor in whether or not we ever eat sandwiches again.

This line has been drawn by the makers of Miracle Whip. Seems to me the question of “Are you Miracle Whip?” is destined to meet with a pretty massive amount of physiological evidence resoundingly to the contrary amongst their target audience, but I’ll let that be their problem to solve when and how they see fit. For now, down the gauntlet has been thrown and it is demanded of each of us to decide: LOVE IT OR HATE IT?

And since this is clearly really really important, I’ve been trying. I have. And the only conclusion I’ve been able to reach troubles me deeply, but I’ve yet to find my way through, over or around it. Because, much as it shames and pains me to admit, the truth is...

I don’t care.


I’ve had Miracle Whip. And I find the difference between it and mayonnaise to be about as bold and compelling as the difference between different brands of plain old mayonnaise. Yes, I can taste the difference between Kraft, Best Foods and knock-off bargain brands of mayo as easily as I can taste the difference between mayo and Miracle Whip. And none of those differences has been dramatic enough to send me, fragile psyche first, down a nightmarish spiral of sandwich spread terror that I might be so doomed as to ever have to set taste bud on it again. Nor have they ever inspired me to take up arms and pledge my life in their defense screaming all the while “they can take our freedom, but they will never take OUR LUNCH!”

Miracle Whip has a Facebook page where you can “Join the Debate”. Unfortunately, I can’t, because the only two choices are, as previously stated, love it or hate it. But if they ever get around to adding the “do not give two shits, half a fuck, the right cheek of a rat’s ass or any combination thereof” option, I’ll be sure to chime in.