Thursday, May 3, 2012

A look into the future...

Using an exceedingly complicated and technically advanced time machine of my own design, I have been able to travel through time. Employing the stealth and grace for which I am known, I was able to infiltrate my home 70 years from our present date, cleverly disguised as an armchair.

The man on my right is my son and he is as one would expect:
Smart, polite, friendly, charming, funny,well dressed, a little on the special side, and very, very gay.

While in the home I was able to snap this photograph of my best friend Kevin and I enjoying glasses of wine.

Kevin looks lovely in plum!

It is a bright, beautiful future I have ahead of me.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Specific vs. Pacific

Alright people, we need to have a talk. The word is 'specific,' not 'Pacific.' (Unless you mean Pacific, of course, then the word is ‘Pacific,’ not ‘specific.’) The easiest way to remember the difference between these two words is there is an 's' in the word 'specific.' And that's just the easiest way!

A further investigation will reveal that the word 'specific' actually means:

While you'll find that the word 'Pacific' is not just a word, but a proper noun and the name of the largest ocean on the planet!

To further drive home the difference between the two words I'll use them in a sentence!

Example: When discussing the Pacific Ocean I'm talking about a specific ocean.

See what I did there? Good. Because the next time you say ‘Pacific’ when you clearly mean ‘specific’ I’m going throw a large, heavy object aimed specifically at your head.

And don't hand me this crap about it being a charming regional pronunciation, because it is not. It is a mispronunciation that ought to have been phased out by the third grade.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Cold Turkey Project: Twitter

One of my favorite people on the internet—and that is a bit of a distinction, fyi, since the internet is unfathomably and intangibly huge, is Mark Malkoff. He's a writer and comedian, and generally seems to be a nice guy. He takes on quirky challenges like conquering his fear of flying by living on an AirTran jet for thirty days, soliciting invitations and staying overnight with celebrities, visiting every Starbucks in Manhattan, and (at this very moment) watching 400 hours of streamed movies from Netflix in a month. His life’s like Jackass without the multiple trips to the ER or the contingent of dumbasses who’ve seemingly proved Darwin was wrong.

Oh, and you probably won’t see this guy commandeering a shopping cart for the purpose of violently colliding it into things.

I could be wrong. Am I wrong Mark?

Anyway, the reason why I bring him up is that despite the fact that these challenges seem to be all fun and games, they still require a fair bit of discipline and sacrifice. It can't all be sleepovers with this guy:

Example: Mark attempted to be carried from the most southerly point of Manhattan to the most northerly by city dwellers and tourists. Due to a few factors he was not able to make it the whole way, but the effort was still admirable. Braving poor weather conditions, physical discomfort, and probably a slew of communicable diseases, when all was said and done Mark was in a quite a bit of pain. You've got to figure being slung over shoulders, dangled by limbs, and damn near dragged down the sidewalk was going to result in some muscle fatigue and tenderness. Still it seems as though lessons were learned, laughs were had, and blogs were posted.

The aforementioned themes of discipline and sacrifice have inspired me to explore a challenge my own challenges—specifically in the form of tackling some pretty bad habits I've developed. I sat down and made a list of things I thought I could or should change. Could and should didn't always overlap, which was the first revelation. The second revelation was that some of these habits I really didn't want to change. God knows I love most of the things I came up with! I love my wine, eating out, cursing, sitting on my ass, tweeting my inner monologue with reckless abandon, staying up late, and sleeping in for as long as I feel like it—and that’s just to name a few. Changing some of those things, if not all of them, would be exceptionally challenging—and there it was, the third revelation: The things I didn't want to change were probably the things I needed to change the most.

To my thinking, it’ll be a little bit like Lent, only without the feigned religious observation.

Because Jesus is really impressed you gave up soda for forty days.

The first thing I'm giving up is going to be pretty tough for me: Twitter. If you know me, you'll know how hard this is going to be for me.

 I can quit any time I want—I just don't want to.

I love Twitter. I tweet all the time—it's like my own reality show/standup comedy special/platform from which I can tirade and rage to my heart's content. And trust me, I know how self involved and delusional that sounds, it does not escape me. But then not too long ago I went on and on about a subject for the duration of the day. My Twitterfeed functioned like a chat window, every time I had a follow up thought, BAM, tweeted. I knew I was going overboard, yet I didn't stop. Eventually my friend Amanda took me aside via direct message (which is a private message for those who aren't on Twitter,) and she expressed that while she understood I was passionate about what I had to say, my commentary had pretty much filled up her entire timeline that day. That was my first sign that I needed to pull back, and though I understood her advice and appreciated it, it obviously didn't stick. I went back to excessively tweeting.

The second sign came from a harmless ribbing from my friend Jack. He made a joke about my nearly 32,000 tweets and I laughed it off. But then I actually started really examining things: 32K—that's anywhere from 12-20K more than a majority of my friends. I thought, "Well yes, that's a lot more, but I've been on Twitter since April 2009, when it was just Ashton Kutcher and a couple million nerds. Most of my friends didn’t even have Twitter back then.”

100 million of those users are spam bots.

Denial—it’s not just a word that can be used with homonym-like humor in order to illustrate a lack of acceptance—I had it bad. As I went back and counted how often I tweeted in 24 hour periods I was shocked. I can equate it to how you might feel when you count up how many days you’ve shaved off your life by mindlessly consuming a plate of chicken and broccoli pasta at Ruby Tuesday’s.

This will set you back 2060 calories and 128 grams of fat. We won’t even talk about salt content.
And no, I'm not kidding.

I was tweeting 90, 100, even 120 tweets in a day—and that was just when I was bored. If I was on a tear about something, the numbers spiked well beyond that.

Jack, in his teasing, had a legitimate point, as did my friend Amanda: This was excessive. And it wasn't out of being butthurt (read: childishly pissed off,) that I decided that this cycle of oversharing needed to stop. It was out of a real honest to Oprah reality check and having the realization that enough was enough. Not everyone needed to know what I was thinking when I was thinking it, even if it could be funny or thought provoking—which I'd like to think I can be.

My friend Renata recently took a sabbatical from Twitter. For a month she stayed away from the social media platform. When she took her break she endured some good natured teasing from friends—sorry about that Renata—who couldn't get their heads around why anyone would do such a thing. Now that I'm trying this thing I’m already starting to understand.

Today is day one. Last night at about 12:02am I tweeted Proverbs 17:28 ("Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue,") and indicated I had accepted the challenge of staying off Twitter in all its forms for a period of nine days. Last night nine days seemed like a long time—my God, I'm having a party next Friday, I might want to post inside jokes and hilarious pictures on Twitter about it! People won’t know I throw a great party, make great food, and have awesome friends if I don’t tweet pictures and put out a running commentary! I can't NOT tweet during the party! In the daylight though I've begun to think that maybe nine days was selling me short. I bet I could be stronger than that. In that spirit I've resolved to wait until my trip to Philadelphia with some friends, which is taking place in three weeks.

Even in the few hours that I've been up and had enough coffee to form a coherent statement I've found myself mentally forming the words I would have otherwise tweeted. I've tried writing them down so I can look back and see if they were of any value. Already I know the answer would be no. Still, Twitter has become such a natural thing to engage in that I've actually caught myself going to click on links that would lead to Twitter or my fingers playing over the keys, ready to type in the address before I remember, 'No, I'm not doing that.'

I'm not just doing this out of a desire to conquer a challenge or to gain/demonstrate some discipline by sacrificing doing something I enjoy. My friend Andrew jokes with me about Twitter addiction and I tell him to fuck off. (No, seriously, I do.) Sometimes I think he's right though—there's a compulsion to share. I want to get beyond that compulsion.

I do want to take a minute to defend my drug of choice: Not all tweeting is inane.

Although don't get me wrong, that goes on quite a bit. My tweeting varies from expounding on the number of lives that have been spared by not acting on my impulse to kill the idiots I encounter on a daily basis, to making fun of/participating in internet dating, to live-tweeting particularly hilarious events like going to bars or attending concerts and parties. And then there's everything else I seem to talk about. I found myself making the excuse that if people weren't interested in what I had to say, they'd just unfollow me, but I realized again this was just another form of denial. And what's more, I didn't want people rolling their eyes whenever they saw I tweeted, the way I do when I see a few of my friends repeatedly post on their obsessions.

I want what I have to say mean something. I want people to read a tweet and appreciate the humor or the intelligence behind it. I don't want to have everything I say become white noise because I've tweeted so many times that people just pass over my tweets due to oversaturation. And maybe I'll discover that what I have to say doesn't matter, even if it is funny or smart. Who knows!

Twitter can matter though. Revolutions have been staged with the help of social media. Friends have been made by meeting people with similar interests and attitudes. Businesses have had to create whole new approaches where internet presence and customer outreach is concerned. People have indulged their inner voyeur by being entertained by the daily fortunes and misfortunes of others. Twitter is a powerful tool that can connect people in all sorts of ways.

So Twitter: I love you, but for both our sakes I've got to spend some time away from you. I've turned off all email notifications, deleted the Twitter app from my smartphone, and I've taken what I think is the final step in cementing my commitment: I've shared it with others. My goal: To make it to May 17th without tweeting a single thought, be it profound or frivolous. I'll be documenting this experience through this blog, though I promise not to over-blog this topic. That would be kind of defeating the purpose of this whole exercise, wouldn’t it?

Friday, March 30, 2012

How I Will Spend My 640 MILLION Dollars: A List

The Mega Millions lottery has just hit $640 MILLION. That's a half of a BILLION dollars. That's two shitty Disney movies PLUS a Pixar short. That's not even life changing, that's several generations changing. It's the kind of money that makes people silly.

Like many, I've decided I'm playing, and since The Secret has taught me I have to act like I've already won (and feel the gratitude and envision these things, believe that it's going to happen, etc.) I'm going to make up a list of "How I Will Spend My 640 MILLION Dollars."

I'm going to set aside practicalities. Let's assume that I've bought a house in a few different cities/countries, a super nice car(s), paid off my parents' house, bought them a couple cars, prepaid my retirement and my parents' retirement (NOTE WHAT A GOOD GOD DAMN DAUGHTER I AM,) taken care of any other family members' needs, made a generous donation to a few charities, hired a personal trainer, bought all new clothes, furnishings, etc., and prepaid all educational opportunities for myself and any future progeny. Now we're going to have some God damn fun.

How I Will Spend my 640 MILLION Dollars:

1) (I stole this idea from my friend Jerry,) I am buying air time on local media and I am going to read off a list of grievances and fuck you's or to otherwise humiliate the people whom I like least. This will be a monthly installment (because one time would not be enough.) Think Vital Information, except I'll be a lot less family friendly than Lori Beth Denberg. That, or Grinds My Gears, except far more intelligent. I anticipate ratings to be through the roof.

2) Peyton Manning. Everyone has their price and that man will be bought, Denver Broncos or no Denver Broncos. Sure, he makes $36 million a year, but I figure that means for $37 million he could be mine for a year. And what a year!


3) I will buy Richmond a sports stadium so they will finally shut the fuck up and move on to actually important things. It will be the coolest stadium ever, coupled with an extremely offensive name—something on the level of Anal Leakage Arena. But Anal Leakage Arena will cater to the people who don't actually give a shit about baseball. You'll be able to get State Fair (RIP) food, a massage, a decent cocktail, and sing karaoke; all of this would be glassed in so you could still see the game (although I don't know why you would want to.) Even I'd go see a baseball game at a stadium like that.

Seriously, when I made this graphic I forgot to include anything about baseball. That's how much I don't care.

4) I will pay people (handsomely) to let me shoot them with a paintball gun. Be they a person crossing (SLOWLY) against the signal, driving 15 under the speed limit, trying to be That Guy in a social setting, or having 50+ items (plus produce) at the self-checkout, I want to finally be able to take out the rage that I've felt for years while otherwise suffering in silence. It shall be glorious!

5) Bars with annoying clientele would be bought out for the evening and turned into private events whenever I felt so inclined. Having grown tired of 'brahs,' girls ordering stupidly complicated drinks at a packed bar, douche bag guys hitting on whorishly dressed girls, and the usual parade of morons that tend to magically show up at the bar I'm at (I seem to be a magnet for that shit,) I'd pay the bar generously to toss everyone out, and have all my friends come down for drinks on me instead of having to tolerate assorted assholes. For additional fun I could target bars that cater to these annoying people, just to inconvenience them as I send them on their way. If you're from Richmond and spend any time in the bar scene, you know which bars I'm talking about.

6) I would become a film producer so I could help resolve the black hole in an entertainment industry filled with sequels and terrible plot lines. There are too many scripts out there that are probably awesome, but get passed over because the studios want a guaranteed return on their investment. They're all too busy looking for the next Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight, etc., that they could have theoretically passed up something truly amazing.

7) I would start a big girl clothing and shoe line. Yes, I'll be working on not being fat anymore (see 'personal trainer' listed in the assumed purchases made above,) but any fool can read the tea leaves on our society. We're large and we're getting larger. There's a big (har har) hole where flattering, affordable, stylish plus sized clothing ought to be. Yes, there are some lines that are decent, but I plan on capitalizing on the market. The clothes will be fabulous and I will make a mint (to add to my pile of money.)

8) I want an entourage. You know who had a great entourage? Gwen Stefani. She dressed up a herd of Japanese girls in the finest Harajuku attire, renamed them silly ass names, and had them follow her around EVERYWHERE for months.

That is an expression of wealth—human Barbie Dolls. My entourage will follow me everywhere, go to the most exciting places, travel the world, meet the most beautiful people, sample the most delicious cuisine, etc., all while looking sharp in outfits of my choosing. I'm leaning toward a gaggle of drag queens. Or just my best friends. They can stand around looking model-y.

9) I will realize my dream of being best friends Adam Lambert. Y'all think I'm playing. I think we would BFFs, with or without money being involved. But with that much money, it'll be a lot easier to meet him a few times to convince him of this.

No, seriously.

10) Jess-A-Palooza. Jess-Stock. The Jess-ed Tour. Jess Fair. There will be a music festival of epic proportions, featuring my favorite bands and musicians, and it will be by invitation only. There will be meet and greets, food and drink will be free, seating will be plush and comfy, AND IT WILL NOT BE HELD IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FUCKING SUMMER. Side note: Jesus Tap Dancing Christ, what is wrong with people?! Why would you want to go in the middle of July and be nasty and sweaty with other nasty, sweaty people, all while packed into a general admission show like a sardine?! Why would you do that to yourself?! No. This will be a lovely, relaxing event, held when it's a reasonable temperature, with plenty of room.

Looking back at this list I've wished for prostitution, assault, and slavery. I also appear to be very intolerant of people in general. Hmmmm… Whatever, I'll be rich. I'll become a Republican and that'll excuse all of it. That or I'll put my money in my ears so I can't hear the complaining. (Republicans do that too.)

I kid, I kid. Keep your sense of humor--it's free!

Oh, and I'll also be doing this when I cash the first check:

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Color Changes Everything

Firstly, welcome new readers! Many of y'all have come over from Church Hill People's News, and I welcome you with open arms and a filthy mouth! Secondly, yes, two posts in two days; I can tell you're shocked. No, Hell has not frozen over. You'd know if it had because I wouldn't be here, would I? Anyway, we'll not discuss how and when I'll be going into the great fiery beyond at this juncture. For now, let us proceed on to the real purpose of this post.

Previously I discussed Tangerine Tango (the Color of the Year,) as per Pantone, The Prophetic Institute of Color. Pantone doesn't just pick one color and stick with it as the sole color to use for anything new and hip (how boring!) They do designate one color as being the Color of the Year, but in addition to this, they create a color palette for each gender for all things fashion and design, per season.

The colors this year seem to be a mix of retro-feeling POP! colors and rich, comfortable neutrals. There's some overlap between the men and women, including the ever present Tangerine Tango.

Men's Palette

Women's Palette

My personal favorite is definitely the Olympian Blue, but I may well have to give the Pink Flambé a try this summer.

Take a good look at those palettes. Try to memorize those colors for the next 30 seconds, then watch this:

It's like the whole Pantone color palette threw up all over set. While it's a little trite to use nearly every God damn color on the two palettes, it's still very fashion forward and playful.

It's also a great way to indicate that Target is here, now, current, and conscious of trends. Let's consider this from an subconscious level: Think about Target's biggest competitor, Walmart. Does Walmart scream trendy to you? No. It screams in the voices of dozens of cranky children and their equally cranky parents who just want to buy stretch pants, sod, dog food, and boxed wine under one roof, at a decent price, and go the hell home. Now think of that commercial again—it's the world we know made better through trendiness and color! So hip! So now! At least that's what they're hoping you'll think.

Like I said in my previous post—Pantone's colors influence EVERYTHING, including advertising.

Oh, and that commercial? It's called "Color Changes Everything."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

STAY OFF MY LAWN: When a 20-Something Becomes an Old Lady.

My mother’s family has this thing. It’s called “I love you, but ___________.” And you can always see it coming from a mile away, to the point that the savviest (or fastest moving,) who’re on the receiving end can usually insert the ‘but’ before the speaker can. (And then they duck.) It’s our version of the backhanded compliment. It’s backhanded love really. Or like a compliment sandwich, only open faced. It’s an open faced compliment sandwich.

And as off-putting and irritating as it can be (because WOW, it can be,) it is a habit that has found its way into my own thinking. …Damn it.

Church Hill, God damn it, I love you, BUT your Irish Festival attendees are pissing me off. I live in Church Hill, a historical neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. I’ve got a future post that’s my love letter to this neighborhood. For now, all you need to know is that this neighborhood rocks and they have an Irish Festival once a year. And it’s awesome, it’s great—who doesn’t enjoy a festival? And what’s more, it’s two blocks from my house, convenient for me and convenient for my friends who go and want to swing by and hang out. Yes, I love the Church Hill Irish Festival, BUT it has made me into that old lady on the block who tells those damn kids to get off her lawn.

When I awoke uncharacteristically early on Saturday (9:30,) I heard bagpipes. Oh bagpipes, I do love their sound! There’s something old and ingrained me that cries out, ‘It’s the sound of the motherland!’ I assumed this was God’s way of encouraging me to get out of the house, despite the pouring rain, and enjoy the festival. And I did! I donned green, I got out my umbrella, and I went to the festival, taking in some of the vendors, doing some people watching, even observing the parade. I had a lot of fun until I was ready to go back to my apartment and put on some dry clothes.

But then the bagpipes continued. They not only continued, but they moved their practicing area across the street from my house because the concerts going on at the main stage were interfering with their ability to hear one another. So a pack of bagpipers stationed itself on the corner (no, those weren’t hookers,) and practiced their craft. And then it continued for EIGHT FUCKING HOURS. Patrick Bateman almost made an appearance (because like it or not, we all have Patrick Bateman moments.)

Sometimes old memes are still the best.

And then there were the attendees. Now if you live in this neighborhood, you come to accept that you can’t move your car from 7am to 5pm on Saturday or Sunday during the festival. It’s cool, it’s one of those things, and it’s an acceptable term. What is not acceptable are the attendees abusing the neighborhood and being bad visitors.

Case in point: My bedroom windows are ground level and face the street. The upstairs neighbors’ front door is up a level with a small front porch that hangs over one of my windows. Got that pictured in your head? It rained a bit yesterday. Okay, a lot. At one point I look out my window and I see a woman is by my window changing her baby’s diaper under the shelter of the steps while her husband looks on. I can overlook this though. Kid’s gotta have his diaper changed; I’ve been to the festival already, I know there isn’t a “family” area for such activities (food for thought, festival organizers,) so I can deal. After she’s done, she gathers up her diaper bag, gets her kid situated in the baby carrier on her chest, and then they walk away, LEAVING THE SHITTY DIAPER IN FRONT OF MY WINDOW.

So me being me, really, being mother’s daughter (because I’ve heard stories about you, Mom,) I run outside in my PJs and a tank top and pursue these people (who’ve only just reached the corner,) shouting, “EXCUSE ME! YOU’VE LEFT SOMETHING HERE, THE TRASHCAN IS THERE!” They look at each other and try to ignore me, but I continue to walk toward them, repeating what I’ve said in a louder voice, adding, “Your used diaper is there, in front of my window!” Other people stop and stare. The husband sighs and walks back to my house, picks up the diaper, and throws it away in the bin around the corner. The entire time I’m giving a death glare and neither one of them is willing to look at me. I thank them and I tell them to enjoy the festival.

Another case in point: My backyard is separated from my neighbors’ with a chain link fence that is rarely shut (we really don’t care,) and their backyard is adjacent to the sidewalk and street. Their gate is always shut, but it doesn’t lock, and it’s really loud when it clangs shut. A few hours after the diaper incident I glance in my backyard through my screen door because I hear the gate slamming. I look out and see a guy I don’t know assuming The Stance. Within seconds he is fumbling with his pants and within a nanosecond of seeing this I am out the door and saying loudly, “Excuse me, what are you doing?!” He stops and in Drunkenese (I’ll translate into vernacular for all you,) tells me that he needs to urinate. I point out to him there are at least half a dozen port-o-potties across the street and a half block away and that he’s to go there. He snorts, clearly bent on ignoring me. I tell him to get out, that I’m not kidding. He informs me that I need to engage in sexual intercourse. I reply that I will take the suggestion under advisement, but inform him he is not a candidate for such an endeavor. I’m pretty sure if he knew where my car was, he’d be pissing on that instead. As it was, I kept my front door open for the rest of the festival to make sure he didn’t come back to pee on it. And I’ve already cleaned it several times, just in case.

The price you pay for being a (justifiable) bitch.

In conclusion, I love you Church Hill Irish Festival, BUT some of your attendees are assholes. And you need to rotate the practice areas for the bagpipers. For their safety.

So from the “old lady” on the block to all you young whippersnappers, I extend to you an invitation to come out to Church Hill and enjoy all our neighborhood has to offer, including the Irish Festival. Depending on how you behave, I may also extend this:

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Elton John Review

I had the pleasure of writing a review on for Elton John's most recent visit to Richmond. I hope you'll check it out because it's less of a concert review and more of an experience review. The truth is reviewing Elton John is pretty much like reviewing any other icon—it can't be done, short of anything out of the ordinary taking place or new material being introduced, neither of which was the case.

I had a blast at the concert and found myself brainstorming up a new blog post about concert etiquette, which will be forthcoming as soon as I sit down and research/write the thing.

In the meantime, I hope you'll check out the article. I relive my childhood a little, I dance with drunken frat boys, and I am transported by the music.

And for your reference...

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Snow Ritual

On a Saturday night not too long ago I found myself walking to The Roosevelt for Meddle, a fantastic culinary exploration, executed by the delightful and imaginative chefs Tim Bereika (@sanzanobi) and Collin Wagner (@collinwagner.) The snow had long since begun to fall in the River City earlier that day, and to my great surprise and pleasure, it had stuck, transforming all into a scene nothing less than picturesque. Since The Roosevelt is only a few blocks away I usually walk. This time was no exception, though in this case I walked not despite, but because of the snow.


The walk was lovely. Tree branches occasionally had their little joke and dropped large clumps of slush onto my head. Cars and pedestrians, normally natural enemies, declared a temporary truce, understanding that sometimes stopping wasn't possible and neither was walking within a crosswalk. Dogs cantered about in yards, amazed that there could ever be a place so wonderful and edible. The few people I saw were eager to get inside their homes or into their cars. I don't think they really took the sightseeing attitude I had. It occurs to me now that I had more in common with the dogs than I did with the people. Something to consider later—sorry, tangent.

It was during the brief encounters with red cheeked, shivering people that I realized there seems to be a ritual was playing itself out on the streets of Church Hill. A Southern tradition of gallantry and snow clearing etiquette was on full display: The men, in their chivalry, clear the windows of snow while the women stand dutifully by on the curb and function as moral support.

 Not on this occasion, but on others, I've seen women just jump into the front seat, turn on the heat, and wave encouragingly through the cleared glass. Some even make "jokes" about how cold it must be outside the car. Perhaps it's just me, but I think it's immensely awkward to just climb into the car and luxuriate in the warmth and jam out to (insert a shitty Richmond radio station here,) while watching as someone hacks away at ice, brushing and scraping away at the snow, freezing their ass off, getting more soaked by the minute, and perhaps (worst case scenario,) experiencing mild chest pains. And that's nothing to say of the level of resentment that, consciously or subconsciously, is going through the roof somewhere between discovering the windshield wipers are frozen to the glass and somehow getting snow in one's pants.

Some men insist that the woman just get into the car, and that's very nice of them. Still, even if they've said, "No honey, just go ahead and get in," I still feel like I'm abusing their generosity or putting them through suffering for my benefit. It feels wrong and inconsiderate. Sometimes you can (and if you can, should,) help. But then again some guys are insulted by trying to assist in this very manly activity. (If you hear, 'I've got it!' this is your cue to back off with your hands raised.) If you can't pick up a brush or an ice scraper, dig in and help, then I say any woman worth her salt is honor bound to stand awkwardly beside the vehicle in the cold and snow, in shared suffering, and cheer on the clearing efforts. And maybe throw a snowball. Just don’t something you can't finish.

Feel free to bookmark this post for next winter, being that's it summer now.

Slightly related:

Friday, March 2, 2012

Even I Have My Limits: Don't Invite Me to Any "Tasteful" Toy Parties.

If you know me in real life, you know I'm a fairly open person and that it takes a lot to embarrass me. I mean a lot. My mother has long since lost her ability to embarrass me by threatening to sing the Hokey Pokey in the middle of Wal-Mart. (I'd probably join in at this stage in my life and lead the crowd in a mass Hokey-Pokeying.) The truth is that there are very few words that offend me or subjects that are otherwise off limits, be you friend, family, or a complete God damn stranger. That said there is one topic that I can say categorically makes me massively, and I mean MASSIVELY uncomfortable.

They call them tasteful, but I think taste is a relative thing. I don't get these parties that are cleverly named so you'll feel comfortable purchasing "intimate items" while sitting next to your closest friends and family members. First of all, I don't want to know what you're buying. Second of all, I don't want you to know what I'm buying. Third of all, OMG THAT'S MY MOM, SHE CAN'T KNOW THAT I WOULD EVEN CONSIDER BUYING SOMETHING LIKE THIS.


It's the damnedest thing; I have no idea why anyone would participate in such an activity. What happened to going in ALONE to a shop and buying what you want in the comfort of anonymity (while secretly checking out what strangers are buying and either being horrified/curious/confused/titillated/laughing hysterically on the inside)???

No. There are people—usually women with a contingency of gay men—who invite their friends and FAMILY to their house where toys, accessories, novelties, and other product are exhibited. And then people buy these products. They do demos. Some people even test-run these products—yet the hosts don't have the courtesy to offer brain bleach at these parties, as I understand it, which is perhaps a crime against humanity. They taste these products, "You know I love licorice. And I love getting frisky. Maybe they're onto something with this licorice flavored whip!" They discuss the offerings as though they were considering buying a new knickknack, "Oh look honey, it's shaped like a woodland creature!" (THINGS THUMPER WAS NEVER INTENDED FOR, I MIGHT ADD.)

What gets me is there is a potential for someone to see what you've bought and to later on down the road ask, "How are you enjoying your ____________?" Oh my God. NO! No, no, no. I mean that's truly horrifying, and I'm pretty sure if someone I knew did ask me that I'd have a coronary.

And I'm not a prude. I want to make that clear; I'm not someone who faints at a dirty joke or who can't have an open discussion about sexuality. I'm sex positive; everyone should do their thing in a safe, legal, consensual manner, challenging their boundaries, having fun, etc. And the truth is I'm probably my friends' most offensively frank friend—and that group's not a bunch of delicate flowers either. No. I just have a comfort zone and that comfort zone does not include my mother or even bestest best friend in the whole wide world knowing if I bought a "massager" or not.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Tangerine Tango: Deal with It.

We need to talk about Tangerine Tango, because it's not going to go away.

First of all, you're probably asking, "What is Tangerine Tango, and why is it a threat to my wardrobe and interior décor?" These are reasonable questions. Tangerine Tango is The Color for 2012, so sayeth the Great Prophet, Pantone. Pantone came down from on high in New Jersey and proclaimed that we shall wear an offensively orangey-red color and we shall God damn well like it. *sigh*

Pantone essentially dictates what colors are going to be trendy. Everyone pays attention to them; everyone, from fashion designers to advertisers, from interior decorators to the good people at the Today Show. (Note: Al only participated because he thought Tangerine Tango was a dessert.)

The Color is chosen in the latter quarter of the preceding year. A lot goes into choosing The Color. It could be as simple as the tides of consumer preference changing. Then again an emerging, influential culture may have a color palette closely associated with it, and this can prompt a trend. Sometimes what shades have been slowly trickling into the market as a "long shot sale" item (as in, "It's a long shot Bob, but maybe someone will buy this hideously orange thing,") can have a bearing on Pantone's choice. More often than not though, Pantone will generally call The Color based on what the general mood is of the population, ("You know what Ed? I'm feeling really tangerine-y today and I think I'm going to break into a Latin dance any minute.") Or similarly, they'll choose The Color based on what the consuming population needs emotionally.


Even Barney is getting in on the trend with his new orange-red friend.

Tangerine Tango—okay you know what? I'm not typing that again, TT, we're calling it TT from here on out—is a challenging color. It's not a red, it's not an orange, it's not even a tomato. It's just this bright, BRIGHT color that is supposed to illustrate the warmth and optimism we're all supposed to be feeling. It's the color of fire—fire being symbolic of passion and change. No, I'm not blowing smoke up your asses, look what Pantone said: "Tangerine Tango, a spirited reddish orange, continues to provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward. “Sophisticated but at the same time dramatic and seductive, Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.” (Pantone press release,"

Like I said, you're supposed to feel energetically open to change.


MObama encourages you to CHANGE…into TT.

Like I said, it's a challenging color and we're going to get through this together. How can you incorporate this into your life?

Interior décor:
You can go with one of two directions: Subtle or statement pieces.

Or you can go for the SNICK couch.


If you go for subtle, small touches can be incorporated to add a punch of color to the room—it will come off as playful and youthful.

Here are some examples of a few great subtle pieces:

I love how the figurines add a touch of kitsch while playing off the sham pillow. And of course I love the baby blue headboard, but we're not talking about baby blue, because Pantone didn't choose baby blue as their color, did they? No. If you're looking to do knickknacks, you can easily take any figurine you find and spray paint it. This is really easy and cheap. Flea markets, yard sales, even the Dollar Tree have items that you could transform.

I generally don't decorate with books. I prefer books to be functional, rather than aesthetic, but if you're someone who doesn't really care what the books called, as long as it looks cool on the shelf, you could hit up a yard sale, antique store, or even the library (during book sales,) and pick up a few books with coordinating colors. Side note: Loving the insulator as a bookend!

These pillows are adorable and available on Etsy. While we're on the subject of Etsy, you can search for items based on color palette—it's a great tool if you're looking to add a color to your life and aren't sure how.

Speaking of Etsy, check out this adorable vintage cream and sugar set! It's really inexpensive too. I found it using the palette search option.

Then of course if you're willing to spend a little money, Brooks Bros has this great lamp:

It's whimsical and practical—you can always change the lampshade when you get tired of the color.

Dare to dream of the day when you can be like Sandra Lee and color coordinate expensive kitchen appliances on a weekly basis.

Statement pieces are a bigger commitment, but they can bring a dramatic and beautiful change to a room—even I was shocked by what I found (and liked!)

This is not the SNICK couch. The use of wood and tufting, it's just gorgeous. Teal pillows would have looked really nice with this, but the neutral shams look nice as well.

My best friend has an orange room. It's really a Dreamcicle orange, not a TT, and it makes a huge statement, just like this room. I think if the designer had not included the breakup of the color with the tree decal, the color would be overpowering. Still, there's the potential for it to feel like Halloween ALL THE TIME.

As I said before, teal and TT: They are bffs. Note the subtle touches throughout the room as well.

This chair is an example of how you could create a statement piece for cheap. Take any piece of wooden furniture, strip it, and paint it. You get the pop of color for a fraction of the investment, not to mention you can change the color easily over a reasonably warm weekend.


I think it's a lot easier to incorporate TT into your physical appearance.

Be it through make up…

Through nail color…

Or hair!

Kidding. Please don't dye your hair TT.

When it comes to incorporating TT into your wardrobe, the truth is we can't all look as stunning in TT as JHud.


Most skin tones just don't look good with this color all over—although you would be safe while hunting or as a pedestrian at night. That's why I like smaller touches for this color.

The only larger piece that I found and liked is from Old Navy. They're very much about unusually colored trenches, though admittedly their fit is often a challenge for anyone with a chest or broader in the shoulders.

If you've got the skin tone for it, you could opt for a TT ensemble. Redheads and warmly toned people can pull it off, at least that's what the internet tells me. I pulled this image from Glamour--they seem to know what they're talking about.


Now Dear Kate, my dearest, dearest Kate Spade has gone and used TT on me, and I feel very conflicted—can't she just overlook this color just this once?? *sigh*

I'll just have to trust her on this. Admittedly after researching this color I became a little more open to it. I think with my own copper highlights and hazel eyes I maybe be able to incorporate the color into my appearance or even add a couple of knickknacks (like I need more,) to the house.

Are you going to add a little Tangerine Tango to your life?