Tuesday, 31 March 2009

it's a crazy life, but it's my life

AbsInternets, I have been working a lot. Like... sometimes I come home from work and go to bed and DON'T EVEN CHECK MY EMAIL BEFORE FALLING ASLEEP. Actually, no, that is a lie. That never, ever happens. But I do spend way less time on my computer at home and when I'm at work I'm actually working. So, this is a good time to assess what I really care about on the internet.

After I check my emails, I open google reader. My first category is called The Collective Collective and is a collection (ha ha) or the blogs written and neglected by the writers of this site. Wonder Killer, i hate kit kats, and this site, are all sites I read immediately, as soon as I spot a new post. This google reader category is my most frequented and I wish the most updated. Best blogs ever, am I right?

Then there's mint.com. Mint is everything right with the internet. Mint tracks all my expenses, all my bills, and sends me text messages that say, "stop drinking so much Starbucks, you idiot!" Mint is hooked up to all my accounts including all my credit cards I'm trying to pay off and it helps me track everything as well as keep a budget. In fact, it doesn't just help, it does it ALL. Decision making is mostly easy: I just have to ask Mint.

And... well... that's all I've been living off lately. Eating out, working too much, but still reading the best internet out there (and doing some bad ass online banking). Same stuff you're doing.

Sunday, 29 March 2009

When you care enough to hit send

heather This week we're going to be talking about our favorite thing in the world: the Internets! Even better, we're talking about our favorite places on our favorite thing in the world, which is kind of tricky for all of us here at Collective HQ because we spend half our lives workdays on the Web -- so we have lots of love.

I'm usually really good at favorites, but picking my best places on the Internets is super hard. It's like choosing your favorite baby, if babies were AWESOME. There are the places I use so often, I'd actually die if they went away (IMDB, YouTube, Wackopedia). There are my favorite news places (NYT, WaPo). And then there's my Google Reader. (From your 100 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 3,263 items, starred 6 items, shared 22 items, and emailed 7 items).

The two places I'm talking about today are special because: a) they always make me laugh loudly. And b) They are the only two places I consistently go out of my Google Reader to read.

someecards - for when you care enough to hit send

Television Without Pity

“You have any Kopi Luwak back there?”

‘Nuff said. I mean seriously, this is not even a conversation, it’s just a postcard from the writing staff to you that goes, “Hey there, Upper East Siders, just to let you know: as much as you hate Dan and Vanessa, nothing on this show has prepared you for the bullshit that is Lexi. Here are fifteen signifiers of her horribleness, which is so extradimensionally intense that we can’t even communicate it in words or concepts your puny human minds could conceptualize. She’s like the Chthulu of … bitches. So instead here are some words that will help you visualize the impossible vileness of her. Kopi Luwak. Which she drank in Indonesia.”

- Jacob, TWoP American Idol Recap

“Elena is walking down a street in Queens. She has a basket of groceries, which I am delighted to report has a loaf of French bread sticking out of it. Bags of groceries in movies and television shows always have French bread in them. I can only assume that if you eat French bread, your life will instantly become much more dramatic.”

- Montykins, TWoP Ugly Betty Recap

“My Amy Sedaris dream jobs are actually: Macy’s Holiday Giftwrapper and/or Build-A-Bear Workshop Attendant. God, I love that place. It’s where dreams are born! Little kids taking spooky empty furry skins and force-blowing plastic pellets into them! To create life! I am obsessed with that shit. If they’d had Build-A-Bear when I was age-appropriate I would have blown my every cent on that, I know it. To the degree that I would also settle for Dater of a Build-A-Bear Workshop Attendant, just to be able to say, “Gotta split, my boyfriend Ricky Braddy gets off at Build-A-Bear in a half-hour.”

- Jacop, TWoP American Idol Recap
If you are a good person, you'll send a someecard to someone you love right this very second.

Monday, 23 March 2009


Hey-yo! Your Collective is on vacation this week. We'll be back next Monday.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Phone it in Friday: Drunk Posts

I am guessing that none of you got drunk last night and wrote a post for Phone it In Friday, and you know what? Shame on you! Look at the kind of fun you missed out on:

Happy Friday. Tell us something good.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Condoms prevent minivans

Jennie I did not plan ahead for drunk-posting. If I had, I would have written something after the gallons of beer I consumed on Friday night. I did not, though, because I was too busy playing ping-pong and watching videos on YouTube. And so I was down to the wire. Yesterday, I was all:

Me: I have to get drunk and write a post for The Collective, want to come over?

and Joe was all:

Joe: YES.

So Joe stopped at Papa Murphy's to pick up a pizza and brought over some booze and THEN you guys OH MY GOD we cooked the pizza but after HALF A FREAKING HOUR IT WAS STILL DOUGHY IN THE MIDDLE. That is not right. In fact, it's downright disgusting. So Joe had to drive all the way back to Papa Murphy's with the doughy pizza haphazardly wrapped in plastic and exchange it for a new one.

Anyway, so we started drinking a little while ago in anticipation for Lost. Which is now on. And which we will now live-blog. Sort of. I mean, you won't get to read it live. So it's not really live-blogging. I guess we'll live-blog it on our time and if you can time travel like some of the island inhabitants then maybe you'll read it before the episode even airs. Or maybe before LOST is even invented! Wow. You're so lucky. Anyway.

Here be spoilers (not really, don't worry, I don't think anyway, I didn't really edit this):

9:03 PM -

Joe: Is a woodchuck and a beaver a same thing?
Me: Um. I think so?

And now, thanks to TiVo, we shall start the show . . .

Me: We already saw this part!
Joe: Calm down. They are back-tracking like it's their job.

Joe: Wait, who is that guy?
Me: He was on the rescue mission . . . from Charles Widmore . . . and he went to find the other Losties. And stuff.
Joe: OK.
Me: [whispering] should I write that down?

This show makes even less sense than it does when I'm sober and also Joe is getting dizzy. MAYDAY MAYDAY MAYDAY. The plane is totally crasing and there is a runway and what happened to Frank's beard? Was that corn? Oh my god, remember The X-Files? There was lots of corn on The X-Files after the movie came out. And then it was all "corn and bees" all the time.

OK, so the plane just crashed. And only some of them time-traveled off? Why didn't Sun time-travel? Or Ben? Why is Ben so super creepy everyone? 30 YEARS EARLIER WTF LOST? OH, right, because Sawyer is LaFleur. Sawyer is making googly eyes at Kate. Or Jack. I can't tell who. Aww, Hurley is hugging Sawyer and Joe was all, "Ooooh, I'm gonna man-hug you RIGHT NOW." I don't know what man-hugging is but it sounds violent and scary.

No man-hugs for Jack and Sawyer. This is boring, where is the smoke monster? I wish it would eat Jack sometimes. I know he's like the main character, blah blah blah, but he's the fdefinition of douchebitch. (Douchebitch: invented by Abigail circa 2008 CHICACO ILLINOISE).

Sawyer: It's 1977.
Hurley: Uh, what?
Joe: That means Star Wars isn't even out. Crazy.

I've decided I want to see Duplicity because Clive Own is wicked hot. He should be on a stamp. I also wich TiVo would FF through commercials in the future. This is BS.

This is insane. They're all 30 years ago but it's been 3 years for the Oceanic 6 and then I don't know how long for Saywer and everyone never mind let's keep watching. There is lots of serious talk going on that I don't really care about. It's weird how some people (Sawyer, Juliet) look totally hot in a jumpsuit but other people like, um, Miles look ridiculous. And like Balki always says, "Don't. Be. Ridicu-lus." Or something. Get off my back, Coosin Larry.

Juliet and Sawyer are about to have a fight but they don't know it. Or maybe they won't fight because Juliet is kind of a WASP. WASPs don't fight, they STING.

Random Guy on Lost: Get your hands off that!

I had to pause Lost to type that and also to admire the shorts Joe made out of his Superman pajama pants. Yes, Joe, they are pretty. Pretty pretty princess.

And now, back to the studio! (That's from Bridget Jones)

Me: What's going on?
Joe: I will pause it.
Me: Don't, I don't care that much.

Then he tried to explain it to me but I wasn't listening because I was typing this instead.

Joe: Did you hear anything I just said? It was COMEDY GOLD!
Me: Something about a plane and models . . .

UNPAUSE. I thought the plane was a dinosaur. NO. It was a plane. Not a dinosaur. SPOLER.

You guys. Lost is really boring when you're drunk.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE one ofthe guys on the beach with SUn assaulted Natalie on Sports Night but Joe can't think of his name.

UNPAUSE. Oh, I see, they crashed by the polar bear cages Kate and Sawyer had sex in. Why isn't Ben all hurt yet. Also the guy from Sports Night? His name on the show was Christian Patrick but I don't think anyone cares except for Joe. Don't tell him, though, SHH.

Ben: Why are you following me?
Joe: Hello, Clarice.

Should chicks who just had a baby be hanging out in hammocks? Um, where is your baby, ma'am? Oh. There it is. OH MY GOD THE BABY IS ETHAN YOU GUYS.

Joe: No spoilers.

HE hasn't seen like 95% of this show. Shh, don't tell him who Ethan is, OK?



I just started shaking my beer bottle and Joe was all, "No, I don't want any," so I shook it some more, and he was all, "Um, no thanks," and I shook it some more and he was all, "Oh, did you want me to get you another one?" and I nodded because I can't use words out loud anymore.


Joe: Damn you, Fleur DeLacour.
Me: What?
Joe: I don't know.

Joe: Hurley doesn't want to camp.
Me: He has a guitar case!
Joe: Yes?
Me: He had him . . . a GUIT-AR CASE.

Like Forrest Gump? Get it? My name is Jennie. Me and Forrest was like pease and carrots but that is gross so stay away from me, Forrest Gump.


jOE: hOLD MY hAND! ahahahahahaha! I'm Joe and I'm laughing at Jennie because she can't use Capst lock!

KERMIT THE FROG! Statler and Waldorf salad!

Anyway. Now there is running.

Me: Maybe we should just sign off because this is getting pretty long that's what she said.
Joe: We only did half the episode.
Me: I don't think anyone will notice.
Joe: No?

OK, bye!

This post brought to you by Magic Hat and some other stuff:

cap 007

PS by Joe:

Jennie: I don't know what I did with the cord to hook up to the. . . thing.
Joe: Is it on the floor?
Jennie: Yes.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

12 March 2009

Hey-oo! I meant to wait to at least try and maybe remember that after the Caps game on Saturday whenever it was that I ended up wandering back home to hopefully stay up long enough to write my drunk post for this week but it's Thursday, the 12th of March, and I don't know if you know this, but I've had a shit-ass day, like, FOR SERIOUS, it was one of, if not THE, worst days I've had since February Aught Seven, that I am duck on Thursday the 12th of March and I'm writing my drunk post now.

So we have this rule in our house, and it's not so much a rule as it is two former amatuer athletes carrying our baseless superstitions into our adult lives about a billion years later, but anyway we're very superstitious. And our superstitions mostly track along my favorite of the logical fallacies, namely correlation equals causation! (Sorry, I felt like that needed an exclamation pint.) ANYWAY. I have no idea whether or not what I am about to talk about has anything to do with what I am going to talk about, but OH WELL.

None of our teams win at the same time. Call it the law of averages or call it coincidence or call it TWO MORTAL ENEMIES SHOULD NEVER FRATRANIZE, but whatever the case whenever the Caps, Sabres, Orange, or Green Wave play their respective sports on the same day if we're lucky only one will win.

But today! Tulane held their motherfucking own against the motherfucking third team in the nation, which hell, is just as good as a win, motherfuckers! And the Caps beat the Flyers thank the fucking God! And the Sabres did something or other but I understand they won, too! And now we're waiting on Syracuse.

But also! Just before the Caps game tonight I found out that both Brash and Feds would be out for whatever the hell fluke injuries, and guess what shirts showed up in my mailbox yesterday! Yup, these:


CLEARLY had something to do with it.

And now I guess Syrcuse is losing by all of a point and my boyfriend is screaming his pretty little head off and my cat is not happy about this ONE BIT and also I'm out of my drink. And also I'm still pissed off about getting yelled at this morning.


Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Hello, Vegas? We'd like some more alcohol


So last Saturday night I did you all the great disservice of live-blogging my consumption of a bottle of wine complete with PhotoBooth pictures. I'm not a very good typer generally: since I type on this all day long at work, I tend to get sloppy on my MacBook's breathe-near-the-keys-to-spell keyboard, and I'm an awful typer while drinking. Good luck deciphering what nonsense (really) I'm plaguing you with. This is completely unedited. Obvs.

Greetings. I am at a local restaurant (only three blocks from my house). I used to have this rule about pajama pants and where you could wear them in public. Basically, if it was within your immediate sphere of life then you could totally do it. I don't remember ever following this rule (I wear pajama pants whenever I damn well feel like it), but it was an excuse I spouted forth to judgey eyes. Well, I'm employing a variation of that rule tonight. No, I'm wearing real pants, but I've brought my computer to a sit down restaurant. I'm getting some looks, but eh, this in my sphere of life. I'm joined by Amanda who was originally going to share the bottle with me and is now telling me I'm going to have to drink it all.

Crepes are for dinner and I'm starting with a bottle of Big House White ($20 a bottle!). I just ordered a mushroom chicken crepe served on a pile of scalloped potatoes. Glass one, here I come!

Glass One

The wine is really cold. Amanda tried to refill my glass before I was finished. I yelled! "I am doing a project! Glass counts are important!" Whenever I type, she pulls out her Blackberry. We're like that couple that can't talk to each other.

Glass Two down!

We have talked about:
crazy people
weddings (laaaaaaame)
church some more
people who dont beleive in psychology (wha???)

Amanda swears that the same people keep walking bye. OVER AND OVER AGAIN. ("I swear.") the guy ehind me is reading the menu outloud to his date. "I've never been here for dinner." My server, VERONICA, just tried to take my plate away. "I'm not DONE YET!" I yelled on account of there are AT LEAST three bites left

Glass Three:

I have to pee really bad but waited til I finished the glass. Amanda says that if I go pee, I wn't be druk anymore. LIES.

Glass Four:

We've finsihed our dinner crepes adn dessert crepes (I got nutella, starwberries and bananas crepes for dessert, delish). There is still a glass left in the bottle. I can't drink it right now. CRISIS. I' puting the botttle in my purse and we're going to drink it athe salvation army. standard. teh wine is up to nmy nexct. nect. neck. dammit. amanda hates dogs. do you htin it's ironic if a "my other car is.." car has the type of other car following it? i dnt think nso. mamadna does. hang, on , im going to show yuo a weird poster:


Glass Five (partial glass):

that was hard to drink especially since I took t on e big swill. amanda wouldnt let me take tit it to the salvation armhy booooo. d o you guys think it looks like ashlye in this picture?i do . cant expaine why. today is her birthda!!!! happy birtheayda ashley!!!!!!!!

Glass Six (partial glass):

there is is. me finishing it. it burned a little, fyi. now, on to the whine store. or whatever. TTYLhahhhha.

post-six, an hour later:
well, wine shop was a bust too croweded. amanda got soe champagne ut i was all overhwleped. we ran into a friend form college that i hadnt seen in five years. unexpected and awakward since i was so not prepared to be hot. we walked home and i stumpbelec a lot. i wanted some little diebbie oatleaml cream pies but riete aid didnt hae tehm. lame.

Monday, 16 March 2009

It's a snap to find that one single person who fills your heart with joy

heather Many a month ago at Collective HQ, we committed to each writing a drunk post. Mine is in the manner of that Dear Old Love Tumblr, and you wouldn't believe it if I told you, but I spell better when I'm not sober.

Dear Old Love,

1) When you tell the story of your first kiss, do you mention that it only happened because your best friend gave me a candy bar -- making him a first grade pimp, and me a five-year-old hooker?

2) Sometimes I wonder if that box of treasure is still in your parents' back yard, buried in the exact spot we kissed and traded skateboard stickers.

3) You thought my family liked you because my grandma served you pie after we broke up, but my mom hated your guts from the very first time you parked in her spot.

4) My sister thought you had really big teeth, but I still think you're the most beautiful boy I've ever known.

5) There was never a guys-out-of-the-dorm-by-ten rule.

6) We should have known by the sheer amount of poetry written and read (instead of actual sex had) how very, very gay we both were.

7) Your chest hair was like a sweater, and you know what? Gross, man.

8) I'll never forget how sweet you were, that song you sang, at the funeral of Carl, my orange hermit crab.

9) Your eyes seemed to me to express more than all the words I had read in my entire life.

10) If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn't, 'cause I didn't know hearts could actually break like that.

11) I'd give up my seat on the Hogwarts Express for you, as long as you promise to come back home to me.


If you missed it over the weekend, check out Jennie!'s interview with Owly creator Andy Runton!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

! Part Two


(part one)

The other week, I realized that I had no idea who I was going to interview. Actually, it went a little something like this:

Heather! Anne!: I am going to interview Joe for The Collective.
Me: Oh, eff, interviews are next week!

Joe, kindly enough, offered to be my interviewee as well, and then said that ALL OF US could interview him and it could be Joe Week here at The Collective. I told him I'd run it by everyone (lies) and then silently freaked out about not knowing who to interview. Because I have to be silently freaking out about something at all times, otherwise the world might end. It's a heavy weight to carry on one's shoulders, but I do it all for you, Universe.

Anyway, so I shot down Joe Week and then Joe was all, "Why don't you interview Andy Runton?" and I was all, "Um, sure, why don't YOU interview Andy Runton," because that is how I answer every question I'm asked. Really, I didn't want to bother Andy Runton because he's far too busy to answer my questions about time travel. It turns out that he's far too nice to refuse to answer my questions about time travel. And so, it is with great pleasure that I present my interview with Andy Runton:

1. Did you grow up reading comic books? What were/are some of your favorites?

I remember my Mom reading me the Sunday comics... that was probably my first exposure. As far as stand-alone comic books, I remember my older brother having old Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica comics. But I first walked into a real comic store in the early 80's searching for Transformers and G.I. Joe comics. I can still remember looking around in amazement for the first time at the walls of comics. But I mostly bought comics from my local convenience store. The first comic that really got me was G.I. Joe #21, "Silent Interlude," which didn't have any words. It's still one of my favorite comics. The issues that followed, with Snake Eye's origin story, completely captivated me. I was hooked. Pretty soon I found the X-Men and X-Factor, who I stuck with for a while but then I discovered the Turtles and that's where I stayed for years.

After a while I stopped going to the comic shop and things got kinda crazy as my school work got harder. The big turning point for me was really seeing Bill Watterson's Calvin and Hobbes. It had been around for a while but it took me a while to notice it. Once I really saw his comics, I was older and realized I had so much to learn. But, I didn't even know where to start. His artwork blew me away and I continued to see it every day in the newspaper. That kept my cartooning spark alive. Years later when I got back into comics, it was because of that and Hellboy by Mike Mignola and the work of Indie cartoonists like Jim Mahfood and Scott Morse. Their heavy use of black and bold sense of design was one of the main things that drew me in for good and really excited me.

2. Who are some of your favorite artists? What is it about their work that draws you to them?

I can't really name my favorites because I see things so differently now that I do it for a living. Nowadays, I'm drawn to anybody who has a lot to say emotionally with his or her work. That's what really inspires me: emotion. I also really admire my friends who draw because you can see their personality come through and that's always special. When I was growing up, I always admired my friends' work and nothing has changed. My friends include the likes of J. Chris Campbell, Tariq Hassan, James Mason, Jeff Lemire, Matt Kindt, Christian Slade, Alex Robinson, Tony Consiglio and so many more artists I've met on the road. It's great to see what they're up to and to watch them draw. There's still nothing better than sitting down and drawing with people... it's like a shared experience in a special club.

3. What is your favorite thing about drawing?

The best part is watching the characters in my imagination coming to life.

4. On your website, you say that your artwork portrays your affection for wildlife, especially birds. What's your favorite bird to draw (besides Owly, of course)?

Hmmm... I suppose it would be any little song bird. If I had to pick one, I'd probably say the one I draw the most is a chickadee, so I guess I like drawing them best.

5. What kind of music are you into? What bands are you listening to right now?

Introspective, personal story songs are my favorite kinds of songs. I was raised on Neil Diamond and Rush and I love singer/songwriters and songs that have something to say. I tend to prefer songs with a bit of melancholy while I'm drawing. It helps me slow down and take my time. I love the Weepies, Jackson Browne, Morrissey, The Frames, The Smiths, Alanis, Josh Ritter, and I still love Neil, Journey, Boston, Rush, and more. I'm pretty open if the songs have something to say.

6. If you found a time machine, and the time machine only had enough power to go to one time (past or future) and back, where would you go and why?

I suppose right now I'd really want to go back to the Mayans and ask them about their calendar and December 21st, 2012 so we could all stop worrying about it.

7. How would Owly solve the current economic crisis?

Since he's always trying to make things right, I'm sure he'd come up with some way to try to help in any way a little owl could. I bet he and Wormy would come up with a plan to use the land in a more environmentally safe way to help the world to achieve agricultural sustainability. For example, he'd suggest we all grow our own food in vegetable gardens and use rain barrels for water conservation, things like that. In the end everyone would be working together to make it through these hard times.

8. Owly has recently been recruited for a READ poster for the American Library Association. Did you go to the public library a lot as a child? If so, how much do you think that influenced your career?

It's an incredible honor to have a READ poster because I went to the library a lot! I think it was a huge influence for me. There was no internet and very few video games. No DVDs and VCRs were very expensive as they were just coming on the scene. TV and cartoons were fun, but in books I saw pictures that I could try to draw. My visual mind took it all in and filed it away for good. My mom always read a ton to me and the library was full of books and stories. Without it, I wouldn't be here.

9. What book would you jump into the middle of if you could? Would you want to be invisible and covertly watch the characters or would you want to interact with them?

Well, I can't think of a book at the moment, but I'd really want to jump into Wall-e so I could give him a big hug.

10. We take sandwiches very seriously here at The Collective. What's your favorite kind of sandwich?

Normally, I would say avocado/tomato and provolone cheese and, but since I've been taking them on the road a lot, I'm a little down on those lately... so my favorite at the moment is a vegetarian bacon (Morningstar Farms), lettuce, and tomato (VBLT).

11. As a former slave to corporate America, what words of advice or encouragement would you offer to someone who is still living life as a cubicle monkey and is looking to escape?

Well, it's honestly the hardest thing I've ever done. There are a lot of things working against you that you have to fight and you need to be a bit angry about them to make it through. For me, I did everything I was supposed to do and I was stuck in a cubicle. The money and all the things it bought and the security didn't make me happy. I wanted out and luckily I got downsized and post-9/11, the market for designers was terrible, so I took a chance and tried doing what I love for a living. It was very scary to leave that world behind. There were no more bosses telling me what to do and no more clients to please, just me. It was wonderfully liberating and incredibly scary. I had no idea at the time that very few cartoonists do what they do full-time. It's only a handful of people. Luckily I didn't know that. So... go for it, don't look back, believe in yourself, follow your heart and, as I wise man once said, "never tell [yourself] the odds."

12. What's next for Owly?

Well, I just finished drawing the cover and inking the Owly story for the 2009 Free Comic Book day book that will come out May 2nd, and right now I'm working on two Owly childrens' books for Simon and Schuster. Those won't come out for a while (2011) so I'm also working on more merchandise and I'm always thinking of more story ideas for my favorite little owl and his friends.

That's all for this weekend edition of The Collective. Thank you, Andy Runton, for taking the time to be interviewed, and thank you all for reading. Happy Saturday!

Friday, 13 March 2009

please leave a message at the sound of the beep

Jennie My post is coming. I hope. I don't know, cross your fingers that I get something before 5. Please please please!

Anyway, until then, here are some pictures of baby animals:





Cute, right? OK, byeeeeeee!

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Phone It In Friday: Special THURSDAY Edition

Good news, everyone! You get to participate in Phone It In Friday Thursday A WHOLE DAY EARLY. So ask us some questions. Or ask each other some questions. Or interview your dog. Whatever you want!

We'll return you to regularly scheduled posting tomorrow. Happy almost Friday!

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

A wicky wicky wicky!

You guys know I love you right? Like, I looooooove you. No, more than that, I LURVE you. But today I am giggling with glee (and I most decidedly DO NOT giggle with glee) because I get to interview the one and only person I ever knew EYE ARE ELL before she started blogging. And not only that, but I actually lived with her for the better part of three years. And not only THAT! but we talked hockey and Buffalo and Canada and cooking and all that stuff I'm obsessed with YEARS before I met my big, strapping, handsome Buffalonian hocky player boyfriend. So. Because of me (and David, who you don't know) she's married to her husband, and because of her I'm not married to mine. Oh, wait.... Anywho, dear readers of the Collective (whom I love with all of my heart and soul and xoxo and all that), please welcome my dear, dear, dearly missed BFF, Alex.

1. You blog! When and how did you get started?

I do blog! Although not as often as I should. I started maybe sometime last year when I suddenly found out the internet was cool and wanted to immerse myself in it. Within a month I had two blogs (one of which I've stopped), a goodreads profile and had found the time suckage that is facebook. But the real reason I started blogging is because I cyber stalk all these people I knew from high school and thought I should just make my own internet presence.

Is the internet cool? Huh, I guess I have yet to learn that. (I kid, I kid. I lurve you.)

2. Man, I don't think I've been in a movie theater for more than a year. Remember when we used to go to movies, like, all the time? Those were the days, huh? What is the best movie you've seen recently, and why should I go see it?

Dude, remember the Palace? Ah good times. And sadly, I haven't gone to the movies in forever! The last movie I saw was Benjamin Buttons which I'm sure you've seen because of the Fitzgerald thing. Since that's the most recent thing I've seen I'm going to say instead you should netflix an old classic like Muppets from Space and watch it on a Saturday morning in your PJs with a package of Chips Ahoy.

Nope, never got around to Ben Buttons. And I even made Seth read the short story and everything!

3. I don't watch a whole lot of television, partly because every time I find a quirky little show I like it ends up getting canceled (see, Arrested Development and Pushing Daisies). You seem to have this problem too! Tell us about some of your favorites that were canceled far too soon so we all know what we missed.

I love this question! And I have two words -- Wonderfalls and Firefly. First off, Wonderfalls is set in Niagara Falls, New York (but in a cooler universe where Niagara Falls, New York is actually Canadian and has better bars). It's quirky and filled with snarkitude. Brilliant (and written by the same people who did Pushing Daisies! And Lee Pace is in it!) Firefly is inspirational to me. I'm so sucked in by the characters and the mythology, and just the concept of fighting for what is important to you in the most basic sense. Oh, and it's pretty damn funny. For these two reasons, I don't watch Fox. They are masterpiece-canceling ass hats.

Isn't Lee Pace dreamy? Le sigh.

4. One of the many things I love about your mother is how she made sure to take you (and me, to a far lesser extent) to all kinds of cool places, and that love of travel has obviously stuck with you over the years. What places on the globe have you NOT yet been to but would love to visit?

Awwww.... you're so cute! You know my mom would take you anyplace with us. Sadly she has not taken me to Egypt despite going with the rest of the family and telling me, "It's a family trip and you're not going." Then she came back from Egypt, telling me all the cool archaeology stuff she learned, even though she knows I frickin' majored in archaeology. I also really want to go to Angkor Wat and Vietnam -- interestingly enough inspired by your Mom and her stories of when she was little.

DUDE. We shall plan a trip to Vietnam! But, you know, probably not any time this year.

5. Another thing that I love about your mother is how I stole a whole bunch of her recipes and pass them off as my own. (Last time Seth's mom and step-dad came to visit I made her carbonara, and suffice it to say, it was a hit.) You love cooking and entertaining too; what is the best dish you make, and what would you like to perfect in the future?

Please! Before I met you the only spices I had ever heard of using were dill and sesame seeds! I totally started cooking because of you. My best recipe I think is my Cajun Mac and Cheese. I'll try to put the recipe up for you, but mostly I just make it however I feel like making it that day. Lately I've been fooling around with lots of pasta and made up this kick ass Lemon-Artichoke sauce that rocked. But I really need to learn how to bake better. I'm too much of an improver to bake correctly. Things come out of my oven all funky. (Oh, and I need an oven.)

I have the same problem with baking, which is funny because I always used to do so well in chem lab, remember? Baking sucks.

6. You're back in Buffalo! What's the best and worst parts about moving back to your hometown?

The best part of being in Buffalo is that you and Seth come here more often. And then we go and get chicken wings (that's Rob's favorite part of being back in Buffalo) -- so let's go to Duff's next time. I should also say I love being close to my family, but really it's the wings. And the hockey. The worst part is the damn roads! I don't think my car is going to make it. I started driving down Main St. today and heard at least 2 new rattles while being seriously concerned that 1 or 2 tires might fall off. This city needs some stimulus money.

And now that you've mentioned Duff's Seth is going to want to go RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

7. Speaking of worst parts, you're apartment is pretty ridiculous. What's the most horrible/hilarious thing about it?

It is pretty crap ass, isn't it? The really sad thing is, it's super pretty and it has a fireplace for crying out loud! The weirdest thing is that my bathroom can only be accessed through my bedroom -- so no company (or I have to make the bed). Also that I can't put a cookie sheet in the oven AND shut the oven door. OR that we can't use hot AND cold water in our shower at the same time. I could go on but you really only asked for one thing.

And the thin walls, and snooty neighbors, and . . . .

8. You're pregnant! So tell me, are you going to be one of those cool hockey moms that everyone seems to talk so much about, or are you going to be one of those crazy moms that lock her kids in a germ-proof bubble, thereby guaranteeing that they end up with every allergy known to humankind?

Man, Sarah Palin gave hockey moms such a bad rap. My kids are totally going to know how to skate as soon as they can walk. I don't think I could possibly be a germ-freak bubble-imposing mom. For one thing, I don't vacuum. I hope I'll be a cool mom, but I am scared I'll be a yeller. Or a "Oh let me tell you about my kids because that's all I ever talk about" Mom. Please police me in this. I hereby give you permission.

Yeah, that was one crazy bitch, eh? You know that Mites on Ice is my favorite part of hockey games, right? I am SO coming up to root for your babies. And, I don't think you have to worry about being a yeller; I can't even fathom such a possibility.

9. Also, how soon after birthing your baby can I come up to visit?

You can come visit me right away provided that we have a new apartment so if you stay with us you don't have to walk through our bedroom to go to the bathroom. As you well know, I am a big proponent of your moving to Buffalo. Move to Buffalo! We can even go see a movie together :)

You do realize that if I ever stayed with you (which would TOTALLY be my preference, by the way), thirty sets of Seth's parents would freak the fuck out, right? Wait a second, I have an idea!

10. The poor people who read this site seem to think that I'm all sweetness and light, but you actually lived with me in college. Can you please share one of the many anecdotes of my horribleness (which I have a PhD in, by the way) to dispel this regrettable misconception once and for all?

Is this a trick? You want me to make something up? Ok, fine... Remember that time you put post-it notes telling Kara to pick up her stuff and clean? That was awesome. And in my mind it was just Kara, but thinking back it was probably me too because I'm pretty messy. But seriously, Collective readers need to know that you were a pretty damn awesome roommate. Remember how we used to go grocery shopping with our Smoothie King Angel Foods? And how we used to cook for our whole floor? Those were the days. The people of the Collective just don't know how much you rock.

Oh man, you totally let me off the hook. I do love the Post-It story, though, because it was actually Melisa who told me to do it, but I get all the press :)

Thanks for letting me interview you, Alex!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Do you want to know some things about running?

I interviewed regular commenter Matt who blogs at Letters to the French. He comments about running a lot. I stole a few questions from you guys because you all ask awesome questions and sometimes I think I'm not very good at it. For example, I can't decide if I asked depressing questions or if, ahem, the interviewee provided the depressing. Regardless, make sure you go read something uplifting after one particular part of this interview. Also, another warning: you might feel really motivated to run after reading this. It's only fair to warn you that not all of us experience the awesome side effects that he does.

How old are you?

A quarter-century according to my passport, at least twice that according to my joints most mornings, and maybe half that by maturity.

What was your first experience with email?

My freshman or sophomore year of high school I set up a Hotmail account for easier correspondence with an Australian pen-pal. Forrestgump something or another. He was my hero. I was not a bright teenager.

If you could be 20 again and money and family obligations were not a concern, what are five things you would want to do? If you were 60 and money and family, blah, blah, blah, what are 5 things you would want to do? What accounts for the difference between the two?

I have no desire to ever be twenty again. And if I make it to sixty? Yeah, I have no desire to ever be sixty either. My body already hates me enough. The biggest difference between the two being the amount of animosity my body feels towards me; other than heart rate monitor, I was pretty much invincible at twenty. (One of many stories I'm not going to get into. This is already way too long.)

In terms of running, why do you?

Because I'm the illegitimate lovechild of Quenton Cassidy and Forrest Gump. Because there is something primitive about giving chase, letting the gasps of heaving lungs rip through you, running down the slower prey. Because I have yet to find a better microcosm of life than the agony of giving more than you have to give, hitting empty just before the finish and the world spinning, spinning, black, eyes lolled back and face ashen... then being swallowed up by the miles you just weren't quite enough for, the world in flailing arms and tied-up legs. Because as a lover it'll take the abuse I can offer and just hand more right back. Because it seems I like pain.

Because enough miles will teach you how to estimate the temperature by sight, to the point of twenty consecutive runs within two degrees. Because sometimes it helps me sleep, albeit occasionally a little too well. Because, at various points, I've been as good at it as anything I've ever done. Because it's a (mostly) acceptable way to destroy yourself, and cheaper than booze. Because, well, why not?

Seriously though, I get running, but why SO MUCH?

Strangely, this feels like a much easier question.

Because I can. Or, because I have yet to find a good enough reason to convince me not to.

Because ghosts may not give speedy chase, but still, they never stop.

Because someday I will win a hundred-miler.

Because I like pushing myself past the breaking point, sweeping up the pieces, then trying again.

Because the kind of people who hang out at ultras are unlike any other sort of people, and as a type of competition goes, they're unlike any I've ever been a part of. (Go watch one sometime, please.)

Because part of me wonders if i could run two hundred miles in a week, or six thousand in a year.

Did I mention, because I can?

Pretend I'm hiring you for the best! job! ever! What is the job, and why are you qualified?

I'll be a damn fine mountain man recluse, taking care of a small cabin in the woods, nestled in the mountains, close enough to the nearest village for a a nice little bike or ski, but far enough away to keep my space. I'm qualified because a) I love mountains, b) I don't like most people. Oh, who am I kidding, I have no idea what the hell I want to do with my life.

How long have you been a Collective reader and how did you find The Collective?

I've maybe been reading the collective for a little over a year now – I'd been reading Kat for a long time, and I'd guess she linked to it in some post or another.

Any strong feelings on Daylight Saving Time?

I'm not real happy with it right now, but that's just because I got far too little sleep this past weekend (damn you, devil water), and the later dark mornings just makes it all the more difficult to get up and get some miles in before work. But then as I said when she asked, I've never been able to tell the difference between tired and alive, so maybe it's for the better anyways.

What does loose deuce, as featured in your URL mean?

My collegiate cross-country team always took a week just before the season started and went to Estes Park to train and drink and re-acquaint after a long summer apart, and freshmen that went on the trip were initiated and given nicknames. I earned 'Deuce' my freshman year, and, courtesy my smart-ass mouth, the job of menu bitch. I'd like to think that I kept the job all year because I was good at it, but more likely it was probably just that I never learned how not to be a cocksure smart-ass. On the flip side, I got to pick the next menu bitch, so there is that.

As for the adjective loose – well, you know that little voice that tells when something is a bad idea, and that you probably shouldn't do it? I've apparently never had one, meaning I've built for myself a history of making decisions that in hindsight were obviously poor, but at the time sounded really smart and fun. As those are stories I'd rather not tell, let's just leave it at loose judgment.

Describe three perfect meals.

1) Venison fillets with a cab sauvignon and mushroom sauce, garlic chive mashed potatoes, fresh homemade breadsticks, oven asparagus, chocolate almond biscotti (with Kahlua, of course), frozen peanut butter pie (with Nutella, of course), Irish coffee. She said she loved me and I said I loved her and we swore it was going to be like this forever, and two weeks later she told me it was never going to happen. Minneapolis, February 2008.

2) Vegan blueberry pancakes, veggie omelets, tots, cantaloupe and/or grapefruit, tea, orange juice. We drank and we ran and we pranked and yoga fought and fell on our heads and climbed water towers, and in the mornings, we feasted and laughed about the night previous and talked about all the great unknowns, merrily, as if they were abstractions and we were too big for any of them to swallow us. Decorah, most Sunday mornings, spring 2006.

3) Cajun venison pasta, garlic-stuffed venison brats, spicy potato pancakes, a Surly growler. We played Tarzan and rock spider and skied and bike and ran, always too busy, and laughed about the needlessness of TP and bowled in the hallway and made owl calls at 3 am. Life was simple and beautiful, and above all else, green. Environmental center, spring 2007.

What was your greatest misadventure?

To narrow a lifetime of poorly advised ideas to just one cannot be done, so rather than try and choose a greatest, I'll give you one of them that could have potentially gotten me in a lot of trouble. Plus it's half completely idiotic, half impressive, half did that really happen? And I've never really told this story before, so there's that.

In undergrad, I took a year sabbatical, not really planning on coming back to school, but with no idea what else to do either. Eventually I accepted a position as a preacher at the Grand Canyon (yeah, don't ask... another long story). Anyways, six days after moving to the Grand Canyon, and after several shorter runs below the rim, I decided it was time to run to the river and back. The route I had in mind was a vertical mile each way, seven miles of trail on the way down, seven miles of trail back up, then another seven or eight miles on the rim back to the employee dorm. (I took a shuttle to the trailhead on the way out.)

Even before I left, a friend took a picture of one of the many, many signs by the trailhead warning that hiking to the river and back in one day is strongly inadvisable; people die trying to do it every year (usually young, stupid, white males, recently out of college and no longer in shape). No deterrent, that, because the rules of normal people clearly do not apply to me. So off I went, laughing with the beauty of a gorgeous fall day, the air crisp and cool at the rim's edge. Another adventure, another accomplishment awaited me. I'd been looking forward to this day since I'd first accepted the position, and here I was, only a few hours away from fruition.

As for the run itself: already I'd learned that to run on the trails inside the canyon was to scare the hell out of all the tourists; more reasonable beings than I, they tended to hug the inside wall of the trail. In order to pass, I had to take the outside edge of the trail. So I did. The tourists would gasp, because there I was, running on the edge of the trail, sometimes nearly dancing from stone to stone, often with several hundred foot beneath my outside elbow. Not a defense, but I was twenty and still considered myself invincible, and besides, I was usually running fast. Fast enough, I figured, that if I did fall forward momentum would save me. (A later misadventure taught me otherwise, but again, that's another story.)

I was making pretty good time on the way down, being careful to save fuel for the much more grueling climb back up, when in one of the last few switchbacks before the river I came up on a mule train. I saw them some time before I got to them, as there was a long gentle curve in the trail before the switchback; they, in turn, had seen me some time before as well, or at least I thought they had. And, then, when I was about fifty meters behind the mule train, the mule right in the top half of the switchback itself jumped to the lower half – where it's forward momentum and sliding front hooves carried it right over the edge, along with the mule it was attached to and all the cargo they were both carrying. A second later, there was a sickening thwack where the two mules landed a couple hundred feet below. Even now, I have a hard time remembering the visual is real.

In hindsight, this next part may not have been the wisest series of moves, but one of the park service guys with the mule train motioned me by, so I slid by and scurried on down the trail to the river and across the bridge, the first portion of my run complete. After refilling my water and quick stretching out my quads, I turned around for the climb back up. There was still a bit of a jam in the switchback, but no one motioned for me to stop, so I scurried by once more and powered my way up the trail back to the rim, trying not to think about the damn mules.

Except... when I got back to the rim, there was a group of park service rangers waiting for me. They asked a few questions, which I answered truthfully, and then, as they seemed satisfied with my answers, I left.

When I went into work the next morning, I was still a little freaked out about the mule, but mostly just tired from the run; I chalked the whole thing up as just another story I'd laugh at in a few months, or worst case scenario, in a few years. And then, a few minutes after I opened the rec center for the day, in came another park service ranger with more questions. I again answered them truthfully, and happened to wonder at the end of his questioning where this was going. At which point, he informed me that there was an open investigation and they were considering charging me. "Also," he added, "you should know any crime in a national park is automatically a felony."

To shorten up what's becoming a long story, a friend of a friend happened to be one of the wranglers for one of the concessioner companies, so he and a couple of other cowboys took a look at all the evidence, before deciding there was nothing that would conclusively point to it being my fault. They then talked to a few people on my behalf, after which all the questions disappeared. Turns out there was a bit of a history between park service wranglers and employees of the concessioner, and I got a bit stuck in what was already a bad situation.

So two weeks later I ran to the river and back again – but on the other trail. I didn't start running the Kaibab again until months later. Still not a story I laugh at, but I can tell it now, so there's that.

What's your favorite memory?

Since I've just been thinking about running and being a recluse, I'm going with a run from last spring. It was a gorgeous May night, the stars out and shining brilliant, a dark and dotted sea without a bottom. I couldn't sleep, and my miles were (relatively) low. So I laced up my shoes and headed out – it was deliciously cool, but definitely spring. Shorts and a long sleeve weather, but just as easily shorts and no shirt, the kind of weather that mean the run will determine the outfit, rather than the temperature. I was living in the suburbs then, and was close to a trail that extends for miles and miles – it terminates something like 60 miles from Minneapolis after going by a whole long chain of lakes and through various wooded communities. I decided to jump on the trail and follow the night to wherever she'd take me.

After maybe an hour, having not seen anyone the entire run, and with a little bit of a warm spring breeze picking up, I decided to ditch some clothes. I noted the landmarks, swore I'd remember where I left my things, and continued on the run. Not too much later, it started to rain, gentle soothing drops at first, then small bells plink, plinking on the gravel, then a hard tree-shaking downpour. The sky was white with lightning, alive with static. The hair on the back of my neck was raised and my fingertips were connected to the god I don't believe in as I ran through a deluge of white and wet, struggled to stay on the trail. When I finally turned back so that I'd make it in back for a breakfast and to head into work, the rain had lightened up a little, but the lightning, not a bit. As the air temperature had dropped a bit, I was now getting cold. Thankful I didn't have all those wet clothes – but still, cold. I flew through the miles home, back towards the clothes I'd dropped off... wait, where were my clothes? I had a little bit of extra time, on account of the increased tempo on the way back, but eventually I had to give up the search...

Anyways, I made it home fine, and came back and got the clothes later, when it was light out. Still, the rain and the lightning and the way it all blurred together flying over gravel and through the white and hair on end, heart pumping -- definitely one of my favorite memories.

Monday, 9 March 2009

Interview with Joe!

heather Last week, I found myself gifted with the happy task of interviewing Joe from Joe's Apartment. (Also known as Joe, Jennie!'s boyfriend.) We tried twice to have the interview LIVE via Google Chat, but I've been sick beyond measure and pretty much asleep for six straight days. Joe, though, he didn't mind that I kept flaking on the LIVE interview, so he did it via email at the very last minute. Joe is rad. I like him very much.

The un-LIVE Joe Interview:

Before we get started I was wondering if you have any pictures of DCU Infinite Heroes you could show us.

Y’know, I actually don’t have any pictures of those handy, but I do have a few pictures of action figures that I’ve repainted and/or sculpted. Here’s one of The Flash, in a costume he wore for less than a year but that I really liked the look of (this was a simple repaint with some minimal sculpting):


And here’s another one of The Flash with his mask off, revealing his secret identity of Barry Allen (I sculpted the mask around his neck and added the little wing thingies, then painted the mask and his neck and added a new head):

Awesome, that is the perfect segue to my first question, which is: You like comic books, huh?

I do! How did you know? That’s a closely-guarded secret.

I've seen your comic book collection, and it is one of the most impressive things my eyes have ever beheld.

I hope, for your sake, that this is not true.

When did you start collecting comics? What's your favorite thing in your collection? Have you sold or lost anything you wish you could get back?

I started collecting comics seriously when I was in 2nd Grade, around 1990, though I know that I have been reading comics for longer than that. But when I was seven or eight was when I really started reading them regularly. My favorite thing, or at least the coolest thing, in my collection is a copy of Ultimate Spider-Man #1 signed by Brian Bendis (the writer) and Mark Bagley (the artist), with a sketch of Spidey by Bagley. The one comic that I sold for a lot of money and that I later regretted selling is Batman #232, the first appearance of Ra’s al Ghul and an early O’Neal/Adams Batman story. The copy that I had was in wonderful condition and I got it for really cheap, and I sold it for easily eight times what I paid for it, but I have regretted it ever since.

Speaking of comics, I liked your review of Watchmen. I was hoping you could review the following comic book movies in 10 words or less:

Batman: Not a great movie, but one of my childhood favorites

Spider-Man 2: A very enjoyable movie, and the best of the series

Superman Returns: A wonderful nostalgia piece that fails as its own movie

The Dark Knight: Proves that great comic book movies also make great films

Dick Tracy: The only thing I remember is, “Go suck an egg!”

X-Men 3: They should have waited for Bryan Singer to come back

And speaking of segues -- well, not segues exactly, but segways (you know those little personalized vehicles that mall cops drive around) -- would you ride one of those if it was yours for free? If so, where would you take it?

I would definitely ride one of it was mine for free. I would take it around the neighborhood, with no particular destination in mind. You know how, when you’re a kid, you just go out and ride your bike around the block a bunch, just for the sake of doing it? That’s how I would be with a segway.

What is the vehicle of your dreams?

Without question, the Batmobile from the ‘60s Batman TV series.

Given your choice between that vehicle and a hoverboard, which would you choose?

I’d still take the Batmobile.

(If you didn't choose hoverboard, can I have it?)

Assuming Jennie doesn’t want it, sure.

Let's talk some more about movies. What's your favorite movie line?

“It’s not impossible, I used to bull’s-eye womprats in my T-16 back home, they’re not much bigger than two meters.”

Are there some movies you've paid to see more than once in a theater?

There are many such movies! The list includes, but is not limited to, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Superman Returns, all three Star Wars prequels, all three Spider-Man movies, all three X-Men movies, The Prestige, Sideways, Garden State, and many, many others.

Are there any movies that you'd like to be able to see again in the theater, like maybe Back to the Future or Wall-E?

While I do love both of those, there are a lot of older movies that I would love to see on a big screen, from classics like Casablanca, The Big Sleep, and Citizen Kane, to more modern movies like Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Superman: The Movie.

What do you think makes a theater a really good theater?

I prefer stadium-style seating and a really big screen, if we’re talking architecturally what makes a good theater. As far as intangibles go, I love being in a sold-out theater where everyone is excited to see whatever the movie is that we’re about to see. That’s the main reason that I like going to midnight showings of movies – the people that are there all want to be there, and the excitement and energy is always really high. Those are my favorite movie-going experiences.

What does a person have to do to make you bonkers in a movie theater?

Talk on a cell phone. Or text. Really just using a cell phone, but mostly the talking. I also don’t like having the back of my seat kicked. And I will tell you I don’t like it if you do it to me.

What movie are you most looking forward to this year?

The new Harry Potter movie, for sure. I’m cautiously optimistic about Star Trek, and I’m looking forward to the new Terminator and Transformers movies, but the only movie of the year that I’m actively excited about is the new Harry Potter movie.

What kind of snacks do you get at the movies?

I like Twizzlers a lot. They’re a good, quiet candy to eat during a movie. And popcorn and soda are both required, of course.

OK, now we should talk about cartoons. Wait, do you watch cartoons? If not, you should maybe skip this section.

I watch older cartoons, so we’ll see how I do here…

What's the best cartoon on TV right now?

I don’t watch a lot of current cartoons, but I think Jennie would be mad at me if I didn’t say Spongebob Squarepants. That show is so insane.

What's the best cartoon on TV ever?

Futurama. It’s not a kid’s cartoon, but it’s a cartoon, and it makes me cry with laughter on a regular basis.

When you were a little kid did you ever watch Sesame Street during the giving telethons, and then sometimes on Saturday mornings the people would be like, "Listen up kids, if you ever want to see Big Bird again, you go wake up your mom and dad and donate $50!"? Did that scar you for life?

I don’t remember that ever happening to me. Though I’m sure that, if it had, it would have scarred me for life. That sounds very traumatic.

What cartoon did you love as a kid that would be too boring to sit through now?

Super Friends is pretty terrible. Sometimes I’ll put that on while I’m working or doing other things on the computer, but I can’t watch it outright. It puts me to sleep.

Speaking of time travel, has Jennie! discussed with you her wish to invent a time machine surrounded by a clear titanium bubble? Do you think you could help her achieve this dream? If so, where would you like to travel first?

I believe she’s mentioned the idea, yes, and I’m all for it. I don’t know what I could do to help her with it, but if there were anything I could do to help then I would definitely do it. If only I knew how a flux capacitor works. The first place to which I would time-travel would be to see The Beatles perform at Shea Stadium in 1965.

If you never invent the time machine, where would you most like to travel in this dimension?

Mars. Just to see what all the fuss is about.

Are you a Mac or a PC?

I’m definitely a Mac.

What web browser do you use?


Do you judge people who are different in terms of their technology preferences?


What is your most favorite waste of time?

Looking at stuff on eBay. Though it tends to get me in trouble, too.

What is your most favorite part of the newspaper?

The Editorials page. I like to see what people are griping about. I also like the editorial cartoons.

If someone gave you a yacht, what would you name it?

I don’t know. I would have to see it before I name it. That’s how I am with pets, too.

I have heard you say a couple of times that you want a puppy. What kind of puppy do you want? Please show us some pictures.

I want a cute puppy. I don’t care what kind it is. When I eventually go to a shelter to get a dog, that’s when I’ll determine what kind I want. Though I would take this one.

Finally, what is one question I didn't ask that you would like to answer? Will you answer it?

I’m disappointed that you didn’t ask me anything about bowling. Since you obviously don’t care about my interest in this sport of kings, I will not answer any questions about it.

Thanks, Joe!

My pleasure, Heather!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Phone It In Friday: Five Worst

Guess what, Internets? It's Friday. So, you know, happy Friday and stuff. Last week you told us all about your Five Best things. This week we're going to need to hear a list of Five Worst things. At least one of us would really appreciate it, because she doesn't have much to do at work today (coughJENNIEcough). Thanks in advance.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

That is the law, according to the rules.

Jennie Drinking is fun and all, but often leads to hangovers. I know this from experience. Like, lots of experience. And so, that said, here are the 5 Worst Hangovers. Avoid them at all costs FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING HOLY OMFG.

1. The "Tequila is SO GOOD, YOU GUYS" Hangover

This is how it happens. You go out for Mexican and they're having a special on margaritas. "I will have a margarita," you think, and so you have one margarita and that turns into several margaritas and then THAT turns into, "HEY! Why not do a shot of tequila?" and this is where it all goes wrong because even one shot of tequila is enough to wipe out an entire evening.

2. The "I Can Drink However Much I Want, It's Just Beer" Hangover

You know how sometimes you and your friends will split pitcher after pitcher of delicious beer? And then, after a while, that beer tastes just like WATER and boy, are you thirsty. Yeah. Beer still has alcohol in it, dumbass.

3. The "Let's take shots!" Hangover

This is especially dangerous for those who have been out of college only a few months, but have cut way, way back on their drinking (as a result of not being in college anymore) and THEREFORE they don't have the alcohol tolerance they used to. This also affects many, many bachelorette party-goers. BEWARE THE SHOT.

4. The "I Forgot The Rules of Mixing" Hangover

Beer before liquor, never sicker. Liquor before beer, you're in the clear. These are important sayings, having been passed on throughout the generations, but not everyone listens very well. You should, though. Also, don't mix a whole bunch of different liquors in one night. Stick to one. Don't say I didn't warn you.

5. The "I've Been Drinking All Day But Haven't Eaten Any Food" Hangover

Seriously, eat something. Idiot.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

5 Worst Ideas for a 5 Worst List.

5 Worst Temptations on My Walk Home from Work

Which exactly none of you will care about, because you don't have Gifford's or Red Velvet or the Irish Channel or Cowgirl Creamery or Nando's where you live. Unless you live in DC, which two of you do, but STILL. I'm pretty sure no one wants to hear me whine about how I wish I could eat all the ice cream and cupcakes and cheese fries I want but then I'd get fat and society says I have to weigh 80 pounds to be worth anything at all. Wah wah.

5 Worst Logical Fallacies I Will Totally Rely Upon When It's Convenient

On a fairly regular basis I use the transitive property to prove that my football/basketball/hockey team is better than your football/basketball/hockey team because your football/basketball/hockey team lost to that one football/basketball/hockey team that my football/basketball/hockey team beat. Ergo, in a heads-up match my football/basketball/hockey team would beat your football/basketball/hockey team and so my football/basketball/hockey team is CLEARLY better than your football/basketball/hockey team. But that is just one logical fallacy I totally rely upon when it's convenient, and this is a list of five. So I went to good old Wackopedia and found this. Groan. AND SO, obviously the problem with logic is all that pesky thinking it requires, and thinking and I are not on good terms these days.

5 Worst Etsy Finds

The biggest problem is narrowing this list down to just five, because have you seen some of the crap that people have the gall to sell? U-G-L-Y these people ain't got no alibi. But then there's that other issue with me being a lawyer and such, and this being a public forum and such, and isn't there something called libel or slander or whatever it is that could maybe possibly get me sued or something? Yeah, I don't know much about the law or nothing, but that seems like a can of worms I should probably avoid opening.

5 Worst Ways to Waste Time at Work

Besides being highly alliterative, this list would be boring and obvious and likely contain such (non)gems as, "Have you guys seen this Facebook thing?" and "Man, Twitter is so funny LOL!" But the absolute worst thing about this particular Worst List is the entire fucking premise. Worst ways to waste time at work? Is there such a thing as a bad way to waste time at work? Here, I'll clear this up for you right now: the worst way to waste time at work is to ACTUALLY BE WORKING. Ahem.

5 Worst Ideas for a 5 Worst List

Yeah, I totally phoned it in with this post.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Five Worst Shower Games

1. Smell the diaper.

The host fills diapers with melted candy bars and the attendees smell, poke, and prod the diapers trying to solve the mystery. This is supposed to be funny because haha it looks like your smelling, poking, and prodding SHIT, but seriously, what the hell? One, not funny. Two, way to absolutely RUIN a Snickers bar. God.

2. How well does the bride know the groom?

Have the groom answer several questions in advance about their relationship (and invite him if you want to make it especially awkward). Then ask the bride the same questions. For every answer she gives that doesn't match his, she has to eat a piece of bubble gum. Now, it's kind of a fun punishment if the bride has been a bridezilla because she starts drooling and looking gross, but the part I hate is when she gets the question wrong (a lot) and is defensive. As though this dumb shower game is somehow suggesting she shouldn't get married. Defensive brides are way fun, did you know?

3. Guess the spice.

This bridal shower game doesn't make any sense to me. Someone brings some spices and then everyone smells and whoever correctly identifies the most spices get a prize. Because weddings and marriage are totally about spices. Oh wait, no they're not, it's 2009.

4. The extorting games where you take things from your guests.

I've seen this happen in several different ways: if you say "baby" at a baby shower you have to put change in a jar (for the baby's "college fund" of course!), or you ask everyone to bring a copy of their favorite kids book to start the baby's library (meanwhile your invitations have made clear you have a registry as well), or perhaps the lamest, you have guests address envelopes to themselves and use them for a door prize drawing... and for sending their thank yous later because you are so fucking lazy. I hate these games because it makes the bride or mother look like a greedy bitch. You're a whole bunch of shit, you don't need another $8 in change.

5. Advice circle.

Everyone shares a bit of "advice" with the new mother or bride. A lot of lecturing goes on, and the guests will often disagree with each other, and then, usually, it digresses into everyone telling really lame wedding- or baby-related stories. Lose lose lose.

Monday, 2 March 2009

Five Worst Creatures to Meet on a Leisurely Walk Through The Woods

heather Last week we gave you the best, this week we give you the worst. Fair and balanced, that's your Collective. So, here are the Five Worst Creatures to Meet on a Leisurely Walk Through The Woods. Read at your own risk.

5) Snake

Naturalist E.O. Wilson argued that humans have a deep, emotional connection to nature on account of evolution. Being in the woods can fill us with a sense of euphoria because all of our lesser-evolved kin are there with us, like family. The downside to this connection is that we're scared of things like snakes, when really we should be more scared of things like driving on the interstate or using cell phones, but those things haven't been around long enough to intimidate our DNA.

This is, of course, bullshit. I assume Wilson has never seen the following evidence:

This is a human boy:

This is a snake:

This is a snake working his snakery. (Note the hypnotic eyes.) (But don't note too hard lest you get some snakery worked on you.) :

This is a human boy having some snakery worked on him:

This is a human boy with a snake wrapped around his neck:

Sure thing, E.O. Wilson, it's just evolution telling me snakes are assholes. It has nothing to do with the fact that snakes are actually assholes.

4) Badger

If you ever read the Frances books when you were a kid, I'm afraid that you, my friend, have been duped. Unlike Frances the Badger who serves tea and throws birthday parties for her friends, real live badgers are thugs.

Badgers not afraid of anything, including king cobras. These suckers will literally take a meal out of a snake's mouth, and then when the snake tries to take it back, the badger will just decide to eat the snake instead. A cobra can strike a badger until the badger eats its head off, and then you know what happens? The badger gnaws and gnaws until it falls over dead. Only it's not dead. A few minutes later it wakes back up, finishes the snake, and stumbles home. Cobra venom barely gives a badger a hangover, is what I am saying.

If you think that motherfucker won't chase you down, you're nuts. Stay away from badgers, even if they, like little Frances Faker, promise to help you find some good deals at the after Christmas sales.

3) Polar Bear

Many conservationists would have you believe that bears are peaceful creatures who sustain their various ecosystems, produce adorable cubs, and only attack when provoked (i.e. when their adorable cubs are threatened). This is, in fact, a lie. One look at a bear proves that he has evolved into a beast whose greatest single delight would be to eat you.


Whoops. Ahem. Observe:

The questions you need to ask yourself are thus: Will my head fit inside that bear's mouth? (Yes.) Can he render me unconscious with one swift blow of his massive paw? (Yes.) Are his claws longer than all of the knives in my kitchen? (Yes.) Is he pissed? (Yes.)

This is where it gets tricky. All bears want to kill you, but the question is: which bear is angry enough to actually do it. Not the panda -- he enjoys the distinction of being China's second-best diplomatic export, behind opium. (Ed: Amy tells me that Pandas are herbivores, and that's the reason they won't kill you. Which: I am so sure.)

The black bear is certainly capable of slaughtering you. Wackopedia's ominous List of Fatal Bear Attacks In North America By Decade notes that in 2002 a black bear swiped a toddler out of his stroller off of his own porch and ate him for a snack. Brown bears (also known as Kodiak or Grizzly bears) are equal douchebags. The same Wackopedia entry says that in 2008 a famous Hollywood bear grew agitated during contract negotiations and bit his trainer in the neck, killing him instantly.

But the bear who is angriest of all is the polar bear. Years of bullshit environmental policy mean that the polar bear is losing its home and food supply. (Anger point number one.) Coca-Cola never came through with the residuals they promised. (Anger point number two.) And recently the polar bear has had to give up the title "Largest Land Predator" and share it with the Kodiak. (Anger point number three.) Also, if you happen upon the polar while on a leisurely walk, it means that he is lost, and polar bears are notorious for their violent outbursts when you point out that they are off-track. (Many zoologists blame the penguin for the polar bear's sensitivity, as it is a known fact that penguins have become quite cocky about their sense of direction after March of the Penguins' win at the Oscars.)

It would be unfortunate if you stumbled on any bear during a walk; however, scientifically speaking, we can only say for sure that it would be fatal* if you happened upon a polar bear.

2) Acromantula

It is not impossible to photograph an Acromantula. What is impossible is to stay alive after you photograph an Acromantula. As such, we must rely on the drawings of Mary GrandPré, illustrator of the Harry Potter (sorry, Tam) books to show us an Acromantula.

We must also borrow text from Newt Semander's Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them (again: sorry, Tam) to understand the full scope ofthe Acromantula's terror.

The Acromantula is a monstrous eight-eyed spider capable of human speech... It's distinctive features include the thick, black hair that covers its body;itslegspan, which may reach up to fifteen feet; it's pincers, which produce a distinctive clicking sound when the Acromantula is excited or angry; and a poisonous secretion.

In sum, the Acromantula is twice as big as your car, and thinks you'd make a tasty breakfast. He wouldn't even have to fight you, because once you saw him, you'd fall over dead.

1) Beagle Puppy

The dog guide books about beagles all say the same thing: cute, sturdy, lovable, obstinate, cuddly, howlers. But how can you be so sure that once you fall in love with a beagle and take it into your home, it will not eat the paint off your walls and drive away your neighbors with its incessant howling? You cannot.

The hardest part is, look at the damn things:




You happen onto one of those puppies in the woods, are you going to take it home? Yes, you are. But you know what? Bad idea. You aren't ready for the responsibility. If you find a beagle puppy, YOU GIVE IT TO ME RIGHT NOW.


* The only hope you have for survival is if you, like me, adopt a polar bear from the World Wildlife Federation. They send you a card that you can keep in your wallet and present to a polar bear if needed.