Tuesday, 30 June 2009

day 2: reader appreciation week!

Abs Recently, my BFF(IRL) Elle asked me why we never talked about her on this site. I did a double take. "You actually read it?" I asked. She nodded quickly as though we were overcoming some great misunderstanding. "But you never comment!" I argued.

She shrugged.

Readers, here's a secret. I don't know you're there unless you comment. It doesn't have to be funny or intelligent. It just has to be. You and us. I'm a just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her. Oh, wait, wrong speech.

Our first honorees of the day are the good old standbys Vahid and Shari. You might remember them as award winners in our Canadie Awards last summer. And don't think we're playing favorites: Vahid won for Best Buddy and Shari won for Most Comments and we can regularly count on these two to keep playing the part.

Shari comments on every post. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I appreciate that. I appreciate that especially because I am so bad at commenting. Shari, thank you for commenting. Still. Always. Forever. We appreciate you.

Oh, and here's a photo, as proof that these are not just readers who comment, but Shari and Vahid are readers who are best buddies. This is last November when I was in Portland for work and Shari drove all the way from Nowhere (for HOURS) to meet me and Vahid and then Vahid took us on a tour of Portland's Best Places to Get Drunk At and really, I don't think I could ask anymore from readers. (But I'm going to on account of I'm going to go visit them again in August. The best readers are the readers who invite me to their house and promise to cook for me. Win.)

(This is a photo of a photo. Both cameras aren't quite print-quality, so you kind of have to cross your eyes to see what is going on.)

Scott is another reader who we've known since the beginning of time. And yet he has never grown lax in his site involvement. I can always count on a comment from Scott despite the fact his his wife is super busy beating cancer, and he seems real busy twittering all the time too. But still, day after day, he comes here and comments. Sometimes nice things, sometimes funny things, and always clever things. Scott puts me to shame. He is awesome. Send him cookies.

Tam is another high volume commenter. And she's Jennie!'s IRL friend which means I appreciate her even more since my IRL friends NEVER COMMENT. Tam is also willing to call us out on a regular basis. Like recently, she said, " I want a baby, but G-d won't give me one because I'm friends with Jennie. " God agrees with the Collective, Tam, babies are assholes.

Lastly, I appreciate sarah g. For one; she regularly agrees with me and everyone knows I love people who agree with me. For two; she is always positive and upbeat. That's not really the point of this website (are we positive and/or upbeat? not really), but you have to credit the girl for standing strong! Also, I love that she's not just Sarah; she is sarah g. I think the g is probably the first letter of her last name, but I like to pretend it stands for something else. sarah great! sarah good! sarah grocks! (like rocks? I try.)

Thank you, readers who comment! Thank you for giving my life worth! Please don't stop commenting!

(And lurkers: start commenting so we get to know you. We assume you're as awesome as our vocal readers, but how can we know if you don't comment??)

Monday, 29 June 2009

Reader Appreciation Week!

heather It's always harder to get back to work on Mondays in the summer, right? It's like every weekend is a legitimate mini-vacation and Sunday night just comes as such a shock. We know, and we care. That's why this week is Reader Appreciation Week, a week in which we celebrate you!

In the wise words of Michael Scott:
So, you know, an employee will go home, and he'll tell his neighbor, "Hey, did you get an award?" And the neighbor will say, "No man. I mean, I slave all day and nobody notices me." Next thing you know, employee smells something terrible coming from neighbor's house. Neighbor's hanged himself due to lack of recognition. So...
Today we're celebrating Joe, Peefer, Lindsay, Sir and Amanda Mae.

Joe is Joe of Joe's Apartment, and also Joe of Joe and Jennie. We started loving Joe because Jennie loves Joe, but it didn't take us long to start loving him all by ourselves. He makes us laugh, answers our tedious superhero questions, listens to our rants, and even searches out our favorite comic books for us -- because he is awesome.

Recently on his blog, he ponders the term "celebrity" and feels sad that the late Billy Mays never got a chance to peddle the Snuggie:
Well, apparently last night or this morning Billy Mays died. Not the soccer player, the pitchman. This is a guy who, whenever he came on TV, always made me turn the volume down because he was just so friggin' loud and so excited about whatever he was selling. The ShamWow and OxiClean are probably his two most famous products, though I would have loved to have seen what he could do with a Snuggie. Alas, though, he's gone.

Peefer is Peefer of Peefer's Home. We've been collectively (hee!) knowing Peefer for practically ever. He sends us toys, indulges us by watching our favorite shows (seriously: Gossip Girl), never fails to make us grin with his comments, and would also probably marry us if we needed to get speedy-quick Canadian citizenship for whatever reason.

Recently on his blog, he let us into his Happy Compartment.
Swimming into a rainstorm,
behind me, fluffy whites on thick spilled blue,
sharp lines of a paint-by-number scene;
ahead, a colourless void,
brightness sinking with every stroke.
The sky is falling diagonally
exactly like how you see it from a distance.

Lindsay is Lindsay of Blood, Guts & Melodies most recently, but we've been knowing her ever since her LiveJournal days. She is a nurse with a seriously wonky schedule -- we're pretty sure she works ten 24-hour days in a row, and then has three to recover/sleep/watch TV/catch up on the Internets. And see, that's what's so great about Lindsay: She has her priorities in order. She saves lives and then she writes about television. (We call that a "hero" where we come from.)

Recently on her blog, she reviewed the new John Krasinski/Maya Rudolph flick, Away We Go.
Out of the four summer movies I’ve seen (Da Vinci Code, Star Trek, and Up), this one may actually be the favorite. Sure, that’s not difficult for Da Vinci Code, but I LURVED Star Trek and Up. But this one was extra special. I’m not sure what exactly it was that made me feel absolutely happy the entire way through. And then it ended and I started thinking about John Krasinski on the way to my car and I started to cry.

Sir is Sir of etcetera, etcetera: Home of the whatnot. We pretty much begged and threatened Sir to start a blog for two solid years before he finally caved, and how right we were to demand his words! On the one hand, Sir is a genius thermonuclear space scientist/physicist/chemist, etc. But on the other, he writes like he's in The New Yorker. Sir loves David Foster Wallace and also Harry Potter, which means you should probably be swooning right about now.

Recently on his blog, he recounted his visit to an arts and crafts store.
The lines in this place on the weekend are long. Waiting in them is like some sort of penance, as if you’re earning the right to buy whatever it is you’re trying to buy. I found myself immediately behind a couple and what was either their offspring or their grand-offspring, the ages of the grown-ups being hard to place. The female portion of this couple was large and surly. The male looked defeated, but wore a baseball cap festooned with an American flag and the words, ‘My way or the highway!’, which made me sort of delight in his defeat.

Amanda Mae is Amanda Mae of A Good Man is Hard to Find. Amanda Mae is what you might call a wunderkind. She's got her own radio show, Almanac, she writes for Film.com, directs movies, travels here and there and everywhere, and even has time to love her some puppies.


Do you want a kind of run down? I’m going to Dallas in May, Chicago in June, Ecuador in July (maybe), New York in August, and I don’t know where all else. San Diego this weekend. I get these nutty panic attacks whenever I have to go somewhere I’ve never been for the first time.

I’ve been working on a movie, it’s wrapped now, but before that was Film Festival, building sets and working hard. I go back and forth on whether or not I want to get ahead in film or not. I’m good at it, I feel like it’s the only thing I’m really good at. I am direct, efficient, calm, orderly. The set-dresser is the best one I’ve ever worked with. Two steps ahead is an understatement. Twelve steps ahead, and I’m back at making amends.

Stop by and give these people some love (or do it in the comments). And come back tomorrow so you can get appreciated some more. We love you guys. Let it never be said that a Collective reader went home and hanged him/herself due to lack of recognition.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

the facts are these

Jennie AS I MAY HAVE MENTIONED (800 times), I recently got a new camera. This camera, unlike my old one, holds a charge for more than four pictures, which is nice because I usually take at least four pictures of anything so I know (fingers crossed) at least one picture will turn out.

I've been trying to take my camera EVERYWHERE because obviously my life is so exciting that every beautiful moment needs to be documented, don't you think? Yes. Correct.

This summer has been busy, although TECHNICALLY summer only started a couple of days ago but WHATEVER. Here in Ohio, we don't abide by technicalities (The Dude, though, he totally abides). If it's hot outside and the kids are out of school, it's summer. Anyway.

My dad? He has a bit of a chipmunk problem. Every year, chipmunks invade the garden and dig holes under the garage, disrupting the very INTEGRITY of the foundation something something, I don't know, I wasn't really listening. All I know is OMG THE CHIPMUNKS ARE SO CUTE AHHHH I WANT ONE. So. He catches the chipmunks and I release them back into the wild, miles and miles from my parents' house and then the chipmunks love me forever for saving them. True story.

fathers day 004

While releasing the chipmunks, I hang out with nature for a bit and admire the view.

steps and junk

Going to the pool counts as hanging out with nature, right? Because you're outside? I think so. This one time? I was walking by the pool after I went running, and there were totally ducks swimming in it. It was so cute! I didn't get any pictures of that because I don't take my camera running with me but I DID take about a million pictures of ducks while we were in Myrtle Beach.

hi, Howard! floaty
look how cute! the duck liked Joe

Anyway, when it gets too hot outside, I rent movies. Then I watch them. Because that's what you do. Joe and I have also been rewatching Lost. Well, I'm rewatching Lost, he's watching it for the first time while I sit there and try my best not to spoil anything for him, even though he keeps coming up with all these "theories" and I can't tell him how wrong these "theories" are until AFTER WE'RE DONE WATCHING THE WHOLE SHOW.


I have also been eating loads of yummy food. Crab cakes and banana bread and cheese and now I'm hungry again.

yum fathers day 017 mmm jumbo crab cake

Funny story. The other day, my mom called to tell me that my aunt had to put her dog to sleep. Wah wah. Then she was all, "It really makes me appreciate Ripley, because she probably doesn't have too much time left" and I was all, "LALALA I CAN'T HEAR YOU" but I DID hear her AND IT GAVE ME SADFACE, so I've been taking pictures of Ripley whenever I can.

fathers day 014 fathers day 012
fathers day 024 fathers day 026

And then drinking beers because my mom is such a Debbie Downer (just kidding, Mom, love you).

mac and beer beers as big as my head

Also, while putt-putting, I got in some trouble for not obeying the rules:


Which APPARENTLY they take very seriously:

Bad Pirate Jennie

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

summer just a whole lot more interesting

Abs Friends and foes, ladies and jellyfish, those from the East and the West,

I write you this post from the magic of an iPhone.

I got the phone Friday morning after waiting in line for two hours. I didn't mind the waiting in line at all--once I put on my headphones to drone out the know-it-all douchebags next to me in line. My life has changed forever with this phone.

Making the short list of best things about it is the camera. The camera that is connected to the Internet.

All of the following were shot in the last four days with my phone:

And here's some video for good luck:

Monday, 22 June 2009

It's Show And Tell Week!

heather Actually, it's just more like "show" week. As in "show us some pictures you took, Heather Anne." So, here you go: summer so far!

Scout wants to stay outside and play tennis balls ALL DAY.

Margaret wants to stay inside where it's not 300 degrees.

Hogan never wants to leave the pool.

And all I want is a million chocolate milkshakes.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Do you want...to form an alliance...with me?

Jennie My needs, most of them, are simple. I need food, water, booze, and books. That is all I need, aside from like, other people, but people aren't things because they have feelings. As far as I know, water doesn't have feelings. Otherwise, you'd hear screaming whenever you boiled water and ice cube trays would shiver all over the freezer. That would be weird, right? I mean, not as weird as Sigourney Weaver's possessed fridge in Ghostbusters, but still annoying. Even my booze needs are simple. Give me a beer and I'm happy. I don't know anything about wine, so I'll drink anything but white zinfandel because EW. My food needs are simple, mostly because I don't cook very often and when I do cook, I don't do anything fancy because A) I'm lazy and B) I'm prone to hurting myself, so I don't want to cut off a finger or set myself on fire.

My books needs, though? Not so simple. I won't read just anything and I want to read ALL THE TIME. Here is what I want right now: I want someone to give me money to read all day long. Here's the catch: I only want to read things that I want to read. It can't be assigned reading. Because, BOOOOO, assigned reading is lame. Anyway, if anyone would like to pay me a modest salary (seriously, I don't need much) so I can sit at home or whatever IN MY PAJAMAS and read all day long, I would appreciate it a lot. I'll even give you a cupcake. Promise!

If that doesn't work, I want to learn how to do this dance:

And then hang out with this kid:

Because I like turtles, too. I wonder what else we have in common?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Twinkle, twinkle little bat.

I wish I had a cup of coffee right now, but that is not what this is about. But it COULD be, and man, wouldn't that be nice? When I visited with Maggie and Nick and Jenny last weekend they gave me coffee every morning, and now that Alex is no longer with child, she just can't stop rubbing all that caffeinated goodness in my face, and what is my deal, anyway? It's not like I don't have all the whatnot one needs to make a gosh darn cup of coffee for oneself, and I know I already made myself some green tea, but THIS IS AMERICA! What the hell am I doing drinking green tea anyway? I ain't no commie pinko liberal, I'll tell you what.

Oh wait, I am.

But this is still America, and if I want a fucking cup of coffee I can have a fucking cup of coffee. It's just that this is America, so no one's just gonna hand me that fucking cup of coffee, I have to make it myself, and gosh darn it, what the heck am I paying taxes for? THIS IS AMERICA! I want 50 acres and a mule, and two chickens in my pot, and I WANT A FUCKING CUP OF COFFEE. Also a bowl of cereal.

Okay, done. (We were out of the healthy cereal so I had to settle for a bowl of Cap'n Crunch. Darn.)

Hey, look! It's 11:45 and I haven't finished this post. Guess we'd better get down to brass tacks. (Is that the expression? Am I using it right? And what exactly does upholstery have to do with anything?) I think I've mentioned this once or twice, but I'll mention it again: I already do a lot of stuff. Really. Like a lot of lot of stuff. I do so much stuff that there isn't even enough time to do the stuff that I already do. So I guess if I could do anything ELSE, I'd invent a time machine so's I can have the time to do all the other stuff that needs doing. Because this stuff? Won't do itself.


Tuesday, 16 June 2009

One thing I wish I could do...

Abs I wish I could run a 10 minute mile.

I've wished that for a full year. A year that I've been actively running, feet hitting the pavement, the track, the treadmill. Timing each split, charting each time I've been in 5K.

I "run" a 14 minute mile. This has not changed in a full year. I can "run" no more than 4 miles at a time. On a good day.

At first I couldn't run for long because of my asthma. Here's why:

Mmmmmm, lungs.

However, I have an arsenal of steroids that I take in fancy succession. When I do it right I can run the four miles. You know, slowly.

This is where I'm confused.

Why can't I run faster? Why do I have to take so many short walk breaks? Why aren't I improving?

Here I am at my first 5K.

I look so happy and proud. I've done my first race and I have my "starter" time. I can't wait to shave minutes off it with each race. Before I know it I'll be running a 10 minute mile. I just need to train more! Yay! Endorphins!

Yeah. That didn't last long. I wrote the following two months later in my lame-o exercise diary (I am a giant dork):

I went running (“running”) for the first time tonight after a ten day hiatus and a week of phoning it in before that. I’ve been working ten hour days and am all tired after to do anything. So I took some time off running.

Weirdly, this past weekend I had the most personal non-physical motivation in a long, long time. I completed my entire to do list on Saturday, spent a lot of time with a friend, and then cleaned out two rooms of the house on Sunday. I didn’t exercise, but I might as well have. I haven’t accomplished that much, been that social, and that self-motivated in months and months.

…months and months that I’ve been seriously working out. I can’t help but notice the correlation: I take ten days off working out and I am suddenly not a slouch who spends all weekend in bed. I don’t know what to make of that.

With daylight saved, all my workout clothes cleaned, and a vow to only work nine hour days this week, I knew I had to start running (“running”) again. Besides, I have my next race in less than two weeks. But I forgot my inhaler and the asthma started a third of a mile in. I was not going to make it to two miles like I promised myself.

In the end, I did one mile in 18 minutes. Obviously, I walked over half of it. I could have done better with my inhaler, but it’s so frustrating to run as often as I do and not improve, to take as much asthma medication as I do and still need an inhaler for running, and to not even have a respectable time.

I usually keep my chin up about my rate—it’s awesome for me and that’s what counts, I meet my goals and that’s what counts—but I have a 5K in two weeks that I wanted to do in 45 and I don’t think I’ll make it. I hate that I can’t improve. That I’ve been running since September and have only figured out how to better manage my asthma. I don’t run faster. I don’t run longer. And not for lack of trying.

I know I need to find a new doctor and get some answers, but I hate being disappointed. I hate the contrast of the way I felt this weekend to the way I feel usually. I hate that working out means absolutely nothing to my body.

Depressing, no?

The race mentioned was the last I ran. It poured rain, my shoes didn't fit right, and the course was more hilly than I had anticipated. If you think I suck at running on flat, watch me run on incline. My asthma hates incline of any kind. I get winded on stairs, EVEN IF IT'S ONLY TWO STAIRS AND I'M DRUGGED UP. WHAT IS THAT?

I've stopped trying.

I still "run." I still time myself and chart the times. But I have no short-term goals, I have no races lined up, and I don't know if I'll ever actually run faster or longer. I've put away the 10-minute mile dream.

There is one glimmer of hope.

Yesterday I got a call from an asthma clinic. I've been selected as a patient. I go in for a consult this morning. It could just be like every other doctor's appointment I've had.

Or it could be the beginning of the rest of my life.

I'm nervous. I hate disappoint an awful lot.