Sunday, January 31, 2010

You Are Not The Father.

Egypt is set to announce the results of a DNA test conducted on King Tut, the Associated Press reports.  The test was run in order to learn more about the famous ancient king's lineage. The findings will be revealed on February 17 on Maury.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Book Update: And We're Off!

My agent* wrote me an email yesterday with the subject line, "And we're off!" letting me know that my manuscript has been sent out on its first round with publishers. It was a really exciting little moment for me to think that something I worked on will now be read by people who make books.  And I'd be lying if I said I didn't envision my manuscript wearing an oversized backpack, taking slow high steps to board a bus, as I stood back and waved, "Bye little guy! Have a great first day!" 

I basically did that every time I sent my manuscript anywhere. 

So in case you haven't been playing along at home, here's a breakdown of the events regarding the book:

1) Wrote a book
2) Googled "what to do after you write a book"
3) Bought a Guide To Literary Agents at the Union Square Borders in San Francisco. I distinctly remember this because at the time, I thought it was like buying a telephone book. Just find an agent I like and work with them. Easy!
4) Discovered that's not how that works.
5) Queried, queried, queried. 
6) Waited.
7) Heard a lot of "Thanks, but no thanks!"
8) Got an email from Penn Whaling asking to speak with me.
9) Had a "phone meeting" with Penn. Conveniently, she is hilarious, and agrees to represent me.
10) Danced around the apartment with my roommates' dog
11) Worked on the re-writes Penn suggested
12) Received "And we're off!" email. 

Stay tuned!

*It always feels slightly pretentious to say "my agent." So whenever I do, I say to myself in my head, "Your travel agent? Your insurance agent? Your secret agent?"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Who Are You Talking To?

I saw a makeover segment on the Today show this morning and with each reveal I said, "Oh, wow. She looks great."

Three different makeovers. Three times talking to myself. 

And it wasn't even that the makeovers were so unbelievable that I had to comment. They basically just got haircuts. But for some reason, whenever before and after pictures are involved I feel compelled to say, "Oh, wow. She looks great."

Watching sports or really bad reality television usually gives you a pass for talking to yourself in front of the TV. I'm definitely guilty of the solo "Did you see that?!" exclamation before hitting the 15-second rewind on the DVR. But this morning, after saying "Oh, wow. She looks great." out loud, three times in a row, really for no reason at all,  it occurred to me that I might be using television as an excuse to hear my own voice.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Missed That Preview.

Eat your heart out, Ebert and Roeper.

-Do you want to go see Crazy Face
-Hmmm. Crazy Face? Haven't heard about that one. 
-About the country music star.
-And his crazy messed up face?
-Crazy HEART. You know what I meant.
-No, I know about Crazy Heart. But now I really want to see Crazy Face. That sounds good.
-I'm going to hang up. 
-The one about the googly-eyed country singer whose tongue hangs out like a Chinese Crested? Let's see that. 

Seriously, though. I'd see that movie.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

That Seems About Right.

A department store in the UK has started a new program that offers gift registry for divorce. Just like a wedding registry, customers are able to go around the store and pick out whatever they want, and then present the list to friends and family as a "Registry." Of course, the more obvious name for the list is, "Buy this shit for me." But department stores are very clever creatures when it comes to syntax.

The store behind the new registry says that couples going through a divorce will soon need life's essentials, because they could potentially lose half of what they own. So that amazing toaster you bought for your friends on their wedding day? Buy another one. That beautiful set of copper cookware? More, please. And if you gave cash? Well, lawyers aren't free you know. 

I have my rants about weddings in general, but this is ridiculous. How does your committed relationship translate to me buying you appliances? And furthermore, after you've taken the marriage for a test run and found that it's not for you, how does that translate to even more appliances?

You know who needs a gift registry? Unemployed people. They could use something nice. You know who else? People living with their parents. I've been there, and a flat screen in my room would have been more than appreciated if it meant I didn't have to watch House Hunters in the living room with Deb and Steve on a Saturday night. 

Mom: I like house #2. The neighborhood is great, and the kitchen is nice. What do you think?
Dad: House #3. The floors are beautiful and it's move-in ready.
Mom: But they want to start a family. #2 is better for them.
Dad: But as an investment, #2 doesn't make any sense. They''ll go #3. Although #1 is nice too. What do you think, Jess?
Me: I'm pretty sure I want to die. 

A divorce registry is completely awkward and I don't even want to think about what the thank you cards for those gifts might look like. Plus, years from now, who's going to want to look at their limited edition KitchenAid mixer on the counter and think, oh, that reminds me of my divorce.  

Friday, January 22, 2010

Aw, Man.

A few years ago in New York, after enjoying one too many adult beverages, I gave my phone away to someone. I vaguely remember saying, "Call me" but I certainly don't remember handing them my phone. That part was retold to me the next day.  Anyway, when I called the cellphone company to explain the situation, they informed me that there were about 40 calls to the Bronx on my bill. 

While annoying and expensive, that little situation had a very Eastern influence on my thoughts about possessions. Things come, things go. You buy things, you give them away to strangers when you're drunk and confused about the number exchange process. And for the most part, that's been my mindset about personal belongings. A lot of shoulder shrugs are involved.

Although apparently, my Buddhist thoughts concerning tangible items do not apply to frequent buyer cards.  I've been eating sandwiches at a great place in my neighborhood since I moved here and just recently realized they have a buy 10 get one free card. These tasty little numbers aren't cheap, so I was amped to get in on a freebie. I got my 10th punch yesterday and happily shoved the card into my back pocket, thinking about what free sandwich I would get next time. 

Cut to this morning, those pants and my fully punched card are spinning around the dryer. I only discovered this while cleaning out the lint trap, after the load of laundry was totally done. Seeing tiny bits of my sandwich card mixed in with that soft blue peel of lint that you can always lift off like a pudding skin wasn't the greatest way to start my day. I wonder if the people at my sandwich shop will be more understanding than my wireless provider.  

Thursday, January 21, 2010

??Mystery Post??: Up Top!

The votes for the first ever interactive poll are in. That was exciting. [cough].

We're going with the Mystery Post this first time around, and ironically, what I'm about to tell you is no great mystery: I love a good high five. Love it. I can't help myself. 

Lately, I've had the uncontrollable urge to give everyone I pass a high five, encouraging them to go along with it by instructing, "Up top!" It almost never works. And then I'm stuck with my arm in the air. But I have this visual of walking down the street and getting a high five from everyone and I can't shake it. I mean, seriously--how cool would that be? 

I don't know why people are so anti-high five. It's fun, it makes you feel like you've done a good job with something, even if you haven't, and, well, I guess that's it. So I'm taking the Up Top! Revolution to the next level by inviting you to give somebody an "Up Top!" high five. Let me know how it goes. 

Friday, January 15, 2010

Team Coco.


Date: 2010-01-15, 12:55AM PST
Reply to: see below 

This is the chance of a lifetime to own your very own late night talk show -- guaranteed to last for up to seven months! Really must see to appreciate. 

Information for potential buyers: 

- Measures 100' x 100' x 32' -- plenty of room for a futon! 

- Designed for 11:35 but can be easily moved 

- Band can be sold separately 

- Buyer must honor Barry Manilow booking next Thursday 

MAKE ME YOUR BEST OFFER! (Also willing to trade for Coldplay tickets.) 

  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 1553543187

And I have to say, Andy Richter had a great line last night. Believing that he finally had a gig that would be safe for years to come, he admitted that he has spent a little cash in the last seven months. 

"I dropped 400 grand on a Bar Mitzvah for my son. He's nine! And we're Lutherans!"  

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure: OES Edition

Hello and welcome to what I believe is the first ever interactive post for this blog. 

Here's how it works: I'll give you the title and brief synopsis for a post, and then, based on your votes, I'll write that post and put it up here. It's just like all those reality shows you adore, except I won't be standing in front of a camera with a high-five and peace sign whispering, "SEVEN. Please call. SEVEN." 

Right. Well, we'll see how this goes. 

1) Hair Don't.
-While getting my hair cut, I discover that I have recently avoided a potentially embarrassing and awkward situation, only to have a different one quite literally shoved in my face. 

2) Sorry, We're Closed.
- I pass a styrofoam cup on the sidewalk attached with string to a cart of belongings, accompanied by a sign that says, "Back In Five Minutes." It reminds me of a story.  

3) Do You Have This In a Size Drunk?
-I randomly walk into Banana Republic on a night they happen to be serving wine and cheese. Awesome.

4) ???Mystery Post??? 
-This is like a "Chance" card. Who knows what it could end up being about! Exciting, right?

Unrelated note: Thanks very much to everyone who voted in the 2003, "Should I sell my kidney?" Poll. And many thanks to all the volunteers on the subsequent, "Who Needs Two?" Tour.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Just Work Here.

Saw a girl working at a Rosetta Stone kiosk who looked so bored I thought she might tip over. Staring out at the feet of the people passing her by, she rested her head in her hand and her arm on a box of Level 1 Farsi. 

I don't know if I've ever seen a person less interested in anything. Don't you think she might want to learn one sentence in every language possible instead of falling asleep on a DVD tutorial? What sentence, though? Hmm. I don't know. Maybe she ran into the same problem. 

But as I watched her sink lower onto the counter, I was totally kicking myself for not knowing how to say "Timber!" in Farsi. 

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

And Don't Forget Your Booties.

"'Cause it's coooold out there today!"
"It's coooold out there everyday. What is this, Miami Beach?"
"Not hardly."

When my alarm went off at 5:30 in the morning the other day, I had already been awake for 2 hours listening to the wind.  Actually, to call it "wind" is a gross understatement.  It sounded like Mother Nature, Old Man Winter, and Death had all gathered right outside my window to blow out the trick candles on their joint birthday cake. It was loud, and scary, and just sounded cold. Can something sound cold? Yes. It can. If bitterly cold had an album, the sound of the wind that morning would be the bonus track.  

So the 5:30 alarm was by no means a wake-up. It just signaled that I had to leave my ridiculously comfortable bed and get ready for work. But on cold mornings, anything you do besides staying in bed seems asinine.
[Throw back blanket and comforter].
Mind: Why are you doing that?
[Sit up].
Mind: Well this seems silly.
[Get out of bed].
Mind: I sincerely hope you're just going to the bathroom and then getting right back in here.
[Take shower].
Mind: Do you have any idea how cold you're going to be when you get out of this shower?!
[Get dressed].
Mind: Don't do it you idiot! 

It's this duality of "I have to go to work" involuntary actions and "But it's really effing cold out" mindset that causes me to whimper throughout my morning routine. It's not until I walk out the door and that first burst of cold air hits me that my mind and body can agree on one cohesive thought. Namely, "Fuck."

I have a friend that says, "I LOVE the cold!" whenever someone mentions the cold, and I've tried to take this on as a mantra of sorts. So let me set the scene for you:

Still in the darkness of the early morning, I left my apartment to face the wind and snow--so much snow in fact, that I had no choice but to walk in the middle of the road like a crazy person.  Screaming, "I LOVE the cold!" over and over to myself as the freezing winter pounded my face, I hustled past the snow plows nearly running me over as I used the urban glide.
After about 3-minutes of this, I crossed paths with a woman doing exactly the same thing.  She didn't have a mantra, she was just screaming, "GAH!" (also a go-to classic) and she was running more than sliding, but same basic idea. With the snow and wind blowing all around us, we looked up for a second to catch the situation and both keeled over laughing in the middle of the road. Really. It was one of those What are we doing? moments that leaves you no option other than: Laugh with stranger.

I love the cold.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Is It Spicy?

New Years isn't really New Years for me without Chinese food. Up until I was 18, we spent every New Years Eve at my Great Grandmother's house and really good Chinese food was always a part of that tradition.  So even in years past, when I've tried to put an effort into making exciting plans for New Years Eve, I've always found myself out at a crowded bar asking everyone,"Do you want to go get an egg roll?"

Totally thought of a co-worker while planning my Chinese take-out order for this New Years Eve because of something that happened at the company holiday party last month. It should be noted that this girl has a fantastic sense of humor. She just also happens to believe anything you say.

At the party, a dance remix of The Black Eyed Peas Boom Boom Pow was playing for about six minutes straight. Unable not to comment on the ridiculous version of the song, I yelled over the dance track, "Whenever I order Chinese, I get a quart of Boom Boom Pow."

Nodding like it wasn't random at all to bring up Chinese food orders out of nowhere, she yelled back, "Oh, that sounds good." 

Friday, January 01, 2010

A New Decade: A Time To Reflect.

So my father called me yesterday to wax poetic about the changing of the decade.  Namely, he kept saying, "10 years, Jess! 10 years!" 

The thing is, after hearing it 15 times in a 15-minute conversation, it sort of became a good point. 

So eventually, this was my response: 

"You're right, dad. A lot happened in the last 10 years. You saw all your daughters graduate from college, travelled thousands and thousands of miles for visits and to help us move to different cities around the country, wrote so many great letters as the world's best pen-pal, started the business venture with the squash and saw that take off, had a lot of great laughs, and a lot of great meals, and you bought a different car, which is definitely something you don't do very often. It was a busy little decade."

To which he replied:
"You said it. A lot of change. So much is changing. Brockport is even getting a Metro Mattress." 

As I sat quietly on the other end of the line staring blankly at the wall, I was glad to know that even in 2010, not everything changes.