Friday, 30 January 2009

Phone it in Friday: embarrassment and failure

I'm sure nothing would thrill Ashley (and us) more than if you'd share some of your very own embarrassment and failure with us. Let's laugh together. At you.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

brush your shoulders off

Jennie As Kat! mentioned yesterday, I had a really hard time narrowing down what I wanted to write about this week. Like Kat, I am clumsy and fall down a lot (usually as a result of drinking) PLUS ALSO I'm never really embarrassed about the things I should be. People tend to think I embarrass easily because my face turns red ALL THE TIME. I don't, though. I SHOULD, but I don't, because when you fall down as often as I do, you learn to just brush it off.

So I could have written about the time I fell into a men's room or the time I got in a bar fight because of my mom or the time I fell out of my loft in college and didn't remember it or the time I fell down on my birthday in the bar's parking lot and didn't remember it or the time Heidi's boyfriend dropped me on my head because I refused to get off someone's porch and he tried to carry me inside (but I don't remember it).

However, these are some of the rare times I've actually felt embarrassed. At least for a little bit.

1. Got caught stealin'

This one time? We were in a bar in Columbus? And I saw this sign on the wall that I liked. So I took it down and folded it up and put it in my purse. One minute later, I was approached by one of the bartenders.

Bartender: Did you just steal a sign off the wall?
Me: . . . no?
Bartender: Um, my manager saw you.
Me: He didn't.
Bartender: He said you put it in your purse.
Me: Weird.
Bartender: Can I see inside your purse?
Me: Um. I don't know.
Bartender: Please leave.

And then we left. Because I stole a sign. And then I was all, "WHATEVER, we were leaving anyway, suckers!"


2. Adventures in Babysitting

The first time I babysat, I thought I was prepared. I'd taken a Red Cross First Aid Babysitter Extraordinaire class. I knew how to Heimlich the shit out of a baby. I knew how to change a diaper, prepare a bottle, properly support a babies head, you name it. Unfortunately, I was babysitting for my cousins, and while one was a baby, the other was a toddler and needed to eat real food. I could heat up the bottle OH HELL YES but I ran into some trouble with the real food. My aunt had left a can of ravioli on the counter for dinner, along with this strange contraption that I guessed was to open the can. I picked it up. What IS this thing, I thought, and then used my superior deductive reasoning and realized it was a can opener! However, I had never used a manual can opener before, because we only had an electric one at home (wah wah) so I FREAKED OUT. I tried to use it. I really did. And then I started banging the sides of the can with it, hoping I could poke a hole in the side. Eventually, so my poor cousin wouldn't starve to death, I called my parents and my dad came over. To open a can for me.

This is still a hot topic of conversation during many family get-togethers.

Also, this other time I was babysitting my dad's coworker's daughter, and we were playing that game where one person puts their hands on top of yours, you try to hit them, and they try NOT to get hit. Well. We were playing it in front of a glass coffee table, she pulled her hands back, lost her balance, and fell right through the coffee table. She was fine, but it scared the hell out of her. It also made quite the mess, and since I didn't think I could get away with just covering it with a blanket, when her parents came home, I was vacuuming up the tiny glass shards while their daughter cried and cried on the sofa. I was not invited back, I don't think.


3. Brass monkey, that funky monkey

Once upon a time, some good friends were in town, and as is often the case, we celebrated by drinking profusely at a variety of bars (my parents were even at one of them). At the last bar, I celebrated by convincing everyone to buy Jello shots and then I took too many of them and danced with an old man (I mean OLD) and then on the walk home, I fell down in a McDonald's parking lot in front of a man and his son in the drive thru and then I tried to run home AND break into someone's condo. When Heidi tried to tell me the condo I was breaking into did not, in fact, belong to our friend, I turned into a belligerent four-year-old (as often happens when I've reached the drunken point of no return) and I refused to believe her, so she had to physically drag me away. The next morning was SUPER FUN because I'd forgotten all of this, but no one else had.


4. E.T. phone home

There is a newspaper called the KO Times in my town, delivered weekly (whether you're a subscriber or not). In each paper, they ask people around town to answer a question, take their pictures, and print their answers next to their pictures.

One night at work (local library), I was innocently enjoying my break when some lady walked into the breakroom. There were a few of us in there, but when she asked this question: What would you do if aliens landed on Earth? I was the first to answer. With this: I would ask them to take me home with them, and make me their pet. I didn't know who she was. But when someone gives me an opportunity to say something stupid, I can't exactly turn it down, you know?

Anyway, then she was all, "can I take your picture?" and I was like, "um, this is unorthodox," but I let her do it anyway, and then she told me I'd be in the paper the next day kthnxbai. And when the paper finally came out, everyone I knew cut it out and hung it up somewhere. One of my coworkers even decorated my picture, by drawing a dog collar around my neck and a little food bowl next to my floating head. The picture is long since lost (I hope), but here is my own representation:

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Oops, I did it again.

Jennie! mentioned earlier in the week that she was having a hard time picking exactly which of many embarrassing moments to document for Ashley this week, and I have to say I'm having pretty close to the same problem. You see, I'm super clumsy and I drink a lot and so NATURALLY I fall down and do stupid things and trouble make and all the stuff that posts about embarrassment are made of, but--and here's the problem--I'm not embarrassed by any of it. In fact, I should really have gotten any number of my friends to write this post for me, about what an embarrassment I am to THEM.

And then I thought I might copy Abigail! and write about all the sad sack pining over boys who never once gave me the time of day, or worse, gave me the time of day and disappeared forever and ever amen, but that would require copying Heather! Anne! and flipping through old high school and college journals and meh, boys are overrated anyway.

So I sort of met everyone round about the middle somewhere and mined the i hate kit kats media empire archives for these gems.

This is about the time I got drunk and ripped my pants scaling some construction scaffolding, and then ditched my handsome boyfriend so I could hang out with his friends all weekend.

And here is the photographic proof.

This is the time when I went to a Super Bowl party and only knew, like, two people there and got into a screaming match with one of the idiot guests and then later we were doing eXtreme bike tricks in the living room and Dave smashed through the glass coffee table and we tried to cover it all up with a blanket before running off to a bar.

This is about the time I (loudly) announced to the entire New Orleans art community that I had no idea what an uncircumcised penis looks like.

This is about shenanigans across the pond, which totally included this:

(I do not remember this.)

This is about the time I got into a fight with a banana.

This and this and this and this are about some of the crazy ass shit that comes out of my mouth.

This is about shenanigans in Syracuse.


Tuesday, 27 January 2009

first and last mistakes

AbsI don't fall for guys very easily. Don't believe me? I could name the guys I've liked--all of them, ever--in short, rapid succession starting from the sixth grade to the present and be finished before you finished reading this sentence. That's INCLUDING all the guys on the "quiz" I passed to my friend Miriam during church when I was 14. See, Miriam didn't like anyone in our youth group which seemed IMPOSSIBLE to me because I liked THREE guys. So I generously decided that she could have one of my three to like, all she had to was take a multiple-choice quiz akin to something I may have read in Seventeen magazine. So, there were those three and about twice that many since.


I've liked him for two years. Each continuing year I like him, he gets older and I get older and soon I will be in high school at the same time as him and then maybe he will love me back! Or maybe I'll keep signing his name after mine! My parents go out of town, so I get to spend the weekend at his house. His sister, my best friend, would be devastated to know that I consider it his house and not hers, but I brush these guilty thoughts away. One day in the future when we're all related we'll laugh about this. She'll be happy for us.

At the end of the long three day weekend, I sneak a note into his tennis shoes by the back door. We've spent afternoons watching TV. He's controlled the remote the whole time, been a total asshole to his sister, and made jokes that I laugh at even though I shouldn't. He doesn't do any of this for my benefit. I am a child to him and I have no idea. So the note takes a familiar tone. I thank him for a great weekend. I tell him I'm so happy we're friends. I fold it in half, in half, and half again so that it fits in his shoe. I'm nervous to deliver it, but not ashamed.


Her: I don't really think I can even describe all the ways in which I love him. Every time I try, I cut myself off with more gushing.

Me: Yeah, that's about right.

Her: It's just I LOVE HIM. Seriously, oh my god, you don't understand.

Me: No, I do. Remember David Cook?

It's been a particularly dry spell. My heart got broken (years ago) and ever since then, I've had significant trouble meeting someone I like enough to like, let alone date. My stupid boundaries and my awesome friends are both obvious reasons for this. So, I turned to celebrities. David Cook took a little while to grow on me, but by the time he was in the top seven American Idol contestants, I was reading everything there was to know about him on the internet and swooning and everything he said or did.

He would come on screen and I would turn to Carolyn and exhale, "I love him." I really did. I really felt a deep, emotional connection and I really thought that I could be in a relationship with him. The love faded when I had to quit reading the David Cook Fan Livejournal because it wasn't a positive use of time. And I thought I could write about it now at laugh at myself, but rethinking it all through and reremembering all those things I read about him, all those Facebook pictures people had mined of him, all those moments I thought I might find love again don't seem so crazy. I guess that's embarassing: I've only ever liked or loved ten guys and one of them was on American Idol.


The first and latest men I've loved nicely represent a whole love history of embarrassment and failure. You're either a douchebag, on TV, don't know I exist, out of my league, only go for girls who sing, work with me, live far away, or come with a serious case of dysfunction. But aren't you glad to know that you're one of a select few? You have something that I find inexplicably attractive even though I shouldn't, and that is very rare.

Monday, 26 January 2009

I give you a simple management suggestion in a professional context, and I get back the second half of a Judy Blume novel.

heather Ashley wants to hear about embarrassment and failure, so this weekend I went digging around and found my old high school journals. I opened to a random page, assuming each entry would be equally mortifying. I was correct. I've redacted the names because you never know when some old classmate is going to come a-Googling.

November 30, 1994

Today was a very very very very very bad day. First of all... well not first of all but most important of all because it's the most important thing right now is basketball practice was so horrible. I have worked so hard to remember all the plays from the varsity playbook but I am still only a freshman and the only freshman on the varsity team which I think people forget and it's why they start yelling at me if I mess up one small thing. I heard them say I was coach's pet, but if that is true why is he screaming at me too???? Sometimes I think I would be better off just playing on the JV team where I could stand out and people wouldn't shout at me so much because I would be a star which is more the role I am used to. Then I got in trouble at practice for cussing, but not because coach heard me but because [Redacted] ran her big fat mouth and told him. She thinks she's the perfect little Christian because she never cusses, but I know she's probably giving [Redacted] blow jobs all the time. So who's the real Christian huh??? Like our preacher's daughter is always messing around with her boyfriend and I know because I saw them when I was babysitting her brother. Gross!!! After practice coach said maybe he was going to take some of the varsity warm-ups away and duh he was talking about me and everyone knew it. If he takes away my warm-up and makes me play JV I am going to be so humiliated. I will go to a different school I swear to God. I could never face anyone I know ever again. I wanted to call to talk to Amy about it tonight but my sister is ALWAYS on the phone with her boyfriend and mom would not make her get off even though these are real high school things I am trying to deal with and Jennifer thinks she is so great just because she is top dog still in middle school. Well good luck when you get to high school. I have been here two years so I already know!!! I am so hungry but I cannot even show my face even downstairs for dinner because if mom or dad asks me about my day I will probably start crying and tell them I am probably getting kicked of varsity and I know they will be devastated. It is all on me now. [Redacted] says I should start wearing a rubberband around my wrist so I can flick myself hard when I cuss that way I will stop. Maybe I don't want to stop. Maybe one day I will be point guard and she will be on the bench and then who will be making the rules about cussing at practice? Probably me!!!
If I had a time machine I would go back to 1994 and punch little Heather! Anne! in the mouth. Then I'd teach her how to really swear.

Friday, 23 January 2009

For Scott and Vahid, Part 4

Jennie Elise found it hard to judge the ghost vampires -- she'd made enough bad choices of her own (see: foot apparel) to find it difficult to judge ANYONE -- but she was curious as to the mechanics of failed vampire suicide. Plus, she'd just paid for nine slurpies and didn't fancy being stuck with the bill. Really. Ghost vampires should have at least SOME money. You'd think they could just scare it out of people, but then again, ninjas aside, how scary are Ben Franklin and an astronaut? Marvin, however, was still cowering behind her and seemed to find all of them plenty scary enough.

"Ben Franklin," Elise began. "Are you telling me none of you have any money?"

"Well, not exactly --" he stammered, adjusting the delicate bifocals perched atop his nose.

"Mr. Franklin . . ." she said and tapped her foot impatiently, a difficult task in her gardening shoes.

"OK, fine!" Ben Franklin yelled. "We don't have any money!"

"How does the wino usually pay for your slurpies?" asked Elise.

"It's a little embarrassing, I'd rather not say," said Ben Franklin.

"Well, then, I'd rather not give you these slurpies."

"What?" cried the astronaut. "I need my slurpie! Give me my slurpie!"

"Have a little self-respect, Neil," said the wench. "Look . . . you," she said, addressing Elise. "Usually we threaten to drink the wino's blood to scare him into buying the slurpies for us, and if he ever tries to ask us for money, we threaten some more with the blood-sucking yada yada yada . . . free slurpies."

"Why does the wino keep walking over here, if you always threaten to drink his blood?" asked Elise.

"The wine store is next door," explained the wench.


Elise closed her eyes and took a deep breath. She really needed that money for the library (her fines were monstrous, and she wasn't allowed to check out any more books until she paid), but she really was very tired. As she stood, swaying back and forth a bit, she felt something tickling her hand. She looked down, expecting to see a stray dog.

"Ben Franklin!" she shouted. He was licking spilled slurpie off of her hand.

" . . . what?" he asked, standing up straight and attempting to look nonchalant.

"That is inappropriate!"


Elise sighed. She was reaching the point where getting away from hand-licking Ben Franklin was more important than paying her library fines, and as the daughter of a former librarian, she understood the importance of paying her library fines. This, of course, didn't stop her from accumulating them, but she understood the importance of paying them, yes sir she did. She decided right then and there that she needed to put an end to these shenanigans. She was either getting away from there with her money or she was drinking all the slurpies herself, brain freeze be damned.

"Um," she said. "Can you guys wait here a sec? Marvin, can I use your phone?"

Marvin nodded and Elise scrambled back into the Slurpie King. She scooted behind the register counter, cursing Marvin when she saw that there were drink carriers back there. She placed the slurpies carefully on the counter and picked up the phone. Then she realized she had no idea who she was going to call. After all, in the face of money-owing ghost vampires – or, really, in the face of ghosts of any kind – who you gonna call? She tapped her fingers on the counter and then slowly, with a mad glint in her eye, dialed three numbers -- 9, 1, and 1.

"911, what is your emergency?"

"Erm, I'm being robbed!" Elise shouted. "I'm at the Slurpie King on Brown! Help!"

"Please stay calm, miss. Can you describe the assailants?"

"One is a portly fellow with tiny glasses and um, I didn't get a good look at the others," said Elise, deciding against telling the dispatcher that she was also being attacked by a ninja and a Pink Lady. "Please help!"

"Okay, miss, I’m alerting the nearest available cruiser," said the dispatcher. "Would you like me to stay on the line with you?"

"No, thanks!" she said, and slammed the phone down. Now to distract the ghost vampires. She grabbed the drink carriers and headed back outside. She could see the cruiser heading down the street, and mused to herself that the turnaround time for dialing 911 was remarkably fast.

"Hey, ghost vampires, what's up?" she said. “Wizard, I like your beard.”

"Can we have our slurpies now?" asked Ben Franklin. "I'm ever so thirsty and I'd hate to have to quench my thirst with BLOOD."

"Don't be rude, Ben Franklin," said Elise, and she handed him both drink carriers. She saw the ninja out of the corner of her eye, inching toward them.

"Um," she said, and nodded in the ninja's direction.

"Oh, calm DOWN, Clarence," Ben Franklin yelled at the ninja. "You'll get your slurpie in a second." The ninja slunk back to the shadows.

Elise breathed a sigh of relief. The cruiser was pulling up behind the ghost vampires and they didn't even see it. Two officers exited the car and began walking toward them.

"What's all this then?" asked one of the officers. Ben Franklin stared at Elise.

"Did you call the cops on us?" he asked.

"’fraid so," she answered.

"Uncalled for!" he shouted.

"Whatever, dude, you licked my hand."

"I'm Officer Blevins," said Officer Blevins. "What's going on?"

"Well," said Elise. "Um."

"Go on," said Officer Blevins. "Wait, is that . . . Ben Franklin?"

"AHHHHHH!" yelled Ben Franklin and threw one of the drink carriers straight at the policemen. "Suck it, pigs!"

"What the . . . " Officer Blevins ducked, but not soon enough. He was now covered in various flavors of Slurpie King specials.

Ben Franklin placed the other carrier on the ground, nodded at his ghost vampire companions, and then with a wisp of smoke and a slight smell of brimstone, they were all gone. Elise bent down to retrieve the discarded carrier. No sense wasting perfectly good slurpies.

"Did Ben Franklin just tell me to suck it?" asked Officer Blevins.

"Yup," said Elise.

"And then he just . . . disappeared?"

"Yup," she answered.

"OK, I'm gonna need an explanation," he said.

"Of course," said Elise. "Slurpie?"

Thursday, 22 January 2009

For Scott and Vahid, Part 3

Part 2
Part 1

At that Elise's blood ran cold and each of the hairs on her arms stood on end. "G-g-g-ghost vampires?" she whispered in disbelief, and before she or Marvin (for that was the register dude's name) could turn and run the suddenly grotesquely costumed party swarmed upon the pair.

Marvin screamed in terror. "Please don't eat me," he whimpered while trying desperately to push Elise in front of him like a human shield. The ghost vampires stopped in their tracks.

"Eat you?" the astronaut repeated incredulously. "We don't want to eat you! We just want our smoothies!"

The ninja broke in haughtily. "We are ghost vampires, the undead dead again. Once we were human. Then with a fateful bite we became vampires. Unfortunately we discovered that we weren't quite cut out for the whole vampire lifestyle."

Ben Franklin continued, "Yeah, it turns out none of us are much fans of the taste of blood. That's why we started drinking smoothies, to cleanse our palate of that deplorable taste." The other ghost vampires nodded emphatically in agreement.

"My face is on the hundred dollar bill," Ben sadly proclaimed, "but the little known fact it that there's not much money in the vampire game. It started getting pretty pricey, what with needing a smoothie every time we fed. And with inflation being the way it has been over the last few centuries, well, we didn't think there was a point in going on. We thought a stake through the heart would fix that right up, but, well, you see what happened."

Elise looked from one to another of the sad, rag-tag bunch. "You mean you tried to commit suicide?" she asked.

"Tried and failed, my dear." And each ghost vampire hung his or her head in shame

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

For Scott and Vahid, Part 2

Elise could not figure out how to carry nine slurpies.

For one, they were leaking. For two, they were very, very cold. For three, the ratio of fingers to slurpies was a little too close to one-to-one.

"Gah!" she exhaled as a Banana-Berry Cooler tipped again and dribbled on her jumper. Exasperated, she decided to solve that problem later. She set all nine down on the counter, awkwardly pulled her jumper up a little so she could get to the pockets of the plaid pajama pants, and pulled out a crumpled fist of bills.

The register dude took the now sticky bills from her and started counting them out.

"Where's the drunk?" he asked.

"What?" she glanced behind her, startled.

"No, I'm asking you. The drunk guy that usually gets all these. What happened to him?"

"Uhh, I'm sorry, I don't know what you mean."

"Weird. He has shoes like you."

Elise glanced over her shoulder again. She wished she could see the ghosts from where she was. Maybe she could wave one over to help her carry. Ben Franklin would have helped. Or the magician. She guessed anyway.

"Listen, do you need some help carrying these?"

She looked back up at the register dude. She was kind of creeped out, but then she had all the ghosts on her side. And the ratio of fingers-to-slurpies would be much better for carrying.

"Um, I guess. I'm just walking them this way."

"Right. Okay, I can help. You're sure you don't know the guy I'm talking about? He had shoes JUST LIKE you."

She pushed the door open with the back of her arm and the bells jingled. When she realized they were leaving the store unattended she got even more creeped out. Just make it to the ghosts. Make it to the ghosts she chanted in her mind.

Embarrassed by her shoes, she tried to walk behind him, but as she was the one leading the way, it made things difficult and a little bit awkward. Plus, she was still covered in slurpie goo.

They turned the corner and she maneuvered her way behind him again.

"Ummm..." He backed up straight into her not having noticed that she was now behind him or even that he had hit her.

"Why are you giving ghost vampires slurpies?"

She didn't have a response.

"Ghost vampires love slurpies. You know why?"

She still didn't have a response.

"It cleanses their palate. You know, between courses. Of blood."

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

For Scott and Vahid, Part 1

heather Years later, when pressed on the issue by the various government agencies that sort these things out, Elise would blame it all on the slurpies.

What made her suspect was not only her association, but the way she couldn't remember simple details, like the day of the week (probably the weekend) or the time of the day (definitely not night) or the weather (most likely sunny). She could only remember that she'd been wearing plaid pajama pants, a pair of ill-advised rubber gardening shoes and a heavy, gray jumper. And she only remembered that bit because it's why they mistook her for the drunk they usually relied on.

"Oi!" the one she would later know as The Captain called out when she got off her scooter. "Over here!"

She couldn't see who was calling her (yes, definitely sunny), but he had a Scottish accent, and as accents were her poison, she followed the sound of it.

In the alleyway between the Slurpie King and the Mattress Outlet, there were at least a dozen of them, all as surprised to see her as she was to see them.

"That's not the drunk," one of them said.

"Well, she's suited up like a drunk; I couldn't tell from far away," The Captain replied.

They called him The Captain because he was wearing a captain's costume. In fact, they were all wearing costumes. There was a ninja, a wizard, a Ben Franklin, an astronaut, two pirates, a Pink Lady from the musical Grease, a wench and a magician. Elise never asked but always wondered if they hadn't all died at a well-staged Halloween party.

"How are we going to get our slurpies, then?" the wench demanded.

"Patience, m'dear," said the Ben Franklin.

"Shut it, you old geezer," the Pink Lady snapped back.

Both pirates cried out with an, "Argh!"

"Quiet!" The Captain bellowed.

He made a deep bow to Elise, and said, "I'm sure it has not escaped your notice that we are ghosts. I apologize if we have startled you; there is a wino around here who dresses quite similar to you, and he usually purchases slurpies for us."

"But how can you—"

"Drink slurpies?" the Captain asked.

"Sure," Elise nodded, "let's go with that."

"There are some loopholes in ancient magic," he said. "This is one of our favorites."

Their order was pretty simple — Four Orange Ka-BAMs, three Banana-Berry Coolers, a Mangosteen Madness, and a Slim-n-Trim Kiwi for the wench — so Elise agreed to it.

It didn't occur to her to run. For one thing, being in their presence wasn't nearly as cold as ghost stories would have led her to believe. They were all emitting a warm, bluish glow. For another thing, she didn't yet know they were vampires.

Friday, 16 January 2009

Phone It In Friday: You review!

Now you know how we feel about video games, potato chips and alcohol. (As if you didn't already know how we feel about video games, potato chips and alcohol.) What you don't know is that while one of us loathes the Snuggie, two of us own a Slanket. (Same thing, invented first, completely awesome.)

So tell us, friends, what new stuff have you been trying? Give us the good, the bad and the liquor. The future of Collective commerce is on your hands.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

If you are chilly, here take my Snuggie

Jennie The Snuggie is God's gift to infomercials. I've noticed The Snuggie coming up a lot recently, both on the Internets and IRL. Here's the problem: I would have actually had to BUY a Snuggie to give it a proper review, but who wants to spend money on a blanket with sleeves? Who? So, I cheated a bit, because I did not buy an actual Snuggie. Here is what I did do. I wrapped a big blanket around my shoulders and pinned it under my armpits so it did, in fact, look almost just like a Snuggie. I looked almost as ridiculous as I would have wearing the real thing.

The first time I saw The Snuggie, my first thought was, "Abigail should get one of those." When we were in Philly, she'd come over to our room, which we were keeping at a balmy 50 or so degrees, wearing like five layers and wrapped in a huge comforter. Then I thought, "why would Abigail need a Snuggie when she can wrap herself in five layers and a huge comforter?" Because the five layers? Free. The huge comforter? Also free. Sort of. I mean, you need to pay for the hotel room, but the comforter itself costs you nothing, really.

Anyway, the basic premise of this thing is that OH MY GOD, sometimes a blanket falls off of your arms! Like when you have to pick up the phone! And then your arms get cold! And heat is expensive! Or OH MY GOD, what if you have to go to a football game? And it's cold! And for some reason you cannot afford a proper coat! Just wrap yourself up in a Snuggie and try and ignore the weird looks the other football fans are giving you BECAUSE YOU ARE DRESSED LIKE A MONK.

The Snuggie is made of ultra-soft fleece! I mean, if it was just soft fleece, they couldn't charge $20. ULTRA-soft, though? Totally worth it. Plus, if you wear The Snuggie, the infomercial promises that you can wear it while you use your hands! Or use your remote! Or read a book! Or use your laptop! Or enjoy a snack! Or hold your terrified-looking baby! Look at all that crap you can do! It's also one size fits all. You know, like a blanket. And the oversized sleeves should come in REALLY handy when you're wearing it to roast marshmallows (which you can totally do, it says so in the infomercial), just be careful you don't set yourself on fire. I bet that ultra-soft fleece burns pretty quickly.

I guess $20 is a reasonable price, because NOT ONLY do you get one Snuggie, you get ANOTHER ONE FOR FREE! So you can make someone else look as ridiculous as you do. Also, you get a free booklight, so that's handy. Or you could just buy a normal blanket and turn on a lamp. It's your call.

Recommended for: People who like to be laughed at; People who have run out of other things to spend money on

Bottom line: Just buy a sweatshirt. Threadless has some really good ones.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Product Review: Tia Maria.

So, here's my confession: I've got a lot going on right now and I'm having a really hard time pulling together a product review, so I did what any unself-respecting girl would do in my position. I whined for help. And help came curiously in my boyfriend's voice, who suggested this:

His theory is that Winston's "handsomeness" (boyfriend's choice of words, not mine) would trump any need for words, and really, DUH. But immediately after this proclamation our cat decided to prop his butt squarely on my boyfriend's head. So, you know, I'm on my own.

When given the task to review something I've never tried before, OF COURSE I'd go out and buy a bottle of liquor. And I did. Dave's friend Luke once told us that the traditional British post-Indian aperitif (yeah, I KNOW) is a Tia Maria, and a Tia Maria we once tried to drink, for TWO HOURS, at a fancy-schmancy Indian place here in the District. But we were thwarted, by (1) the poor service; and (2) the belated information that this fancy-schmancy Indian place here in the District DID NOT HAVE TIA MARIA. And so we have lived, ever under the myth of this apocryphal Tia Maria, until we ran into it at the liquor store.

It says:

With its intriguing blend of smooth coffee and vanilla tones, Tia Maria's secret Jamaican recipe reveals a timeless allure. Enjoy the deliciously versatile taste of Tia Maria mixed with cola, splashed over ice, or enjoyed richly in coffee.

When Seth first read me this description, I have to admit, the first person I thought of was Tamara, the one and only person who ever liked the [insert joke here] Coke [and here] (not my idea), and having tried said Coke Blak I was in no hurry to recreate the experience. So I did this:

Poured it over my homemade mocha chip gelato: "Oooo, yum," says Mariel.

Added it to the morning coffee: "THAT'S GOOD," says the boyfriend.

Drank it straight over ice while writing this review: "Oh man, I need some flouride," says I.

Next up: the boyfriend's nuts.

Take that for what you will.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

You Should Buy: PopChips

Abs These chips are my current favorite snack food. I had never ever heard of them, til my roommate's brother left a bag at our house. Having a munch munch crunch craving I opened the bag and then... didn't stop til it was finished. Usually I tire of chips: too much salt or too much grease on my fingers or I just need to move on to something that tastes different. Not with these chips.

I think the trick is that they're "popped" instead of baked or fried. In fact, that's their slogan: think popped! never baked, never fried!

Since I'm not sure how chips are made anyway--I mean, I guess baked means in the oven and fried means in a fryer of fat like french fries yum, but how? what? popped?--I can only assume that popping has something to do with pressure. Or something.

So these chips are made of pressure, and they are very much like other chips but BETTER. Trust me. The first flavor I had was Salt and Pepper and OMG. I didn't need dip. I didn't need to follow them up with chocolate chips. I just need the delicious delicious taste of pop.

Plus, and this is the kicker for me, they are sort of HEALTHY. I guess pressure is like free calories or something because these have about 1/3 of the calories of any other kind of chip. Which means I can get three times as many! Mwa ha ha!

I loved them so much I bought a whole case of PopChips on Amazon. (I checked out where I could buy them on their website and well, I don't go to stores so I had to use the internet. But that's who I am. You probably can just get them at your regular grocery store since you probably don't have The Anxiety. While you're there can you get me some Ben and Jerry's ice cream? I haven't figured out how to buy that on the internet.)

After trying several of the flavors, my favorites are BBQ and Salt and Pepper. I was most disappointed with Original.. perhaps because it was just too different from a regular potato chip or maybe I just had a bad bag. My next case order will definitely include the Salsa Corn Chips and the Cheddar Corn Chips because I don't think I like corn chips and I want PopChips to prove me wrong with their supreme deliciousness and healthiness.

Will you like these? Yes. Here's how I know: since my discover only two short weeks ago, I have shoved them on everyone I know covertly. And everyone I know has been IN LOVE with the chips without even knowing my newfound and undying devotion. Get thee to the store. You need PopChips.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Product Reviews: Mario Kart for Nintendo Wii

heather Because we crumple like middle schoolers under peer pressure, we're jumping right on your topic ideas from last week's Phone it In Friday. We won't be able to meet all your requests (Seriously, Tam? Stop making Harry Potter references? Were you drunk when you suggested that?), we've got loads of good stuff lined up over the next few months, starting with product reviews. (One of Tam's many good ideas.)

I opened up Mario Kart for the first time on Friday night and after playing for about 30 straight hours, this is how it looked (There's a lot of laughing in this video because Scout started chewing the tripod which messed up the sound which caused Amy to dart into the room and start making erratic hand gestures at Scout to stop the gnawing.):

Product Review:

Nostalgia: Three stars! I didn't play this game much growing up because I'm an old lady and it was regular NES with Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt when I was a kid. But I do remember it a little from college.

Fun: Five stars! There are about fifty-eleven different boards you can play on three different difficulty settings, plus it's one of the Wii games you can play against your other Wii-owning friends.

Graphics: Five stars! Seriously, for the past two nights, I've gone to sleep dodging Bowser and turtle shells and banana peels while giant flowers and waterfalls and statues of Princess Peach whizz past.

Ease of play: Three stars! The Wii controller is a lot harder to get a handle on than the more classic Nintendo controllers for Mario Kart. The Wii steering wheel doesn't really add much to the experience (although Amy would wildly disagree with me here).

Chance you will skive off work to play this game: Very good.

Recommended: Yes, absolutely. Then we can play together.


Edited to add:

Swear-inducing: 4 stars!

Friday, 9 January 2009

Phone it in Friday: You Decide '09!

So The Collective lived a whole year and celebrated an anniversary. We told you our favorite posts of the year, but we didn't tell you our favorite part of the year. The best part of the Collective in '08 was playing with you guys!

Now you tell us: What do you want us to write about in '09? Any topics you want us to revisit, anything you want to hear leas about, any movies you wish we'd stop quoting, anything you still want to know? Leave it in the comments! Thanks for sticking with us a whole year.

You know we love you.


Thursday, 8 January 2009

best in show

Jennie I almost forgot to post today, because I was off work sick earlier this week, and yesterday sucked all kinds of balls, so it sort of through my schedule off and so this morning I was driving to work all, "la la la, I am freezing, la la la, I am tired, la la la, I am hungry, la la la, ME WANT FOOD," when I realized, HOLY SHIT, it's totally my day to post and usually I have my posts done on WEDNESDAY NIGHT and I have no excuse for not posting already except that Joe's friend cooked us free dinner last night and then gave us brownies so I might have been in a food coma. Anyway.

My favorite Collective posts are those in which I learn something new. Something important. And so, some of my favorites include:

Tales from Inside The Bunny: A Book Review, by Abigail (wherein I learned that Hugh Hefner is totally gross)

Seacrest Out(side the law), by Heather Anne (wherein I learned that Ryan Seacrest is totally evil)

Air Turns to Water When Dioxide Tempts the Hydrogen, by Kat (wherein I learned that water (and therefore, alcohol) is totally awesome)

Also, I really liked the interviews.

Also also, I really liked the guest posts.

Also also also, the Canardies.

Carry on.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Greatest Hits.

When I think upon the year past I inevitably compare it with 2007, which many of you know as the Worst. Year. Ever. Because it was. And since there was nowhere to go but up 2008 was remarkable not so much for going up but for not proving me wrong and being even worser than its older brother. Which it wasn't. THANK OBAMA. But what 2008 was, was a mixed bag, a fruitcake loaded with maraschino cherries (yummy!) and papaya (yuck!), a double-stuffed Oreo cookie, a yellow Jolly Rancher that might be lemon or it might be banana and do you really want to take the chance that it's banana? Do you? ARE YOU FEELING LUCKY?

Well, most of the time I wasn't. But then there were times when I felt completely invincible, as though all that vodka I just drank wasn't vodka at all, but Felix Felicis, and those times undoubtedly coincided with these posts:

Sweet land of liberty, of the I sing by Heather! Anne!

Can somebody tell me what kind of a world we live in, where a man dressed up as a BAT gets all of my press? by Heather! Anne!

All I Want for Christmas - In Poorly Written Haiku Form by Abigail!

we fight, we laugh, we cry, as the years go by by Abigail!

my life: a brief history by Jennie!

Her boyfriend's back . . . FROM THE GRAVE by Jennie!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Collective Besties


This is totally the worst week of the entire year. First, I thought just yesterday was going to be bad on account of I had to go back to work (boo) and I overslept (booooo). But then last night I realized that I was supposed to have already submitted my "trial by affidavit" for this Oregon speeding ticket I'm trying to fight. See, my trial (that I won't be at, but someone is going to read my written testimony or something) is Wednesday at 4 pm. And I have to get this thing notarized and in the post in time. And I'm not even sure if "in time" is even possible anymore. And I have to call them to find that out. And there's a chance that even if it's not too late, the judge will still give me the ticket and I'll be out about $500. Waaaaaaaaaah.

So, enough of that complaining. Let's talk about cheerier things. Like my fellow Collective writers who rock a lot.

If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits eighty-eight miles per hour, you're going to see some serious shit. by Heather! Anne!
Congratulations once again on your recent graduation from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Timeflight School. It is the standard practice of the Timeflight School to review your first week of solo Time Travel so that we may address any potential actions that could jeopardize our current Space-Time Continuum (STC 6.4). ...In addition, the character of Aidan Shaw at first disappeared from the Sex and the City canon, but was then repeatedly added back into the story and written off the show in all manner ways, including: bear attack, drowning, choking on his own turquoise jewelry (thrice), taxi incident (accidental), taxi incident (purposefully killed by driver), tossed from roof (Samantha), tossed from roof (Charlotte), tossed from room (Miranda), tossed from roof (Mr. Big), tossed from roof (Steve), impaled by a variety of wood-working furniture, assaulted with a candlestick in Billiard Room, beaten with a lead pipe in Conservatory, and tossed from roof (Carrie).

Nut bugs in nut dust by Kat!
Because I love bugs. And I want you to love them too. So I'd like to introduce you to a few of my favorite bugs, my favorite bugs because they are the greatest bugs of all the bugs in all the land. ... I'll keep this short so as not to traumatize Jennie!, but this fucking bug turns cockroaches into ZOMBIES. For serious. It inserts a stinger into the brain of a cockroach, injects a venom which disables the cockroach's reflexes, and then RIDES ON THE BACK OF THE COCKROACH, USING THE COCKROACH'S ANTENNEA LIKE REINS TO STEER IT TO ITS LAIR, WHERE IT LAYS ITS EGGS IN THE ZOMBIE COCKROACH.

I had a lot of hate. This is really long. (that's what she said.) by Jennie!
So Duckie is angry that Halfsie is learning how to gamble but then DING-DONG PIZZA'S HERE OOH SOMETHING SHINY. Charlie is all, "I bet that's the pizza," and Halfsie's like, "What's the spread?" and Charlie says, "Pepperoni," like OH HOW CLEVER, SHOW. ... THEN, they go to the grocery and Charlie can't figure out how coupons work so he throws a bunch of hamburger helper in the cart because HAHA poor people are hilarious! They eat cheap pasta dishes because a talking hand tells them to! Let us laugh and be merry!

Also, I really really really like every time we've talked about how we're total assholes. I mean, how can you not like that? (Asshole alert.)

Monday, 5 January 2009

I met the highest lama, his accent sounded fine to me

heather Is it just us or is this the hardest work week of the whole entire year?

Because let's face it: you have been on vacation for at least two weeks. And even if your boss made you go into the office, it's not like you did any actual work, what with the tasty homemade baked goods and end-of-the-year top ten lists to read all over the internets. And if, for reasons inexplicable, you actually did do your job at your job, you were only working two days plus maybe a nubbin day, anyway.

Now there's this week, and the only thing that would make it bearable is saturated fat. But you can't have that, can you? Because you're still holding onto your resolutions.

Your in-tray, your inbox, your voicemail? All full. The projects you casually tossed aside in favor of dipping out early for holiday parties? They're due today.

Happy New Year, kids. You shouldn't have resolved to drink less.

To make your week a little more bearable, there's this: It's The Collective's one year anniversary! As you know, the traditional first year anniversary gift is paper. So, while you're trying to decide which gift to get us, we're going to entertain you with our greatest hits.

Here are my top five favorite posts from our first year:

5) I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues, by Kat!

4) Time Travel: a play (or whatever) in two parts (or whatever), by Jennie!

3) My first "resume" ever, by Abigail!

2) That's right Iceman, I am dangerous, Kat!'s debut origami video masterpiece.

1) Phone it in Friday: Back to the Future, Kat!'s second origami video masterpiece, by popular demand.

I also really loved The Great Wiener Mystery, our Halloween tale.

Thanks for sticking with us for a whole year. We could have done it without you, but it sure would have sucked.