Monday, January 29, 2007

Eldredge B.

Heard the name Eldredge last night and it made me laugh. Here's why.

About four or five years ago I was in an antique shop with my mom and found this amazing wooden box that I sort of loved for some reason. It had "Eldredge B" inscribed on the front and I liked to think that personalized it and gave it this air of historical mystery. I was about to buy it but the price was way too much for a box, mystery or not.
So cut to the holiday season of that year. We were in the dining room wrapping gifts and my mom pulls this ridiculously scary porcelain doll out of a bag. I have random fears but clowns and porcelain dolls lead the pack. I hate hate hate porcelain dolls. OK, so that point is made.
Completely freaked out, I asked her why she would ever buy such a scary looking doll. She explained that it was a free gift with a perfume purchase and thought that someone might like it. I begged her to throw it away and she shoved it back into the bag and took it out of the room.
Right, so cut to Christmas. We're all sitting around opening gifts and my mom brings out this large present with excitement.
"This one is a surprise!"
My parents know I really don't get into the whole gift exchange thing and that any "surprise" gift will most likely be given away to whoever is sitting closest to me. So I fought an eye roll and unwrapped it. It was the Eldredge B box, and truly, I was so happy. We had seen it months before and that my mother had remembered how much I liked it meant a lot.
I had my picture taken with it, smiling wide, while Vanessa and Sabrina made fun of me.
-That thing is scary!
-It looks like a baby coffin.
-Stop! No it doesn't!
But after they said it, the thought was planted. It was this horrible small coffin and now I hated it.
Mom: Girls, that is a terrible thing to say.
Ness: And Eldredge B was her name.
Me: Stop!
So they laughed and my mother finally conceded that it might have been a pet coffin.

Everyone moved to the kitchen for food and I stared at this mystery box, which I now wished I had never seen. Running my fingers over the inscription with the hesitant touch used for Ouija boards, I squinted with fear and thought of ways I could throw it away without hurting my mom's feelings.
Finally, I said, this is silly. It's a nice box and a nice gift. Nothing to be afraid of.
Thinking of what I could store in it and wondering how much it would hold, I opened the top, looked inside, and was nearly scared to death. No, seriously. Because waiting for me, inside the box, was the porcelain doll.

People, I have never in all my life screamed as loudly or at such a high pitch as I did at that moment.
Everyone came running back into the living room laughing hysterically.
I sat there shaking.

I can laugh about it now--that my near death by free gift with purchase was funny to them. It's fine.
The Eldredge B box has since that day, been in the back of a closet at my parent's house. That's where it will stay.

Monday, January 22, 2007

In It To Win It.

After numerous interviews and TV appearances in which she coyly skirted questions of candidacy, Hillary, the Notorious HRC, has thrown her hat into the ring-- metaphorically, because she looks silly in hats, most politicians do. Even though this was expected, her candidacy is still big news. But here's why most politicians aren't naturally hilarious: they fail to realize that timing...beat...pause...wait for everything.
Politicians are politicians because they fail to understand anything about timing. Government in general tends to be a work in progress so everyone involved has this, "OK, we'll get there when we get there" attitude. Think about it. Think about the Post Office. Think about road repairs. Think about Bill from that Schoolhouse Rock song and all his sitting on Capitol Hill. There's never a rush, unless it's absolutely necessary on a personal level to rush.
Can't you tell when someone is paying for parking at the airport? The greetings are somewhat shorter, bags are pounced upon at baggage claim, and conversation is pushed along with yeah's, uh-huh's, and tell me in the car's.
Enter Hil.
Barack Obama beat her to the punch last week by announcing his plans to run, showing that he knows something about timing. And for each second that passed without Hillary saying anything, that was money out the door. Again, politicians are totally cool with delays that cost money, just as long as it's not their campaign contribution money. Hillary realized her free 30-minute short-term parking had expired so she was all, oh snap, get your effing bags and let's roll.
She posted an announcement on her website that said, "Im in. And I'm in to win."
Whoa, that's strong!
I love the confidence! I love the certainty! I it rhymes.
Now honestly, do you think she actually said this? Do you think she thought it would sit in the same row as historically famous Presidential quotes? I'm in to win? Hillary, this is leader of the free world, not your office Super Bowl pool.
I ran for 8th grade Student Council Treasurer with the slogan, "Jessica for Treasurer. It makes cents." I think I lost, but I would have received more votes that Hillary Rodham and her "In to win" posters had she also run.
But here's my beef with, "And I'm in to win." Who isn't? The lists of declared and potential candidates are huge. And I bet everyone in Congress has dreams of one day being President. "I'm in to win" is America's mantra. Everybody is in to win, duh. Watch 5 seconds of American Idol.
I'm in no position to judge, but some people should add just a little reality to their morning routine and grasp that they might be in it for a bumper sticker keepsake. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is a declared Presidential Candidate. Sorry, but with a name like Mitt, you're not in it for anything. Who are we kidding, bro? Just go get your car. They charge by the hour.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Earth Menopause.

Global Warming. You know it, Al Gore invented it, we all contribute to it, and it's hot right now. Green is the new black. 22 inch rims does not a sweet ride make-- it's all about the mpg baby. You see a person picking cans out of the garbage and they could be homeless or hipster. You just don't know. That's how fresh the environment beat is right now.
Environmentalists are crying out that "warming" is too soft. They say "global warming" doesn't stress the urgency of the situation, that it makes us feel comfy and toasty like we're a planet in sweat pants cuddling under a blanket. Oh, but global warming is NOT a planet in sweat pants. (I got that question wrong on the quiz) Some experts want to change the name to "Global Heating" (still sounds nice), or "The Earth is on Fire" (70's band, right?) or "You're going to die in 5 years, but not before you have to see all of the polar bears die first, those beautiful, sweet, polar bears, who died so that you could drive your car 2 blocks instead of riding your bike you selfish bastard." (OK, that one has my attention. But it's too long and will never catch on).
Everywhere you look, it's save the Earth, it's too hot. But is it, though? Is it too hot?
I live in California, and yesterday on a morning run, I came across what I thought was glass on the road, but it was not glass, it was ice. Granted, just a bit of ice in the shade, but ice nonetheless. And SF has been so cold this past week that I would swear I was back in Syracuse with the faces people were making as they walked down the street. I always wondered why people seemed to look nicer in cali, and then it occurred to me. Think of people's faces when they're cold. Not particularly pleasant. I'd go as far to say they looked pissed. There's a thin line between pissed and cold.
So i'm on the left coast freezing, while my right coast brethren are laughing to themselves that the winter coat purchase was unnecessary. I'm not amused.
What we have here people is not a case of global warming. It's far more serious than that. It's Global Menopause. Mood swings of what weather should be where, hot flashes in the dead of winter, memory problems in terms of recalling what seasons require which type of precipitation, anxiety and depression that are leaving the masses stressed and depressed about their wardrobe choices. The Earth is not comfy, and it insists on talking about it non-stop. Frankly, I'd like it to shut up.
The number one side effect of Menopause is that you need to talk about Menopause, and that's the real tragedy. When guests at the hotel say that they've just come back from seeing Menopause the Musical and proceed to talk about it, I want to hang up on them. You can't watch the View for more than 5 seconds without Rosie dropping the M-bomb. Please, just don't, OK? I don't want to hear about that. But that the planet seems to be experiencing all the symptoms, means we're going to be dealing with it on the daily. It's the most inconvenient of truths.
If we switch Global Warming to Global Menopause, I guarantee people will start to live more eco-friendly lives. Because honestly, who wants to hear about the Earth's hot sweats? Exactly.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Nice Hat Kim.

I've been saying this forever to anyone who will listen, but Kath & Kim is one of the funniest things you can be watching on television. It's Australian but plays on the BBC channel here, and i literally hold my sides laughing every episode. Just spent the better part of my Sunday morning watching bloopers from the show on youtube. I'm an up and at'em kind of girl.
How much do I love bloopers? Um, a lot. There's something about watching people who don't want to laugh try to shake it off that is one of my favorite things in life. Why is it when you know you shouldn't laugh, you can't seem to stop? There's nothing else like it in the human experience. I'm sort of fascinated by the whole thing. And watching clips of people trying to control the uncontrollable guarantees a laugh on your end.

I read awhile ago that yawning is a universal experience. Scientists think it's an evolutionary clue in that both animals and humans yawn. It's a huge part of basic communication. Truly. And supposedly, a person's sensitivity can be measured by their yawn reaction to another person's yawn. Most people catch a yawn if they see someone else do it. (just typing it has made me yawn) But if you don't, then you're probably not that interested in the people around you. Sorry, just how it is.
But I think laughter ranks right up there with the yawn. If you can watch a blooper reel of people bursting out in fits of laughter, and not smile, check your pulse. I just think it's a common reaction. Think back on a time when you've laughed incredibly hard. Now try to relay this story to someone without smiling. If you can do it, I don't want to be your friend.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Five?! Well, Define Essential.

I had some time to kill before catching a movie last night so I decided to hang around Borders for a bit. Picked out a few books to skim through and looked for the audio book aisle. Always make my way to the audio book aisle in bookstores when i just want to read for a minute, because i've never actually seen people buy audio books from a bookstore. It seems to me that you wouldn't go to a bookstore to browse through audio books. If you're looking for a book on tape, you probably know what book you want, right? I don't know people who listen to books, so maybe that's not how it is, but the aisles always seem dead, so you figure it out. I was happy to see one of those stepping stools in the aisle. Don't you love how anything low to the ground is considered seating in a bookstore? Including the ground? A bookstore is the only place outside of a yoga class where you can see 35 adults sitting indian style.
So i'm sitting on the stool reading, and I overhear the people in the Art books aisle talking about their art classes.
student 1: I loooove just drawing squares. you know, like really drawing them.
me (thinking): shut up, please.
student 2: really? i liked our study in white. remember? when we painted in white?
me (thinking): hi, hello there? shush please.
student 1:i wasn't in that class, but i remember you saying.
student 2: oh, it was great. painting white chairs, by white trees with white ornaments, anything.
me (thinking): I would have just left it blank and peaced out early. Suckas.
student 1: yeah, but the squares.
me: frustrated exhale.
Listen, i know bookstores aren't libraries...but audio book aisles kind of are. And I was all comfy on my stool and didn't want to listen to the brain trust for 20 minutes.
So I tried my best to drown them out and went back to reading. The art books spilled over into the audio books section and a man came into the aisle standing painfully close to me. Pretending not to be bothered, I looked up at him completely bothered. Dude, what book could you possibly be looking for? He finally picked up a HUGE book on Goya and caught me giving him a random look.
me (thinking): Right. Like you came to the bookstore specifically for Goya. "I'll be right back honey. Just have to run out for some milk and that book on Goya."
man: I just love Goya.
me (thinking): I love squares. And white. I love white squares.
me: Oh, yea. good stuff.
man: So you know Goya?
me (thinking): oh, please just go away. not to be rude, but i so don't want to talk to you.
me: not personally.
man: (scary laugh.)
me (thinking): scary laugh.
man: What are you reading?
me: audio books.
man: (scary laugh/long pause, still standing too close) I'm always hearing bookstores are great places to meet people.
me (thinking): oh why, why, why...
so he's standing there, i'm sitting 10 inches off the ground, in this really annoying situation that should never take place in this aisle and i'm looking around at the audio books behind me and one was entitled, "5 Essential People Skills," which I thought was hilarious.
Not wanting to be rude with a blunt, dude, i'm gay and you scare me, I got up and said "enjoya the goya" which i thought he would laugh at scarily, but didn't.
People kill me.
Think I might head back to Borders to listen to that book. Could there really be 5? I'm pretty sure hiding from people in empty aisles isn't one of the skills. And I can bet yelling at them in your head to stop talking doesn't make the list either. sigh.

Monday, January 08, 2007

aw, snap.

Friday morning I'm in bed, turning over still in that great fuzzy area between being asleep and awake and I see the alarm says 8:00. I smile a little and close my eyes trying to incorporate 8:00 into the last bit of my dream, thinking, why does 8:00 sound so familiar? In my dream I was at a huge mall and when I looked up the escalators, I saw the hotel and thought, I should probably be there. and then it struck me that no, i should actually be there. I jumped out of bed realizing i was supposed to be at work by 8.
Raf was in the shower and I had to wait so I decided to check some email. I love that point when you're already late so you just say screw it. Looking through my email, I see one with the subject, "OPEN EYED SNEEZE." hmm, weird. So my heart starts to beat a little faster and I open it, trying to remain realistic. I sent out query letters last week and the mailman said they would be to New York by Wednesday. If this email was sent to me on Friday, the agent was probably writing to say pass.
But no. The agent was writing to say, let's see what you got. Actually, the agent's assistant wrote the email, but, semantics. She said that they wanted to see an author's bio, synopsis, and the entire manuscript.
Most of the books I've been reading about finding a literary agent say to expect to wait a while to hear back with news about your queries, thus i was kind of freaking out.
Waiting for the train to go into work I called my dad to share my excitement.
-Hellllllo! Are you sitting down?!
-Hello? I'm in a building and can't hear you. With whom am I speaking?
I just hung up. I was too excited to have to explain to my father who I was.
Later when he called back I told him the news and he goes, "Oh my gosh, Jessica, I can't balmy it is here!"
Honestly, why I bother speaking with him over the phone is one of the great mysteries of my life.
Just got back from fedex and sent everything off to New York. I'm a realist through and through so I realize she's just reading it. But it's still cool that someone I don't know will read my work.